Saturday, December 13, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

I shall start asking humbly forgiveness through an act of contrition for my weakness and lability in praying novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe .
Lord Jesus Christ, eternal and merciful God,
Creator and Redeemer of all, listen to my prayer.
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For the love Thou doth bear to those who ask forgiveness,
look on me with mercy, as once Thou didst look on Mary Magdalen,
and on Peter who denied Thee.
Look on me, Lord Jesus Christ, as Thou didst looked at the thief on his cross
and on every sinner whom Thou hast ever forgiven.
Look on me, merciful Lord, as Thou didst look on Thy Mother, Mary,
standing in sorrow beneath Thy Cross.
Let me feel in my heart her compassion for Thee,
and let my eyes weep for Thy sorrows, caused by my sinful life.
Call me back from the darkness to my Father's house, give me a new heart
and a place at Thy side in the banquet Thou hast prepared for me. Amen.
Hail Mary, my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul!
Thou art all mine through thy mercy, and I am all thine.
But I am not thine completely enough.
Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God.
Place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee. Amen.

Act of Contrition :

Forgive me my sins, O Lord, forgive me my sins;
the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul,
the sins of my body; my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins;
the sins I know, the sins I do not know; the sins I have concealed
for so long, and which are now hidden from my memory.
I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial,
for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.
I know my sins have wounded Thy Tender Heart,
O My Savior, let me be freed from the bonds of evil through
the most bitter Passion of My Redeemer. Amen.

O My Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been. Amen.

Memorare to Our Lady of Guadalupe
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Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, that in thy celestial apparitions on the mount of Tepeyac, thou didst promise to show thy compassion and pity towards all who, loving and trusting thee, seek thy help and call upon thee in their necessities and afflictions.
Thou didst promise to hearken to our supplications, to dry our tears and to give us consolation and relief. Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, either for the common welfare, or in personal anxieties, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Mary, ever Virgin Mother of the True God! Though grieving under the weight of our sins, we come to prostrate ourselves in thy august presence, certain that thou wilt deign to fulfill thy merciful promises. We are full of hope that, standing beneath thy shadow and protection, nothing will trouble or afflict us, nor need we fear illness, or misfortune, or any other sorrow.
Thou hast decided to remain with us through thy admirable image, thou who art our Mother, our health and our life. Placing ourselves beneath thy maternal gaze and having recourse to thee in all our necessities we need do nothing more. O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us.
[Here mention your petition.]

Five Hail Marys. . . in gratitude for the four apparitions to Juan Diego and the one to Juan Bernardino.


God bless you all praying !

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Novena

O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary, O dearest Mother, O refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven. Mary, Mother of the Church/ Model of All Christians, Pray for Us.

( then pray the Rosary for each day )

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Holy Name of Mary Feast ~~ September 12

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Feast of Mary. Today, we are celebrating the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary, having a Hebrew origin, means "The Beautiful." Indeed, she is as a beautiful blooming flower of the Lord God who has and continues to manifest endless favours upon her.
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Mary’s name was given her by God. He Himself told her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, to call her Mary. The name “Mary” means “lady” or “queen.” It also means “star of the sea.” What beautiful meanings! How perfect this name is for our Blessed Mother! She is truly our loving Queen and our Star. She will show us the way to reach the blessed kingdom of heaven.

The devotion to Jesus through Mary has been progressive throughout the entire history of the Holy Catholic Church. While some members of the Church have written about the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to the fourth century, it was not until then that her name had become rather popular among the Christian community.

Today, when we consider the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception that was proclaimed in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, we can now perceive why God had sent His Spirit to guide the Holy Catholic Church towards the granting of great honours to the Most Holy Name of Mary. According to this Dogma, "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. (Inneffabilis Deus 1854, cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 491)

As the only human being, this excluding Jesus, who was free of all traces of sins and remained so throughout her life, the Blessed Virgin Mary achieved perfection where the first Eve had failed. As the Second Eve, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was elevated by God as the spiritual mother of mankind.

These honours, and the many more that have been bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary leave no doubt in the mind of Catholics that her Most Holy Name, Mary, the Beautiful one, a name that has been elevated higher than all human beings and angels, is the fountain of superabundant graces that shower upon us sinners from the Throne of God.

So powerful is the Most Holy Name of Mary, that it is said that the devils fear the Queen of heaven to such a degree, that only on hearing her great name pronounced, they fly from those who seek her help as from a burning fire."

From the life of St. Bridget, we learn that the Blessed revealed to her "that there is not on earth a sinner, however devoid he may be of the love of God, from whom the devil is not obliged immediately to fly, if he invokes her holy name with a determination to repent." On another occasion, the Blessed Virgin Mary stated, "that all the devils venerate and fear her name to such a degree, that on hearing it, they immediately loosen the claws with which they hold the soul captive."

In view of all these great Marian blessings that have been bestowed from Heaven, let us today honour the Most Holy Name of Mary with great esteem so our loving Mother may continue to be praised in every nation on earth. And may our spiritual devotion not only last one day, but be extended to every day of the year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 12th is the Feast Day of The Most Holy Name of Mary

After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in Jeaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.

