Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our Lady of America - The Immaculate Conception - Mother of God

Our Lady of America
The Immaculate Conception
Mother of God
On May 13 1846, (exactly seventy-one years, to the day, before the Fatima apparitions), the Catholic bishops of the United States, who were gathered for the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore, adopted a decree by which they chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as Patroness of the United States.

This decree, translated from Latin into English, is as follows:
With enthusiastic acclaim and with unanimous approval and consent, the Fathers [of the Council] have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America; without, however, adding the obligation of hearing Mass and abstaining from servile work on the feast of the Conception of Blessed Mary. And, therefore, they decided that the Supreme Pontiff be humbly asked to transfer the solemnity, unless the feast fall on a Sunday, to the nearest Sunday, on which both private and solemn Masses may be celebrated of the feast thus transferred, and the vesper office of the same feast may be recited.
Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil
on August 15, 1964
The choice of Our Lady, in her Immaculate Conception, as Patroness of the United States was approved by Pope Pius IX in an audience on Feb. 7, 1847; and this approval was announced in a decree of Propaganda dated July 2, the same year. Both of these decrees of Propaganda have the signature of Cardinal Fransoni.

In 1956 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil in Rome City, Indiana. She appeared as Our Lady of Lourdes, drawing Sister Mildred's attention to that 19th century apparition in France wherein Our Lady revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception. (The United States was dedicated to the patronage of the Immaculate Conception in 1847, a full eight years before that doctrine was defined as infallible Catholic dogma by Pope Pius IX). In Sister Mildred's vision Our Lady said...
"I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working through the power of my Son's Heart and my Immaculate Heart miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul. For it is mainly through these miracles of grace that the Holy Trinity is glorified among men and nations. Let America continue and grow in its love for me, and I in return, in union with the Heart of my Son, promise to work wonders in her. My child, I desire that this be known."
Of course with any Marian apparition there is almost always a message. What does Our Lady want of us? Why did she come? What is the message she's carrying to us from God? For the people of the United States, for all Catholic Americans, and for all Christian Americans in general, her message is one that cannot be argued, as it is in perfect alignment with the gospels. Our Lady calls us to live lives of purity and trust. Sister Mildred related the message given to her for our benefit as follows....
"I am Our Lady of America. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives."

“My child, I entrust you with this message that you must make known to my children in America. I wish it to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the Soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart. I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.
In this visitation the Blessed Virgin Mary asked for no shrines to be built in her honor as Our Lady of America, but instead that a statue of her image be placed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, where she may be venerated as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. As she told Sister Mildred...
"I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of my Son."
She continued....
"Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother! Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved children, or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain? I come to you, O children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God. Be my army of chaste soldiers, ready to fight to the death to preserve the purity of your souls. I am the Immaculate One, Patroness of your land. Be my faithful children as I have been your faithful Mother."
The United States of America has been dedicated to the patronage of St. Mary - The Immaculate Conception.  For this our Land has enjoyed a special protection and blessing, but for this our nation shall also be held accountable for it's sins against purity and modesty.  Through the intercession of Mary, this nation might be preserved, but not without our repentance.


While not a perfect representation
the original American flag
makes a nice crown for Our Lady
There is a difference between the people of the United States and the government of the United States.  This is something we often get a little confused about.  Perhaps this is because of our electoral process and the structural nature of our republic.  Often the government is described as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  It's a nice thought to be sure, but in practical application, this is hardly the case.  When we look back at the last 200 years of the American experience, it becomes clear that our government hasn't served us too well.  It was our own federal government policies that preserved the institution of slavery, making it profitable to farmers in the south and bankers in the north, ultimately leading us into a Civil War.  It was our own federal government policies that led us into multiple wars with our Native American neighbors, a crime our own Founding Fathers cited as one reason for secession from the British Empire.  It was our own federal government policies that coddled segregation for a century, and then flipped virtually overnight, only to vilify the very people in the South who still backed the federal policy with their own state laws.  It has been our own federal government policies that has kept African Americans on the proverbial "plantation" for the last 200 years.  First literally with slavery, then effectively with segregation, then essentially with welfare and abortion.  Now our federal government has amassed a debt so great that it can never be paid, and our national sovereignty is in danger as our economy implodes.  This is just domestic issues, don't even get me started on foreign policy.  When one looks at this on the surface, one might get the impression that America is a particularly bad place, and that Americans are particularly bad people.

