The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2017

Today, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on the feast day of her Presentation in the Temple, when her parents, Joachim and Anne, who had consecrated her to the Lord God, brought her to the Temple of Jerusalem.

"Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God."
“Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.”

 

We don’t expect that Pope Francis will honor Our Lady on her feast day today, so it is up to us, her children to honor our Mother today.  Although modernists disparage this feast for what they perceive as a “lack of historicity”, for those who are consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, this beautiful feast teaches volumes about Mary’s devotion to the most Holy Trinity. According to Venerable Maria de Agreda,  this beautiful mystery is a lesson of the importance of humility. Thus, it is a worthwhile meditation for our preparation for our Total Consecration soon.

The Hebrew Ark of the Covenant was but a foreshadowing of the true Ark which is the most Blessed Virgin Mary herself; she who was foreordained to bear our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior. As our Little Office proclaims, “Thou wast the Mother of Him Who made thee, and thou remainest a Virgin forever”. And so, Joachim and Anne brought the true Royal Ark of the Covenant to the Temple, but to all appearances they were merely ordinary pious Jews of their time  bringing yet another consecrated child to the Temple.

Mother Maria de Agreda tells us of Mary, that God  “ordained in her regard that she receive no honor or recognition at that time, so that she (would) be the shining example of humility, of retirement, of contempt and horror for the dreadful vanity of the world, of love for sufferings … and dishonors inflicted by creatures. All holiness is adverse and contrary to the applause, honors and estimation of the world.”

“In ascending the fifteen stairs the Child brought to fulfillment, that, which Jacob saw happening in sleep; for here too were angels ascending and descending: the ones accompanying, the others meeting their Queen as She hastened up; whereas at the top God was waiting in order to welcome Her as his Daughter and Spouse.” (Ven. Agreda, “The Mystical City of God”)

What a fruitful scene for our meditations!  Firstly, we note that the Temple is stated to have 15 steps – which leads us to consider the 15 decades of the  Rosary by which we approach the Living Temple of the Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Think now, of this – the bittersweet moment of leave-taking for Joachim and Anne, who had prayed for many years for God to send them a child, only to be called to surrender her at the tender age of three! Then think of the Blessed Virgin responding to Our Father’s call. Psalm 44 speaks to us of this moment of surrender,

“Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.” (Psalm 44, 11,12) . 

Think too, that this is actually the first time that the Blessed Virgin meets Simeon and Anna, for it was Simeon who received her as she ascended the stairs and he brought her to Anna, who brought her up as her own. And so we see that this moment foreshadows the fateful moment when Our Lady brought her own Divine Son to the Temple, and handed Him to Simeon and Anna.

Tradition tells us that she danced on the steps, on her way to her life of consecration to the Lord. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us that this total consecration is a matter of detaching the affections, of seclusion from the world. Not always a material seclusion but it is absolutely essential that it be a matter of being “in the world, but not of the world”. He continues,

Corresponding to complete separation is oblation, total consecration. Mary gave herself wholly to God, unreservedly, forever.

“Lord, in the simplicity of my heart I offer myself to Thee this day as Thy servant forevermore, for Thy homage and for a sacrifice of perpetual praise.” (Imitation of Christ, IV, 9,1).

Mary gave herself wholly to God, allowing Him to exercise over her all His rights as Sovereign, Lord, and Master. She made no objections nor did she marvel that her immolation should reach such proportions; had she not offered herself without reserve? And when her offering was consummated she did nothing but repeat: “Fiat! Ecce ancilla Domini!”

Let us ask Mary, presented in the Temple, to take our poor offering into her immaculate hands, to purify and complete it by her offering, so pure, so perfect; to include it and hide it in hers, and being thus purified and renewed, may it be agreeable to God.