The promises of help made by Jesus Christ to those who have devotion to the name of Mary can console and help us very much ; for one day in the hearing of St. Bridget, He promised His Most Holy Mother that He would grant three special graces to those who invoke that holy name with confidence: first, that He would grant them perfect sorrow for their sins; secondly, that their crimes should be atoned for; and, thirdly, that He would give them strength to attain perfection, and at length the glory of paradise. And then our Divine Savior added: "For thy words, O My Mother, are so sweet and agreeable to Me, that I cannot deny what thou askest."

In every danger of forfeiting divine grace, we should think of Mary, and invoke her name, together with that of Jesus; for these two names always go together. O, then, never let us permit these two most sweet names to leave our hearts, or be off our lips; for they will give us strength not only not to yield, but to conquer all our temptations.

"The invocation of the sacred names of Jesus and Mary," says Thomas a Kempis, "is a short prayer which is as sweet to the mind, and as powerful to protect those who use it against the enemies of their salvation, as it is easy to remember."

A balanced view of salvation history will grant to the Blessed Virgin Her proper place in both the Incarnation of the Second Divine Person and in the Kingdom won by Him on Calvary. Therefore, She is venerated with thanksgiving as both the one who, in union with the Blessed Trinity, gave Jesus to the world, and as the one who stood by Him during His Passion, uniting Her "Com-Passion" to His Salvific Passion for the restoration of fallen mankind to the friendship of God.

It was prophesied in Eden that the Mother of Christ would be given a share in the work of the One Mediator and, because of this, a unique share in His glory. As had been prophesied by Simeon in the Temple, the soul of the Co-Redemptrix was pierced beneath the Cross on Calvary. The Mother of the Church, who experienced no physical labor pains during the birth of the Incarnate God at Bethlehem, did undergo unimaginable spiritual 'labor pains' as Her Son hung on the Cross, dying the cruelest death imaginable. And God, in His wisdom, has decreed that these sufferings of Mary count for something, and something indescribably precious, in the economy of salvation. They were not the sufferings which redeemed humanity, like those of Jesus. They were not needed in order to augment or complete the superabundant Sacrifice of Jesus, which alone could and did atone for all the sins of the world. Yet, God decreed that Our Lady unite Her Sufferings to those of Jesus, the Woman of Genesis standing beside Her Seed during the restoration of the world.

Our Lady did this-----suffered as She did-----for us, for the spiritual progeny bequeathed to Her by Jesus in the person of St. John: "Woman, behold Thy son!" Therefore, we truly are brethren of Jesus, "the rest of Her seed:" "And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under Her feet, and on Her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, She cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered . . . And She brought forth a man Child, Who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and Her son was taken up to God, and to His throne . . . And the dragon was angry against the Woman: and went to make war with the rest of Her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." [Apoc, 1-2, 5,17]

The Woman prophesied in Eden . . . The Virgin prophesied by Isaias . . . The Beautiful One of the Canticles . . . When the time had finally come, the world knew Her name at last: "And the Virgin's name was Mary." This woman uniquely honored with the title, Co-Redemptrix, was rewarded by Her Lord and Redeemer with a queenly crown in His Kingdom . . . and with the role of Mediatrix of All Graces, to dispense those graces which had cost Her Son so dearly on the Cross.

And so, we call out to this Mother and Queen in confidence: Ave Maria . . . Salve Regina . . . Ave Maris Stella . . . Ave Regina Caelorum. Because of this, we honor, respect and set aside in our hearts a special place for Her Holy Name, "Mary," for it was the beacon of our redemption. During the nine months that Jesus rested in His Mother's womb, no one encountered Christ except through Mary, as did the infant St. John the Baptist in the womb of St. Elizabeth. Men and women still, and always will, go to Jesus through Mary:

"Considering things as they are, because God has decided to begin and accomplish His greatest works through the Blessed Virgin ever since He created Her, we can safely believe that He will not change His plan in the time to come, for He is God and therefore does not change in His thoughts or His way of acting." [True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin]

Mary, the daughter of Joachim and Anne . . . She is not a goddess, not a mythological warrior-queen, not a curious, elusive character recalled through the mists of antiquity. She is a person, a uniquely blessed and honored individual, but a person still. "When you approach the time for reading about Mary Immaculate," wrote St. Maximilian Kolbe [+1941], "always remember that you are entering into contact with a living, loving person." No wonder, then, that Catholics [members of Christ's Mystical Body and, therefore, the "rest" of Mary's seed] should hold their Blessed Mother's name in such esteem. It reminds us of God's goodness, of His mercy and generosity to struggling mankind:

"The name of Mary is a name of salvation for those who are regenerated; it is the insignia of virtue, the honor of chastity, the sacrifice agreeable to God, the virtue of hospitality, the school of sanctity, a name altogether maternal." [St. Peter Chrysologus +450]

Of course, in a proper understanding of doctrine and Scripture, such a declaration will not be misinterpreted as any contradiction to the words of St. Paul concerning Our Lord and His sacred Name:

"For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." [Phil. 2: 9-11]

