It is an undisputed fact that the most Blessed Virgin Mary is to play a unique part in the end times. On the one hand, one can perceive the extraordinary development of Catholic doctrine as to her person and mission (Mariology) and on the other, she manifests herself ever more frequently in various apparitions rigorously examined and approved by the Church. At the same time holy personages arise, whose life, writings, and activity indicate a particular intervention of the Mother of God, who uses them as her instruments in realizing the most astounding ventures in the history of the Church. The cult of Our Lady among the faithful has steadily grown and as a consequence lives have overflowed with holiness as well as a resolute resistance against all forms of evil, i.e., heresies, immorality, or governments bereft of religion.
The Development of Mariology
In the first centuries of the Church the cult of the most Blessed Virgin Mary was very vigorous as attested to by countless texts of the Fathers of the Church. Already in the second century, St. Justin l and St. Irenaeus2 taught that she was the “New Eve” cooperating with the New Adam, Jesus Christ, for the redemption of souls. By then, SS. Ephraim, Ambrose, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, German of Constantinople, and John Damascene extol her immaculate conception.
The greatest veneration was paid to Mary as the “God-bearing one” Theotokos). The Church Fathers are nearly unanimous on this. The Council of Ephesus (431) proclaimed the first Marian dogma that Mary is truly the Mother of God:
If anyone does not profess that Emmanuel is truly God and therefore the Most Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God (because the Word of God became flesh in her womb) let him be anathema!3
The Marian spirituality of the Fathers of the Church is particularly manifested by the sacred liturgy of the East in its magnificent composition Hymnos Akathistos, a long litany in honor of the Mother of God which presents her various lofty aspects and grandeurs.
In the Middle Ages
The Marian cult evolved in the 12th century particularly through the recitation of the Holy Rosary. According to tradition, St. Dominic received the rosary from the hands of Our Lady while in the year 1251, .Simon Stock, reformer of the Carmel monastery, received from her what is known as the Scapular of Carmel (popularly known as the “Brown Scapular”), a miniature habit, the wearing of which bestows many graces, not the least of which is: “Whoever dies clothed in this garment shall not suffer eternal fire.” The Franciscan theological tradition endeavored to elucidate, as well as propagate, the teaching on the immaculate conception.
From the 19th Century
It was not until the 19th century that Mariology was once more revived through the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary4 by Pope Pius IX (1854) in his Bull Ineffabilis Deus. On the foundation of this dogma, the teaching on the spiritual motherhood of Mary evolved. Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Ad Diem Mum Laetissimum wrote:
Hence nobody ever knew Christ so profoundly as she did, and nobody can ever be more competent as a guide and teacher of the knowledge of Christ….Hence it follows, as We have already pointed out, that the Virgin is more powerful than all others as a means for uniting mankind with Christ ….For is not Mary the Mother of Christ? Then she is our Mother also. And we must in truth hold that Christ, the Word made Flesh, is also the Savior of mankind, He had a physical body like that of any other man: and again as Savior of the human family, He had a spiritual and mystical body, the society, namely, of those who believe in Christ….Therefore all we who are united to Christ, and as the Apostle says are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Eph. 5:30), have issued from the womb of Mary like a body united to its head. Hence, though in a spiritual and mystical fashion, we are all children of Mary, and she is Mother of us all.
Another consequence of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not only did Pope Pius XII insert this Feast within the liturgical cycle as a holy day of higher rank (II Class) but also in closing his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, he consecrated the people of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In his encyclical Octobri Mense6, Pope Leo XIII spoke of the Mother of God as Mediatrix of All Graces. Likewise, so did Pope St. Pius X in Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum7 and Pius XII in his encyclical on the universal Queenship of Mary, Ad Coeli Regina.8
By his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus (Nov. 1, 1959), Pope Pius XII proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven, body and soul.9 In the preparatory work for the Second Vatican Council, the central committee received approximately 600 requests from the bishops who asked that the upcoming general council elaborate on the doctrine concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amongst this number 311 insisted on the proclamation of the dogma “Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace” and 127 on the proclamation of other definitions, as for example, “Mary, Co-Redemptrix.”10
After the Second Vatican Council
The new ecumenical orientation within the Church together with the Council’s reforms sounded the death knell for theological development regarding the Mother of God. In the interreligious dialogue with non-Christian denominations there is no room for Mary, and among Protestants, Marian dogmas are an affront. It is incorrect to presume that contacts with the Orthodox Church regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary would not constitute a “problem.” Even here, however, impediments are encountered because the Orthodox do not recognize the dogmas proclaimed in the Catholic Church after the seventh or eighth General Councils. These factors have brought about a danger that the piety of the faithful is at risk to sever itself from its dogmatic base and therefore lose itself in subjective sentimentality or credulous attachment to false and heretical visions.
