Bound by Love

 

What is the meaning of the swaddling clothes with which Our Lord was bound by His Mother?

From St. Alphonsus Liguori:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2, 7)

JESUS IN SWADDLING-CLOTHES

Look! We see Mary, having now brought forth her Son, taking Him with reverence in her arms, adoring Him as her God, and then wrapping Him up in swaddling-clothes:  The Holy Church says the same: “His limbs, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, the Virgin Mother binds.”

Behold the Infant Jesus, who obediently offers His little hands and feet, and allows Himself to be swaddled. Consider that every time the Holy Infant allowed Himself to be swathed He thought of the cords with which He should one day be bound and led captive in the garden, and of those also with which He should be tied to the column, and of the nails which should fasten Him to the cross; and thinking of these things, He willingly allowed Himself to be bound, in order to deliver our souls from the chains of hell.

Bound, then, in these swaddling-clothes, and turning towards us, Jesus invites us to unite ourselves to Him with the holy bonds of love. And turning to His eternal Father, He says:

“My Father, men have abused their liberty, and by rebelling against Thee have made themselves the slaves of sin; but I will make satisfaction for their disobedience, and will be bound and confined in these swaddling-clothes. Bound with these, I offer Thee my liberty, in order that man may be delivered from the slavery of the devil.  I accept these swaddling-clothes; they are dear to Me, because they are the symbols of the cords with which, from this moment forth, I offer Myself to be one day bound and led to death for the salvation of men.”

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His Name Shall Be Called Emmanuel

 

We pray that you all have a  very Merry and Blessed  Christmas
and the very best new Year ever!

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.”

His name shall be called Emmanuel, that is, “God with us.” This is truly the meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God with us!  For, as St. Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars tells us, “… the second Person of the Trinity had taken a human nature, a human body, and a human soul, the same as we have. He has become one of us. He is like us in all things, with the exception of sin, says the Apostle. That is the first step of the mercy of God which we devoutly adore in the crib at Bethlehem. Sin separated man from God; between man and God there yawned a deep chasm, which man was not capable of bridging over.” (1)

And, in infinite humility, He comes not as a ruler of this world, in great pomp and pageantry but as a Child, entering our world as helplessly as we ourselves do. From St. Jean Vianney again, “Who can comprehend the greatness of the mercy of God in His abasement? Let the eagle become a worm, and at the same time preserve his eagle nature, you give him the greatest torture, because he can no longer move his wings. Give the lion, with his lion nature, the form of a snail, and he would roar with pain. What a fetter is our body for our soul! But it bears no comparison to the abasement which God laid upon Himself when He took a human body and abased Himself like unto a man.”

And why was this so?

Continue reading “His Name Shall Be Called Emmanuel”

And Joseph also went up from Galilee

 

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.” (Luke 2, 4-5)

The following is Saint Alphonsus de Liguori’s meditation for Christmas Eve.

Meditation IX

DECEMBER 24

SAINT JOSEPH GOES TO BETHLEHEM WITH HIS HOLY SPOUSE

God had decreed that His Son should be born not in the house of Joseph, but in a cavern and stable of beasts, in the poorest and most painful way that a child can be born; and therefore He caused Cæsar to publish an edict, by which people were commanded to go and enroll themselves, every one in his own city whence he drew his origin. When Joseph heard this order, he was much agitated as to whether he should take with him or leave behind the Virgin Mother, as she was now so near childbirth. ‘My spouse and my lady, said he to her, on the one hand, I do not wish to leave you alone; on the other, if I take you with me, I am much afflicted at the thought of all that you will have to suffer during this long journey, and in such severe weather. My poverty will not permit me to conduct you with that comfort which you require.’ But Mary answers him, and tries to give him courage with these words: ‘My Joseph, do not fear. I will go with you; the Lord will assist us.’

She knew, both by divine inspiration, and also because she was well versed in the prophecy of Micheas, that the divine Infant was to be born in Bethlehem. She therefore takes the swaddling-clothes, and other poor garments already prepared, and departs with Joseph.

And Joseph also went up . . . to be enrolled with Mary.

Let us now consider all the devout and holy discourses which these two holy spouses must have held together during this journey concerning the mercy, goodness, and love of the divine Word, who was shortly to be born, and to appear on the earth for the salvation of men. Let us also consider the praises, the benedictions, the thanks-givings, the acts of humility and love, which these two illustrious pilgrims uttered on the way. This holy Virgin, so soon to become a mother, certainly suffered much in so long a journey, made in the middle of winter, and over rough roads; but she suffered with peace and with love. She offered to God all these her trials, uniting them to those of Jesus, whom she carried in her womb.

Oh, let us unite ourselves also, and let us accompany Mary and Joseph in the journey of our life; and, with them, let us accompany the King of Heaven, who is born in a cave, and makes His first appearance in the world as an infant, but as the poorest and most forsaken infant that ever was born amongst men. And let us beseech Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that, through the merits of the pains which they suffered in this journey, they would accompany us in the journey that we are making to eternity. Oh, blessed shall we be if, in life and in death, we keep company with these three great personages, and are always accompanied by them!

AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS

My beloved Redeemer, I know that in this journey Thou wast accompanied by hosts of angels from heaven; but on this earth who was there that bore Thee company? Thou hadst but Joseph and Mary who carried Thee with her. Refuse not, O my Jesus! that I also accompany Thee. Miserable ungrateful sinner that I have been, I now see the injuries I have done Thee; Thou didst come down from heaven to make Thyself my companion on earth, and I by my frequent offenses have ungratefully abandoned Thee! When I remember, O my Saviour! that for the sake of my own cursed inclinations I have often separated myself from Thee and renounced Thy friendship, I could wish to die of sorrow.

But Thou didst come into the world to forgive me; therefore forgive me now, I beseech Thee, for I repent with all my soul of having so often turned my back upon Thee and forsaken Thee. I purpose and hope, through Thy grace, nevermore to leave or separate myself from Thee, O my only love! My soul has become enamoured of Thee, O my amiable Infant God! I love Thee, my sweet Saviour; and since Thou hast come upon earth to save me and to dispense to me Thy graces, I ask this one only grace of Thee, permit me not to be ever again separated from Thee. Unite me, bind me to Thyself, enchain me with the sweet cords of Thy holy love. O my Redeemer and my God, who will then have the heart to leave Thee, and to live without Thee, deprived of Thy grace?