St. Peter Chrysologus did not say that the name of Mary is a "name of salvation." He wrote that "the name of Mary is a name of salvation for those who are regenerated." A person who wishes to follow Christ, yet denies the Mother given to him by Jesus on Calvary, is fooling himself. Through the inspired Gospels, Our Lady has been presented to the world as Advocate and Mediatrix [in the Visitation and Wedding at Cana episodes], and as Spiritual Mother [on Calvary]. Because there are no empty shows or meaningless displays with God, then we are bound to understand Mary's advocacy and spiritual maternity as active, vital components in the life of the soul, for it is the good of souls that moved God to ordain the Incarnation:

"For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting [Jn. 3: 16] . . .
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." [Lk. 19: 10]

The Blessed Virgin, then is a Divine bestowal, a gift bequeathed to the Church by Her dying Savior. And Her name? Her name will become more than a name It will be a sign of Our Lord's solicitude, a pledge of His love . . . and a prayer unto itself:

"We scarce remember now that once this name was spoken softly in a time before the Aves rang. Perhaps across some threshold it was said, so casually, by one who called to Her, 'Mary.' Then, She might have turned and come, obedient from where the children played together in the dusk: and no one knew that more was said than just a young girl's name." [Fr. John W. Lynch, A Woman Wrapped in Silence]

The Introit for the Mass of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, taken from Psalm 44, is an eloquent testimony to the reason we celebrate this beautiful name:

"All the rich among the people shall entreat Thy countenance: after Her shall virgins be brought to the King: Her neighbors shall be brought to Thee in gladness and rejoicing . . . My heart hath uttered a good word: I will speak my works to the King."

We are presented to Christ by His Mother. She presents our needs and petitions to Him; She is the instrument of His mercy and of the disposition of the "Treasury of Grace" won by Him for us on Calvary; She consoles our hearts and through Her maternal care, imparts to Her children whatever peace or happiness we can know in this vale of tears-----nothing less than the peace of Christ. We may struggle to maintain this peace in our bruised and weary hearts, but Our Lady is always ready and eager to share it with us again and again. Yes, the name of Mary, this brief, simple name, speaks volumes to us. "There is hidden in that Divine name [of Mary] a spell so potent," wrote Abbé Orsini, "and of such marvelous sweetness, that merely to pronounce it softens the heart, merely to write it beautifies the style." St. Bonaventure declared the the name of Mary "cannot be pronounced without bringing some grace to him who does so devoutly."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Feast of Holy Mother of God's Birth

A baby girl was born as sweet as May

And like a rosebud in her cradle lay.

She looked up to her mother with blue eyes

And smiled up at her father baby-wise.

Through all the house bright sunbeams seemed to

And swarms of larks began to sing outside.

White lambkins leaped in through the open door

And bleated joyously as ne'er before.

Into the garden father soon took babykin

And fondly stroked her dimpled little chin.

The palms and roses bowed in reverence,

White doves flew up from every garden fence

And sat right on the darling baby's breast

And cooed to her in never ceasing zest.

Up in the skies floated another air,

Much sweeter than the lark song and more fair,

And softer than the harp and violin;

It must have been her happy angel kin.

And all the people who that day passed by

Were strangely happy though they knew not why.

In all the town no evil word was spoken

And all day long no law of God was broken.

Old pious songs and joyous laughs were heard

In every home, as if by magic stirred.

Old Mother Anna blossomed in young grace,

No slightest fold lay on her kindly face.

She put her hands so soft and motherly

Around her babe and sang her melody.

The sun stood still, it seemed, for many hours,

As if too loath to seek her wonted bowers.

The stars came out and joined in merry dance

Around the golden moon's new radiance.

And all because this rosy babe was born

To usher in Redemption's blessed morn.

( written by Fr. Lynk ~~ more poems on great Udayton site )

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Martyrdom of Mary Was Never Equaled ( written by St. Alphonsus Liguori )

To what shall I compare thee? or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem?. . . for great as the sea is thy destruction; who shall heal thee? (Lam. 2:13) No, the acuteness of the sufferings of Mary are not to be compared, even with those of all the Martyrs united. "The Martyrdom of Mary," says Saint Bernard, "was not caused by the executioner's sword, but proceeded from bitter sorrow of heart." In other Martyrs torments were inflicted on the body; but Mary's sorrow was in her heart and soul, verifying in her the prophecy of Simeon, Thy own soul a sword shall pierce. (Luke 2:35) Arnold of Chartres writes that "whoever had been on Mount Calvary, to witness the great sacrifice of the Immaculate Lamb, would there have beheld two great altars, the one in the Body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary; for on that Mount, when the Son sacrificed His Body by death, Mary sacrificed her soul by compassion." So much so, says Saint Antoninus, that whereas other Martyrs sacrifice their own lives, the Blessed Virgin consummated her Martyrdom by sacrificing the life of her Son, a life which she loved far more than her own, and which caused her to endure a torment which exceeded all other torments ever endured by any mortal on earth.