However, that is a very superficial way to look at things.  In fact, when you really get down to America on a family by family basis, what you discover is something completely different.  Americans remain the most religious people in the industrialized world.  Per capita, more people still identify themselves as "Christian" in America than in any other industrialized nation.  American families are for the most part a generous people.  Charitable giving is higher among Americans, per capita, than any other industrialized nation.  This is even reflected in government policies, believe it or not, wherein the United States exports more food to poverty stricken third-world nations than any other country on the planet.  America literally feeds the world.  When you talk to the average American family, you'll find a people who are generally very practical, balance their home budget, don't spend more than they can afford, believe in basic morality of right and wrong, good vs. evil, trust in God, go to religious services weekly and help their neighbors.  Granted, there are always exceptions to this rule, and we can find plenty in the inner cities, but for the most part this is how it is.  What a contrast!  To imagine these generally good people are represented by such a selfish government is unthinkable, and yet this is how it is.

Our Lady of America Medal
worn by those with special
devotion to Our Lady of America
may be purchased here.
Yes, America is a good place, and Americans are (for the most part) good people.  The American government, on the other hand, is another story.  The United States of America has gone through literally four national governments since it's inception.  The first was the Articles of Confederation.  The first president of the United States was not George Washington.  It was actually Samuel Huntington, but the term of the president was very short under this system of governance.  He was followed by fifteen other men as president, until George Washington, who was in actuality the seventeenth president of the United States, but the first under the newly ratified Constitution.  This Constitution of the United States served as America's second government until 1861 when the nation was torn by Civil War.  From 1861 to 1865 America was governed by two constitutions; the Constitution of the United States governed the northern states, while the newly drafted Constitution of Confederate States governed the southern states.  After the Civil War, the United States was unified once again under the Constitution of the United States, but with one major change that turned the whole thing on it's head -- the Fourteenth Amendment (adopted on July 9, 1868).  The longest amendment ever passed, this article changed the entire reading of the Constitution, defining U.S. citizenship and giving considerable power to the federal courts.  For better or worse, the fourteenth amendment remade the U.S. Constitution into a totally different form of government, which was far more centralized and powerful.  This government has remained to this day, and from 1868 to present, has become our longest system of government so far.  The point I'm making here is this.  America has gone through four systems of government in it's 200+ year history.  There is no reason why a fifth form of government cannot follow, and indeed history dictates that it will eventually.  What form that government takes is entirely up to us for now.  Yes, we do have a choice, and no, we don't have to do what the power brokers on Wall Street tell us, no matter how much pressure they put on us.

America is worth saving and it can be saved.  Indeed Our Lady of America revealed to us that God actually WANTS to save America, and he wants America to lead the way of repentance for all the Americas (North, South and Central), thus paving the way for the rest of the world.  It is not impossible, and it is within our reach, in spite of the massive economic downturn that awaits us in the very near future.  This is what we can do...
  1. Turn to Mary as the patroness of our nation.  Our Lady of America is a wonderful family devotion for all of us, and it's message is more applicable now than when it was given.  The Catholic Church in America honors the Immaculate Conception as our patroness.  It's time we get back to basics and restore our national identity in Our Lady of America -- the Immaculate Conception.  Catholics are the ONLY ones who can lead the way in this.  So let's start leading already.  Begin doing family rosary time, even if it's just one chaplet a day, due to the attention span of small children.  Ramp it up to two decades as they get older, then three, then four, and so on.  Teach your family the message of Our Lady of America and venerate her in your home.
  2. Focus on teaching our children sexual purity in a real and adult way, guiding them in the Christian understanding of sex and marriage, and helping them reject the ways of Hollywood and Washington DC.
  3. Embrace our Mexican neighbors to the south, by offering them citizenship in exchange for learning English and adopting an American identity.  We must encourage them to be good Catholics, and introduce them to the devotion of Our Lady of America -- the Immaculate Conception -- which complements their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Remember, Mexican immigrants are the only thing that is saving America from having to import massive waves of Muslim immigrants like Europe has.  Yes, Mexicans will help save America, that is IF indeed we will let them, and teach them how to be Americans in Jesus and Mary.)
  4. Embrace our English language, and the heritage of English Catholicism!  America is an English nation, plain and simple, regardless of our racial and ethnic diversity.  We speak English (or at least we're supposed to), we are governed by English common law (or at least we're supposed to be), and our culture is primarily English in nature.  This is where the pope's creation of a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans can really help us here in America.  It is a vehicle through which Americans can be reintroduced to their English Catholic roots.  Hopefully, the U.S. ordinariate will become more than a niche group for Anglo-Catholics, but rather an evangelistic arm of the U.S. Catholic Church that can not only bring more Protestants into the Catholic Church, but also renew American Catholicism by rubbing off various elements of the English Patrimony into various diocese throughout the United States. 
  5. Pursue papal politics!  Besides being a tongue twister, this is actually very good advice for Catholic Americans.  The political rivalry between Republicans and Democrats has virtually destroyed this nation.  Catholicism is more than just a religion.  It is a comprehensive way of life, which is why Catholics cannot be defined as Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal.  Parties and ideologies are woefully ineffective as far as defining Catholic politics.  One of the areas we Americans are sorely lacking in is following the teachings of our pope.  Both popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have outlined a comprehensive political strategy that if followed, the United States would not be in the mess it's in today -- neither would Europe for that matter.  What are papal politics?  Well, an entire book could be written on it, and indeed some have, but to summarize, we should be...
  • Militantly Pro-Life, opposing abortion, euthanasia, human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.
  • Opposed to any policy that hurts or redefines the traditional family.
  • Pursuing government policies that encourage traditional marriage and children.
  • Demanding school-choice initiatives in every state, county and city.
  • Opposed to all wars not directly related to self-defense.
  • Kind and generous to immigrants.
  • Conserving resources and pursuing alternate forms of energy with a passion.
I think this is a good place to start, and we as Catholics can do this.  It is within our reach.  I firmly believe that while Protestants formed this nation, Catholics will ultimately save it.  That will be America's future.  I also believe that when Americans become a moral and virtuous people again, on a widespread level, we can begin to reign in the abuses of our federal government, but not until then.  So to save America, we must turn to Our Lady of America, and begin working on changing ourselves.