Apparitions of the Mother of God
Parallel with the unfolding of Catholic teaching regarding the Mother of God, Our Lady deigns to appear solemnly and more often to her children. In her past apparitions, it appears that their main purpose was the personal relationship between the visionary and the Mother of God herself or were directed for a particular monastery, a designated group of people, or to a specific country. Prominent apparitions of consequence for the whole world began only at the onset of the modern era. It seems that as the battle against God and His Church heats up and the Masonic spirit of materialism and liberalism flourishes unabated, the Mother of God personally intervenes ever more frequently in order to confirm Catholics in the Faith as well as to convey the appropriate remedies.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
When in Western Europe around eight million faithful were severed from the Catholic Church through the Protestant heresies, in Mexico the Mother of God appeared to Bl. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill (Dec. 9,10,12). The Immaculata requested that on the spot of the apparitions a church be constructed where “I will show the people all my love, mercy, compassion, help and protection.” When the bishop insisted upon a sign from her as an affirmation of authenticity, there appeared a miraculous image of Mary on the tilma (work apron) of Juan Diego, which he used to carry the roses off to the bishop.11 Around the miraculous image developed the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the archives of the Cathedral in Mexico are preserved testimonies and declarations of thousands of miracles which were obtained through the mediation of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Despite the heroic efforts of Catholic missionaries before the apparitions conversions were minimal, but as a result of the devotion that grew around this miraculous image, by which the Indians understood the triumph of the Mother of God over their gods, 10 million people embraced Catholicism,12 and South America converted as a result. By the middle of the 20th century, 17 congregations bore the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.13
Painting depicting the miracle crowning the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Juan Diego unfolds his mantle to show Bishop Zumarraga winter roses picked on Tepayac Hill, unaware of the image.
Miraculous Medal (1830)
The aftermath of the French Revolution saw the gradual destruction of the whole Christian social order in the European countries. In 1830, a new revolution erupted in Paris, France, a portent of the birth of Socialism and Communism. Precisely at that moment, also in Paris, in the convent church of the Sisters of Mercy, the Mother of God appeared to Catherine Labouré, a novice. Our Lady requested prayer and penance as reparation for the sins of those who were godless and steeped in impurity. During the second apparition Catherine beheld a frame of light forming around the Blessed Virgin and above her head in a semi-circle, in letters of gold, the words: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.” The Blessed Virgin Mary requested Sr. Catherine Labouré to “have a medal struck according to this model. All those who wear it shall receive many graces; those who shall wear it with confidence will obtain singular graces!” After many obstacles the first medals were ready by the year 1832. It came to be known as the “miraculous medal” through the innumerable miracles which were realized and continue to be granted through its instrumentality throughout the whole world: conversions, healings and supernatural help.14
La Salette (1846)
“Lock the church up in the sacristy.” It is under this slogan that society is systematically laicized, in other words, this quip infers that Jesus Christ is no longer to reign in public and national institutions. The emerging constitutions of various nations are to be no longer based on the law of God, but rather on the “rights of man” which were broadcast during the French Revolution. This secularization, for the average individual, is a clear sign of the violation of Church law which has a direct bearing on the social life of Catholics: for example, the prohibition of working on Sunday or that of publishing atheistic or immoral literature, etc. Within the bosom of the Church, especially in France, the spirit of liberal Catholicism began to manifest itself in the clergy which desired to reconcile the principles of revolution with the Church. Despite the condemnation of the principles of liberal Catholicism by Pope Gregory XVI in his Bull Mirari Vos, this spirit quickly diffused throughout Europe. This heralded the beginning of Modernism. During this period (and again in France), the Mother of God was to appear again. She visited the little mountain village of La Salette. Here she appeared to two shepherds, Melanie and Maximin. Her message came to be known as “the apocalypse of the Mother of God,” wherein she treated of the end times and of Antichrist. In a frightful manner, she described the fall of the clergy and the apostasy of nations, and called for prayer and penance.
