Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, OPEN HOUSE...Conversations with..., QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, The PASSION

Thoughts of Mary – 24 May – The Light Comes from the Altar

Thoughts of Mary – 24 May – “Mary’s Month”

The Light Comes from the Altar
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

“When He ascended into Heaven, the majestic flow of the Blood of Jesus did not cease on this earth;  it still flows in a ever-widening stream through untold centuries of grace – the vision which began with the Immaculate Conception, ends in the Blessed Sacrament!

In this way, one mystery corresponds to the other, the one illuminates, completes and confirms the other.
From the Eucharist, back to the Passion, from the Passion to the public life and, further back, to the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth, from this hidden life to His Birth – from far beyond the Annunciation to the heights of the [Immaculate] Conception and back to us again – it is a continual rising re-descending, unutterable, divine.
Because of this, we see Mary Immaculate present at every Mass and in every Communion.
The light of the Immaculate which streams upon us comes from the Altar, from the Tabernacle and, in the same way, when we draw near to the Altar and the Tabernacle, it is almost as if we hear Mary’s voice inviting us:  “Eat, O friends and drink, drink deeply, O lovers” (Song 5:1).

This, my brothers, is the doctrine.
On this foundation is built the reality, the great and thrilling reality which re-assumes so fully, in all ages, the best Christian piety of the whole world.

In fact, when persecution rages, the Christians draw strength to resist and to extend their conquering apostolate and, if need be, even to die, from the Bread of the strong, from the inebriating Chalice offered over the tombs of martyrs in our ancient cemeteries, under the kind eyes of Mary, whose roughly drawn images smiles among the symbols and ornaments of primitive Christian art.”from the eucharist back to the passion - the light comes from the altar st john XXIII 24 may 2020

Posted in MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, The PASSION, Uncategorized

Thoughts of Mary – 16 May – Fountain of Life

Thoughts of Mary – 16 May – “Mary’s Month”

Fountain of Life
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

“There is a passage from the pen of a distinguished English writer on religious subjects (F W Faber, The Blessed Sacrament 1855), which is so wonderful that I am sorry that I can do no more than briefly trace the main line of his thought.
The Immaculate Virgin is with us.
We still enjoy hearing our fathers describe the delight felt by the whole Catholic world in the middle of the last century, when the ancient doctrine of Mary having been preserved from all taint of original sin, was defined as Dogma.
That doctrine is like the mountain spring, purer than the waters of Sion, from which flow all the other mysteries of the Incarnation.
The whole Church gathers around this source to gaze at it’s reflection in the clear deep waters.
Kneeling on the bank is the supreme Pontiff, the teachers who thirst for the truth, hasten to drink from the spring.
Mitred and crowned heads and humble children of the people, the poor and afflicted of all classes, a whole multitude of pious folk, stoop down, drink and rise again – sight is restored, Mary shines more brightly than before.
Look well, my brothers, at those waters.
They are the elements of the Precious Blood of Jesus.
They flow mysteriously in the sanctified breast of Anna, they appear again, transfigured into the blood of Mary, the fair child, the maiden of fifteen years, the Bride of the Holy Spirit.
Through the power of the Spirit that overshadows her, this blood gathers into itself, the elements of the Sacred Humanity of Christ.
Behold the Spring and then the Blood!
Oh, what a miracle occurs!
The Blood is already beating in the Sacred Heart, it crimsons the cheeks of the Divine Child – it is sweated out from every pore of Jesus, in His Passion.”behold the spring and then the blood - st john XXIII 16 may 2020

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, OPEN HOUSE...Conversations with..., PAPAL MESSAGES, PAPAL PRAYERS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thoughts of Mary – 10 May – Bend Tenderly Over Our Wounds

Thoughts of Mary – 10 May – “Mary’s Month”

Bend Tenderly Over Our Wounds
Moments with Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
(Pontiff 1939-1958)

Enraptured by the splendour of your heavenly beauty and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart, appeasement of our ardent desires and a safe harbour from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of the sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you, Queen of the Universe.

O crystal Fountain of Faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths!   O fragrant Lily of All Holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume!   O Conqueress of Evil and Death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart.   Bend tenderly over our aching wounds.   Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten hardness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy church, make all men feel the attractions of Christian goodness.   In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognise that they are brothers and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth, the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications and above all, obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne, that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars – You are all-beautiful, O Mary!   You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honour of our people! Amen.

The above prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed … for the Marian year of 1954, which was proclaimed to mark the Centenary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

bend over our wounds o mary - pius XII 11 may 2020 FINAL

Posted in MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thoughts of Mary – 7 May – The Shining Crown

Thoughts of Mary – 7 May – “Mary’s Month”

The Shining Crown
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

“Immaculate” suggests order and beauty – the natural order, raised to a state of grace as soon as it left it’s Creator’s hands and, therefore, ever obedient to His will and His commands and the beauty which is the shining crown of this order.

But everyone of us must begin in this way – by contemplating this vision of serenity and light, God’s masterpiece, we must draw strength to rise to the heights of perfection, whether of the individual or of the family, of institutions or of Holy Church.

Everyone must try to set his own soul in perfect order, for by this is true supernatural beauty and the special gifts of individuals are then reflected and reproduced, on an ever wider scale, in order to enrich, with increasing joy and beauty, the great family of believers.

And, finally, “Immaculate” suggests the vision of heaven.
The perfect and supreme grace bestowed on Mary from the first moment of her earthly life, is granted to us also, though, to be sure, to a lesser degree and only as a pledge of future happiness – for the day when faith will be stripped of the veils which hide the vision of God and we shall see the Lord, face-to-face!  Amen.

and finally immaculate suggests the vision of heaven - st john XXIII 7 may 2020

Posted in MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, OPEN HOUSE...Conversations with..., QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PATIENCE, QUOTES on PURITY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on VIRTUE, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thoughts of Mary – 6 May – The Purple Flower of Sacrifice

Thoughts of Mary – 6 May – “Mary’s Month”

The Immaculate Virgin – the Purple Flower of Sacrifice
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

She who was preserved from original sin through the merits of her Son the Redeemer, was granted this privilege because she was predestined for the sublime mission of being the Mother of God.
She, who was to clothe in mortal flesh, the eternal Word of the Father, could not be contaminated, even for an instant, by the shadow of sin.
So, she is immaculate through the power of Christ, because all that was granted to the Mother, was granted through her Son.
The blooming of this snow white flower on our soil, is a sure pledge of the reconciliation of mankind with God.

