April 5, 2016
Letter No. 14 to the KNIGHTS OF THE IMMACULATA — ASIA
Establishment of the M.I. — PRAYER CRUSADE
Dear Knights of the Immaculata,
Saint Maximilian Kolbe from the very first issue of his bulletin "Rycerz Niepokalanej — The Knight of the Immaculata" invited all knights to pray daily in the intentions of fellow knights. He also invited the knights to send their prayer request to the headquarters. The most important of these requests he even had them published in his bulletin.
The effect of this apostolate was unexpected: he received more and more letters of thanksgiving that the requests were miraculously granted. So he decided to dedicate an extra page in his bulletin with the title: "thanksgivings to the Immaculata". In very small fonts one can read on this page 100–200 testimonies like:
— "Thank you, dear Knights, my dying son was cured miraculously exactly 9 days after having asked for your prayers",
— "Thank you, Immaculata, through the prayers of your Knights I found my vocation",
— "Special thanks to the knights of ... region, to save the Catholic school which was about to be closed to the damage of many of our children".
After 6 months, the redactor was obliged to add another page, and when the bulletin reached the score of 800,000 copies, he dedicated 4 pages for this rubric with total 700 – 800 thanksgivings monthly for received graces. This means, that every year almost 10,000 people wrote to the redaction to thank such obvious interventions from heaven, thanks to the prayers of the knights. But how many more received graces without writing back?
This is an important lesson for us: Our Lady always hears our prayers (if they are well done with good intention — read your catechism on this aspect!), and if we ask her seriously and constantly, she will surprise us with even miraculous answers. Why such unexpected fruits to our prayers? Because Our Lady loves generous souls. The more generous we are towards her requests, the more generous she will be to us. Her generosity is definitely thousands, million times more than ours.
But there is another, even deeper reason for all that: it makes us understand the essence of the Militia, which is the victorious presence of the Immaculata herself in the world through and by her instruments. The MI is the mediatrix of all graces "in full action". SHE wants to bring her lost children on the right way and infuse in their souls graces of conversion and sanctification. This is the mission she received from her Divine Son when he was dying on the cross. But she can accomplish this mission only if she finds instruments, channels through which she can pass the floods of graces into these souls.
Through your enrollment you have become such an instrument, HER KNIGHT! However, you are her instrument only when you act with the precise goal of "striving for the conversion of sinners, schismatics, heretics, and specially free-masons....". This is the case, if you do something for their salvation, if you distribute the miraculous medals, if you set a good example, more specially if you offer your sufferings and sacrifices in that intention; but most of all, if you PRAY.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe insisted many times: The universal and primary means of the M.I. is prayer, and concretely the apostolic prayer. "The goal of the Knight of the Immaculata is the conversion of souls, the triumph of the Immaculata throughout the world. Yet all external activities and projects are not capable of converting even one soul, for this is the work of divine grace."
The apostolate among free men consists of turning the will, which is perhaps wicked, to what is good, so that a person who may be far from God or even God's enemy might draw near to God and become God's friend. And God assigns this task to His Knights through the Immaculata: that they go to the rescue of souls and become missionaries of Christ's Kingdom. It depends on them whether people are snatched from the fires of hell and how many souls will be. This, however, is the greatest grace of all. How can the Knight draw this grace down from heaven? Principally through prayer.
"Through prayer and suffering we can obtain many graces. External activity only prepares the way for grace; of itself it cannot provide these graces. There is one prayer that surely corresponds to God's will, namely the request for one's own sanctification and that of one's neighbor. When we pray that the Immaculata might win all souls, then that is surely God's will. For this intention we can offer up all our efforts, troubles and sufferings to the Immaculata, so that she might conquer the world.
Napoleon was once asked what was needed to win a battle. He answered: "Three things are needed: Money, money, and still more money!"
