The Advents of Our Lady-1 L.By Fr, C. C. Martindale, THE "Notes" during May will be.
I hope, about Our Lady, and it may seem strange if I begin with a sentence from the story of the Visitation: "Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" asks St. Elizabeth (Douay); and Mgr. Knox, seeking a more normal English, wrote: "How have I deserved to he thus visited by . . .", and doubtless humility was mingled with amazement and overwhelming joy that the Messiah was an soon to he born.
But my point here Is, that there has been in what may be called "our time" a whole series of aPParitions of Our Lady, though none of them has had the world-wide response as have Lourdes and Fatima: and these two events have three characteristics in common: in each Our Lady was iient as God's special Messenger to the world; in each. the "note" is extreme simplicity; in each, Our Lady has emphasised that "change of heart" which expresses itself in "penance".
Humanly speaking, the world is in a dreadful state, and we are not surprised that God should have sent the Crown of His purely human handiwork to speak to it— however undeserving it may be.
But, how can anything specifically "Christian" speak to the "world"—the Chinaman, the African—alas, the ex-Christian European or American? Well, Our Lady speaks to us. and we are meant to speakto the non-Catholic world and not only to one another.
But how? Clearly, rim by selfadornment! What a contrast between the elimination of all but the minimum, at Lourdes and Fatima, and the Madonnas smothered in rich robes and iewellery accumulated (however gratefully) during past centuries! In short, let there be as little money spent on self as possible.
And she asks for "penance"— yet we advertise "luxury pilgrimages"! If the simplicity of these Apparitions reflects sowell that of the first part of the Megnificat, remember that "He bath put down the mighty from their seats—The rich He bath sent empty away", Austerity preserves both innocence and even gaiety! The second of the Holy Spirit's gifts is Joy.