How apt are the words of the liturgy that we sin on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin – “Thy nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world.”

But this joy is also a purple flower of sacrifice – the sacrifice of the Blessed Mother of Jesus who, when she gave her consent:  “Be it unto me …” accepted her share in the destines of her Son, from the poverty of Bethlehem, to the self-denials of the secluded life in Nazareth and the martyrdom of Calvary.

So we may not consider ourselves, the beloved children of Our Lord and of His Mother, if our life is without sacrifice and self-denial.

May this reference to the requirement of sacrifice, be then a loving and thoughtful reminder of the strong and solid Christian virtues of self-denial, patience and penitence.  Amen

the purple flower of sacrifice - st john XXIII 6 may 2020

Posted in MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thought for the Day – 6 May – The Virginal Purity of Mary

Thought for the Day – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Virginal Purity of Mary

“It is a Dogma of Faith, that Mary was always a virgin in body and soul.
According to the teaching of the holy Fathers, Mary would have renounced her dignity as Mother of God, rather than lose her virginity.
When the Archangel Gabriel appeared with the news of the great privilege which she was about to receive, Mary was afraid and asked meekly, how she could become the Mother of God, since she had promised to remain always a virgin.
The Angel assured her, that it was through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the eternal Word of God, would take human flesh in her and become her son.
Only then did she bow her had and reply:  “Be it done to me according to thy word.”
Mary’s perpetual virginity is complemented by her purity and absolute immunity from sin.
When we consider sin of any kind, says St Augustine, Mary must always be the one exception to it (Cf De natura et gratia, c 36).
She was preserved free from original sin and possessed the fullness of grace.
The devil never had any power over her spotless soul.
Not even the slightest tarnish marred her virginal splendour.
Free from the concupiscence which has disturbed our human nature, she was like a snow-white lily, sparkling in the sunlight.
Her mortal life was a continuous ascent towards the highest peak of holiness.
It would be wrong to believe that the extraordinary privileges which God had granted her from her conception remained fixed and static, like an acquired inheritance.
On the contrary, her daily correspondence with God’s gifts was as remarkable as her dignity.
The most chaste Virgin Mary, is a model for our imitation.
We cannot obtain her privileges but, we should try and imitate her heroic and constant co-operation with the gifts of God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

the virginal purity of mary bacci 6 may 2020

Posted in MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, OPEN HOUSE...Conversations with..., QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The WORD

5 May – Thoughts of Mary – Mary Immaculate

5 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thoughts of Mary

Mary Immaculate
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

The splendour of dawn is called immaculate, unstained.
Mary, preserved from all stain of original sin, was full of grace, from the first moment of her conception.
While she was still in her mother’s womb, the divine light had entered into her soul.
After the long night of the centuries which passed since the sin of our first fathers, this morning star arose, pure and bright, transparent and inviolate, while the sky glowed with the promise of the coming dawn.

Friendship with God, granted to Adam when he was created and so soon lost, was restored in all it’s original perfection in Mary and already, men had heard the good news of the coming of the Sun of Justice (Mal 4:2), of Him who, by giving His life, has restored friendship and union with God for men of goodwill.

The Christian soul must feel this throb of supernatural life which begins with Baptism.
We say to you, in the words of the Apostle:  “Walk as children of light (for the furit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:8-11).

after the long night - imm conception - st john XXIII 5 may 2020

Posted in DOGMA, MARIAN QUOTES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Quote/s of the Day – 11 February – Our Lady of Lourdes, St Gregory II

Quote/s of the Day – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Pope Gregory II (669-731)

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette
25 March 1858i am the immaculate conception our lady of lourdes 11 feb 2020

St Pope Gregory II “Defender of Icons”

Here is an excerpt of one of his letters to the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, Leo III the Isaurian, who became an iconoclast and issued an imperial decree forbidding the use of sacred images:

“The pious Emperors were submissive to the Pontiffs of the Church and never dishonoured them. You, on the contrary, since the day when you apostatised from the Faith, incurring the same curse that [in previous letters] you made against those who persecute sacred ministers and condemning yourself by your own decree, you have separated yourself from the Holy Ghost and you do persecute and tyrannise us, by the hands of your soldiers and earthly weapons. We do not have weapons or armies but we invoke the King of the whole Universe, Christ, Who is seated in Heaven over all the celestial powers and armies, to deliver you to Satan, as the Apostle says, in the flesh and the spirit.

We are travelling to the far East to assist those who are asking for Baptism. I had already sent Bishops and priests from my Church to them. The Princes of those places have not yet been washed in the waters of the Baptism and they have chosen me as Godfather. So, we need to be on our way, fearful lest one day God will ask an account for our negligence.

I pray God to give you prudence and repentance so that you will return to the truth that you left and bring the people to the bosom of the Catholic Church.”

St Pope Gregory II I pray god to give you prudence - st pope gregory II 11 feb 2020

Posted in ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The INCARNATION, The O ANTIPHONS, The WORD

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December – “How shall this be…”

Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent – 20 December, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.

