Queen of the World
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“An eloquent passage written by St Peter Canisius, as a commentary on the Gospel of St Luke, contains these admirable reflections: “Oh blessed day that saw the humble Handmaid of the Lord raised and borne aloft to such great glory, made Queen of Heaven and Mistress of the world! She could rise no higher than this, being destined to reign in glory by the side of Christ, enthroned in the Kingdom of the blessed.”
…. This is one of the characteristic conceptions of the Christian faith.
When we think of the Mother, we know we are all brothers of the Son; we know that the Spirit, the divinity of our Brother, passes mysteriously into us and enables us to understand these hidden and wonderful truths, with the help of the sublime and magnificent indications of the sacred liturgy.
We must, therefore, try in every way we can, to foster these feelings in ourselves and make them more profound, ever adding new warmth to our love for Mary.
This helps us to love our Lord Jesus Christ, the beginning, the continuation and the end of all and, also, to love His Gospel and His Church.
Everything must always be placed in the light of this supernatural doctrine and under the protection of the Mother of God, who, having risen to eternal glory, has not withdrawn herself from us and does not lose sight of us.
She is always willing and anxious to listen to our prayers and receive the trustful petitions we offer to her, with profound humility, so that she may present them to her Son.”
Thought for the Day – 25 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Living in the Presence of God
“The ability to live always in the presence of God, is the foundation of the spiritual life.
It is an unquestionable fact, that we are always i the presence of God. “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
But, we must be aware of this divine presence.
If we really live all the time in the presence of God, we shall be able to avoid sin, practise virtue and enjoy God’s close friendship.
How can we offend God, our Creator, Redeemer and Judge, if we remember that we are being watched by Him? “If we reflect on the presence of God,” says St Thomas Aquinas, “we shall hardly ever sin” (Opusc 58:2). “If we keep ourselves always in the presence of God,” writes St John Chrysostom, “we shall think no evil, say no evil and do no evil” (Hom 8 ad Phil 2).
When we are always aware of God’s presence and realise that He is absolute truth, goodness and beauty, we shall be moved to love and imitate Him. “Walk in my presence and be perfect” (Gen 17:1).
Because God is our only true good, we shall try, by every means in our power, to live close to Him and to offer Him all the thoughts, desires and actions of our day.
The rare moments of formal prayer will not be enough for us then but, we shall long to be in constant communication with God.
When boiling water is moved away from the fire, it gradually loses it’s heat.
It is the same with us, St John Chrysostom remarked, when we move away from our awareness of God. We must live in His presence all the time and must check ourselves immediately, if we notice that we are slipping away from this ideal.
My dear Mother Mary, you who lived in the intimate presence of God, obtain for me also this great grace, so that I may avoid sin, do good and love God upon earth, in the hope of enjoying Him forever in Heaven. Amen.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 May – The Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)
“Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.”
“You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward.”
“O Sisters, if we would only comprehend the fact that while the Eucharistic Species remain within us, Jesus is there and working in us inseparably with the Father and the Holy Spirit and, therefore, the whole Holy Trinity is there.”
“Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering and accompanied with great reverence. One should consider, that he stands in the presence of God and speaks with a Lord before whom the angels tremble from awe and fear.”
“The last thing I ask of you — and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — is that you love Him alone, that you trust implicitly in Him and, that you encourage one another continually, to suffer for the love of Him.”
One Minute Reflection – 25 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter, Readings: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-7, John 16:29-33 and the Memorial of St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607)
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have conquered the world.” ... John 16:33
REFLECTION – “Let nothing intervene to hinder the progress of any who travel alongside each other, in this evangelical life but let us walk with agile step though the road be rough and hard, let us show a brave and manly spirit, overcome obstacles, pass along from pathway to pathway, from hill to hill, until we climb onto the mountain of the Lord and make a home for ourselves in the holy place of His impassibility.