Most holy Mary, I come to accompany thee in this journey; and thou, O my Mother, cease not to accompany me in the journey that I am making to eternity. Do thou assist me always, but especially when I shall find myself at the end of my life, and near that moment on which will depend either my remaining always with thee to love Jesus in paradise, or my being forever separated from thee and hating Jesus in hell. My Queen, save me by thy intercession; and may my salvation be to love thee and Jesus forever, in time and in eternity. Thou art my hope; I hope everything from thee.

From Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. “The Saint Alphonsus de Liguori Collection” [30 Books]  Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.

St. Joseph and the Birth of Jesus

Today, we offer a few thoughts on St. Joseph’s role in the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the writings of Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

ST. JOSEPH’S EXCEPTIONAL MISSION

To St. John the Baptist was entrusted the task of announcing the immediate coming of the Messiah. It can be said then that he was the greatest precursor of Jesus in the Old Testament; and it is in this sense that St. Thomas understands our Lord’s pronouncement in St. Matthew’s Gospel:  “Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of woman a greater than John the Baptist.”  But our Lord immediately adds: “Yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The kingdom of heaven is the Church on earth and in heaven, the New Testament surpassing the perfection of the Old although some just men of the Old have been holier than many of the New. And in the Church who is “he that is the lesser”? These mysterious words have received more than one interpretation. They make us think of words spoken later by Jesus: “For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater.”

The lesser means the most humble, the servant of all, and therefore, because of the connection and proportion of the virtues, the one who has the greatest charity. And who in the Church is the most humble? He who was neither apostle nor evangelist nor martyr—exteriorly at least—nor pontiff nor priest, nor doctor, but who knew and loved Christ Jesus certainly no less than the apostles, the Evangelists, the martyrs, the popes and doctors of the Church: the humble artisan of Nazareth, the humble Joseph.

The apostles were called to make the Savior known, to preach the gospel that men might be saved. Their mission, like John the Baptist’s, belongs to the order of grace necessary for the salvation of all; but an order still higher than the order of grace exists, one constituted by the very mystery of the Incarnation, the order of the hypostatic or personal union of the humanity of Jesus with the very Word of God. Mary’s unique mission of divine motherhood adjoins this order, and Joseph’s hidden mission also, in a sense, has a like position. . . .

Bossuet expresses all this with lovely clarity in his first panegyric on this great saint when he tells us:

“Among vocations I have noticed two in the Scriptures that seem direct opposites, the apostles’ and Joseph’s. Jesus is revealed to the apostles to be announced throughout the universe; He is revealed to Joseph to be passed over in silence and to be kept hidden. The apostles act as light, to show Jesus Christ to the world. Joseph serves as a veil to cover Him; and under this mysterious veil are hidden for us Mary’s virginity and the Savior’s greatness. . . . He who glorifies the apostles with the honor of preaching glorifies Joseph with the humility of silence.”

Before the manifestation of the first Christmas should come, it had to be prepared for by thirty years of hidden life. For each of us perfection consists in doing what God wills in the life to which He has called us. Joseph’s entirely exceptional vocation seems, in its silence and obscurity, to surpass the calling of the greatest apostles, touching so closely the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation. After Mary, Joseph appears nearer than anyone else to the Author of grace; and if he was, then he received in the silence of Bethlehem, during the sojourn in Egypt, and in Nazareth’s little home, more graces than any other saint will ever receive. His special mission in regard to Mary consisted chiefly in contracting with the Mother of God a real and absolutely holy marriage.

According to the account given in St. Matthew’s Gospel, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in his sleep and told him: “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.” Mary was really his wife by a true and entirely heavenly marriage, which was to have a fruitfulness wholly divine. The initial fullness of grace given to the Virgin in view of her divine motherhood in a sense evoked the mystery of the Incarnation.

As Bossuet says: “The virginity of Mary drew Jesus down from heaven. . . . Since her purity made her fruitful, I have no fear to assert that Joseph had his part in this great miracle; for if angelic purity is Mary’s treasure, this treasure lay in the keeping of the just Joseph.”

Joseph, in the simple framework of a village carpenter’s life, had the privilege of sharing in a stainless and reverent union with the most perfect creature that God has ever made. He has drawn nearer the Mother of God than any other saint, more closely allied than anyone else to the Mother of all men, Joseph himself included. Under all her titles as co-redemptrix, universal mediatrix and distributer of all grace, Joseph loved Mary with the purest and most devoted love, a love that can rightly be called theological, for he loved the Virgin in God and for God, because of all the glory that she gave to God.

The beauty of the whole universe bears no comparison to the sublime union of these two souls, a union created by the Most High, giving delight to the angels and joy to God Himself. As to Joseph’s exceptional mission in regard to our Lord, we know that in all truth the Word of God made flesh was confided to him rather than to any other of the just men of all generations. The holy old Simeon took the child Jesus into his arms for a few moments and saw in Him the salvation of the people, “lumen ad revelationem gentium,” but Joseph looked after Him night and day during His whole infancy, often holding in his arms the Child in whom he beheld his Creator and Savior. From Him he received grace upon grace during the long years when he lived with Him in closest daily intimacy, watching Him grow, contributing to His human education, receiving His obedience.

(Joseph) is commonly called the “foster father of the Savior,” but he was in a sense more than that for, as St. Thomas points out, by marriage a man becomes a child’s “foster father” or “adopted father” only accidentally; while there was nothing at all accidental in Joseph being given charge of Jesus. He had been created and put into the world for just that end. It was his predestination, and in view of his wholly divine mission Providence had accorded to him all the graces that he had received from his infancy, graces of deep piety, of virginity, of prudence, and of perfect fidelity.

In the eternal designs of God, Joseph’s union with Mary existed simply for the Savior’s protection and education, and Joseph received from God a father’s heart to care for the Child Jesus. This was his principal mission; in view of it he received sanctity proportionate, in a sense, to his rank, to the mystery of the Incarnation, which dominates, in its infinite reaches, the whole order of grace.