St. Bernadette Soubirous
The Basilica at Lourdes, France.Fatima (1917)
In these 18 apparitions the Mother of God imparted to the visionary, Bernadette Soubirous, the entire spiritual program by which each Catholic should direct himself in his own life. On Feb.18, she said, “I promise to make you happy, not in this life but the next.” On Feb. 21, “Pray for sinners.” “Penance, penance, penance!” (Feb. 24). “I am the Immaculate Conception!” (Mar. 25). This is the revelation of the deepest mystery of Our Lady’s interior life. On this subject, St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote:
And this privilege must be very dear to her if in Lourdes she declares: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” She does not say, “I am immaculately conceived,” but “I am the Immaculate Conception,” which infers that she is Immaculateness itself…Is there a difference between the expressions “Immaculate Conception” and “immaculately conceived”? The difference which exists is as in, for example, “white” and “whiteness.” If it is white, it can still get dirty, but whiteness does not undergo any alteration.15
At Lourdes, the Immaculata laid the spiritual and theological foundation for her role in the latter times:
The goal of each person is to belong to God through Jesus Christ, our Mediator with the Father, and to belong to Jesus Christ through the Immaculata, Mediatrix of all grace [St. Maximilian Kolbe].16
The hallmark of this auspicious year seems to have been the victory of the spirit of irreligion and the rise of atheistic Communism in Russia as well as the official anniversary of the rise of masonry and its triumph in Western Europe, but most significantly in Rome. The Fatima apparitions are the apex of the Marian movement of the latter times. Through the propagation of the devotion to her Immaculate Heart the Church has had to elucidate the importance of the Immaculata and advance authoritatively the definition of “Mediatrix of All Grace” to the world. On July 13, 1917, the seers of Fatima see a vision of Hell as well as countless souls on the road to eternal damnation. “In order to save them God wants to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”17
In the face of Satan’s victory in the world through the machinations of Communism and masonry, the Mother of God once more offers herself to the people “as the last rung of hope.” This last resort is her Immaculate Heart to which the whole world is to be consecrated, but particularly Russia. The Third Secret of Fatima was recently “revealed” by the Church authorities but their interpretation is suspect. Generally, the essence of the contents is calculated to speak of the victory of Satan within the Church through apostasy and Modernism. In this most difficult time of the mystical martyrdom of the Church our last resort is to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In order to confirm the importance of the Fatima message, heaven ordained that 70,000 pilgrims would witness the “Miracle of the Sun” (Oct. 13, 1917). In the following years the Fatima message, as well as the ensuing Marian devotion, exerted a great influence on the whole life of the Church.
There is no doubt that all the saints were zealous devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we speak here of “Marian saints” it means that these saints consecrated themselves and all their activities in a particular manner to the Mother of God. Some examples are St. Ephrem of Syria (5th c.), St. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th c.) and in the latter centuries, SS. Louis Maria Grignion de Montfort, John Berchmans, Alphonsus de Liguori, Catherine Labouré, Bernadette, and Maximilian Kolbe. To these maybe added a great number of blessed, as for example, Melanie Calvat, the visionary from La Salette; the servant of God, Fr. Chaminade, the founder of the Marianists; and Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the children of Fatima.
The common trait of these widely diversified saints is their unreserved consecration to the Mother of God: to become “a servant of Mary” (St. Alphonsus and St. John Berchmans), “a slave of Mary” (St. Louis), “possession of the Immaculate” (St. Maximilian), “property of Mary” (Fr. Chaminade). In the measure that they realize this goal, their life of virtue becomes more and more heroic. Love of Our Lady leads them to bear all sacrifices and sufferings for the glory of God and as recompense for the offenses committed against the majesty of God. At the same time the zeal for the salvation of souls grows stronger. Through this thirst for the salvation of souls from eternal perdition there arise great missionary activities, religious congregations, apostolic fraternities as well as concrete works such as churches, convents, pilgrimages, and means of mass communication in the service of the Mother of God.
The Miraculous Medal. “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”
St. Catherine Laboure.
Popular Catholic Marian Devotion
The life of the Church was always intertwined with a particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as is clearly testified to by theology and the liturgy. However, it is easy to perceive that this devotion intensified whenever it was threatened either by spiritual or material ruin. When no earthly power could overcome the Albigenses and CatharisT,Catharist heresies,
St. Dominic taught the people to pray the Holy Rosary and within 100 years both sects disappeared.
