Mary, Ark of Salvation – “Last Call! All Aboard!”
Global stock markets beginning to crash, Christian persecution on the rise, the moral cache of western civilization bankrupt, totalitarianism under all forms is on the rise, the God-created institutions of marriage and family under all-out assault, Planned Parenthood’s horrendous evils finally being exposed, the war on truth and reality shifting into high gear . . . and the list actually goes on and on. One has to be in a serious state of denial to claim that the world really isn’t in that bad of shape (“We’ve seen this before . . .”) and that stock markets are in the midst of a mere “correction.” That’s the understatement of the millennium. Let me be clear, the entire world is in the midst of a massive “correction” or a “reset” as we enter more deeply into a judgment which we have brought upon ourselves because the world has abandoned God. Let St. John Paul II (then Cardinal Karol Wojytla] put this in its true perspective:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously. [Address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence]
Does the above make you afraid? Depressed? Fearful? Or does it galvanize you? St. John Paul II eliminates the first three for the Christian and tells us to take courage! Take courage! Be not afraid! The worse response we can have is one of denial because people who deny a grave reality will do nothing to change it – in fact, they will even chastise those who proclaim it and seek to change it. As the modern proverb goes: “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt!”
The easy way out of responsibility for those in denial is constant recourse to the thoughtless phrase: “You are just a doom and gloom person.” They would have to say the same to great prophets of the Old Testament, who did not have a very popular profession. If they were honest, they would even have to say to Mary who showed the children of Fatima a vision of hell before telling them how to avoid it! The reality described above is not “doom and gloom”, it is the reality of the world in which we live and we are being called to wake from our slumber. Living in ignorance and denial is what will prevent the Church from taking the radical, the heroic, actions – spiritually, politically, economically and socially – to begin to really restore all things in Christ, as was the motto of Pope St. Pius X. One can’t take the radical action to eradicate a systemic cancer if the doctor is afraid to tell the patient that he has cancer and says it’s only a headache and go and take some aspirin – all because he is afraid of making the patient feel uncomfortable! That’s not only uncharitable, that’s criminal!
So, the worse thing we can do as a Church is misdiagnose the signs of the times – or, God-forbid, water them down and relativize them, so that we don’t make others feel uncomfortable. But, we see much of that going on with a corresponding movement to ostracize those whom God is using as modern day Jonahs, Jeremiahs, Hoseas and John the Baptists. Prophets are rarely popular once they get into the heart of their message of repentance and conversion. But, Jesus chastises the Israelites who failed to recognize the signs of the times – that their long-awaited Messiah was standing before them with the Divine remedy for mankind’s incurable cancer of sin. Jesus spoke of how the Ninevites, who would later attack and conquer the Israelites, would fare better before God because they listened to the prophet Jonah’s call to repentance after he prophesied their destruction because of their evil lifestyle. Prophesying one’s destruction is about as “doom and gloom” as it gets . . . but the Ninevites humbled themselves, recognized the voice of God and repented—and God spared them.
We are the Ninevites of the modern world and Jonah is not being sent, but the Mother of God is, with the same message.
So, why such a long and sobering introduction to today’s blog post? It was not to try to depress you. But, in today’s world, when one realizes the truth of the state of the world, he cries out, “Jesus!” Not all cry out in a holy way, but instinctually, we turn to Him because He alone is the Savior! Savior is His name! If you’re Irish, the instinct is a little more inclusive: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Again, not always said with piety, but the correct instinct to cry out to the Holy Family is there!
Today, the Church directs our attention to the importance of calling upon the holy name of “Mary” because her name points to her role in salvation history as the “ark of salvation”. It is fitting that Mary be called the “ark” of salvation as her name also stems from the feminine form of the Latin word for sea, mare. Just as all waters are contained in and distributed by the seas, so are all the graces of Christ contained in Mary and distributed by her to the world. Another significance of Mary’s connection with the seas is that the Church has found refuge in her as the “ark of salvation” in the midst of the stormy and destructive seas of the world.
