Quote/s of the Day – 31 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – The Queenship of Mary
“She is the eldest daughter of the Great King. If you enjoy her favour, she will introduce you to the Monarch of the Universe. No-one has so great an interest with Him than Mary, who was the occasion of His coming down from Heaven to become man, for the redemption of mankind.”
St John the Merciful (c 552-c 616)
“Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also, in Heaven, is her glory unique. If eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), who can express, what He has prepared, for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?”
St Bernard (1090-1153) The Last Father and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“The Angels rejoiced to see their Queen, the Apostles rejoiced to see their lady and both obeyed her, with loving devotion. … Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings. amid the company of exulting Angels and rejoicing Archangels, with the Heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord: At your right hand stands the Queen, clothed in gold of Ophir.”
One Minute Reflection – 31 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – The Queenship of Mary – Eccli 24:5; 14:7; 14:9-11; 24:30-31, Luke 1:26-33 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Hail, full of grace!”– Luke 1:28
REFLECTION – “The degeneration caused by sin had obscured the beauty of our original nobility. But when the mother of supreme Beauty is born, our nature finds its purity once more and sees itself moulded according to the perfect model, worthy of God (Gn 1:26)… We had all preferred the world below to that above. There no longer remained any hope of salvation. The state of our nature cried aloud to Heaven to come to the rescue… Then, at last, in His good pleasure, the world’s Divine Artificer determined to make a new world appear, a different world full of harmony and youth.
Now, was it not fitting, that a most pure virgin without stain, should place herself at the service of this mysterious plan, first of all?… And where was this virgin to be found if not in this woman, alone of her kind, chosen by the world’s Creator before all generations? Yes, she indeed is Mother of God, divinely named Mary, whose womb gave birth to God Incarnate and whom, He Himself, had supernaturally prepared as His temple…
In this way, then, the design of the Redeemer of our race was to bring about a birth and, as it were, a new creation to replace the one that went before. Therefore, just as in Paradise He had taken a little clay, out of the pure and spotless earth, to fashion the first Adam (Gn 2:7), so, at the moment of bringing about His own Incarnation, He made use of another earth, so to speak, namely this pure and immaculate Virgin, chosen from among all other beings He had created. It is in her that He, Adam’s Creator, has remade us in our very substance and become a new Adam (1 Cor 15:45) that the old might be saved by the new and eternal.” – St Andrew of Crete (660-740) Bishop, Father (Sermon 1 for the Nativity of the Mother of God).
PRAYER – Grant we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we who keep the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Queen, safe under her protection, may be worthy to have peace now and glory, in the future. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 27 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Our Hope
“O Mary, my Mother, I place my trust in you because I know, that your intercession, is all-powerful with your Divine Son, Jesus. Help me to detach myself completely from sin and, to conquer my rebellious inclinations. Grant that I may imitate the shining example of your sanctity in such a way, that you may be truly my hope and my sure refuge, now and at the hour of my death. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 26 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed”
“O Mary, my loving Mother, I wish to add my voice to the millions of voices which have proclaimed thy blessedness throughout the ages. Grant that my recognition of thy sanctity may not be merely verbal but may be proved by deeds. Let me do more than pray to thee as my Mother, my Queen and my powerful Mediatrix with God. Let me also acknowledge that thou are all this to me by a practical and filial imitation of thou outstanding virtues. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 25 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Search for God
“Holy Mary, help me to aim at pleasing God throughout my life. Help me to see Him in all things, to love Him in all my affections, to direct all my thoughts and desires towards Him. This is the only way in which I can become like you, my Mother. In this way, I shall find peace on earth, even in the midst of suffering and the happiness in Heaven, which will never pass away. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 24 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Recollection of Mary
“Holy Mary, thou who are constantly close to God, obtain for me too, this interior spirit of prayer. Then, I shall be able to raise my thoughts to God in the midst of worldly confusion and I shall not surrender to the enchantments of worldly pleasures. Under thou protection, I shall always remain united to God, Who is my only true good. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 23 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Prayer to Mary, Our Mother
