Marian Thought for the Day – 28 May “Mary’s Month!”

Marian Thought for the Day – 28 May “Mary’s Month!”

Mary is the “Virgo Potens,” the Powerful Virgin
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-18900)

THIS great universe, which we see by day and by night, or what is called the natural world, is ruled by fixed laws, which the Creator has imposed upon it and by those wonderful laws, is made secure against any substantial injury or loss.   One portion of it may conflict with another and there may be changes in it internally but, viewed as a whole, it is adapted to stand for ever.   Hence the Psalmist says, “He has established the world, which shall not be moved.”

Such is the world of nature but there is another and still more wonderful world.   There is a power which avails to alter and subdue this visible world and to suspend and counteract its laws, that is, the world of Angels and Saints, of Holy Church and her children and the weapon, by which they master its laws, is the power of prayer.

By prayer all this may be done, which naturally is impossible.   Noah prayed and God said that there never again should be a flood to drown the race of man.   Moses prayed and ten grievous plagues fell upon the land of Egypt.   Joshua prayed and the sun stood still. Samuel prayed and thunder and rain came in wheat-harvest.   Elias prayed and brought down fire from heaven.   Eliseus prayed and the dead came to life.   Ezechias prayed and the vast army of the Assyrians was smitten and perished.

This is why the Blessed Virgin is called Powerful—nay, sometimes, All-powerful, because she has, more than anyone else, more than all Angels and Saints, this great, prevailing gift of prayer.   No one has access to the Almighty as His Mother has, none has merit such as hers.   Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks and herein lies her power.   While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us, for human life is short but Mary reigns above, a Queen for ever.her son will deny her nothing - bl john henry - mary virgo potens - 28 may 2018

Mary, “Virgo Potens,” Powerful Virgin, Pray for us!MARY VIRGO POTENS, POWERFUL VIRGIN - PRAY FOR US - 28 MAY 2018 - BL JOHN HENRY


Marian Thought for the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Marian Thought for the Day – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Mary is the “Consolatrix Afflictorum,” the Consoler of the Afflicted
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

St PAUL says that his Lord comforted him in all his tribulations, that he also might be able to comfort them who are in distress, by the encouragement which he received from God.   This is the secret of true consolation:  those are able to comfort others who, in their own case, have been much tried and have felt the need of consolation and have received it.   So of our Lord Himself it is said:  “In that He Himself hath suffered and been tempted, He is able to succour those also that are tempted.”

And this, too, is why the Blessed Virgin is the comforter of the afflicted.   We all know how special a mother’s consolation is and we are allowed to call Mary our Mother from the time that our Lord from the Cross established the relation of mother and son between her and St John.   And she especially can console us because she suffered more than mothers in general.   Women, at least delicate women, are commonly shielded from rude experience of the highways of the world but she, after our Lord’s Ascension, was sent out into foreign lands almost as the Apostles were, a sheep among wolves.   In spite of all St John’s care of her, which was as great as was St Joseph’s in her younger days, she, more than all the saints of God, was a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth, in proportion to her greater love of Him who had been on earth, and had gone away.   As, when our Lord was an Infant, she had to flee across the desert to the heathen Egypt, so, when He had ascended on high, she had to go on shipboard to the heathen Ephesus, where she lived and died.

O ye who are in the midst of rude neighbours or scoffing companions, or of wicked acquaintance, or of spiteful enemies and are helpless, invoke the aid of Mary by the memory of her own sufferings among the heathen Greeks and the heathen Egyptians.

Mary “Consolatrix Afflictorum,”Consoler of the Afflicted – Help of Christians

Help us!, Pray for Us!our-lady-help-of-christians-pray-for-us-24 may 2018jpgour lady consoler of the afflicted - pray for us - 24 may 2018





Marian Thought for the Day – 23 May “Mary’s Month”

Marian Thought for the Day – 23 May “Mary’s Month”  – Wednesday in the 7th Week of Ordinary Time Year B

Mary is the “Vas Honorabile,” the Vessel of Honour
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

ST PAUL calls elect souls vessels of honour: of honour, because they are elect or chosen; and vessels, because, through the love of God, they are filled with God’s heavenly and holy grace.   How much more then is Mary a vessel of honour by reason of her having within her, not only the grace of God but the very Son of God, formed as regards His flesh and blood out of her!

But this title “honorabile,” as applied to Mary, admits of a further and special meaning. She was a martyr without the rude dishonour which accompanied the sufferings of martyrs.   The martyrs were seized, haled about, thrust into prison with the vilest criminals and assailed with the most blasphemous words and foulest speeches which Satan could inspire.   Nay, such was the unutterable trial also of the holy women, young ladies, the spouses of Christ, whom the heathen seized, tortured and put to death.   Above all, our Lord Himself, whose sanctity was greater than any created excellence or vessel of grace—even He, as we know well, was buffeted, stripped, scourged, mocked, dragged about, and then stretched, nailed, lifted up on a high cross, to the gaze of a brutal multitude.

But He, who bore the sinner’s shame for sinners, spared His Mother, who was sinless, this supreme indignity.  Not in the body, but in the soul, she suffered.   True, in His Agony she was agonised;   in His Passion she suffered a fellow-passion;   she was crucified with Him;   the spear that pierced His breast pierced through her spirit.   Yet, there were no visible signs of this intimate martyrdom, she stood up, still, collected, motionless, solitary, under the Cross of her Son, surrounded by Angels and shrouded in her virginal sanctity from the notice of all who were taking part in His Crucifixion.