And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” … Luke 1:34

REFLECTION – “Tell us, blessed David, how [the Word] descended.   “He came down as rain upon the fleece, and as drops that water the earth.” (Ps 71[72]:6 LXX). (…)   It remains to discuss how the rain descends upon the fleece and how the drops flow out over the earth. (…)

The rain descends upon the fleece without sound, without movement, without any cleavage or division.   It is gently poured out, peacefully received, sweetly drunk.   Thus the drops gradually, little by little, spread over the earth falling down so wonderfully and so gently that their coming is scarcely perceived and as they depart, they bring forth the shoots.   In the same way, the rain coming from beyond, above the heavenly waters, came down into the Virgin’s womb without human act, with no movement of concupiscence, her integrity unimpaired, the seal of her virginity still locked.   Gently was it poured, calmly received, ineffably made flesh.   It came drop by drop upon her soil, unseen as it entered and, as it departed, plainly going forth. (…)

We have told how the Word of God came down.   Where He came down is made clear in like manner, for He came down into the Virgin’s womb, a womb unstained, unspotted, hallowed by the touch of divine unction.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily III, SC 72luke 1 34 how shall this be - he came down into the virgin's womb - st amadeaus of lausanne 20 dec 2019.jpg

MEDITATION” Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?   And who shall stand in his holy place?   He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” … Psalm 24:3-4advent-with-st-alphonsus-psalm-24-3-4-who-shall-ascend-20dec2018 AND 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – “O my Jesus, I am weak, grant me strength against temptation.   I am infirm, I hope that Your precious blood will be my medicine.   I am a sinner but I hope that Your grace will make me a saint.   I acknowledge that I have co-operated with my own ruin but this day, I promise always, to call upon You and in this way co-operate with Your grace.” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor

PRAYER

O KEY OF DAVID,

and Sceptre of the House of Israel,
who opens and no-one shuts,
who shuts and no-one opens.
Come and bring forth the captive from his prison,
he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

o-key-of-david-20-dec-2017, 2018, 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, ADVENT REFLECTIONS, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – ‘O Church, true Spouse…’

Thought for the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December – Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph … Matthew 1:18

Saint Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 146, on Mt 1:18

“His mother, Mary, was betrothed.”   It should have been enough to say:  Mary was betrothed.   What can a betrothed mother mean?   If she is a mother then she isn’t betrothed, if she is betrothed, then she isn’t yet a mother!   “His mother, Mary, was betrothed” – betrothed by virginity, mother by fecundity.   This was a mother without experience of a man but who yet experienced motherhood.   How could she not be a mother before she had conceived who, after giving birth, remains both virgin and mother?   When was she not a mother, she who is about to conceive Him, who set in motion, the time that gives things their beginning?

Why was the mystery of heavenly innocence given to a betrothed girl and not to a virgin who was still free?   Why did a fiancé’s jealousy put his betrothed in peril?   Why should such great virtue appear to be sin or salvation to be eternal danger?…   What mystery exercises us in all this, my brethren?   There is not a stroke, a letter, a syllable, a word, a name, a person in all the Gospel that is empty of Divine significance.

A betrothed girl was chosen that the Church, Christ’s betrothed, might also be signified according to the word of the prophet Hosea:  “I will betroth you to me in right and justice, in love and mercy;  I will betroth you in fidelity” (Hos 2:21-22).   That is why John said: “The one who has the bride is the Bridegroom” (Jn 3:29).   And Saint Paul:  “I betrothed you to one Spouse to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

O Church, true spouse, who through the virginal birth [of baptism] conceives a new infancy from Christ!o church true spouse - st peter chrysologus 18 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CONSECRATION Prayers, DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, MARY, MATER ECCLESIAE, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on THE MYSTICAL BODY, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Thought for the Day – 9 December – On the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thought for the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Infallible Teaching of the Catholic Church

On the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church, to God the Father through His Son, that He would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete.

Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honour of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and by our own:

We declare, pronounce and define, that the Doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her Conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a Doctrine revealed by God and, therefore, to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.
Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment, that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith, that he has separated from the unity of the Church and that, furthermore, by his own action, he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing, or by any other outward means, the errors he think in his heart.”

Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), Ineffabilis Deus, 8 December 1854

“That one woman is both Mother and Virgin, not in spirit only but even in body.   In spirit she is mother, not of our Head, who is our Saviour Himself—of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom—but plainly she is the mother of us, who are His members, because by love, she has cooperated, so that the faithful, who are the members of that Head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very Head”

Saint Augustine (354-430)

Father and Doctor of the Churchthat one woman is both mother and virgin - st augustine - i am the imm conception - pray for us 9 dec 2019.jpg

Act of Consecration
By St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)

O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth,
Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to You,
I, an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Your feet,
humbly imploring You
to take me with all that I am and have,
wholly to Yourself as Your possession and property.
Please make of me,
of all my powers of soul and body,
of my whole life, death and eternity,
whatever pleases You.
If it pleases You,
use all that I am and have without reserve,
wholly to accomplish what has been said of You:
“She will crush your head”,
and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.”
Let me be a fit instrument in Your immaculate
and most merciful hands for introducing and increasing Your glory
to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
and thus help extend as far as possible,
the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For, wherever You enter,
You obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification,
since it is through Your hands,
that all graces come to us.
from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin.

R. Give me strength against Your enemies.
Amenact-of-consecration-8-dec-2017 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – From the Fathers

Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

From the Fathers

“He was the Ark formed of incorruptible wood.
For by this, is signified, that His Tabernacle
was exempt from putridity and corruption.”

Saint Hippolytus (c 170-c 235)

Hippolytus was one of the most important
second-third century Christian theologians.he was th ark formed of incorruptible wood - st hippolytus - imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God is called Mary,
worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.”

Origen (c 185-253)this-virgin-mother-origen-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Priest and Theologian
Origen of Alexandria, also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria.

“Thou alone and Thy Mother are in all things fair,
there is no flaw in Thee
and no stain in Thy Mother.”

Saint Ephrem of Syria (306-373)

Both Father and Doctor
Deacon, Theologian, Hymnistthou-alone-and-thou-mother-st-ephrem-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled
but a virgin, whom grace has made inviolate,
free of every stain of sin.”

