The Catholic Southern Front

Chapter 3 – Enmity, the Woman and the Dragon

St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas take us there, to the time when Creation was begotten, when the fall of Lucifer and later of our first parents occurred. What started this fall ? Apparently it was ‘vanity’ which was followed by pride and disobedience. Fascinating that such a story of self-love and vanity can entertainingly be described, obviously unintentionally, by a contemprory Disc Jockey by the name of David Guetta whose lyrics I shall boldly represent below:-

 

In love with myselfIn love with my own reflectionWith my own affectionWith the vision that I see There’s nobody elseI’m taking my own directionI can see perfectionDoing all I can for me In love with myself… I can take you to hellI’m falling so deep inside itAnd I just can’t hide itFeel it burning down on me I dance with myselfAs hundreds of eyes are waitingCan’t strip completelyAnd the lights are burning me In love with myself… Tonight I’m gonna meet somebodyAfter all the lights have diedI’m still living,But what am I giving? In love with myselfIn love with my own reflectionWith my own affectionWith the vision that i see There’s nobody elseI’m taking my own directionI can see perfectionDoing all I can for me In love with myself… Everybody wants your bodyThere’s nobody who cantake you to heavenWe’ll make it forever Tonight I’m gonna meet somebodyAfter all the lights have diedI’m still living

But what am I giving?”(1)

 

I am not trying to border onto the ridiculous by comparing St Thomas Aquinas with DJ David Guetta, but fittingly these lyrics can indicate how self-love and vanity leads to a separation from God, a separation from the true Christian light. Selfishness was totally vanquished by the self-giving of Our Lord upon the Cross who redeemed all mankind, explaining to the Apostles before He experienced His passion that the seed must die to bear fruit. This total self-giving, loving act accomplished by the God-Man, the ultimate Sacrifice, enabled humanity’s redemption. In like manner Our Lady was the anti-thesis of both Lucifer’s vanity and the selfish act of our first parents. Vanity, pride, disobedience all were vanquished. It is clear now that ‘Tota Pulchra’ or the ‘all beautiful Virgin’ ignored her beauty (unlike Lucifer) and sealed her love for God which is beauty itself. The Dragon was represented by certain heavenly bodies which symbolised Lucifer’s perfection and status in Creation, Our Lady has eclipsed Lucifer, for as he was represented in Creation by both the Morning Star (Isaiah 14:12) and the North Star (Thuban in the constellation of Draco – in Egyptian times), her beauty surpassed his baneful fall and she became ever more fair. She now is represented by Polaris, the new North Star in Ursa Minor (Our Lady Star of the Sea) and Venus the Morning Star (Litany of Loreto). She has stripped him of his beauty, the perfect cherubim, who was so to speak ‘defrocked’ of his honour before Creation. The Immaculate Conception became ‘Queen of angels and mankind.’ All Hail Star of the Sea, Tota Pulchra!

Both the Catholic Church and Our Lady are identified with the ‘Woman’ of Genesis 3:15, whom God said would be the perpetual enemy of the Devil: “I will make you enemies of each other: you (the ‘Serpent’) and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel.” Saint Bernard of Clairveaux explains that Mary, the image and model of the Church, already enjoys that victory by virtue of her Immaculate Conception, therefore, she is most evidently identified to the ‘Woman’ of Genesis 3:15 and of Revelation 12. In two occasions in the New Testament the Messiah addresses her as ‘Woman.’ In John 2:4 “Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’” Our Lady intercedes for mankind before her Son Jesus Christ. If Our Lord favored her intercession previous to ‘his hour,’ how much more does He favor her intercession following his sacrifice upon the cross, his Resurrection, Ascension and Our Lady’s Assumption of body and soul into heaven and coronation as ‘Queen of Heaven and Earth’? John 19:26 reveals that while crucified, the Messiah presented the Blessed Virgin to the disciple: “Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple He said, ‘This is your mother.’” Our Lord entrusts all mankind in the care of the ‘Woman’ and we in turn, receive her as our mother, or at least we should receive her as such. “By her maternal charity, Mary cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy fatherland. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. These, however, are to be so understood that they neither take away from nor add anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator…. In the bodily and spiritual glory which she possesses in heaven, the Mother of Jesus continues in this present world as the image and first flowering of the Church as she is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise Mary shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace for the pilgrim People of God.”(2)

