The following meditations are based on several sources, but most especially on the writings of Bishop Richard Challoner, to whom we are indebted for the most reliable translation of the Douay-Rheims Bible. Bishop Challoner wrote many other works of apologetics. His tract on “The Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation” can be downloaded free from www.archive.org.
Our Lord taught us to pray the Our Father and therefore it is essential that we understand its meaning; yet most of us, lulled by the familiarity of constant use, pass over its spiritual treasures without fully giving the necessary assent of our will. Let’s try to unpack the meaning of those simple, familiar words we recite so often each day so that we can pray them better.
First, as Bishop Challoner said, the Son of God Himself taught us to call God “Our Father”. What greater honor can we aspire to than to be welcomed by God Himself to be His children? He Who made this earth and fills the immeasurable Heavens above us with His splendor and majesty calls us His children! We are God’s beloved children and Christ Himself teaches us to raise our hearts in daily prayer to His—and our!—loving Father. And so we begin our prayer.
“Hallowed be Thy name.” This petition holds first place among the seven short petitions that comprise the Our Father. Bishop Challoner tells us that, as His children, our first and principle duty is to love God with our whole heart and soul and that thus it follows that the principal thing we should desire and pray for is the great honor and glory of God. As children of God we realize His immense sorrow seeing that His Word is despised, denied and ignored by so many, especially by the children He has most favored Christians, who are given every grace and yet still deny or pervert His truths.
We ourselves have sadly often denied Him, or passed over insults to Him in the name of tolerance. In the face of so much sin the remedy is to petition God Our Father to glorify His most sacred name in us, by teaching us to love, serve and glorify Him. With the petition, “Hallowed be Thy name”, we are expressing our deepest longing for God to be hallowed within us, in our very deepest being, desiring that in all souls, in all creation, God’s grandeur and glory be adored. If God is not hallowed in us, we can never accomplish anything of value.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, in which Our Lord introduces to us His Mother, and shows us her loveliness, her excellent virtues and her unique stature before the Holy Trinity. Thus, He shows us the model for our lives; “Here is My Mother”, He says, “see, we shall have the same Mother. She will teach you the virtues necessary to advance toward union with Me, so that we may rejoice together in heaven.”
Nestled within the feast of the Annunciation is the feast of the Incarnation of our Savior. The Annunciation carries within it the humility and obedience of Jesus and Mary, Who are our models for perfect, loving obedience, even unto death. And this obedience begins with the humble obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”
In the Gospel of St Luke, the Holy Spirit reveals the unique importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in God’s plan of Salvation for us. Let’s see what He tells us:
Luke, Chapter 1, 26-35. “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And Mary said to the angel: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” And the angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
In this Gospel, God Himself is introducing to us the delightful creature He loves above all others, this Mary whom He chose from all time to be the most pure and holy Mother of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. God used as His messenger the Angel Gabriel whose name means Power of God. By this name He emphasizes that all of this, the Annunciation, the Incarnation which began our salvation, all of this is by and through the power of God.
And what does God tell us about Mary? Gabriel salutes Mary most respectfully, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women”. You can search the Bible cover to cover and never find a more respectful message from any angelic messenger. This is because, as the Gospel tells us, Mary is truly filled with grace, exempt from even original sin, and full of God’s sanctifying grace.
Note that the very first words of Mary, recorded in this Gospel are, “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”Why these words? Could it be that God wishes to emphasize to us the importance of Mary’s generous sacrifice to live her life in the utmost chastity and purity, foregoing the honors and pleasures of children? At that time, Jewish women were honored to be mothers of many children and to forego children was a tremendous sacrifice. Unlike today, in those times to be a “barren woman” was a reproach. Thus we know that Mary’s generous and sacrificial heart was most pleasing to Our Father. Her words also exemplify her great prudence. Today, prudence is a virtue held in low esteem by most Catholic leaders, who feel compelled to burst forth with every banal thought that crosses their minds. This Blessed Virgin, in contrast, first assured that Gabriel understood that she was and always will be, a virgin consecrated to God alone.
Whereas Eve, the first “Woman”, withdrew herself from her Creator in order to seek what she perceived to be her own good, Mary, the “Woman” of the New Testament, yielded herself totally to God, allowing Him to fill her with His life, thus she is “full of grace”. The virtues shown by these simple verses illustrate Mary’s perfect love of God, her total consecration to Him, her purity and her perseverance in keeping her vow.
