NINETEENTH CENTURY - THE CROWN OF THORNS IS THE DIADEM OF VICTORY
|The Crown of Thorns (Ecce Homo), c.1612 by Rubens|
Century of my birth, measure of my fleeting time, gate to my eternity, I like to hear and re-echo thy praises. God in the admirable designs of his wisdom and goodness, has been generous with thee. I sincerely admire the wealth of thy gifts, thy natural talents, thy industrious skill, thy unflagging energy; the powerful activity and rapidity of thy steam engines, the ubiquity of thy voice through thy wire's electric flash, rushing with lightning speed through mountains and oceans. Knowledge under thy fostering care, has fledged and extended her wings; and science has soared to the stars, dived to the bottom of the sea, and penetrated to the bowels of the earth. All this is in thy praise, venerable mother of seventy-seven. How good is God to ' Israel, to them that are of a right heart. (Ps. 72)
But the majority of thy children, in their pride, impiety and sensuality, have abused the gifts of God, and turned them against their divine benefactor. Pride has held them fast; they are covered with their iniquity, and their wickedness. Their iniquity has come forth as it were from fatness; they have passed into the affectation of the heart. They have thought and spoken wickedness and blasphemy; they have spoken iniquity on high. They have set their mouth against heaven and their tongues have passed through the earth. (Ps. 72.) If I have said: I will speak thus: Behold! I should condemn the generation of thy children. I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labor in my sight.
I have learned that at thy birth, old lady, thou wert steeped in human blood by the cruel tyrant of despotism and war. Thy youth and beauty have been prostituted and dishonored by the treachery of sedition and by the impiety of revolution. Scarcely one nation can be found on the face of the earth, during the cycle of thy existence, that has not been humbled, and suffered violence from the pride and impiety of thy rebellious children. Too many of them are, like blind moles, clandestinely boring deep pits and snares of seduction, and becoming proud and arrogant at the sight of their molehills, which they call progress. Like black coal-diggers, with the dim lamps of befogged reason stuck to their soiled caps, some of thy gifted children are day and night lowering their manhood in their insane efforts to undermine the earth, with the impious and cruel design of speedily causing a universal explosion, upsetting the established order of civil society, and completely destroying the Christian religion. Venerable matron! thy noble figure will in a few years be enveloped in dismal clouds of black smoke, and lurid petroleum flames, and thy hoary head will be singed and covered with the accumulated ashes of ruins, precipitated by the perjured craft of impiety. The Church of ages, divinely built upon the impregnable rock of Peter, from whose beneficent hands thou hast received all thy worth and honor, will suffer some temporary breach in her more exposed and weaker ramparts, but these will be made available for the reception and safe refuge of repentant prodigals, returning home to their afflicted but ever merciful mother. This holy Church of the living God, in her heavenly wisdom, inexhaustible goodness and creative energy, will collect the scattered ruins of betrayed human society, and console and crown thy expiring years, by the reconstruction of a manly, noble and vigorous Christendom over the renovated surface of the earth. "The Lord our God will send forth his spirit, and holy apostles shall be created, and the face of the earth and of Christian society shall be renewed." (Ps. 103)
The ground work for this magnificent structure is being extensively prepared, and its foundations are actively dug, in spite of their intentions and calculations, by the blind agents and deluded slaves of the prince of darkness. Our Church's wisest and .best architects have already met in council at the Vatican. They have designated, solemnly proclaimed and permanently installed on the pontifical throne our unerring leader, and after having paid homage to his supreme authority, they have quietly adjourned, determined to meet again at the most propitious opportunity to arrange, organize and accomplish their wisely matured plans of action. Those privileged souls, intended by God to co-operate in a special manner in this mighty work of re-edification with their prayers, penances, zeal and rich stock of merits, are under skilful training. About twenty of them have already received their diploma with the divine seal of the five stigmata, the Crown of Thorns and other tokens of our Savior's predilection. Those supernaturally wounded hands of his visible sanctity, are constantly lifted up towards heaven, like those of Moses in fervent supplications to the throne of Mercy, and working hard preparing the proper materials for the erection of God's holy Temple. The humble heads of thorn-crowned virtue are day and night bowed down in prayer of self immolation before the altar of the Most High to implore the help, and obtain the protection of his omnipotent hand, for the speedy and complete success of this noble enterprise undertaken for the promotion of his honor and glory, and for the conversion and salvation of mankind.
Venerable Mother and Matron of the nineteenth century, in spite of the deep impiety and widespread wickedness of many of thy wretched children, thou wilt expire in the warm embrace of the Holy Catholic Church. With heartfelt sentiments of sincere joy and gratitude for this great mercy, thou, in the words of holy Simeon, wilt with thy dying lips bless God and say: "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy words in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people of Israel." (Lk. 2:29) In this cheering and hopeful expectation, I consecrate, venerable Matron, to thy memory and to thy honor, the following list of some of thy holiest and noblest children, carefully trained in the school and genuine faith of Jesus crowned with thorns and crucified.
41. Sister Maria Josepha Kumi
This great servant of God was born February 20th, 1763, at Wollaran, Canton of Switz. She was nineteen years of age when she became a Dominican Nun in the convent of Wesan, diocese of Saint Gall. Sister Maria Josepha was stigmatized gradually. First she received the wound in her side, then the Crown of Thorns; finally, twenty years after her religious profession, namely in the year 1803, stigmatization was completed in her hands and feet. She died November 7th, 1817. Abrief account of her life was published in the German language in Saint Gall, Switzerland, 1868.