Sermon 22, in the year 338

Saint Ambrose (340-397)

Both Father and Doctor – One of the original four Fathers of the Latin Church, Bishop of Milanmary-a-virgin-st-ambrose-8dec2018 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

“A Virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect,
untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body,
like a lily, sprouting among thorns.”

Saint Theodotus of Ancrya (Died c 446)

Bishop, Theologiana virgin innocent and spotless - 9 dec 2019 imm conception st theodotus .jpg

“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.”

Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521)

Jacob of Sarug, also called Mar Jacob, was one of the foremost Syriac poet-theologians, perhaps only second in stature to Ephrem the Syrian and equal to Narsai. Where his predecessor Ephrem is known as the ‘Harp of the Spirit’, Jacob is the ‘Flute of the Spirit’.the very fact that god has elected her st jacob of sarug imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

“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.”

Saint Andrew of Crete (650-740)

Bishop, Theologian

Saint Andrew of Crete, also known as Andrew of Jerusalem, was an 8th-century Bishop, theologian, homilist and hymnist.today humanity - st andrew of crete imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, The WORD

Advent Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 9 December – The wonderful tabernacle of Your glory,

Advent Reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 9 December – Readings: Genesis 3:9-15, 20, Psalm 98:1-4, Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, Luke 1:26-38

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it what you have said be done to me.” … Luke 1:38luke 1 38 - let what you have said be done to me - 18dec2018 ourladyofexpectation.jpg

REFLECTION – “May the holy divinity of Your glory, my God, O my gentleness, with which You deigned to fill and to inhabit for nine months the chaste viscera of the Virgin Mary, bless You.   May the highest virtue of Your divinity, which bent to the humbleness of the virginal valley, bless You.   May the utmost art of Your almightiness, God most high, with which You imparted onto the Virgin Rose, such virtue, radiance and comeliness as You, Yourself could yearn for, bless You.   May Your wondrous wisdom, whose copious grace made all of Mary’s life and body, as well as her soul, comparable with Your worthiness, bless You.   May You, strong, wise and most dulcet love which made You, the flower and spouse of virginity, become the Son of a virgin, bless You. (…)

May the worthiest heart and soul of the most glorious Virgin Mother Mary (whom, because of my need for salvation, You chose for Yourself as mother and that her motherly clemency might always be open to me) be jubilant to You, on my behalf.   May that most faithful concern which is Yours for me (by which You have provided me with an advocate and patron saint of such capability that through her I may easily be able to find Your grace and in whom, I trustfully believe, Your eternal mercy is preserved for me) be jubilant to You.   May that wonderful tabernacle of Your glory, which alone has ministered to You worthily, as a holy dwelling place and through which, You can best make amends for me, to Yourself, for the due measure of praise and glory that I owe You, be jubilant to You.” … Saint Gertrude of Helfta the Great (1256-1301) – Exercises VI, SC 127

MEDITATION – “All things came to be through him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life and this life was the light of the human race.” … John 1:3-4advent - solemnity of the imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

ADVENT ACTION – Remember the Babe in the Manger, keep Him before your eyes and you will not be able to forget what our sins do.   Our actions with God and those, in this life, will determine our union with God and others, in eternal life.   That is our great hope.

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help us to imitate Your Immaculate Daughter Mary in her love for You.   Grant us the grace to love You as much as she, all our lives and grant, that through her help and her prayers, we ourselves may come to You , cleansed from our sins.   O Mary Immaculate, mother of our Lord, Pray for us!   Amenimmaculate-mary-pray-for-us - 8 dec 2017 and 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Nine – 9 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Nine – 9 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 9:  The Immaculata’s Fullness of Love

day nine - imm conception novena 9 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
The Immaculata never knew the slightest stain, in other words, her love was always full, without flaw.   She loved God with all her being and from the first instant of her existence her love united her with God so perfectly, that on the day of the Annunciation the angel could say to her, “Full of grace! the Lord is with you!” (cf. Lk 1:28).   She is, then, God’s creature, God’s image, God’s child and in all these respects, she is all this in the most perfect manner possible, among the ranks of mere creatures (“Sketches for a book,” 1940).   Intelligent creatures love God in a conscious manner, through this love, they unite themselves more and more closely with Him and so find their way back to Him. The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God Himself, was the Immaculata. . . .   In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary, we observe more than the love of two beings, in one, there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity, in the other, all of creation’s love.   So it is, that in this union, heaven and earth are joined, all of heaven with all the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love.   It is truly the summit of love (“Sketches for a book,” 17 February 1941).

Meditation:
To channel all our spiritual, physical and psychological energies into their fullest human expression, means simply to love God, as totally as possible.   May the Immaculata’s flawless love of God, inspire each of u,s to channel our love, in that same ultimate direction.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – Mary, Ever-Spotless Virgin

Our Morning Offering – 9 December – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Mary, Ever-Spotless Virgin
Breviary Morning Hymn

O Virgin Mary, words cannot describe you,
Clothed with the beauty of the sun at noonday,
Twelve stars to crown you
and the moon beneath you,
Queen of creation.

Through your submission,
death and hell were conquered,
Now you are seated by your Son and Saviour,
Strong to protect us by your intercession,
As we entreat you.

Guard and watch over those within the sheepfold,
Lead to the Shepherd those who are far distant,
Pity the nations groping in the darkness,
Graciously guide them.

Tenderly pleading, win us all forgiveness,
Help those in trouble, poverty or sickness,
Hope of salvation, as a star to pilgrims
Shine through the darkness.

Praise be forever, Trinity Almighty,
Who crowned you, Mary, ever-spotless Virgin,
Making you also Queen of men and angels,
Most loving Mother.
Amen.