Mary’s prudent question brought forth Gabriel’s reply, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which will be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Mary’s response was immediate, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” With these words, the Most Blessed Virgin shows us humility and obedience, the two virtues so essential to combat the vices passed on to us of Eve’s pride and disobedience. In another post, I described these virtues as the “working virtues” because they are so necessary in our everyday struggle to live our lives in constant union with the Holy Family.
Sister Lucia of Fatima assures us that Jesus is the very best of Sons, and loves her and those who honor her. Today is an excellent time to renew our Total Consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By the way, do you know who made the first consecration to Mary? Was it St. Louis de Montfort? St. Dominic? No. Think harder.
It was our Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who chose Mary for His Mother. From this humble virgin of Nazareth He took the flesh and blood of His mortal life, the very body and blood with which He wrought our salvation. The body of Christ scourged for our sins, pierced for our transgressions, the precious blood poured out for us on Calvary’s cross, He took from Mary.To her He entrusted His earthly life, living within her virginal womb, beneath her immaculate heart. Through her, He consecrated St. John the Baptist; through her He performed His first miracle. And with His dying words, He entrusted us to her, commanding Her to be our Mother and us to be her children.
It is fitting that the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary begins with the beautiful Mystery of the Annunciation, for with it began our salvation. Mary’s generous “Yes!”, opened the portal through which Our Lord wrought our salvation. Thus, her obedience preceded His most perfect obedience.And so, the Annunciation and the Incarnation are inseparable, as are Jesus and Mary, those two hearts forever united!
We close with this lovely hymn:
Hymn at Matins
The Lord whom earth and sea and sky
With one adoring voice proclaim
Who rules them all in majesty
Enclosed Himself in Mary’s frame.
Lo! In a humble Virgin’s womb
O’ershadowed by almighty power
He whom the stars and sun and moon
Each serve in their appointed hour.
O Mother blest! To whom was given
Within your body to contain
The architect of earth and heaven
Whose hands the universe sustain.
To thee was sent an angel down,
In thee the Spirit was enshrined,
Of thee was born that mighty One,
The long desired of all mankind.
O Jesus! Born of Virgin bright
To Thee immortal glory be!
Praise to the Father Infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally! Amen.
Please, don’t forget your Consecration! See in sidebar.
Pray the Rosary and confound the devil and all those who serve him!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies.
Pilate is the Patron Saint of these weak and modernist Bishops and Cardinals, the “Excellencies” and “Eminences” so mindful of their vain titles …
From the Passion Narratives of Saints Matthew and John:
From Matt. 27, 16-25:
And (Pilate) had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: “Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ?” For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask for Barabbas, and take Jesus away.
And the governor answering, said to them: “Whether will you of the two to be released unto you?” But they said, “Barabbas”. Pilate saith to them: “What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ?” They say all: “Let Him be crucified”. The governor said to them: “Why, what evil hath He done?” But they cried out the more, saying: “Let Him be crucified”. And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: “I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it”. And the whole people answering, said: “His blood be upon us and our children”.
From John 19, 4-16:
Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: “Behold, I bring Him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in Him”. Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And he saith to them: “Behold the Man.”
When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants, had seen Him, they cried out, saying: “Crucify Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith to them: “Take Him you, and crucify Him: for I find no cause in Him.”
The Jews answered him: “We have a law; and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more.
And he entered into the hall again, and he said to Jesus: “Whence art Thou?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to Him: “Speakest Thou not to me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee?”
Jesus answered: “Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from henceforth Pilate sought to release Him.
But the Jews cried out, saying: “If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’ s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.” Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha.
And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: “Behold your king.” But they cried out: “Away with Him; away with Him; crucify Him.” Pilate saith to them: “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered: “We have no king but Caesar.”
Then therefore he delivered Him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him forth.
As we read the Passion narrative above, we cannot help but wonder at Pilate, who after having concluded that Jesus was innocent, and even after having been warned by his wife, yet still handed Jesus over to his most brutal thugs to be tortured almost to death, spit upon and slapped around with a diabolical hatred. As we re-read it, a few insights emerge into Pilate’s nature: ambitious, cynical and even superstitious; actually, the quintessential “progressive” functionary of the Church today. Pilate makes a show of washing his hands of the “blood of this just man”, but is not able to free himself from the blood of our Savior.
