Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ


Joseph and I came to Bethlehem because there was a decree that all should go to their ancestral town to be registered. In obedience, Joseph and I went. God even used the oppression of the Roman government to bring about your salvation: because in this time of oppression, my Son, your Savior, was born. We looked for a place but there was no room in the inn: the town was so full. What was offered us was a stable not too far from where the shepherds were guarding their flock. It was soon that my Son was born: that the King of Kings would be born a pauper. It was soon that the very Word would be made flesh. Joseph left me in the stable and went outside for a while thinking that he was not worthy to be present at such a great miracle. While he was thinking, the moment came when my Son was introduced to the world. Because of the immensity of Love that the Lord had filled me with, I felt no pain at His birth. There was pure joy at the coming of my Son. I held Him in my arms: He was the very Savior of the world. A while later, Joseph came in, he saw me with the Child and he was also filled with wondrous joy. As some time past, the shepherds that were near the stable also came. They knew about the birth of my Son: the angels had told them. Heaven was rejoicing at the birth of my Son.
My children, look upon the greatness of your Lord Who has loved you so much as to come down to show the immensity of His Love for you. Show your immensity of love for Him: be humble, be grateful for what you have, be it little or great, and whatever you do have, use it in a way that will give pleasure to my Son. See the face of my Son in those in need, those in want, and respond in love to Him. Pray to the Heavenly Father in this mystery for the gift of simplicity and for the woes of the poor and I will pray with you. I will ask the Father to give you the grace to be generous with those less fortunate.
Source
Catholic Online

Friday, September 08, 2006

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


September 8

This feast is a commemoration of that happy and joyful day on whIch the ever-blessed vIrgin Mother of God first saw the light of day. The Church accordingly sings on this day,

"Thy nativity, virgin Mother of God, has brought joy to the whole world; for from thee has come forth the Sun of justice, Christ the Lord, Who putting away cursing bestowed blessing, and by overcoming death obtained for us life eternal."

In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings:

"Hail, holy parent, who as a happy mother brought forth the King Who rules heaven and earth from eternity to eternity. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to 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

Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her nativity we may obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Epistle: Proverbs 8:22-35

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out; the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established; before the hills I was brought forth; He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there; when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths; when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits; when He balanced the fouudations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and my delight is to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-18

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob, begot Judas and his brethren. And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram. And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Nasson begot Salmon. And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Unag. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abias. And Abias begot Asa. And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias. And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias. And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon. And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel. And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor. And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud. And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Let us honor Mary, especially by imitation of those virtues of hers which are to us, as Saint John Damascene says, an open book of instruction; let us rejoice in her prerogatives and glory; let us encourage others in the veneration of her; let us, in our need, have recourse to her, who, according to the name Star of the Sea with which the Church salutes her, shines for all who sail upon the dangerous sea of the world. For this reason Saint Bernard calls out to each one of us,
"Take not your eyes from the light of this star if you would not be overwhelmed by the waves; if the storms of temptation arise, if you are thrown upon the rocks of affliction, look to the star, invoke Mary. Are you confounded at the enormity of your sins, are you ashamed at the defilement of your conscience, are you terrified on account of the dreadful judgment, so that you begin to be overpowered by sadness, or even to sink into the abyss of despair, then turn your thoughts to Mary. In dangers, in distress, in doubt, call on Mary. She will not be far from your mouth, or your heart; and that you may obtain her intercession omit not to imitate her conduct. When you follow her, you will not go astray; when you invoke her, you will no longer be in doubt; when she supports yon, yon will not fall; when she leads you, you will surely come to eternal life, and will find by your own experience that she is justly called Maria - that is, Star of the Sea."

--Goffine's Devout Instructions









Saturday, August 26, 2006

Meditations with Mary IV



Luke Chapter 2:14-19

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."

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Reflection

When we read how Mary pondered many things in her heart, many mistake this to believe that Mary did not know who Jesus is.

Is it more the case that Mary knowing fully who Jesus is, yet still pondered the fact that the Divine God would lower Himself to a mere creature. A vulnerable baby, in need of nurturing and care, indeed in need of love.