Now, companions assist each other on the way; so then, my brothers, as the apostle says: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and make up for whatever is lacking to others (cf. 2 Cor 8:14 ; Phil 2:30). To the negligence that perhaps holds sway today, noble courage will succeed tomorrow, now one is in gloom and then suddenly one rises to the surface and discovers joy again, at one moment our passions rise up but soon God comes to help us, they are broken and calm returns. For you will only be seen like this yesterday and the day before but, dear friend, you will not always remain the same but the grace of God will draw near you, the Lord will fight for you and perhaps, like the great Antony, you will say: “Where were you just now?” and he will answer: “I wanted to see your combat.”
For now, let us persevere, children, dear children, let us be patient for a little, brothers, dear brothers.… Who will be crowned without having fought? Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)? Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul? Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk – Catechesis 28
PRAYER – Lord God, as You brought joy to the world, through the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, grant that through His Virgin Mother, we may constantly seek and recognise our Lord and Saviour and turn to Him in complete trust and love. May we ever live in confidence and share our joy with our neighbour. St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi, pray that we may know the courage of our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 25 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter
Salve Regina Hail Holy Queen By Blessed Herman the Cripple (1013–1054) His Memorial is on 25 September
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve,
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus
This line by St Bernard (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
℣ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟ that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
Saint of the Day – 25 May – Saint Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) Carmelite Nun and Mystic, Ecstatic, she bi-located and was the intercessor of many miracles, Stigmatist – born as Caterina de’ Pazzi (but in the family was called Lucrezia) in 1566 at Florence, Italy and died on 25 May 1607 of natural causes. Patronages – against bodily ills, against sexual temptation, against sickness, sick people, Naples (co-patron).
The second of four children, Caterina was born in Florence on 2 April 1566, to Camilo de’ Pazzi and Maria Buondelmonti. In the comfortable setting of a noble family, that began to call her Lucrezia, after her paternal grandmother, the young girl grew up peacefully and with a certain sensitivity to the aesthetic side of her social condition. Her heart was open to God and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in great simplicity, which is something we can see in the way she might share her lunch pack with a needy person, out of compassion, or the way she would help the children of the poor by gently offering them the first truths of faith. Her mother’s deep piety and the visits to her home by the Jesuit Fathers, that her parents invited regularly, helped to stamp on Caterina’s soul that sense of Church, “sensus ecclesiae,” that in later life would appeal so much to her conscience.
At eight years of age, she was sent as a pupil to the nuns at San Giovannino. The nuns, who noticed the contemplative nature of the child, prepared her for First Holy Communion and not many weeks later, Caterina was sufficiently mature to offer her virginity to God. She was ten years old and now she didn’t need anymore to get the scent of Jesus, by standing near her mother when she had received Holy Communion, now, she began to meditate on the humanity of Jesus. As she was learning to read, she came across the Athanasian Creed and she was very inspired by it. In the same way, she grew to be totally enamoured by the meditations of St Augustine and the Lord’s Passion by Loarte, which she read on the advice of Fr Andrea Rossi, who was her Spiritual Director. The artworks below are of St Augustine writing on her heart.
She had not yet reached the age of seventeen, when she showed her desire to be consecrated to God in religious life. Having overcome the initial opposition of her family, she entered the monastery in Borgo San Frediano, to join the Carmelite community of Santa Maria degli Angeli who were very happy to have her. They allowed her to begin as a Postulant on 8 December 1582. This community, that was well known to and highly regarded by the Bishop of Florence, was attractive to the young girl, principally because of the possibility of receiving Holy Communon everyday.
Two months after entering, on 30 January 1853, Caterina received the Carmelite habit, and with it, the name, Sr Maria Magdalena. At the end of the novitiate year, it was decided, that she would put her profession back until there were other Novices ready to join her. Maria Magdalena , however, got very sick in the following months, to the point of almost dying. With little hope of recovery – even the best doctors in the city had failed to diagnose what today we would call pneuomonia – the Prioress decided to have her make her profession in danger of death, in articulo mortis.