As a general rule, the sufferings of children are also the sufferings of their mothers who are present at and witness their torments. This Saint Augustine declares, when speaking of the mother of the Machabees, who witnessed the execution of her children, Martyred by order of the cruel Antiochus: he says that "Love caused her to endure in her soul all the torments inflicted on each of her children." Erasmus adds that "Mothers suffer more at the sight of the sufferings of their children than if the torments were inflicted on themselves." This, however, is not always true; but in Mary it was verified; for she certainly suffered more in witnessing the sufferings of her Son than she would have done had she endured all the torments in her own person. "All the wounds," says Saint Bonaventure, "which were scattered over the Body of Jesus were united in the heart of Mary, to torment her in the Passion of her Son" so that, as Saint Lawrence Justinian writes, "The heart of Mary, by compassion for her Son, became a mirror of His torments, in which might be seen, faithfully reflected, the spittings, the blows, the wounds, and all that Jesus suffered." We can therefore say that Mary, on account of the love that she bore Him, was in heart, during the Passion of her Son, struck, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the very Cross of her Son.

The same Saint Lawrence considers Jesus on His road to Calvary, with the Cross on His shoulders, turning to Mary and saying to her, "Alas, My Own dear Mother, where are you going? What a scene will you witness? You will be agonized by My sufferings, and I by yours." But the loving Mother would follow Him all the same, though she knew that, by being present at His death, she would have to endure a torment greater than any death. She saw that her Son carried the Cross to be crucified upon it; and, adds Abbot William, she also took up the cross of her sorrows, and followed her Son to be crucified with Him. Hence Saint Bonaventure considers Mary standing by the Cross of her dying Son, and asks her, saying, "O Lady, tell me where did you then stand-----was it near the Cross? No, you were on the Cross itself, crucified with your Son." About these words of the Redeemer, foretold by the prophet Isaias, I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me. (Isaias 63:3) Richard of St. Lawrence says, "It is true, O Lord, that in the work of human redemption You did suffer alone, and that there was not a man that sufficiently pitied You; but there was a woman with You, and she was Your Own Mother; she suffered in her heart all that You endured in Your Body."

To show the sufferings endured by other Martyrs they are represented with the instruments of their torture; Saint Andrew with a cross, Saint Paul with a sword, Saint Lawrence with a gridiron; Mary is represented with her dead Son in her arms; for He alone was the instrument of her Martyrdom, and compassion for Him made her the Queen of Martyrs. On this subject of Mary's compassion in the death of Jesus Christ, Father Pinamonti gives expression to a beautiful and remarkable opinion: he says, that "the grief of Mary in the passion of her Son was so great, that she alone compassionated in a degree by any means adequate to its merits the death of a God made man for the love of man."

Blessed Amadeus also writes, that "Mary suffered much more in the Passion of her Son than she would have done if she herself had endured it; for she loved her Jesus much more than she loved herself," Hence Saint Ildephonsus did not hesitate to assert, that "the sufferings of Mary exceed those of all Martyrs united together." Saint Anselm, addressing the Blessed Virgin, says, "The most cruel torments inflicted on the holy Martyrs were trifling or as nothing in comparison with your Martyrdom, O Mary." The same Saint adds, "Indeed, O Lady, in each moment of your life your sufferings were such that you could not have endured them, and would have expired under them, had not your Son, the source of your life, preserved you." Saint Bernadine of Sienna even says, that "the sufferings of Mary were such that had they been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death." Who, then, can ever doubt that the Martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the Martyrs; since, as Saint Antoninus says, "they suffered in the sacrifice of their own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son to God, a life which she loved far more than her own."

The Martyrs suffered under the torments inflicted on them by tyrants; but Our Lord, Who never abandons His servants, always comforted them in the midst of their sufferings. The love of God, which burnt in their hearts, rendered all these sufferings sweet and pleasing to them. Saint Vincent suffered, when on the rack he was torn with pincers and burnt with hot iron plates; but Saint Augustine says that "the Saint spoke with such contempt of his torments, that it seemed as if it was one who spoke and another who suffered." Saint Boniface suffered when the flesh was torn from his body with iron hooks, sharp reeds were forced under his nails and melted lead was poured into his mouth; but in the midst of all, he could never cease to thank Jesus Christ, Who allowed him to suffer for His love. Saint Lawrence suffered when roasting on a gridiron; "but the love which inflamed him," says Saint Augustine, "did not allow him to feel the fire, or even that prolonged death itself."
The greater the love of the Martyrs for Jesus Christ, the less they felt their pains: and in the midst of them all, the remembrance of the Passion of Christ sufficed to console them. With Mary it was precisely the reverse; for the torments of Jesus were her Martyrdom, and love for Jesus was her only executioner. Here we must repeat the words of Jeremias: As the sea is all bitterness, and has not within its bosom a single drop of water which is sweet, so also was the heart of Mary all bitterness, and without the least consolation: Who shall heal you? Her Son alone could heal her and heal her wounds; but how could Mary receive comfort in her grief from her crucified Son, since the love she bore Him was the whole cause of her Martyrdom?

"To understand, then, how great was the grief of Mary, we must understand," says Cornelius a Lapide, "how great was the love she bore her Son." But who can ever measure this love?

Blessed Amadeus says, that "natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary."

These two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus ''as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him." So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, ''as no other creature loved God as Mary loved Him, so there was never any sorrow like Mary's sorrow."

Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother. Let us stay awhile to consider these words before concluding our discourse; but I entreat you to renew your attention.

There stood. When Jesus was on the Cross, the disciples had already abandoned Him; they had done so from the moment in which He was taken in the Garden of Olives: then the disciples all leaving Him fled. (Matt. 26:56) The disciples abandoned Him; but His loving Mother did not abandon Him; she remained with Him until He expired.

There stood by. Mothers fly when they see their children suffer much, and are unable to give them relief; they have not the strength to endure the torment, and therefore fly to a distance. Mary beheld her Son in agony on the Cross; she saw that His sufferings were slowly depriving Him of life; she desired to relieve Him in that last extremity, but could not; but with all this she did not fly, she did not go to a distance, but drew nearer to the Cross on which her Son was dying.

She stood by the Cross. The Cross was the hard bed on which Jesus Christ had to die. Mary, who stood by its side, never turned her eyes from Him; she beheld Him all torn by the scourges, thorns, and nails; she saw that her poor Son, suspended by those three iron hooks, found no repose. She, as I have already said, would have desired to give Him some relief; she would have desired, at least, that He should have expired in her arms; but no, even this is forbidden her. "Ah, Cross!" she must
have said, "restore me my Son; you are a gibbet for malefactors, but my Son is innocent." But wait, O sorrowful Mother; God's will is that the Cross should only restore you your Son when He has expired.

Saint Bonaventure, considering the sorrow of Mary in the death of her Son, writes, that "no grief was more bitter than hers, because no son was as dear as her Son." Since, then, there never was a son more worthy than Jesus, nor any mother who ever loved as Mary loved, what sorrow can be compared with the sorrow of Mary? "Ah, there never has been in the world a more amiable Son than Jesus," says Richard of St. Lawrence, "nor was there ever so loving a Mother. Had there been less love between this Mother and Son, His death would have been less cruel, their griefs would have been diminished: but the more tender were their loves, the deeper were their wounds." Mary saw that death approached her Son; therefore, casting her compassionate eyes upon Him, she seemed to say, "Ah, Son, You already depart, already You leave me; and are You silent? Give me a last remembrance." Yes, He did so. Jesus Christ left her a remembrance; it was this: Woman, He said, behold your son, referring to Saint John, who stood near; and with these words He bade her farewell. He called her woman, that by the sweet name of mother He might not increase her grief: Woman, behold your son, he will take charge of you when I am dead.

There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother. Let us, finally observe Mary, who stood at the foot of the Cross and beheld her Son expire. But, a God, what Son was it that died? It was a Son Who from all eternity had chosen her for His Mother, and had preferred her in His love to all men and Angels: it was a Son so beautiful, so holy, so amiable; a Son Who had always obeyed her; a Son Who was her only love, for He was her Son and her God; and Mary had to see Him die before her eyes, of pure suffering. But behold, the hour of the death of Jesus has already come; the afflicted Mother saw her Son then enduring the last assaults of death; behold, again, His Body was already sinking, His head drooped down on His breast, His mouth opened, and He expired. The people cry out, "He is dead! He is dead!" And Mary also said, "Ah, my Jesus, my Son, You are now dead!"

When Jesus was dead, He was taken down from the Cross. Mary received Him with outstretched arms; she then pressed Him to her heart, and examined that head wounded by the thorns, those hands pierced with nails, and that body all lacerated and torn. "Ah, Son," she said, "to what has Your love for men reduced You!" But the disciples, fearing that with her Son clasped in her arms she would die of grief, out of compassion approached her, and with reverential determination, removed her Son from her arms, wrapped Him in the winding sheet, and carried Him away to bury Him. The other holy women accompanied Him, and with them the sorrowful Mother followed her Son to the tomb; where, having herself deposited Him with her own hands, she bade Him a last farewell and retired. Saint Bernard says, that ''as Mary passed along the way, her sorrow and grief were such, that all who met her were thereby moved to tears;" and he adds that "those who accompanied her were weeping rather for her than for Our Lord."

My readers, let us be devout to the sorrows of Mary. Saint Albert the Great writes, that ''as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief which she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation." This the Angel revealed to Saint Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father: a sacrifice which, as we have already said, cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the Martyrs, or even death itself. But the Divine Mother complained to Saint Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them. Therefore she exhorted the Saint, saying: "Though many forget me, don't you, my daughter, forget me." For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of the Servites, or Servants of Mary, to requested them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, "Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me: but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me." It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, that Our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the sorrows of Mary: 1st, that those who before death invoke the Divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins: 2nd, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death: 3rd, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven: 4th, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

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There are two kinds of Martyrs, one in open suffering, the other in the hidden virtue of the spirit. For many, enduring the snares of the enemy and resisting all carnal desires, because they have sacrificed themselves in their hearts to Almighty God, have also become martyrs in time of peace, and if they had lived in time of persecution, they could have been Martyrs in reality.

