Sister Lúcia of Fatima- Updated

For Sister Lúcia of Fatima, on the 110th anniversary of her birth, with love:

“Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”
Sister Lúcia of Fatima, Truly, a Saint for these times

Sister Lúcia of Fatima has the distinction of being canonized in her lifetime by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. When Our Lady visited the three shepherd children 99 years ago on June 13, 1917, Lucia pleaded with her,

“From now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility.”

“I would like to ask you also to take us to Heaven.”

“Yes”, Our Lady answered, “I will take Francisco and Jacinta soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”

Lúcia was filled with sadness to hear the news that she was to be left alone in the world, and cried out, “Am I going to stay here alone?”

“No, my daughter.” Our Lady responded tenderly to Lúcia, whose eyes were brimming with tears,

“Does this cause you to suffer a great deal? I will never leave you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.“

Although all three children were promised Heaven, it was to Lúcia that Our Lady made the promise that she would be with her always. What a remarkable thing it must have been for that child to hear from the Mother of God that, “Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved.“

This world is dying under the errors which have been growing and spreading ever since the arch-heretic Martin Luther revolted against the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, tearing Christendom asunder. In response to this grave attack, Jesus requested public devotion to His Sacred Heart. He specifically asked that the image of this adorable Heart be placed publicly, revered publicly. We all know that this was not done and so the Masonic revolution, which was not publicly known at that time, grew in power until it finally erupted in bloody violence in the French Revolution, in which the King was beheaded and the Church suppressed and persecuted.

In time, this same satanic force even penetrated the Vatican, and at this point our Lord Jesus Christ sent His Blessed Mother to Fatima with a message, “Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”

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Meditations on the Our Father, Our Lord’s Prayer

The following meditations are based on several sources, but most especially on the writings of Bishop Richard Challoner, to whom we are indebted for the most reliable translation of the Douay-Rheims Bible. Bishop Challoner wrote many other works of apologetics. His tract on “The Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation” can be downloaded free from www.archive.org.

Our Lord taught us to pray the Our Father and therefore it is essential that we understand its meaning; yet most of us, lulled by the familiarity of constant use, pass over its spiritual treasures without fully giving the necessary assent of our will. Let’s try to unpack the meaning of those simple, familiar words we recite so often each day so that we can pray them better.

First, as Bishop Challoner said, the Son of God Himself taught us to call God  “Our Father”.  What greater honor can we aspire to than to be welcomed by God Himself to be His children?  He Who made this earth and fills the immeasurable Heavens above us with His splendor and majesty calls us His children! We are God’s beloved children and Christ Himself teaches us to raise our hearts in daily prayer to His—and our!—loving Father.  And so we begin our prayer.

Hallowed be Thy name.”  This petition holds first place among the seven short petitions that comprise the Our Father. Bishop Challoner tells us that, as His children, our first and principle duty is to love God with our whole heart and soul and that thus it follows that the principal thing we should desire and pray for is the great honor and glory of God.  As children of God we realize His immense sorrow seeing that His Word is despised, denied and ignored by so many, especially by the children He has most favored  Christians, who are given every grace and yet still deny or pervert His truths.

We ourselves have sadly often denied Him, or passed over insults to Him in the name of tolerance. In the face of so much sin the remedy  is to petition God Our Father to glorify His most sacred name in us, by teaching us to love, serve and glorify Him. With the petition, “Hallowed be Thy name”, we are expressing our deepest longing for God to be hallowed within us, in our very deepest being, desiring that in all souls, in all creation, God’s grandeur and glory be adored.  If God is not hallowed in us, we can never accomplish anything of value.

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Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer, Part 2

In this post, we will continue considering the Lord’s Prayer, which St. John Chrystostom called the “yardstick of prayer” because in it, Our Lord was giving us a model for prayer in answer to a disciple’s request, “Lord, teach us to pray”. In fact, the very request itself is a sign of humility; by humbly asking Christ to teach us to pray, we are admitting our dependence on Him and  putting aside the arrogance so commonly shown today that prefers one’s own “creative spontaneity”.

