THE REFUGE FOR OUR TIMES
THE Great Storm like a hurricane that has spread across all of humanity will not cease until it has accomplished its end: the purification of the world. As such, just as in the times of Noah, God is providing an ark for His people to safeguard them and preserve a “remnant.” With love and urgency, I beg my readers to waste no more time and begin climbing the steps into the refuge God has provided…
WHAT IS THIS REFUGE?
For decades, there have been murmurings in Catholic circles about “refuges”—literal places on earth where God will preserve a remnant. Is this just fantasy, delusion, or do they exist? I will address that question near the end because there is something far more important than physical protection: spiritual refuge.
In the approved apparitions at Fatima, Our Lady had shown the three seers a vision of Hell. She then said:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. —Message at Fatima, vatican.va
This is an extraordinary statement—one sure to ruffle the feathers of evangelical Christians. Because God is saying that the way to “Jesus the Way” (Jn 14:6) is through devotion to Our Lady. But the Christian who knows his Bible will recall that indeed, in the end times, a “woman” has an extraordinary part to play in the defeat of Satan (Rev 12:1-17) that was announced from the very beginning:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 221
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart, then, is at the center of this triumph. Cardinal Ratzinger provides a proper context:
In biblical language, the “heart” indicates the center of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8 [“Blessed are the pure of heart…”], the “immaculate heart” is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore “sees God.” To be “devoted” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat—“your will be done”—the defining center of one’s whole life. It might be objected that we should not place a human being between ourselves and Christ. But then we remember that Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: “imitate me” (1 Cor 4:16; Phil 3:17; 1 Th 1:6; 2 Th 3:7, 9). In the Apostle they could see concretely what it meant to follow Christ. But from whom might we better learn in every age than from the Mother of the Lord? —Cardinal Ratzginer, (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Message at Fatima, vatican.va
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart, then, is not like some kind of “lucky charm” that circumvents the ordinary paths of salvation: faith, repentance, good works, etc. (cf. Eph 2:8-9); it does not replace virtue but helps us to attain it. It is precisely through devotion to her Immaculate Heart—to her example, obedience, and recourse to her intercession—that we are provided the spiritual help and strength to remain upon those paths. And this help is real! I want to cry out with all my heart that this “Woman clothed in the Sun” is not a symbolic mother but an actual mother in the order of grace. She is a real and actual refuge for sinners.
…the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men… flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 970
The biggest reason Christians fear any kind of devotion to Mary is that she will somehow steal Christ’s thunder. Rather, she is the lightning that shows the way to Him. Indeed, in her second apparition at Fatima, Our Lady said:
My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. —Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 1917, The Revelation of the Two Hearts in Modern Times, www.ewtn.com
HOW IS SHE A REFUGE?
How exactly is Our Lady’s Heart a “refuge”? She is so, simply, because God has deigned it so.
The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. —Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, n. 60
Christ willed that she be not only His mother, but the mother of all of us, His Mystical Body. This divine exchange took place beneath the Cross:
“Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)
So that’s what Jesus wants us to do also: take Mary into our hearts and home. When we do, she takes us into her heart—an Immaculate Heart that is “full of grace.” By virtue of her spiritual motherhood she is able to nurture her children, as it were, with the milk of these graces. Don’t ask me how she does it, I just know that she does! Does anyone even know how the Holy Spirit works?
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)
Well, so it is with the spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is able to care for us and provide spiritual refuge, as any good mother would, because it is the Will of the Father. Thus, it is her role in these times to protect her children in the Great Storm that is now upon us.
My Immaculate Heart: it is your safest refuge and the means of salvation which, at this time, God gives to the Church and to humanity… Whoever does not enter into this refuge will be carried away by the Great Tempest which has already begun to rage. —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, December 8th, 1975, n. 88, 154 of the Blue Book
It is the refuge which your heavenly Mother has prepared for you. Here, you will be safe from every danger and, at the moment of the Storm, you will find your peace. —Ibid. n. 177
Listen to those promises! We ought to accept this gift for what it is and make haste into this refuge.
Mary’s motherhood, which becomes man’s inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 45
THE ROSARY AND THE REFUGE
It is through the practice and express devotion to Our Mother that we have already learned the promise of “refuge” in her to be true. For example, one of the Fifteen Promises Our Lady conveyed to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan regarding those who pray the Rosary, is that it…
…will be a very powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy. —erosary.com
It is no coincidence, then, that Heaven has renewed its call through many seers in the past year to pray the rosary daily. For the Rosary remains the preeminent devotion to the Immaculate Heart:
The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer… the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 39
This should not surprise us, for the Catechism teaches that the Church “is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.”  At the same time, the Church teaches that Mary “is the ‘exemplary realization’ (typus) of the Church”  or put another way:
Holy Mary… you became the image of the Church to come… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Spe Salvi, n.50
As such, she is also a kind of “ark” for believers. In the approved apparitions to Elizabeth Kindelmann, Jesus himself said:
My Mother is Noah’s Ark… —The Flame of Love, p. 109; Imprimatur from Archbishop Charles Chaput
And to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Our Lady said her Heart is “the ark of refuge.” Think of each Rosary bead, then, as though steps that lead into the Ark of her Heart. Pray the Rosary with your family every day. Gather as though you are entering the Ark before the rain. Resist the temptation to ignore not only this heavenly plea, but St. John Paul II’s cry for the Church to take up the Rosary: “May this appeal of mine not go unheard!”
As for your fallen away children, I want to extend to parents and grandparents my writing You Be Noah. There, you will find encouragement regarding your loved ones who have abandoned the faith. Praying the Rosary for our fallen away children is like laying down little stones upon a rough path that leads to the Ark. It’s your job to lay these pebbles; it’s Heaven’s role and timing as to how and when your loved ones will find them.
