Under the Banner of Love

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the basis of the Message of Fatima, and today, we re-present another favorite old post on true devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God, our Queen and always, our loving mother. First published here in 2015.

†   †   †
“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Soon, we will reach the date for renewing our Consecration to the Immaculata on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.

 

Total Consecration to the Immaculata

The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

 

By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The first step toward reunion with God, that is, the first rung on the ladder to God, is to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary.

We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself.

Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception

St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata

In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes,

“The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.

Let Go and Let Mary

This inner struggle will quickly defeat us unless we “let go and let Mary”. She knows the way. Father Stehlin reminds us that in the Immaculate Conception God teaches us through Mary of His unfathomable love and mercy for us; His infinite condescension to our mere nothingness, He gives us the love with which to love Him, granting us, superabundanty His love, His joy, His very life.  Although our sins have blocked this flow of love, He offers us His mercy and forgiveness, and yet we brush that away as well. For we prefer in our arrogance to work our salvation out “in our own way”, relying on our own efforts. This astounding example of pride, which is deeply ingrained in us, can most effectively be countered by the Immaculata herself, once we learn total reliance on her. This letting-go is therefore, a way of spiritual childhood emphasising our dependence upon our Mother, and her constant care for us, her children.

For she is the perfect example, indeed the very personification of God’s mercy. She perfectly surrendered her “personhood”, divesting herself of all but her will which she surrendered in sweetest love to God in order to put no obstacles to His grace, that is, His life in her. Thus she became, in every fiber of her being, a reflection of God’s mercy. She is the perfect response to God’s call to “Be holy, as God thy Father is Holy.” Fr. Stehlin adds, “To the extent that we enter into her attitude of total receptivity, we allow God to be merciful to us again, to grant us superabundant gifts, beginning with the overwhelming gesture of the cleansing of our sins.”

Life Under the Banner of Love

“Entering into Mary’s heart therefore, is the beginning of life under the banner of love, which is, in fact, the only way that leads us back to God. Love, as the pattern of all virtues, gives to our whole moral life its value: “At the sunset of our lives we will be judged on our love”, says St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Not what we have done and accomplished but rather, how we have done it, i.e., with how much love, will determine the value of our life. Without supernatural love all our moral acts are only “a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” (1Cor. 13, 1), but this love is given to us gratuitously in the heart of the Immaculata; therefore we can increase the value of the acts we perform in our daily life insofar as we do them in the Immaculate Heart. Thus, Mary becomes in the fullest sense “the Mother of Fair Love”.

Our Lady of Fatima requested of the children (and of us, her children as well!) “prayer and sacrifice”, and this is how we fulfill her request; through our Total Consecration, lived moment by moment. It is what gives the simple details of our humdrum existence its meaning and dignity. By living our consecrations, we allow the Holy Ghost, through Mary, to work the merciful will of God in this sinful world.

Mary, our model, treasured her Son in her heart. Profound silence, holy peace, and tender recollection characterize Mary’s relationship with Jesus. Thus, she teaches us something almost completely lost in our noisy, distracted time; prayer in quiet recollection, living in the presence of God. How can we achieve this? Through our Lady’s Rosary! Each morning, as we pray the mystery of the Annunciation, we accept our Lord Jesus into our soul with Mary’s sweet “Fiat!” And throughout this first rosary of the day, in each of the Five Mysteries, we hold Him tenderly in our heart, thus preparing ourselves in the sacred quiet of our prayerful vigil with Mary for the dreadful “busyness” of our day. These Joyful Mysteries are the school of the Maternity of Mary, and when we persist in them, we learn to cherish Him in our hearts, and gradually, this peace and joy of His sweet presence abides with us more and more.

For the beautiful Consecration to the Immaculata Prayer of St. Maximilian, see our earlier post:St. Kolbe’s Consecration to the Immaculata.

“Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! Immaculate Heart of Mary, convert sinners, save souls from hell!” (Saint Jacinta Marto)

†  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.