One of the most amazing things about the Lord’s Prayer is found at the very beginning, where Our Lord teaches us to pray to God the Father as “Our” Father. If we stop and think for just a minute, that is an awe-inspiring act of generosity and condescension from God Himself to sinners such as we are, sinners who still cause Him so much sorrow with our arrogant indifference.

Also, Our Lord tells us that our Father is “in heaven”. We know that where God is, is heaven. And God is everywhere. However, heaven is also a place, it is the Kingdom of His glory, the home He has prepared for us. And so as we pray, “Our Father, Who art in heaven” we are raising our hearts, our souls, to God as His children. This humility and childlike confidence in God our Father is a requisite for true spiritual growth. St. John Chrysostom tells us by that seemingly superfluous phrase, Christ is pointing us upwards, away from this tawdry world, to lift (us) up to higher, heavenly things.” Thus the prayer begins with a focus towards our eternal goal and away from the greed and materialism that pull us downward. Instead, we soar heavenward, confident in Our Lord’s assurance that we are beloved children of His Father.

Of the seven petitions comprising the Lord’s Prayer, the first three are devoted to God alone, only then do we move on to petitions for ourselves. That is a perfect example of right order in true devotion. We pray that God’s name be hallowed, which is a powerful antidote to the sea of blasphemy that flows about us today. We are made to adore God and all our actions, all that we will must be aimed for the glory of God. A very wise priest once warned me, “Stop and consider, is it for the glory of God, the honor of Mary or the salvation of souls? If not, do not do it, do not say it, do not even think it!” When Father told me that, I began to take a few moments throughout the day to do my “Blessed be’s”. You know, “Blessed be God, blessed be His Holy Name” and so on. It can help you “Hallow” or sanctify your day. An added benefit is that it gives you more enthusiasm for the menial details that make up so much of our day.

The next two petitions, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”, are necessary to keep us honest. If we are honest, we must admit to a constant struggle between our tendency to interpret our own will as God’s will.  As soon as we feel that indignation about how things  “should be”, we must beware of the temptation to assert our will for God’s will. T. S. Eliot said, “The last temptation is the greatest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”  Many people, myself included, slip into a spiritual pride. These two petitions caution us against that while affirming that our daily task is in advancing God’s will in us. When we look around us with dismay at the disintegration of our culture,  “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”, helps keep us focused on what is truly important.

And then, after getting our priorities straight, we ask for ourselves the four remaining petitions, “give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil”. As we pray for our daily bread, which is Our Lord Himself doing the will of the Father in us and through us, we must keep in mind that we can do nothing of ourselves, but can do all things in Christ, Who strengthens us.

Forgiveness of our sins is perhaps the most difficult concept to master, especially in these days of institutionalized arrogance, of self-righteous moral relativism. We are not really free until we have surrendered our will to Our Lord, allowed Him to show us our errors and repent them. The very fact that we are often unaware and even unconcerned about our sins shows how far we are from Jesus. This is the one petition linked to a promise, i.e., that we will forgive others who have trespassed against us. This part becomes easier when we realize that no harm can come to us by the hands of others, it is we ourselves who rebel at the sufferings and humiliations given to us by others.

When I frankly accede that most of the “trespasses” of others have actually been offenses against my pride, my sense of justice regarding my own prerogatives, I must agree that what harm has been done to me has had a place in bringing me down a notch or two. And the truly awful and bitterly unjust events that caused great suffering in my life, when endured with Jesus, help me to grow spiritually. For pain suffered with Christ is a wonderful spiritual boon to us.

For the last two petitions, we are humbly reminding our Father of our weakness and total dependence on Him. All my life, I’ve been plagued by my weakness with regard to others, my need to be approved of, to avoid rejection. It is pathetic really, because I know that my Savior wears a crown of thorns. Who am I to demand to be treated better than my Savior?