Since 1830 (Rue du Bac, France), the world has been given an extraordinary age of Mary. We cannot appreciate how significant this is unless we understand the role of the prophets in salvation history, of whom Mary is the prophet par excellence and the Queen of prophets. What does her presence in the modern world mean? What is the heart of her message? Why is God sending Mary, the Mother of God, Mother of Church, Queen of the Universe, to the world like never before?
The short answer is that God is announcing anew that the world needs to enter a new ark as the world enters deeper and deeper into darkness and sin. Similar to the movie character, Evan Baxter, the ark in which we are being asked to enter is more than one made of gopher wood. The ark of salvation for the world today is not a physical boat, but a spiritual one—it resides in a person, a heart, an Immaculate Heart . . . of Mary. We don’t have to build this ark as Noah did the first. This ark has been built for us by God Himself and, therefore, is big enough for all to enter, if we only heed His Divine call. And His call comes through the one who is the ark, Mary!
Mary announced this at Fatima in 1917:
You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. . . . I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart . . . . If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
There it is. Mary is being sent on behalf of the Divine Physician to tell the world that it is extremely ill and has little time to take action to begin the path of deliverance and healing – just as cancer that is ignored will eventually consume the whole person. So, she presents the bad news first, so that one can also fully appreciate how great the “good news” is as the remedy, while there is still time to accept it. Mary’s message can be presented as a simple if-then declaration: If mankind heeds her call—which is the same as St. John the Baptist—to repent, and make straight the way of the Lord, then a true peace is attainable without a divine purification as has occurred throughout salvation history. But if we don’t repent and convert, then not only will we reap what we have sown and grow in hardness of heart, we will also need a divine chastisement from our loving Father, Who does so as a last resort to bring his children back to Him. Otherwise, hell will ultimately reign on earth.
So, the world is living in a new Noah-esque moment in history where the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen 6:5). In the midst of this God is announcing Mary as the new ark in which those who want to be saved from this world drowning in the global flood of sin and indifference are to find refuge.
Fatima prophesied greater storms to come if the world does not convert in a major way. The spiritual path to perfection and union with Christ begins with Mary just as it was the wisdom of the Father to send His Son to unite to all humanity through, with and in Mary. This fundamental truth and reality of Christianity is still overlooked by many. This is one reason why the Holy Spirit, as St. Louis de Montfort prophesied in his masterpiece True Devotion, has removed the veil (as the word “apocalypse” conveys) over His inseparable Spouse, so that the world, who needs Mary more than ever, will turn toward her and, in and through her, find Christ and every treasure He wishes to give those who truly love Him.
So, as we meditate on the message of Fatima in light of Genesis 6: The earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and it was filled with violence . . . for all men lived corruptly on the earth”, is this not the state of the world today? Those who deny this will be deaf to the urgent message of Fatima which is beckoning the world to board the ark of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. And when judgment and purification come to the economical, social and political orders, they will find themselves without the interior refuge that will carry them through the perfect storm that is rapidly approaching a category 5 hurricane. God will not flood the world as He did in Noah’s time, but like Noah’s time the whole earth and all mankind is threatened with chastisement that its unrepentance will bring about if it does not sincerely convert back to God. These are not my mere sentiments, it is the message of salvation history and especially the prophetic and merciful message of Mary to the modern world.
Will we be like those who relativize and trivialize the seriousness of our times? Or will we be the Noahs of our families, and for other families, who will recognize the significance of Mary’s visitation today as the living ark of salvation in whom we must lead our families, and as many families as possible, to this refuge of sinners?
As in Noah’s time, when only those who found refuge in the ark were saved and given a new springtime to begin their lives anew after the flood waters receded, so in this age of Mary, the new ark of salvation, will those who want to survive the storm, the Fall and the Winter which will precede the promised new springtime, find their refuge in her Immaculate Heart through the Rosary and consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
In short, like those who found salvation in Noah’s ark, so those who take refuge in Mary will find salvation. This is Mary’s mission throughout history, especially in turbulent times. The Church confirms this in her Liturgy when she proclaims of Mary what is said in Proverbs 8:35: Who finds me, finds life. This is why Mary is at the heart of countering a culture of death and rebuilding the culture of life.
