The Sweet Name of Mary
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“We are in the month of Mary – what could be found more beautiful and more encouraging, than a visit to the altar of Mary, there to join our voices with the songs of spring, with the birds of the air, the murmur of the wind, the blossoming of nature and above all, with the chants of those innocent children of our families?
Nothing is more joyful than this vision of youth, which is the promises of a sure future and an augury and fountain of blessings, because, pure young people who have flowered in innocence, are the pledge of the Lord’s most wonderful graces.
The Pope recalls his Lenten visits to some parishes of his Diocese of Rome, in newly built areas. He knew then, that all felt in their innermost hearts, the sweetness of this meeting of Christians and welcomed the Pope’s endeavour to bring to everyone, the name of Mary and the blessing of Jesus, to describe to them and recall to their minds, the great wonders and miracles, which, by the Lord’s grace, the Catholic faith and the practice of virtue, bring into the world.
So all feel greatly comforted, even when the road is sown with thorns, we have more courage to remove these thorns and to endure them with patience, turning our mind and heart to heaven, to call on the sweet name of Mary and ask her to bring us the true inspiration from on high and the source of all blessings, Jesus our Lord.”
Thought for the Day – 3 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Imitation of Mary
“Earthly mothers are delighted when they see a reflection of themselves in the features and mannerisms of their children.
In the same way, Mary, our Heavenly Mother, is pleased when her sons seek to reproduce, as far as possible, in their lives, the faithful imprint of her spiritual motherhood.
We should imitate Mary, therefore.
Especially in this month, which is dedicated to her, we should not be content, merely, to pray before her altar and decorate it with flowers but, we should make daily progress in imitating her virtues, particularly, the virtue which we need most.
We may be lacking in humility, that virtue which is so outstanding in Our Lady.
Or perhaps we are lacking in purity, the most difficult yet, the most necessary of all the virtues.
Then again, we may be wanting in acceptance of God’s will when we are suffering or misunderstood.
We should try and do God’s will in everything and with perfect trust in Him, as Mary did at Nazareth and Bethlehem, in exile and in her own country, in her humble home and on the apostolic journeys in which she followed her divine Son, on the sorrowful way of the Cross, on Calvary, at the feet of Jesus, at the Resurrection and glorious Ascension and in the years in which she waited on earth for the final loving reunion in Heaven.
Let us repeat with her always: “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38).
There is a story told about a holy man who prayed to Mary in all his difficulties: “Show yourself to be my mother.”
One day, he heard the reply: “Show yourself to be my son.”
Mary says this to us as well.
If we wish her to prove that she is our mother, we must show her, that we are really her sons, by mirroring in our lives, her outstanding sanctity.”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 May – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Vocations/Good Shepherd Sunday and the Memorial of Blessed Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz (1877-1903)
The charism of Blessed Rosaz is a wonderful example of a model of the Good Shepherd, Christ Himself. Bl Edoardo had the gift of the Holy Spirit placed in his heart as a man, a Priest, a Bishop in love with God, the saving mystery of Christ and the Holy Virgin. This charism emerged as a consequence of his being “consecrated” totally to the glory of God and the salvation of souls. It stems from his “Do all, so as to win over all to Christ” (Cf 1 Cor 9:19) and from his passion for the poor – the image of the poor and suffering Christ.
“We have the Providential love of God as our guide. When there is a ship at sea and heads towards the port, nobody doubts that it is led by a pilot and one could doubt that there is a God who guides the universe only because He cannot be seen? By His Providential Love, God arranges and regulates events, regulates everything, with gentleness and wisdom. I advise you to abandon yourself completely into the hands of Divine Providence. “
“Prayer is the rest of the soul, the refreshment of those who are hungry and thirsty for justice; it is the sweet conversation of a son with the most tender of fathers; of a friend with the most fond of friends; prayer is the strength, the comfort, the happiness of life on earth. “
Sunday Reflection – 3 May – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday
How long have we been without Sunday Mass? How much longer will this continue? How are we holding on? How are we surviving?