Our Lady of Sorrows ~~ daily meditation before the Feast ~~

Today is the first day of Novena for Our Lady of Sorrows Feast ( 15 September ). There are many meditation over the true martyrdom of Mary , beside the most sorrowful Passion of our Lord and Saviour , Jesus Christ - the only begotten Son of God ( and Holy Mother Mary ) . It's hard , almost impossible to describe in few words the endless suffering of Mary , to see her begotten child crucified and dying on the Cross , for the sake of salvation of a world of sinners . How we shall ever console her pierced Immaculate Heart , how many prayers and acts of contrition can be said ?
Anyway I feel in my heart that we are already forgiven , but even so we should express our thanksgiving for being saved through the most bitterful Passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ and through martyrdom of Holy Mother Mary . I invite you all to join in meditations , prayers and devotions for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows , many God bless abundantely you all !

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Most Holy Mary is conceived without original sin

MARY, I believe the teaching of the Church concerning you that from the first moment of your conception you possessed sanctifying grace, even the fullness of grace, with the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Yet you remained subject to death and other pains and miseries of life that your Son Himself willed to undergo.
Photobucket I believe that you were, "in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the Human race, preserved from all stain of original sin."

This article of faith is founded upon Scripture and upon the constant Tradition of the Church. If God Himself had announced from the beginning of the world that you were destined "to crush the head" of the infernal serpent, you could not have begun your life by being wounded yourself by his poisonous bite and subject to his power. The Archangel Gabriel called you "full of grace" because you never were deprived of sanctifying grace, and consequently you possessed this grace in the first moment of your conception.

The Fathers and writers of the Church compare you to the ark of Noe which alone escaped the universal deluge; to the thornbush which Moses saw burning, but was not consumed; to the enclosed garden; to the rod of Aaron which, when laid in the ark, budded and blossomed without having taken root; to the fleece of Gideon which remained dry while the ground all around it became moist with dew. They look upon you as the queen who came from the Most High, perfect, beautiful, and without original sin; as the paradise of innocence which God Himself planted and protected against all the attacks of the poisonous serpent.

PhotobucketMARY, reason, too, approves of your Immaculate Conception, for this privilege corresponds with your sublime vocation. You were the throne of God, the wonderful palace in which the Son of God chose to dwell for nine months. Your womb was the chosen place honored by the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit. If everything that comes in contact with God must be pure and immaculate, what purity was necessary for you, the vessel in which the Son of God formed His flesh and blood? Your Immaculate Conception is a brilliant witness to the sanctity of Jesus, your Son.

If Jesus, the Son of God, could choose for His Mother her who pleased Him most, He would surely choose one acceptable to the Blessed Trinity and worthy of the great honor for which she was destined. You were, therefore, not only free from all actual sin, but you also remained exempt from original sin, otherwise, you would not have been a Mother suitable for Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As Eve received natural life from Adam, you received spiritual life, the life of grace, through your Son. If Eve was originally immaculate, your conception as the second Eve could not be less immaculate. You who are superior to Eve in merits could not be inferior to her in dignity. Therefore, since Eve was immaculate in her formation, you must have been immaculate in your conception.

MARY, it is an ancient belief and now an article of faith of the Catholic Church that after your death you were admitted body and soul into heaven. This privilege corresponds with your exalted dignity and great merits. But the principal reason of your bodily assumption into heaven was due to your Immaculate Conception. Because of original gin man was doomed to death and corruption; but being exempt from the stain of original sin, you were not subject to corruption and were assumed into heaven body and soul immediately after your death.

God Himself has testified to Your Immaculate Conception by miracles. Who can number the wonders which have been wrought at Lourdes, where you appeared eighteen times and declared to Bernadette and to the world: "I am the Immaculate Conception," just four years after this doctrine was defined as a dogma of faith, to declare to the whole world your approval of it and that you were not only immaculately conceived, but that you are the Immaculate Conception! How many miracles have been wrought also through the miraculous medal which bears your image!

Mary, conceived without sin, teach me to be grateful to God for the grace of baptism by which I was cleansed from original sin and spiritually regenerated and sanctified. Help me to guard against every sin, above all against every mortal sin, lest I lose the grace of God, infinitely greater than all the riches of the world. Since I could not imitate you by entering the world free from sin, let me at least leave it free from sin.

O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary have prepared a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we humbly beg of You, that as through the death of Your Son, which You foreknew, You have kept her free from all sin, so by her intercession enable us also to come to You with pure hearts. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to all the world

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on us
life everlasting.

Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen of Sun of justice,
Christ our God

(from The Divine Office - Matins (Morning Prayer)

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The Feast of the Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 8 each year. The Feast commemorates the birth of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The birth and early life of the Virgin Mary is not recorded in the Gospels or other books of the New Testament, however this information can be found in a work dating from the second century known as the Book of James or Protevangelion.

According to the story found in this book, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless for many years. They remained faithful to God, but their prayers for a child were unanswered. One day, when Joachim came to the temple to make an offering, he was turned away by the High Priest who chastised him for his lack of children. To hide his shame, Joachim retreated to the hill country to live among the shepherds and their flocks.

As Joachim was praying, his wife Anna was praying at the same time at their house in Jerusalem. An angel appeared to both of them and announced that Anna would have a child whose name would be known throughout the world. Anna promised to offer her child as a gift to the Lord. Joachim returned home, and in due time Anna bore a daughter, Mary.