One last thought about Mary as the ark of salvation. It is different from the ark of Noah not only in that it is one created by the hands of God, but the ark of Mary has an offensive purpose as much as it has a defensive one. The ark of Mary is more similar to our modern day aircraft carrier, which is a floating city from which special operations are conducted to liberate the oppressed and defend against the enemy. She protects those on board, but she also prepares them for spiritual war – because we are in a serious war against evil. Those aboard the ark of Mary (i.e. Her Immaculate Heart) will find that, like a heart, they are being pumped out on a mission to heal the body (the Church and the world) while being drawn back in at the same time. The Christian life and mission is one that flows in and out of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, like fighter pilots that fly out on missions with ample payload and fuel to accomplish the mission and return back to the carrier. It’s not a perfect analogy, but one that I believe works and is fitting for our times: the SS Santa Maria!
Believe me when I say that you will be ridiculed for believing these truths about Mary and, even more, when you become a sentinel of this truth. The devil knows how true this is more than anyone and especially hates those who proclaim it. Considering what is at stake in the world today, will you be the humble and obedient Noah who led his family to the true “ark of salvation” or will you be like those who laughed at Noah and continued living a life tolerant of evil, who later found the ark of Noah closed and sealed when the flood waters came? One way we can summarize the significance of Mary’s visitations the last 200 years is that Mary has come to tell us: “Last call to board the ark of salvation!” He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:29). How do we hear? By praying . . . and praying often.
Parents, are you leading your family to the ark of salvation during these times?
If not, start with this beautiful prayer of consecration to Mary written by St. Maximilian Kolbe and then go here for concrete ways to live it out!
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to thee. I, N___, a repentant sinner, cast myself at thy feet humbly imploring thee to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to thyself as thy possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases thee. If it pleases thee, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of thee: “She will crush your head,” and, “Thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.”
Let me be a fit instrument in thine Immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever thou enters, one obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through thy hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise thee O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thy enemies.
Art for this post on Mary, the Ark of Salvation: Madonna della Perseveranza, artist unknown, 18th century, Patroness of Pontificio Seminario Romano Minore è la Vergine Maria, photographed by Pufui Pc Pifpef I, 20 May 2015, CCA-SA; Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1980, derivative work of J J Georges of Fels_Papst.JPG: Nikolaus von Nathusius, PD-Worldwide; [St] Pope Pius X, [between 1903-1914], Tryphosa Bates Batcheller, PD-US; Sit Nomen Virg. Mariae Benedictum in Saecula (May the Name of the Virgin Mary be Blessed through the Ages) colorized detail of Pseudo-Gothic Triptych, Francisco Pallàs y Puig, between 1890 and 1899, PD-US term of life of the author plus 80 years or less; Medal of the Immaculate Conception (aka Miraculous Medal), a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré in response to a request from the Blessed Virgin Mary who allegedly appeared rue du Bac, Paris, in 1830. The message on the recto reads: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee — 1830”, Xhienne, 18 May 2007, CCA-SA; all Wikimedia Commons. Our Lady of Fatima, Charles Bosseron Chambers, undated, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Luigi Maria Grignion de Montfort, Sacerdote Eterno, 8 March 2007, PD-US copyright expired; A Seastorm, Claude Joseph Vernet, 1752, PD-US; Detail of Noah’s Ark, Edward Hicks, 1846, PD-US; Modified detail from Peinture du Sacré-coeur de Marie, tableau à l’intérieur de la chapelle de la Chaup, commune de Saint-Jacques-en-Valgodemar (Hautes-Alpes) [Painting of the sacred (Immaculate) heart of Mary, chart inside the chapel of the Chaup, municipality of Saint-Jacques-en-Valgodemar (Hautes-Alpes)], Fr. Latreille, 15 August 2013, CCA-SA; all Wikimedia Commons. Photograph of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe and Heroic Families logo courtesy Dr. Peter Howard, used with permission.