Brian Kelly has written on this site about Our Lady of America and her apparitions to the holy religious in Ohio, Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil). These apparitions are approved by the Church, as the recent canonical study of the case by Archbishop Burke testifies. While there are many supposed apparitions which claim our attention, we put no credence in those lacking the Church's approbation. Since this apparition is approved, and since it has a message for the Church in America, we consider it worthy of attention, especially now.
Why now? To begin an answer, I present a thumbnail sketch of our present situation in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Our economy is a disaster, with some economists predicting a "super-crash" worse than the Great Depression. Our military is overextended in several unjust wars of aggression, policing the world for interests other than those of the American people. Recently, to the the vote on Proposition 8, furious mobs of homosexual activists have begun to perpetrate hate crimes against law-abiding citizens, who wish to protect marriage from the unnatural agenda of the "gay" lobby. As these and other situations continue to spin out of control, the American people have elected to the highest office of the land a Marxist ideologue who is more beloved by the baby-slaughtering industry than even Hilary Clinton. Therefore, unless present efforts to have his presidency challenged on constitutional grounds succeed (and that doesn't appear likely), we will have in the White House a socialist who wishes to protect, by means of the Freedom of Choice Act, a woman's "right" to commit infanticide. This will be the most militantly pro-abortion regime we have ever had. The American bishops are speaking out against the proposed legislation, and considering strong sanctions against pro-FOCA legislators, but their activities in the political arena have left some of them vulnerable to attack from pro-abortion watch-dog groups. This could presage a constitutional showdown at the OK Corral.
A more focused picture comes into view when you add to this the effects of a ubiquitous entertainment industry that hawks sex and violence; tax-financed indoctrination into feminism, homosexualism, and anti-Christian progressivism (a.k.a., "public education"); and the grim reality of our demographic winter, whereby we are making ourselves extinct.
Could all this mess produce a persecution of the Church? By this I mean a major, government-authorized one. It certainly could. In "Conscience and the Nannie State," I quoted Richard Weaver to this effect: "An ancient axiom of politics teaches that a spoiled people invite despotic control. Their failure to maintain internal discipline is followed by some rationalized organization in the service of a single powerful will. In this particular, at least, history, with all her volumes vast, has but one page" (Ideas Have Consequences, pg. 91). Already, hate-crime laws are being used against professing Christians who defend the natural law in the public arena. Those who push this radical agenda are among Obama's closest allies. As things degenerate a few degrees, what is to prevent wholesale, state-sponsored attacks on the Church's liberty?
The harassment Joe the Plumber received for simply exposing the candidate's socialism could very well auger something much worse when the candidate takes office.
Another consideration is relevant here, one that introduces the doctrine of God's Providence into our considerations. Several American apostles (e.g. Orestes Brownson, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos) have said that the Church in America will flourish only when it has suffered persecution. We are prosperous and have all the sins of a prosperous people, including spiritual sloth and indifference to supernatural truth. A little suffering, a little hunger, a little taste of the whip, could be just the thing we need to take God's rights and our salvation a bit more seriously.
Now, at last, we come to the prophesies of Our Lady of America. Here is a several-paragraph excerpt describing one apparition. The emphasis is mine.
On the evening of the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, October 7, 1957, Our Lady again appeared. Her hands were clasped in an attitude of prayer. Her look was serious, though her countenance retained its usual deep serenity. Hanging from her right hand was a blue rosary of a glass-like quality. I was conscious of the fact that what she was about to say to me was not only very grave but of the utmost importance. Our Lady reiterated in a similar manner her first warnings:
"My beloved daughter, what I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children in America. Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and thus reform their lives, God will visit them with punishments hitherto unknown to them.
"My child, there will be peace, as has been promised, but not until my children are purified and cleansed from defilement, and clothed thus with the white garment of grace, are made ready to receive this peace, so long promised and so long held back because of the sins of men.
"My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy.
"Making the rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say it with great devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted therein. Live the mysteries of the rosary as I lived them, and it will become a chain binding you to me forever. They who are found in the circle of my rosary will never be lost. I myself will lead them at death to the throne of my Son, to be eternally united to Him.
'"Write these words upon your hearts, my dear children, because of the compassion I have for you in my Immaculate Heart. Oh, if you knew the punishments I am holding back from you by my pleading and intercession on your behalf!
"Will you do as I wish at last, my children?''
The cynic may say that every apparition — true and false — speaks of chastisements of some sort, and often in a general way. True, but this apparition is approved by the Church, and is for the Church in America. Whatever it says pertains not to the Church in general, but to the Church in our Republic. Because of this, we should pay particular attention to its warnings, which speak of "punishments hitherto unknown to" us if we fail to "reform [our] lives." And we — we American Catholics — have failed to reform our lives from the time this message was given fifty-one years ago. The president whose term we await with dread received 54% of the Catholic vote. More than half of the Catholics of our Republic made themselves accomplices to an Orwellian anti-Christian program.
Some will object that, if so many Catholics are complicit in this attack upon Christian social order, a real persecution of the Church would not seem likely. In response, I would offer the speculation that those who are complicit will suffer from the economic hardships and other calamities visited upon us, but that, in addition, an active persecution will befall all those bishops, priests, and faithful who stand up for Christ the King — however few they may be. I make no pretense of having figured all this out, in the fashion of a slick televangelist, who has the Book of Daniel's end-times chronology neatly schematized. What I do know is the content of the above sober warnings of Our Lady, from an approved apparition. Her words can't even be mistranslated; the revelations were made in English.
But there is hope here, for Our Lady of America also tells us that this suffering will be "purifying," and that it will prepare us to "receive [God's] great gift of peace." Thus, the condition for America's conversion, according to a great nineteenth-century Catholic philosopher and a beatified missionary from the same era, will be realized in what Our Lady has prophesied.
Maybe President Barack Obama is what the Church in this country really needs.