When Europe was threatened by the Turkish invasion the smaller Catholic army defeated the Sultan’s formidable forces at the battle of Lepanto (1571). This happened as a result of the First Rosary Crusade which Pope St. Pius V announced to all the faithful. In thanksgiving to Divine Providence for this victory, he established the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. This was repeated in the aftermath of King John Sobieski III’s Catholic victory in Vienna (1683), when Pope Innocent XI established the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary. In many countries the authorities consecrated the nation and its people to the protection of the Mother of God. She is honored as queen, commander-in-chief, empress and Lady.
Countless Marian sanctuaries throughout the world and crowds of pilgrims serve as testimonials of the deep devotion and confidence of Catholics to their spiritual Mother and Queen.
Perhaps in no century did such a strong Marian movement exist as from 1900 to 1960. Against the background of two world wars, the domination of Communism over half of the world, materialism and the proliferation of sects, the role of the Blessed Virgin in the life of the Church radiated wondrously, just as the sun would against a deep dark night.
· As a consequences of the Fatima apparitions, Portugal was rapidly freed from the dominance of masonry which was leading the country into poverty and bankruptcy. Professor Salazar and his Catholic government, in unison with the Portuguese Episcopate, sought out compatriots with a deep Marian devotion as their successors and by this means they were enabled to avoid entanglement in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.18
· The devotion of the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima began in 1942. Diocesan and parish associations consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The statistics of the Holy Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith for these years shows there were more conversions than ever during this period. In the US, more than 100,000 a year; in England, up to 20,000; millions more in missionary lands.
· Marian associations permeate the social and private lives of whole countries; millions of faithful enlist, for example, in the Militia Immaculatae (mostly in Poland and Japan), the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima in the US,19 and the Legion of Mary throughout the world;
· Marian congregations reach the peak in new vocations and missionary activities;
· In 1966, the Millennium Year of Poland’s baptism as a nation, the primate, Cardinal Wyszynski, performed the Act of Consecration of the Polish Nation into holy slavery to the motherly heart of Our Lady. It is specifically to this Marian devotion that Poland must acknowledge the fact that it is one of the last countries in the world where the Catholic Faith has not collapsed.
During and after the Second Vatican Council Marian devotion abruptly disappeared in the majority of countries. At the same time the crisis led to the deterioration of nearly all church institutions and the loss of some 80,000 vocations to the priesthood and another 50,000 to the convent in the last 30 years through desertion of the religious life or laicism.
Millions of faithful left the Catholic Church in order to join various sects or to embrace atheism. And, of those who formally remained Catholic, only some 5-10% regularly practice their faith.
Sins against God and nature are incalculable (though it is officially admitted that there are 60 million abortions performed worldwide annually, not to mention atrocities such as euthanasia and deviant behavior such as homosexuality, etc.). This is the reverse side of the “Miraculous Medal”; “the sun of the Immaculata” has been replaced with the darkness of sin and error. The world cares little for the devotion of holy slavery to Our Lady and has acquiesced to the care of the Barbie doll. The Sacred Scriptures and the Church call these times apocalyptic.
Role of the Immaculate in the Latter Times
The above description of the central role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church and the world combined with the diffusion of immorality and apostasy confirm that apocalyptic times are upon us. This is the time of the decisive battle between Satan and God. In the face of this consideration, we can pose the following questions:
1. Why did God prepare such a unique role for the Blessed Virgin Mary and not, for example, Jesus Christ?
2. What precisely constitutes Our Lady’s role in these latter times?
3. What is our responsibility in the latter times?
4. How will it end?
Jacinta is carried from the place of the apparitions at Fatima after the Miracle of the Sun, October 13, 1917.
“The salvation of the world began through Mary and through Mary it must be consummated.”
With these words St. Louis Grignion de Montfort explains why Mary will appear especially at the second coming of Jesus Christ in the latter times. He lists seven proofs as to why at the second coming of Jesus Christ the Blessed Virgin Mary must be better known and revealed by the Holy Ghost:
God, then, wishes to reveal and make known Mary, the masterpiece of His hands, in these latter times:
1. Because she hid herself in this world and made herself lower than the dust by her profound humility, having obtained from God and from His Apostles and Evangelists that she should not be made manifest.
2. Because, as she is the masterpiece of the hands of God, as well here below by grace as in heaven by glory, He wishes to be glorified and praised in her by those who are living upon earth.