Let us pray :

Lord God,
the day of our salvation dawned
when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to your Son.
As we celebrate her nativity
grant us your grace and your peace.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

For all who want to get close to the truth of Immaculate Conception of Mary , Holy Mother of God , I suggest to read The Gospel of the Birth of Mary

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Assumption of the Holy Mother of God Novena

Join me in one of the most beautiful Novena : Assumption of Blessed Mother of God .

The Word of God

"We know that when the earthly tent in which we dwell is destroyed we have a dwelling provided for us by God, a dwelling in the heavens, not made by hands but to last forever." (2 Cor 5:1)

"Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." (Lk 10:42)

"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." (Rv 12:1)

Let us pray :

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, You have at last been taken to the throne prepared for You in Heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with You in the glory of Your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me
how small earth becomes when viewed from Heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to You for help. In honour of Your Assumption into Heaven I ask for this favour: (
Mention your request

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with You. Amen.

Prayer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth

Mary, Assumed into Heaven, I venerate You as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Your own Son led You to a throne of glory in Heaven next to His own. As You tasted the bitterness of pain and sorrow with Him on earth, You now enjoy eternal bliss with Him in Heaven. I thank Jesus for having put a most beautiful crown upon Your head, while all the Angels and Saints acclaim You as their Queen.

Because here below You shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned You not only with glory but with power. He placed You at His right hand that You may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular title - that of
Mother of God

In the midst of all the Saints You stand as their Queen and ours - dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God's Kingdom. You pray for Your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Saviour on the Cross.

Queen Assumed into Heaven
, may Your glorious beauty fill my heart with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of heaven.

May Your merciful eyes glance down upon my struggles and my weakness in this vale of tears. Crown me with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in heaven. Amen.

In preparation for the great Feast of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Mary, you were Assumed into Heaven, pray for us!

May the Lord bless us and keep us, deliver us from evil, and bring us to life everlasting, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We celebrate the day that the Virgin Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven by her Son, Jesus Christ, at the end of her earthly life. In the East, it is known as the “Dormition of Mary”, that is, her “falling asleep.”

There are no other dogma which have bothered Protestants more than those regarding Mary. But that being said, some Evangelicals are cautiously gaining a greater appreciation for Mary. Timothy George, a Baptist minister, writes in FIRST THINGS:

“If Catholics need to be called away from the excesses of Marian devotion to a stricter fidelity to the biblical witness, evangelicals should reexamine their negative attitudes toward Mary, many of which derive from anti-Catholic bias rather than sound biblical theology. “

Progress with Evangelicals is being made, with special thanks to those who have remained faithful to the council’s teachings on Mary and ecumenism.

Before I delve into the documents, I want to clarify, for any confused Protestants, the difference between “assumption” and “ascension.” Mary, Enoch, and Elijah were assumed into Heaven. They were not taken their by their own power, but by the power of God. Christ, however, being God, ascended into Heaven by His own power. That is what differentiates “assumption” from “ascension”: one is “assumed” by means of another, but one “ascends” by means of himself. For a more detailed explanation of the Assumption, I recommend these two tracts at Catholic Answers: Immaculate Conception and Assumption and Assumptions About Mary .

So that brings us to the text itself. The easiest thing to do is to paste the document here and make comments within the text. I might change this depending on reader’s reactions. For brevity’s sake (it is still long), I am cropping the least important portions. Furthermore, I have omitted some references . Read all about on Vatican site : Lumen Gentium CHAPTER VIII



I. Introduction

52. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, “when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, ..that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). … This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory “of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ” (Roman Canon).

53. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. The ancient title of “Theotokos” (Mother of God) was used at the Council of Ephesus in 431 against Nestorius who claimed that Mary gave birth only to the human nature of Jesus and thus it was only the human nature that died on the cross, though it was probably in use before then. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head” (S. Augustine, De S. Virginitate. 6: PL 40, 399)… Mary was immaculately conceived, i.e., she was conceived without the stain of original sin, but this does not preclude the need for redemption, rather, her redemption occurred in a special manner.

…54. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence both the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. It does not, however, have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us (Cfr. Paulus Pp. VI, allocutio in Concilio, die 4 dec. 1963: AAS 56 (1964) p. 37).

II. The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation

55. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin (Cf. Gen. 3:15). Likewise she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel (Cf Is 7, 14; cf. Mich. 5, 2-3; Mt. 1, 22-23). She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.

56. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life… I have heard it said that the Catholic Church and Christianity is inherently sexist because it sees women as the cause of all evil through Eve. There are several problems with that statement, not the least of which is that 1) Adam takes most of the blame in the New Testament, and 2) it ignores the basic theology of Mary as the “New Eve.” …It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature. We see here confirmed the teaching that Mary never sinned. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace” (Cf. Lk. 1:28), and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38). Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience….All the praise that is given to Mary is because she acted freely out of love of God. Although she was given special graces, these graces, as no graces do, took away her free will. She was not forced to bear Christ. If she had been, the Holy Spirit would have been a rapist of sorts! For this reason Mary is often called “our hope”, because she stands above all the other saints in her devotion to her Son.