 

~ by evensong, for love of the Immaculata
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.

Life Under the Banner of Love

 

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculata on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.

The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

 

Total Consecration to the Immaculata

By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The first step toward reunion with God, that is, the first rung on the ladder to God, is to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception

St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata

In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.

Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love”

Life Under the Banner of Love, 2016

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculata on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.

Total Consecration to the Immaculata
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The first step toward reunion with God, that is, the first rung on the ladder to God, is to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception
St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata

In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.

Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love, 2016”

Our Lady of the Rosary, 2016

Today is the Feast of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady’s gift to her children.  The Rosary is the second best gift that the Queen of Heaven has given to her children. The first best gift is of course, Our Savior Jesus Christ!

“Non virtus, non arma, non duces, sed Maria Rosarii victores fecit.”
“Non virtus, non arma, non duces, sed Maria Rosarii victores fecit.”

THE HOLY ROSARY: Ultimate Liturgy

By Solange Hertz

The Rosary Is Her Gift To Us…Not Even the Pope Can Change That

(Fundamental Reasons Why So Many Faithful Catholics Never Embraced the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary)

There is no mention whatever of the Rosary in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Not even in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, whose final chapter deals exclusively with our Lady ’s role in the Church. A vague reference in Article 67 to “practices and exercises of devotion towards her” might be assumed to include it, but according to Bishop Rendeiro of Coïmbra, the Bishops who wished to add to the text “the Rosary with meditation on the Mysteries of the life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin” were voted down. Apparently the Council deemed it best to follow the recommendations of the Theological Commission and make no mention of particular devotions, for fear of encouraging manifestations of piety beyond what they termed “the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine.” …

Not for them the beloved adage of the saints, “De Maria numquam satis!” They were solicitous to “painstakingly guard against any word or deed which could lead separated brethren or anyone else into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church.” They would only concede that the Church “has endorsed many forms of piety toward the Mother of God,” forms which “have varied according to the circumstances of time and place and have reflected the diversity of native characteristics and temperament among the faithful.”

In point of fact the Rosary began at the foot of the Cross along with Sacred Heart devotion. When Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic with instructions to propagate the Rosary, she did so for the same reason that our Lord would one day appear to St. Margaret Mary. In neither case was anything new proposed to the faithful, who were merely being recalled to practices known in the Church from the beginning, but which they were in imminent danger of forgetting.

Continue reading “Our Lady of the Rosary, 2016”

What John saw and what Lucia saw

Today we will speak of beginnings and endings

A long, long time ago, John was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, as he tells us. And he heard a loud voice as of the sound of many waters, “I am the Alpha and the Omega …” . And John was given visions, the like of which no man has ever seen since until the night of June 13, 1929 in a small chapel.

Sister Lucia described the vision:

“Suddenly the whole chapel became bright with a supernatural light and above the altar appeared a luminous cross that extended to the ceiling. In an even brighter light appeared above the cross the face of a Man with His body down to the waist. In front of His chest was a Dove, also made entirely of light, and nailed to the cross was the Body of another Man. A little below His hips appeared a chalice floating in the air and a large host, upon which fell the drops of blood that streamed from the face of the Crucified, and from His wounded side. They flowed down upon the host, and from there they fell into the chalice.

Beneath the cross and to the right was Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart in her hand (it was Our Lady of Fatima with her Immaculate Heart, which she held in her left hand, without a sword or roses, but rather, surrounded with a crown of thorns and all aflame).

Beneath the cross on the left appeared large letters, as though made of crystal-clear water, that flowed from the hand of the Crucified down upon the altar and formed the following words, Grace and Mercy.

I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was being shown to me, …”

The Blessed Virgin’s message was succinct:

“The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with Him and at the same time, all the Bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”

This vision is so deep and rich in meaning; in it we see encapsulated the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception, the Most Blessed Trinity, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist and so much more. It is the counterpart to John’s visions on Patmos and bears a similar warning and promise for us. Yet not one Pope has ever spoken of this vision. Not. one. A stunning indifference.