Through Mary we can also glimpse that there is much to ponder the Creator of all becomes the created, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. No-one had made room for this Prince of Peace, there were no vacancies for the King of Kings.

Is Christ still yearning for a place in your heart? This Prince, this King this Divine God who gave all, for love of...you.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Meditation with Mary III


Meditation

Luke Chapter 2:1-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
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Reflection

When we read this Scripture it reminds us that Joseph and Mary lived ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. Caesar had ordered this enrollment both Joseph and Mary like many others were obeying the law, neither of them thought themselves above the law of the land or better than others.

This display of obeying the law like any other people shows both Joseph and Mary's complete humility without the least bit of subservience to those in authority.

Yet, Mary was heavy with child, this must have been a troubling thought for Joseph as they journeyed together towards Bethlehem. It also must have been a difficult journey for Mary as she was jostled about on the donkey. We cannot imagine what thoughts were running through Joseph and Mary's mind but we can imagine the ordeal of having to travel quite a distance at such an hour of Promise.

Perhaps it is like how many of us journey on our path of faith. At times the road seems difficult it brings us great hardship and discomfort, but the outcome is worth it. We would not be where we are if we had not taken that first step into the unknown.

Like Joseph and Mary we travel a path known only to God. Do we do this from a spirit of obedience or do we begrudge every step?

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Meditation With Saint Joseph



Meditation

Matthew chapter 1:18-24

"Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home."

Reflection

When we look at Joseph he seems to be a bit of an enigma, what do we make of this man who God found to be righteous?Just as with Mary, God did not simply pick Joseph from a pack he created Joseph to be true father to His Son Jesus, from the beginning Joseph was chosen to bear this honour for all time.

What we learn from Joseph is the lesson of listening. Joseph's ears were not attuned to what people would think of him, rather Joseph listened to the voice of God which floats through our heart as a gentle breeze ripples past a still pond disturbing but not enraging the quiet water.

This man not only listen to that still small voice of God, he then obeyed it without question. He did not question God's Wisdom but rather played his part in fulfilling the Will of God through humble servitude. Joseph accepted the responsibility that God entrusted to him, this righteous man above men put God first in his life and upon hearing the words of the Angel he then took Mary as his beloved and chaste spouse as they both perfected what living the Divine Will means to every family that embraces Catholic values.

At the heart of Joseph we see a man who bends to the Will of God in total and absolute self denial as he follows what God has requested of him, he who is a simple carpenter. There is no false humility, Joseph simply got on with what God had asked of him and from him we learn what true self giving is, and the quiet depths of a man totally in love with his Hidden God. A God who he would hold in his arms as Mary rested...This is Joseph a man after God's own Heart.


How much is your heart attuned to hear the still small voice of God?


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Meditation with Mary II


Meditation

Luke Chapter 1:46-55

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
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Reflection

We have had many Saints who led immensely holy lives their total love and zealousness for God is truly an example to us all. What makes Mary different from these wonderful Saints of our Church? It is by looking at the Saints that we gain a glimpse of just how unique and glorious that Mary truly is.

Mary was without sin as her soul was filled with Grace, therefore there is no corruption within the heart and soul of Mary. Still Mary was an ordinary woman, filled with an extraordinary love of God which overwhelms her completely. It is this consummation that makes Mary beloved of God, as the Triune Spirit glories in their perfect creature.

Within the heart of Mary is the illumination of the Triune Spirit. It is through Mary we gain a glimpse of the Divine as Mary surrendered herself to the Triune Spirit. Through Mary we also see the perfect joy that the Triune Spirit enjoyed when gazing at their most perfect woman, who with her Fiat, Mary in perfect conformity to The Divine Will, undid the imperfect will of Eve.

Mary is the beloved of the Triune Spirit, there can be no-one who can replace or who can compare to this most perfect wonderment of womanhood. It is also through Mary that we also gain a glimpse as to what we can be when we transcend our limitations and surrender our hearts to the Will of the Divine.

Mary is essentially, beloved of the Trinity for all time. For those who question Mary's place should ponder this thought; if Mary found favour with the Trinity who are any of us to find disfavour?

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Meditation With Mary



Luke Chapter 1:26-36

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
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Reflection

Like many young girls born in Israel Mary also longed for the coming of the Messiah, and just like others her age she too prayed that the Messiah would soon enter the world and defeat evil forever.