By the power the Father bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin, she is triumphant over Satan. Revelation chapter 12 reveals Creation’s primeval and present conflict: “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with twelve stars on her head for a crown. She was pregnant, and in labor, crying aloud in the pangs of childbirth. Then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and each of the seven heads crowned with a coronet. Its tail dragged a third of the stars from the sky…. The woman brought a male child into the world, the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron scepter… And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived the entire world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him…. As soon as the devil found himself thrown down to the earth, he sprang in pursuit of the woman, the mother of the male child, but she was given a huge pair of eagle’s wings to fly away from the serpent into the desert, to the place where she was to be looked after for a year and twice a year and half a year… Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God’s commandments and bear witness for Jesus.” It is by no coincidence that the Marian title ‘Terror of Demons,’ is one of the images applied to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Humanity’s Mother and Queen, is brilliantly set in Heaven and on Earth, her Immaculate sinless glory abusively terrifies the demonic forces. Therefore, rightly does the Roman Catholic Church attribute this title to the Blessed Virgin, who is terrible as an army set in full battle array. The ‘Shulamite Woman’ in the Old Testament Book, Song of Songs 6:10, is indeed the ‘Woman’ of Revelation 12.

 

“Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising,

fair as the moon,

bright as the sun,

as terrible as an army set in full battle array?”

 

Revelation 12, highlights the heavenly struggle between Saint Michael (Hebrew ‘Mi-Cha-el’ or ‘Who Is Like Unto God?’) and the Dragon who affirms his maxim: ‘I Shall Not Serve (the Son of God made man).’ Michael the Archangel, bravely and courageously rose to do battle against the Cherubim Lucifer, opposed the Dragon’s rebellious and disobedient will, humbled himself before God to serve Him and serve God’s Son, who would in the future be both God and man. Saint Michael did not consider Lucifer at par with the Holy Trinity and by his statement indicated his servitude and allegiance to the future God-Man, for he knew that Jesus Christ was like unto God and God Himself. As described in Revelation Jesus Christ was the only one in heaven who was found worthy to break the seven seals! In Daniel 12, the angelic apparition revealed details regarding the future apocalyptic times: “At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people.” Michael is the protector of the Holy Eucharist.

During human combat and warfare, Saint Michael the Archangel stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22) and routed the army of Sennacherib (IV Kings 19:35). As Michael opposed Lucifer in the first rebellion, it would follow that the archangel protects mankind especially in those moments when it is led astray to reenact the rebellion against the Holy Trinity. Mankind’s rebellion fulfills the Dragon’s maxim: “I Shall Not Serve (the Son of God made Man).” The Archangel Michael, together with Saint George, was in the middle ages considered to be the Grand-Patron of chivalry. The French chivalric order of Saint Michael was established in 1469. In England the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George was founded in 1818, today in America paratroopers consider Michael their Patron Saint. Similarly to the Archangel Michael, Saint George is depicted engaged in battle against the ‘Dragon/Devil’ and is thus associated with Our Lady for this very reason. George is the human counterpart of the angelic warrior and imitates Saint Michael’s stand against the mighty Red Dragon. The early Church might have desired to attribute the same warrior imagery associated with Saint Michael to his human counterpart. It was and still is, an easier accomplishment to emulate Saint George rather than the angelic Michael. Therefore, in the process of invoking Saint George, Christianity gained an intercessory human ‘dragon slayer’ apart from the angelic one. However, it was Saint George himself who earned his sainthood by the superhuman grace of fidelity to Christ and a unique triple martyrdom and resurrection. This was an unheard of martyrdom, unique to no other martyr. Truly, Emperor Constantine’s claim of antiquity is valid today, for Saint George is indeed the ‘Champion of Christendom’ par excellence.

At the presentation of the Christ Child at the Temple, Simeon had a prophecy reserved for the Blessed Mother: “You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected, and a sword will pierce your own soul too, so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare” (Luke 2:29-35). Therefore, Simeon’s prophecy essentially revealed the destiny and the outcome of a liturgical, spiritual, social and political conflict. These conflicts and persecutions occurred immediately, to escape the furious persecution and the killings of the innocent babes, the Holy Family was forced to seek exile in the foreign land of Egypt. It is somewhat hard not to compare this act with the murder of the Hebrew babes during Moses’ days. Our Lady therefore showed that she defends the innocent Babe who has no voice to defend Itself. Our Lady is indeed a ‘champion of Christendom,’ she is the defender of the innocent babes and a true champion of women’s rights. During his public years, Jesus Christ said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20). The words are self-explanatory, the Lord clearly reveals that the power of God entrusted to the early Church, was and still is capable of conquering all forces of evil, and the forces of hell can never prevail against her.