Sinibaldi’s recent work, La Grandezza di San Giuseppi, brings out St. Joseph’s eternal predestination as the Blessed Virgin Mary’s spouse, explaining with St. Thomas the threefold fitness of such a predestination. The Angelic Doctor established the same point himself; asking whether it was fitting that Christ should be born of a virgin who had contracted a real marriage, he gave as his answer that it was fitting for the sake of Christ Himself, His Mother, and us. It was highly fitting for our Lord Himself because, until the time should come for the mystery of His birth to be manifested, He would not then be considered an illegitimate son and would have protection during His childhood. For the Blessed Virgin it was no less fitting because it kept her from being judged a guilty adulteress and stoned as such by the Jews, as St. Jerome observed; it also served to protect her in the difficulties and persecution that began with the Savior’s birth.

It was, St. Thomas adds, very expedient for us, too, because we thus learn through testimony above suspicion, Joseph’s, about Christ’s virginal conception; in the human order of things, his testimony also lends support to Mary’s. Lastly, it was supremely fitting that we should find in Mary at once the perfect model of virgins, of wives, and of Christian mothers. Herein lies the explanation of why, according to some authors, the eternal decree of the Incarnation, so far as it must be realized hic et nunc, in such and such determined circumstances, included not only Jesus and Mary but Joseph as well.

From all eternity indeed it was decided that the Word of God made flesh should be born miraculously of Mary ever virgin united to the just Joseph in bonds of true marriage. St. Luke thus expresses the carrying out of this providential decree: “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.” . . .

In a discourse that was given in the Consistory Chamber on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1928, His Holiness Pope Pius XI compared St. Joseph’s vocation with St. John the Baptist’s and St. Peter’s. There is significance, His Holiness said, in the fact that God raises up certain magnificent and lustrous figures so near to one another as to be almost contemporaries: St. John the Baptist, who came out of the desert with a voice now thundering like a roaring lion and now speaking with the accents of the friend of the bridegroom rejoicing at the bridegroom’s glory, and at the last offering up before the world the glory of his own martyrdom; Peter, who heard the divine Master speak to him divine words that bore witness about him before all men of all ages: “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church.” “Going therefore, teach ye all nations.”

His was a magnificent and divinely radiant mission. Between these two, St. Joseph’s appears, in recollection and in silence, almost unperceived and unknown, coming to light only centuries later when its silence was to be broken by a resounding hymn of glory.  There where the mystery lies deepest, the surrounding night grows darkest, the silence grows greatest, the highest mission is to be found, accompanied and reechoed by a happy necessity in a brilliant retinue of virtues and merits. It is a unique and very high mission to guard the Son of God, the King of the world, to watch over the virginity and sanctity of Mary, to have a hidden place and share in this great mystery, shielded from the eyes of the centuries while cooperating in the Incarnation and Redemption.

All Joseph’s sanctity lies precisely in the completely faithful accomplishment of this great and humble mission, so high and so hidden, so splendid and so surrounded with shadows. [End Quote]

So, in the shadows of these dark times, we see a light growing brighter, as the mission of St. Joseph becomes clearer.

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The preceding essay is from  Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s essay, “St. Joseph, model of the hidden life and first among the saints”.

The Fifth Glorious Mystery from Rosary to the Interior, Part II

 

† . † . †

Today we present the final part of the beautiful meditation on the Fifth Glorious Mystery by Rosary to the Interior.

The other half of this mystery, however, is that Mary has been present in the mind and will of God as the Mother of God and the Mother of all men for all eternity, and that all of this became “incarnate” on this earth from the first moment of her own Immaculate Conception within the womb of her mother Anne. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (in the Old Missal), The Church applies to Mary the following verses from Proverbs: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived….I was with Him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in the world: and my delight was to be with the children of men (Prov. 8:23-35).” God’s time, in other words, is not our time. Just as for all eternity Mary was “pre-redeemed” from original sin approximately 45 years before the redemptive sacrifice of Her Son, so Our Lord’s Incarnation and all that followed was present in the Mystery of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.

Our Lady appears “clothed with the sun.” The Indians worshipped the sun, and this would certainly show them that her dignity was far superior to that of the physical sun. However, the rays of this sun do not radiate outwardly as do those of the physical sun. Rather, they project and expand inwardly, touching, enfolding and embracing Mary. It would therefore seem much more appropriate to view this “sun” as an image of the Holy Spirit (the “Ray of Heavenly Light”, as in the Litany of the Holy Ghost) overshadowing and surrounding Mary at the very moment of the Incarnation. We may see in this, in other words, the fulfillment of the Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Further, this Ray of Heavenly Light gives forth the powerful image of fruitfulness. It has the appearance of the pith of a fruit which surrounds, sustains, and nourishes the growth of what is within. And within this “space” are both Mary who was Immaculately Conceived, and the child Jesus who has been conceived within her womb. The Image therefore shows forth both mysteries at once: of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, and Mary conceiving – both through the power and spousal love of the Holy Spirit.

Equally significant is the fact that the mantle which enshrouds Mary is covered with stars. As was the case in my boyhood imagination, this starry cloak can best be seen as a symbol for the entire universe which, in the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is no longer seen as a vast and impersonal place, but as a beautiful garment of God’s immense love clothing the manifold mysteries of His plan for our salvation and final union with Him.