Mary “Vas Honorabile,” Vessel of Honour – Pray for us!mary vessel of honour - pray for us -bl john henry - 23 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 19 May “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 19 May “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Vas Insigne Devotionis,” The Most Devout Virgin
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

TO be devout is to be devoted.   We know what is meant by a devoted wife or daughter.   It is one, whose thoughts centre in the person so deeply loved, so tenderly cherished.,, She follows Him about with her eyes;  she is ever seeking some means of serving Him and, if her services are very small in their character, that only shows, how intimate they are and how incessant.   And especially if the object of her love be weak, or in pain, or near to die, still more intensely does she live in His life and know nothing but Him.

This intense devotion towards our Lord, forgetting self in love for Him, is instanced in St Paul, who says. “I know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”   And again, “I live, [yet] now not I, but Christ lives in me;  and [the life] that I now live in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself for me.”

But great as was St Paul’s devotion to our Lord, much greater was that of the Blessed Virgin, because she was His Mother and because she had Him and all His sufferings actually before her eyes and because she had the long intimacy, of thirty years with Him and because she was from her special sanctity, so ineffably near to Him in spirit.   When, then, He was mocked, bruised, scourged and nailed to the Cross, she felt as keenly as if every indignity and torture inflicted on Him, was struck at herself.   She could have cried out in agony at every pang of His.

This is called her compassion, or her suffering with her Son and it arose from this that she was the “Vas insigne devotionis.”

Mary, “Vas Insigne Devotionis,” The Most Devout Virgin

Pray for us!mary most devout virgin - pray for us - 19 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 18 May “Mary’s Month” Friday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 18 May “Mary’s Month” Friday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Regina Martyrum,” the Queen of Martyrs
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

WHY is she so called?—she who never had any blow, or wound, or other injury to her consecrated person. How can she be exalted over those whose bodies suffered the most ruthless violences and the keenest torments for our Lord’s sake? She is, indeed, Queen of all Saints, of those who “walk with Christ in white, for they are worthy” but how of those “who were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held?”

To answer this question, it must be recollected that the pains of the soul may be as fierce as those of the body. Bad men who are now in hell and the elect of God who are in purgatory, are suffering only in their souls, for their bodies are still in the dust. Yet how severe is that suffering! And perhaps most people who have lived long, can bear witness in their own persons, to a sharpness of distress, which was like a sword cutting them, to a weight and force of sorrow which seemed to throw them down, though bodily pain there was none.

What an overwhelming horror it must have been, for the Blessed Mary, to witness the Passion and the Crucifixion of her Son! Her anguish was, as Holy Simeon had announced to her, at the time of that Son’s Presentation in the Temple, a sword piercing her soul. If our Lord Himself could not bear the prospect of what was before Him and was covered in the thought of it with a bloody sweat, His soul thus acting upon His body, does not this show how great mental pain can be? and would it have been wonderful though, if Mary’s head and heart, had given way as she stood under His Cross?

Thus is she most truly the Queen of Martyrs.

Mary, “Regina Martyrum,” Queen of Martyrs,

Pray for us!mary - regina martyrum - queen of martyrs - pray for us - 18 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 17 May “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 17 May “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Mater Salvatoris,” the Mother of the Saviour
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

HERE again, as in our reflections of yesterday, we must understand what is meant, by calling our Lord a Saviour, in order to understand why it is used, to form one of the titles given to Mary in her Litany.

The special name by which our Lord was known before His coming was, as we found yesterday, that of Messias, or Christ.   Thus He was known to the Jews.   But when He actually showed Himself on earth, He was known by three new titles, the Son of God, the Son of Man and the Saviour; the first expressive of His Divine Nature, the second of His Human, the third of His Personal Office.   Thus the Angel who appeared to Mary, called Him the Son of God;  the angel who appeared to Joseph called Him Jesus, which means in English, Saviour;  and so the Angels, too, called Him a Saviour when they appeared to the shepherds.   But He Himself specially calls Himself the Son of Man.

Not Angels only, call Him Saviour but those two greatest of the Apostles, St Peter and St Paul, in their first preachings.   St Peter says He is “a Prince and a Saviour” and St Paul says, “a Saviour, Jesus.”   And both Angels and Apostles tell us why He is so called—because He has rescued us from the power of the evil spirit and from the guilt and misery of our sins.   Thus the Angel says to Joseph, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins;” and St Peter, “God has exalted Him to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins.”   And He says Himself, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Now let us consider how this affects our thoughts of Mary.   To rescue slaves from the power of the Enemy implies a conflict. Our Lord, because He was a Saviour, was a warrior.   He could not deliver the captives without a fight, nor without personal suffering.   Now, who are they who especially hate wars?   A heathen poet answers. “Wars,” he says, “are hated by Mothers.”   Mothers are just those who especially suffer in a war.   They may glory in the honour gained by their children but still such glorying, does not wipe out, one particle of the long pain, the anxiety, the suspense, the desolation and the anguish which the mother of a soldier feels.   So it was with Mary.

For thirty years she was blessed with the continual presence of her Son—nay, she had Him in subjection.   But the time came when that war called for Him, for which He had come upon earth.   Certainly He came, not simply to be the Son of Mary but to be the Saviour of Man and, therefore, at length He parted from her.   She knew then, what it was to be the mother of a soldier.   He left her side; she saw Him no longer, she tried in vain to get near Him.   He had for years lived in her embrace and after that, at least in her dwelling—but now, in His own words, “The Son of Man had not where to lay His head.”