Just so, when it is a matter of sanctifying souls, one needs prayer, prayer and still more prayer. If prayer is lacking, the soul becomes weak. One will have precisely as much from the treasury of graces as one draws from it. Prayer is the most misunderstood and yet the most powerful means of restoring peace to souls, of making them happy, and of bringing them close to God's love. Prayer renews the world. Prayer is the prerequisite for the rebirth and the life of every soul. Through prayer St. Thérèse [of Lisieux] became the patroness of all the missions, although she never went outside the walls of her cloister.
That is how we, too, want to pray: to pray well, to pray much, with the lips, with the heart. Then we will personally experience how the Immaculata rules more and more over our souls, how we will belong more and more completely to her, how guilt vanishes and faults diminish, how gently and powerfully we draw closer and closer to God. External activity is good, but it goes without saying that it is secondary, and even less than secondary in comparison with the interior life, the life of recollection and prayer, the life of personal love for God. To the extent that we ourselves burn more and more with divine love, we will be able to kindle the hearts of others with this love. To win souls for God is a very difficult undertaking. Often human means fail: fruitless conversations and discussions, projects that trickle away into the sand, publications printed in vain, and so on. But prayer never disappoints!
"Short sighs from the heart while at work are the best prayer, for it unites us again and again, ever more strongly with the Immaculata, unites the instrument with Our Lady's hand, and thereby we receive many graces. When something in life goes wrong, when the Knight is defeated by the Enemy or the victory is not won, one should first ask oneself: Have we prayed enough? Has each one of us really taken this matter to prayer? We must especially guard against activism, which sees in external activity the entire effectiveness of a project. The Knight who spends himself completely in these externals is in great danger of becoming fruitless himself and of maneuvering himself into a great deception."
Only in 2012, after having re-established the M.I. in its traditional observance, I answered to the request of some knights in Poland to start this prayer apostolate, established a special list of knights who agree to say one decade of the Rosary with the Memorare in the intentions given by the secretariat. After one month we had 50 knights in the apostolate, after one year there were almost 1000. The reason?
After 3 months, I had to print in our bulletins similar 'thanksgivings' as quoted above. The effects were totally overwhelming. Never in my life could I imagine, that the Immaculata was just waiting for this apostolate to pour out her graces to her beloved knights.
Therefore I have decided to start a similar apostolate in Asia.
Here is the special email address to which you may write:
1/ Please write that you want join the M.I. — PRAYER CRUSADE. For that you promise to say every day at least one decade of the Rosary with the M.I. prayer "O Mary conceived without sin ...." as well as the Memorare of Saint Bernard ("Remember, o most blessed Virgin Mary...").
Attention: if for whatever reason you do not pray this decade (you forgot, you had no time, you were sick etc.), you do NOT commit any sin. But it would be good, that the next day you would then say 2 decades.
The intention of this decade is: to pray for all prayer requests given:
a) by the Knights of the Immaculata who join the M.I. — PRAYER CRUSADE,
b) by the moderators of the M.I.
2/ Send your prayer requests as much and as often you want! These requests will be automatically forwarded to all Knights who participate in the M.I. — Prayer Crusade (exception: if your request would not be in concordance with the laws of the Church, it will be sent back to you asking you to modify).
Attention: the secretariat will decide if your prayer requests will be sent explicitly to the fellow knights or only in general (e.g. "20 knights asked for prayers for the conversion of their family members etc.). If you do NOT want your request to be published, please mention that in your email.
3/ You are strongly encouraged to send a note of thanksgiving if your prayer request was granted.
May I invite you all to join the M.I. — PRAYER CRUSADE. Imagine: if 10 000 knights will pray every day one decade, 2000 rosaries would be said daily for the intentions of the Knights. Besides that, you will have done every day an extraordinary apostolate for HER.
Remember always: If you pray for yourself seriously, you will receive.
If you pray for others, you yourself will receive double.
Fr. Karl Stehlin
Manila, 5 April 2016
TOWARDS FATIMA 2017 (PART 6)
13 MAY 1917 (II) — THE IMMACULATA AMONGST USRead about “Towards Fatima 2017” here (section: Apparition of Our Lady / Fatima)