An insight from St. Maximilian Kolbe

In one of his last writings, the Apostle of the Immaculata, St. Maximilian, provides us with an excellent meditation on the meaning of the Immaculate Conception and its relation to the Most Holy Trinity. Let’s see how his brief meditation fits in with Lucia’s mystical vision.

After asking,  “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?” St. Maximilian writes,

Not God, of course, because He has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2,7). Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2,21). Not the Incarnate Word, Who exists before all ages, and of Whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception”. Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.” But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by original sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate Conception.

Everything which exists, outside of God Himself, since it is from God and depends on Him in every way, bears within itself some semblance to its Creator; there is nothing in any creature which does not betray this resemblance, because every created thing is an effect of the Primal cause.

Continue reading “What John saw and what Lucia saw”

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.”

Continue reading “The Purification of Mary”

Reparation and obedience

“And Jesus calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18, 2-4)

A book I live with every day and cannot recommend highly enough is St. Maximilian Kolbe’s “Let Yourself Be Led By The Immaculate” by Angelus Press. Much of the following is from that book. In the comments on a recent post, I explained,

“To live our consecrations, we must let Our Lady lead us, that means accepting our daily crosses in generous reparation. St. Maximilian: “Everything depends on this, that in every instance, we let her lead us. The test is obedience. … Extraordinary prayers and mortifications are not necessary but just letting ourselves be led.” You see, it’s very simple, that’s why people resist it so. Even a child, such as Jacinta can do it, which is why so many overlook it or ignore it.

In surrendering our wills to the Immaculata, in even very small things, we accomplish at the same time, reparation, humility and obedience. Thus, surrendering our wills to her is the most effective and fruitful form of reparation. And it is within our means. By our First Saturdays of reparation, Our Lady is leading us to learn the habit of consecrating all our moments into saving moments, shining with grace, which, when united with our prayers, will in time, transform the world. We are all impatient to see God’s justice but if we do not make reparation, we might find that justice is a very sharp sword.”

Continue reading “Reparation and obedience”

The Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Divine Word has for His Mother a love infinitely greater than that which He bears to all His other creatures. Mary’s honour is infinitely dear to Him, because she is His Mother.

Now, correlate that absolute truth with the reality of the past nearly 100 years. What honour has the institutional Church shown to the Mother of God, who came to show us the way to return to God? To repeat, what honour has the Church shown to Mary? What Pope has obeyed her?  We offer the following to prepare us for tomorrow’s feast. In this horrible chastisement which is building, the remedy is Mary Immaculate. If we spurn her, there is no other.

The post below is long, and contains much that you already know, and Dom Gueranger’s language is that of the “triumphalist” faithful so despised by our current humble Pope and his church leaders. Dom Gueranger belongs to the past. We have progressed so far beyond that now, haven’t we? The following is from Dom Prosper Gueranger, Vol. 1, The Liturgical Year, available from www.archive.org.

The Immaculate Conception - Because God hates sin!
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!
The Immaculate Conception of Mary

At length, on the distant horizon, rises, with a soft and radiant light, the aurora of the Sun which has been so long desired. The happy Mother of the Messias was to be born before the Messias Himself; and this is the day of the Conception of Mary. The earth already possesses a first pledge of the Divine mercy; the Son of Man is near at hand. Two true Israelites, Joachim and Anne, noble branches of the family of David, find their union, after a long barrenness, made fruitful by the Divine omnipotence. Glory be to God, Who has been mindful of His promises, and Who deigns to announce, from the high heavens, the end of the deluge of iniquity, by sending upon the earth the sweet white dove that bears the tidings of peace!

The Feast of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception is the most solemn of all those which the Church celebrates during the holy time of Advent; and if the first part of the cycle had to offer us the commemoration of some one of the mysteries of Mary, there was none whose object could better harmonize with the spirit of the Church in this mystic season of expectation. Let us, then, celebrate this solemnity with joy; for the Conception of Mary tells us that the Birth of Jesus is not far off.