And then, when years had run out, she heard of His arrest, His mock trial and His passion.   At last she got near Him—when and where?—on the way to Calvary and when He had been lifted upon the Cross.   And at length she held Him again in her arms, yes—when He was dead.   True, He rose from the dead but still she did not thereby gain Him, for He ascended on high and she did not at once follow Him.   No, she remained on earth many years—in the care, indeed, of His dearest Apostle, St John.   But what was even the holiest of men, compared with her own Son and Him the Son of God?

O Holy Mary, Mother of our Saviour, in this meditation we have now suddenly passed from the Joyful Mysteries to the Sorrowful, from Gabriel’s Annunciation to thee, to the Seven Dolours.   That, then, will be the next series of Meditations which we make about thee.

O Holy Mary, Mother of our Saviour, Pray for us!holy mary mother of our saviour, pray for us - 17 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day -15 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day -15 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Mater Christi,” the Mother of Christ
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

EACH of the titles of Mary has its own special meaning and drift and may be made the subject of a distinct meditation. She is invoked by us as the Mother of Christ.   What is the force of thus addressing her?   It is to bring before us that she it is whom from the first was prophesied of and associated with, the hopes and prayers of all holy men, of all true worshippers of God, of all who “looked for the redemption of Israel” in every age before that redemption came.

Our Lord was called the Christ, or the Messias, by the Jewish prophets and the Jewish people.   The two words Christ and Messias mean the same.   They mean in English, the “Anointed.”   In the old time there were three great ministries or offices by means of which, God spoke to His chosen people, the Israelites, or, as they were afterward called, the Jews, viz., that of Priest, that of King and that of Prophet.   Those who were chosen by God for one or other of these offices, were solemnly anointed with oil—oil signifying the grace of God, which was given to them for the due performance of their high duties.   But our Lord was all three, a Priest, a Prophet and a King—a Priest, because He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins; a Prophet, because He revealed to us the Holy Law of God; and a King, because He rules over us. Thus He is the one true Christ.

It was in expectation of this great Messias that the chosen people, the Jews, or Israelites, or Hebrews (for these are different names for the same people), looked out from age to age.   He was to come to set all things right.   And next to this great question which occupied their minds, namely, When was He to come, was the question, Who was to be His Mother?   It had been told them from the first, not that He should come from heaven but that He should be born of a Woman.   At the time of the fall of Adam, God had said, that the seed of the Woman, should bruise the Serpent’s head.   Who, then, was to be that Woman thus significantly pointed out to the fallen race of Adam?   At the end of many centuries, it was further revealed to the Jews that the great Messias, or Christ, the seed of the Woman, should be born of their race and of one particular tribe, of the twelve tribes, into which that race was divided.   From that time every woman of that tribe hoped to have the great privilege of herself, being the Mother of the Messias, or Christ; for it stood to reason, since He was so great, the Mother must be great and good and blessed too. Hence it was, among other reasons, that they thought so highly of the marriage state, because, not knowing the mystery of the miraculous conception of the Christ, when He was actually to come, they thought that the marriage rite was the ordinance necessary for His coming.

Hence it was, if Mary had been as other women, she would have longed for marriage, as opening on her the prospect of bearing the great King.   But she was too humble and too pure for such thoughts.   She had been inspired to choose that better way of serving God, which had not been made known to the Jews—the state of Virginity.   She preferred to be His Spouse, to being His Mother.   Accordingly, when the Angel Gabriel announced to her, her high destiny, she shrank from it, till she was assured, that it would not oblige her, to revoke her purpose, of a virgin life devoted to her God.

Thus was it that she became the Mother of the Christ, not in that way, which pious women for so many ages had expected Him but, declining the grace of such maternity, she gained it by means of a higher grace.   And this is the full meaning of St Elizabeth’s words, when the Blessed Virgin came to visit her, which we use in the Hail Mary: “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”   And, therefore, it is that, in the Devotion called the “Crown of Twelve Stars” we give praise to God, the Holy Ghost, through whom she was both, Virgin and Mother.

Mary, “Mater Christi,” the Mother of Christ

Pray for us!mary, mater christi - pray for us - 15 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 14 May – Mary’s Month!” – Monday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 14 May – Mary’s Month!” – Monday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Mater Creatoris,” the Mother of the Creator
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

THIS is a title which, of all others, we should have thought it impossible for any creature to possess.   At first sight we might be tempted to say that it throws into confusion our primary ideas of the Creator and the creature, the Eternal and the temporal, the Self-subsisting and the dependent and yet, on further consideration, we shall see that we cannot refuse the title to Mary, without denying the Divine Incarnationthat is, the great and fundamental truth of revelation, that God became man.

And this was seen from the first age of the Church. Christians were accustomed from the first to call the Blessed Virgin “The Mother of God,” because they saw that it was impossible to deny her that title without denying St John’s words, “The Word” (that is, God the Son) “was made flesh.”

And in no long time it was found necessary to proclaim this truth by the voice of an Ecumenical Council of the Church.   For, in consequence of the dislike which men have of a mystery, the error sprang up that our Lord was not really God but a man, differing from us in this merely—that God dwelt in Him, as God dwells in all good men, only in a higher measure; as the Holy Spirit dwelt in Angels and Prophets, as in a sort of Temple, or again, as our Lord now dwells in the Tabernacle in church.   And then, the bishops and faithful people found there was no other way of hindering this false, bad view being taught but by declaring distinctly and making it a point of faith, that Mary was the Mother, not of man only but of God.   And since that time the title of Mary, as Mother of God, has become what is called a dogma, or article of faith, in the Church.

