Recently, a fallen away Catholic who has been trying to hit Catholic pages on the internet has attempted to reach out to me. He wanted to challenge me using the bible to defend his apostasy making false claims against the Church. This individual makes false application of scripture that has entrenched him into deep heresy. This has been happening since the Devil rebelled against God creating Hell where fallen angels and poor unrepentant sinners go.
In the 16th century, the Catholic Faith was plagued with heresies that spread across much of Europe. There were wars that resulted from the mass apostasy taking place at the time. First, Martin Luther and his branch of Protestantism reached Siluva Lithuania and in time John Calvin's sect called Calvinism over took the Lutherans that brought about a massive persecution against the Catholic Church. Much like the person challenging Catholics on the internet today, these Calvinist sought to destroy anything Catholic. So fierce were their anti-Catholicism.
In 1608, after about 80 years after the Catholic Church in Siluva Lithuania was destroyed, the vast majority of the people were bound in heresy and had lost the true Faith. One day as children were shepherding their sheep they happened to be on what was once holy ground where the original Catholic Church used to be. A beautiful Lady captivated the children as she was crying standing on a rock holding an infant boy in her arms. Even though she was very sad, the Lady did not speak to the children. As soon as the children first saw the Lady, she disappeared from their sight. Of this vision one of the children hurried to one of the Calvinist teachers and told him what they had witnessed. All the children told their parents of the vision which caused a great stir in the community. Soon, a great crowd assembled at the site of the vision. One of the teachers that went to the site was named Saliamonas with little expectation. Like the guy challenging me on the internet, they thought the Lady was of the Devil.
Heaven again appeared to the place of the old Catholic site where the children first saw the beautiful Lady. She appeared weeping standing on the same rock as before holding an infant boy. The Calvinist reached out to her asking why she was crying. The Lady responded, "There was a time when my beloved Son was worshiped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and the tiller and to the animals for grazing." With that the Lady disappeared leaving the crowd wondering what they had just witnessed. Even the Calvinist teachers were in a state of wonder. News of what happened began to spread even among the Calvinists. The people were questioning what this might mean.
There was within the community a blind man who had reached the age of 100 and remembered when the Catholic Faith was the practice among the people before the plague of heresy had over taken the people of Siluva. When he had heard of the visions taking place at the site where the Catholic Church once stood, he rejoiced. He remembered Fr. Holubka who was a Parish Priest of the community way back then. He recalled that they had buried an iron-clad chest near the site of the rock where the Lady had appeared. Many of the people hearing and seeing the vision led the man who never renounced his Catholic Faith despite the rebellion all around him to the site of the vision. A great sign among the people happened that God worked through the faithful old man. Upon their arrival, the man miraculously recovered his sight. With great jubilation, he pointed to the very spot where the chest was buried. The people hurriedly dug up the chest and opened it finding the large painting of a Virgin Mary and the Christ Child. There were priest vestments, Chalices and historical documents including the original church deed.
As a result of Our Lady's appearance the Lithuanian people immediately returned to the Catholic Faith. This would include the teachers of Calvinism and those of their authority. The land was returned to the Catholics in a court action that was completed in 1622. The people built a wooden church on the old site and pilgrimages brought great crowds. The Church offered an indulgence on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary and many miracles were being attributed for the honor given to the picture of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child.
In 1775 Pope Pius VI offered another indulgence for an eight day novena. The icon of Jesus and Mary was adorned with golden crowns that is still present in the Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was dedicated in 1786. Today, there are many heresies that make false accusations on the Catholic Faith and Heaven speaks to them as Our Lady did to those in this story. The bible warns against this very forcefully:
"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!" Galatians 1:6-9
"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the Antichrist was coming, so now many Antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number." 1 John 2:18-19
"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." Titus 3:10
There is hope for those who have fallen from the Faith:
"My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." James 5:19-20
"“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy... and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep. I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Luke 15:3-7
Unfortunately this fallen Catholic on the internet accuses me of worshipping the Virgin Mary, that is not true, this only shows how far gone they are from the truth. We must pray for the conversion of contemporary Heretics as those Our Lady appeared to in Siluva!