Wednesday, May 12, 2010 and Thursday May 12, 2011.
Benedict's 10 Golden Roses to Our Lady
FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010
Benedict XVI's first stop today upon arriving by helicopter to Fatima today was to the Chapel of Apparitions to pray and to give Our Lady a Golden Rose.
The Pope knelt before the image of Our Lady of Fatima, recalling the "invisible hand" that saved the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 when he was shot by Alí Agca in St. Peter's Square. The assassination attempt took place on May 13, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Fatima.
Benedict XVI noted how John Paul II visited Fatima three times, attributing to the intercession of Mary the fact that the bullet wounds were not fatal. In 1982, the Polish Pope placed the bullet that shot him in the crown of the image of Our Lady.
"It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the 'bullet' of our anxieties and sufferings," Benedict XVI said in his prayer.
The Holy Father also noted that he brought with him a Golden Rose "as a homage of gratitude from the Pope for the marvels that the Almighty has worked through you in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims to this your maternal home."
The Golden Rose is a papal decoration conferred on prominent Catholic personalities; it has gone through a significant evolution.
Initially, kings and dignitaries received it, later it was conferred almost exclusively on queens and, more recently, on Our Lady. The distinction was created by Pope Leo IX in 1049.
In more recent times, after the Second Vatican Council, the papal decoration has become almost exclusively a gift from popes to Our Lady.
This was the 10th Golden Rose that the Pontiff has given to Our Lady in the more than five years of his Pontificate.
The other nine were given to the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Poland (2006), the Basilica of Aparecida in Brazil (2007), the Mariazell Basilica in Austria (2007), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (2008), Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Pompeii, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Europe in Gibraltar (2009), and the "Virgen de la Cabeza" (literally, Virgin of the Head) of the Diocese of Jaen, Spain (2009), and the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu (2010).
"Casciaro saw an anxious, dejected expression on Escirva's face that he had never seen before. Escriva was arguing passionately, but quietly, with Jimenez Vargas. Botella, who was closer and could hear part of their conversation, told Casciaro that Escriva felt he should not abandon the members of the Work who were facing danger in Madrid and that he wanted to return to the capital.
"Escriva spent the night in prayer, sobbing quitely, torn between the need of freedom to carry out Opus Dei and exercise his priestly ministry and the sense that he should share the fate of the members of the Work and and his family members who were still in Madrid. Amid extreme inner turmoil, he did someting he had never done before - request an extraordinary sign to resolve his dilemma. Moved by his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, who is involked as the Mystical Rose, he asked her to give him a gilded rose if God wanted him to continiue the attempt to cross over to the other zone of Spain.
"When the others awakened the next morning and began to prepare for Mass, Escriva remainee deeply distressed. During the night, when Escriva had protested that he did not have the strength to make it through the mounains, Jimenez Vargas had told him, 'We are going to take you to the other side, dead or alive.' But this morning, neither Jimenez Vargas nor anyone else said anything. Escriva left the room alone, probably to pray in the vandalized church. When he returned, his face was radiant with joy and peace. In his hand, he held a gilded wooden rose. In 1936 when the militia sacked the church, they had torn down the carved and gilded wooden altarpiece and carried it outside to burn. The rose, which had probably formed a part of the frame of roses encircling the image of Our Lady of the Rosary, had survived. Escriva saw it as the sign he had requested.
"Escriva rarely spoke of this event. When asked about the rose, he would usually change the subject or limit himself to commenting that our Lady is the mystical rose. Del Portillo, his closest collaborator and first successor, explained why Escriva did not usually talk about this or the other extraordinary grace he received:
'First of all, out of humility, since he was the protagonist of these events, the one who received God's special graces, his "caresses," of which there have been many in the Work's history. Second, he didn't want even his children to know about these spiritual divine favors, so that we would all know and understand that we should do Opus Dei, not because of miracles, but because it is God's will' [John F. Coverdale, "UnCommon Faith," Scepter (2002) 245-246].