Most astounding to all who gaze on this image is the face of Mary. There is no image in the world that is as beautiful as this, for there is none other that so captures the soul’s intimate and total union with God in interior prayer and communion. The Indians, of course, immediately knew that she was not God. Her hands are pressed in profound prayer, and gods or goddesses do not pray. It was her face, however, which showed everything and attracted everyone. It was the face of an infinitely tender Mother, as expressed in her own words: “Listen and understand well my son, smallest of all, that you have no cause to be frightened and worried. Let your heart be troubled no longer, have no fear of that sickness, nor of any other sickness or sorrow. Is this not your mother here next to you? Are you not here in the shelter of my loving shadow? Am I not your health? Are you not safe here within my loving bosom? What else has thou need of?” This face showed that, despite recent appearances and history, the universe in which these people lived was one of light and not darkness, love rather than hate, beauty and not chaos – a world in which an Infinitely Good God and His Mother were the victors over the Evil Serpent (Our Lady is, in fact, pictured standing triumphantly on a burnt-out crescent moon – an image of the Serpent). Most important, it was a world in which man was not called just to witness, adore, and sacrifice to this God and His Goodness, but to be drawn into and fully participate in this abundant Life. This was a face of love, of tenderness, of fullness of life, of rest and peace, of Divine participation and knowledge. It was, in other words, the face of Wisdom:

“Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people…..

Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle” (Ecclus 24:1, 12 – Douay-Rheims).

We are now in a position to understand with great simplicity and clarity Mary’s role as Mediatrix of All Graces. In the spiritual marriage between Mary and the Holy Spirit, which has existed in the mind of God for all eternity, we must recognize that whatever graces and life come through the Holy Spirit must also come through Mary. And since, as Maximillian Kolbe said, “all graces come from the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit,” they must also therefore come by way of Mary, and attain to fruition only through her motherly care.

Consequently, the purpose of Mary’s becoming The Immaculate Conception is twofold: the humanization of God (“the Word became flesh”) and the divinization of man. In gazing upon the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we are pre-eminently made aware of the transcendent destiny of the human person: we see, as St. Louis De Montfort says, “the divine Mary.” The divinization of all the predestined therefore comes about through a full sharing, as spiritual children within Her Immaculate Heart, of the spousal love between God and Mary which has existed for all eternity.

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe also presents us with an image of the Triumph of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth over Satan. When we think about Our Lady’s Triumph we are tempted to picture this in terms of star-war like battles on a cosmic scale. The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe offers a very different view. The burnt-out crescent moon upon which Our Lady stands in Triumph is a pathetic thing. Satan, with all his rage and rebellion, and all the rebellion and blasphemies of all men down through the ages, are nothing before the infinite power and majesty of God. The true Triumph and Crowning of Mary is most aptly depicted, therefore, not in grandiose battles, but in the smallness of a human soul which, in the depths of its humility and poverty, has surrendered itself in Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. It is this which is the final message and call of Our Lady.

Finally, we must realize that the message and Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe calls us to intense love of the Church for the realization of Her Triumph over the hearts of all her children. Immediately after identifying herself to Juan Diego as the “Mother of the True God through Whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, Master of heaven and earth”, she declares, “I wish and intensely desire that in this place my sanctuary be erected. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help, and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother”. Juan Diego became the custodian of this chapel which Bishop Zumárraga ordered to be constructed, and this became the source from which radiated the conversion of millions of souls during the following few years. The aftermath of the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe represents the greatest and most “intense” (in terms of the shortness of time involved) mass conversion of souls in the history of the Church – and this among a people who just 10 years previously had lived under the yoke of a regime and culture which was arguably the most Satanic, and the most given to human sacrifice, of any civilization in the history of the world. We therefore have no excuse now for despair, or for cowering in the caves of a private and bitter faith in fear of the apostasy and degradation which surrounds us.

Our Lord guaranteed that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. And yet Satan now appears to be hammering away at every door and window of that Church, and seeking the ruin of every soul within. It is amply clear that the purification of the Church has been entrusted by Christ to His Mother, and it would seem equally clear that she awaits our militant response in cooperation with the graces which Christ has entrusted to her care for the accomplishment of Her Triumph. It would also seem that the Feast most appropriate for this purification is the double Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple on February 2. As explained in our Original Proposal, it is this Feast which most aptly embodies the mystery of the spiritual life that the Light of Christ can only be made to radiate from the Church for the mass conversion of souls through the suffering love of Mary and the interior purification of all her children.

We therefore ask all those who are Mary’s children to join us on February 2, 2019 in praying the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. We ask you, with the humility and perseverance of Juan Diego, to contact your priest and bishop in order to persuade them to implement this event in their churches (see our homepage for links to resources). We suggest that if your church is locked on this date that you pray outside, or that you pray it at home. We ask that this be done in all nations throughout the world. And finally, we ask that you print off copies of the one-page Handout concerning this event, and distribute them at all Catholic events and venues between now and February 2. We especially recommend this be done in the United States at the March for Life in Washington, D.C, and in other Pro-Life Marches throughout the country.

If we do not unite, we will almost certainly be driven back into the caves of our own private faith. We will descend further into our own personal and partial agendas, and into the desperation, failure, and bitterness which is the usual fruit of such isolation. In unity there is hope. In unity there are extraordinary graces. In unity there is the seamless and pure Heart of Mary which seeks that we be One in Her Love, Protection, and Power for the conversion of souls.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

 

†  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.
†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

The Fifth Glorious Mystery from Rosary to the Interior

We are happy to present another meditation from Rosary to the Interior. This one is the last in the series of Rosary meditations, the Fifth Glorious Mystery.

This article and indeed, the entire series of meditations produced by the Rosary to the Interior, is an effort to encourage people to participate in the second annual Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church event this coming February 2. It is especially timely in the face of the Synod on Abuse which is to be held in Rome February 21-24, involving Pope Francis and all the Presidents of the Bishop’s Episcopal Conferences.  Catholics must understand that this is a spiritual battle above all and this Rosary campaign is our best weapon!

 

The Fifth Glorious Mystery

The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth

Part I

Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

It is probably the tendency for most of us who pray the Rosary to rattle off the “Glory Be” rather quickly and without much thought. If so, we miss something most profound.

That God is eternally changeless, that what “He was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be”, and that all that has ever existed or will exist is within His infinite knowledge, will, power, and causation for all eternity, is an extraordinary concept. To those who approach this truth with minds and hearts immersed in this world, it calls forth images of that which is static, rigid, restricting to our free will, uninteresting, un-stimulating, and banal. To those who see it with a Catholic heart and mind, however, it reverberates with all that is perfect intelligence and love, immersed in a never-ending and inexhaustible richness of freedom, delight, and peace.