St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Prayer for the Presentation:

“O dearly Beloved of God, most amiable Child Mary, would that today I could offer to you the first years of my life and consecrate myself to your service, my blessed and sweet Lady, as you presented and consecrated yourself in the Temple for the honor and glory of God … but time has slipped away and so many years have been spent in serving the world and my own caprice, forgetful of you and of God. Woe to the time when I did not love you! But better late than never. Behold, O Mary, I present myself to you this day, offering myself entirely to your service for the number of days, be they few or many, that are left to me on earth. I renounce all creatures as you did and vow myself entirely to the love of my Creator.

“I consecrate to you  my Queen, my intellect that it may always think upon the love that you deserve, my tongue that it may praise you, my heart that it may love you. Accept Most Holy Virgin, the offering which this wretched sinner presents to you; accept it, I beg, by the consolation your heart felt when you gave yourself to God in the Temple. And if I am late in putting myself at your service, it is but fitting that I redeem the time lost by redoubling my devotions and my love for thee.

“O Mother of Mercy, help my weakness by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Son Jesus, the strength to be faithful to you until death. Grant that after having served you in this life I may go to praise you eternally in Paradise. Amen.”

We must always understand that our turning from creatures does not at all mean that we love them less, but that by loving them through God, that is for love of Him, we love them much more beneficently than when we loved them for our own satisfaction. Our Lord taught us, in His Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 5,3) As always, Mary leads the way, making her first vows at the age of three, she left all to become poor in spirit. We are her children after all!

 

  O Immaculate Queen of our hearts, make our hearts like unto thine!

  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.

 Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

  St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

~ 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!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

The Sorrows of Mary, September 15

“The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love.”

Today, September 15, is the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. There can be no doubt that we are now enduring the most grievous crisis ever experienced in the Church’s long history.  Indeed, it is the Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ. As always, Mary, the Mother of the Church is here at the foot of the Cross with us. This year, 2017 anno Domini, is by far the most desolate of all the dreary years that ensued in the wake of the Council of Desolation.

At the time of Vatican II, Catholics were loyal, mostly unquestioning and confident that the one certainty in the changing world was the Catholic Faith.  But as of now, September 15, 2017 the Church is in eclipse. It is the darkness of Calvary. In this darkness which is the spiritual chastisement foretold by Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, the only hope we have been given is the same that was given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, “Behold, thy Mother.” (John 19, 27)

We place our immortal souls in danger if we refuse this final offer of Our Lord. The Gospel tells us that, “from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” But in this dark hour, many who pose as traditional Catholics have decided that Fatima has no interest for them, indeed, some disdain it.  Tragically, many traditional Catholics have slipped into sedevacantism and since they do not believe the Pope is the Pope, or that the Bishops are Bishops, they now conclude that the Consecration of Russia cannot be done.  Thus, they conclude that Our Lady of Fatima asked for something that can not be accomplished. In other words, they pass judgment on the Mother of God, adding yet another sword to her sorrowful heart in this time of crisis.

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary is an essential aspect of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She is our Mother, and she shares our sorrow, in fact, it is she who calls us to share her sorrows, here at the foot of His Cross. Please do not turn from her into the darkness for only she will bring us through this, to the Light.

Crucifixion by Wilhelm Kotarbinski
“O you who pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.”

Although Our Lord’s own chosen Apostles fled His Passion, no one could keep the Woman away. Unlike the sentimental pictures which sometimes show Mary fainting at the foot of the Cross, Mary stood there, intent on sharing every excruciating detail of the ignominy her beloved Son suffered. Just as she had freely chosen to become His Mother, she chose to behold Him tortured from head to foot and torn from her by the cruelest of deaths. She not only accepted this, she offered this; this sharing in His Passion, sharing even in His death, uniting Their hearts forever for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and in loving reparation for the sins of men, for our sins, for my sins.

Mary’s heart, like Christ’s whole crushed and bruised being , was transformed with anguish by the sins of mankind … Mary became the Queen of martyrs because, after Jesus, she has endured the greatest martyrdom of heart … her sufferings are fruitful for us in a way that we can scarcely suspect…(from Father Garrigou-Lagrange, “Mary, the Model of Reparation”).