Mary understood evil, even though no thoughts of evil ever entered her heart or mind, for God had blessed her from the beginning of time and filled her with Grace.

What a responsibility for such a young girl, but as we can see Mary's heart was open to receive the Truth though her heart was full of trepidation at the enormity of this Revelation, still Mary's love of God overcame her concerns. What joy must have filled her young heart, no-one can imagine the intensity of this inner joy and ecstasy that pierced Mary to her depths.

When we look at Mary let us also follow her example and keep our own hearts open to the Holy Spirit so that we may be made Holy through the work of the Spirit of God within our souls. Also like Mary help us to recognise God's Truth in order to be obedient to the Divine Will as was Mary, our most perfect example.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


July 2

This day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary because on it Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age.

In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings:
"Hail, holy parent, who didst bring trth the King Who rules heaven and earth forever. 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

Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her visitation we may obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc. Amen.

Epistle: Canticle 2:8-14

Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the tune of pruning is come; the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come; my dove in the clifts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, show me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears; for thy. voice is sweet, and thy face comely.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-47

At that time: Mary rising up went unto the hill-country with haste, into a city of Juda; and she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; and she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary saId: My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
  1. As soon as Mary heard that Elizabeth was with child she hastened to her. The alacrity of the Blessed Virgin teaches us that we should take part with gladness in the happiness of our fellow-men, and quickly make ourselves ready to discharge our duties, sacrificing for that object, if necessary, even our own much-loved retirement, our devotions and other exercises of piety.
  2. Mary visited her cousin out of real love, not out of unmeaning ceremony. Would that her example were followed in our visits!
  3. By the visit of the Blessed Virgin John was sanctified in his mother's womb, and Elizabeth, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, knew, by the miraculous movements of her child, that Mary was the Mother of the Lord. Such effects did this visit produce. What would Jesus effect in us if we received Him with due preparation!
Explanation of the Canticle "Magnificat," Or "My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord"

In this hymn Mary with joy praises God, the Lord, that He has regarded her humility, aud made her to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son, wherefore she should be called blessed by all generations; and she declares the truths and mysteries which the incarnation brought to light. The mercy of God, namely, reaches from generation to generation to them that fear Him. He scatters the thoughts of the proud, and puts down from their seats the mighty; but He exalts the humble. He fills those who hunger for justice with good things, but those who think themselves rich He sends away empty. He receives all true Israelites, and performs in them the promises which He gave to the fathers. This hymn is repeated by the Church every day at Vespers, in praise of the work of redemption, begun by the incarnation of the Son of God in Mary. Would that every Christian, since he becomes one only by Christ being, as it were, born in him, might share those feelings which the Blessed Virgin and Mother has expressed in this hymn of praise, and, with the Church, daily praise God for the mystery of the incarnation!

Aspiration

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who didst descend from the highest heavens io the womb of the Virgin Mary, didst therein rest for rune months, and with her didst condescend to visit and sanctify Saint John, grant that we, by the practice of good works, particularly of humility, may become partakers of the fruits of Thy incarnation.
--Goffine's Devout Instructions










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

Monday, March 27, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Joseph-VI


Seven Sorrows of Joseph
VI. O glorious Saint Joseph, an angel on earth, thou didst marvel to see the King of Heaven obedient to thy commands, but thy consolation in bringing Jesus out of the land of Egypt was troubled by thy fear of Archelaus; nevertheless, being assured by the Angel, thou didst dwell in gladness at Nazareth with Jesus and Mary.
By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us that our hearts may be delivered from harmful fears, that so we may rejoice in peace of conscience and may live in safety with Jesus and Mary, and, like unto thee, may die in their company.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Saturday, March 25, 2006

SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY VI


Seven Sorrows of Mary
VI. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of thy compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance and His Heart was pierced. Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding.
Hail Mary.

Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Lenten Meditation on Our Lady-PT IV


Here we must reflect on another circumstance which rendered the martyrdom of Mary beyond all comparison greater than the torments of all the martyrs: it is, that in the Passion of Jesus she suffered much, and she suffered, moreover, without the least alleviation. The martyrs suffered under the torments inflicted on them by tyrants; but the love of Jesus rendered their pains sweet and agreeable. A Saint Vincent was tortured on a rack, torn with pincers, burnt with red-hot iron plates; but, as Saint Augustine remarks, "it seemed as if it was one who suffered, and another who spoke." The Saint addressed the tyrant with such energy and contempt for his torments, that it seemed as if one Vincent suffered and another spoke; so greatly did God strengthen him with the sweetness of His love in the midst of all she endured. A Saint Boniface had his body torn with iron hooks; sharp-pointed reeds were thrust between his nails and flesh; melted lead was poured into his mouth; and in the midst of all he could not tire saying "I give Thee thanks, 0 Lord Jesus Christ." A Saint Mark and a Saint Marcellinus were bound to a stake, their feet pierced with nails; and when the tyrant addressed them, saying, "Wretches, see to what a state you are reduced; save yourselves from these torments," they answered: "Of what pains, of what torments dost thou speak? We never enjoyed so luxurious a banquet as in the present moment, in which we joyfully suffer for the love of Jesus Christ." A Saint Lawrence suffered; but when roasting on the gridiron, "the interior flame of love," says Saint Leo, "was more powerful in consoling his soul than the flame without in torturing his body." Hence love Tendered him so courageous that he mocked the tyrant, saying, "If thou desirest to feed on my flesh, a part is sufficiently roasted; turn it, and eat." But how, in the midst of so many torments, in that prolonged death, could the Saint thus rejoice? "Ah!" replies Saint Augustine, "inebriated with the wine of Divine love, he felt neither torments nor death."

Extract from the book 'The Glories of Mary'
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Peace of Christ to ALL

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Joseph V


Seven Sorrows of Joseph
V. O most watchful Guardian of the Incarnate Son of God, glorious Saint Joseph, what toil was thine in supporting and waiting upon the Son of the Most High God, especially in the flight into Egypt! Yet at the same time, how thou didst rejoice to have near thee always the very God Himself, and to see the idols of the Egyptians fall prostrate to the ground before Him.
By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us the grace of keeping ourselves in safety from the infernal tyrant, especially by flight from dangerous occasions; may every idol of earthly affection fall from our hearts; may we be wholly employed in serving Jesus and Mary, and for them alone may we live and happily die
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Mary-V


Seven Sorrows of Mary

V. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful in the martyrdom which thy generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by thy heart afflicted in such wise, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Hail Mary.


Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lenten Meditation On Our Lady-PT III


Moreover, says Saint Antoninus, "while other martyrs suffered by sacrificing their own lives, the Blessed Virgin suffered by sacrificing her Son's life, a life that she loved far more than her own; so that she not only suffered in her soul all that her Son endured in His body, but moreover the sight of her Son's torments brought more grief to her heart than if she had endured them all in her own person. No one can doubt that Mary suffered in her heart all the outrages which she saw inflicted on her beloved Jesus. Any one can understand that the sufferings of children are also those of their mothers who witness them. Saint Augustine, considering the anguish endured by the mother of the Maccabees in witnessing the tortures of her sons, says, "she, seeing their sufferings, suffered in each one; because she loved them all, she endured in her soul what they endured in their flesh." Thus also did Mary suffer all those torments, scourges, thorns, nails, and the cross, which tortured the innocent flesh of Jesus, all entered at the same time into the heart of this Blessed Virgin, to complete her martyrdom. "He suffered in "the flesh, and she in her heart," writes that Blessed Amadeus. "So much so," says Saint Lawrence Justinian, "that the heart of Mary became, as it were, a mirror of the Passion of the Son, in which might be seen, faithfully reflected, the spitting, the blows and wounds, and all that Jesus suffered." Saint Bonaventure also remarks that "those wounds --which were scattered over the body of our Lord were all united in the single heart of Mary."
Thus was our Blessed Lady, through the compassion of her loving heart for her Son, scourged, crowned with thorns, insulted, and nailed to the cross. Whence the same Saint, considering Mary on Mount Calvary, present at the death of her Son, questions her in these words: "0 Lady, tell me where didst thou stand? Was it only at the foot of the cross? Ah, much more than this, thou wast on the cross itself, crucified with thy Son." Richard of Saint Lawrence, on the words of the Redeemer, spoken by Isaias the prophet, "I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me," says, "It is true, 0 Lord, that in the work of human redemption Thou didst suffer alone, and that there was not a man who sufficiently pitied Thee; but there was a woman with Thee, and she was Thine own Mother; she suffered in her heart all that Thou didst endure in Thy body."
But all this is saying too little of Mary's sorrows, since, as I have already observed, she suffered more in witnessing the sufferings of her beloved Jesus than if she had herself endured all the outrages and death of her Son. Erasmus, speaking of parents in general, says, that "they are more cruelly tormented by their children's sufferings than by their own." This is not always true, but in Mary it evidently was so; for it is certain that she loved her Son and His life beyond all comparison more than herself or a thousand lives of her own. Therefore Blessed Amadeus rightly affirms, that "the afflicted Mother, at the sorrowful sight of the torments of her beloved Jesus, suffered far more than she would have done had she herself endured His whole Passion." The reason is evident, for, as Saint Bernard says, "the soul is more where it loves than where it lives." Our Lord Himself had already said the same thing: "where our treasure is, there also is our heart." If Mary, then, by love, lived more in her Son than in herself, she must have endured far greater torments in the sufferings and death of her Son than she would have done, had the most cruel death in the world been inflicted upon her.
Extract from the book 'The Glories of Mary'
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Peace of Christ to ALL

