Visions of Ven. Fr. Bartholomew Holzhauser
Recorded by himself (translated by Clarus, published with comments by Beykirch)
Ven. Fr. Bartholomew Holzhauser:
We shall now proceed to the visions and prophecies of this favored servant of God. From his great orthodoxy and holiness—the blessings which attended his pastoral ministry—the miracles which he wrought—and the visions which he was early favored with, we might argue an antecedent probability that his prophetic enunciations are truthful and genuine. Moreover, when it is recollected, that learned theologians declare that these prophecies contain nothing contrary to Scripture and ecclesiastical tradition;–when we note, too, their style, and compare their sublime bearing and import with the admitted mediocrity of the author’s talents;–when we remember, also the strict fulfillment which many of his written, as well as oral predictions have already received, and that the unfulfilled ones are borne out by like prophecies of other holy men, the probability will, to some minds, acquire almost the form of conviction.
It is remarked by the editor, M. Clarus, that the prophecies of the Old Testament are distinguished for a comparative plainness and distinctness of language; while those of the New are remarkable for their allegorical diction and profusion of symbols. And the reason for this difference is clear. The former prophecies, as they were designed to prepare the Jews for the Messiah and His kingdom, and to attest the truth of His divine mission, (Beykirch, p. 131) must needs be freer from obscurities than those addressed to a people who possess the Incarnate Truth ever present, though invisible, among them, and to whom the future can be, comparatively speaking, little more than a matter of edifying curiosity.
Holzhauser furnishes a key to most of the symbols and allegories in his own visions, as well as to those of the Apocalypse of St. John, in his Commentary upon that book. The ten visions, which as has been stated, this man of God, in obedience to the Bishop of Chiemsee, committed to writing, he accompanied with a Commentary; but as the learned editor, M. Clarus, has observed, the full bearing of these prophecies Holzhauser seems not always himself to have understood.
It is indeed a proof of the divine origin of a genuine prophecy, that the mind of the prophet should be in a passive state, and should not always fully comprehend the import of the vision brought before him.
To the first four visions out of the ten, Holzhauser appends no explanation; but the editor has, as has been above mentioned, subjoined some judicious, though too diffuse remarks, which will serve as a guide in the analysis.
IN THE FIRST VISION the prophet sees seven most unclean and hideous beasts, that with all their young ones come before, and insult, and blaspheme the throne of the Eternal. The first beast is a toad, accompanied with a countless brood of young ones, which have parrot voices. This beast, according to the editor, represents false inflated science. THE SECOND [BEAST] most heavily laden camel, and is overburdened with the price of the blood of Christ. This beast, typifies those “in whose hands is mischief, and whose right hand is full of bribes.” Psalm 26:10. THE THIRD BEAST is a neighing stallion, and is the emblem of impurity. THE FOURTH BEAST is an immense terrific serpent, symbolizing infidelity, and is in close connection with the other beasts, and derives aid and support from them. THE FIFTH BEAST is like unto a hog wallowing in its slough, and is the fitting emblem of gluttony and every species of intemperance. THE SIXTH BEAST is a furious wild boar, and is the symbol of heresy in its violent assaults against the Church. This boar fixes its tusks in the tree of life, and the blood of Christ, which is the sap of that tree, flows copiously down. THE SEVENTH BEAST was dead, and had no name. What it signified, Holzhauser declares himself he (Beykirch, p. 132) knew not. But as in the same vision he saw a land, called Priests’land, wherein was a tree watered by rivulets, but which even in summer bore no leaves nor fruits, the editor not improbably concludes, that “the dead beast, which had no name” typifies the unworthy degenerate members of the Catholic priesthood, whose works are dead. Of these visions we have only room for a few extracts.
There is a truly apocalyptic grandeur in the following vision, wherein the anti-Christian satanic philosophy of the last and present centuries is symbolized.
