Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Knock Apparition and Purgatory - 1

By Father Hubert, O.F.M.Cap.

The following article constitutes the closing chapter of a manuscript, "The Mystery of Purgatory" by Father Hubert, O.F.M.Cap. of Kilkenny, Ireland, which is as yet unpublished. This chapter appeared in the 1962 Knock Shrine Annual and it was repeated in the same publication in 1967 upon the request of many readers and of the editor. We are privileged to reproduce it here with the author's kind permission. (Fatima Findings, February 1972)

1. A Well-Founded Tradition

Was the Knock apparition obtained through the intercession of the souls in purgatory? Tradition affirms it to be a fact. Fortunately an early and enlighening expression of the tradition found its way into print in a very natural way. Here is how it happened. In the month of August, 1888 (just nine years after the apparition) a person who had recourse to Our Lady of Knock received a particular grace. In thanksgiving, the client had a leaflet printed and circulated. We quote, as originally printed, the relevant sections of the leaflet:

From the commencement the devotion to Our Lady of Knock had been connected with compassion for the Holy Souls. It was after 100 Masses had been offered for the souls in purgatory by the good Parish Priest that the ... apparition took place and pilgrims began to resort to Knock. Ever since a sepecial charity for the souls in purgatory has been a very marked feature of the piety of the faithful at Knock. ...

As, therefore, Our Lady of Genazzano is known as the Mother of Good Counsel and Our Lady of Lourdes is remembered in connection with the Immaculate Conception, may not Our Lady of Knock be very fitly styled the HELPER OF THE HOLY SOULS AND MOTHER OF THE CHURCH SUFFERING?

Is not her compact with those who seek a grace at Knock: "Help my suffering children in purgatory and I will be a Mother to you"?

Owing to the tradition in question one might not unreasonably hope to find in the features of the appartion some discernable sign revealing the intervention of the holy souls. But such a sign does not readily suggest itself. Even so, not just one but several such signs are present, and once discovered, they appear as unmistakable.
That the intercessory influence of purgatory should not be immediately evident is surely in keeping with the ways of God. For the holy souls have entered into the casting off and forgetting of all that is of self. Hiddenness and silence are characteristics of purgatorial life. Seeking to be unknown save to God alone these saintly sufferers wait in ineffable obscurity for the open vision of the Lamb of God. It would seem, then, that the utter self-effacement of these souls and even a certain divine propriety, required that the signs of their intervention should be in part concealed behind the veil of mystery.
But it is a mystery which commands close attention, invites reverent inquiry, urges us to raise our hearts and minds to God. So doing, the obscure influence of purgatory in the design as well as in the history of the apparition becomes gradually clear and finally reveals itself in an admirable brightness. Here also, in a breath of divine repose, prayer sees anew through our Lady's eyes the infinite beauty of the Eucharistic Sacrifice which purifies our own souls while we are yet on earth and hastens for the much loved souls in purgatory the blessed vision of peace.

To be continued

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