Saul the Jewish scholar, Pharisee and Roman citizen, was a vigorous persecutor of the Church of Christ and as a young man witnessed his first Christian martyrdom of Saint Stephen by stoning (Acts 7:54-60). Later Saul was converted to the Faith, by the unexpected apparition of the risen Christ (Acts 26:12-20) and following his baptism, was named Paul. The future of the Church was revealed to Saint Peter through the vision of the varied creatures of the sea (Acts II: 4-10). By instruction from the Church Paul, the new Jewish convert, was sent on mission to evangelize the many gentiles of the world. Together with his companions in travel, Barnabas and Luke, Paul set out almost immediately from Antioch in Syria and visited Jerusalem. Paul would refer to Luke as ‘the glorious physician,’ the first of the evangelist’s many talents in the service of the Church of Christ. Born a Greek and possibly first meeting Paul at the school of Tarsus, he later became a most splendid Church chronicler and historian, one of the Evangelists, an iconographer and sculptor.

In the normal circumstance of life Saint Paul says that the major battle a Catholic fights is not against the flesh, but against the principalities and powers of the air. In Ephesians 6 the apostle elucidates: “Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God’s armor on so as to be able to resist the Devil’s tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the sovereignties and the powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens… To stand your ground, with truth buckled round your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword.”

Throughout the ages, these principalities and powers have ravaged mankind, caught up in the war between the ‘Woman’ and the ‘Dragon/Devil.’ Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in his ‘De Laude Novae Militiae’ postulated, that in times when Christianity is in danger by way of war and conflict, the faithful fights a double-edged war against the enemy of his soul and of his flesh. The ‘Woman’ has been ever ready to help her children, rescuing them both from the dangers of the soul and the dangers, which place the body in peril in times of war and conflict. The following chapters are extensive enough in revealing many miraculous favors mediated by the Mother of God during such times. The ‘Woman’ has according to God’s heavenly plan, changed and re-directed the historical course of human events. A series of conversions, beginning with the work of evangelization by the twelve apostles and spreading throughout the whole world. Evidently, the ‘Woman’ supports this plan of salvation. She offers her children continuous help and the sure hope of witnessing an eventual final victory over all the forces of the ‘Dragon/Devil.’ In Romans 8:35-37 Paul says: “Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. As scripture promised: For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Luke 12:4-5 the ‘apostle of the gentiles’ clarifies: “I tell you, my friends do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Both Paul and Luke were continuously persecuted and beaten with rods and shut many times in prison for bearing witness to the Faith. In 61 AD at the end of Paul’s apostolic mission and during his martyrdom in Rome, Luke remained an inseparable companion. The Apostle of the gentiles, writing for the last time to Timothy, says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course…Make haste to come to me quickly. For Demas hath left me, loving this world…. Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:6-13). Saint Paul was martyred, beheaded for the Faith and received eternal rest for fighting ‘the good fight.’ He is remembered as the apostle of the gentiles for having evangelized many countries in his numerous voyages.

