Perhaps one of the less known approved apparitions of Our Lady are those of Akita. The three messages were given by Our Lady in 1973. The apparitions were formally approved after years of investigation by the local Bishop in 1982. And finally in June of 1988, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, at that time the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave his definitive judgement on the Akita events and messages as reliable and worthy of belief. And as we know this Cardinal is now our beloved Holy Father Benedict XVI.
The events of Akita began in June 12, 1973 when Sr. Agnes Sasagawa in Akita Japan began to see brilliant mysterious rays emanate suddenly from the Tabernacle. The same thing happened on each of the two days that followed. On June 28, 1973 a cross-shaped wound appeared on the inside left hand of Sr. Agnes. It bled profusely and caused her much pain. On July 6, Sr. Agnes heard a voice coming from the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the chapel where she was praying, and the first message was given to Sr. Agnes. The statue was carved from a single block of wood from a Katsura tree and is three feet tall. On the same day, a few of the sisters noticed drops of blood flowing from the statue's right hand. On four occasions, this act of blood flow repeated itself. The wound in the statue's hand remained until September 29, when it disappeared. On September 29, the day the wound on the statue disappeared, the sisters noticed the statue had now begun to "sweat", especially on the forehead and neck. On August 3, 1973, Sr. Agnes received a second message. Then in October 13, 1973 , Sr. Agnes received the third and final message from Our Lady. Two years later on January 4, 1975, the statue of the Blessed Virgin began to weep. It continued to weep at intervals for the next 6 years and eight months. It wept on 101 occasions. Then on September 28, 1981, Sr. Agnes suddenly felt the presence of the angel at her side during the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. She did not see the angel in person, but a Bible appeared open before her eyes and she was invited to read a passage (Genesis 3:15)... The voice of the Angel was heard explaining in sort of a preamble that the passage had relationship with the tears of Mary, then continued: "There is meaning to the figure one hundred and one. This signifies that sin came into the world by a woman and it is also by a woman that salvation came to the world. The "zero" between the two signifies the Eternal God who is from all eternity until eternity. The first "one" represents Eve and the last "one" the Virgin Mary." This the content of the three different messages:
JULY 6, 1973
"My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together."
"Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart,being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of His Kingdom.""Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.""Most holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your Special Child.Amen."
When the prayer was finished, the Heavenly Voice said:
"Pray very much for the Pope, Bishops, and Priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Continue to pray very much...very much. Tell your superior all that passed today and obey him in everything that he will tell you. He has asked that you pray with fervor."
(Sr. Agnes was indeed healed from her deafness nine years later in 1982, attesting to the authenticity of these messages)
AUGUST 3, 1973
AUGUST 3, 1973
"My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you.""It is very important...You will convey it to your superior.""Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish,with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates."
"In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger. I desire this also from your community...that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning; put it into practice; offer in reparation(whatever God may send) for sins. Let each one endeavor, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord."
"Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together.Without attaching to much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master."
After a silence:
"Is what you think in your heart true? Are you truly decided to become the rejected stone? My novice, you who wish to belong without reserve to the Lord, to become the spouse worthy of the Spouse, make your vows knowing that you must be fastened to the Cross with three nails. These three nails are poverty, chastity,and obedience. Of the three, obedience is the foundation. In total abandonment, let yourself be led by your superior. He will know how to understand you and to direct you."
OCTOBER 13, 1973
OCTOBER 13, 1973
"My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior."
After a short silence:
"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 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 prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests."
"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against 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 demons 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""With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation."
"It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community."
And She smiled and then said:
"You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.""Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."
It is time that all of us read and pray with these messages of urgency for our troubled times and make once and for all a decision to pray the Rosary daily for peace, and for the conversion of sinners, and to offer sacrifices and do penance in order to make reparation for the many sins of the world including our own, and choose to console the Sacred Heart of Our Lord truly present in the Eucharist but afflicted by our own ingratitude and indifference.