“O Mary, be my merciful and kind Mother always but especially when you see me struggling against temptation and against the wiles of the devil. Grant that I may never fall and offend God again. I need you so much. Help me and save me. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 22 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth
“O Queen pf Angels and of Saints, my most powerful and most loving Mother, have pity on me, for I am surrounded by such great perils and need so much to advance in virtue. Although I am weak and weary, I desire ardently to imitate the shining example of thy holidness. Obtain for me, from thy Divine Son, the grace to imitate thee, as far as I am able on earth, so that one day I may share thy happiness in the Presence of God for all eternity. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 21 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Most Pure Virgin, Immaculate Mother of God, thou sees how many dangers and snares surround my soul. Thou sees how weak I am and how much I need thy help. Assist me, I beseech thee when I am tempted. Gran, I cry unto thee, that I may die in the state of grace, rather than fall into sin. Amen”
Thought for the Day – 20 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, the Source of Holiness
“Mary, my Mother, you are all-holy. You gave Jesus to us and received from Him the Role of Mediatrix of His graces. Ask of your Divine Son that we may always be able to avoid the slightest trace of sin and to devote all our thoughts, affections and actions to becoming holy. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 19 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” Mary, the Source of Peace
“If we wish to possess this true peace, which only God can give, we must control and regulate the movements of our passions when they rebel against the soul. In other words, as St Augustine says, our lower appetites must obey our reason and this, in its turn, must be subject to its author, God! (De Serm. Domini, 1,2). Real peace can only come to us as the result of the hard and constant labour of subordinating our passions to right reason and our reason to God. “And this is the peace,” Augustine writes, “which God gives on earth, to men of goodwill; this is the most perfect wisdom ” (Ibid).
We have found, from sad experience, that sin and the free play of the passions, cannot give us real peace because “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22). When, by the grace of God and the assistance of Our Lady, we have subdued our rebellious inclinations, it is necessary for us to go further and abandon ourselves completely into the hands of God, asking Him for a spirit of absolute conformity to Hs Will on all occasions. This is the price which we must pay to enjoy the peace which the world cannot give and which God gives only to those who do His Holy Will in all things (Cf Jn 14:27).
It may seem that the way to acquire this peace is very difficult but, there is no other way. Let us pray to Our Lady. She has won peace and victory for the Church on many occasions; for example, against the Turks at Lepanto in 1571 and at Vienna in 1683. In the same way, she will obtain for us, her children, interior peace of soul, the greatest treasure which we can possess on earth!”
Quote/s of the Day –18 May – The Ascension of the Lord
“From that time onward, He was to remain at the Father’s Right Hand, until the completion of the period, ordained by God, for the Church’s children to increase and multiply, after which, in the same Body with which He ascended, He will come again to judge the living and the dead. And so, our Redeemer’s Visible Presence has passed into the Sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because, empirical sight has been replaced by a reliable teaching, whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high.”
St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope , Great Father and Doctor of the Church
“… The just ascend into Heaven but not in the manner that Christ ascended, namely by His own power, for they are taken up by Christ – “Draw me, we will run after thee.” (Sg 1:3) Or indeed, we can say, that no-one but Christ has ascended into Heaven because the just do not ascend, except, insofar as they are members of Christ, Who is the Head of the Church. … ”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus/Doctor Communis
“Perhaps, the Blessed Mother, was the last to take her eyes off the disappearing cloud which had removed Jesus from view. Her human eyes never saw again, the beloved figure of her Divine Son but, in her soul, she saw Him entering triumphantly into Heaven among choirs of Angels and sitting at the right hand of the Eternal Father. She saw and thought with infinite yearning, of the not too distant day, when she would have passed from mortal exile, into the everlasting happiness of Heaven, where she would embrace her Divine Son again, in an ecstasy of love.
We have all been called to ascend to Heaven with Jesus and Mary. Let us remember, however, that only the innocent and the repentant can be admitted into Paradise!”