But this leads us to a larger view of the subject.   Is this title as given to Mary more wonderful than the doctrine that God, without ceasing to be God, should become man?  Is it more mysterious that Mary should be Mother of God, than that God should be man? Yet the latter, as I have said, is the elementary truth of revelation, witnessed by Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles all through Scripture.   And what can be more consoling and joyful than the wonderful promises which follow from this truth, that Mary is the Mother of God?—the great wonder, namely, that we become the brethren of our God, that, if we live well and die in the grace of God, we shall all of us hereafter be taken up by our Incarnate God to that place where angels dwel, that our bodies shall be raised from the dust and be taken to Heaven, that we shall be really united to God, that we shall be partakers of the Divine nature, that each of us, soul and body, shall be plunged into the abyss of glory which surrounds the Almighty, that we shall see Him and share His blessedness, according to the text, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father that is in Heaven, the same is My brother and sister, and mother.”mary mater creatoris, mother of the creator - pray for us - 14 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Marian Thought for the Day – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and the Feasts of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Help, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Memorial of the Dedication of the Minor Basilica of Saint Mary of the Martyrs (Pantheon)

Mary is the “Janua Cœli,” the Gate of Heaven

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)MARY JANUA COELI - GATE OF HEAVEN - BL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN - PRAY FOR US - 13 MAY 2018

MARY is called the Gate of Heaven, because it was through her, that our Lord passed from heaven to earth.   The Prophet Ezechiel, prophesying of Mary, says, “the gate shall be closed, it shall not be opened and no man shall pass through it, since the Lord God of Israel has entered through it—and it shall be closed for the Prince, the Prince Himself shall sit in it.”

Now this is fulfilled, not only in our Lord having taken flesh from her and being her Son, but, moreover, in that she had a place in the economy of Redemption;  it is fulfilled in her spirit and will, as well as in her body.   Eve had a part in the fall of man, though it was Adam who was our representative and whose sin made us sinners.   It was Eve who began and who tempted, Adam.   Scripture says: “The woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold; and she took of {37} the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband, and he did eat.”   It was fitting then in God’s mercy that, as the woman began the destruction of the world, so woman should also begin its recovery and that, as Eve opened the way for the fatal deed of the first Adam, so Mary should open the way, for the great achievement of the second Adam, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save the world by dying on the cross for it.   Hence Mary is called by the holy Fathers a second and a better Eve, as having taken that first step in the salvation of mankind which Eve took in its ruin.

How, and when, did Mary take part and the initial part, in the world’s restoration?   It was when the Angel Gabriel came to her to announce to her the great dignity which was to be her portion.   St Paul bids us “present our bodies to God as a reasonable service.” We must not only pray with our lips and fast and do outward penance and be chaste in our bodies but we must be obedient and pure in our minds.   And so, as regards the Blessed Virgin, it was God’s will that she should undertake willingly and with full understanding, to be the Mother of our Lord and not to be a mere passive instrument, whose maternity would have no merit and no reward.   The higher our gifts, the heavier our duties.   It was no light lot to be so intimately near to the Redeemer of men, as she experienced afterwards when she suffered with Him.   Therefore, weighing well the Angel’s words before giving her answer to them—first she asked whether so great an office would be a forfeiture of that Virginity which she had vowed.   When the Angel told her no, then, with the full consent of a full heart, full of God’s love to her and her own lowliness, she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”   It was by this consent that she became the Gate of Heaven.and so, as regards the Blessed Virgin Mary - bl john henry newman - 13 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 12 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 12 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Sixth Week of Eastertidemary mirror of justice - speculum justitiae - pray for us - 12 may 2018 - bl john henry newman

Mary is the “Speculum Justitiæ,” the Mirror of Justice
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

HERE first we must consider what is meant by justice, for the word as used by the Church has not that sense which it bears in ordinary English.   By “justice” is not meant the virtue of fairness, equity, uprightness in our dealings;  but it is a word denoting all virtues at once, a perfect, virtuous state of soul—righteousness, or moral perfection;  so that it answers very nearly to what is meant by sanctity.   Therefore when our Lady is called the “Mirror of Justice,” it is meant to say that she is the Mirror of sanctity, holiness, supernatural goodness.

Next, what is meant by calling her a mirror?   A mirror is a surface which reflects, as still water, polished steel, or a looking-glass.   What did Mary reflect?   She reflected our Lord—but He is infinite Sanctity.   She then, as far as a creature could, reflected His Divine sanctity and therefore she is the Mirror of Sanctity, or, as the Litany says, of Justice.

Do we ask how she came to reflect His Sanctity? —it was by living with Him.   We see every day how like people get to each other who live with those they love.   When they live with those whom they don’t love, as, for instance, the members of a family who quarrel with each other, then the longer they live together the more unlike each other they become but when they love each other, as husband and wife, parents and children, brothers with brothers or sisters, friends with friends, then in course of time they get surprisingly like each other.   All of us perceive this;  we are witnesses to it with our own eyes and ears—in the expression of their features, in their voice, in their walk, in their language, even in their handwriting, they become like each other and so, with regard to their minds, as in their opinions, their tastes, their pursuits.   And again doubtless in the state of their souls, which we do not see, whether for good or for bad.