Lebet Den Herren, Alle, 11.11.11.5
Music: Johann Crüger, 1598-1662
Text: Solis, O Virgo, Victorius Genovesi SJ 1887–1967mary ever spotless virgin breviary hymn imm conception 9 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Eight – 8 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Eight – 8 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 8:   The Immaculata’s Fruitfulnessday 8 - the immaculate conception novena 8 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
God sends to us the one who personifies His love – Mary, the spouse of the Spirit—a spirit of maternal love—immaculate, all beautiful, spotless, even though she is our sister, a true daughter of the human race.   God confides to her the communication of His mercy to souls.   He makes of her the Mediatrix of the graces merited for us by her divine Son, for she is full of grace, the mother of all souls born of grace, reborn and always being reborn, becoming ever more godlike (Commentary on MI “Act of Consecration,” 1940).

Meditation:
Productivity is one of the chief “virtues” upheld by modern society as a measure of worldly success.   May the Immaculata give witness to each of us that her (and our) ongoing spiritual fruitfulness, in bearing Christ to others, is a far greater achievement than material productivity.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Seven – 7 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Seven – 7 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 7:  The Immaculata’s Discipleshipday seven imm conception novena 7 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
The Immaculata is God’s instrument.   With full consciousness and total willingness she allows God to govern her, she consents to His will, desires only what He desires and acts according to His will in the most perfect manner, without failing, without ever turning aside from His will.   She makes perfect use of the powers and privileges God has given her, so as to fulfil, always and in everything, whatever God wants of her, purely for love of God, One and Three.   This love of God reaches such a peak that it bears the divine fruits proper to God’s own love.   Her love for God brings her to such a level of union with Him that she becomes the Mother of God.   The Father confides to her His Son, the Son descends into her womb and the Holy Spirit fashions out of her perfectly pure body, the very body of Jesus!  (“Sketches for a book,” 1940).

Meditation:
The only way to guarantee that we are on the “right track” in our everyday activities is to listen to God’s Word and live it out.   That’s discipleship!   May the Immaculata’s discipleship of total conformity to God’s Word inspire us to be similar instruments of his will.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Six – 6 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Six – 6 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 6:   The Immaculata’s Sinlessnessday six imm conception novena - 6 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
Who then are you, 0 Immaculate Conception? Not God, of course, because He has no beginning.   Not an angel, created directly out of nothing.   Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gn 2:7).   Not Eve, moulded from Adam’s rib (Gn 2:21).   Not the Incarnate Word, who exists before all ages and of Whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception.”   Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.”   But you, 0 Mary, are different from all other children of Eve.   They are conceptions stained by original sin, whereas you, are the unique, Immaculate Conception (“Sketches for a book,” 17 February 1941).

Meditation:
Confronting the reality of sin is one of the fundamental struggles that we face in daily life.   May the Immaculata, the sinless New Eve, confirm our hope in the victorious liberation from sin which Christ, the New Adam, won for each of us.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Five – 5 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Five – 5 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 5:  The Immaculata’s Dignity as a Human Personday 5 imm conception novena 5 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
The Mother of God is a creature.   It follows that all she is, she has from God.   But she is God’s most perfect creature.   For this reason, the homage paid to her is, by the very nature of the case, paid to God Himself.   If we admire a statue, we honour the artist who created this masterpiece.   If we honour Mary most holy we honour God.   The more we pay homage to the divine perfections found in Mary, the more perfect is our homage to God, this is perfectly in order, since God created her in the highest state of perfection (Conference, 9 April 1938).

Meditation:
The greatness of every work of art is directly proportionate to the mastery of the artist who forms it.   Accordingly, the dignity of every human person derives from God who has created each of us in His image.   May the Immaculata teach us always, to mirror, as she did, the dignity and perfection of our God.

Closing prayers

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Four – 4 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Four – 4 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.DAY FOUR IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA 4 DEC 2019 ST MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE.jpg

Day 4: The Immaculata’s Self-Understanding

Reading:
When our Blessed Mother was asked by Bernadette to tell her name, she answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” this is the Immaculata’s definition of herself (Conference, 26 July 1931).   By these luminous words (at Lourdes) she tells us not only that she was immaculate in her conception but beyond this that she is the Immaculate Conception as such.   Something white is one thing;  the whiteness of a thing is some-thing else. Something perfect is one thing;  the perfection of a thing is something else.   When God said to Moses, “I am the one who is,” God was telling him:  “What is proper to my essence is that I should always be, by my very nature, of myself, with no other principle of being.”   The Immaculate Virgin, of course, was created by God;  she is a creature;  she is a conception;  still, she is the Immaculate Conception!   What depths of mystery lie hidden in those words! (Miles Immaculatae, I, 1938, p. 294).

Meditation:
In our contemporary world, great emphasis is placed on the importance of getting to “know one-self.”   May the Immaculata’s example of authentic self-understanding lead each of us to find our own true meaning as participants in the very being of God.

Closing prayers:

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Three – 3 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Three – 3 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 3:  The Immaculata’s Place in God’s Plan of Creation and Salvationday 3 imm conception novena 3 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
The Immaculata appears in this world, without the least stain of sin, the masterpiece of God’s hands, full of grace.   God, the most Holy Trinity, beholds the lowliness (i.e., the humility, the root of all her other virtues) of His handmaid and “does great things” for her (cf. Lk 1:49).   God the Father gives her, His own Son to be her Son, God the Son descends into her womb and God the Holy Spirit forms the Body of Christ in the womb of this most pure virgin.   “And the Word was made flesh” (Jn 1:14).   The Immaculata becomes the Mother of God.

The fruit of the love of God in His Trinitarian life and of Mary the Immaculata, is Christ, the God-man.   Henceforth, all the other sons of God must be modelled after this first Son of God, the God-man, the infinite One.   They must reproduce His traits, by imitating Christ, souls reach sanctity. . . .   This is the union brought about by the spousal love of the soul for Christ, through its resemblance to Him and by God’s action.

But if anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother. . . . Since the firstborn Son, the God-man was conceived only with the specific consent of the most Blessed Virgin, the same must hold true for all men, who must be conformed to their first model in all things (“Sketches for a book,” 1940).