To see reality with the Heart of Christ is, if we may be permitted to use the expression, to begin with eternity. There never was a time when God did not know that He was going to create man “in His Image”; that man, in the full freedom of his will, would sin and fall from grace; that as a result of this first sin, the earth would for millennia be polluted with a vast array and quantity of sins; that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in order to atone for all this evil and merit the salvation of all men, would incarnate as man, suffer crucifixion, and rise again; and that for the fulfillment of Our Lord’s Incarnation He would create a Woman who would be His perfect Mother, and whose Immaculate Heart would be the portal through which God desires each one of us to pass in order to be able to see and love as does He.

All of this requires that we virtually acquire another dimension to our thinking. I remember as a boy staring at the stars with my mind caught up in what seemed then to be an unsolvable puzzle. Since this starry cosmos, despite its apparent immensity, was composed entirely of finite things, there had to be an end somewhere out there. And yet there could be no end, because there surely had to be something beyond. It took me until I was sixty years old to solve this riddle – to figure out the simple fact that all that has been created is truly finite and has no independent existence outside of the creative action and power of God, and that therefore outside or beyond this starry universe and all that it contains is simply the Infinite Being of God. And further, and most important, none of it is in reality outside or beyond God at all. As St. Paul wrote:

“For in Him [Christ] were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and in Him.

The world is now drowning in an ocean of thought and action which views everything in terms of evolutionary Becoming. It is immersed in a philosophical and pseudo-scientific conceit which, with messianic fervor, is at total war with the concepts of the unchangeable Being of God and the substantial being and “fixed” nature of man (see The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns). Nowhere is this worldview more succinctly expressed than in Joseph Ratzinger’s statement that “Being is time; it does not merely have” time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.” And, of course, it is also aptly expressed in Pope Francis formula, which he has often used, that “Time is greater than space” (Francis clearly uses the word “space” to refer to fixed dogma and moral truths). In such a world, all that is truly human is subjected to the violence and viciousness of endless evolutionary “progress”. There is no absolute certainty, no peace, no God Who is “in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end”. And because of this poison which has penetrated everywhere, the world now descends into violence, chaos, the darkness of ignorance, and satanic moral depravity.

But the world possesses a completely miraculous Image in which all of this darkness is refuted – an Icon reflecting the Eternal Plan and Being of God, and containing, for those who have the good will to see, all the essential Truths necessary for the conversion and peace of the human heart. It was impressed by God upon the tilma of a humble native in Mexico in the year 1531. It is the sacred Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In eight years it accomplished the conversion of seven million pagan souls to the Beauty and Truth of Christianity, and it now radiates out to the modern world as a vision of Final Truth and Hope.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Immaculate Conception

Our Lady’s first appearance to Juan Diego occurred on December 9 (1531), the original date on which the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was informally celebrated within the Church (now celebrated officially on Dec 8). All of Our Lady’s appearances occurred during the octave of this Feast. What is surprising in all this is that the image imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego by God’s miraculous power does not at first sight appear to have much to do with the Immaculate Conception. Mary appears as a young woman wearing a black sash around her waist, a custom which immediately revealed to the Indians that she was with child. She also identified herself to Juan Diego as “the ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the true God from Whom all life has come.” The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the day on which Mary was conceived without sin in the womb of her mother Anne, which according to Catholic tradition would have been 14-15 years previous to the conception of Jesus. At first sight, therefore, it does not appear to make much sense that she should make her appearance as the Mother of God on this date.

Three hundred and twenty seven years later, at Lourdes, France, Our Lady did something which would seem almost a perfect inversion of the above. In the year 1858, on March 24 (the day which anticipated the Feast of the Annunciation – the day on which Mary became the Mother of God), Our Lady announced to Bernadette Soubrious, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This statement posed a dilemma for theologians. They certainly would have understood if she had said, “I was immaculately conceived” – Pope Pius IX had only four years earlier defined this as a dogma of the faith, and had set the date for universal celebration of this Feast on December 8. They could not, however, understand her definition of herself as The Immaculate Conception.

So, we are left with a double mystery. On the one hand, Mary identified herself to Juan Diego as the Mother of God on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On the other hand, at Lourdes, she defines herself as The Immaculate Conception on the day which anticipated the Feast dedicated to that moment when Mary became the Mother of God

The clue to unraveling this double mystery lies in understanding that to say that Mary was immaculately conceived is not the same as saying that she is The Immaculate Conception. We know that there is a very profound connection, on the one hand, between the fact that Mary was immaculately conceived, and, on the other, the eternal choice of God by which she became the Mother of God. Simply put, Mary was immaculately conceived on December 8 (or the 9th, according to the older tradition) in order that she, in union with the Holy Spirit, might become the Mother of God approximately 15 years later on March 25. In becoming the Mother of God, however, she also became the Mother of all the Members of His Mystical Body, and therefore also Mother of the Church. In other words, when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she was identifying herself both as the Mother of Christ (immaculately conceived) and the Mother of all those who are immaculately conceived (“born again”) through the saving and regenerating waters of baptism. Mary is therefore properly called The Immaculate Conception because she is, in union with the Holy Spirit, and through Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, the source of all immaculate conception in the Church: “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.”(Mt. 5: 8). This is simply to say that she truly is both Mother of Christ and Mother of all the redeemed.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

This is Part I. We will post the second part in a few days.

†  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.
†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

Novena to the Holy Ghost, Christmas 2018

For our readers who prefer our classic Novena to the Holy Ghost, we offer it again this year.

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits … that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.
Come, Holy Ghost!



Come, Holy Ghost!

Our Lord’s command to His Apostles that they not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the Holy Ghost might profitably apply to us in these times as well. What better way to prepare for the joyous coming of our beloved Christ Child!

NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Day 1:
O Holy Spirit! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure and beaming radiance give!

Colloquy: The Holy Ghost
Only one thing is important – eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared – sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and especially indifference. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”
Prayer
Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from Heaven upon us Thy sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself body and soul to Thee, eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice and the might of Thy love. Thou art the strength and light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and have my being. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Make me faithful in every thought, and grant that I may always listen to Thy voice, watch for Thy light, and follow Thy gracious inspirations.