Now, consider that Mary loved her Divine Son with an unutterable love and consider too, she had Him all to herself for thirty years.   Do we not see that, as she was full of grace before she conceived Him in her womb, she must have had a vast incomprehensible sanctity, when she had lived close to God for thirty years?—a sanctity of an angelical order, reflecting back the attributes of God, with a fullness and exactness, of which no saint upon earth, or hermit, or holy virgin, can even remind us.   Truly then she is the Speculum Justitiæ, the Mirror of Divine consider that, - bl john henry newman - mary the mirror of justice - 12 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 11 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Friday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 11 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Friday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Regina Angelorum,” The Queen of Angels
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

THIS great title may be fitly connected with the Maternity of Mary, that is, with the coming upon her of the Holy Ghost at Nazareth after the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation to her and with the consequent birth of our Lord at Bethlehem.   She, as the Mother of our Lord, comes nearer to Him than any angel;  nearer even than the Seraphim who surround Him and cry continually, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

The two Archangels who have a special office in the Gospel are St Michael and St Gabriel—and they both of them are associated in the history of the Incarnation with Mary:  St Gabriel, when the Holy Ghost came down upon her and St Michael, when the Divine Child was born.

St. Gabriel hailed her as “Full of grace” and as “Blessed among women” and announced to her that the Holy Ghost would come down upon her and that she would bear a Son who would be the Son of the Highest.

Of St Michael’s ministry to her, on the birth of that Divine Son, we learn in the Apocalypse, written by the Apostle St John.   We know our Lord came to set up the Kingdom of Heaven among men and hardly was He born, when He was assaulted by the powers of the world, who wished to destroy Him.   Herod sought to take His life but he was defeated by St Joseph’s carrying His Mother and Him off into Egypt.   But St John in the Apocalypse tells us that Michael and his angels, were the real guardians of Mother and Child, then and on other occasions.

First, St John saw in vision “a great sign in heaven” (meaning by “heaven” the Church, or Kingdom of God), “a woman clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and when she was about to be delivered of her Child, there appeared “a great red dragon,” that is, the evil spirit, ready “to devour her son” when He should be born.   The Son was preserved by His own Divine power but next the evil spirit persecuted her;  St Michael, however and his angels, came to the rescue and prevailed against him.

“There was a great battle,” says the sacred writer; “Michael and his Angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels and that great dragon was cast out, the old serpent, who is called the devil.”

Now, as then, the Blessed Mother of God has hosts of angels, who do her service and she is their Queen.

Mary, Regina Angelorum – The Queen of the Angels, Pray for us!mary regina angelorum - queen of the angels - pray for us - 11 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 10 May “Mary’s Month” and Thursday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 10 May “Mary’s Month” and Thursday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Mary is “Sancta Maria,” the Holy Mary
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

GOD alone can claim the attribute of holiness.   Hence we say in the Hymn, “Tu solus sanctus,” “Thou only art holy.”   By holiness we mean the absence of whatever sullies, dims and degrades a rational nature;  all that is most opposite and contrary to sin and guilt.

We say that God alone is holy, though in truth all His high attributes are possessed by Him in that fullness, that it may be truly said that He alone has them.   Thus, as to goodness, our Lord said to the young man, “None is good but God alone.”   He too alone is Power, He alone is Wisdom, He alone is Providence, Love, Mercy, Justice, Truth.   This is true but holiness is singled out as His special prerogative, because it marks more than His other attributes, not only His superiority over all His creature but emphatically, His separation from them.   Hence we read in the Book of Job, “Can man be justified compared with God, or he that is born of a woman appear clean?   Behold, even the moon doth not shine and the stars are not pure, in His sight.”   “Behold, among His saints none is unchangeable and the Heavens arc not pure in His sight.”

This we must receive and understand in the first place but secondly, we know too, that, in His mercy, He has communicated in various measures His great attributes to His rational creatures and, first of all, as being most necessary, holiness.   Thus Adam, from the time of his creation, was gifted, over and above his nature as man, with the grace of God, to unite him to God and to make him holy.   Grace is therefore called holy grace; and, as being holy, it is the connecting principle between God and man.   Adam in Paradise might have had knowledge and skill and many virtues;  but these gifts did not unite him to his Creator.   It was holiness that united him, for it is said by St Paul, “Without holiness no man shall see God.”

And so again, when man fell and lost this holy grace, he had various gifts still adhering to him;  he might be, in a certain measure, true, merciful, lovin, and just but these virtues did not unite him to God.   What he needed was holiness and, therefore, the first act of God’s goodness to us in the Gospel, is to take us out of our unholy state by means of the sacrament of Baptism and by the grace then given u, to re-open the communications, so long closed, between the soul and heaven.

We see then the force of our Lady’s title, when we call her “Holy Mary.”   When God would prepare a human mother for His Son, this was why He began by giving her an immaculate conception.   He began, not by giving her the gift of love, or truthfulness, or gentleness, or devotion, though according to the occasion she had them all.   But He began His great work before she was born, before she could think, speak, or act, by making her holy and thereby, while on earth, a citizen of heaven.   “Tota pulchra es, Maria!”   Nothing of the deformity of sin was ever hers.   Thus she differs from all saints. There have been great missionaries, confessors, bishops, doctors, pastors.   They have done great works and have taken with them numberless converts or penitents to heaven. They have suffered much and have a superabundance of merits to show.   But Mary in this way resembles her Divine Son,  that, as He, being God, is separate by holiness from all creatures, so she is separate from all Saints and Angels, as being “full of grace.”

sancta maria -mary most holy - pray for us - 10 may 2018




Marian Thought for the Day – 9 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 9 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Virgo Veneranda,”

The All-Worshipful Virgin
Blessed John Henry Newman Cong. Orat. (1801-1890)

WE use the word “Venerable” generally of what is old.   That is because only what is old has commonly those qualities which excite reverence or veneration.

It is a great history, a great character, a maturity of virtue, goodness, experience, that excite our reverence and these commonly, cannot belong to the young.