“THE FOURTH BEAST was like unto a snake, full of venom and gall, and bitterness, and envy. The serpent was very vast and terrible. It lifted up its head against Him who sat upon the throne, gnashed its teeth at the children of God, and bit and devoured itself out of envy, and the swelling of its venom. And I saw how the beast ruled in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; how it gnawed the grass, and the flowers of the earth, and darkened the stars of heaven. Most fearful were its tail, and tongue, and teeth. This beast there was most terrible; I shuddered at its aspect; I was afraid, and was amazed exceedingly. its name I knew not. And from the throne of Majesty came forth a voice, which spoke, This is the Murderer of souls. And I heard a voice which spoke with another, and cried out; ‘Salvation and jubilee to our God, and the Lamb upon the throne of judgment, and punishment, and recompense; for He is terrible, and almighty, and can avenge their wickedness on the inhabitants of earth. Avenge the image of Thy face, great and righteous Judge! by hail, and sulphur, and pitch, by the fire and the burning of eternity, and in the earthquakes of Thine Almightiness!’ And I heard the voice of thousands and tens of thousands, who cried ‘So be it, so be it.’” (Vol I. pp. 175-176)
THE TWO NEXT VISIONS [VISIONS 2& amp; 3] though vague and obscure, have clearly reference to the future triumphs, which the Church, after the tribulations and anguish she has had to endure for the last three centuries, is yet destined, according to ancient prophecy and tradition, to celebrate on earth. This subject we shall have occasion to recur to, when we come to speak of Holzhauser’s prophetic comments on the Apocalypse.
We pass on to the FOURTH VISION, to which the venerable author has himself furnished us with a key, and which, (Beykirch, p. 133) remarkable as it is for its clearness and vivid beauty, possesses a surpassing interest for the English reader.
“I stood in the year 1635 by the Danube, giving alms to the banished, and offering up prayers for the whole earth. I stood towards the north and the west, and my heart poured itself out in many lamentations before God, saying; ‘How long will the adversary hold this kingdom in bondage, which swims with the blood of martyrs, spilled by that accursed woman, Jezebel, as she wished to reign in the Church of God?’ And I heard at the same time that the lawful sacrifice would be intermitted for one hundred and twenty years; and on the other side of the sea I saw immense lands, and how peoples and tongues thronged together, and how the land was inwardly shaken by armies, as by an earthquake. The prodigious multitude I saw divided, and I beheld the king standing in the midst. And it was told me, ‘All rests with the king, and the king is, as it were, sold.’
“And towards the west the heavens were opened, and the land trembled as with an earthquake, and the nations were shaken, and terror came over the whole kingdom; and it was told me: ‘On the king depended the salvation of the people! And it seemed to me as if he refused; and I heard: ‘If the king will not, then will he be smitten.’ And the heavens again opened towards the west; and large fiery ball came down, flew oblique, and smote the king. And now his kingdom rested in peace, and the land was illuminated.
“And lo! I saw a ship sailing on the sea, and arrive in port, and righteous and holy men, who were in the ship, landed and they began to preach the Gospel in those countries. They prospered in their undertaking; and that land returned to peace and the sanctification of Jesus Christ.”—Vol. 1. p. 215.
Holzhauser, as we have seen above, told the Jesuit Father Lyprand, that this vision had reference to England, and to her religious and political destinies. In brief but graphic lines were here shadowed out to the prophet’s eye many leading events in the history of our Church and State for the last three hundred years. The bloody persecution of the British Catholics by the Jezebel—Queen Elizabeth—the political feuds of the British nation—the colonization of the English America—the Great Rebellion—the sale of King Charles I. by the Scotch—his unwillingness to embrace the Catholic faith—his tragic execution—the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the (Beykirch, p. 134) space of one hundred and twenty years, namely, from the year 1658, when saying Mass was prohibited under penalty of death, down to the year 1778, when the penal laws were relaxed [It is remarkable that in British America also, the same penalty against saying mass was in force from the year 1663 down to the year 1783, when it was abrogated, making exactly a period of one hundred and twenty years, during which the Holy Sacrifice was intermitted, at least in public.] –the gradual return of England to the Catholic faith, whereof many learned men now see the beginnings [Holzhauser expressly states that the conversion of England will be gradual.] –the holy foreign missionaries that have or are now preaching the faith in England, such as the French emigrant priests fifty years ago—and the Italian Passionists [The reader may perhaps remember, that the venerable Founder of the Order of Passionists, Father Paul of the Cross, once beheld in a vision, after celebrating mass, his own Religious preaching the faith in England. This vision occurred about eighty years ago.] and Rosminians, the Belgian Liguorians, and the French Conceptionists of our own day—all are here either announced or indicated. The full accomplishment of this prophecy is reserved for the future, and in our humble opinion, not very remote future. M. Beykirch, M. Clarus, and the learned reviewer of Holzhauser’s Commentary on the Apocalypse in the Historish-politische Blatter—all agree that none of his published prophecies have as yet received so exact a fulfillment as this respecting England.
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