Father Groenings writes, “These words of Pilate contain a fearful self-condemnation. How could he, as a just judge be swayed by human motives against his own better knowledge and allow such an excessive wrong to be done to an innocent man?”
Although many writers imply that Pilate was a merciful man, I demur, thinking of Pilate’s ironic remark, “What is truth”, even as he turned away from Truth Himself, and refused to look Him in the eye or grant Him the dignity of hearing His reply. Pilate was acutely aware of his own power: As Jesus stood before him, beaten and bound with chains, Pilate arrogantly reminded Him that, “I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee”.
The passage calls to mind the humble words of the current occupant of the See of Peter at the close of the disastrous Synod, when he proclaimed that he is, ” – by the will of Christ Himself – the ‘supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful’ (who enjoys) “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”.
But who is Pilate today?
The easy answer is Bergoglio, but I believe that we see Pilate in every craven prelate who values his career more than the souls he shepherds; in every Bishop who artfully evades taking a stand against this brutal violence being done to the Church, the pure and holy Bride of Christ. Continue reading “St. Pilate and the Man”→
“… Christ was promised to Abraham as man, to David as his successor in his kingdom, but to Joseph under the name of Saviour; in order that we may be persuaded that, although Joseph had no share in the formation of the Body of Jesus neither did he place the crown upon His head, he nevertheless contributed to making Him the Saviour of all men, journeying and labouring and toiling along with Him, and supporting Him by the fruit of his toils for so many years. And thus (he says) he was the last of the Patriarchs to whom the Messias was promised, but in a more excellent manner than all.” (The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, Edward Healy Thompson, Aeterna Press, Kindle)
Since St. Joseph is silent in the Scriptures, regrettably many erroneous impressions have been given of him. He was not, as some assert, a decrepit old man when he and the Blessed Virgin were betrothed, but was fair-haired and in his prime, about 33 years old. He had no other children, for he was a virgin, having made his vow to that effect at the age of 12. Joseph and Mary both knew of each others’ vow of chastity. For to marry under Hebrew Law without advising each other of that vow would have been deceitful. And so, when Matthew 1, 18 tells us, “She was found with child, of the Holy Ghost”, it was Joseph himself who realized this, for he and the Blessed Virgin were aware of the sacred vows each had made, to offer their virginity to God as a sacred oblation. Most of the following is from the book cited above, with my comments.
St. Joseph did not ever, for one instant, doubt Our Lady, but simply sought God’s will. In his profound humility, he was abashed to think that the Lord God would choose him for the spouse and consort of the Mother of the Savior. When the Blessed Virgin saw that Joseph was perplexed, she prayed to God to enlighten him; a prayer which was heard by God most promptly. Thompson tells us that according to Eastern legend, not a night passed before Joseph was delivered from his uncertainty. As scripture tells us,
“But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins”.
There is much insight available on this passage, but many writers do not make use of it and prefer instead to weave misleading fables about how Joseph was “afraid”, doubted God, doubted Mary and so on. Note that the angel called Joseph by his name, and added the honorific, “Son of David”. Thus showing him deference which would not have been indicated were he to have doubted God or the Blessed Virgin. We have already seen how Zachary was reproved for his doubts! Although many suppose that the angel’s words were an instruction to Joseph to wed the Virgin, the angel was actually telling him to remain with her.
According to Pope Benedict XIV, quoted by Edward Healy Thompson:
“The word of the angel by which he bade him not to fear to take unto him Mary for his wife is a Hebrew mode of expression, which does not signify the commencement of an act, but the continuation of an act already begun. The meaning of his mandate is this: ‘Retain and keep the wife you have taken, and do not forsake her’; and such is the interpretation of those who are adepts in the Hebrew idiom.”
The angel does not tell Joseph to discard his suspicions, for he has none. But the angel does tell Joseph, “thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins”. Now, note the wording here: the angel does not say, “His name shall be Jesus”, but says, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus”, which was also said to Mary, thus acknowledging Joseph’s rights and dignity as the foster father of Our Lord.
