My Consecration to Mary
For a long time I felt that Jesus sent me to His Mother Mary that She might help me through my catharsis ... my purgation. In his book 'True Devotion to Mary ... using the story of Rebecca and Jacob, St Louis de Monfort describes this process eloquently ...
"They bring to her and give her, not two kids, as did Jacob to Rebecca, but their body and their soul, with all that depends on them, symbolized by the two kids of Jacob. They bring them to her: (1) that she may receive them as things which belong to her: (2) that she may kill them, that is, make them die to sin and self, by stripping them of their own skin and their own self-love, so as by this means to please Jesus, her Son, who wills not to have any for His disciples and friends but those who are dead to themselves; (3) that she may prepare them for the taste of our heavenly Father, and for His greatest glory, which she knows better than any other creature; and (4) that by her care and intercession this body and soul, thoroughly purified from every stain, thoroughly dead, thoroughly stripped and prepared, may be a delicate meat, worthy of the mouth and the blessing of our heavenly Father. Is this not what the predestined do, who by way of testifying to Jesus and Mary an effective and courageous love, relish and practice the perfect consecration to Jesus Christ"
My healing journey has been rather long and difficult. While I haven't experienced much human tenderness and affection along the way ... I always felt that Mary was never very far away.
Similarily, it seems Mary introduced me to St Joseph and several Saints ... with the life and teaching of each Saint contributing to my 'spiritual evolution'.
My first several encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary are described in my posts ... Marmora and Medugorje ... and ... Camino Santiago June 2000. In my view, the most significant being when she sent me on my first pilgrimage to Santiago Compostella Spai... via Lourdes France ... and starting out on the same day the Third Secret of Fatima was made public. While I feel the connection to the Third Secret of Fatima is significant ... this part of my spiritual journey remains active and the purpose remains a mystery.
When I found the above picture of Her and read the caption ... I was reminded of my encounter with St Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo ... at the time Padre Pio.
I first heard about Padre Pio from my friend Michelle ... she wanted to visit San Giovanni Rotondo during our tour of Italy ... following my first visit to Medugorje. We were in Ancona at the time ... buying a statue of Our Lady of Grace. Seems this was one of the occasions that I was 'drunk on love' ... out of the blue I decided to buy this statue. The vendor didn't even ask for any money ... he said I could pay for it after it arrived safely in Canada ... how trusting eh!
I remember picking up the statue in Toronto ... had an old Jeep at the time. They tied this very large wooden crate to the top of my Jeep and I drove from Toronto to Huntsville. Along the way I picked up a gentleman who was hitchhiking to Barrie. During our short ride together he was lamenting about his many recent troubles. After listening to him for a while I nonchalantly said to him ... " the woman who helped me through many similar struggles is in the box tied to the roof of my Jeep. I can't imagine what he thought about my comment ... he probably figured I was some kind of nut case.
Back to Padre Pio.
A year or so later I was back in Medugorje with my son Kevin. We had a pleasant stay and when the time came to leave we didn't know where to go. On the bus out of Medugorje a young American man ... Michael ... who had also just visited Medugorje started chatting with us about our impressions of Medugorje. He mentioned that he was on his way to San Giovanni Rotundo to visit the sites associated with Padre Pio ... and he invited us to join him. My son Kevin had seen a television show involving the stigmata ... the XFiles ... and as a result he was interested in Michael's invitation.
We had a very pleasant visit ... was really impressed with how the local people were so sociable ... hundreds of people would stroll together along the streets in the evening. We even met an older man who had known Padre Pio personally ... yet the real mystery started on our way out of town. At the time I depended completly on my bank debit card ... didn't possess a credit card. Also at this time ATMs were not very popular in Europe. To make a long story short we ran out of money in Foggio. Fortunately for us ... Michael offered to loan us enough money to get to Padua in Northern Italy. I figured if worse came to worse we could find help with Paula's family who I knew lived near Padua ... mind you ... I never met any of them and I couldn't speak any Italian ... don't know how I planned on communicating with them ... international body language I suppose.