The closing petition of the Our Father, deliver us from evil, must be our constant prayer today, when evil has become so endemic that it considered normal and either promoted or tolerated with indifference today, even by our own Church. Many pious people have written lately about the devil let loose in these times.  St. Teresa of Avila reminded us that the devil is a chained dog. He is certainly fierce and definitely seeks to devour us, but first we must approach him. Thus, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Most often, we wander too close to this chained demon when led by our curiosity, or our concupiscence for knowledge. All we need to know is God. It is all all there in this most perfect prayer taught to us by our loving Savior, Who always provides for our needs.

It is regrettable that so often we slip through the Our Father without realizing the immense treasures included in this simple prayer, when, if we would only pray it attentively, we could transform our lives and who knows what wonderful results would follow?

On a more personal note, I have found that the Our Father is actually an aid to contemplation when prayed with the awareness that Our Savior gave me this prayer to help me understand that His Father is my Father. So as I say the words, I am often drawn towards this immense, unfathomable Love of which we are all created and filled with peace and comfort knowing His loving will is done in us. There is nothing more to desire!

Please remember, pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

~ evensong ~

Fatima in Mary’s Words – 2014

This is a repost that seems appropriate for today, the 97th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s last, but not final appearance at Fatima, Portugal.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

May 13, 1917. Our Lady to the three shepherd children, “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia answered, “Yes, we are willing!” Our Lady then told them, “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

June 13, 1917. Our Lady spoke to Lucia, the oldest of the children, “Jesus wishes to make use of you to serve as His instrument to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne…my daughter…I shall never abandon you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.”

“Say the Rosary, inserting between the mysteries the following, ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.’ “

July 13, 1917. Our Lady told the children, “I want you…to continue praying the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world …because only she can help you! … Sacrifice yourselves for poor sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, ‘O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ ”

At that same appearance, following the terrible vision of Hell, “You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do what I request, many souls will be saved and there will be peace… But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.. To forestall this I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.

“If they heed my requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world.”

August 19, 1917. This apparition was delayed due to the arrest of the children by the Masonic civil authorities. When she appeared, Our Lady urged the children, “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell because there are none to make sacrifices and pray for them.”

September 13, 1917. “Continue to pray the Rosary every day… In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions.” In a personal message to the children, Our Lady assured them that God was pleased with their sacrifices.

October 13, 1917. On this visit, Our Lady identified herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary”, thus reinforcing yet again, how pleasing the devotion of the Rosary is to her. “Continue to say the Rosary every day … People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.”

The promised miracle of the sun was witnessed that day by at least 70,000 people, many of whom were non-believers. Additionally, apparitions were seen by Lucia. To her, Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary, as Our Lady of Sorrows and as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Also, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus and Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared and blessed the world.

Those visions were messages as well, to those who are devoted to Fatima. They point us to St. Joseph as our powerful protector and the guardian of our faith. The Child Jesus appearing with St. Joseph and blessing us is specifically directed at families, which as we have seen, have been very much under satanic attack in the post-Fatima century. The blessings given by Jesus endorse the devotion to Fatima and strengthen it. The visions of Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel point the way to the recommended devotions, that is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (and by inference the devotion of Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and the devotion to the daily Rosary in reparation to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Add to these devotions the First Saturdays of Communion of Reparation and you have essentially the complete program of Fatima. This is the message of Fatima in Our Lady’s own words. This is the message that has been ignored. That it is ignored by the world is not surprising, but that it has been ignored by the Church is beyond disappointing.

Pope after Pope spoke pious words and performed “almost, but not quite” consecrations, never actually obeying the Mother of God. Well-meaning Catholics point out the numerous instances where Pope Pius XII and John Paul II appeared to be obediently devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, but the point is that they never actually did what was requested. Often, John Paul II is hailed as the Marian Pope, yet when he recorded himself praying the Rosary, he omitted the Fatima Decade Prayer requested by Our Lady. In addition, he promoted an entirely new set of Mysteries which were not requested by Our Lady. Would a real servant of Mary refuse to give Our Lady what she has requested while at the same time inserting what was not asked for? What do you think?