But this is not true when we are considering Saints.   A short life with them is a long one. Thus Holy Scripture says, “Venerable age is not that of long time, nor counted by the number of years but it is the understanding of a man that has gray hairs and a spotless life is old age.   The just man, if he be cut short by death, shall be at rest;  being made perfect in a short time, he fulfilled a long time.” [Wisdom v.]

Nay, there is a heathen writer, who knew nothing of Saints, who lays it down that even to children, to all children, a great reverence should be paid and that on the ground of their being as yet innocent.   And this is a feeling very widely felt and expressed in all countries;  so much so that the sight of those who have not sinned (that is, who are not yet old enough to have fallen into mortal sin) has, on the very score of that innocent, smiling youthfulness, often disturbed and turned the plunderer or the assassin in the midst of his guilty doings, filled him with a sudden fear and brought him, if not to repentance, at least to change of purpose.

And, to pass from the thought of the lowest to the Highest, what shall we say of the Eternal God (if we may safely speak of Him at all) but that He, because He is eternal, is ever young, without a beginning and therefore without change and, in the fullness and perfection of His incomprehensible attributes, now just what He was a million years ago?   He is truly called in Scripture the “Ancient of Days,” and is therefore infinitely venerable;   yet He needs not old age to make him venerable;  He has really nothing of those human attendants on venerableness which the sacred writers are obliged figuratively to ascribe to Him, in order to make us feel that profound abasement and reverential awe which we ought to entertain at the thought of Him.

And so of the great Mother of God, as far as a creature can be like the Creator;  her ineffable purity and utter freedom from any shadow of sin, her Immaculate Conception, her ever-virginity—these her prerogatives (in spite of her extreme youth at the time when Gabriel came to her) are such as to lead us to exclaim in the prophetic words of Scripture both with awe and with exultation, “Thou art the glory of Jerusalem and the joy of Israel;  thou art the honour of our people;  therefore hath the hand of the Lord strengthened thee and therefore art thou blessed forever.”

Mary, Virgo Veneranda, Pray for us!mary virgo veneranda - pray for us - 9 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 8 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 8 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Rosa Mystica,” the Mystical Rose
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

HOW did Mary become the Rosa Mystica, the choice, delicate, perfect flower of God’s spiritual creation?   It was by being born, nurtured and sheltered in the mystical garden or Paradise of God.   Scripture makes use of the figure of a garden, when it would speak of heaven and its blessed inhabitants.   A garden is a spot of ground set apart for trees and plants, all good, all various, for things that are sweet to the taste or fragrant in scent, or beautiful to look upon, or useful for nourishment;  and accordingly in its spiritual sense, it means the home of blessed spirits and holy souls dwelling there together, souls with both the flowers and the fruits upon them, which by the careful husbandry of God, they have come to bear, flowers and fruits of grace, flowers more beautiful and more fragrant than those of any garden, fruits more delicious and exquisite than can be matured by earthly husbandman.

All that God has made speaks of its Maker;, the mountains speak of His eternity;, the sun of His immensity and the winds of His Almightiness.   In like manner flowers and fruits speak of His sanctity, His love and His providence;  and such as are flowers and fruits, such must be the place where they are found.   That is to say, since they are found in a garden, therefore a garden has also excellences which speak of God because it is their home.   For instance, it would be out of place if we found beautiful flowers on the mountain-crag, or rich fruit in the sandy desert.   As then by flowers and fruits are meant, in a mystical sense, the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, so by a garden is meant mystically, a place of spiritual repose, stillness, peace, refreshment and delight.

Thus our first parents were placed in “a garden of pleasure” shaded by trees, “fair to behold and pleasant to eat of,” with the Tree of Life in the midst and a river to water the ground.   Thus our Lord, speaking from the cross to the penitent robber, calls the blessed place, the heaven to which He was taking him, “paradise,” or a garden of pleasure. Therefore St John, in the Apocalypse, speaks of heaven, the palace of God, as a garden or paradise, in which was the Tree of Life giving forth its fruits every month.

Such was the garden in which the Mystical Rose, the Immaculate Mary, was sheltered and nursed to be the Mother of the All Holy God, from her birth to her espousals to St Joseph, a term of thirteen years.   For three years of it, she was in the arms of her holy mother, St Anne and then for ten years she lived in the temple of God.   In those blessed gardens, as they may be called, she lived by herself, continually visited by the dew of God’s grace and growing up a more and more heavenly flower, till at the end of that period she was meet for the inhabitation in her of the Most Holy.   This was the outcome of the Immaculate Conception.   Excepting her, the fairest rose in the paradise of God has had upon it blight and has had the risk of canker-worm and locust.   All but Mary;  she from the first was perfect in her sweetness and her beautifulness and at length, when the angel Gabriel had to come to her, he found her “full of grace,” which had, from her good use of it, accumulated in her, from the first moment of her being.

Mary, Rosa Mystica, Pray for us!mary - rosa mystica - pray for us - 8 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 7 May “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Sixth week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 7 May “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Sixth week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Mater Amabilis”
the Lovable or Dear Mother
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

WHY is she “Amabilis” thus specially?   It is because she was without sin.   Sin is something odious in its very nature and grace is something bright, beautiful, attractive.

However, it may be said that sinlessness was not enough to make others love her, or to make her dear to others and that for two reasons:   first, because we cannot like anyone that is not like ourselves and we are sinners;   and next, because her being holy would not make her pleasant and winning because holy persons whom we fall in with, are not always agreeable and we cannot like them, however we may revere them and look up to them.