With this knowledge, St. Joseph’s soul was flooded with a superabundance of grace, for only by a special favor of God was he able to approach this true “Ark of the Covenant”, this most sacred “Temple of the Trinity”. In her Revelations, St. Bridget tells us that when Joseph beheld her with Child by the Holy Ghost, he feared exceedingly, suspecting no evil of her, but, remembering the words of the prophet which foretold how the Son of God would be born of a virgin, reputed himself unworthy to serve such a mother, until the angel in sleep bade him not to fear, but to minister to her with charity. And our Lady added: “From that moment Joseph never ceased to serve me as his sovereign and I humbled myself to the lowest offices to show him my submission.” (Thompson, op. cit.)
Today we honor St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now more than ever, when traditional Catholic families are under attack even from Pope Francis and the leaders of the Church who support him, we turn to St. Joseph, strong defender of the family.
The Church liturgically honors St. Joseph tomorrow, since his feast falls on a Sunday, and so we post today, and will have another post honoring great St. Joseph tomorrow, as well.
St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite reformer, mystic and doctor of the Church was especially devoted to St. Joseph. From her Autobiography we read of St. Joseph, “I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him.”
At the last apparition of Fatima, on October 13, 1917, St. Joseph appeared holding the Child Jesus, who blessed the crowds. This was an emphatic indication of the importance of St. Joseph in these turbulent times.
Venerable Maria de Agreda, in “The Mystical City of God”, recounts the special privileges which make St. Joseph a most powerful intercessor on behalf of his children.
Attaining purity and overcoming sensuality.
Escaping sin and returning to the faith.
Increasing love and devotion to his spouse, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
Securing the grace of a happy death and defending the soul against the devil’s wiles at that crucial time.
St. Joseph is the terror of demons and they flee at his name.
St. Joseph is a great intercessor for all our needs, especially helpful for our families and health.
Venerable Maria de Agreda quoted Our Lady’s words to her, “That which my spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them.” Indeed, trusting in St. Joseph as the foster father of our family has brought us closer to living our consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In speaking of St. Joseph, it is difficult to adequately express his tender love for us, his willingness to protect us, even from ourselves and obtain for us the graces we need to live our consecrations.
St. Patrick and Sister Lucia of Fatima, Two Prophecies
An urgent reminder for this St. Patrick’s Day, 2017: Please, let’s keep our Lenten Fast and Abstinence. The graces they bring into this world are sorely needed! [Post updated this year.]
Let’s ignore, if possible, the discouraging aspects of the secular desecrations of great Saint Patrick’s Feast Day, (such as Cardinal Dolan and his parade of tragic perverts) and focus instead on his prophecy and how it may fit in with that of Fatima, and the Chastisement which pertains to us today.
St. Patrick is reputed by some accounts to have lived 120 years and to have raised no less than 33 people back to life, many of whom had been dead years. His penances, sacrifices, miracles and conversions were astounding and there are also a couple of prophecies attributed to him. The first is not of good provenance, but relates that the faith he brought to Ireland will blaze throughout the island for a period of time, then gradually dim and eventually appear to be almost extinguished, with but a few glowing embers; but then will gradually resurge, beginning in the north and eventually returning throughout Ireland. Although that might be of some comfort to faithful Catholics in Ireland, today we will consider another prophecy of the great saint of Ireland.
On March 25 we will honor Our Lady’s Feast of the Annunciation. To prepare, we offer this lovely Novena. If you start it tomorrow, March 16th, you will finish on March 24, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We post it today to give you time to diary it. We will be praying it for the repentance and re-conversion of those who have fallen from the faith and are in persistent sin, and for the intentions of the ongoing Rosary and Reparation Crusade to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May our Most Merciful Mother hear our supplications and offer them to her Son in the chalice of her Immaculate Heart.
Novena for the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me from your dear Son the favor I request in this novena:
(mention your 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. Amen.
A suggestion is to unite the prayers of this Novena with prayers for the Holy Father and the hierarchy that they repent, do penance and return to the faith. The Annunciation reminds us of the necessity of purity, humility and obedience, all those virtues which are mocked, despised or simply treated with scornful indifference by the church leaders today.
Also, let’s use this Novena to help prepare for the renewal of our Consecrations on the Feast of the Annunciation.
† Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, crush satan’s head and drive him from the Church!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.