Thought for the Day – 17 May– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Living in the Presence of God
“The masters of the spiritual life advise us to the best way to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God (Cf St Alphonsus Liguori, Al Divino Servizio, III, 3). This may be done by employing the intellect to form the concept of God’s nearness and by using the will, to offer to Him, ourselves and everything around us, with acts of humility, adoration and love. The intellect, enlightened by faith, tells us that God is everywhere, “Do not I fill heaven and earth? said the Lord” (er 23:24). We should see Him in all His creations which reflect His eternal glory. “Learn to love the Creator in the creature” says St Augustine, “so that you may not become attached to created things and so lose Him by Whom, you yourself were created” (In Px 18).
When we wish to revive, in our minds, a sense of the presence of God, we should not picture Him as a distant Being but, as our own God, Who condescended to dwell within us. We should then listen to His inspirations and humbly venerate His Divine Majesty, which resides in our souls. “Do you not know,” says St Paul, “that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). God is everywhere but He dwells in a special manner, in our souls. It is difficult for us, however, to live with our minds constantly concentrated on Him. If we were able to do so, this would be an anticipation of the happiness of the Blessed in Heaven. But, we should have a habitual intention, which we should renew as often as possible, of living in the presence of God and of offering Him all our desires and actions. Then, our whole life will be a continual prayer of great value in the sight of God.
My loving Mother Mary, you lived both physically and spiritually, permanently in God’s presence, help me to live as you did. Help me to consciously remember the Divine presence in my soul and offer Him all that I am and do. Help me to love our good God, more and more. Amen.”
It’s 1 May Let us Rejoice in our Mother Mary! The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“Bright Mother of our Maker, Hail! Thou Virgin ever blest, the Ocean’s Star by which we sail and gain the port of rest!” (Anonymous 8th Century Latin Hymn)
The May Magnificat By Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889)
May is Mary’s month and I Muse at that and wonder why: Her feasts follow reason, Dated due to season-
Candlemas, Lady Day: But the Lady Month, May, Why fasten that upon her, With a feasting in her honour? Ask of her, the mighty Mother: Her reply puts this other Question: What is Spring? Growth in everything- All things rising, all things sizing Mary sees, sympathising With that world of good, Nature’s motherhood.
Well but there was more than this: Spring’s universal bliss Much, had much to say To offering Mary May.
Visits to the Altar of Our Lady On the Love of Mary for Her Children (Imprimatur, 1867)
Mary loves us because we are her children. A loving and tender Mother is never wearied by the importunities of her little ones and Mary, who is the most loving and tender of all mothers, will never weary of hearing and answering our petitions. The one great thing that she desires, for all her children is that they should become like her Son Jesus. He is the only Child who never disobeyed her or grieved her. It is for His love that she loves us. How great must be His love for us, when He inspires Mary with such a love! The best return we can make Him is to have a perfect trust and confidence in His Blessed Mother. Those who are not devout to Mary cannot really understand the great Mystery of the Incarnation and do not love Jesus as they should – for, if they loved Him, they would love His Mother too, even a tiny bit as much as He loves her.
Let us try, then, during this Month of May, to become more like Jesus. Let us consider what spiritual grace we need most, in order to attain this great end and let us ask it with confidence everyday. Let us also try to induce others, to honour Mary, by special devotion to her during this most beautiful month.
Let Me Love Your Jesus By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer, through the Holy Spirit, you became the Mother of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, may I too have Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, your flesh conceived Jesus, through the same Spirit, may my soul receive Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, you were able to know Jesus, to possess Jesus and to bring Him into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, may I too come to know your Jesus. Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word,” in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am, let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord and look on Him as Son, in the same Spirit, Mary, let me love your Jesus. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel
This prayer to our Lady of Good Counsel, like many other Marian prayers, asks for Our Blessed Mother’s help in obtaining our salvation. Note the reference to our earthly existence as being a “vale of tears,” an expression we find too in the Salve Regina, the Hail Holy Queen.