Meditation:
From all eternity, God has designed a unique plan for each one of us, no two being identical.   His ultimate aim, is that we all be fully united to the Lord.   May the Immaculata, from her unique position in God’s plan, foster our growing conformity to Christ.

Closing prayers:

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FRANCISCAN OFM, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY SPIRIT, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day Two – 2 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day Two – 2 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.

Day 2:   The Immaculata as Spouse of the Holy Spiritday 2 imm conception novena 2 dec 2019.jpg

Reading:
United to the Holy Spirit as His Spouse, the Immaculata is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature.  What sort of union is this?   It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the “essence” of the Holy Spirit.   The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her.   This was true from the first instant of her existence.   It was always true, it will always be true.

In what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist?   He himself is uncreated Love in her, the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves Himself, the very love of the most Holy Trinity.   He is a fruitful love, a “Conception.”   Among creatures made in God’s image the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all (cf. Mt 19:6).   In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being.   He makes her fruitful, from the very first instant of her existence, all during her life and for all eternity (“Sketches for a book,” 17 February 1941).

Meditation:
To grow in daily awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us is a constant challenge that God gives to each and all of us.   May the Immaculata’s perfect life in the Holy Spirit, cause a sharpening, of our own attentiveness, to His presence at the core of our inner selves.

Closing prayers:

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practised so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask, through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY TRINITY, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Day One – 1 December

Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Day One – 1 December

By St Maximillian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr

OPENING PRAYER

How fair you are, 0 Mary!
The original stain is not in you.
You are the boast of Jerusalem,
You are the joy of Israel.
You are the pride of our people.
You are the advocate of sinners.
0 Mary!
You are the wisest of virgins.
You are the kindest of mothers.
Pray for us.
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Virgin, you were spotless
from the very moment of your conception.
Because you bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.
Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God,
You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son.
In anticipation of Your Son’s death,
You preserved her from every stain.
Please purify us by her intercession,
so that we might find our way to You.
We ask this through Christ our lord.
Amen

Daily Readings and Meditations for each day of the Novena are given here, followed by two closing Novena Prayers for each day.DAY ONE IMM CONCEPTION NOVENA - ST MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE - TRINITY 1 DEC 2019

Day 1: The Immaculata’s Relationship to the Trinity

Reading:
From all eternity the Father begets the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son.   This life of the most Holy Trinity is re-echoed in numberless and various ways, by the creatures that issue from God’s hands. . . .   Every act of love in God comes forth from the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God creates, maintains in existence, gives life and growth in the natural as well as in the supernatural order.   In His love, God supports in existence all His innumerable limited created resemblances and the love-reaction that is provoked in the creature, can return to the Father only through the Holy Spirit and the Son.. .
Among creatures, the summit of this love that goes back to God is the Immaculata, the one being totally without any stain of sin, all beautiful, all divine.   At no time did her will ever deviate from God’s will.   With all its strength, her will was always at one with His. In her there came about the marvellous union of God with creation.
(Kolbe’s “Sketches for a Book,” 1940).

Meditation:
Cultivating a personal relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity is an obligation for every individual.   May the Immaculata’s love-response to each of the Three Divine Persons, serve as a model and stimulus for each of us.

Closing prayers:

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin,
Mother of God throne of grace,
miracle of almighty power!
I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity
and Queen of the universe,
Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness
and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you
and beg of you, to obtain for me of your dear Son
the favour I request in this novena
………………………… (here mention you request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven,
the most lively contrition for my many sins
and the grace to imitate closely,
those virtues which you practiced so faithfully,
especially humility, purity and obedience.
Above all I beg you to be my mother
and protectress,
to receive me into the number of your devoted children
and to guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy!
Have pity on me and do not abandon me
during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father,
Mother of the Eternal Son,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
Temple of the adorable Trinity,
pray for me.
Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary,
refuge of the needy and hope of sinners,
filled with the most lively respect, love and gratitude,
I devote myself forever to your service
and I offer you my heart,
with all that I am and all that belongs to me.
Accept this offering,
sweet Queen of Heaven and earth
and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
the favours I ask through your intercession in this novena.
Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God,
perfect submission to His adorable will,
the true spirit of a Christian
and the grace of final perseverance.
Amen

Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata

O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother,
live in me, act in me, speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind,
love through my heart.
Give me your own dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life.
Replace me with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving,
pray in and through me.
Let me live in you
and keep me in this union always.
Amen

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Devotion for December The Immaculate Conception

Devotion for December
The Immaculate Conceptiondecember-month-of-the-imm-conception-1-dec-2018 and 1 dec 2019.jpg

During Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also celebrate one of the great feasts of the Catholic Church.   The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December-moved to 8 December in 2019) is not only a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary but a foretaste of our own redemption.

In keeping the Blessed Virgin free from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception, God presents us with a glorious example of what mankind was meant to be. Mary is truly the second Eve, because, like Eve, she entered the world without sin. Unlike Eve, she remained sinless throughout her life—a life that she dedicated fully to the will of God.   The Eastern Fathers of the Church referred to her as “without stain” (a phrase that appears frequently in the Eastern liturgies and hymns to Mary), in Latin, that phrase is immaculatus: “immaculate.”

The Immaculate Conception was not, as many people mistakenly believe, a precondition for Christ’s act of redemption but the result of it.   Standing outside of time, God knew that Mary would humbly submit herself to His will and in His love for this perfect servant, He applied to her at the moment of her conception the redemption, won by Christ, that all Christians receive at their Baptism.

It is appropriate, then, that the Church has long declared the month in which the Blessed Virgin not only was conceived but gave birth to the Saviour of the world, as the Month of the Immaculate Conception.

The star of Mary Immaculate shines down on the path of Advent….

What person is more luminous than Mary?

Who can be for us, better than her, the star of hope,

the sunrise that proclaims the day of salvation?