3. As she is the dawn which precedes and reveals the Sun of Justice, Who is Jesus Christ, she must be seen and recognized in order that Jesus Christ may also be.
4. Being the way by which Jesus came to us the first time, she will also be the way by which He will come the second time, though not in the same manner.
5. Being the sure means and the straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus Christ, and to find Him perfectly, it is by her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life, that is, Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But no one can find Mary who does not seek her; and no one can seek her who does not know her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known.
6. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and in grace, in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church: in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mohammadans, Jews and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall oppose them, and to make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall battle for his interests.
7. And lastly, Mary must be terrible to the devil and his minions, as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times, because the devil, knowing that he has but little time, and now less than ever, to destroy souls, will every day redouble his efforts and his combats. He will presently raise up cruel persecutions, and will put terrible snares before the faithful servants and true children of Mary, whom it gives him more trouble to conquer than it does to conquer others.20
But why is Mary, and not Jesus Christ, to be victorious over Satan?-Because Satan not only fears Her more than all angels and men, but in a certain sense, more than God. That does not mean that God’s anger, hatred and power are not infinitely greater then in the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the perfections of Mary are, of course finite. Rather, it is explained that, in the first place, Satan, in his pride suffers infinitely more that this little, humble handmaid of the Lord chastises him and is victorious over him; whose humility humiliates him more than the power of God, and secondly; God gave Mary such great power over the devils, that…they fear more her one sigh on behalf of a soul than all the prayers of all the saints; they fear her one threat more than all other torments.21
What is the basis of Our Lady’s role in the latter times?
It is based on the decisive battle between the Virgin and the dragon (Apoc. 12). This is demonstrated by the obvious fact that in the measure that the spirit of atheism permeates the world, she appears and brings help to the faithful. As the ideals of masonry and the enemies of Christ are triumphing in the world, the cult of the Mother of God diffuses and becomes the cause of the greatest expansion of Catholic missions in the history of the Church.
The Apocalypse describes this battle with these words:
A great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: (12:1)…And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon (12:3)…And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son (12:4)….And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child: And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent (12:13-14)…And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (12:17).
As has already been mentioned, St. Louis sees in this battle the culmination of the whole course of history beginning with the creation of man:
It is principally of these last and cruel persecutions of the devil, which shall go on increasing daily till the reign of Antichrist, that we ought to understand that first and celebrated prediction and curse of God, pronounced in the terrestrial paradise, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shah lie in wait for her heel” (Gen. 3:15). God has never made and formed but one enmity; but it is an irreconcilable one, which shall endure and grow even to the end.
St. Louis continues by citing the famous text penned by St. Irenaeus of Lyon:
What Lucifer has lost by pride, Mary has gained by humility. What Eve has damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent, has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him; Mary, in being perfectly faithful to God, has saved all her children and servants together with herself, and has consecrated them to His Majesty.22
Sister Lucy of Fatima, in an interview with Fr. Fuentes (1957) describes these latter times in grave terms:
Father, the devil is preparing for the decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And because he knows what offends God the most and that which will gain for him the greatest number of souls, he does everything to gain souls consecrated to God because in this way the whole area regarding souls will be free to him and therefore easier to overcome….Father, the Mother of God did not say to me that we are in the end times of the world, though she allowed me to understand it for three reasons:
Firstly, because she said the devil is preparing for the decisive battle with the Mother of God and whereas, the decisive battle is the last battle which will manifest on which side is the victory and on which the defeat.
Secondly, as she told my cousins, as well as myself, that God is offering to the world the last two remedies the holy rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary-and if these are the last remedies that means there are no others.
Thirdly, that in the designs of Divine Mercy, when God will punish the world all other means of conversion will have been exhausted. And when He sees that the world disregards these means, He offers the last means of salvation, His Most Blessed Mother. Especially if we scorn and disregard these last means then there will be no forgiveness for us since, as the Gospel says, we will have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost.23
This decisive battle is full of significance for us:
God has not only set an enmity, but enmities, not simply between Mary and the devil, but between the race of the holy Virgin and the race of the devil: that is to say, God has set enmities, antipathies and secret hatreds between the true children and servants of Mary and the children and slaves of the devil. They have no love for each other and there is no spiritual bond between them.24
These words offer much room for reflection in this era of ecumenism and world peace. Is it not in seeking this “spiritual bond,” that the present dialogue between the Church and various denominations is based upon? And how do we explain the fact that representatives of various masonic lodges, which the Church had previously always held as excommunicated, recognizing them as tools of Antichrist and Satan, are now, quite often, beloved guests at the Vatican (i.e., B’nai B’rith Lodge or the Trilateral Commission)?
