The Secrets of Mary: Gifts from the Blessed Motherby Janice T. Connell
Through the centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to ordinary people of every race and culture, bringing forth her messages of love, peace, and comfort. In these trying times, Mary's protection is needed more than ever. In The Secrets of Mary, Janice T. Connell chronicles messages Mary has brought from God, drawn from scripture, experts, and eyewitness/i>
Through the centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to ordinary people of every race and culture, bringing forth her messages of love, peace, and comfort. In these trying times, Mary's protection is needed more than ever. In The Secrets of Mary, Janice T. Connell chronicles messages Mary has brought from God, drawn from scripture, experts, and eyewitness accounts. Mary's voice provides a guiding light for modern times, as she explains how to solve problems that are surfacing throughout the world.
Janice T. Connell's newest collection of stories includes:
• Saint Augustine's discovery of Mary's power
• Insight from the world-famous children of Medjugorje in Bosnia
• A famous Washington, D.C. media anchor's touching encounter with the Blessed Mother
• The author's own awe-inspiring experience with Mary in Japan
• And much more.
Filled with beauty, wonder, and joy, The Secrets of Mary provides comfort and inspiration to all those who desire Mary's gifts.
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The Secrets of Mary
Gifts From The Blessed Mother
By Janice T. Connell
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2009 Janice T. Connell
All rights reserved.
Mother of God
"[T]he angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: 'Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.' Who having heard was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: 'Fear not Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David, his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.' And Mary said to the angel: 'How shall this be done, because I know not man?' And the angel answering, said to her: 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.' And Mary said: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.' And the angel departed from her."
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Approximately 80 percent of Americans believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary without a human father. Mary is clearly unlike any other person. Recently a jovial Harvard faculty member mused: "And Jesus said at the pearly gate: 'Ah, Professor, I know you have met my father, but I don't believe you know my mother.'"
Jesus wants us to know His Mother. To know her is to love her. To love her is to find the pearl of great price we all seek. Mary's "yes" to God's plan for the human race allowed Jesus, the Savior of the world, to be born into time and space as a full member of our species, yet mysteriously always "God from God and light from light." The very cosmos is rooted in Christ. It came to be through Him and finds its fullness of perfection only in and through Him. The fact that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity took human flesh and bone of Mary and become one of our species in the fullness of time is beyond the intellect and remains hidden in divine cosmic mystery we access only through the portal of faith.
If we have problems with such sublime concepts we can ask ourselves how vast is our wisdom, what galaxies have we made? Do we have sick eyes and tainted hands? If so, where do we find the paste of humility, how do we dress ourselves in sackcloth of compliance with God's way so that we may prosper? Mary knows.
The Blessed Mother gives us amazing gifts. Our Lady's heavenly delights transform our sorrows and heal the pain of broken dreams. Mary is forever Mother of the Redeemer who ransomed each of us from eternal misfortune. Our Blessed Mother knows how valuable and vulnerable we are. Mary, our Eternal Mother, is faithful to us, even when we are not, or cannot be. She knows that when we fall we need her love, protection, and intercessory prayer even more. Our Spiritual Mother loves, each of us unconditionally, with the pure mother-love we all crave. Our Holy Mother Mary has precious divine graces of such grandeur to give us that we will never be able to thank God enough for her.
It is a joyful journey and a great privilege to travel back through history searching for threads of wisdom about our Blessed Mother that help us draw ever closer to her today.
MOTHER OF GOD: SAINT PATRICK, A.D. 400
Scholars are divided over facts surrounding the life of Saint Patrick. History and lure are more generous. In the modern day, few saints enjoy more reverence than this great son of Ireland. His devotees find expression for their admiration in everything from green beer on his feast day, March 17, to Irish ballads memorializing his feats of valor, big-city Saint Patrick's Day parades, and Hibernian societies in places far away from Ireland.
Few have loved the Holy Mother of God more, or worked more diligently for her Divine Son than the great Saint Patrick. Thanks in large measure to him, Mary is Queen Mother of people of Irish descent, wherever they may be. Saint Patrick was a mystic: his followers have remained faithful to the sacred beliefs he taught even through persecution, betrayal, hunger, shipwreck, political intrigue, war, poverty, addiction, disdain, degradation, and death. Love for the Holy Mother of God is as natural to a true Irishman as life itself.
Patrick was captured in Britain as a teenager and sold into slavery in Ireland. There he learned the Druid faith and language of his overlord, Druidical high priest and chieftain Milchu. Patrick's slave job was tending flocks: the young Christian captive prayed constantly on the slopes as he watched over the sheep. One such prayer remains and is recorded in Saint Patrick's "Confessio."
"The love of God, and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the Spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the Spirit was then fervent within me."