The hierarchy of the Church has never promoted the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the entire Church as requested by Our Lady, that is, First Saturdays of Reparation, Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, daily Rosary, especially the Family Rosary. To assert that the Consecration of Russia has been done is to make Our Lady a liar. Obviously Russia has spread her errors throughout the world and it is not yet ended. Indeed, the worst of the Chastisement may yet be in store for us, as Vatican II continues to infect and erode the Church.

The time is far advanced and yet we still may turn the tide. If only people could heed her message and accept Our Lady’s demands in all humility and obedience. Remember that Our Lady’s words to Lucia are meant for us as well,

“Jesus wishes to make use of you to serve as His instrument to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne…my daughter…I shall never abandon you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.”

Although the institutional Church delays implementing her requests, we her faithful children should use every possible means to live our devotion to our Queen and Mother and to spread that devotion insofar as we are able.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

~ posted by evensong  for love of the Immaculate heart of Mary, our Queen and our Mother.

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today, October 7, we honor Our Lady of the Rosary. When Our Lady appeared at Fatima, she identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary and we have already discussed in a previous post how much she loves the Rosary. And so today, let’s consider how we can best use our Rosaries to honor her still more.

"Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!"
“Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!”

St. Louis Marie de Montfort, in his classic, The Secret of the Rosary, related that, “Our Lady once said to Blessed Alan de la Roche in a vision: ‘When people say one-hundred and fifty Angelic Salutations, this prayer is very helpful to them and is a very pleasing tribute to me. But they will do better still and will please me even more if they say these salutations while meditating on the life, death, and passion of Jesus Christ — for this meditation is the soul of this prayer.’ For, in reality, the Rosary said without meditating on the sacred mysteries of our salvation would be almost like a body without a soul: excellent matter but without the form which is meditation — this latter being that which sets it apart from all other devotions.”

Our Lady of Fatima calls everyone to pray the Rosary yet few heed her prayers. “I’m so busy!” Yes, but if you try it, you will find your life taking on a smoothness that you hadn’t imagined possible. Once you see the results, you will be glad, for you have been blessed by the Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

The following Novena prayer is for a Novena of Rosaries, that is, nine days of praying the 15 decade, complete Rosary. For those unable to complete the entire Rosary each day, it can also be prayed as a 27 day novena, by saying one five-decade rosary daily, which makes a complete 15 decade rosary each 3 days. For that longer rosary it is good to mark each day on the calendar as it’s completed.

This Rosary Novena is very powerful, so please be sure to continue it, even though your prayers may be answered before the completion.

Our Lady Of The Holy Rosary Novena Prayer

Dearest Lady, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, from Calvary’s cross, thy dear Son entrusted us to thy care. Behold thy weak and sinful child in supplication at thy feet. I beg thee, accept this Holy Rosary, offered for the glory of God, in reparation for the offenses to thy Immaculate Heart and to the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, for the salvation of sinners and for the special intention: ____________.

Please place these poor prayers of mine in the chalice of thy Immaculate Heart and offer them to Jesus. Conscious of my own unworthiness, I trust in your Immaculate Heart, the fountain of infinite mercy. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, I place my trust in thee.
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

One simple and effective way to minimize distractions when saying the Rosary is to prepare carefully for your first Rosary of the day. After your morning offering/renewal of consecration, make a spiritual communion. It doesn’t take very long and is worth the time because it enables you to stay focused. After spiritual communion and thanksgiving, pray the Angel of Fatima’s prayer, that is:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages, and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. Through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

After that, call to mind the particular Mystery, such as Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious. It helps greatly if you have previously spent some time reading and thinking about these mysteries. I will include a post for this soon. Briefly however, in the Joyful Mysteries, we consider Mary’s humility and obedience. The Sorrowful Mysteries are about obedience and humility in action, that is on the way of the Cross. Jesus has commanded us to Take up our crosses and follow Him. The Glorious Mysteries encourage us with the fruits of virtue and help instill in us an ever greater faith, hope and love for Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Another helpful thing is to consider the words of the Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary) itself.