I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee, and I ask Thee by Thy compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced feet of Jesus, beholding His five wounds, trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened side and stricken Heart, I implore Thee, adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee. 

Grant to me the grace, O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant hears.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost
Lord Jesus Christ, Who before ascending into Heaven didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Ghost to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love. Grant me:

  • the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal;
  • the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy Divine truth;
  • the Spirit of Counsel, that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven;
  • the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation;
  • the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints;
  • the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable;
  • the Spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, Dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples, and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Day 2
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou light of all that live!

Colloquy: The Gift of Fear
The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of Hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer
Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in Heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, one God, world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation (as above)
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost (as above)

Day 3
Thou of all Consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Colloquy: The Gift of Piety
The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 4
Thou in toil art Comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Colloquy: The Gift of Fortitude
By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Prayer
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 5
Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.

Colloquy: The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth—–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

Prayer
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 6
If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Colloquy: The Gift of Understanding
Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them, It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and,through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Prayer
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son, Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 7
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness, pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Colloquy: The Gift of Counsel
The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Catholic citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

Prayer
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy Commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 8
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Colloquy: The Gift of Wisdom
Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things Divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a Divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: “Take up thy cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.”

Prayer
Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 9
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold Gifts descend.
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.

Colloquy: The Fruits of the Holy Ghost
The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to Divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer
Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

[This Novena is widely available on the net in slightly varied forms. It was originally composed and disseminated by the Holy Ghost Fathers. In this version, I have used basically the wording of the Novena available from Angelus Press, although the words of the Hymn which is quoted are from another version.]

We are all aware that satan redoubles his efforts most furiously at these times of special joy and grace in the liturgical year. But he is helpless before the Immaculate Mother of God. And as we look to her now, our Blessed Mother points us to her Spouse, the Holy Ghost to prepare us for the coming of our Infant Savior. 

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. (Luke 1, 35)

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, intercede for us and for the whole Church!

Remember, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

†  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.


~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Prepare for His Coming!

The holy season of Advent is the perfect time to renew our devotion to the Divine Infant Jesus. Today we focus on devotion to the Infant of Prague.

Devotion to the Holy Infant is complementary to that of Fatima. It has been rightly called the way of spiritual infancy. Since the revelations to Sister Josefa occurred right after those of Fatima, there is a strong connection, calling us to deepen our understanding of the essential unity between devotion to the Divine Infant, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Indeed, it is impossible to read the autobiography of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and the writings of Sister Lucia and not see the similarities in the total, childlike devotion and trust in Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. This spiritual infancy was also clearly exemplified by St. Therese, the Little Flower and is notable in the life of Sister Josefa Menendez, for example:

It was Christmas Eve in the old Monastery of Les Feuillants and Sister Josefa Menendez was at Mass,

“I was in the middle of the Chapel, on my way to Communion, when I saw Our Lady coming towards me. In her arms she was holding the Child Jesus, covered with a white veil which she took off as soon as I had communicated. His little garment was white and His hands were crossed on His breast. Then I did not see Him any more … When I had reached my place in the chapel, Our Lady came again quite close to me. She lifted the Child slightly; He was lying in her arms. Little Jesus stretched out His hands and fondled His Mother. Then with His tiny right hand He seemed to be asking me for mine and I gave it to Him. He seized hold of my finger and held it tight, and all around both of them floated an unknown but delicious aroma. Our Lady was smiling, “My daughter”, she said to me, “Kiss the feet of your God, Who will be your inseparable companion if you wish. Have no fear, draw near to Him, He is all love.” I kissed His little feet; He looked at me and then He crossed His hands on His breast and Our Lady wrapped Him in her veil. I asked her to bless me which she did and then they vanished.”

On another day, Our Lady appeared to Sister Josefa Menendez and spoke of her sorrows.

“I asked her,’ wrote Josefa naively, ‘if the presence of the Child Jesus, so small and so lovely, had not been the best of consolations?’ Our Lady then asked her to imagine the anguish she felt when contemplating the Divine Infant,

‘I kissed those little hands, and felt my lips already stained with the Precious Blood that one day would gush from their wounds. I kissed His feet, and already saw them nailed to the Cross. And as I carefully tended His hair, I pictured it all clotted with blood and entangled in the cruel thorns. And when at Nazareth, He first ventured on a few steps, hastening with outstretched arms to meet me, my tears fell as I pictured them extended on the Cross on which He was to die. When He reached boyhood, He was so divinely beautiful that none could contemplate Him unmoved … yet in my heart, the heart of a mother, the sword was turned at the thought of the tortures that were to be inflicted on Him, of which I felt beforehand the savage recoil.” (“The Way of Divine Love”  Kindle Edition).

And now, as we approach Christmas, we offer the well beloved Novena to the Divine Infant of Prague. This Novena begins on November 16, that is, we will begin it this year on the Third Sunday of Advent, and the Novena concludes on Christmas Eve.

Each day, we pray:

Novena Prayer to the Infant of Prague

O Dearest Jesus, tenderly loving us! Thy greatest joy is dwell among us and bestow Thy blessings on us! Although I am not worthy that Thou should look upon me with love, I am drawn to Thee dear Jesus because of Thine infinite mercy and beg Thee to exercise Thine almighty power over me.

So many who turned with confidence to Thee have received graces and had their petitions granted. Look upon me with pity as I kneel before Thee and lay my heart open to Thee, with all its prayers, petitions and hopes. In particular, I entrust to Thy loving and merciful heart _____.

Govern me and do with me and mine according to Thy holy will, for I trust that in Thy Divine wisdom and love, Thou will ordain everything for the best. Almighty and gracious Infant Jesus, do not withdraw Thy hand from us, but protect us and bless us forever.

I pray Thee, sweetest Infant, in the name of Thy blessed Mother Mary, who cared for Thee with such tenderness, and by the great reverence with which Saint Joseph carried Thee in his arms: grant me and mine the graces necessary to serve Thee ever more faithfully, that I may bless and thank Thee forever with all my heart. Amen.