Now as to the first of these two questions, we may grant that bad men do not, cannot like good men but our Blessed Virgin Mary is called Amabilis, or lovable, as being such to the children of the Church, not to those outside of it, who know nothing about her and no child of Holy Church but has some remains of God’s grace in his soul which makes him sufficiently like her, however greatly wanting he may be, to allow of his being able to love her.   So we may let this question pass.

But as to the second question, viz., How are we sure that our Lady, when she was on earth, attracted people round her and made them love her merely because she was holy?—considering that holy people sometimes have not that gift of drawing others to them.

To explain this point we must recollect that there is a vast difference between the state of a soul such as that of the Blessed Virgin, which has never sinned and a soul, however holy, which has once had upon it Adam’s sin;   for, even after baptism and repentance, it suffers necessarily from the spiritual wounds which are the consequence of that sin. Holy men, indeed, never commit mortal sin, nay, sometimes have never committed even one mortal sin in the whole course of their lives.   But Mary’s holiness went beyond this. She never committed even a venial sin and this special privilege is not known to belong to anyone but Mary.

Now, whatever want of amiableness, sweetness, attractiveness, really exists in holy men arises from the remains of sin in them, or again from the want of a holiness powerful enough to overcome the defects of nature, whether of soul or body but, as to Mary, her holiness was such, that if we saw her and heard her, we should not be able to tell to those who asked us anything about her except simply that she was angelic and heavenly.

Of course, her face was most beautiful but we  should not be able to recollect whether it was beautiful or not, we should not recollect any of her features because it was her beautiful sinless soul, which looked through her eyes and spoke through her mouth and was heard in her voice and compassed her all about.   When she was still, or when she walked, whether she smiled, or was sad, her sinless soul, this it was, which would draw all those to her who had any grace in them, any remains of grace, any love of holy things.

There was a divine music in all she said and did—in her mien, her air, her deportment, that charmed every true heart that came near her.   Her innocence, her humility and modesty, her simplicity, sincerity, and truthfulness, her unselfishness, her unaffected interest in everyone who came to her, her purity—it was these qualities which made her so lovable and were we to see her now, neither our first thought nor our second thought would be, what she could do for us with her Son, (though she can do so much) but our first thought would be, “Oh, how beautiful!” and our second thought would be, “Oh, what ugly hateful creatures are we!”

Mater Amabilis, Pray for us!mater amabilis - lovable mother - dear mother - the visitation - pray for us - 7 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 6 May “Mary’s Month!” – Sixth Sunday of Eastertide B

Marian Thought for the Day – 6 May “Mary’s Month!” – Sixth Sunday of Eastertide B

Mary is the “Domus Aurea,” the House of Gold
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

WHY is she called a House?   And why is she called Golden?   Gold is the most beautiful, the most valuable, of all metals. Silver, copper and steel may in their way be made good to the eye but nothing is so rich, so splendid, as gold.   We have few opportunities of seeing it in any quantity but anyone who has seen a large number of bright gold coins knows how magnificent is the look of gold.   Hence it is that in Scripture the Holy City is, by a figure of speech, called Golden.   “The City,” says St. John, “was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”   He means of course to give us a notion of the wondrous beauty of heaven, by comparing it with what is the most beautiful of all the substances which we see on earth.

Therefore, it is that Mary too, is called golden because her graces, her virtues, her innocence, her purity, are of that transcendent brilliancy and dazzling perfection, so costly, so exquisite, that the angels cannot, so to say, keep their eyes off her any more than we could help gazing upon any great work of gold.

But observe further, she is a golden house, or, I will rather say, a golden palace.   Let us imagine we saw a whole palace or large church all made of gold, from the foundations to the roof;  such, in regard to the number, the variety, the extent of her spiritual excellences, is Mary.

But why called a house or palace?   And whose palace?   She is the house and the palace of the Great King, of God Himself.   Our Lord, the Co-equal Son of God, once dwelt in her. He was her Guest, nay, more than a guest, for a guest comes into a house as well as leaves it.   But our Lord was actually born in this holy house.   He took His flesh and His blood from this house, from the flesh, from the veins of Mary.   Rightly then was she made to be of pure gold because she was to give of that gold to form the body of the Son of God.   She was golden in her conception, golden in her birth.   She went through the fire of her suffering like gold in the furnace and when she ascended on high, she was, in the words of our hymn,

Above all the Angels in glory untold,
Standing next to the King in a vesture of gold.mary is the house of gold

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD - PRAY FOR US


Marian Thought for the Day – 5 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide

Marian Thought for the Day – 5 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide

Mary is the “Mater Admirabilis,” the Wonderful Mother
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

WHEN Mary, the Virgo Prædicanda, the Virgin who is to be proclaimed aloud, is called by the title of Admirabilis, it is thereby suggested to us what the effect is of the preaching of her as Immaculate in her Conception.  The Holy Church proclaims, preaches her, as conceived without original sin and those who hear, the children of Holy Church, wonder, marvel, are astonished and overcome by the preaching.   It is so great a prerogative.

Even created excellence is fearful to think of when it is so high as Mary’s.  As to the great Creator, when Moses desired to see His glory, He Himself says about Himself, “Thou canst not see My face, for man shall not see Me and live;” and St. Paul says, “Our God is a consuming fire.”   And when St John, holy as he was, saw only the Human Nature of our Lord, as He is in Heaven, “he fell at His feet as dead.”   And so as regards the appearance of angels.   The holy Daniel, when St Gabriel appeared to him, “fainted away and lay in a consternation, with his face close to the ground.”   When this great archangel came to Zacharias, the father of S. John the Baptist, he too was troubled and fear fell upon him. But it was otherwise with Mary when the same St Gabriel came to her  . She was overcome indeed and troubled at his words, because, humble as she was in her own opinion of herself, he addressed her as “Full of grace,” and “Blessed among women” but she was able to bear the sight of him.