What happens however, if we fail to do this.  Well, your guess is as good as mine, but based on my study of cultural demographics I think it's pretty safe to say the United States will break up mostly among cultural lines.  If America breaks up, nobody wins.  The North American continent will have consigned itself to at least fifty years of economic and political stagnation, but that's the path we will have chosen.  I believe it's best for us to turn to our Lord and our Lady for assistance in these trying times, lest our future look something like this...

The people of the United States of America are now at the final crossroads in our nation's history. We have a choice. The year 2012 will be the year America chooses her fate. For 2012 marks the year of the END of the American Empire. Our Superpower status ends this year. We may not see the final results of that for a couple of years to come, but the decision will be made this year. It comes down to this. The American Empire is going to end -- period. Nothing can stop that now. The choice is this. Shall our empire decline like the British Empire or the Roman Empire?

That's it! That's the choice that faces us. It really is no more or less than that. We can either go the way of Britain or Rome.

When the British Empire became unsustainable, the Brits got smart. They permitted their colonies to become independent nations (rather than risk a repeat of 1776). They downsized and focused on rebuilding their internal economic foundations. They scaled back their military to a more reasonable size that was commensurate with national defence alone. In the process they saved billions of pounds, and gave their nation new life. Today they are no longer an empire, but many of their former colonies have erected constitutional monarchies that still (voluntarily) name the Queen of England as their sovereign -- Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Today you can go to Britain and still see British society. Their government remains intact. The queen still reigns from the throne. It's all still there! And in spite of their many national problems, there is no indication that it is going extinct any time soon. We here in the United States can choose this path. We can accept that our international superpower (empire) status is unsustainable. We can scale back, downsize, and save trillions of dollars! We can refocus our efforts toward rebuilding our economic and political integrity. We can turn back to the national Constitution, and start following it for a change!

Or we can refuse to accept the unsustainable nature of our empire (superpower status), and ignore all the signs around us. We can move forward internationally in wars and conflicts, increasing our debts, just as the Roman Empire did, and in doing so, we can follow in their footsteps into oblivion. The map of the former United States above represents just one possibility of how North America will eventually be Balkanised should we refuse to accept reality. We can follow the example of Rome right into a fall so great that it results in the ripping apart of our nation into smaller nation-states in a European kind of fracture. Yes, there was once upon a time, some 1,500 years ago, when all of Europe was united under one government and one language. Today you can go to Rome and see what's left of that government, in the ruins of the Forum and Colosseum. Today Europe is still divided up into different governments, languages and cultures. Every attempt to reunify Europe in the past has failed, and it looks as if this most recent attempt to economically unify Europe (The European Union) will fail too.

So there you have it. Americans can either choose a smart decline like Britain, or a stupid suicidal decline like Rome. One way or another, we will decline, and this year (2012) marks the year we make our choice.