…58. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning, when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah (Cf. Jn. 2:1-11). This scripture is often implored by apologists in defense of prayers to Mary and her intercession for us, because we see her actually effecting the actions of Jesus. In the course of her Son’s preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed (Cf. Mk. 3. 35; 27-28) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing (Cf. Lk. 2, 19, 51). Mary is not blessed just because she is his mother, but because she is faithful to God. After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan (Cf. Jn. 19:25), grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: “Woman, behold thy son” (Jn. 19:26-27).

59. … Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin (i.e. the Immaculate Conception), on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory (i.e. the Assumption), and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully confimed [sic] to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death. The coronation of Mary is church doctrine, but it is not formally defined dogma. Many hoped the Pope John Paul II would formally define it much like Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption, however, that never came to be.

III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church

60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, “for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all” (1 Tim. 2:5-6). The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.

61. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence…she is our mother in the order of grace.

62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until The eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. The role of a Christian, including Mary, to help others does not stop at death. We still pray for the good and salvation of those on Earth in Heaven just as we did on Earth. Christ is the Mediator in that He makes it possible for us to pray for one another and even have access to God. But that does not mean that Mary, or any of us, cannot be “mediators” in the sense that we intercede and advocate for one another.

For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer. There is no worship of Mary allowed in the Catholic Church. Somewhere there are Catholics who, like Protestants, think that any prayers to Mary are equal to worship, so we must eschew those practices. These Catholics, in this regard, have abandoned Catholicism. There are probably Catholics who believe that devotion to Mary is a hang over from Mediterranean religions, or from the supposedly “angry Jesus” that developed in the middle ages. They may think that Vatican II discouraged Marian devotion, but that is clearly not the case. Mary is subordinate to Christ. There is no question about that. But, again, that does not mean that, as a servant of her Son, she cannot pray for others even while in Heaven.

63. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren (Rm. 8:29), namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.

We see here that Mary stands for the church. Mary, as mother, united herself to her Son by 1) accepting Him into her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, 2) literally bearing Him forth to the world, 3) uniting herself to His will and suffering by means of a shared life together. The Church, as bride, unites herself to Christ by means of 1) receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, 2) bearing Christ figuratively through missionary and charity work, and 3) uniting to His will through the Sacraments and to His suffering through persecution.

64. The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.

What are some of the characteristics of a good mother? She loves her children, so this makes her patient, yet stern, she seeks to educate her children in what is true rather than false, and she seeks to protect her children from harm. The church does each of these through 1) discipline (both in the sense of practices and punishments), 2) teachings of the Magisterium, and 3) the Sacraments, which give us grace to avoid sin.

Perhaps a departure from Mary is one reason for a disregard in fasting, the imporance of excommunications, the controversial teachings of the church, and proper respect for the Eucharist and the use of confession. In fact, it seems to me that, historically, the Protestants who have the most hangups about Mary are the ones least likely to practice fasting and excommunications, are unlikely to believe that the church is a “teaching” (rather than a “learning”) church, and are more likely to have “ordinances” rather than Sacraments.

65. But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin (Eph. 5:27). And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues….Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things….

Some might read only the first half of the bolded sentence above and laugh, for clearly the Church has not reached perfection, right? Yes and no. We individual members of the Church are often quite horrid sinners. Thankfully, the holiness of the Church is not dependent upon the holiness of the members. The Church is perfect in the sense that the teachings of the Magisterium are guided by the Holy Spirit, do not change, and cannot err, and the Sacraments are means of grace by with God helps the individual sinful members attain holiness. If the holiness of the members were a prerequisite to having valid Sacraments or having the authority to teach infallibly, we would be in a catch-22 situation. Thankfully, God is more merciful than that. That is what that sentence means. That is how the Church can be perfect, yet still increasing in holiness.

IV. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church

“Cult” is a technical term in religion meaning a body of devotions or rituals. It does not have the negative connotation that Americans usually associate with it.

67. This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed. But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God. Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. …

Devotion to Mary is to be fostered, but measures must be taken to keep it from being too extreme; it must always be Christocentric. Of course, there are some who will take this latter portion to mean that devotion should be stifled. Rather, what the council had in mind is to prevent the excess of devotion that reportedly occurs in places like India, where Catholicism is said to be sometimes indistinguishable from Hinduism.

V. Mary the sign of created hope and solace to the wandering people of God

68. In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (Cf. 2 Pet. 3:10), as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.

69. It gives great joy and comfort to this holy and general Synod that even among the separated brethren [Protestants and others] there are some who give due honor to the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, especially among the Orientals, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin. The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints, until all families of people, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Saviour, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.

Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ , in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen

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O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to thee, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through thy immaculate hands.

Since thou look with special kindness on those who wear thy Scapular, I implore thee to strengthen my weakness with thy power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to thee.

May thy Holy Scapular bring me thy special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to thy Divine Son and to thee. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate thy virtues.

From now on, I shall strive to live in God's Presence, and offer all to Jesus through thee. Dearest Holy Mother, support me by thy never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and thy own intercession. Amen.


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