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us,

“The sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son, but also because by this offering she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, Who had given her this Divine Son, asked on Calvary for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her Immaculate Heart in complete adherence to the divine will.”  …

“Let us contemplate Mary’s sorrows, sympathise with her and ask her for the invaluable grace of sharing with her in the Passion of Jesus. Let us remember that this participation is not meant to be merely sentimental — even though this sentiment is good and holy — but it must lead us to real compassion, that is, to suffering with Jesus and Mary. The sufferings God sends us have no other purpose.

“The sight of Mary at the foot of the Cross makes the lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; her maternal example encourages us to suffer (with her) and makes the road to Calvary easier. Let us go then with Mary, to join Jesus on Golgotha; let us go with her to meet our own cross, and sustained by her, let us embrace it willingly, uniting it with her Son’s Cross.” (Divine Intimacy)

From Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity:

“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, ‘Ecce mater tua’. Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as He did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear.”

It is only when we take His place, accepting the Cross, that we can share the thoughts of her sorrowful heart, and it is only from the Cross that we can see heaven. 

The Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother

O Mother of Sorrows! Merciful Mother! Even as His Precious Blood flowed, so did thy tears, made bitter by the indifference of thy children. 

Hail, countless and bitter tears from thy eyes, O Mary, tears of compassion for thy Son, our Savior crucified! May all thy children revere them, all sinners flee to them for refuge, for they spring from thy Sorrowful Heart.

O Mother of Sorrows! Merciful Mother! Even as His Precious Blood flowed, so did thy tears, made bitter by the indifference of thy children who spurn thy Son and Savior’s precious gift.

O burning tears, beautiful, loving tears, which move the angels to pity and touch the heart of the Eternal Father! Soften my hard heart and move it to true sorrow for my sins which cause thy tears!

Holy Tears, wash me! Bitter tears, purify me! Gentle tears, soften my heart! Burning tears inflame my heart! Merciful tears, rich in grace, heal and strengthen me with grace!

O most gentle, sorrowful Mother, sharing thy Son’s passion, mingling thy tears with His precious blood, I beseech thee, grant me the grace of tears and heartfelt contrition for my sins. Grant that I may shed repentant tears over my sins which cause Him such cruel suffering.

O most merciful Virgin, offer thy bitter tears to the Eternal Father in reparation for my tepidity and hardness of heart. Through their merit, obtain mercy for me and pardon for all my sins.

Grant, O dearest Mother, at the hour of death, just one of thy precious tears to cleanse my soul of sin. Amen.

And now, at this time, in this place, we stand with our Sorrowful Mother at the crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are not here to faint away, overcome with despair! We will be strong as our Mother is strong. Although on our own we lack that strength, in her we find the grace and virtues we need.

For more on the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, including the Seven Sorrows Devotion, see Our Lady of Sorrows, 2014.

For similar posts, we suggest:

The Message of Fatima for the Post-Synodal Church

Mary’s Promise in the Chastisement

On Mother’s Day to Mary

Thank you for reading. I pray for you always!

 †  Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, obtain for us by your loving intercession the grace and courage to persevere in the coming trials of faith.

 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!

 St. Joseph, terror of demons, protect our priests!

 St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

~ by evensong for love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

The Passion of the Church, Lent, 2017

“The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love.”

Today, Quinquagesima Sunday, we prepare for the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1. As always, we look to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, our true Mother to inspire us and guide us this holy season of repentance.

The Passion of the Church

Although Our Lord’s own chosen Apostles fled His Passion, no one could keep the Woman away. Unlike the sentimental pictures which sometimes show Mary fainting at the foot of the Cross, Mary stood there, intent on sharing every excruciating detail of the ignominy her beloved Son suffered. Just as she had freely chosen to become His Mother, she chose to behold Him tortured from head to foot and torn from her by the cruelest of deaths. She not only accepted this, she offered this; this sharing in His Passion, sharing even in His death, uniting Their hearts forever for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and in loving reparation for the sins of men, for our sins, for my sins.

Mary’s heart, like Christ’s whole crushed and bruised being , was transformed with anguish by the sins of mankind … Mary became the Queen of martyrs because, after Jesus, she has endured the greatest martyrdom of heart … her sufferings are fruitful for us in a way that we can scarcely suspect…(from Father Garrigou-Lagrange, “Mary, the Model of Reparation”).

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us,

“The sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son, but also because by this offering she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, Who had given her this Divine Son, asked on Calvary for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her Immaculate Heart in complete adherence to the divine will.”  …

“Let us contemplate Mary’s sorrows, sympathise with her and ask her for the invaluable grace of sharing with her in the Passion of Jesus. Let us remember that this participation is not meant to be merely sentimental — even though this sentiment is good and holy — but it must lead us to real compassion, that is, to suffering with Jesus and Mary. The sufferings God sends us have no other purpose.

“The sight of Mary at the foot of the Cross makes the lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; her maternal example encourages us to suffer (with her) and makes the road to Calvary easier. Let us go then with Mary, to join Jesus on Golgotha; let us go with her to meet our own cross, and sustained by her, let us embrace it willingly, uniting it with her Son’s Cross.” (Divine Intimacy)

From Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity:

“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, ‘Ecce mater tua’. Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as He did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear.”

It is only when we take His place, accepting the Cross, that we can share the thoughts of her sorrowful heart, and it is from the Cross that we can see heaven. 

The Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother

Hail, countless and bitter tears from thy eyes, O Mary, tears of compassion for thy Son, our Savior crucified! May all thy children revere them, all sinners flee to them for refuge, for they spring from thy Sorrowful Heart.

O Mother of Sorrows! Merciful Mother! Even as His Precious Blood flowed, so did thy tears, made bitter by the indifference of thy children who spurn thy Son and Savior’s precious gift.

O burning tears, beautiful, loving tears, which move the angels to pity and touch the heart of the Eternal Father! Soften my hard heart and move it to true sorrow for my sins which cause thy tears!

Holy Tears, wash me! Bitter tears, purify me! Gentle tears, soften my heart! Burning tears inflame my heart! Merciful tears, rich in grace, heal and strengthen me with grace!

O most gentle, sorrowful Mother, sharing thy Son’s passion, mingling thy tears with His precious blood, I beseech thee, grant me the grace of tears and heartfelt contrition for my sins. Grant that I may shed repentant tears over my sins which cause Him such cruel suffering.

O most merciful Virgin, offer thy bitter tears to the Eternal Father in reparation for my tepidity and hardness of heart. Through their merit, obtain mercy for me and pardon for all my sins.

Grant, O dearest Mother, at the hour of death, just one of thy precious tears to cleanse my soul of sin. Amen.

And now, at this time, in this place, we stand with our Sorrowful Mother at the crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are not here to faint away, overcome with despair! We will be strong as our Mother is strong. Although on our own we lack that strength, in her we find the grace and virtues we need.

You may like:

The Message of Fatima for the Post-Synodal Church

Mary’s Promise, 2017

 

Thank you for reading. I pray for you always!

   Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, obtain for us by your loving intercession the grace and courage to persevere in the coming trials of faith.

 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!

 St. Joseph, terror of demons, protect our priests!

 St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

For more on the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, including the Seven Sorrows Devotion, see our earlier post,  Our Lady of Sorrows, 2014.

 

~ by evensong for love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary

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

First Blood, 2017

“Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful. “
He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.
He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.

Today, the Octave of Christmas is the day we commemorate the first shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, at His Circumcision.  It is fitting that we start off 2017 with this commemoration of the first sacrifice of the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is His vivid lesson in humility and obedience, the requisite virtues for 2017, the year of Fatima.

From Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. we read:

Continue reading “First Blood, 2017”

Evensong, 2016

[If you are searching for information about the post author, “evensong”, it is on our  “About” page.]

“O Mother who came to smile on me in the morn of my life, come once again and smile, dear Mother, for now it is eventide!”

