By Deacon Bob Ellis –
Although most citizens recognize the absurdity of dismantling police departments throughout the country, many politicians, both local and national, have not hesitated to jump on the bandwagon promoting the senseless notion. The overall national outcome of such efforts will remain unknown for considerable time to come. However, there are already several places where police protection has evaporated and there will likely be more, at least in the short run.
While there are some who can quickly pack up and relocate to a place more safe and secure, most cannot. Should all those who can do so? Not necessarily. Their security wherever they chose to go would quickly evaporate if the police department were eventually dismantled there as well.
The protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
There is a source of security which does not require a police force. Guidance, protection and consolation are available from the Immaculate Heart of Mary to all who ask it of her. During the June 13, 1917 apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, little Lucia learned that Jacinta and Francisco would soon be taken to heaven but that she was to remain behind for some time to carry out a mission. “Am I to stay here alone,” she asked. Our Lady told her not to lose heart; that she would never be forsaken. “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge…”
The word refuge encompasses protection, sanctuary, shelter and haven. Some might ascribe a merely spiritual interpretation to the word refuge in this context – protection from the snares of the devil for example. But such a view would be sadly shortsighted. Consider Psalm 91, which is an assurance of God’s protection and which is applicable to the protection offered by Our Lady today as well.
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[a]
the Most High your habitation,
10 no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.
There are references to both spiritual and physical dangers, protection against which is available to all who turn to Our Lady during these troubled times.
Did you notice the mention of angels being charged to guard us in all our ways? The Angel of Portugal was sent in 1916 to prepare the little shepherd children for the dangers and challenges they would face the following year when the apparitions of Our Lady would begin. The two prayers he taught them during the first and third apparitions can fortify us as well.
The exorcistic quality of blessed salt renders it an effective means of protecting persons, places and things. It is one of the many sacramentals provided by Holy Mother Church. A growing awareness of demonic influence and involvement in efforts to thwart and even eliminate law and order has led to a heightened interest in the use of blessed salt for the protection of homes, vehicles and persons. I highly recommend its use, especially during times like these. You can have simple table salt blessed by any priest or deacon.
The Divine Mercy image is another, and likely the most powerful, protection. Saint Faustina’s confessor, Blessed Michael Sopocko, recalled additional promises our Lord made through St. Faustina regarding the Image:
When chastisements for sins come upon the world and your own country will experience utter degradation, the only refuge will be trust in My mercy. I will protect the cities and homes in which The Divine Mercy Image is found; I will protect the persons who will venerate [honor] this Image. The only refuge will be trust in My Mercy.
Father Sopocko recalled that Jesus also said:
Let everyone procure for their homes this Image because there will yet come trials. And those homes, and entire families, and everyone individually who will hold this image of mercy in deep reverence, I will preserve from every sort of misfortune. The time will come when all those who do so will give witness to the miraculous efficacy and to the special protection of mercy flowing from this Image.
You can print as many copies of the Divine Mercy Image as you would like and secure them to the entrances of your homes. If you are unable to have it blessed by a priest, the Church allows you to invoke a blessing yourself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1669) teaches that lay people, on account of their baptismal priesthood, may administer certain blessings.
How can you invoke such a blessing upon the image of Divine Mercy? While making the sign of the cross over the image, say: Oh, Lord, I seek your blessing upon this image, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Apprehension is a perfectly normal human response when the security of our homes vanishes, but we must not allow it to morph into fear. Instead we must turn to our faith which gives us hope and confidence in the protection heaven accords to all who seek it.
As each of us considers the hardships we are enduring as a consequence of the current turmoil, let us not forget that there are others enduring hardships even greater than our own and let us not fail to remember them in our prayers – especially the rosary Our Lady of Fatima asked us to pray every day.
If you have a question or would like to discuss anything in this article further, I can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 920-371-1931.
Deacon Bob Ellis is the National Coordinator for the World Apostolate of Fatima USA/Our Lady’s Blue Army