|Devotion to Our Lady||
YOUR DAILY ROSARY MEDITATIONS
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES
Ten Scriptural quotes, one for each Hail Mary.
Say the appropriate one before saying the Hail Mary.
1. THE ANNUNCIATION
1. And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth.
2. He was sent to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
3. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women!”
4. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
5. And the Angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God!”
6. “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus.”
7. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
8. And Mary said to the Angel: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”
9. And the Angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
10. And Mary said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word!” And the Angel departed from her.
2. THE VISITATION
1. A priest named Zachary, and his wife Elizabeth, were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
2. And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary, seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
3. The angel said to him: “Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.”
4. Zachary said to the angel: “Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” And the angel answering, said to him: “I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.”
5. The people were waiting for Zachary; and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them, and remained dumb.
6. And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months, saying: “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.”
7. And Mary rising up in those days, went into 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.
8. And Elizabeth 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.”
9. And Mary said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him. He hath showed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy: as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His seed for ever.”
10. And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had showed His great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father’s name Zachary. And his mother answering, said: “Not so! But he shall be called John!” And they said to her: “There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name!” And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: “John is his name!” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbors; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: “What a one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him!”
3. THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD AT BETHLEHEM
1. And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.
2. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
3. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people.”
4. For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will!”
5. And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: “Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us.” And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
6. When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to adore Him.” And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet: “And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel.”
7. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; and sending them into Bethlehem, said: “Go and diligently inquire after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore Him.” Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary His Mother, and falling down they adored Him; and opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.
8. And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: “Arise, and take the Child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him.” Who arose, and took the Child and His Mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.”
9. Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: “A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, saying: “Arise, and take the Child and His Mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child.”
10. Who arose, and took the Child and His Mother, and came into the land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: “That He shall be called a Nazarene.”
4. THE PRESENTATION OF THE INFANT JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
1. And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord: as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: and to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
2. And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him.
3. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the Temple.
4. And when His parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, Simeon also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: “Now thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel!”
5. And His father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning Him.
6. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother: “Behold this Child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”
7. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the Temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day.
8. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of Him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.
9. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.
10. And the Child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the grace of God was in Him.
5. THE FINDING OF THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
1. And His parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the Pasch.
2. And when He was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast.
3. And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not.
4. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.
5. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered.
6. And His mother said to Him: “Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing!”
7. And He said to them: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know, that I must be about My Father’s business?” And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them.
8. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.
9. And His mother kept all these words in her heart.
10. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
VARIOUS LITANIES IN HONOR OF OUR LADY
Litany of Loreto Introduction
This litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary was composed during the Middle Ages. The place of honor it now holds in the life of the Church is due to its faithful use at the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto. It was definitely approved by Sixtus V in 1587, and all other Marian litanies were suppressed, at least for public use. Its titles and invocations set before us Mary's exalted privileges, her holiness of life, her amiability and power, her motherly spirit and queenly majesty.
The principle that has been followed in their interpretation is the one enunciated by the same Pius IX: "God enriched her so wonderfully from the treasury of His divinity, far beyond all angels and saints with the abundance of all heavenly gifts, that she . . .should show forth such fullness of innocence and holiness, than which a greater under God is unthinkable and which, beside God, no one can even conceive in thought. Hence, whatever virtue and holiness is found in angels and saints must be present in Mary in an immeasurably higher degree.
The Litany of Loreto
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, Pray for us. .
Mother of Christ, Pray for us.
Mother of divine grace, Pray for us.
Mother most pure, Pray for us.
Mother most chaste, Pray for us.
Mother inviolate, Pray for us.
Mother undefiled, Pray for us.
Mother most amiable, Pray for us.
Mother most admirable, Pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, Pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, Pray for us.
Mother of our Savior, Pray for us.
Mother of the Church, Pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, Pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, Pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, Pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, Pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, Pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, Pray for us.
Mirror of justice, Pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, Pray for us.
Cause of our joy, Pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, Pray for us.
Vessel of honor, Pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, Pray for us.
Mystical rose, Pray for us.
Tower of David, Pray for us. .
Tower of ivory, Pray for us.
House of gold, Pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, Pray for us.
Gate of Heaven, Pray for us.
Morning star, Pray for us.
Health of the sick, Pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, Pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted, Pray for us.
Help of Christians, Pray for us.
Queen of angels, Pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs, Pray for us.
Queen of prophets, Pray for us.
Queen of apostles, Pray for us.
Queen of martyrs, Pray for us.
Queen of confessors, Pray for us.
Queen of virgins, Pray for us.
Queen of all saints, Pray for us.