For my own Novena, I add the beautiful Prayer of Venerable Father Cyril of the Mother of God, OCD, to the Divine Infant of Prague daily:

JESUS, unto Thee I flee,
Through Thy mother praying Thee
in my need to succor me.

Truly, I believe of Thee
God Thou art with strength to shield me;
Full of trust, I hope of Thee
Thou Thy grace wilt give to me.

All my heart I give to Thee,
Therefore, do my sins repent me;
From them breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus, from their bonds to free me.

Firm my purpose is to mend me;
Never more will I offend Thee.

Wholly unto Thee I give me,
Patiently to suffer for Thee,
Thee to serve eternally.
And my neighbor like to me
I will love for love of Thee.

Little Jesus, I beseech Thee,
In my need to succor me,
That with Joseph and Mary
And the Angels, I may Thee
Once enjoy eternally. Amen.

We also offer this lovely Litany for the Infant of Prague:

LITANY OF THE INFANT OF PRAGUE
(For private devotion only)

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
Deliver us, O Jesus.
We beseech Thee hear us.
God the Father of heaven. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost. have mercy on us.
O miraculous Infant Jesus,have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, true God and Lord, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose omnipotence is manifested in a wonderful manner, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose wisdom searches our hearts and reins, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose goodness continually inclines to aid us, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose providence leads us to our last end and destiny, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose truth enlightens the darkness of our hearts, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose generosity enriches our poverty, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose friendship consoles the afflicted, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose mercy forgives our sins, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose strength invigorates us, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose power turns away all evils, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose justice deters us from sin, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose power conquers hell, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose lovely countenance attracts our hearts, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose greatness holds the universe in its hand, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose love-inflamed Heart kindles our cold hearts,  have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose miraculous hand raised in benediction fills us with all blessings,  have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose sweet and holy Name rejoices the hearts of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose glory fills the whole world,  have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all distrust of Thy infinite goodness, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all distrust of Thy infinite goodness and miracles, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all lukewarmness in Thy veneration, deliver us, O Jesus.
From trials and misfortunes, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through the mysteries of Thy holy childhood, deliver us, O Jesus.
We sinners, beseech Thee to hear us.
Through the intercession of Mary, Thy virgin Mother, and Joseph, Thy foster father, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst pardon us, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst bring us to true repentance, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst preserve and increase in us love and devotion to Thy sacred infancy, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst never withdraw Thy miraculous hand from us, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst keep us mindful of Thy numberless benefits, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst inflame us more and more with love for Thy Sacred Heart, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously deign to hear all who call upon Thee with confidence, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst preserve our country in peace, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst free us from all impending evils, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst give eternal life to all who act generously toward Thee, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst pronounce a merciful sentence on us at the judgement, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst in Thy miraculous image remain our consoling refuge, we beseech Thee to hear us.
Jesus, Son of God and of Mary, we beseech Thee to hear us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Jesus.
Jesus hear us.
Jesus graciously hear us.
Our Father, etc.

LET US PRAY

O miraculous Infant Jesus! prostrate before Thy sacred image, we beseech Thee to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Thy tender Heart, so inclined to pity, be softened at our prayers, and grant us that grace for which we ardently implore Thee. Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden. For Thy sacred infancy’s sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise Thee, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen.

Nihil Obstat: BERNARD O’CONNOR, Diocesan Censor. Imprimatur: DANIEL MANNIX, Archiepiscopus Melburnensis. Melbourne, 8/1/1963.

Thank you for reading! I pray for you always and trust that you will continue to pray for each other who read these pages. For, in addition to praying and reparation for sinners, it is good for us all to support each other in prayer.

NOTE: Our older Advent Novena to the Holy Ghost has been updated a bit and is available here.

† Infant Jesus, whose truth enlightens the darkness of our hearts, have mercy on us and on Pope Francis.

  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.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

She Who Crushes the Serpent

Hail, O Virgin of Guadalupe, Empress of America!
Keep forever under thy powerful patronage the purity and integrity of Our Holy Faith on the entire American continent. Amen.
(Pope Pius XII)

Pope Pius XII is reported to have said of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “For we are certain, that as long as you are recognized as Queen and Mother, Mexico and America will be safe.” Think about that as you survey the horrid wreckage of the faith and Christian culture throughout the countries of the entire Americas today. And then, consider how simply we could restore order by allowing ourselves to be led by this Immaculate Virgin.

The Age of Apostasy began with the disobedience of Luther, the apostate priest, whose revolt ripped through Christendom in the sixteenth century and left in its wake an orphan people, bereft of grace, endlessly prating about the dignity of man while assiduously destroying any sign of man’s true dignity which is to be found  only  in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Apoc 1, 5)

In response to this monumental affront, He Who is love sent the world His love! That is to say, Our Lord granted to us His own most beloved  Mother. Even as the foul-mouthed Luther was delivering his scatological “sermons”, Our Lord sent the Blessed Virgin to her children in the New World to grant them the favor of her image, miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego’s cactus cloth tilma. This image displays Our Lady as the “Woman clothed with the Sun” of Apocalypse 12.  Thus, we see Our Lord counter the hateful disobedience of Luther  with loving obedience, to counter what is foul and ugly with what is pure and beautiful, and to counter deceit with Truth.

To this end, the magnificent work of the Mother of God began with her apparitions in Mexico in December, 1531, and followed in succession by her apparitions to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres in the Conceptionist Convent in Quito, Ecuador in the early 17th century, the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Visitation Convent in Paray-le-Monial, France beginning  in December, 1673. These actions of the Divine Mercy were in turn followed by the apparitions at Rue du Bac, (1830) where Our Lady granted the Medal of the Immaculate Conception (Miraculous Medal) to her children through St. Catherine Laboure, a nun of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  Our Lady’s appearance to Saint Catherine Laboure was quickly followed by three more  more divine interventions;  La Salette, (September, 1851), Lourdes from February until March 25, 1858 and at Knock (August, 1879).

“Call me and my image the Perfect Virgin Mary, Holy Mother of God, the one who crushes the serpent.”

