Blog Post - September 24th
Our Lady of Ransom| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate of Our Lady of Ransom. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
Our Lady of Ransom appeared to Saint Raimund, of the order of Saint Dominic, on this day in the year 1218, and also to King James I of Aragon, and likewise to Saint Peter Nolasco in three separate apparitions, making known to all three that she desired each of them to contribute to establishing an order for redeeming captives.
That Order they established is known as the Royal, Celestial, and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives, is also known as The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, the Order of Merced, the Order of Captives, or the Order of Our Lady of Ransom.
At that time in history, during the 13th Century, the powerful Islamic Taifa kingdoms in Spain, as well as the Ottoman Empire at the opposite end of the Mediterranean Sea, operated a slave trade the scope of which has not been seen anytime else in history. The Spanish, particularly, were subject to raids in which they would be captured and imprisoned, sold into slavery and often forced to renounce their Catholic faith or face severe discrimination, torture and death. It is estimated that in a single year more white Europeans were taken captive than the number of all the slaves shipped to America during the entire time of the slave trade there.
Long before the First Crusade, organizations like the knights of St. John Hospitaller and the Templars were formed to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land, while the Hospitallers also ran hospices along the route to the Holy Land and even a hospital in Jerusalem. There were also charitable institutions, usually run by the nobility, that would ransom Christian captives from imprisonment.
In the year 1203, a man named Peter Nolasco formed an organization that would ransom those who were not wealthy or prominent men, whom he called the “poor of Christ.” Saint Peter Nolasco was not a priest, but he worked diligently to rescue Christian captives, and other men soon joined him in this charitable work. Unfortunately, there were far more captives than he was able to help, so Peter turned to God and His Blessed Mother in prayer for help. It was then that the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Ransom, appeared to him on August 1, 1218, turning his order into a religious organization with the assistance of Saint Raimund, and the protection of King James I of Aragon.
Saint Peter Nolasco went to the court of King James I the following day, and as the king had also received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, he was extremely supportive of what Peter Nolasco intended to do. In fact, King James considered himself a founder of the order, and gave his own illustrious coat of arms, with a cross above a shield with four red stripes on a gold background, to be worn on their breasts and scapulars. The cross is the Maltese Cross of the Knights of Saint John, the military order who had fought so magnificently against Islam for centuries.
On August 10th, the Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives was officially constituted at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Barcelona. One of the vows of its members is that they will take the place of captives, and even die for any Christian who was in danger of losing his Catholic faith.
In 1235 Pope Gregory IX formally recognized the Order inspired by Our Lady of Ransom, which at one point was renowned for having rescued 70,000 Christian souls. It is estimated that 2,700 were rescued during the lifetime of Saint Peter Nolasco, who died in the year 1258.
Love Them Anyway:
Love even the most abandoned: love whatever faith in Christ remains in them: if they have lost this, love their virtues; if these have gone, love the holy likeness they bear, love the blood of Christ through which you trust they are redeemed. —St. Ignatius of Loyola
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Praise be to God who never withdraws His mercy from (us).
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.
It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.
As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.
Reflection 267: Justice or Mercy?
It is proper to speak of both the Justice of God as well as His Mercy. They are not opposed to each other. His Justice will be dealt to those who refuse to repent just as it was dealt to the angels who refused to serve God. But, for now, is it more proper to say that God is Merciful. In fact, the evil one would love for us to become consumed with the idea that God is only Just and that He imposes His judgment upon us continually. When this idea is accepted, it is hard to understand that God actually withholds His Justice as long as we are open to His Mercy. Seek His Mercy, believe in it and run to it. Do not doubt it for a moment. Know that God offers it day and night and never tires of lavishing it upon you. When you are faced with the fear that comes with facing His Justice, turn your eyes to His Mercy and you will be able to easily turn from all sin as you bask in the rays shining forth from His Heart (See Diary #1338).
Which of these two images of God do you reflect upon more often? Are you frightened by God’s Justice? Or are you consoled by His Mercy? Both can be useful but never at the expense of the other. We should never presume on God’s Mercy and we should never become fixated on His Justice without immediately remembering His Mercy. Ponder His Mercy today more than anything and you will have no need to fear His Justice. Let your heart experience His love and turn to Him with full confidence and trust.
Lord, I am aware that You are Just and will issue Your Justice upon me if I fail to turn to Your Mercy. Therefore, I do turn to Your Mercy. I seek it with all my heart. I love You, Lord, and I desire to love You more. Give me the grace to open my eyes to Your radiant Heart and to be open to all that You wish to bestow. Jesus, I trust in You.