Queen conceived without Original Sin, Pray for us.
Queen assumed into Heaven, Pray for us.
Queen of the most Holy Rosary, Pray for us.
Queen of peace, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ Our Lord.
START OR END YOUR DAILY ROSARY WITH ONE OF THESE PRAYERS TO OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
Queen of the most Holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, manifest thy power with the signs of thine ancient victories, and from thy throne, whence thou dost dispense pardon and graces, mercifully regard the Church of thy Son, His Vicar on earth, and every order of clergy and laity, who are sorely oppressed in the mighty conflict. Do thou, who art the powerful vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mercy, even though the hour of God's justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men. For me who am the least of men, kneeling before thee in supplication, do thou obtain the grace I need to live righteously upon earth and to reign among the just in Heaven, meanwhile, in company with all faithful Christians throughout the world, I salute thee and acclaim thee as Queen of the most Holy Rosary: Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.
O Virgin Mary, grant that the recitation of thy Rosary may be for me each day, in the midst of my manifold duties, a bond of unity in my actions, a tribute of filial piety, a sweet refreshment, an encouragement to walk joyfully along the path of duty. Grant, above all, O Virgin Mary, that the study of thy fifteen mysteries may form in my soul, little by little, a luminous atmosphere, pure, strengthening, and fragrant, which may penetrate my understanding, my will, my heart, my memory, my imagination, my whole being. So shall I acquire the habit of praying while I work, without the aid of formal prayers, by interior acts of admiration and of supplication, or by aspirations of love. I ask this of thee, O Queen of the Holy Rosary, through Saint Dominic, thy son of predilection, the renowned preacher of thy mysteries, and the faithful imitator of thy virtues. Amen.
If you love someone, you are interested in their life!
THE LIFE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Take time to know your Mother!
During the first days after the Nativity, whenever Mary thought of the painful ceremonial operation known as Circumcision, which the Law of Israel prescribed for every male child on the eighth day after birth, she suffered intensely. Although she had received no intimation of God's will, in her humility and prudence she refrained from asking either the Lord or her angels whether her divine Son had to submit to this purifying rite. When she spoke of it to St. Joseph, they both wept tears of compassion.
Then one day while Mary was kneeling in prayer, the Lord said to her: “My Daughter, do not let your heart be afflicted because your Son is to be subjected to the pains of circumcision. I have sent Him into the world as an example. Therefore resign yourself to the shedding of His Blood.”
Whereupon the Blessed Virgin prayed: “Supreme Lord and God, I offer to Thee this most meek Lamb. But if His pains may be mitigated at the expense of my suffering, Thou hast power to effect this exchange. . . . ' Rising from prayer, she told St. Joseph that since the time for the Circumcision was near and they had not received any orders to the contrary, it seemed necessary that they should comply with the Law. She also informed him that the rite was to be performed in the usual way, except that she herself would hold the Child. Then with reference to the name to be given to the Infant Saviour during the ceremony, St. Joseph said:
“The holy angel told me that your sacred Son should be called Jesus. “
And Mary answered: “The same name was revealed to me when He assumed flesh in my womb, and we will propose this name to the priest.”
While they were conversing thus, innumerable strikingly beautiful angels in human form, clothed in shining white garments, descended from on high, each holding on his breast a shield on which was engraved the word Jesus. Their two leaders, the holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, said to Mary: “This is the Name of your Son, which the Blessed Trinity has given Him as the sign of salvation for the whole human race. But now He is to shed His Blood in receiving it, since it is that of the Saviour. This will be the beginning of His sufferings in obedience to His Father's Will. We have come to accompany Him and to minister to Him until He ascends into Heaven.”
St. Joseph also witnessed this marvelous sight, and both he and Mary were filled with supernatural joy and admiration.
On the eighth day therefore, after having duly prepared everything in the stable, St. Joseph went to Bethlehem and returned with a dignified, elderly priest and his two assistants. At first, the priest was somewhat astonished and shocked at the primitiveness and poverty of the Holy Family's home. But the young Mother of God welcomed him with such modesty and grace that he was soon moved to deep respect and devotion toward such a saintly person. And when he saw the divine Child in her arms, his soul was filled with tender mystic reverence for the adorable Babe of Bethlehem.
The ceremony was to take place at the entrance to the grotto, not far from the crib. St. Joseph lighted two candles, and the priests began to recite some prayers. When the old priest asked Mary to give her Son to the two assistants and to withdraw a bit so that she should not have to witness the painful sacrifice, the Mother of God hesitated, torn between her spirit of humble obedience oil the one hand and her love and reverence for Jesus on the other. Finally she meekly requested to be allowed to stay and to hold her Son in her arms, as she did not wish to leave Him at such a moment. She asked only that the operation be performed as delicately as possible on account of the Child's unusual sensitiveness.