Prayer to Our Mother of Good Counsel
Most Glorious Virgin chosen by the Eternal Counsel to be the Mother of the Eternal Word made flesh, thou, who art the Treasurer of Divine Graces and the Advocate of Sinners, I, thy most unworthy servant, have recourse to thee; be thou pleased to be my Guide and Counsellor in this vale of tears. Obtain for me, through the Most Precious Blood of thy Divine Son, the forgiveness of my sins, the salvation of my soul and the means necessary to obtain it. In like manner, obtain for Holy Mother the Church, victory over her enemies and the spread of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ upon the whole earth. Amen
Pope Paul II sent two Bishops to investigate the image of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the numerous miracles that took place, following its appearance at this Church (by one account 171 alone in the period from 27 April to 14 August 1467)!
The fresco is still there to this day, having survived earthquakes over the Centuries and even aerial bombardment during World War II which destroyed much of the Church.
Many Popes have been great champions of Our Lady of Good Counsel and her image. Pope Paul II first approved devotion to her. Popes Urban VIII and Pius IX made visits to the Church in Genazzano to honour her. In 1753 Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel which has included, among its members, the Popes Pius VIII, Pius IX, Leo XIII and Pius XII,the last, who placed his Papacy under her maternal care. He later composed this prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel which can be used as a novena:
O Mother of Good Counsel By Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are led by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of, what is true and good, invoking thee by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel, we beseech thee to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspire towards our ruin, by leading our minds and our hearts astray. O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring that they, be not seduced, by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the face of the hostile and corrupting influences, of passion and of sin. O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from thy Divine Son, a great love of virtue and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way which leads to our salvation. If thy hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested, along the path indicated to us, by the Life and Words of Jesus, our Redeemer and, having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world’s strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice, under thy maternal Star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace, with thee, in the Haven of Salvation. Amen
It is also worth noting, especially in these uncertain times for the Church as for the world (and in many ways, the two may be said to be linked together!) that Our Blessed Mother is ready, willing and more than able, to help us i“in the midst of this world’s strife.” We need only to approach her for assistance, in drawing closer to Jesus with fervent, humble prayer and devotion.
Keep in mind too, regarding the line in the first of our prayers above about our Church’s “victory over her enemies” that, in 1571, St Pius V credited Our Lady of Good Counsel with having assisted the Holy League of forces from Catholic maritime states, to defeat the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the famous Battle of Lepanto. This was a decisive victory which kept Italy from being overrun by the Muslims. Let us also pray to Mary for help, as Pope Pius V did, in the midst of our own battles! Amen.
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 3 April – Monday in Holy Week
“Her heart was crucified with the same nails which Crucified Our Lord’s Body …” St Francis de Sales
MONDAY in HOLY WEEK Our Lord’s Third Word … St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“OUR LORD’S THIRD WORD was one of consolation. He spoke it to His sacred Mother who was at the foot of the Cross, pierced by a sword of sorrow [Lk 2:35] but certainly not swooning, nor with faint heart, as artists have falsely and impertinently painted her. The Evangelist clearly says the contrary, insisting that she remained standing with an incomparable firmness [Jn. 19:25]. That courage did not keep her from the grieving which she endured with the generous and magnanimous heart belonging to her alone. O God! what agonies were hers! They are inexplicable and inconceivable. Her heart was crucified with the same nails which Crucified Our Lord’s Body, for now she would be without both Child and husband.
Seeing her in this distress, our dear Saviour said a word of consolation to her. But this consoling and tender word was not given to lift her heart from such great desolation. The heart of this perfectly submissive and resigned holy Virgin needed to be extremely strong and Our Lord, Who knew her so well, dealt with her accordingly. Indicating St John, His Heart’s beloved disciple, He said: Woman, there is your son. [Jn. 19:26.] He gave him to her to care for her, for this holy Virgin was not thinking of herself at all. Her every thought was centered around her Divine Son’s Sorrows, Sorrows which she herself pondered in her soul [cf Lk 2:35, 51] while at theFfoot of His Cross.” – (Sermons fof St Francis de Sales for or Lent).