Hence we learn two things:  first, how great a holiness was Mary’s, seeing she could endure the presence of an angel, whose brightness smote the holy prophet Daniel even to fainting and almost to death;  and secondly, since she is so much holier than that angel, and we so much less holy than Daniel, what great reason we have to call her the Virgo Admirabilis, the Wonderful, the Awful Virgin, when we think of her ineffable purity!

There are those who are so thoughtless, so blind, so grovelling as to think that Mary is not as much shocked at wilful sin as her Divine Son is and that we can make her our friend and advocate, though we go to her without contrition at heart, without even the wish for true repentance and resolution to amend.   As if Mary could hate sin less and love sinners more, than our Lord does!   No: she feels a sympathy for those only who wish to leave their sins else, how should she be without sin herself?   No, if even to the best of us she is, in the words of Scripture, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun and terrible as an army set in array,” what is she to the impenitent sinner?

Mater Admirabilis, Wonderful Mother, Pray for us!mater admirabilis - pray for us - 5 may 2018


Marian Thought for the Day – 2 May – “Mary’s Month” – May the Month of Joy By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Marian Thought for the Day – 2 May – “Mary’s Month”

May 2 – May the Month of Joy
By Blessed John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)

WHY is May called the month of Mary and especially dedicated to her?   Among other reasons there is this, that of the Church’s year, the ecclesiastical year, it is at once the most sacred and the most festive and joyous portion.   Who would wish February, March, or April, to be the month of Mary, considering that it is the time of Lent and penance? Who again would choose December, the Advent season—a time of hope, indeed, because Christmas is coming but a time of fasting too?   Christmas itself does not last for a month; and January has indeed the joyful Epiphany, with its Sundays in succession but these in most years, are cut short ,by the urgent coming of Septuagesima.

May on the contrary belongs to the Easter season, which lasts fifty days and in that season the whole of May commonly falls and the first half always.,, The great Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven is always in May, except once or twice in forty years. Pentecost, called also Whit-Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Ghost, is commonly in May and the Feasts of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi are in May not unfrequently.  May, therefore, is the time in which there are such frequent Alleluias, because Christ has risen from the grave, Christ has ascended on high and God the Holy Ghost has come down to take His place.

Here then we have a reason why May is dedicated to the Blessed Mary.   She is the first of creatures, the most acceptable child of God, the dearest and nearest to Him.   It is fitting then that this month should be hers, in which we especially glory and rejoice in His great Providence to us, in our redemption and sanctification in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

But Mary is not only the acceptable handmaid of the Lord.   She is also Mother of His Son, and the Queen of all Saints and in this month the Church has placed the feasts of some of the greatest of them, as if to bear her company.   St John, the beloved disciple, St Philip, and St James. Seven Popes, two of them especially famous, St Gregory VII. and St Pius V, also two of the greatest Doctors, St Athanasius and St Gregory Nazianzen; two holy Virgins especially favoured by God, St Catherine of Sienna (as her feast is kept in England) and St Mary Magdalen of Pazzi and one holy woman most memorable in the annals of the Church, St Monica, the Mother of St Augustine.   And above all and nearest to us in this Church, our own holy Patron and Father, St Philip Neri, occupies, with his Novena and Octave, fifteen out of the whole thirty-one days of the month.   These are some of the choicest fruits of God’s manifold grace and they form the court of their glorious Queen.

Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Pray for us!mary queen - pray for us


Thought for the Day – 1 May – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide, the Memorial of St Joseph the Worker and the 1st day of the Month of Mary

Thought for the Day – 1 May – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide, the Memorial of St Joseph the Worker and the 1st day of the Month of Mary

May, The Month of Promise
Why is May chosen as the month in which we exercise a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin?

The first reason, is because, it is the time when the earth bursts forth into its fresh foliage and its green grass, after the stern frost and snow of winter and the raw atmosphere and the wild wind and rain, of the early spring.   It is because the blossoms are upon the trees and the flowers are in the gardens.   It is because the days have got long and the sun rises early and sets late.   For such gladness and joyousness of external Nature is a fit attendant on our devotion to her, who is the Mystical Rose and the House of Gold.

A man may say, “True but in this climate, we have sometimes a bleak, inclement May.” This cannot be denied;  but still, so much is true that at least it is the month of promise and of hope.   Even though the weather happen to be bad, it is the month that begins and heralds in the summer.   We know, for all that may be unpleasant in it, that fine weather is coming, sooner or later.   “Brightness and beauty shall,” in the Prophet’s words, “appear at the end and shall not lie:  if it make delay, wait for it, for it shall surely come and shall not be slack.”

May then is the month, if not of fulfillment, at least of promise and is not this the very aspect, in which we most suitably regard the Blessed Virgin, Holy Mary, to whom this month is dedicated?

The Prophet says, “There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a flower shall rise out of his root.”   Who is the flower but our Blessed Lord?   Who is the rod, or beautiful stalk or stem or plant out of which the flower grows but Mary, Mother of our Lord, Mary, Mother of God?

It was prophesied that God should come upon earth.   When the time was now full, how was it announced?   It was announced by the Angel coming to Mary.   “Hail, full of grace,” said Gabriel, “the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.”   She then was the sure promise of the coming Saviour and, therefore, May is, by a special title her month…. taken from Meditations for the Month of May, by Blessed John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)who is the flower but our blessed lord - bl john henry newman - 1 may 2018

Holy Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, Pray for us!mary mother of god pray for us - 1 jan 2018