“Let us never forget that an age prospers or dwindles in proportion to it’s devotion to the Holy Eucharist. This is the measure of it’s spiritual life and it’s faith, of it’s charity and virtue”
St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)
Act of Spiritual Communion
As I cannot this day enjoy the happiness
of assisting at the holy Mysteries, O my God!
I transport myself in spirit at the foot of Thine altar,
I unite with the Church, which by the hands of the priest,
offers Thee, Thine adorable Son in the Holy Sacrifice.
I offer myself with Him, by Him and in His Name.
I adore, I praise and thank Thee,
imploring Thy mercy,
invoking Thine assistance
and presenting Thee the homage
I owe Thee as my Creator,
the love due to Thee as my Saviour.
Apply to my soul, I beseech Thee, O merciful Jesus,
Thine infinite merits,
apply them also to those for whom I particularly wish to pray.
I desire to communicate spiritually,
that Thy Blood may purify,
Thy Flesh strengthen
and Thy Spirit sanctify me.
May I never forget that Thou,
my divine Redeemer, have died for me,
may I die to all that is not Thee,
that hereafter, I may live eternally with Thee.
“[Our time] is a period in which the world is in crisis, as formerly and in which most values, even the most sacred ones, are rashly questioned in the name of freedom, so that many people have no longer any point of reference, in a period in which danger comes certainly not from an excess of dogmatism but rather from the dissolution of doctrine and the nebulousness of thought… It seems to Us that an additional effort should be courageously undertaken to give the Christian people, who are waiting for it more than is thought, a solid, exact catechetical base, easy to remember. We well understand that it is difficult today to adhere to the Faith, particularly for the young, a prey to so many uncertainties. They have the right at least to know precisely the message of Revelation, which is not the fruit of research and to be the witnesses of a Church that lives by it.”
One Minute Reflection – 3 May – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday, Readings: Acts 2:14, 36-41, Psalm 23:1-6, 1 Peter 2:20-25, John 10:1-10 and the Memorial of Blessed Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz (1877-1903)
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” … John 10:9
REFLECTION – “Anyone who enters by me will be saved, he will go in out and will find pasture.”(Jn 10:9) He will go into faith, he will go out from faith to vision, from belief to contemplation, will find pasture in eternal refreshment.
The Good Shepherd’s sheep will pasture, because whoever follows Him with a guileless heart, is nourished with a food of eternal freshness. What are the pastures of these sheep but the eternal joys of an evergreen paradise? The pasture of the elect, is the face of God always before us. When we see Him perfectly, our hearts are endlessly satisfied with the food of life…
Let us seek these pastures, dearly beloved! There we may enjoy the celebration of so many citizens. Let the festival of those who rejoice attract us… Let us enkindle our hearts, my friends, let our faith grow warm again for what it believes, let our desire for heavenly things take fire. To love thus, is to be already on the way. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination is not deterred by the roughness of the road that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveller who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing, that he forgets where he is going.”… St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Gospel, no15
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, bring us to the joy of Your heavenly city, so that we, Your little flock, may follow where Christ, our Good Shepherd, has gone before us, by the power of His Resurrection. May the prayers of Bl Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz and the Blessed Virgin, guide us, that we may always follow our Shepherd and thus reach our heavenly home, to praise Him forever. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 3 May – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and “Mary’s Month”
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary Before Holy Mass
O most blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of tenderness and mercy,
I, a miserable and unworthy sinner,
fly to you with all the affection of my heart
and I beseech your motherly love,
that, as you stood by your most dear Son,
while he hung on the Cross,
so, in your kindness,
you may be pleased to stand by me, a poor sinner,
and all Priests who today are offering the Sacrifice
here and throughout the entire holy Church,
so that with your gracious help,
we may offer a worthy and acceptable oblation
in the sight of the most high and undivided Trinity.