REFLECTION – “Mary, the Mother of the Lord, stood by her Son’s Cross. No-one has taught me this but the holy Evangelist John. Others have related how the earth was shaken at the Lord’s Passion, the sky was covered with darkness, the sun withdrew itself and how, the thief was, after a faithful confession, received into paradise. John tells us what the others have not told, how the Lord, while fixed on the Cross called to His Mother. He thought it was more important that, victorious over His sufferings, Jesus gave her the offices of piety, than that He gave her a Heavenly Kingdom. For if it is the mark of religion to grant pardon to the thief, it is a mark of much greater piety, that a mother is honoured with such affection, by her Son. “Behold,” He says, “thy son.” “Behold thy mother.” Christ testified from the Cross and divided the offices of piety, between the mother and the disciple.
Nor was Mary below what was becoming the Mother of Christ. When the Apostles fled, she stood at the Cross and with pious eyes beheld her Son’s wounds. For she did not look to the death of her offspring but to the salvation of the world. Or perhaps, because that “royal hall” knew, that the redemption of the world would be through the death of her Son, she thought that by her death, she also might add something to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need a helper, for the redemption of all, Who saved all without a helper. This is why He says, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit. I am like those who have no help.” He received indeed, the affection of His Mother but sought not another’s help. Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son, set forth so great an example of maternal virtue. For neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Archbishop of Milan, Great Western Father and Doctor (Letter 63)
PRAYER – O God, in Whose Passion the sword, according to the prophecy of blessed Simeon, pierced through the soul of Mary, the glorious Virgin and Mother, mercifully grant that we, who reverently commemorate her piercing through and her suffering, may, by the interceding glorious merits of all the saints faithfully standing by the Cross, obtain the abundant fruit of Thy Passion. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Consider Mary’s reaction to the reverence and praise with which the Angel greets her. Is she carried away by delight and exaltation at this solemn moment? Nothing of the sort! In her humility and modesty, she is disturbed by the Angel’s salutation and wonders what the reason is for it. “She was troubled at his word and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29).
How do we behave when we receive praise from our superiors or from our friends and acquaintances? We are pleased and overcome perhaps by feelings of vanity. We smile to ourselves and are convinced that we are of more consequence than we really are. We even feel the need to reveal our thoughts to others and, thereby, seek further aggrandisement! There is a world of difference between the simplicity and humility of the Blessed Virgin and our vain hunger for praise and honour.”
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 25 March – The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women!” Luke 1:28
“And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done as I know not man?” Luke 1:34
CHASTITY and HUMILITY St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“VIRGINITY AND ABSOLUTE CHASTITY, is an angelic virtue but, although it belongs, more especially to Angels than to men, yet the purity of Our Lady infinitely surpassed that of the Angels, having three great perfections above theirs, even that of the Cherubim and Seraphim…that of the Angels is sterile and can produce no fruit. On the contrary, that of our glorious Mistress was not only fruitful because she produced, for us, this sweet Fruit of Life, Our Lord and Master but, in the second place, she has begotten many virgins. It is it in imitation of her, as we have said, that virgins have vowed their virginity …
But she was not only virgin par excellence above all others, Angels as well as men – she was also more humble than all others. This was manifest excellently on the day of the Annunciation. She then made the greatest act of humility that was ever made, or ever will be made, by a pure creature; for seeing herself exalted by the Angel, who saluted her, saying she was full of grace and that she would conceive a Son Who would be both God and Man…Our Lady, being reassured by the Angel and having learned what God willed to do with her and in her, made this supreme act of humility, saying: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” She saw herself raised to the highest dignity that ever was or will be, for although it should please God to create anew many worlds, He could never make a pure creature be greater than the Mother of God.
Our Lady humbled herself and acknowledged herself unworthy of being raised to the high dignity of Mother of God, therefore, she was made to be His Mother, for she had no sooner uttered the protestation of her littleness, than, having abandoned herself to Him, by an act of incomparable charity, she became the Mother of the Most High, Who is the Saviour of our souls!” (Sermon on 25 March 1621at a religious Profession).
One Minute Reflection – 24 March – “The Month of the St Joseph” – Friday of the Fourth Week in Lent and the Feast of St Gabriel the Archangel – Daniel 9:21-26, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Hail, full of grace!” – Luke 1:28
REFLECTION – “So the Lord now manifestly came to His own. Born by His own created order that He Himself bears, He by His obedience on the tree, renewed and reversed what was done by disobedience, in connection with a tree.