Of course, everything I’ve just said assumes that you will let Our Lady mother you! In Catholic vocabulary, this is called “consecration to Mary.” Read The Blessed Helpers to hear about my own consecration and find a prayer of consecration that you can say yourself.
THE PHYSICAL REFUGES
Clearly, devotion to Our Lady has provided not only spiritual but physical protection to the Church. Think of the miraculous defeat of the Ottoman forces at Lepanto… or how those priests praying the Rosary at Hiroshima were miraculously protected from the atomic blast and even radiation burns:
We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that home. —Fr. Hubert Schiffer, one of the survivors who lived another 33 years in good health with not even any side-effects from radiation; www.holysouls.com
In all times of persecution, God has provided some kind of physical protection to preserve, at the very least, a remnant of His People (read The Coming Solitudes and Refuges). Noah’s ark was really the first physical refuge. And who can fail to recall how St. Joseph was awoken at night to lead his the Holy Family into the refuge of the desert? Or how the Maccabees found refuge in persecution?
The king sent messengers… to prohibit holocausts, sacrifices, and libations in the sanctuary… Many of the people, those who abandoned the law, joined them and committed evil in the land. Israel was driven into hiding, wherever places of refuge could be found. (1 Macc 1:44-53)
Indeed, Early Church Father Lactantius foresaw refuges at a future time of lawlessness:
That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated; in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies; neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved… all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature. Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. —Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 17
Of course, some might argue that hiding is different than God’s provision of an actual refuge. However, St. Francis de Sales affirms that there will be providential places of protection during the persecutions of Antichrist:
The revolt and separation must come…the Sacrifice shall cease and…the Son of Man shall hardly find faith on earth… All these passages are understood of the affliction which Antichrist shall cause in the Church… But the Church… shall not fail, and shall be fed and preserved amidst the deserts and solitudes to which She shall retire, as the Scripture says, (Apoc. Ch. 12). —St. Francis de Sales, The Mission of the Church, ch. X, n.5
The woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. (Revelation 12:14)
Indeed, says Pope St. Paul VI…
It is necessary that a small flock subsist, no matter how small it might be. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
In the revelations to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, which bear the Imprimatur, Our Lady clearly states that her Immaculate Heart will provide not only spiritual but physical refuge:
In these times, you all need to hasten to take shelter in the refuge of my Immaculate Heart, because grave threats of evil are hanging over you. These are first of all evils of a spiritual order, which can harm the supernatural life of your souls… There are evils of a physical order, such as infirmity, disasters, accidents, droughts, earthquakes, and incurable diseases which are spreading about… There are evils of a social order… To be protected from all these evils, I invite you to place yourselves under shelter in the safe refuge of my Immaculate Heart. —June 7th, 1986, n. 326, Blue Book
According to the approved revelations to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Jesus said:
The divine justice imposes chastisements, but neither these nor [God’s] enemies get close to those souls who live in the Divine Will… Know that I will have regard for the souls who live in My Will, and for the places where these souls reside… I place the souls who live completely in My Will on earth, in the same condition as the blessed [in Heaven]. Therefore, live in My Will and fear nothing. —Jesus to Luisa, Volume 11, May 18, 1915
In other credible prophetic revelations, we read of refuges that God has prepared in advance for His People at the height of the Great Storm that has already begun:
The time is soon coming, it is rapidly approaching, for My places of refuge are in the stages of being prepared at the hands of My faithful. My people, My angels will come and guide you to your places of refuge where you will be sheltered from the storms and the forces of the antichrist and this one world government… Be prepared My people for when My angels come, you do not want to turn away. You will be given one opportunity when this hour comes to trust in Me and My Will for you, for that is why I have told you to begin to take heed now. Begin to prepare today, for [in] what appears to be days of calmness, darkness lingers. —Jesus to Jennifer, July 14th, 2004; wordsfromjesus.com
Similar to how the Lord led the Israelites in the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, Canadian mystic and exorcist, Fr. Michel Rodrigue, says he was shown that…
…you will see a little flame in front of you, if you are called to go to a refuge. This will be your guardian angel who shows this flame to you. And your guardian angel will advise you and guide you. In front of your eyes, you will see a flame that will guide you where to go. Follow this flame of love. He will conduct you to a refuge from the Father. If your home is a refuge, he will guide you by this flame through your home. If you must move to another place, he will guide you along the road that leads there. Whether your refuge will be a permanent one, or a temporary one before moving to a bigger one, will be for the Father to decide. —Fr. Michel Rodrigue, Founder and Superior General of The Apostolic Fraternity of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre (founded in 2012); “The Time of the Refuges”
Be in a state of grace, always in a state of grace.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow.
The same loving Father who cares for you today will
care for you tomorrow and everyday.
Either he will shield you from suffering
or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.
—St. Francis de Sales, 17th century bishop
Your goal must be Heaven. Everything in this life passes, but the Grace of God in you will be Eternal. —Our Lady to Pedro, April 14, 2020
Star of the Sea, by Tianna (Mallett) Williams
Today, I want to lead you by the hand like a mother:
I want to lead you ever deeper
into the depths of my Immaculate Heart…
Fear neither the cold nor the darkness,
because you will be in the Heart of your Mother
and from there you will point out the way
to a great multitude of my poor wandering children.
…my Heart is still a refuge which protects you
from all these events which are following one upon another.
You will remain serene, you will not let yourself be troubled,
you will have no fear. You will see all these things as from afar,
without allowing yourself to be in the least affected by them.
‘But how?’ you ask me.
You will live in time, and yet you will be,
as it were, outside of time….
Remain therefore always in this refuge of mine!
—To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, message to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, n. 33
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