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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Feast of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Goffine's Devout Instructions)



November 21

THE BLESSED VIRGIN was presented in the temple at Jerusalem by her pious parents, Joachim and Ann, there to be educated in the service and the law of the Lord in order that she might be guarded against the defilements of the world. From this we learn:

1. Joachim and Ann offered to the Lord their only and most beloved child, and gave her up entirely to His service. Great as the sacrifice was, they yet made it. The preservation of the innocence of their daughter was to them above all else. Parents, God requires of you that you should not merely offer your children to Him in the temple, but that you should take care to keep them pure and holy, as living temples which have been consecrated in Baptism.

2. Mary gives and dedicates herself to God as soon as she is capable of serving Him, and that without any reservation, for all time, and irrevocably. When, then, shall we give ourselves in earnest to God? True, we have been given to Him in holy Baptism, we have been consecrated as His temples, we have renounced the devil and the world, we have vowed to live only for God, and this vow we have, perhaps, often renewed; but have we kept it? What we gave with one hand, have we not taken it away with the other? Have we not defiled the temple of our hearts by shameful lusts, lived for the world and vanity more than for God? Ah, when shall we give ourselves up to God sincerely and forever? Perhaps when we are old! But will God accept our offering then? Will He be pleased that we begin to serve Him only when we can no longer serve the world? that we first begin to live for Him when our life is soon to cease? No; God is a jealous Lord, and is not pleased with a heart divided between Him and creatures. He requires us to love Him with all our heart and all our soul, and to serve Him with all our powers. Let us, then, do this, and do it from our youth; let us keep ourselves in body and soul undefiled for the Lord; such love, and such love only, will He reward as perfect.

Prayer

O God, Who wast pleased that the blessed Mary, ever virgin, the habitation of the Holy Ghost, should on this day be presented in the temple, grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession we may deserve to be presented in the temple of Thy glory. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:14-16

From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God His inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.

Gospel: Luke 11:27, 28

And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.

Explanation

By His answer Jesus would have us understand that His Mother was not to be blessed merely because she bore Him, the Son of God, but rather because she at all times endeavored to keep the word of God in her heart and to observe it in her life. If you would be blessed, learn to be not only a hearer, but a doer, of the word of God.

-- Goffine's Devout Instructions


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel



July 16

The Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulæ, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of Saint Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,

Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.”

It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end.

In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:

1. Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely.
2. Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.
3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.

These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach of them deprives us of all merit; and is not this something to be taken into account? “He who sowetb sparingly shall also reap sparingly.” (II Corinthians 9:6)

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, and celebrate a festal-day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose solemn feast the angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak of my works for the King.”

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

Prayer

O God, Who hast honored the Order of Carmelites with the particular title of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, mercifully grant that, protected by her prayers whose commemoration we this day celebrate with a solemn office, we may deserve to arrive at joy everlasting. Who livest, and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:28-81

As the vine, I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded; and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.

Explanation

The Church applies this epistle to Mary, thereby encouraging us fervently to honor the blessed Mother of God, in whom the Eternal Wisdom dwelt bodIly, and through whom He was given to us, that by her intercession our understanding may be enlightened, our will strengthened, and we be inspired with fresh zeal to practice ourselves, and to prevail on others to practice also, whatever is chaste, becoming, and holy.

Gospel: Luke 11:27, 28

And it came to pass as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions