Saturday, April 15, 2006

Silence of Mary


Silence of Mary
Holy Mary, Mother of God, you who treasured all things and pondered them carefully in your heart, teach us that deep, interior silence which enfolded you throughout your lifetime --
the silence of the Annunciation, of faith, mission and obedience;
the silence of the Visitation, of humility, service and praise;
the silence of Bethlehem, of birth, incarnation and wonder;
the silence of the flight into Egypt, of perseverance, hope and trust;
the silence of Nazareth, of simplicity, intimacy and communion;
the silence of Mt. Calvary, of courage, death and abandonment;
the silence of Easter, of resurrection, jubilation and glory;
the silence of Ascension, of fulfillment, transformation and new creation;
the silence of Pentecost, of peace, power and love. Mary, in your wisdom, teach us that silence which enables us to listen to the small, still voice of our God; which compels us to worship Him alone in spirit and in truth; which empowers us to acknowledge our nothingness and exult confidently in our Savior; which frees us to lose ourselves in unceasing adoration of the God who is Infinite Love. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and always, that we may enter into that silence of yours which unites us to Jesus,your Son, in the mystery of His silence before the Father of mercies.
AMEN.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lenten Meditation-Conclusion


Therefore Saint Ildephonsus did not hesitate to assert, "to say that Mary's sorrows were greater than all the torments of the martyrs united, was to say too little." And Saint Anselm adds, that "the most cruel tortures inflicted on the holy martyrs were trifling, or as nothing in comparison with the martyrdom of Mary." Saint Basil of Seleucia also writes, "that as the sun exceeds all the other planets in splendour, so did Mary's sufferings exceed those of all the other martyrs." A learned author concludes with a beautiful sentiment. He says that so great was the sorrow of this tender Mother in the Passion of Jesus, that she alone compassionated in a degree by any means adequate to its merits the death of a God made man.
But here Saint Bonaventure, addressing this Blessed Virgin, says, "And why, 0 Lady, didst thou also go to sacrifice thyself on Calvary? Was not a crucified God sufficient to redeem us, that thou, His Mother, wouldst also go to be crucified with Him?" Indeed, the death of Jesus was more than enough to save the world, and an infinity of worlds; but this good Mother, for the love she bore us, wished also to help the cause of our salvation with the merits of her sufferings, which she offered for us on Calvary. Therefore, Blessed Albert the Great says, "that as we are under great obligations to Jesus for His Passion endured for our love, so also are we under great obligations to Mary, for the martyrdom which she voluntarily suffered for our salvation in the death of her Son." I say voluntarily, since, as Saint Agnes revealed to Saint Bridget, "our compassionate and benign Mother was satisfied rather to endure any torment than that our souls should not be redeemed, and be left in their former state of perdition." And, indeed, we may say that Mary's only relief in the midst of her great sorrow in the Passion of her Son, was to see the lost world redeemed by His death, and men who were His enemies reconciled with God. While grieving she rejoiced," says Simon of Cassia, that a sacrifice was offered for the redemption of all, by which He who was angry was appeased."
So great a love on the part of Mary deserves our gratitude, and that gratitude should be shown by at least meditating upon and pitying her in her sorrow. But she complained to Saint Bridget that very few did so, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: "I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity me, and meditate upon my sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, my daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do thou not forget me; consider my anguish, and imitate, as far as thou canst, my grief." To understand how pleasing it is to the Blessed Virgin that we should remember her dolours, we need only know that, in the year 1239, she appeared to seven devout clients of hers (who were afterwards founders of the religious order of the Servants of Mary), with a black garment in her hand, and desired them, if they wished to please her, often to meditate on her sorrows: for this purpose, and to remind them of her sorrows) she expressed her desire that in future they should wear that mourning dress. Jesus Christ Himself revealed to the Blessed Veronica da Binasco, that He is, as it were, more pleased in seeing His Mother compassionated than Himself; for thus He addressed her: "My daughter, tears shed for My Passion are dear to Me; but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the torments which she endured at My death is even more agreeable to Me."
Wherefore the graces promised by Jesus to those who are devoted to the dolours of Mary are very great. Pelbert relates that it was revealed to Saint Elizabeth, that after the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, Saint John the Evangelist desired to see her again. The favour was granted him; his dear Mother appeared to him, and with her Jesus Christ also appeared; the Saint then heard Mary ask her Son to grant some special grace to all those who are devoted to her dolours. Jesus promised her four principal ones: First, that those who before death invoke the Divine Mother in the name of her sorrows should obtain true repentance of all their sins. Second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death. Third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in heaven. Fourth, 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. In proof of this, let us see, in the following example, how greatly devotion to the dolours of Mary aids in obtaining eternal salvation.
EXAMPLE
In the revelations of Saint Bridget we read that there was a rich man, as noble by birth as he was vile and sinful in his habits. He had given himself, by an express compact, as a slave to the devil; and for sixty successive years had served him, leading such a life as may be imagined, and never approaching the sacraments. Now this prince was dying; and Jesus Christ, to show him mercy, commanded Saint Bridget to tell her confessor to go and visit him, and exhort him to confess his sins. The confessor went, and the sick man said that he did not require confession, as he had often approached the sacrament of penance. The priest went a second time; but this poor slave of hell persevered in his obstinate determination not to confess. Jesus again told the Saint to desire the confessor to return. He did so; and on this third occasion told the sick man the revelation made to the Saint, and that he had returned so many times because our Lord, who wished to show him mercy, had so ordered. On hearing this the dying man was touched, and began to weep: "But how," he exclaimed, "can I be saved; I, who for sixty years have served the devil as his slave, and have my soul burdened with innumerable sins?" "My son," answered the father, encouraging him, "doubt not; if you repent of them, on the part of God I promise you pardon." Then, gaining confidence, he said to the confessor, "Father, I looked upon myself as lost, and already despaired of salvation; but now I feel a sorrow for my sins, which gives me confidence; and since God has not yet abandoned me, I will make my confession." In fact he made his confession four times on that day, with the greatest marks of sorrow, and on the following morning received the holy communion. On the sixth day, contrite and resigned, he died. After his death, Jesus Christ again spoke to Saint Bridget, and told her that that sinner was saved; that he was then in purgatory, and that he owed his salvation to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin His Mother; for the deceased, although he had led so wicked a life, had nevertheless always preserved devotion to her dolours, and whenever he thought of them, pitied her.
Extract from the book 'The Glories of Mary'
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Peace of Christ to ALL