The power of that seduction, by which the virgin Eve, already betrothed to a man, had been wickedly seduced, was broken when the Angel in truth brought good tidings to the Virgin Mary, who already, by her betrothal belonged to a man. For as Eve was seduced by the word of an Angel to flee from God, having rebelled against His Word, so Mary by the word of an Angel, received the glad tidings that she would bear God, by obeying His Word.
The former was seduced to disobey God and so fell but the latter, was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of Eve.
As the human race was subjected to death through the act of a Virgin, so was it saved by a Virgin, was precisely balanced by the obedience of Another. Then indeed, the sin of the first formed man was amended by the chastisement of the First Begotten, the wisdom of the serpent was conquered by the simplicity of the Dove and the chains were broken, by which we were in bondage to death.” – St Irenaeus (130-202) Bishop of Lyons, Martyr, Father of the Church (Against Heresies, 5)
PRAYER – O God, Who, out of all the Angels, chose the Archangel Gabriel to announce the Mystery of Thy Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who keep his feast on earth, may have him as our patron in Heaven.Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 18 March – Saturday of the Third Week in Lent, to Mary our Mother we pray today
“Let us run to Mary and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
“Hail Mary, full of grace …”
THE ANGELIC SALUTATION St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“LET US GLORY, says a pious author, in repeating this salutation, with the Angel Gabriel, the Apostles, the Martyrs and all the Christian world. Let this Ave Maria, which comes to us fragrant as a Canticle of Heaven and repeated by as many echoes as there are faithful souls on earth, be sweet to our lips and sweeter still to our hearts. It is a rare and enviable favour indeed to be able to salute a Queen and yet, everyday, at every moment, men and women, old and young, all of every condition, can salute the Queen of Heaven and earth, who contains, in her hands all the treasures of God and can be sure of being always heard and, that each salutation addressed to her, will meet with a corresponding benefit. . . . But can the sinner too, dare to approach her? Yes, certainly – let him also come with humble confidence and salute her, who is his refuge, for she will in no wise be offended by his prayer and, if the Hail Mary from his lips be a cry of sorrow and repentance, it will become omnipotent and will obtain mercy, pardon, grace and salvation. Hail Mary ! Ave Maria ! . . . A sweet and beautiful word it is, which Heaven sent to earth and earth again returns, so frequently to heaven! ” – (The Month of Mary According to the Spirit of St Francis de Sales).
Quote/s of the Day – 27 February – Monday of the First Week in Lent – The Memorial of St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows/Gabriel Possenti CP (1838-1862)
“By sin, O Jesus, I gave Thee Thy Death but I do not despair of Thy Forgiveness. Those Scourges call me, those Arms extended invite me that injured Heart offers me a secure shelter.”
“I will attempt, day by day, to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own.”
“Do not bestow your love on the world!”
“Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand, to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”
(From a letter to his brother).
St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
Thought for the Day – 11 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Particular and General Judgements
“St Catherine of Siena believed that loyalty to the Church and devotion to the Blessed Virgin, were two pledges of salvation. In one of her letters she wrote that “he will not die forever, who serves the Church faithfully.” Elsewhere she said that “out of reverence for the Word, the Divine Goodness has granted Our Lady, the privilege that any man, good or sinful, who pays her due honour, will not be taken captive by the devil.” Consequently, we need not be inordinately afraid of death, or of the final judgement, if we love the Church, obey her commandments and work generously for her triumph in the universe and, if we show a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin, pray to her and imitate her in virtue, as far as possible,
It will be profitable for us to think about death and the last judgement (Cf Ecclus 7:36). It will moderate our impatience in tribulations and our inordinate pleasure in consolations. It will be a stimulus to perseverance in good actions.”