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Joseph-III-IV


Seven Sorrows of Joseph
III. O glorious Saint Joseph, thou who didst faithfully obey the law of God, thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Most Precious Blood that was shed by the Infant Saviour during His Circumcision, but the Name of Jesus gave thee new life and filled thee with quiet joy. By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us the grace to be freed from all sin during life, and to die rejoicing, with the holy Name of Jesus in our hearts and on our lips.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Amen.
Seven Sorrows of Joseph

IV. O most faithful Saint, who didst share the mysteries of our Redemption, glorious Saint Joseph, the prophecy of Simeon touching the sufferings of Jesus and Mary caused thee to shudder with mortal dread, but at the same time filled thee with a blessed joy for the salvation and glorious resurrection which, he foretold, would be attained by countless souls.
By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us that we may be of the number of those who, through the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary the Virgin Mother, are predestined to a glorious resurrection.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Amen.
Peace of Christ to ALL


Friday, March 10, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Mary



Seven Sorrows of Mary

III. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried thy troubled heart at the loss of thy dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.

Hail Mary.

Amen.

Seven Sorrows of Mary


IV. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of they heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.

Hail Mary.

Amen
Peace of Christ to ALL

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lenten Meditation On Our Lady-PT II


First point. As Jesus is called the King of sorrows and the King of martyrs, because He suffered during, His life more than all other martyrs; so also is Mary with reason called the Queen of martyrs, having merited this title by suffering the most cruel martyrdom possible after that of her Son. Hence, with reason, was she called by Richard of Saint Lawrence, "the Martyr of martyrs"; and of her can the words of Isaias with all truth be said, "He will crown thee with a crown of tribulation;" that is to say, that that suffering itself, which exceeded the suffering of all the other martyrs united, was the crown by which she was shown to be the Queen of martyrs. That Mary was a true martyr cannot be doubted, as Denis the Carthusian, Pelbart, Catharinus, and others prove; for it is an undoubted opinion that suffering sufficient to cause death is martyrdom, even though death does not ensue from it. Saint John the Evangelist is revered as a martyr, though he did not die in the caldron of boiling oil, but he came out more vigorous than he went in. Saint Thomas says, "that to have the glory of martyrdom, it is sufficient to exercise obedience in its highest degree, that is to say, to be obedient unto death." "Mary was a martyr," says Saint Bernard, "not by the sword of the executioner, but by bitter sorrow of heart." If her body was not wounded by the hand of the executioner, her blessed heart was transfixed by a sword of grief at the passion of her Son; grief which was sufficient to have caused her death, not once, but a thousand times. From this we shall see that Mary was not only a real martyr, but that her martyrdom surpassed all others; for it was longer than that of all others, and her whole life may be said to have been a prolonged death.
But let us consider the reasons for which Mary's martyrdom was greater than that of all martyrs. In the first place, we must remember that the martyrs endured their torments, which were the effect of fire and other material agencies, in their bodies; Mary suffered hers in her soul, as Saint Simeon foretold: "And my own soul a sword shall pierce." As if the holy old man had said: "0 most sacred Virgin, the bodies of other martyrs will be torn with iron, but thou wilt be transfixed, and martyred in thy soul by the Passion of thine own Son." Now, as the soul is more noble than the body, so much greater were Mary's sufferings than those of all the martyrs, as Jesus Christ Himself said to Saint Catherine of Siena: "Between the sufferings of the soul and those of the body there is no comparisons." Whence the holy Abbot Arnold of Chartres says, "that whoever had been present 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, at the same time that the Son sacrificed His body by death, Mary sacrificed her soul by compassion."

