Father Linus Clovis: Our Lady of Akita
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let your loins be gird about you and your lamps burning. and you yourselves like men waiting for their masters return from the wedding, so that when he comes and knocks they may straight away open to him. Blessed are those servants whom the master on return, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, he will gird himself or make them recline at table and will come and serve them, and if he comes in the second watch, and if in the third and finds them, so blessed are those servants. But of this be assured, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would certainly have watched and would not let his house be broken into. You also must be ready because at an hour you do not expect, the son of man is coming.”
Some 10 years ago, on March the third, there was a tsunami in Japan in a place called Uzai Wada, and as you may recall, this tsunami did incredible amount of damage. What was significant about it was that it happened in a place where Our Lady appeared 48 years ago on the 12th of May, so that’s 1973. A young woman, she was 42 at the time, a Japanese woman who was a convert from Buddhism, who was stone death, and there was no chance of her recovering her hearing; she entered an institute of pious women. Their particular vocation was to be handmaids of the Holy Eucharist, so they spent their time in prayer and Adoration.
And so, when Agnes Sasagawa entered the institute, nothing great was expected because the sisters were quiet, they had led a hidden life, there was nothing extraordinary about them. So, she entered on the 12th of May and on the 12th of June, 1973, while she was at prayer, she noticed a bright light coming out of the tabernacle. And this was repeated for two days.
As you can imagine, there was a little disturbance, although part of some people thought that it was imagination. But then at the end of the month on 28th of June, a cross-shaped wound appeared in the left hand of Sister Agnes, and not only was it a wound, it was an open wound; it was bleeding, and it was painful.
Just a week later, on the 6th of July, the statue; a wooden statue about three feet tall, which was in the chapel, began to bleed in its right hand. There was an open wound again, and blood was pouring out. And then the sister, Agnes, heard a voice calling for prayer and reparation. The statue continued to bleed. It was, of course, the news arrived and people were visiting, their pictures of the the blood from the wound in the hand. It was investigated, and it was found to be impossible because it was a wooden statue.
And the bleeding continued until the Feast of Saint Michael in 29th of September. And then after that, the statue began to sweat and to weep tears. And so the bishop, of course, was informed, and so he got involved, and he set up a commission to look into it. And over the two years, the commission was set up in about 1975, at least investigations began, and so in that time ,the statue wept 101 times, but even more serious was the message that Sister Agnes heard, was given. And in this, she recovered her hearing. Again, the doctors found it inexplicable. But the messages were that there was need for penance. There was need for reparation. There was need for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There was need–and we’re talking about 1975, so Pope Paul was still on the throne of Peter–there was need for prayer for the Pope and prayer for bishops and prayer for priests.
And then, Our Lady went on to say that the devil is in the rage, and that his intent is to drag as many souls, especially those consecrated to God, after him in hell, and that there will come a time when the cardinal would be against cardinal, bishop against bishop ,priests against priests and that those priests who had any devotion to Our Lady would suffer particularly. They would be scorned and ostracized by their confreres.
Now all of this is 40 something years ago and certainly within the last five, ten years we’ve seen exactly this; cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop. But Our Lady also warned that if there were no attempts, if people carried on sinning, God would be forced to punish the world and that the the whole world will be in turmoil. And she went on to speak about the fire that would fall from heaven and about the great number–the great majority of the world–will be killed, and those who survive will wish that they had the good fortune of the dead.
Now when we see this pandemic, which the whole world, we cannot look upon this as just another, having imagined a wild imagination, because certainly we can see there is a spirit abroad; a spirit that is not friendly towards the human race, as a spirit that is causing division and outright hatred. But more, and even worse, is there’s a spirit of blindness so that we cannot–apart from the grace of God–we cannot even see clearly who the enemy is or what his tactics are.
And so, in all of this, we turn, as always, to Our Blessed Lady because this, the statue, that wept is a statue of Our Blessed Lady. And the Bishop, John Ito, in fact, confirmed the supernatural origin of it and of the phenomenon, and he has given approval for the title of Our Lady of Akita.
So today is the feast of Our Lady of Akita. Our Lady stood at the foot of the cross. She stood there with her son, and she joined her son in his sufferings. Which mother would not do so? But she was also called to a very special task by God. Not only was she to conceive the eternal Son of God, and so become Mother of God, but she was also called to crush the head of the infernal serpent. And this she would do first of all by her Immaculate Conception but also she would win the victory by her own personal valor.
Our Lord, when he began his ministry, before he began his ministry was was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. The temptation that he faced was exactly that which we ourselves face, in which our first parents faced in Eden. it’s temptation of the world ,the flesh and the devil. And equally, Our Lady endured these temptations as well. The fact that she had consecrated her virginity to God was itself a challenge, but it was one that she triumphed, for which reason the Church doesn’t just call her a virgin but Ever Virgin, and in particular, Virgin of Virgins because of the particular victory that she had.
The greater battle that she had to face was, in fact, in the confrontation with Satan, the temptation to doubt, because that was the temptation by which Eve was overcome; she doubted God’s word. God had said, “you shall not eat of it. The day you eat of it you will die.” God was very definite and very clear on this matter but Eve doubted this, and she said to the serpent, “God said we shouldn’t eat of it. Perhaps we might die.” Our Lady likewise at the foot of the cross stood there, and the possibility of doubt did arise when her son expired, and his dead body was placed in her arms. What grief she must have endured. The grief that she endured was of such intensity that most of the mystics, especially those who have written about the life of Our Lady, said that if God had not kept her alive, she would have died of grief.
But that is not where the battle ended because, on Holy Saturday, no one believed he would rise from the dead. The authorities thought the body might be stolen, but they didn’t believe he would rise from the dead. The Apostles certainly did not believe ,and even when he did rise, they doubted, they were skeptical.
And so, Our Lady alone believed, and all of Holy Saturday she was tormented by Satan. He was trying to seduce her into believing that Christ would not rise, that God would not keep his word, that everything that happened was but again to be played. But no, she stood manfully and she won the victory, believing firmly that her son, who is God, would rise and rise from the dead he did, rising on that Easter Sunday. To whom else would he first appear, if not to her? Yet scripture doesn’t tell us he appeared to her, but we can be absolutely certain that he did, and she would be, of course, being the first to rejoice in the resurrection of her son, for she had been faithful up until this moment, and indeed for the rest of her life, for which reason, again the Church calls her Virgin Most Faithful.
Her fidelity is also to the whole church. She is faithful to each and every member of the Church; those whom Christ has redeemed. And so, as we have seen throughout the ages, she comes time and time again to warn us, or better still, to remind us of the precepts of the Gospel, and what it is we are fighting, who it is we’re fighting.
What we are fighting for: we’re fighting for nothing less than our eternal salvation. We’re fighting for our souls ,and so the struggle in this life is always going to be against the world, the flesh and the devil and in this, we are fortified because Christ has won the victory in the wilderness, and his mother, also, has won the victory with Christ, and that tells us how we also must win. It is by remaining faithful to Christ Jesus, Our Lord, our leader.
Our Lady of Akita, pray for us.