One Minute Reflection – 9 January – The Holy Family – Within the Octave of Epiphany – Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:42-52 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And His Mother kept all these words in her heart.” – Luke 2:51
REFLECTION – “Often, it seems to us, Mary forgot to eat and to drink, keeping vigil in order to think about Christ, to see Christ in His flesh. She burned with love of Him and passionately loved to serve Him. She often did what the Song of Songs sings about: “I was sleeping but my heart kept vigil.” (Song 5:2) Even when she was resting, she continued to dream of Him Who filled her thoughts throughout the day. Whether she was keeping vigil or resting in peace, she always lived in Him, was always occupied with Him.
Where her treasure was, there also was her heart (Mt 6:21); where her glory was, there also was her mind. She loved her Lord and her Son with all her heart, with all her mind, with all her strength (Mt 22:37). She saw with her eyes, touched with her hands, the Word of Life (1 Jn 1:1). How blessed was Mary, to whom it was given to embrace Him who embraces and nourishes everything! How happy was she, who carried Him, Who carries the universe (Heb 1:3), she, who nursed a Son, Who gives her life, a Son Who nourishes her and all beings on earth (Ps 145:15).
The One Who is the Wisdom of the Father, put His arms around her neck, the One Who is the strength, that gives movement to everything, sat in her arms. He Who is the rest of souls, (Mt 11:29) rested on her motherly breast. How gently He held her in His hands, peacefully looked at her, He Whom the angels wish to contemplate (1 Pet 1:12) and He gently called her, He Whom every being calls upon when in need. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she held Him close to her heart … She never had enough of seeing Him or of hearing Him, Whom “many prophets and kings wished to see … but did not see.” (Lk 10:24) Thus Mary grew evermore in love and her mind was unceasingly attached to Divine contemplation.” – St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop (Homily on the Motherhood of Mary, 4).
PRAYER – O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Who while subject to Mary and Joseph, hallowed family life with virtues beyond description, grant us by their combined intercession, that, having been taught by the example of the Holy Family, we may attain unto their everlasting companionship. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 31 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women”
“The very fact that God has elected her, proves, that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.”
St Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521)
“O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone. … Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim. … You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself! Amen”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
Tota Pulchra Es, Maria You Are All Beautiful, Mary Unknown Author – 4th Century
You are all beautiful, Mary, and the original stain is not in you. You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people. You are an advocate of sinners. O Mary, O Mary, Virgin most intelligent, Mother most merciful. Pray for us, Plead for us, To the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tota pulchra es, Maria. Et macula originalis non est in Te. Tu gloria Ierusalem. Tu laetitia Israel. Tu honorificentia populi nostri. Tu advocata peccatorum. O Maria, O Maria, Virgo prudentissima. Mater clementissima. Ora pro nobis. Intercede pro nobis. Ad Dominum Iesum Christum.
“Let us promise, therefore, that we shall not be unworthy children of so great a Mother. Let us promise to remain free from the slightest taint of sin, in order to please God and our Blessed Mother. Let us promise, finally, to make daily progress towards that level of sanctity which God requires of us, i n the particular state in which He has placed us.”
Quote/s of the Day – 30 December –The Sixth Day of the Octave of Christma – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”
“… Let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival but after a Godly sort; not after the way of the world but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to Him Who is ours, or rather as our Master’s; not as of weakness but as of healing; not as of creation but of re-creation.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople Father and Doctor of the Church
“Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again, for your sake, God became man.”
St Augustine 354-430) Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church
“Taking up the newborn Emmanuel, Mary beheld a Light incomparably fairer than the sun and saw a Fire that water cannot quench. She received, in the covering of flesh Whom she had borne, the Light Who enlightens all things and she was worthy, to carry in her arms, the Word Who carries the universe!” ”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk
(Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IV, SC 72)
Thought for the Day – 24 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Christmas Novena IX The Holy Family – Mary
“The Blessed Virgin Mary, is the second model proposed for our imitation in the Holy Family. She is the purest and most beautiful of creatures ever fashioned by the Hand of God. As Mother of the Word Incanate, her dignity touches the Divine. Preserved from all stain of sin from the moment of her conception, she is full of grace. Except in God Himself, no greater beauty and holiness can be found elsewhere, than in Mary.