(This prayer is adapted from the Priests’ Prayers Before each Mass)
Saint of the Day – 3 May – Blessed Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz TOSF (1877-1903) Bishop of Susa from 1877 until his death, Founder of Franciscan Mission Sisters of Susa, Third Order Franciscan, Apostle of the poor, his charism was one totally supported by the Holy Eucharist and total abandonment to Divine Providence and Prayer, Spiritual Director – born on 15 February 1830 in Susa, Piedmont, Italy and died on 3 May 1903 in Susa, Piedmont, Italy of natural causes, aged 73. Patronages – Franciscan Mission Sisters of Susa and of Susa.
Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz was born on 15 February 1830 in Susa, as the fifth of seven children to a wealthy family who had fled the French Revolution. He was Baptised in the Susa Cathedral on 16 February.
During his childhood and youth he manifested a patient, peaceful, profoundly good nature and extended himself for the good of others. Edoardo was poor in health from his birth but he was also endowed with a spiritual fortress that led him to overcome any difficulty. In his gentleness and sensitivity, he favoured the poorest, adapting to their mentality and their way of life, giving himself to everyone and thus grew evermore in love for Christ.
At a very young age he entered the Seminary, showing a deep zeal and a strong docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. He completed his ecclesial studies in Nice, France where he was Ordained to the Priesthood.
As a twenty-four year old priest, he took charge of the social problems he perceived in his territory. He became Canon of the Cathedral Church, Chaplain of the Carceri, Rector of the Diocesan Seminary, spiritual director of various religious families and, finally, Bishop of Susa in 1878. He also opened a retreat house for girls and during this time, he met and became a friend of St John Bosco, who was instrumental in recommending him as the Rector of the Seminary. During this vocational itinerary he decided to become a Franciscan tertiary, living in extreme poverty, great humility and penance. He followed the spirituality of the Seraphic Father Francis in his mission as pastor.
Pope Pius IX appointed him as the Bishop of Susa on 31 December 1877 – at St John Bosco’s suggestion – and the Archbishop of Turin, Lorenzo Gastaldi granted him his episcopal Consecration in 1878 in the Susa Cathedral. He had wept upon learning he was to be made a Bishop and sent a letter to Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli protesting the appointment, mentioning his lack of theological or canon law doctorates. But for his Diocese, he became an example to be imitated, on the path of Christian conversion.
Following divine inspiration, he founded the Institute of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Susa in 1874, with the aim of continuing to face the problems present in the Val di Susa, first of all the reception of young people in difficulty, with a simple Franciscan style that his nuns would live. He adopted as a motto for his “daughters” a famous phrase of St Paul: “Do all so as to win over all to Christ”(Cf 1 Cor 9:19).
In January 1888, he was at St John Bosco’s deathbed in Turin and attended and assisted at his funeral. In 1898 he led Diocesan pilgrimages to Rome and to Turin for the exposition of the Holy Shroud. After attending St John Bosco’s funeral he took part in the Eucharistic Congress in Turin and another in Milan, in 1895.
In the last years of his life he conceived the idea of building retirement homes for elderly and abandoned people. A lot of work and dedication assisted in undermining his already not too robust health. The first signs of illness hit him on 12 January 1903, while visiting the schools of Susa. Finally, after an edifying preparation, on the morning of 3 May 1903 ‘Sister death’ arrived.
His remains were relocated in 1919 to the Motherhouse of his order in Susa. His order received diocesan approval on 2 February 1903 while being aggregated to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin on 9 March 1906. It received the decree of praise from Pope Pius XI on 10 July 1934 and papal approval from Pope Pius XII on 27 July 1942.
On 14 July 1991, in Susa, Pope John Paul II Beatified the Founder by describing him as “apostle of God of Love who responded to the expectations of his brothers, especially the poorest, with the charity of the heart of Christ.”
Today, after over a hundred years, the charism and works of Blessed Rosaz continue to live through the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Susa founded by him with 40 convents and 240 sisters in Italy, Switzerland, Libya and Brazil.