Hail Mary, full of Grace” is a statement of the Immaculate Conception. Mary was conceived immaculate from sin, in order to contribute the Body and Blood of Christ. I’ve never understood why that concept is so difficult for protestants. Why would they want Jesus Christ to spend the first nine months of His existence in a sinful body? When God the Father is so appalled at sin that He required His only begotten Son to die a cruel death to expiate sin? At any rate, it is enough for us to note that each Hail Mary begins with the affirmation of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception.

The Lord is with thee” reminds us that Mary is always with the Most Holy Trinity. She is the most favored Daughter of God the Father, the most beloved Mother of God the Son and the most glorious Spouse of God the Holy Ghost. So always remember that when you are praying your Hail Mary, the Holy Trinity is right there, too.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” These are the words of Mary’s kinswoman, Elizabeth. (Luke 1, 42)  By these Biblical praises, we console Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord for the blasphemies against them. Jesus told Sister Lucia that the Immaculate Heart of His mother is pierced with numerous thorns caused by ungrateful sinners. He called for us to make reparation. We must not be indifferent to His request.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” When praying this intercession, refer back mentally to the Fatima prayer above, which by Divine inspiration applies the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the salvation of sinners. Mary is truly the Mother of Mercy. The first revelation of Fatima was of the huge number of sinners falling constantly into Hell. We are commanded to pray and offer penance for them. This part of the Hail Mary supplies this need if it is coupled with a clear intention.

At the Doxology, as you pray, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit“, keep in mind that Mary is always praying that prayer, so dear to her Heart, with you, as are all the choirs of Heaven. For she is Queen of Heaven, and beloved of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Then follows the Fatima prayer, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.” Once again, we ask Jesus to apply that infinite merit to all poor sinners.

In numerous apparitions from Our Lady of Good Success and the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Lourdes and Fatima, both Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother have asked for prayer and penance. One certain way to fulfill both requests (prayer and penance) is to make time in your busy day for the full rosary of fifteen decades. As St. Louis de Monfort tells us, “…nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because (Mary) obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

If you are concerned about the well-being of your loved ones, or for our Church in these days of apostasy and confusion, there is no better way to help than by praying the Holy Rosary. At Fatima, in response to Lucia’s question, “Who are you?” Our Lady replied, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” Sister Lucia said:

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”

Most Glorious Queen of Heaven, bind us to thee and lead us to Jesus by thy rosary!

~ posted by evensong ~

Our Lady of Sorrows 2014

“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. “Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother.” St. John, 19, 35

Father Gabriel reminds us that although Mary’s grief was immeasurable, it was surpassed by her love, “a love so great that it could encompass that vast sea of sorrow.” (Divine Intimacy).

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Prophecy of Simeon And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him… And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. (Luke 2, 25-35)

The Flight Into Egypt
…behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the Child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod:  That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. (Matt. 2, 13-15)

The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions….And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know, that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart. (Luke 2, 45-51)

Mary Meets Her Son Jesus, Carrying His Cross
“Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother which took place on this journey (Via Dolorosa). Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those Hearts which loved each other so tenderly.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Way of the Cross).

The Crucifixion of Mary’s  Son, Jesus our Savior
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother … When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother… (John 19, 25-27)

Mary Holds Her Son’s Body at the Foot of the Cross.
Our Lord having expired was taken from the cross by two of His disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who placed Him in the arms of His sorrowful Mother. (The Way of the Cross)

Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre. (Mark 15, 46).

Meditating on these Sorrows is a most fruitful spiritual practice. There is also a Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, which consists of a rosary containing Seven sets of beads, each containing Seven Hail Marys. It is especially conducive to comforting our Blessed Mother who suffers so greatly from the blasphemies of anti-Catholics, especially the anti-Catholics within the Church, in these troubled times.