 

The sequence of the interventions reveals a significant development. By Our Lady’s appearance at Guadalupe in the image of the Immaculata, clothed with the Sun, “she who crushes the serpent’s head”, the challenge of Lucifer’s Luther was met by God’s Virgin Mother. This intervention countered Luther’s attack on souls with the Virgin’s offering of salvation to whole nations who had never known the true God. By it, many millions of souls were saved and a message of obedient trust in Mary was given for her children.

In those days, Satan had  ripped away 5,000,000 souls from the bosom of the faith but their numbers were more than replaced in a few years by the intervention of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which gained the Bride of Christ over 9,000,000 Aztec converts (out of 10 million).

In her image, we are led to consider the end times, specifically Apocalypse 12. In both images she stands on the new moon and this is significant for several reasons, but most relevant for the present time is its indication that she will come again to conquer the sect that has so persecuted Christians for centuries; and that this will usher in a period of peace.

The apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success in the next century gave us a comforting prophecy for our times, the times of an almost total corruption of society which is the beginning of the “Good Success” of the victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But that sign was not widely known in those days, for it was meant for these days. Then came Our Lord Himself in the 17th century, Who promised us great graces for honoring Him in the image of His most Sacred Heart.  Although this devotion was declined by the Kings of France, Our Lord’s command  remains in force and when at last it is obeyed we shall see great progress in the restoration.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus is united with the Immaculate Heart of His Mother and so the following century saw an increase in Marian apparitions  which emphasized the Immaculate Conception and called the faithful to pray for sinners, to repent and offer penance.

When Our Lady’s message to Melanie and Maximin was silenced by the powerful sect of satan both within and without the Church, she eloquently appeared in a silent tableau at Knock, Ireland to express the suppressed message. Her sorrowful tears at La Salette replaced by a cold, driving rain. La Salette’s  warning of the apostasy of the Church  enforced by the apocalyptic apparition occurring outside the church of a priest who refused to recognise it.  The altar at Knock was stripped bare, but the Sacrificial Lamb gives voice to the now suppressed Sacrifice.

In between those visits, Our Lady intervened at Lourdes to offer us another sign of her mercy. There, she confirms that she is the Immaculate Conception, and requests penance after granting the faithful a miraculous spring of healing waters. See the progression: growing emphasis on devotion to her Immaculate Conception, coupled with signs of grace such as the Miraculous Medal and the Holy Water of Lourdes. She nourishes us and defends us while she urges us to preserve the faith.

The divine interventions of the 19th century were capped by the Queen of apparitions, that of Fatima, Portugal in 1917, the year which saw the resurgence of the great red dragon in direct contradiction to the most Blessed Virgin and this bloody battle is quickly ascending to its terrifying climax. For the House of God has been almost thoroughly eclipsed by the one world church of man. Lucifer is enthroned in the Vatican and Luther appears to have supplanted the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross.  For the Church is crucified today; it is the Passiontide of the Bride of Christ. During Our Lord’s Passion, it appeared that the foulness of the sinful world has covered His visage as now, the foulness of the ancient enemy appears to obscure the beauty of the Church. We shall soon see her true splendor!

Note that Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Immaculate Conception. In this sign, she shall crush the serpent’s head. It is good to honor her today, preferably with the Mass, but also, very urgently, to pray all 15 decades of her Rosary, for the intentions of her Immaculate Heart. And we treasure in our hearts always her words to Saint Juan Diego,

Hear me and understand well, my little son, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”

 

For a more complete exposition of the message of Guadalupe, we recommend Mariana Bartold’s Guadalupe, Secrets of the Image.

  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.
  Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come – Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
  Remember, pray the rosary and confound satan.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Consecrating your Child to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

We’ve been asked for a prayer of Consecration of a Child to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I updated our Family Consecration Page with it, as announced on our new Correspondence Page.

The following prayer comes from Angelus Press and is only $1.25 in a very nice, heirloom quality booklet.

Consecration of a Child to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary * Queen of Heaven and Earth, * to your Immaculate heart, * the channel of all graces, * we consecrate this child, * whom we have received from God’s goodness.

We offer him  to You * that you may present him to your Divine Son, * that you may take him under your loving maternal protection, * that you may preserve him from dangers, * that you amy keep him from all sin, * that you may lead him to grow in piety * and in all virtue * so that he may always be worthy * to call himself your child.

May he grow daily in wisdom and grace, * may he go through life having you always as his refuge and Mother. * May all virtues shine in him * and may he never offend your maternal Heart.

May the Eternal Father always look upon him with delight * and see in him * a ray and reflection of your Immaculate Beauty. And as today he gladdens our home, * so may he one day gladden the Eternal Home * which we pray will be his. Amen.

 

Note: It is suggested that the Consecration of a Child be carefully prepared, keeping in mind the example of the Holy Family. St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother offered a sacrifice of two turtledoves; perhaps you would like to do likewise: offering a Holy Mass and an alms as you sacrifice. The consecration of a child is a formal recognition that you are, by this act, begging the Immaculata to accept your child as her own property in the faith that Our Lady will enfold your child(ren) in her maternal protection through life and death.

Bear in mind as well your own grave obligation to raise your child with a strong and tender love for and trust in Our Lady, and devotion for her Holy Rosary. The daily family Rosary is essential to success, for your child will thereby learn day by day, as you demonstrate your own devotion. As you meet the invariable spiritual challenges together, the child gradually becomes comfortable with the concept of working through problems with Our Lady’s help, through her Rosary.

Another useful adjunct to consecrating your child is the use of sacramentals like the miraculous medal (the Medal of the Immaculate Conception), the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the use of ejaculations, especially the loving little prayer, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!” and “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may ever love thee, more and more!”

But the very best way to help your child grow in devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is for them to live their devotion with you; children watch their parents closely and the sincerity of your devotion, of the trust you have in Our Lady and your abiding love for her, this is what will mean the most to your child and bear the finest fruits.

One very good practice is to teach your child, preferably by your good example to live the follwoing prayer, which was recommended by Our Lady of Fatima:

“O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer this sacrifice to Thee.”

For those readers who have experience with consecrating their children, we would welcome your suggestions.

†  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.
†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!