Sep. 11, 2022

ENCOURAGEMENT FROM SAINT GREGORY

I see coming along one elect, all clad in white, who is not similar to the other ones. He is wearing garments of glory different from those of the other Saints. He says:

“May the sweet peace of Our Lord dwell in your soul and in that of the servants of the Cross! The love of God enkindle you!

--Good Saint, I am not acquainted with you and dare not speak with you too much, because you seem to me endowed with too sublime a highness.

“You never saw me, but perhaps you do know my name? I am Saint Gregory, Pope and Doctor of the Church. I come to give you a word on the part of the Lord…

“In His tenderness the Lord gave you His love, His favours. His power shines forth on earth. What is left for us to do? To give Him thanks, to give Him testimonies of our gratitude.

“What does He receive in exchange of so great a love?

“From most of men He receives nothing but insults and profanations. O blind man of present time, when is light going to impress your eye to let you see all God is accomplishing through His infinite power, in every place and everywhere?

“Let us be trembling, we, the small number of God’s friends, over the fate of so many unfortunate souls who rejected light in order to live in idolatry. When the Church will have been threatened and beaten down, when it will be the resounding hour of the promised triumph, upon this land trodden by insolent feet, what will they be thinking, what will those souls be thinking?

“They will have nothing left; God will have spoken; God will have given His command; God will have brought scandal to an end.

“For the time being, God is tolerating. The passing present time is nothing but a period of suffering. God calls upon souls to share in His disgrace. The storm is roaring. Evil and wickedness will soon make their entry in triumph. What direction is the awful avenging going to take? In direction of God’s temple, of those who are God’s representatives on earth, of those who serve Him…

“Rocks will be knocking against one another; stones will be whizzing around. Tired with exhaustion from the fury of the storm, what will you have to do? Just to wait, pray, and accomplish God’s will. Let us serve God through the darkness which is found within us. Let us serve Him despite the darkness amidst which He leaves us walking along; let us serve Him just the same. When the light of your souls will have been entirely extinguished, even then never lose your courage; walk through all dangers; face up to the dangers and God will gratify you with grace and consolations.

Let us take up our crosses; let us carry them without blushing; some are to be encountered everywhere. Already during this life, they will supply us with the delightful expectation of seeing God and possessing Him.

“I am retiring. Let us pray for the threatened Church… The storm will be terrible, but the Church will remain infallible; its walls will not be shaken up. There will be martyrs. Let us pray for a family led astray, for a corrupt people, for a degraded society. All of them are our brethren in Our Lord and redeemed at the cost of His Blood.

“It is in glory that our eternal encounter is to take place; there we will meet with one another. The peace of the Lord be with you and may His love make you happy!”

(August 19, 1878)

[Source:  pp. 221-223, Prophecies of La Fraudais, as compiled by Fr. Pierre Roberdel].

Reflection on this week’s prophecy:

The saint who speaks to Marie-Julie Jahenny is Pope Saint Gregory the Great (590-604 A.D.) who was an influential statesman as a young man, then a dedicated monk, and finally a Pope and the fourth Doctor of the Church, following Saints Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine. 

His tireless work for the poor and for the Church are reflected in his encouragement to return God’s love with acts of thanks: “To give Him testimonies of our gratitude.”

Saint Gregory was pope at a time when the Church was greatly reduced in its power due to a raging plague and the disinterest of the Emperor at Constantinople.

Interestingly, the people and clergy of Rome (now reduced from one million to 40,000) had elected Saint Gregory to the papacy. But he tried to avoid this election by trying to escape after elected.

However, once consecrated as Pope, Saint Gregory quickly showed strength in weakness, organizing a great procession to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin to ask for an end to the plague.

He himself carried a picture of Our Lady, which had been painted by Saint Luke, in the procession.

And then, the wrath of God was appeased:

“…when the procession came near the mausoleum of Hadrian, St. Gregory and all the people saw the Archangel Michael standing on its summit in the act of sheathing a flaming sword, symbolizing that the plague was over.” (page 190, The 33 Doctors of the Church, by Fr. Christopher Rengers, O.F.M. Cap., re-published by TAN Books).

His lifelong missionary-like zeal for converting sinners is evident when he says:

“O blind man of present time, when is light going to impress your eye to let you see all God is accomplishing through His infinite power, in every place and everywhere?”

Yet as a mystic, he also understands that even we of faith struggle against frailty, that “darkness” inside each one of us:

“Tired with exhaustion from the fury of the storm [the battle against the Church], what will you have to do? Just to wait, pray, and accomplish God’s will. Let us serve God through the darkness which is found within us.”

In other words, we have to work through our flaws, despite our flaws:

“Let us serve Him despite the darkness amidst which He leaves us walking along… When the light of your souls will have been entirely extinguished, even then never lose your courage; walk through all dangers; face up to the dangers and God will gratify you with grace and consolations.”

An insight into this call to action has to do with how Saint Gregory experienced contemplative prayer as working hand-in-hand with charitable works:

“He insisted over and over on good works as a conditioning of oneself to receive again the boost of contemplation.”

And what is this boost of contemplative prayer brought on by doing good deeds?

It is that moment of short duration when the soul is flooded with the “boundless light” which is God:

“At times a shaft of this light floods the souls of those who have prepared themselves by getting rid of sin and attachment to it and who continue to occupy themselves in fruitful labors.” (page 196, The 33 Doctors of the Church, by Fr. Christopher Rengers, O.F.M. Cap., re-published by TAN Books).

Can all persons achieve contemplative prayer? Yes.

In many ways, Saint Gregory’s encouragements seem to have an intimate understanding of our struggles and pains:

“Let us take up our crosses; let us carry them without blushing; some are to be encountered everywhere. Already, during this life, they will supply us with the delightful expectation of seeing God and possessing Him.”

And, as his life testifies, Saint Gregory’s faith in Holy Mother Church, and his awareness of the reality of the struggle are unfaltering:

“Let us pray for the threatened Church… The storm will be terrible, but the Church will remain infallible; its walls will not be shaken up. There will be martyrs.”

For Saint Gregory, the primary concern must always be with helping the poor and working for the conversion of sinners:

“Let us pray for a family led astray, for a corrupt people, for a degraded society. All of them are brethren in Our Lord and redeemed at the cost of His Blood.”

But the best encouragement is this final reminder to us who are members of the Body of Christ:

“… may His love make you happy!”

 

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