While Kevin and I were on the train to Padua we discussed our concerns about what we would do for money when we arrived.
I suggested we take Padre Pio’s advice and send our angels ahead to prepare the way for us. What happened is full of mystery. We arrived in Padua … with barely enough money for my morning coffee … and no bank machines. I decided to forgo my morning coffee … a significant event in itself … and wait for the bank to open on the hope there would be a bank machine inside the bank.
After several hours I realized the bank would not open … it was Saturday and all banks were closed … why did it take me so long to realize it was Saturday? Hmmm!
After a brief discussion of alternatives with Kevin … we really didn’t have any ... Kevin didn’t like the idea of visiting Paula’s family in Godigo as beggars … arriving with no money and asking them to borrow some money didn’t sit well with Kevins’ personal dignity … didn’t bother me any.
We learned that we had exactly enough money for two train tickets to Venice. I figured since Venice was such a popular international tourist location there would surely be a bank machine that would accept my bank debit card. We got off the train in Venice … a large platform area swarming with people. We found a bank machine and tried my card … no luck! YUK! What to do now?
Wandering around the crowd of people we heard some English conversation … likely a rare enough situation even in Venice. The small group that were chatting broke up and one of the men noticed that we were hanging around them … he probably figured we needed help. He was right … and he was our ‘angel’. He gave us instructions on how to find another bank machine … located somewhere off one of the waterways of Venice. He paid for our boat fare … told us to go to his hotel if the bank machine didn’t work and told us to ask the receptionist at his hotel for some money to eat. Imagine that! … a complete stranger … so trusting and generous. Perhaps not an earth shattering experience … yet if someone suggested I go to Venice as a beggar and all will turn out OK … no way!
Surprisingly enough we found the bank in some back alley … surprising because I get lost in a parking lot.
The machine accepted my card and that sound … the one that tells you money is coming out of the machine … at that particular moment … was the most beautiful music in the world.
Perhaps Padre Pio ... now St Pio ... did go ahead of us and prepare the way?
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary and it seems fitting that I should leave the unfinished posts on St Therese of the Child Jesus and St Francis of Assisi to write about some of my experiences involving Our Lady of the Rosary.
In my post "My Tribute to Our Lady of the Rosary" I mentioned how I offered the balance of my life to the Virgin Mary in October 1995 at the Greenshield’s farm in Marmora.
Seems the 'seed' for this relationship was planted in my 'soul' during the bus trip from Huntsville to Marmora in July 1995. I say my 'soul' because I only received the knowledge necessary to make a 'conscious' connection a couple of years ago when I learned that the woman of the apparitions in Fatima Portugal in 1917 introduced herself as 'Our Lady of the Rosary'.
A year or so later ... probably 1997 ... I would find a book that helped me to understand what I had done ... "True Devotion to Mary" by St Louis de Montfort (18th century).
In December 1998, during my visit to Israel ... the same visit where I had my 'mystical' experience at Mount Carmel and the cave of Elijah ... I found an interesting article in the Jerusalem Post (an English daily newspaper in Jerusalem). The article deals with the story of Jacob and Esau from a Jewish perspective. At the time ... and still today ... I find it particularly interesting that more words of the Torah are 'spent' dealing with this historical act than the Sabbath.
On the bus trip between Huntsville and Marmora in July 1995 a kind lady gave rosaries to the passengers on the bus ... she stated that these were special rosaries ...'a scapular rosary yim
'The same lady suggested to me that I revisit Marmora on September 13th and October 13th ... that these were somehow very special dates. September 13, 1995 I visited Marmora with my sister and October 13, 1995 I visited Marmora alone. On the second one of those visits, I offered the balance of my life to the Blessed Virgin Mary ... a tearful and emotionally charged experience.
Several years later I learned that September 13th and October 13th were two of the days of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima Portugal back in 1917.
My own experience with the rosary goes back to my early childhood. My mother would bring us children to her bedroom and force us to kneel around her bed while she recited the rosary. My mother who has passed her 90th year continues to practice her 'passion' for the rosary ... simply reciting the prayers several times each day.
From my childhood years(less than 10 years old) until July 1995 I had little or no experience with the rosary ... I did not own one and I did not pray the rosary. Since that time it is rare that I do not have my rosary with me ... where ever I am ... and I carry a 'scapular' in my wallet.
Until July 1995 I had never heard of the 'scapular' ... since that time I have learned that the scapular is affiliated with the 'Carmelites' ... St Teresa of Jesus, St Therese of the Child Jesus and St John of the Cross are all well known Carmelites. St Teresa and St John are both well known 16th century Spanish mystics who dedicated their lives to the reformation of the Carmelite Order. The reformed order came to be known as 'Discalced Carmelites'. I believe the name 'Discalced Carmelites' was mentioned in the book I read in December 1995, one of the 2 volume series written by St Teresa that I had purchased in Assisi a few months earlier. I had no idea what the word 'discalced' meant and no appetite to try and find out the meaning.
In August 2003, I had just finished walking the 'Ruta de La Plata' (Seville to Santiago Compostella) and I found myself in Segovia Spain, the home of St John of the Cross. I had just purchased new shoes in Santiago de Compostella a few days earlier and I tried wearing them in Segovia ... nope ... seemed my feet needed some time to heal from the long walk. I went around without shoes ... barefoot ... even in the Cathedral dedicated to St John of the Cross. A few weeks later, back in Canada, a priest mentioned during a homily that the word 'discalced' simply meant 'barefoot'. This brought to mind my experience in Segovia ... maybe St John of the Cross was trying to tell me that if I wanted to follow in the spirit of the "Discalced Carmelites' I would have to go around bare feet.
In December 1998 I found myself sitting on top of Mount Carmel in Israel (Haifa). I visited the Carmelite Monastery there and had a ‘mystical’ experience in the chapel. While I was sitting in the chapel ... simply sitting all alone ... looking at this statue of Elijah ... I had never seen a statue of Elijah before and I don't think at the time I knew that Elijah was considered the 'spiritual' father of the Carmelite Order.
A couple of people came into the chapel and sat across and slightly behind me ... I never did see their faces. I overheard a gentleman telling these people some of the story of Elijah ... a few minutes later the same gentleman starting playing a flute and said the tune he was playing was written to commemorate Elijah's flight to heaven in the chariot of fire.
Some say music is the doorway to the soul ... there are no words to describe what was going on in my soul a few seconds after hearing this music in the chapel on Mount Carmel that day. I remember feeling like I was 'floating' as I walked back down the hill to the hostel where I was staying. I also remember saying to myself along the way ... "I feel like I have enough love for the whole world at this moment". This indescribable sensation lasted a few hours ... I had some difficulty trying to get to sleep that night.
On December 7, 2003 I found myself sitting in this same chapel on top of Mount Carmel Israel. A couple of months earlier my inner voice told me to be in Mount Carmel on December 8th ... the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Who asked me? ... Don't know ... it was one of those interior 'locutions'. Later that day I learned that the actual site of the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal was about 25 kilometers away.
The next morning (December 8th) I decided to go to this Al Muhakra ... the site of Elijah's showdown. I arrived about 4:00PM ... the place was deserted and it was almost closing time ... a short yet pleasant visit ... nothing special. On my way out of the place I realized it was almost 4:30 and I hadn't been to mass yet ... I had a 5-6 kilometer walk back to the village and I was told finding a bus back to Haifa after dark(5:30PM) would be difficult. Seemed getting to the church on time for mass would now be impossible ... oh well! ... I didn't feel particularly disturbed.
Walking along the road I said to Mary ... "I am on my way down the mountain and if You want me to attend mass You will have to get me back to Haifa before 6:00 PM" … the time for the last mass.
