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Penance

J.M.J.

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’…

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Image from Pixabay

This year, 2017, is the 100th anniversary year of the apparitions at Fátima, Portugal.  As I mentioned in an earlier post it is also the anniversary year of other events of importance to the Catholic Church and thus to the world.  On the 21st August there will be an eclipse over North America on the same day as the feast of Our Lady of Knock.  The apparition at Knock was unusual because it was silent.  Our Lady usually has specific messages that she wishes to convey to the witnesses.  The silence of the Knock apparition and its subject matter point to the beginning of Revelation (a.k.a. The Apocalypse Of Saint John) Chapter 8:

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven, as it were for half an hour.  And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God; and there were given to them seven trumpets.

The altar in the Knock apparition and in this part of Revelation can be related to the open-air Altar of Burnt Offerings of Moses’ tabernacle and the two Temples of Jerusalem. This altar was used for the sacrifices of Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement.  The difference here is that in the Knock apparition and in Revelation the sacrificed lamb was slain but yet lives (a reference to the resurrected Christ) – “a Lamb standing as it were slain”.  This year, Yom Kippur falls on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (and also Sts. Gabriel and Raphael in the Novus Ordo calendar).  There is a forty day period preceding this feast called St. Michael’s Lent and, as with Lent itself, it is a period of preparation marked by fasting, increased prayer, and so on.  St. Michael’s Lent traditionally starts on the Feast of the Assumption (tomorrow) but this gives more than forty days.  When does the fortieth day before the Feast of St. Michael actually fall?  On the day of the American eclipse and the anniversary of the Knock apparition.  By the way, the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation is accompanied by an eclipse:

And I saw, when he had opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair: and the whole moon became as blood: And the stars from heaven fell upon the earth, as the fig tree casteth its green figs when it is shaken by a great wind: And the heaven departed as a book folded up: and every mountain, and the islands were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the princes, and tribunes, and the rich, and the strong, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of mountains:

And they say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of their wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?

What does all this add up to?  It looks like we, especially those in the U.S., are being called to make a special effort to atone for our sins.  Maybe we are being given a last chance before the flaming sword is brought down on us.

After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying: Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.

This may only be a foreshadowing of the events prophesied in Revelation but does that matter?  We are always called to repentance for our sins.  Shouldn’t we wake up and make a special effort when the signs are looking ominous like this?

(All bible quotes are from Revelation, Douay-Rheims version.)

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Icon Writing Course

0317patrick-irelandHappy St. Patrick’s Day!
I’m interrupting my blogging break to tell you about a course I’ve just booked onto. It’s an icon writing course run by a charming fellow from Greece. Here’s his website with the relevant details: http://www.theodoreicons.com/icon-painting-workshop-knock-ireland.html

So if you’d like to visit Ireland’s national Marian shrine at Knock, and learn how to write icons, why not kill two birds with one stone?!  The course isn’t until October so you’ve got plenty of time to get organised.  Hey, and an extra bonus – you get to meet me! 😉

Unexpected Discoveries at Knock Museum

I have lived within twenty minutes drive of Knock Museum for more than fifteen years.  I finally went in a few days ago for a class, but I still didn’t get a proper look at the exhibits.  I did make some interesting discoveries though, and I learnt how to make a St. Brigid’s cross.  My first discovery was made in the museum shop.  I saw some products there that looked very much like the kind of thing that I aspire to make, based on the Book of Kells.  The artist has a website where you can view and purchase his work if you want.

The second discovery was through meeting a Spanish lady in the class.  I couldn’t catch her name – Pilar – until she spelled it out for me.  I’m sure she was fed up of explaining its origins but I had to ask.  She told me that it is quite a common name in Spain, where babies are named in honour of Our Lady of the Pillar (Pilar in Spanish).  Below is a photo of a Marian statue on what is reputed to be the pillar in question.  It is obscured in the picture by a blue and white origami mantle (please don’t ask why; I haven’t the foggiest).  The apparition is claimed to be the first Marian apparition and happened when Mary was still alive.  Our Lady is said to have appeared to Saint James when she wished to gather the apostles together for one last time before her assumption into Heaven.
Virgen del Pilar

I thought it might be fun to do a post listing and describing all the Marian apparitions but looking at how many there are on the maps by National Geographic, I changed my mind.  There are nine major Church-approved apparitions, and the one at Knock is among them.  I would have only been able to list five of them before I started my research; how about you?  Have there been any in your area or country?  Knock is the national Marian shrine of Ireland.  You can see it marked quite clearly on the National Geographic map of apparitions in Europe.  So now you know where I live, roughly. 🙂  One day I may find the time to have a proper look around the Museum.

Knock Crosses

I took these three photos just before Mass this morning because these scenes fill me with joy, and I wanted to share them.

You might think that it is a strange time of the year to be thinking about the cross, and I was wondering about that too.  However, when I found out at Mass that today is the Feast of St. John of the Cross it started to make more sense.  When I came out, I decided to give you an idea of just how many crosses there are in Knock.  As in life, so in Knock – it is hard to escape the cross.

Knock Views

There’s still no art and craft going on here, so I thought I’d share a few photos of my morning constitutional with you instead.  There are lots of lovely trees in the nearby town of Knock, both in the grounds of the shrine and in the surrounding area.  It’s a nice place for a morning stroll.  Some of the trees are still wearing their winter coats but others have started to wake up.  I love the spring, don’t you?

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