About one hour after her profession, something happened to Magdalena. It was an experience of rapture in God. The sisters tell us that when they went to visit her in the infirmary, they came upon the young eighteen year old patient, transfigured and looking very beautiful. From that day onwards, it was 27 May 1584, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the Lord visited her every morning, for forty days and revealed the depth of his love to her. These frequent episodes gave rise to many misgivings in the young girl whose only desire was to live in the hiddenness of her life in Carmel but, it was obvious, that this kind of grace had to be recognised and preserved. For that reason, the sisters began very soon to take notes, writing down what Magdalena. would say while in ecstasy and what she would say, out of obedience, to the Prioress and Mistress.
Towards the end of that same year, a new period of divine favour began for her. This time, Jesus, the divine Word, held her in intense conversation (reported in I Colloqui) that revealed increasingly, the bridal relationship that Christ had formed with her. It was in one of those ecstasies that Christ brought her into His passion and death. It was Holy Week in 1585 – her experiences included the Stigmata impresssed on her soul, the Crown of Thorns, the Crucifixion and every scene from the Gospel was displayed, as if it was happening live in that slender tormented body. Then, on the Sunday after Easter, she received from her divine Bridegroom the ring of her mystical marriage.
The manuscript titled, Revelazioni e Intelligenze, gives a faithful account of the communication of God’s grace, that in the days between the vigil of Pentecost and the Sunday of the Blessed Trinity, gave Magdalena, an entry into the revelation, of the inner dimensions of her Trinitarian life. What was communicated to her, was what goes on between the divine person, and how the human person can fulfil a supernatural vocation, by allowing this mystery dwelling within, to do its work.
The central element in this understanding, is the saving mission of the Word, Love, made flesh in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary and the intuition of “dead love” as the highest expression of the ultimate gift of self.
On the last day of this intense octave of Pentecost, Magdalena began to see, with some clarity, that the moment had arrived when God, as He had made known to her already on a few occasions, was about to take away from her, the enjoyment of His presence. That was the beginning of five very difficulty years of torment and temptation, to the point where she felt as if she had been thrown into the “lions’ den” and reduced to “nothing.” In these interior trials, described in the Probazione, Jesus continued to support her but without lessening the radical purification that striped her bare, made her more simple and extremely receptive to His visits. In the heart of the crucible, however, Magdalena also received understanding from God concerning the condition of the Church of her time – so slow to implement the renewal sought by the Council of Trent – and she felt that she was being drawn by the Truth, to be involved in a practical way, in calling to order prelates, cardinals and even the Pope, Sixtus V. The twelve letters that she dictated in ecstasy, in the Summer of 1586 are collected in the volume titled, Rinnovamento della Chiesa. The five years of trial restored to us a Magdalena. transformed . The Lord had brought her through a divinising process, through which, today, she could well be considered a master and guide.
After Pentecost 1590, she returned to the normality of ordinary life, something she had always wanted. Apart from just a few and important, moments of ecstasy (reported in the second part of the Probazione) her days passed quietly as she went about the jobs she had to do (on account of her spiritual maturity she was put in charge of the young sisters in formation) and all the other forms of humble service that she tended to seek. Then the experience of “naked suffering” took hold of her and this would unite her once and for all to the Crucified Bridegroom.
Sr Magdalena could read the thoughts of others and predict future events. For instance, during one ecstatic event she predicted the future elevation to the Papacy of Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici (as Pope Leo XI). During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured many sick people.
The symptoms of tuberculosis began to appear in 1603. As her strength declined, she suffered the added pain of not being able to feel anything of the Lord’s presence. Just her presence in the community, in the eyes of the sisters, had become a vision of God’s work of art about to be completed. On 25 May 1607, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Sr Maria Magdalena, at the age of forty-one gave up her spirit.
She was buried in the choir of the Monastery chapel. She was Beatified in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. At her Canonisation in 1668, her body was declared miraculously incorrupt. Her body is located in the Monastery of Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi in Careggi.
St Maria Magdalena de’ Pazzi O.Carm (1566-1607) (Optional Memorial) About St Maria Magdalena:
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