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lenten Meditation PT V


So that the more the holy martyrs loved Jesus, the less did they feel their torments and death; and the sight alone of the sufferings of a crucified God was sufficient to console them. But was our suffering Mother also consoled by love for her Son, and the sight of His torments? Ah, no; for this very Son who suffered was the whole cause of them, and the love she bore Him was her only and most cruel executioner; for Mary's whole martyrdom consisted in beholding and pitying her innocent and beloved Son, who suffered so much. Hence, the greater was her love for Him, the more bitter and inconsolable was her grief. " Great as the sea is thy destruction; who shall heal thee?" Ah, Queen of Heaven, love hath mitigated the sufferings of other martyrs, and healed their wounds; but who hath ever soothed thy bitter grief? Who hath ever healed the too cruel wounds of thy heart "Who shall heal thee," since that very Son who could give thee consolation was, by His sufferings, the only cause of thine, and the love which thou didst bear Him was the whole ingredient of thy martyrdom. So that, as other martyrs, as Diez remarks, are all represented with the instruments of their sufferings--a Saint Paul with a sword, a Saint Andrew with a cross, a Saint Lawrence with a gridiron--Mary is represented with her dead Son in her arms; for Jesus Himself, and He alone, was the instrument of her martyrdom, by reason of the love she bore Him. Richard of Saint Victor confirms in a few words all that I have now said: "In other martyrs, the greatness of their love soothed the pains of their martyrdom; but in the Blessed Virgin, the greater was her love, the greater were her sufferings, the more cruel was her martyrdom."
It is certain that the more we love a thing, the greater is the pain we feel in losing it. We are more afflicted at the loss of a brother than at that of a beast of burden; we are more grieved at the loss of a son than at that of a friend. Now, Cornelius a Lapide says, "that to understand the greatness of Mary's grief at the death of her Son, we must understand the greatness of the love she bore Him." But who can ever measure that love? Blessed Amadeus says that "in the heart of Mary were united two kinds of love for her Jesus--supernatural love, by which she loved Him as her God, and natural love, by which she loved Him as her Son." So that these two loves became one; but so immense a love, that William of Paris even says that the Blessed Virgin "loved Him as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him." Hence Richard of Saint Victor affirms that "as there was no love like her love, so there was no sorrow like her sorrow." And if the love of Mary towards her Son was immense, immense also must have been her grief in losing Him by death. "Where there is the greatest love," says Blessed Albert the Great, "there also is the greatest grief."
Let us now imagine to ourselves the Divine Mother standing--near her Son expiring on the cross, and justly applying to herself the words of Jeremias, thus addressing us: "0 all ye that pass by the way attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow." 0 you who spend your lives upon earth, and pity me not, stop awhile to look at me, now that I behold this beloved Son dying before my eyes; and then see if, amongst all those who are afflicted and tormented, a sorrow is to be found like unto my sorrow. "No, 0 most suffering of all mothers," replies Saint Bonaventure, "no more bitter grief than thine can be found; for no son more dear than thine can be found." Ah, "there never was a more amiable son in the world than Jesus," says Richard of Saint Lawrence; "nor has there ever been a mother who more tenderly loved her son than Mary! But since there never has been in the world a love like unto Mary's love, how can any sorrow be found like unto Mary's sorrow?"
Extract from the book 'The Glories of Mary'
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Peace of Christ to ALL

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Joseph VII


Seven Sorrows of Joseph
VII O glorious Saint Joseph, pattern of all holiness, when thou didst lose, through no fault of thine, the Child Jesus, thou didst seek Him sorrowing for the space of three days, until with great joy thou didst find Him again in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors.
By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, we supplicate thee, with our hearts upon our lips, to keep us from ever having the misfortune to lose Jesus through mortal sin; but if this supreme misfortune should befall us, grant that we may seek Him with unceasing sorrow until we find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; that so we may pass over to enjoy His presence in heaven, and there, in company with thee, may we sing the praises of His divine mercy forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Antiphon. And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years, being (as it was supposed) the Son of Joseph.
Pray for us, O holy Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray
O God, Who in Thine unspeakable Providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven, whom we venerate on earth as our protector: Who livest and reignest world without end.
Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Sunday, April 02, 2006

SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY-VII


Seven Sorrows of Mary
VII. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.
Hail Mary.
Pray for us, O Virgin most sorrowful,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
Let us pray
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Thy mercy, by the blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy bitter passion. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest world without end.

Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL