In 1973 Sister Agenes Katsuko Sasagawa entered her convents chapel to prepare for the Eucharist when a brilliant light shone out of the tabernacle, Sister Sasagawa was so overwhelmed she immediately dropped to her knees and prayed for the next hour. Over the next few months Sister Sasagawa had many more mystical visions, including seeing angels worshiping the host and receiving the stigmata.
The night Sister Sasagawa received the stigmata she woke up in the early hours of the morning and began her prayers, a voice spoke to her inside her head (Sister Sasagawa had been struck deaf earlier that year) telling her to go and pray in the chapel. Sister Sasagawa complied and kneeling before the statue of the blessed virgin she saw it illuminate with a bright light and the statue spoke, again hearing it within her mind.
This was the first of the apparitions that would come to be known as “Our Lady of Akita”. Though far less famous than Fatima the message of Akita is of significant importance to us today. Sister Sasagawa received several private revelations but the most important is the warning the Blessed Virgin gave. The warning given builds upon the warnings that were given at Fatima and the Blessed Virgin was even more urgent in her call for prayer and penance.
“My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity…the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayer of the Rosary. With the Rosary pray for the Pope, bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres. Churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them.”
It’s a sobering message. Interestingly enough although Cardinal Ratzinger (then the Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) supposedly confirmed the apparition as being “worthy of belief” and stated that “it matches well with the messages of other Marian apparitions” the Vatican has walked that back significantly and claims that it hasn’t made a judgement on the matter. Certainly it wouldn’t seem that the hierarchy of the Church would be in any rush to confirm a message that essentially says a great number of them have been subverted by Satan and are acting in opposition to God.
Regardless of the Vatican’s position I think it would be foolish to take the message of Akita lightly. If nothing else it reminds us of the reality of the spiritual battle we fight and the importance of prayer as our primary weapon in this battle. In every confirmed Marian apparition the Blessed Virgin always urges Christians to pray, pray ceaselessly and especially to pray the Rosary, our greatest tool to ward off the powers of the world.
Pray for the Pope, our Priests and the Church. They need it now more than ever.