A 100 meters or so down the road there was a small white car parked on the opposite side of the road. As I was walking alongside the car, on the opposite side of the road, the driver and I exchanged glances. He asked me if I wanted a ride into town ... hmmm! On the way into town he explained how and where I might find a ride into Haifa ... a 'sherut' ... a communal taxi of sorts. I found the 'sherut' and I was sitting in a pew in the church at ten minutes before six ... hmmm! Unbelievable!! Seems Mary did want me to attend mass that day.
During this same trip to Israel I was almost arrested in Bethlehem ... I spontaneously decided to visit the home of suspected Palestinian terrorists in Bethlehem. In Canada, on my way to the Toronto airport, walking back to the bus station in Brampton, ... on this particular trip I took a rather circuitous route to the airport ... still don't know why, a stranger had told me about this 'miracle baby' born in ??? (He wasn't sure).
While in Jerusalem, I read an article about this 'miracle baby' and learned that the family lived in Bethlehem ... thought to myself ... why not go visit this child? As I write this ... it reminds me of the Three Wise men who went to visit the 'miracle child' born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.
I had no idea how dangerous such a visit could be ... a few minutes after leaving the house I was accosted by several Israeli soldiers ... I hadn't given any thought to the possibility that I could be considered a 'terrorist suspect' simply by visiting the home ... yikes!!
I was saved in Rachael's tomb ... a minute or two after reading the inscription on Rachael's tomb ... Joseph speaking to his mother ... something to the effect ... "mother ...come up out of your tomb and help me" ... Rachael's response was ... " go wherever God takes you and do not worry He will protect you"
Fortunately for me, one of the Israeli gentlemen visiting the tomb spoke a little English ... he heard the bus running, the bus that chauffeurs the Orthodox Jews to and from Rachael's tomb, which is in Palestine territory. The bus had just dropped off several men and was waiting just outside the door ... he suggested I hurry ... get on the bus and get a ride to the check point at the entrance to Bethlehem. I had been told by Israeli soldiers a few minutes earlier that I was not allowed to leave the tomb. I ran out and climbed on the bus ... whew!!
Also on this same visit to Israel, I would unexpectedly visit a place called Megiddo ... formerly known as Har Megiddo. Some say this is the place referred to as 'Armageddon' in the Book of Revelations.
I had lots to think about on my flight back to Canada ... why did I feel I had been asked to visit Mount Carmel on December 8th? ... A specific location on a specific date. Why did I take the circuitous route to the airport? Why did the stranger on the street in Brampton tell me about this 'miracle baby'? Why did I feel compelled to visit this 'miracle baby' in Bethlehem? Why did I visit Megiddo on the way home?? Only questions ... as always ... no answers!!
I had a similar experience of 'being asked' to do something in particular in June 2000. I was sitting in a chapel in Lisieux France, home of St Therese of the Child Jesus and I experienced another one of those 'interior locutions' ... asking me to walk from Lourdes France to Fatima Portugal via Santiago Compostella. I had left Canada planning to walk from Col Somport to Santiago Compostella. Within 2 weeks I was walking out of Lourdes ... direction Fatima.
I would learn after arriving in Fatima that the 'Third Secret' of Fatima was made public the same day I left Lourdes ... June 26, 2000 ... this 'Third Secret' had remained unpublished for more than 50 years.
Seems to me there are only 3 possibilities concerning the 'pledge of the remainder of my life' to the Blessed Virgin Mary in October of 1995:
1.The story of the Blessed Virgin Mary is only a 'myth' and I have used this 'myth' as a crutch to keep going after the trauma of my marital separation in July 1995.
2.The story of the Blessed Virgin Mary is true and She declined my offer in 1995 ... I am not worthy to be Her servant.
3.The story of the Blessed Virgin Mary is true and She accepted my offer in 1995 ... and She has been my guide, protector, comforter etc for the past fifteen years.
The 3rd possibility scares me the most. My often times unusual behavior of the past almost 15 years could perhaps be solved with the regular consumption of lots of alcohol and/or some good drugs. On the other hand, if the 3rd possibility is in fact true ... YIKES!!