 

Was ever a sorrow like unto mine?
Pieta, The Lamentation
El Greco 1575

The beautiful hymn, Stabat Mater was adopted as the Sequence for today’s Mass in 1727. I don’t believe it survived Vatican II, but would be happy if someone corrected me on this. It is one  of the most hauntingly beautiful hymns of our Church,  when chanted in Latin.

Stabat Mater

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

 

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent:

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

“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.” (Fr. Gabriel, Divine Intimacy). It is why we call Good Friday good. As He was dying, Our Savior entrusted us to His Mother and entrusted her to us. Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, has so much to teach us as we join her at the foot of her Son’s cross. Mary calls us today, in these dire moments,  to prayer and reparation.

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).

Devotion to the Sorrowful Heart of Mary is a sign of predestination and among the many graces bestowed on those who practice this devotion, are the following:

  • True repentance for our sins before death.
  • The grace of deeper insight into Christ’s sorrowful passion.
  • The grace to become devout children of Mary, close to her in this life and especially in the next.
  • It bestows a permanent awareness of the agony of sin felt by Jesus and Mary in His Passion.
  • It imprints on our hearts the image of the crucified Christ, giving us strength to endure our own sufferings with holy resignation to the will of God.
  • And finally, according to Father Faber, devotion to the Sorrowful Heart of Mary leads us directly into the depths of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with unfailing love.

So, the closer we are to Mary, the closer we are to her Son. But our devotion must be more than superficial,  lukewarm practices that leave the passions unchecked, it must be a sincere effort of imitation of Mary’s Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart. Let us live our devotion to Mary, whom Christ Himself gave us for our Mother, by total consecration to her Immaculate Heart, by the brown scapular and above all, by her rosary.

  Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

 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 Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.

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

Divine Infant of Prague

Devotion to the Infant of Prague is an excellent help to return fallen-away Catholics to the faith. So many of us today have family members who have lapsed from the Faith and it is a continuous source of distress to know that those we love reject the only truth that can save them. Here is a most efficacious prayer to the Divine Infant Jesus for the return of lapsed Catholics. This prayer makes a very good novena as well.
Divine Infant of Prague, bless our families, bring them home to the Faith! Amen.
Holy infant of Prague, bless our families, bring them home to the Faith!

Prayer to the Holy Infant of Prague for Families

O Most Holy Infant of Prague, so generous to those who turn to Thee in need, be attentive to our supplication on behalf of our loved ones who have chosen to separate themselves from Thee, Who alone art their salvation.
 
Dearest Jesus, remember the sorrow with which Thy Mother and St. Joseph sought Thee when Thou taught in the Temple. Remember their joy as they found Thee after three days! By the tears they shed and their joyful embrace at finding Thee, we beg Thy mercy for our separated families, grieving the loss of faith of their loved ones. By the joy of Thine reunited Holy Family, we beg Thee, reunite our family in the one, true Faith.
 
Most Holy Infant, with firm conviction of soul, we repent our sins that have contributed to the loss of our loved ones’ faith and  earnestly desire to make amends. O Jesus, Who desires not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and saved, have mercy on our loved ones and return them to the faith. With joyful heart and confident hope, we entrust our loved ones to Thee, O merciful Infant. And when we are reunited once more in faith, we shall proclaim always and everywhere Thy great goodness and mercy, calling all poor sinners home to Thee, most loving Child Jesus! Amen.
 
Holy Infant Jesus, have mercy on us all!
Holy Family bless our family.

The Last Words of Christ and the Passion of His Mystical Body

Consider for a moment the last words of Jesus as He was dying on the Cross. There is a tradition in the Church that compares the Passion of Christ to the Passion of His Mystical Body, the Church. We may find it fruitful to think of Our Lord’s last words, which He uttered at such great cost, as they relate to the history of the Church. Here is an example:

“Father, forgive them, for they know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) The First Word was spoken by Jesus as He was nailed to the Cross and raised up to the jeering mockery of His executioners and passersby. It can be applied to the earliest period of the Church, a time of severe persecution, as many early Christians followed their Master to death at the hands of anti-Christians. Continue reading “The Last Words of Christ and the Passion of His Mystical Body”