42. Venerable Maria Louisa Biagini.
Maria Louisa was born in the city of Lucca, Tuscany, March 14th, 1770. At eighteen years of age she received the habit of the second Order of St. Francis in the Convent of San Micheletto (Little Saint Michael) in her native city. She often suffered the stigmata of the five wounds and the impression of the Crown of Thorns, especially on Good Friday. This great servant of God died March 29th, 1811, in the odor of sanctity in her Convent in Lucca where her body is preserved as a precious relic. The cause of her beatification is favorably advancing in Rome. See life of Sister Maria Louisa Biagini, Luchese, Lay Sister of the second Order of St. Francis, by Rev. Canon Raphael Mezzelli, extracted from the memoirs of the Marquis Cesare Luchesini, and from other documents, Lucca, 1864, published by G. Giusti.
43. Sister Ann Catherine Emmerich
This admirable lover of Jesus crucified was born September 8, 1774, in the village of Flanike, about two miles from Coesfield, a town in the diocese of Munster, Germany. She became an Augustinian nun in the Convent of Agnetenberg at Dulmen on the 28th August 1812. Sister Ann Catharine received on her virginal body a stigma in the form of a cross. Another similar impression was made just above the first, during the Christmas feast. On the 29th December of the same year, this holy religious was stigmatized in her hands, feet and side. She received subsequently, the impression of the Crown of Thorns. Sister Ann Catharine was often made to undergo in a visible manner, all the sensible sufferings of the passion of our dear Lord. She wrote a wonderful book of her visions and revelations, with the title "The dolorous passion of our Lord Jesus Christ." The stigmata and all these terrible pains continued until the end of her life. She died February 9th, 1824, and was buried in the cemetery of Dulmen. See Ann Catharine Emmerich, by Dr. Krabbe, Germany. Much better however, is the life of Ann Catharine Emmerich by Father Schmoager, translated into French by M. de Lazales, published in Paris by Bray, 1808, 1872, in three volumes.
44. Venerable Elizabeth Canori Mora
This truly admirable servant of God, and heroic victim of self-immolation, in expiation of the sins of mankind, was born in Rome, of respectable parents, November 21st, Feast of the Presentation in the year 1774. In due time she was married to Christopher Mora, an advocate in the Roman Court, by whom she had several children. Elizabeth had much to suffer from these, but more especially from her husband. She made, however, such good use of these and other trials, that she rapidly advanced to the highest degree of Christian perfection. She ever had an ardent devotion to the passion of our Lord and was particularly penetrated with the mystery of the Ecce Homo, behold the man. The Stations of the Cross were the exercise of her special predilection. On Christmas day Elizabeth saw in a vision our infant Savior in the cradle, drenched in his blood. She was given to understand that he suffered all this through the negligence of Christian parents and of those who are charged with the education of children, and neglect this grave duty of Religion. On the feast of the Purification February 2nd, our blessed Lady presented to her servant his divine Son wounded and bleeding profusely, and said to her: "Behold, my daughter, how wounded he is. Oh! Hide him in thy heart." The most holy Mother of our Lord exhorted Elizabeth to offer often the sacred blood of her divine Son, to the Eternal Father, to obtain the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of souls, to whose welfare she was so ardently devoted. Our blessed Lady added: "Join with this offering, my daughter, that of thy sufferings and trials with the love with which thy heart is penetrated." These heavenly visions and exhortations enkindled in her heart, a most ardent desire of offering herself as a victim for the satisfaction of divine justice, and for the conversion of sinners and infidels. Her generous offer was accepted. She was made to suffer in a sensible manner, a real crucifixion when her side and heart were really pierced with a lance. Her sufferings were excessive. She felt that she was dying when our Lord appeared to her and detached her from the cross, praising and consoling her for her generosity. She was in an instant restored to perfect health. Elizabeth received also the Crown of Thorns. God through her prayers, and meritorious sufferings, converted many sinners, and delivered the Church and the Pontifical States from serious calamities. It was she who cured the young Count John Maria de Mastar Ferretti, the present gloriously reigning Pontiff, Pius DC, from epilepsy which had so far prevented his desired admission into the ecclesiastical state ... Through the spirit of prophecy Elizabeth very likely foresaw the future eminent sanctity of the noble youth. Whilst we write these lines, we learn from a high authority in Rome, that Pius IX is working great miracles. The letter is dated Rome, 8th February.1876. On the 18th of June, 1814 she obtained from God the deliverance of the soul of Pope Plus VI, from the pains of purgatory. He had been dead about fifteen years. He had been an exemplary Pope and died in exile, and a martyr of persecution, yet it seems, he had to suffer so long in purgatory. Can we dear leader, flatter ourselves that we shall escape it? Too many Catholics are under this flattering illusion. In the year 1820, by a special inspiration of God, Elizabeth became a member of the Third Order of the Reformed and Barefooted Trinitarians. She died in Rome, 5th of February, 1825, in great odor of sanctity. The process of her beatification is progressing favorably. (See Voix Prophetiques. Vol 2, Chap 13)