(Prayer of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower)

Advent was a time of retreat and prayerful introspection and I took as my guide, St. Thérèse, the Little Flower. Her little way of spiritual childhood offers so much to us in the upheaval and uncertainty caused by this poor benighted pope. Today’s post is an old one, which I’ve updated – I hope you find it useful.

†  †  †

Time ill spent is lost forever and what degree of love we have achieved at the time of our death is what we shall have throughout eternity.

This tumultuous year draws to a close and it is natural for us to consider our gains and losses over this past year as we look towards the new year …

In this twilight of our Christian era, the darkness gathers. Eventually it will bring a purifying chastisement and a rebirth of the Faith. How long shall we endure the crass arrogance of the Humble Pope of Surprises? What will the long-awaited justice of God, when it appears, mean to us, to our loved ones?

“We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.”
“We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.”

Twilight is always a thoughtful, prayerful time for me, and so, “Evensong” is a hymn/prayer that accompanies me in this, the eventide of my life.

Sweet Savior, bless us ‘ere we go
Thy word into our hearts instill.
And make our lukewarm hearts to glow
With lowly love and fervent will.
Through life’s long day
And death’s dark night
O gentle Jesus, be our light.

My daily readings are from Divine Intimacy“, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. In his reading titled, ”Let Us Make Good Use of Time.” Father Gabriel reminds us that time ill spent is lost forever and that what degree of love we have achieved at the time of our death is what we shall have throughout eternity.

Continue reading “Evensong, 2016”

Immaculata, beautiful flower of Carmel, pray for us

O Mary Immaculate, Beauty of Carmel, you offer us your scapular, the very garment of your grace. By it, grant us graces to be your true children and grow in humility, obedience, holiness and purity.

Immaculate Mother of God, Flower of Carmel, pray for us, pray for the Church!
Immaculate Mother of God, Flower of Carmel, pray for us, pray for the Church!

Today, 16 July, we honor Our Blessed Mother under her title, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is a title particularly pleasing to her, as she appeared at Fatima on 13 October, 1917 wearing the Carmelite habit and holding the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel as if offering it to mankind. To her children, Mary’s suggestions are her commands and we would have expected that this apparition alone caused all devout Catholics worldwide to subsequently become enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. There should have been a vast movement of priests preaching this devotion, with Pope and Bishops leading the way. However, we all know that nothing of the sort happened.

In his wonderful book, Divine Intimacy, Father Gabriel tells us,
“The Blessed Virgin is a Mother who clothes us with grace and takes our supernatural life under her protection, in order to bring it to its full flowering in eternal life….The Scapular, the little habit, that Our Lady of Mount Carmel offers us, is only the external symbol of her unceasing, maternal care: the symbol, but also the sign, the pledge of eternal salvation. ‘My beloved son’, Mary said to St. Simon Stock, ‘Take this scapular…whoever dies clothed in it will not suffer eternal fire’. The Blessed Virgin gives the assurance of the supreme grace of final perseverance to all who wear worthily her little habit.”(Divine Intimacy, p. 1146, published by TAN Books.)

In Isaiah 32, verses 16-18, we read, “And judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and justice shall sit in Carmel. And the work of justice shall be peace, and the service of justice quietness, and security for ever. And my people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence, and in wealthy rest.” Now, by the “wealthy rest” is not meant the protestant gospel of prosperity, which makes a virtue of usurious materialism, but the spiritual wealth accruing from a firm commitment to the sanctification of our souls by following Christ in justice. Carmel signifies Garden and Mary’s Immaculate Heart is truly a Garden of virtues to which she welcomes her children, those who wear her habit, even the little habit of her Brown Scapular.

It was such a delight to discover that Carmel means garden in Hebrew, because I have always pictured interiorly the Annunciation as occurring in Mary’s garden in Nazareth. I’ve been unable to locate an image online of the Annunciation which portrayed it outdoors. In my heart though, she is always in a garden as I visit her there each day to begin my Rosary with her First Joyful Mystery. Of course, the Mysteries of the Rosary being so interlinked with significance, that first mystery always leads one to Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is the First Sorrowful Mystery. And thus Mary’s sweet, obedient, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”  is irrevocably linked to Our Lord’s obedience in, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done, Father.”