Excerpted from the book 'The Glories of Mary'

By Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Peace of Christ to ALL

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Joseph


Seven Sorrows of Joseph


I. O chaste Spouse of Mary most holy, glorious Saint Joseph, great was the trouble and anguish of thy heart when thou wast minded to put away privately thine inviolate Spouse, yet thy joy was unspeakable, when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation was made known to thee by the Angel!


By this thy sorrow and this thy joy we beseech thee to comfort our souls, both now and in the sorrows of our final hour, with the joy of a good life and a holy death after the pattern of thine own in the arms of Jesus and Mary.


Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Amen.

Seven Sorrows of Joseph



II. O most blessed Patriarch, glorious Saint Joseph, who wast chosen to be the foster-father of the Word made flesh, thy sorrow at seeing the Child Jesus born in such poverty was suddenly changed into heavenly exultation when thou didst hear the angelic hymn, and didst behold the glories of that resplendent night.


By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, we implore thee to obtain for us the grace to pass over from life's pathway to hear the angelic songs of praise, and to rejoice in the shining splendor of celestial glory.


Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Amen

Peace of Christ to ALL

Friday, March 03, 2006

Seven Sorrows of Mary


Seven Sorrows of Mary

I: I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.

Hail Mary
Amen
Seven Sorrows of Mary


II: I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of thy most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and thy sojourn there. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially towards the poor, and the gift of piety.

Hail Mary
Amen
Peace of Christ to ALL

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lenten Meditation On Our Lady


Mary was the Queen of Martyrs, for her martyrdom was longer and greater than that of all the Martyrs.
Who can ever have a heart so hard that it will not melt on hearing the most lamentable event which once occurred in the world? There was a noble and holy Mother Who had an only Son. This Son was the most amiable that can be imagined--innocent, virtuous, beautiful, Who loved His Mother most tenderly; so much so that He had never caused her the least displeasure, but had ever shown her all respect, obedience, and affection: hence this Mother had placed all her affections on earth in this Son. Hear, then, what happened. This Son, through envy, was falsely accused by His enemies; and though the judge knew, and himself confessed, that He was innocent, yet, that he might not offend His enemies, he condemned Him to the ignominious death that they had demanded. This poor Mother had to suffer the grief of seeing that amiable and beloved Son unjustly snatched from her in the flower of His age by a barbarous death; for, by dint of torments and drained of all His blood, He was made to die on an infamous gibbet in a public place of execution, and this before her own eyes.
Devout souls, what say you? Is not this event, and is not this unhappy Mother worthy of compassion. You already understand of whom I speak. This Son, so cruelly executed, was our loving Redeemer Jesus; and this Mother was the Blessed Virgin Mary; Who, for the love she bore us, was willing to see Him sacrificed to Divine Justice by the barbarity of men. This great torment, then, which Mary endured for us-a torment which was more than a thousand deaths deserves both our compassion and our gratitude. If we can make no other return for so much love, at least let us give a few moments this day to consider the greatness of the sufferings by which Mary became the Queen of martyrs; for the sufferings of her great martyrdom exceeded those of all the martyrs; being, in the first place, the longest in point of duration; and, in the second place, the greatest in point of intensity.


Excerpted from the book 'The Glories of Mary'

By Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Peace of Christ to ALL