The intention of the Church in this Feast, is not only to celebrate the anniversary of the happy moment in which began, in the womb of the pious Anne, the life of the ever-glorious Virgin Mary; but also to honour the sublime privilege, by which Mary was preserved from the Original Stain, which, by a sovereign and universal decree, is contracted by all the children of Adam the very moment they are conceived in their mother’s womb.

The faith of the Catholic Church on the subject of the Conception of Mary is this: that at the very instant when God united the soul of Mary, which He had created, to the body which it was to animate, this ever-blessed soul did not only not contract the stain, which at that same instant defiles every human soul, but was filled with an immeasurable grace which rendered her, from that moment, the mirror of the sanctity of God Himself, as far as this is possible to a creature.

The Church with her infallible authority, declared by the lips of Pius IX, that this article of her faith had been revealed by God Himself. The Definition was received with enthusiasm by the whole of Christendom, and the eighth of December of the year 1854 was thus made one of the most memorable days of the Church’s history.

…  The close ties which were to unite the Son of God with Mary, and which would elicit from Him the tenderest love and the most filial reverence for her, had been present to the Divine thought from all eternity: and the conclusion forces itself upon us that therefore the Divine Word had for this His future Mother a love infinitely greater than that which He bore to all His other creatures. Mary’s honour was infinitely dear to Him, because she was to be His Mother, chosen to be so by His eternal and merciful decrees.

The Son’s love protected the Mother. She, indeed, in her sublime humility willingly submitted to whatever the rest of God’s creatures had brought on themselves, and obeyed every tittle of those laws which were never meant for her; but that humiliating barrier, which confronts every child of Adam at the first moment of his existence, and keeps him from light and grace until he shall have been regenerated by a new birth. Oh! this could not be permitted to stand in Mary’s way, her Son forbade it.

The eternal Father would not do less for the second Eve than He had done for the first, who was created, as was also the first Adam, in the state of original justice, which she afterwards forfeited by sin. The Son of God would not permit that the woman, from whom He was to take the nature of Man, should be deprived of that gift which He had given even to her who was the mother of sin. The Holy Ghost, Who was to overshadow Mary and produce Jesus within her by His Divine operation, would not permit that foul stain, in which we are all conceived, to rest, even for an instant, on this His Bride. 

Was it not this grand exemption which God Himself foretold, when the guilty pair, whose children we all are, appeared before Him in the garden of Eden? In the anathema which fell upon the serpent, there was included a promise of mercy to us. ‘I will put enmities,’ said the Lord, ‘between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head.’ (Gen. 3, 15) Thus was salvation promised the human race under the form of a victory over Satan; and this victory is to be gained by the Woman, and she will gain it for us also. … The human race is one day to be avenged not only by God made Man, but also by the Woman miraculously exempted from every stain of sin, in whom the primeval creation, which was in justice and holiness, (Eph. iv. 24) will thus reappear, just as though the Original Sin had never been committed. …

The second Eve is created; and from her own blood (which, with the exception of the element of sin, is the same as that which makes you to be the children of Adam), she is shortly to give you the God-Man, Who proceeds from her according to the flesh, as He proceeds from the Father according to the eternal generation.

And how can we do less than admire and love the incomparable purity of Mary in her Immaculate Conception, when we hear even God, Who thus prepared her to become His Mother, saying to her, in the Divine Canticle, these words of love: ‘Thou art all fair, O My love, and there is not a spot in thee! (Cant. 4, 7) It is the God of all holiness that here speaks; that eye, which sees all things, finds not a vestige, not a shadow of sin; therefore does He delight in her, and admire in her that gift of His Own condescending munificence. We cannot be surprised after this, that Gabriel, when he came down from Heaven to announce the Incarnation to her, should be full of admiration at the sight of that purity, whose beginning was so glorious and whose progress was immeasurable; and that this blessed spirit should bow down profoundly before this young Maid of Nazareth, and salute her with, ‘Hail, O full of grace!’ (Luke 1, 28) …

This truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, which was revealed to the Apostles by the Divine Son of Mary, inherited by the Church, taught by the holy fathers, believed by each generation of the Christian people with an ever increasing explicitness, was implied in the very notion of a Mother of God. To believe that Mary was Mother of God, was implicitly to believe that she, on whom this sublime dignity was conferred, had never been defiled with the slightest stain of sin, and that God had bestowed upon her an absolute exemption from sin. …

The Symbol of our faith has therefore received not a new truth, but a new light on a truth which was previously the object of the universal belief. On that great day of the definition, the infernal serpent was again crushed beneath the victorious foot of the Virgin Mother, and the Lord graciously gave us the strongest pledge of His mercy. He still loves this guilty earth, since He has deigned to enlighten it with one of the brightest rays of His Mother’s glory. How this earth of ours exulted! …”

Continue reading “The Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception”

Life Under the Banner of Love

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”
Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculate on 8 December. Although we got sidetracked a bit, several readers have shared their progress (and concerns!) and from now on we will try to focus more acutely on our preparations. Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

Total Consecration to the Immaculata
By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The quickest and surest way to reunion with God is to take the first step, the first rung on the ladder to God, that is, to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception
St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata
In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.
Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love”

November 5, 2015

“Pride transforms virtues into sins. Humility transforms sins into virtues.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Today, we continue in earnest our preparation for Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and our reference is Father Stehlin’s book, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?”  and the works of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is undoubtedly the Apostle of Mary Immaculate for these latter times.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Apostle of the Immaculata

In order to prepare a sound foundation for our Consecration, we must consider carefully the roles played by pride and humility in all our efforts. St. Maximilian Kolbe reminds us that all that is of satan is inevitably characterized by a lack of humility. This is evident in the actions of the modernists controlling the Church at present, but here we are concerned with our own failings. When we are appalled by our own weaknesses, it is a sure sign that we are lacking in humility. Often, Satan tempts us to be discouraged at our shortcomings, when humility, if only we had it, would enable us to be grateful for not having fallen farther or more often.

St. Kolbe reminds us, “Humility is knowledge of oneself in accordance with the truth”. When we trust in God’s mercy, instead of relying on our own efforts, we have no reason for discouragement. With humility we understand at last, that we can do nothing at all without God’s help. The very fact that we pray, that we even so much as have a slight sentiment towards opening our hearts to God, is, of itself, a sign of God’s ineffable mercy towards us.

So, when we fail to reach our small daily goals, let’s use these occasions as an opportunity (for such they are – and so many!) to grow in the virtue of humility, which is simply to see ourselves as helpless and weak as we are before His Eternal Majesty. With Mary as our guide, we understand that humility does not consist in not recognizing the graces we receive, but in correctly attributing them to the infinite mercy of God, who generously grants us graces, even though we fall, even though we struggle.

Satan knows very well that our first step towards Our Blessed Mother is to recognize our sinfulness, to acknowledge our unworthiness in order that we can entrust ourselves to her. Therefore he exerts great efforts to obstruct us right from our initial steps. He tempts us in two primary ways, with discouragement and with unnecessary activities, distracting us with tasks that appeal to our foolish pride or which play on our scruples to urge us to inappropriate tasks.

Do not think that you must always be learning more in order to better serve Our Lady. Remember, at Fatima, she and the Angel taught the little shepherd children very simple prayers. Indeed, the Angel, returning to the children urged them, “Pray! Pray always!”  and, “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon (your Church).”

And so we simply spend a bit of quiet time with the gracious Lady, our Queen and our Mother, and let the wicked world go on its merry way. Those who are hers will heed her softly spoken call. By our devotion to her, we open up our hearts, allowing her generous and pure heart to pour forth graces on our church and the world, so parched and desolate, so hungry for the grace and true mercy of God.

This is what is important. This is our task. The rest is dross…

There has never been a better time to  Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

  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!

 

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