The calf or the ox, symbolic of the sacrifice of Zachariah the priest and the father of John the Baptist, represents Saint Luke the Evangelist. Saint Luke recounts the manner how Saint John the Baptist was born to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. It is by no surprise or coincidence that Luke’s Gospel uniquely records Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat, and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, and the account of the Child Jesus’ disappearance in Jerusalem. Elizabeth’s beautiful words uttered on her encounter with the Blessed Virgin: “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42-43). Mary, who proclaims that God, “…has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:46-56). It is Luke to whom we must be grateful for recounting the angelic salutation of Gabriel: “Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28-29) Our Lady humbly accepted God’s invitation to be the Mother of the Messiah. She humbly replies: “I am the humble handmaid of the Lord… let what you have said be done to me” (Luke 1:38). With her FIAT, she opposes Lucifer’s rebellion and accepts to become the Mother of God. Essentially, Our Lady opposes the pride of the Dragon, by accepting humbly the will of God becoming the Messiah’s mother; God the Son was made man. She is the mother of Him, whom Lucifer rejected, causing a rebellion which reverberated throughout Creation. It is by no surprise therefore, that she is his foe, for the Blessed Virgin represents the humanity which Lucifer so ardently detests, albeit the fact that now she is also his Queen. The Angelic Rebellion led by the proud Dragon, was against the very fact that God the Son was to become a man and Sovereign of Creation, rightly so for Creation was begotten by the Father’s Word. The illogical and ‘hopeless’ rebellion accomplished by its chief architect, Lucifer, caused by his self-love and vanity is repeated on Earth. The spirit which opposes servitude to Jesus Christ, the anti-Christian spirit which is so evident in secret societies, is a spirit which affirms the repetition of Lucifer’s rebellion, and does not recognize the sovereignty of God the Son made man, Savior and Redeemer of mankind. Most reprobate sects publically declare that they need not a personal Savior who would save them from Original sin and personal sin. They invoke the architect of the heavenly rebellion to accomplish the same hopeless rebellion on Earth. On the other hand, Our Lady initiates her animosity against the rebel Dragon by humbly accepting God’s will and thus in the process, indicating the manner how mankind should return to the Father, that is by accepting humbly the redemption offered by God through her Son’s sacrifice. In this manner Our Lady opens for all mankind the wondrous door of real eternal hope.

Truly the enmity between the Dragon and the Woman was not begotten at the Anunciation, nor at the fall of Adam and Eve, when Our Lord explicitly declared this enmity in Genesis 3:15, but was conceived with Lucifer’s rebellion. When the Holy Trinity revealed the future intent (the birth of Jesus Christ), Lucifer refused to serve, for his ambition was such that the angel expected the Lord to unite with his angelic ‘almost perfect’ nature, rather than the inferior human. This wish was not granted for the angelic nature was not created in the image and likeness of God. An angelic rebellion followed when the Dragon swept one third of the stars from the sky or from heaven (Rev 12). One third of the angels joined forces with the Dragon, apostatized against God and were cast out of heaven by Saint Michael, a mere Archangel as opposed to the Cherubim. Lucifer’s enmity versus the Blessed Virgin was conceived previous to the rebellion, for Lucifer loathed the fact that God would unite with human nature. The Child (God the Son) conceived of the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary. The Cherubim Lucifer detested mankind previous to the angelic rebellion, for God the Son (conceived by the Holy Spirit) would borrow the Blessed Virgin’s flesh. Lucifer’s jealousy was eclipsed by the Lord’s decision, however, indeed the Dragon knew not then who the future mother of God the Son would be. While today Our Lady is both Queen of angels and mankind, previous to her birth she was one of the factors provoking Lucifer’s own undoing, which will carry on till the very end of time. Following this reasoning anyone can clearly understand howcome Our Lady was conceived Immaculate, free from the stain of Original sin for she is the foe of the Dragon’s rebellion and the pure mother of God the Son.

As well as being the great writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Luke is accredited with many works of sacred art particularly depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child Jesus. Most early icons painted by Luke the Evangelist have surprisingly, evidently miraculously, survived to our modern day. Many iconographic depictions of Mary and Child bear witness to Luke’s love and devotion to Theotokos, the Mother of God. Mentioning Saint Luke in this particular work is necessary, for it is also through his paintings, which have survived for twenty centuries, that Our Lady has wrought many miraculous healings and interventions during the terrible times of war. Saint Luke’s writings clearly depicted Our Lady, he also produced pictorial paintings and icons which are traditionally acclaimed to be the authorship of Luke, such as the Icon of ‘Our Lady and Child of Czestochowa’ in Poland and ‘Salus Popoli Romani’ found at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. For the early Christians, the portrayal of God in art was not a subject of prohibition any longer, on the contrary there was now an urgency for the iconographic rendering of Christ, as He said: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:6-14). In those former times, an early practice performed by Christian neophytes following baptism, was the wearing of a blue cord around their neck. As testimony to their new found Faith, during travel the neophyte would also carry icons of Christ and the Mother of God, symbolizing the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. In keeping to the theme of iconographic rendering, Saint Luke is accredited for having painted many, as previously mentioned, the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child Jesus of Czestochowa in Poland, the Icon Salus Popoli Romani at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the Icon of Our Lady of Philermos in Montenegro, various Russian Icons and the statue of the Madonna and Child, otherwise known as the Statue of Our Lady of Guadeloupe discovered in Seville. This form of evangelizing through works of art, confirms Luke’s desire to further the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He left such icons in places were recent conversions and new Christian communities were being established. This was the expression that Our Lady is the Mother and Protector of Christians and Christianity. The Christians prayed invoking her protection and intercession in times of calamity, understood as times of plagues, disasters and wars. Our Lady and Child’s iconographic renderings, grossly aided the conversions of pagans by the miraculous healings. In this manner, the flourishing of Christian communities persevered and were preserved. An attribute of human nature is to display pictures, especially pictures of our loved ones. All iconographic representations of Our Lady and Child, convey to the pilgrim a message of urgency for conversion and a nudging for the attention to be drawn on the person of Our Lady, that is, if we wish to discover her Son Jesus Christ. Most of the iconographic depictions painted by Saint Luke are the cause of innumerable miraculous intercessions wrought by Our Lady during times of peace and war. The devotions to Theotokos, as a result of Saint Luke’s Icons, have caused astonishing victories and great changes in the destinies of the entire human race.

Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae,’ instituted the luminous mysteries and encouraged the recitation of the Holy Rosary, exhorting the faithful to use this prayer: “…to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.” Pope Benedict refers to the Holy Trinity as the God with the human face, for He revealed all and sacrificed Himself. Praying the Holy Rosary before an icon undoubtedly facilitates the accomplishment of this exhortation, many spiritual and temporal graces are received when the Holy Rosary is recited before a miraculous Icon. Pilgrimages to shrines and sanctuaries displaying a miraculous Icon, exposed for prayer and contemplation, still contribute to the spiritual and temporal health of the Christian people. In today’s age of magazine, TV and computer images, such practices should be encouraged.

The word ‘icon’ is derived from the Greek word ‘eikon’ meaning ‘image’ or ‘depiction.’ In ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church,’ CCC 1159 to 1162 and CCC 2129 to 2141, discuss the virtues of the Christian veneration of Images. CCC 1160 “Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words. Image and word illuminate each other.” CCC 2131 “Basing itself on the mystery of the Incarnate Word the seventh ecumenical council, at Nicea (787), justified against the Iconoclasts the veneration of icons of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images.” CCC 2132 “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment, which proscribes idols. Indeed, ‘the honor rendered to an image passes to its ‘prototype’, and ‘whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.’ The honor paid to sacred images is a ‘respectful veneration’, not the adoration due to God alone: Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement towards the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends towards that whose image it is.” CCC 2141 “The veneration of sacred images is based on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. It is not contrary to the first commandment.”(3)

The late Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, in his work titled ‘Mother of the Redeemer,’ clearly identifies the ‘Woman’ with ‘Our Lady’: “She who as the one ‘Full of Grace’ was brought into the Mystery of Christ in order to be His Mother and thus the Holy Mother of God… remains in that mystery as ‘the Woman’ spoken of by the Book of Genesis (3:15) at the beginning.”(4) The death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ achieved mankind’s redemption and as such no other victory could be greater, however, Saint Bernard affirmed that humanity has also essentially defeated Lucifer by virtue of the very existence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Bernard postulated: “In the Most Holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle.” For this reason, as explained by Saint Bernard, both the Church and the Blessed Virgin are associated with the ‘Woman’ of Revelation 12. On December 6, 2007, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa in an article titled ‘The Virgin without sin’ issued the following statement, “Mary is the sign and guarantee of this. The whole Church, after her, is called to become “glorious, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, that she might be holy and immaculate” (Ephesians 5:27). A text of the Second Vatican Council says: “But while in the Most Holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin. And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues” (“Lumen Gentium,” 65).”(5) St Francis of Assisi referred to her as the “..virgin made church..” Therefore, the ‘Woman’ who crushes Lucifer, is the Church represented by the Blessed Virgin, who is in turn, the Church’s pinnacle of perfection. The Blessed Virgin is also the Mother of the Church and all the faithful. Whenever Christians are persecuted the mother is apprehensive and intervenes. Delivering messages, Our Lady warns her children of imminent and pending dangers. Notwithstanding such warnings and apparitions by the Queen, whenever the mother Church declares an apparition as authentic, the faithful are not obliged to believe in it. Marian messages do not form part of the corpus of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.

 

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