9th August : Our Lady Of The Burning Cloud (Atom Bomb)

Our Lady Of The Burning Cloud (Atom Bomb)

Country : Belgium

Year : 1945

On Thursday, August 9, 1945, a blinding flash split the sky above Nagasaki.  A great ball of fire appeared and stretched to a purple column 10,000 feet high and from its top burst a gigantic mushroom.  A gray-white cloud rushed down on the city bringing darkness; a colossal wind swept over the rooftops; the whole city became a mass of flames.  This was the atom bomb.

Upon this scene Our Lady looked with pain and pity.  When Catholic missionaries came to Nagasaki, after their entrance had been barred for centuries, the manner in which they convinced the natives that they were Catholic priests, was by showing them the rosary.  Then the people fell on their knees and thanked God that their years of ardent prayer had been answered.  In the absence of priests, they had gathered at the church and said the rosary always.

Knowing that the inscrutable will of God permitted even such sufferings as the atom bomb, to come to His beloved children, Mary would not stop it.  But that did not mean her Motherly care did not instantly bend to the stricken city, to Nagasaki, which was the ancestral seat of Japanese Catholicity where so many of her children cried day and night.  Somehow this cloud of suffering must be pierced by the great fire of love.

The Saint of the Atom Bomb, Dr. Paul Nagai, whose wife was buried in the ruins of their home, and who himself lived only five years after the explosion, his body gradually wasting away, was surely a ray of that love that Mary inspired.  His devotion to Mary was childlike and entire.  Her rosary was his constant prayer, and its mysteries formed a large part of the subject matter for his books and water colors.  His spiritual attitude toward the bomb had much to do with the spiritualizing of the minds of Japanese in general on that tragic weapon.  It was not unusual that death came to Paul Nagai on the first day of May—May Day, Mary Day.

Out of the burning cloud had stretched the hand of his Mother.  Out of the same symbol of destruction she reached down.  From such a devastation of many, may come, through Mary, the resurrection of many to Eternal Life.

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