We do not read that Mary worked miracles, had ecstasies, or possessed any extraordinary external gifts. Her sanctity was completely internal. She trod the ordinary way of perfection, therefore, the way most easily imitated by us and, nevertheless, reached the highest peak of holiness. Since we are her devoted and affectionate children, let us ask her for the grace to follow her in the way of perfection and of complete resignation to the will of God. Although we may have to follow her from afar, let us follow with enthusiasm and love..”
Thought for the Day – 10 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Since Mary excelled so much in this virtue and had so great a love for it, she will obtain for us from God, the grace necessary for us to preserve it, as long as we pray humbly to her, especially in times of temptation.
Let us remember, that at Baptism, we became members of the Mystical Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit (Cf 1 Cor 6:15-20). We are obliged to avoid defiling this temple and making the Mystical Body of Christ a dwelling-place for the devil! It is not true to say, that this is an impossible fight. We know, from our own experience, that we can win. We have often battled with, or fled from occasions of sin. We have prayed and made sacrifices, in order to avoid sin and, with the help of God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin, we have won! After our victory, we have felt elated and have experienced that peace, which only God’s grace can bestow. If we have succeeded so many times, why cannot we do the same always? There is no need to be afraid. If we do all that we can, God’s grace will do the rest. “I can do all things in Him, Who strengthens me,” Phil 4:12) says St Paul. “God is faithful,” he writes elsewhere “and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength but, with the temptation, will also give you a way out, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
If we remain pure, we shall see God. We shall see Him in the work of His creation in this world and we shall see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).”
Quote/s of the Day – 8 December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception and “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”
“Mary is the new Tree of Life, who, instead of the bitter fruit picked by Eve, gives to mankind that Sweet Fruit on which the whole world is fed.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The very fact that God has elected her, proves, that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.”
St Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521) Bishop, Theologian, Poet, Writer
“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her Immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendour and attraction of human nature but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence, is born, this nature again, regains in her person, its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model, truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.”
St Andrew of Crete (c 650-c 740) Bishop, Theologian, Hymnist
“He Who is Infinite, Limitless, came to dwell in your womb; God, the Child Jesus, was nourished by your milk. You are the ever virginal Doorway of God; your hands hold your God; your lap is a throne raised up above the Cherubim… You are the wedding chamber of the Spirit, the “city of the living God, gladdened by the runlets of the stream” that is to say, the waves of the Spirit’s gifts. You are “all fair, the Beloved” of God.”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
(Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin, # 9 ; SC 80
One Minute Reflection – 5 December – The Second Week of Advent – Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 11:2-10 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And again Isaias says, There shall be the root of Jesse and He Who shall arise to rule the Gentiles… in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” – Roman 15:12
REFLECTION – “Until the beginning of the vision, or the burden of Babylon, which Isaias the son of Amos saw, his entire prophecy was about Christ, a prophecy which we want to explain piecemeal, lest the ideas and discussions thereof together, confuse the reader’s memory.
The Jews interpreted the branch and the flower from the root of Jesse, to be the Lord Himself because, the power of His governance, is demonstrated in the branch and His beauty, in the flower. But we understand the branch from the root of Jesse, to be the holy Virgin Mary, who had no shoot connatural to herself. About her we read …: “Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son.” And the flower is the Lord our Saviour, Who said, in the Song of Songs, “I am the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys.” In place of “root,” which only the Septuagint translated, the Hebrew text has geza, which Aquila and Symmachus and Theodotus, interpret as kormon, that is, “stem.” And they translated “flower,” which the Hebrew text calls nēṣer, as “bud,” to show that after a long time in Babylonian captivity, no longer possessing any glory from the sprout of the old kingdom of David, Christ would rise from Mary, as though from her stem. The educated of the Hebrews believe that what all the ecclesiastics sought in the Gospel of Matthew but could not find, where it was written “Because he will be called a Nazarene,” was taken from this place. But it should be noted that nēṣer was written here with the [Hebrew] letter ṣade [צ], the peculiar sound of which—somewhere between z and s—the Latin language does not express.” – St Jerome (343-420) Father and Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Isaias 4.)
PRAYER – O God, Who, by the message of an Angel, willed to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
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