Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Mother of God Is Our Refuge In A Storm

"Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary."
--St. Bonaventure

There are stories of horrendous tragedy and loss coming out of the nightmare called Hurricane Sandy.  One of the most terrible stories was the loss of 80 to 100 homes in Breezy Point, Queens, New York which all burned to the ground the night Sandy struck.  Many first responders to 9/11 lived in this neighborhood, making it a double tragedy.  Fortunately, it seems there was only the loss of property and no loss of lives.  The pictures of Breezy Point remind me of Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped.  We certainly pray that all of those involved will be comforted by our Lord and be able to get their lives back together.

There is one fascinating story that has come out of Breezy Point that echoes a couple of other stories in recent months.  

Just this past June there was a story from Juarez, Texas in which a Catholic Church was completely destroyed by fire.  I posted about this here. But miraculously, one thing was spared from the fire:  an image of our Lady of Guadalupe.  As reported in the El Paso Times:
"The fire tore down the whole church," said Cap. Martin Morales, of the Fire Department in Juárez, in a telephone interview.

But the fire spared a Virgin of Guadalupe image inside the church. The beloved icon, 60 centimeters tall and one meter wide, was framed in wood.
"We had no explanation of that," Efrén Matamoros said. "The image had no protection at all." The fire also destroyed 40 pews, frames and several icons. No one was hurt.
Another story came out of the Philippines in September, which I posted here.
Authorities said the continuous downpour of rain caused soil erosion in some parts of Barangay Pagsabungan, triggering the collapse of the chapel.
The chapel was completely destroyed save for the images of Virgin Mary and San Roque [St Rocco].
The incident also damaged a casket inside a chapel.
There was one man injured in this incident, sustaining wounds on his face and arms, but no casualties.

"If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.' I must admit — this prayer has never failed me."
--Blessed Mother Teresa
And now we have another miraculous story coming out of Breezy Point, Queens, where anywhere from 80 to 100 homes were completely burned to the ground.  But here is a picture of a statue of the Blessed Mother which survived the blazing inferno completely untouched.

Is it just coincidence that in all of these incidents in which an image of our Lady miraculously survived, there were also no deaths or serious injuries involved?  The loss of property is never a good thing, but "things" can always be replaced.  We cannot replace those we love, our family and friends.  

These three stories give us a powerful message about the love and care that our Blessed Mother showers down upon us.  She will never leave us, never desert us.  Her love for us is greater than any human mother's love for her child.  

Mary's love for us is with one goal:  to lead us to her Son  There is no surer path to our Lord than through his Mother.  Where you will find One, you will find the Other.

We live in very frightening times, in the midst of many storms, both physical and spiritual.  The spiritual storms are, in fact, much more frightening and deadly than any physical storm could ever be.  Storms like Sandy can take our physical lives.  Spiritual storms can take our eternal lives.   There can be no doubt in any one's mind who is the least cognizant of the times in which we live that we are in the midst of a great spiritual war.  

If we want to survive, we can never go wrong in turning to our Lady.  She is the great conqueror and destroyer of all heresies.  Just as her images survive fires, floods and even bombings as the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe did, she will enable us to survive the worst of any spiritual war.  

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

--Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church
Many in the Northeast United States are going through a tremendous trial right now.  The statue of our Blessed Mother standing among the wreckage in Breezy Point should remind us all that she will always be there for us, which is an especially good lesson to remember on this last day of October, the month of the Rosary, one of our most powerful spiritual weapons.
"When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down."
--St. Josemaria Escriva

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