Pope Benedict XVI

Holy light on earth’s horizon,
Star of hope to those who fall,
Light amid a world of shadows,
Dawn of God’s design for all.mary immaculate conception december devotion - holy light on earth's horizon 1 dec 2019.jpg

Mary, Virgin of Advent, may we always walk with you in the light of the Lord, Jesus, the fruit of your womb!    Amenthe star of mary immaculate shines down on the path of advent - pope benedict - dec month of the imm conception 1 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOGMA, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, NOTES to Followers, NOVENAS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Announcing a Novena in honour of the Immaculate Conception – Begins 1 December

Announcing a Novena in honour of the Immaculate Conception
Begins 1 December

As the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is moved forward by one day this year, from 8 to 9 December, due to the 8th being the 2nd Sunday of Advent, we will start the Novena a day later than usual.

This year we will use Reflections and Meditations from St Maximillian Kolbe.

See you there!

 

announcing a novena imm conception begins 1 dec by st Maximillian Kolbe 30 Nov 2019.jpg

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY ROSARY/ROSARY CRUSADE, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, YouTube VIDEOS

Saint of the Day – 13 August – Saint John Berchmans SJ (1599-1621)

Saint of the Day – 13 August – Saint John Berchmans SJ (1599-1621) Jesuit Novice – born Jan Berchmans on 13 March 1599 at Driest, Brabant, Belgium and died on 13 August 1621 at Rome, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – Altar Servers, Jesuit novices and students. He had a special devotion to God’s Mother and to him is owed the Little Rosary of the Immaculate Conception.st john berchmans sj.jpg

Born in 1599 in Diest, a town of northern Belgium near Brussels and Louvain, this angelic young Saint was the oldest of five children.   Two of his three brothers became priests and his father, after the death of John’s mother when he was eleven years old, entered religion and became a Canon of Saint Sulpice.

John was a brilliant student from his most tender years, manifesting also a piety which far exceeded the ordinary.   Beginning at the age of seven, he studied for three years at the local communal school with an excellent professor.   And then his father, wanting to protect the sacerdotal vocation already evident in his son, confided him to a Canon of Diest who lodged students aspiring to the ecclesiastical vocation.   After three years in that residence, the family’s financial situation had declined owing to the long illness of the mother and John was told he would have to return and learn a trade.   He pleaded to be allowed to continue his studies.   And his aunts, who were nuns, found a solution through their chaplain, he proposed to take John into his service and lodge him.St. John Berchmans.jpg

Saint John was ordinarily first in his classes at the large school, a sort of minor seminary, even when he had to double his efforts in order to rejoin his fellow students, all of excellent talent, who sometimes had preceded him for a year or more in an assigned discipline.   He often questioned his Superiors as to what was the most perfect thing to say or do in the various circumstances in which he found himself.   Such was the humility which caused the young to advance without ceasing on the road to heaven. Later he continued his studies at Malines, also not distant from Diest, under the tutelage of another ecclesiastic, who assigned to him the supervision of three young boys of a noble family.   In all that John did he sought perfection and he never encountered anything but the highest favour for his services, wherever he was placed.

He found his vocation through his acquaintance with the Jesuits of that city and manifested his determination to pursue his course, although his father and family opposed it for a time.   It had been decided that he would continue his studies at the Jesuit novitiate of Malines, with about 70 other novices.  Jean_Berchmans_(1599-1621) With another young aspirant, he was waiting in the parlour to be introduced, when he saw in the garden a coadjutor Brother turning over the ground in the garden.   He proposed to his companion to go and help him, saying:  Could we begin our religious life better than with an act of humility and charity?   And with no hesitation, both went to offer their assistance.   How many young persons in that situation would have thought of such an offer?   This incident reveals the profound charity and interior peace which characterised this young religious at all times.

As a novice he taught catechism to the children in the regions around Malines.   He made his instructions so lively and interesting that the country folk preferred his lessons to the ordinary sermons.   The children became attached to him and in a troop would conduct him back to the novitiate, where he distributed holy pictures, medals and rosaries to them.   At the end of his novitiate in 1619 he was destined to go to Rome to begin serious application to philosophy but his superiors decided to send him home for a few days first.   A shock awaited him at the train station of Malines, where he was expecting to meet his father, he had died a week earlier.   John was given time to take the dispositions necessary to provide for the younger brothers and sister.   When he departed, it was apparently with a premonition that he would perhaps never see them again, for he said in a letter to the Canon of Diest with whom he had dwelt, to tell the younger ones for him –  “Increase in piety, in fear of God and in knowledge. Adieu.”

With a fellow novice he began the two months’ journey on foot to Rome, by way of Paris, Lyons and Loreto, where the two assisted at the Christmas Midnight Mass.   Both of these two young Jesuits would die within three years’ time, his companion in a matter of several months.   John had time during these three years to give unceasing proofs of his already perfected sanctity, nothing that he did was left to chance but entrusted to the intercession of his Heavenly Mother, to whom his devotion continued to increase day by day.  img-Saint-John-Berchmans.jpg

He made an extraordinary effort during an intense heat wave in the summer of 1621, participating splendidly in a debate, which took place at a certain distance from the Jesuit residence, despite the fact he did not feel well.   Two days later he was felled by a fever, which continued implacably to mine his already slight resistance, and he died in August of that year, after one week of illness.   The story of his last days is touching indeed, in a residence of several hundred priests and students, there was none who did not follow with anxiety and compassion the progress of his illness.   When the infirmarian told his patient that he should probably receive Communion the next morning — an exception to the rule prescribing it for Sundays only, in those times — John said, In Viaticum? and received a sad affirmative answer.   He himself was transported with joy and embraced the Brother, the latter broke into tears.   A priest who knew John well went to him the next morning and asked him if there was anything troubling or saddening him and John replied, Absolutely nothing.

He asked that his mattress be placed on the floor and knelt to receive his Lord, when the Father Rector pronounced the words of the Ritual –  Receive, Brother, in viaticum, the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, all in attendance wept.   Their angelic, ever joyous and affectionate young novice was called to leave them, no clearer tribute than their tears could have been offered to the reality of his sanctity, his participation in the effusive goodness of the divine nature.