The situation of faithful Catholics in these times is clearly defined:
Satan will lie in wait for her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem and abased before all, like the heel, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly.25
In her message at La Salette (Sept. 19, 1846), the Mother of God prophesied the present times in an even more explicit manner:
The precursor of Antichrist, with the armies of many nations, will enter into battle with the true Christ, the only Savior of the world; he will shed much blood and will desire to annihilate the worship of the true God, so that he may be acknowledged as god….Before this comes to pass, there will reign in the world a false peace; they will think of nothing else but how to play; the wicked will allow themselves all types of sins; whereas, the children of the Holy Church, the children of faith, my true followers will grow in the love of God and in virtues which are most precious to Me….Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist. Demons of the air, together with the Antichrist, will perform great wonders on earth and in the sky, and the people will become increasingly more perverse.26
Obviously, if the Mother of God in La Salette or St. Louis de Montfort use the term “latter times,” they do so in the scriptural sense. The “latter times” concern that period of the world which is not circumscribed by any particular date or number of years. The Catholic Church condemned as a millennial heresy certain tests to explain the term “latter times.” “Latter times” is rather the description of the world situation in relation to the approaching end and only God knows how long they will last.
Where does our responsibility lie in these latter times?
We have already agreed that, “God desires that His Most Blessed Mother be at present more known, more loved and more honored than ever before.” The saints see in these miraculous manifestations linked to the Mother of God the clear will of God that all Catholics consecrate themselves to Her so that they may be Her servants, Her slaves, Her possession.
Then they will behold, as much as faith allows, this beautiful Star of the Sea, so that under her direction, the tempests and piracy of the sea, they will arrive safely in port….They will recognize how much they need her help and they will turn to Her in all their needs as to their dearly beloved Advocate and Mediatrix with Jesus Christ. They will come to understand that Mary is the most secure, the shortest and most perfect means to unite us to Jesus Christ and they will give themselves to her, body and soul, undividedly and without reservations, so that they may belong to Jesus Christ totally and exclusively.27
What is required to be numbered amongst Her children? St. Louis Grignion de Montfort also asks this question, “But who shall those servants, slaves and children of Mary be?” He describes this great ideal so that we may firstly, put it into practice and later, incorporate it ever more profoundly into our lives. St. Louis says that in this decisive battle, our behavior should be…
…well purified by the fire of great tribulation, and closely adhering to God, who shall carry the gold of love in their heart, the incense of prayer in their spirit, and the myrrh of mortification in their body. They shall be everywhere the good odor of Jesus Christ to the poor and to the little, while, at the same time they shall be an odor of death to the great, to the rich and to the proud worldlings [see II Cor. 2:14-16].
They shall be clouds thundering and flying through the air at the least breath of the Holy Ghost; who, detaching themselves from everything and troubling themselves about nothing, shall shower forth the Word of God and of life eternal….They shall be true disciples of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, charity; teaching the narrow way of God in pure truth, according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world; troubling themselves about nothing; not accepting persons; sparing, fearing and listening to no mortal, however influential he may be. They shall have in their mouths the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloody standard of the cross, the crucifix in their right hand and the rosary in their left, the sacred Names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their own behavior.28
Our Lady of La Salette finishes her message with the solemn call:
I turn with an urgent appeal to the earth, I call the true disciples of God, living and reigning in Heaven, the only and true Savior; I call the true imitators of Jesus Christ, who became man; I call my children, my true devotees, those who have consecrated themselves to Me so that I may lead them to my Son; whom I carry, so to say, in my arms; those who live of My spirit. Finally, I call the apostles of the latter days, the true disciples of Jesus Christ who live in contempt of the world and themselves, in poverty and humility, forgotten and silent, in prayer and mortification, in chastity and union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. The time has come for them to come forward and carry the light to the world. Go and show yourselves as my beloved children. I am with you and in you so that your faith may be the light that will shine forth in these distressful days. May your zeal awaken in you a hunger for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ! Fight, children of light, small in number but aware that the time of times, end of ends is nigh.29