An angel summoned Patrick from the mountains and guided him to a ship that brought him home to Britain, and eventually on to Auxerre. There, Patrick studied under Saint Germain, was ordained a priest, and assigned back to Britain where he worked as a Christian missionary. Saint Patrick, strong, muscular, intelligent, perhaps even a genius, understood fully and treasured the teachings of the Council of Ephesus that declared the Blessed Virgin Mary forever among men the true "Mother of God." Patrick, it is said, consecrated Ireland and all the sons and daughters of that great land to the Holy Mother of God forever.
Patrick's prayer life intensified and mystical experiences were vital in his work for the Kingdom of God. One of his more famous visions occurred by the Western Sea. Children of Ireland of every time and place appeared to him crying: "O holy youth, come back to Erin and walk once more among us." Appointed by the Pope as Apostle to Ireland, Patrick returned to the shores of Erin. Of course, the Druids took up arms against him and his fellow missionaries. But Patrick was more than a match for them.
Patrick quickly sought out his former Druid master and paid him the price of his freedom. Then he began his extraordinary work for Christ in the Pagan lands. Supernatural faith empowered Saint Patrick with divine gifts never before seen in those places. His first miracle in Ireland was performed as a tribute to the Holy Mother of God and the Divine Birth of her Son Jesus, the Savior. A chieftain, in full view of his army, drew his sword against Saint Patrick. But his arm became rigid as stone and continued so until he declared himself open to the faith that animated Saint Patrick. The Lord provided this strategy: as leaders were converted, their followers emulated their Christian piety.
Those who profess Saint Patrick's supernatural faith are all over the world. They are faithful children of Mary in every land.
MOTHER MOST RENOWN: SAINT AUGUSTINE, SAINT MONICA, AND SAINT PATRICIUS, A.D. 450
Few souls have attained the spiritual heights that Saint Augustine experienced during his lifetime. Mary's supernatural faith, hope, and love are very much intertwined with this fourth-century doctor of the Church and his family who ascended to the heights of supernatural union with God through Mary's loving care. We all are invited to soar to the mountain of divinity that Augustine ascended in Christ through Mary. His legend, history, and famous writings illumine our own spiritual opportunities.
Augustine was born near present-day Tripoli. His mother, Monica, a beautiful woman, was a devout Christian. Patricius, her husband, who was not a Christian, was a Roman citizen of high passion and difficult temperament. He was a member of the city council in Tagaste, a small town in the Roman province of Numidia. Youthful Augustine admired his affluent, passionate father and usually avoided his prayerful mother. Her spiritual practices were unattractive to this young man of dark ambition, pride-filled intellect, and lustful appetite. God, however, does not call just one member of a family. Saints do grow in clusters.
Patricius and Augustine were men of the world with no time to waste on what they considered abstract Christian notions. Though youthful Augustine did not share his mother's faith, many years later, after his extraordinary conversion, Augustine wrote of his Mother:
"She strove to win him (her husband) to you (God), speaking to him about you through her conduct, by which you made her beautiful, an object of reverent love, and a source of admiration to her husband. ... She looked forward to seeing your mercy upon him, so that he would believe in you and be made chaste. ... By her good services and by perseverance in patience and meekness, she also won over her mother-in-law. ... wherever she could, she showed herself to be a great peacemaker between persons who were at odds and in disagreement. ... Finally, toward the very end of his earthly life, she gained her husband for you (God). ... whoever knew her greatly praised you (God), and honored you, and loved you in her, because they recognized your presence in her heart, for the fruit of her holy life bore witness to this."
Monica respected God's munificence in endowing His people with the gift of freedom of choice. The more she prayed, the better she was able to trust God's mercy on behalf of her husband and son. Good example and prayerful perseverance were her kindest gifts to them. She sincerely believed that God hears and answers all prayers. She knew God's generosity is unmatched. Patricius accepted the reality of God at the end of his life; he was baptized in his final hours, receiving the full Redemption of Jesus Christ. This gentle gift of God's tender love filled him with newfound joy and peace. Patricius departed this earth steeped in love and light. Though Augustine witnessed his father's final light, he did not understand it.
Monica, now a widowed mother abandoned by a son steeped in darkness and consumed with pleasure and pride-filled intellectual pursuits, continued to pray with great fervor and trust. Augustine craved the adulation of peers and hungrily indulged his appetites. He actually thought he was enjoying his decadent lifestyle, and had little time or patience for his mother. Monica, in the process of becoming a woman of supernatural faith, realized the only human tragedy is the loss of an immortal soul. She prayed for her son constantly, and for his mistress of fifteen years and their son Adeodatus. She practiced speaking more to God about Augustine than to Augustine about God. In his later years, Augustine would look back at his first thirty-three years and write in his autobiography, "The Confessions."