Continue reading “Immaculata, beautiful flower of Carmel, pray for us”

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2016

Today, the Third Friday after Pentecost and nine days after the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At this time, we should have completed the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we began on May 26th, Corpus Christi.

The themes of reparation and penance are prominent of Our Lord’s revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and those of His Blessed Mother to Sister Lucia and the little shepherds of Fatima. It’s worth noting that while Our Lord’s messages to St. Margaret Mary were so tender, personal and appealing, those of St. Michael the Angel of Fatima and of Our Lady of Fatima stressed the impending Justice of God in an appeal for reparation.

 

Behold this heart which has so loved men...
Behold this heart which has so loved men…

As centuries have passed, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and now the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with Him, have alike been spurned, even by Catholics. Although Catholics are at least somewhat familiar with the Promises of the Sacred Heart, (though they ignore them), few take note of a most important passage contained in Our Lord’s  words to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. This overlooked passage is His Promise of the Cross.

St. Margaret Mary wrote the following in a letter to her former Superior, Mother Grayfie,

“It seems to me that our Lord made me see several names written in His Sacred Heart owing to their desire to cause It to be honoured … But He does not say say that his friends would have nothing to suffer because He wishes that they make all their happiness consist in tasting His sorrows… Our Lord has never given us stronger proofs that He loves us than by making us share in his sufferings.”

And In a letter to Mother de Saumaise she wrote that Our Lord had explained to her, “Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”  (“The Promises of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary“, by Father Paul Wenisch, S. J., Tamil Nadu, India).

But the Promise of the Cross, does not mean that we will be forsaken, far from it! Taste and see the goodness of the Lord! St. Augustine, commenting on today’s Gospel (John 19, 31-37) notes that “The Evangelist says, ‘opened’ to show us  that thereby the door of life was thrown open, through which the Sacraments of the Church flow forth.”  And Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene adds, “And it is through these Sacraments that we receive the life of grace. Yes, it is eminently true to say that the Heart of Jesus was opened to bring us life.

Throughout His Gospels, Our Lord stresses that we are our brothers’ keepers. That we love one another is His commandment, the one He was most insistent about as well as that most emphasized by St. John in his epistles. He commands us to take up our crosses, not only for our own salvation but that sinners be converted.

The following Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is loosely based on Father Mateo’s much earlier one. Over the years, I have modified it for our family use and don’t believe Father Mateo would mind if you make it your own as well. His generosity of spirit propelled him to enormous sacrifices just to get people to consider for a moment, the love and mercy Our Lord stands so willing to pour forth for us. So take a moment if you will and consider…

Continue reading “The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2016”

The Purification of Mary

“Adorn thy bridal-chamber O Sion, and welcome Christ the King. With loving embrace greet Mary, the very gate of heaven, for she brought to thee the glorious King of new light. Ever Virgin she remaineth, yet in her arms doth bear the Son begotten before the day-star; that Child Whom Simeon did take into his arms and proclaim to the nations as Lord of life and Savior of the world.”

Today, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary marks the end of the Christmastide cycle of the liturgy. it is perhaps the oldest Marian feast and commemorates our Blessed Mother’s humility and obedience to the Mosaic Law by going to the Temple in Jerusalem and making the prescribed purification offerings forty days after the birth of her Divine Child. Obviously, the Immaculata had no need for purification but nevertheless performed this duty for the sake of obedience, thus continuing to teach us the lessons she has imparted since the “Fiat voluntas tua” of the Annunciation.

Once Jesus had died for our sins and arisen victorious from the dead, the Mosaic law no longer bound us, but until then, it was fitting that Mary obey the Old Law for obedience sake.Thus, Christmastide officially ends with an intimation of the purification to come in Lent.

Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, ... A light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.
Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, … A light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.