Devotion to his memory spread rapidly in Belgium, already in 1624 twelve engraving establishments of Anvers had published his portrait.   He was Canonised in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII, at the same time as two other Jesuits who lived during the first century of that Society’s existence, so fruitful in sanctity — Peter Claver and Alphonsus Rodriguez. … (Saint Jean Berchmans, by Hippolyte Delehaye, SJ (J. Gabalda – Paris, 1922)

heart st john berchmans.jpg
St John Berchman’s Heart

At the time of Berchmans’s death, his heart was returned to his homeland in Belgium where it is kept in a silver reliquary on a side altar in the church at Leuven (Louvain).

There is a very old post about St John Berchman’s here:  https://anastpaul.com/2016/11/26/saint-of-the-day-november-26/

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY ROSARY/ROSARY CRUSADE, The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, YouTube VIDEOS

Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Memorials of the Saints – 13 August

St Pope Pontian Martyr (Died 235) (Optional Memorial)
St Hippolytus (170 – 235) Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Details of St Pope Pontian & St Hippolytus here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/saints-of-the-day-13-august-st-pope-pontian-and-st-hippolytus-martyrs/

Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners/Refugium Peccatorum:   St John Damascene calls Mary a city of refuge to all who flee to Her.
Blessed Antonio Baldinucci SJ (1665-1717) had a particular devotion to the Refugium Peccatorum image of Virgin Mary in the Church of the Gesu (Frascati) in Italy and commissioned a copy which he considered miraculous and carried it with him in his travels. The Jesuits spread copies of the image of the Madonna of Refuge in Mexico by the 19th century and it began to be depicted in missions there, often with clouds surrounding the lower portion of the image of the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus.
The term “Refugium peccatorum” is also used other works of Roman Catholic Marian art. For instance, there is a marble statue representing the Virgin Mary, on the grand staircase of the old municipal palace in Venice, Italy. The name came from the fact that the convicts were allowed to stop in front of the Virgin Mary’s statue to pray for their soul on the way to the scaffold.
The traditional feast day of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners is today, 13 August.

St Anastasius the Monk
St Anastasius the Priest
St Benildus
St Cassian of Imola
St Cassian of Todi
St Concordia
St Conn O’Rourke
Bl Gertrude of Altenberg
St Helen of Burgos
St Herulph of Langres
Bl Jakob Gapp
Bl John of Alvernia
St John Berchmans SJ (1599-1621)

St Junian of Mairé
St Ludolph
Bl Marco d’Aviano/Mark of Aviano OFM Cap (1631-1699)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/13/saint-of-the-day-13-august-blessed-mark-of-aviano-ofm-cap-1631-1699/
St Maximus the Confessor
St Nerses Glaietsi
St Patrick O’Healy
Bl Pierre Gabilhaud
St Radegund
St Radegunde
St Wigbert of Fritzlar
Bl William Freeman

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Francesc Castells Areny
• Blessed Inocencio García Díez
• Blessed José Bonet Nadal
• Blessed José Boher y Foix
• Blessed José Juan Perot y Juanmarti
• Blessed Jose Tàpies y Sirvant
• Blessed Josep Alsina Casas
• Blessed Luciano Hernández Ramírez
• Blessed Maria de Puiggraciós Badia Flaquer
• Blessed Mateo Despóns Tena
• Blessed Modesto García Martí
• Blessed Pascual Araguàs y Guàrdia
• Blessed Pedro Martret y Molet
• Blessed Silvestre Arnau y Pascuet

Martyred Claretians of Barbastro – 51 beati:
• Blessed Agustín Viela Ezcurdia
• Blessed Alfons Miquel Garriga
• Blessed Alfons Sorribes Teixidó
• Blessed Antolín Calvo y Calvo
• Blessed Antoni Dalmau Rosich
• Blessed Atanasio Vidaurreta Labra
• Blessed Eduardo Ripoll Diego
• Blessed Esteve Casadevall Puig
• Blessed Eusebi Maria Codina Millà
• Blessed Felipe de Jesús Munárriz Azcona
• Blessed Francesc Roura Farró
• Blessed Francisco Castán Meseguer
• Blessed Gregorio Chirivas Lacamba
• Blessed Hilario Llorente Martín
• Blessed Jaume Falgarona Vilanova
• Blessed Joan Baixeras Berenguer
• Blessed Joan Codinachs Tuneu
• Blessed José Amorós Hernández
• Blessed José Blasco Juan
• Blessed José Figuero Beltrán
• Blessed José Pavón Bueno
• Blessed Josep Maria Badía Mateu
• Blessed Josep Ormo Seró
• Blessed Josep Ros Florensa
• Blessed Juan Díaz Nosti
• Blessed Juan Echarri Vique
• Blessed Juan Sánchez Munárriz
• Blessed Leoncio Pérez Ramos
• Blessed Lluís Escalé Binefa
• Blessed Lluís Lladó Teixidor
• Blessed Lluís Masferrer Vila
• Blessed Manuel Buil Lalueza
• Blessed Manuel Martínez Jarauta
• Blessed Manuel Torras Sais
• Blessed Miquel Masip González
• Blessed Nicasio Sierra Ucar
• Blessed Pedro García Bernal
• Blessed Pere Cunill Padrós
• Blessed Rafael Briega Morales
• Blessed Ramon Illa Salvia
• Blessed Ramon Novich Rabionet
• Blessed Salvador Pigem Serra
• Blessed Sebastià Riera Coromina
• Blessed Sebastián Calvo Martínez
• Blessed Secundino Ortega García
• Blessed Teodoro Ruiz de Larrinaga García
• Blessed Tomàs Capdevila Miró
• Blessed Wenceslau Clarís Vilaregut
They were martyred on 2 August through 18 August 1936 in Barbastro, Huesca, Spain and Beatified on 25 October 1992 by Pope John Paul II.