"The wicked [thinking of himself] who are without rest may go their way and flee from you but you see them and pierce the shadows. Behold, all things about them are beautiful, but they themselves are vile. How have they done injury to you, and in what way have they disfigured your sway, which is just and perfect from the heavens even down to the lowest depths? Whither did they flee when they would flee from your face? Or where would you not find them out? But they fled away so that they might not see you who see them always, and that being blinded, they might stumble upon you, and thus be justly troubled, withdrawing themselves from your gentleness, stumbling against your righteousness, and falling upon your severity. In truth they do not know that you are everywhere, for no place can enclose you, and that you alone are present even with those who have set themselves far from you. ... [B]ehold, you are there within their hearts ... you O Lord who made them can remake them and give them consolation. Where was I when I sought you [in womanizing and drink and intellectual vanity]? You were before me, but I had departed even from myself."
Monica, the trusting mother of a wayward son, prayed with utmost confidence in God's merciful love for him. Augustine writes:
"She bewailed me as one dead, but yet destined to be brought back to life by you (God). In thought she put me before you on a bier, so that you (God) might say to a widow's son, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' Then would he revive and begin to speak, and you would deliver him to his mother. Therefore, her heart did not pound in turbulent exultation when she heard that what she daily implored you with her tears to do was already done in so great a part. For although I had not yet attained to the truth, I had now been rescued from falsehood. Rather, she was all the more certain that You, who had promised the whole, would grant what still remained. Hence most calmly and with a heart filled with confidence, she replied to me how she believed in Christ that before she departed from this life she would see me a faithful Christian."
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Consolation as well as the Mother of Sorrows. Her love for the poor and oppressed is coupled with her solidarity of love with the suffering. One day, when the sorrowful mother Monica was deep in prayer, lamenting the sinful structures of her son's life, Mary appeared to her, attired in black mourning dress, wearing a Cincture that shone with heavenly light. Monica knew in an instant that the Blessed Mother had come to her at God's bidding to reassure her of Christ's power to draw everything to Himself in transformative holiness. Is Mary's divine son not the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end?
In the motherly light of Mary's pure love, Monica entered into the depths of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ever present, ever ancient, yet ever new, His voice echoes throughout creation calling us all into the sweet chambers of divinity.
Experience My great love as you dwell in My Heart. My Heart is the place of refuge for My children of the earth for I am the Prince of Peace, I am the Lord of Lords, I am the Alpha and Omega. I am Peace. Peace. Only peace My child. I am Love. Love. Only love My child. Cherish My will. My will for those who are Mine.
Monica rested in the quiet of Mary's heavenly gifts that flowed silently into the vast depths of her parched soul. She would always remember Mary's pure beauty: eternal youth and divine love merge in Christ's Blessed Mother.
"Daughter of mine, in this guise are you in future to clothe yourself; let this Cincture, [which I am handing to you] be to you a pledge of my love — this self-same Cincture that encircled the womb wherein the Word was made flesh; let it henceforward be yours, and wear it constantly. Never take it off; spread devotion to it far and wide. All who wear a Cincture like to this I shall esteem as my especial children. This Cincture is to become the wonder of the cosmos at a future day."
Word spread quickly of Mary's magnificent visitation to Monica from the Empyrean shores of Paradise. None could dispute the joy that shone bright in her reverent demeanor. All could see Mary's resplendent, heaven-sent Cincture that Monica wore for the rest of her life. Even Augustine studied the Cincture. It made a profound impression upon him. Augustine knew his mother as only a child knows. Her descriptions of spiritual intimacy with Christ during Mary's appearance made an even greater impression upon him. Augustine was confronted with the majesty of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word as he viewed the dazzling celestial Cincture given by Mary to his mother. "What is the human race that God should become one of us?" he wondered. Augustine's intellectual prowess, devoid of faith, led him to relentless searching for truth.
A tormented soul, Augustine sent his mistress away. But he promptly fell into the arms of another woman. He prayed: "God, grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." God is faithful, even when we are not. Augustine quite unexpectedly heard the mysterious, inexplicable voice of a small child calling to him: "Take and read [the sacred scripture]." Thoroughly startled, Augustine lunged for the nearby text and randomly opened to Paul's Epistle to the Romans 13:13–14: "Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupisences."
Excerpted from The Secrets of Mary by Janice T. Connell. Copyright © 2009 Janice T. Connell. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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Meet the Author
JANICE T. CONNELL is an attorney and recognized authority on the subject of Marian apparitions. She is the author of ten books, an international speaker and frequent radio and television commentator.
Janice T. Connell is an attorney and the author of Angel Power and Meetings with Mary. She is a prolific and dynamic lecturer who speaks all over the United States and abroad. She lives in Arizona.
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