Additionally, this feast celebrates the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, which is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Traditionally, today’s Mass is preceded by the blessing and distribution of candles and a procession with the lighted candles; thus it is called Candlemas. In the Prayers of Blessing, the Church prays, “O Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world, pour forth Thy blessing upon these candles and sanctify them with the light of Thy grace, and mercifully grant that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, by the splendor of the Holy Ghost, may be free from every blindness due to vice, so that with clear sight our minds may discern what is pleasing to Thee and profitable to our salvation, so that after the darksome perils of this life we may deserve to attain to never-fading light.”

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Evensong 2015

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In this twilight of our Christian era, the darkness gathers. Eventually it will bring a purifying chastisement and a rebirth of the Faith. I am struck by the coincidence of the closing of my own life with this transition of our Christian era. This is a repost an old entry, I hope you don’t mind.

“We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.”
“We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.”

Twilight was always the favorite time of day for my Father-in-law and thus, it became mine. Evensong is a hymn/prayer that stays with me in the evening of my life.

Sweet Savior, bless us ‘ere we go
Thy word into our hearts instill.
And make our lukewarm hearts to glow
With lowly love and fervent will.
Through life’s long day
And death’s dark night
O gentle Jesus, be our light.

My daily readings are from Divine Intimacy, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. In his reading titled, ”Let Us Make Good Use of Time.” Father Gabriel reminds us that time ill spent is lost forever and that what degree of love we have achieved at the time of our death is what we shall have throughout eternity.

He then quotes Sister Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D. , who was under his spiritual direction, “We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.” We do that by love, by doing every smallest task entrusted to us, with all the love of which we are capable.

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The Sorrowful Heart of Mary 2015

“The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love.”

Today, September 15, is the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

"O you who pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow."
“O you who pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.”

Although Our Lord’s own chosen Apostles fled His Passion, no one could keep Mary away. Unlike the sentimental pictures which sometimes show Mary fainting at the foot of the Cross, Mary stood there, intent on sharing every excruciating detail of the ignominy her beloved Son suffered. Just as she had freely chosen to become His Mother, she freely chose to behold Him tortured from head to foot and torn from her by the cruelest of deaths. She not only accepted this, she offered  this; this sharing in His Passion, sharing even in His death, uniting Their hearts forever for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and in loving reparation for the sins of men, for our sins.

Mary’s heart, like Christ’s whole crushed and bruised being , was transformed with anguish by the sins of mankind…Mary became the Queen of martyrs because, after Jesus, she has endured the greatest martyrdom of heart…her sufferings are fruitful for us in a way that we can scarcely suspect…(from Father Garrigou-Lagrange, Mary, the Model of Reparation).

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us,

“The sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son, but also because by this offering she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, Who had given her this Divine Son, asked on Calvary for a return of His gift, and Mary offered jesus to the Father with all the love of her Immaculate Heart in complete adherence to the divine will.”  …

“Let us contemplate Mary’s sorrows, sympathise with her and ask her for the invaluable grace of sharing with her in the Passion of Jesus. Let us remember that this participation is not meant to be merely sentimental — even though this sentiment is good and holy — but it must lead us to real compassion, that is, to suffering with Jesus and Mary. The sufferings God sends us have no other purpose.

“The sight of Mary at the foot of the Cross makes the lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; her maternal example encourages us to suffer (with her) and makes the road to Calvary easier. Let us go then with Mary, to join Jesus on Golgotha; let us go with her to meet our own cross, and sustained by her, let us embrace it willingly, uniting it with her Son’s Cross.” (Divine Intimacy)

From Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity:

“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, ‘Ecce mater tua’. Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as he did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear.”

Let us make Blessed Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity’s prayer our own as we stand with our Sorrowful Mother at the crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are not here to faint away, overcome with despair! Let us be strong as our Mother is strong. Although on our own, we lack that strength, in her we will find the grace and virtues we need!

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, obtain for us by your loving intercession the grace and courage to persevere in the coming trials of faith.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

For more on the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, including the Seven Sorrows Devotion, see Our Lady of Sorrows, 2014.

 

~ evensong ~