The priest consented, and Mary then unwound her Baby's swaddling clothes and drew from her bosom a linen towel which she had placed there in order to warm it, as the weather was very cold that day. After sitting down and spread. ing out this towel on her lap, she placed her Child on it, and the priest then proceeded to perform the ceremony of Circumcision with a small flint knife, while St. Joseph recited the ritual prayer: “Blessed be Jehovah the Saviour. He hath sanctified His well-beloved from the womb of His Mother and hath written the Law in our flesh. He hath signed His Son with the sign of His Covenant, that He may impart to Him the bless ings of Abraham our father.'
To which the assistants responded: 'Blessed be He whom Thou hast chosen for Thy child!”
Now, with infinite love, the divine Son of God offered up to His Father in Heaven the sacrifice of this first shedding of His Precious Blood as a pledge that He would one day give it all for the Redemption of mankind. True to His human nature, the tiny Babe of Bethlehem cried as other children do, though His tears were caused more by supernatural sorrow over the hardheartedness of men than by His physical pain, which was intense.
As usual His holy Mother perceived and felt all that He was doing and suffering, and she too wept. When the rite was over, in mutual love and compassion the Child clung to His Mother while she tenderly caressed and comforted Him as she wrapped Him again in His swaddling clothes.
After some more prayers, the priest asked the parents what name they wished to give the Child. Both Mary and Joseph now said at the same time: 'Jesus is His name!”
Then, while the old priest recited a prayer, a luminous angel appeared before him and showed him the name Jesus written on a piece of wood. Profoundly moved and shedding tears of supernatural joy, the priest inscribed the Holy Name on a parchment register. And under the inspiration of divine grace, he exclaimed: “I am convinced that this Child is to be a Prophet of the Lord! Take great care in raising Him, and let me know how I can relieve your needs.”
The ceremony being completed, Joseph and Mary gratefully offered a light meal to the priests and two shepherds who had also been present. And when the visitors left, Mary gave the old priest some candles as a gift. The three priests were good and devout men, and they later attained salvation.
When the Holy Family was alone again, as the Infant Jesus was crying from pain, Mary withdrew to the end of the grotto with Him, and, sitting down, she lowered her veil and soothed Him by nursing Him, weeping quietly as she did so.
During the day some poor persons came to the stable and St. Joseph generously gave them alms. But among them were some wandering beggars who insulted and cursed him because they were not satisfied with his presents.
That night Jesus' pain was so severe that He could not rest, and He often cried. So Mary and Joseph took turns walking up and down the grotto with Him. In moments when they were not grieving over His suffering, they sang canticles of praise and joy in honor of the Holy Name of Jesus.
A few days later St. Elizabeth came with an old servant to pay the Holy Family a visit. Mary was overjoyed when she affectionately embraced her cousin, whom St. Joseph respectfully welcomed. Elizabeth wept as she reverently and lovingly clasped the Infant Jesus to her breast.
Mary and Elizabeth now had several long, intimate talks together, sitting side by side next to the crib. The Blessed Virgin told her cousin all that she and St. Joseph had experienced, and when she described the trouble they had had in finding a lodging, St. Elizabeth wept a great deal. And after the Mother of God had told her about the miraculous birth of her Son, Elizabeth said to her: “The birth of my John was indeed quite painless, but it certainly was very different..”
After St. Elizabeth left, various visitors came to see the Infant Jesus, bringing gifts. But Mary asked a woman who helped her to distribute most of these presents among the poor families in Bethlehem.
THE SCHOOL OF MARY
by Fr. John A. Kane
Mary Under Suspicion
Mary’s visit to Elizabeth occupied almost four months. On her return to Nazareth, her condition was very manifest to Joseph, and naturally roused his suspicions. Ignorant of the message of the archangel and the succeeding miracles, he could not know that in permitting these very suspicions on his, Joseph’s, part, the Incarnate God was subjecting His Virgin Mother to one of the many pangs of her earthly martyrdom. Knowing that Mary had dedicated herself unreservedly to God by her vow of virginity and would not have espoused him, Joseph, unless he had solemnly pledged himself to respect it, knowing too his own fidelity in keeping his pledge, he could not but suspect, with the visible evidence before him, that she had sinned. His suffering was equal to the intensity of his affection for her, whom he loved so ardently. Tortured by agonizing doubt, he knew not what to do, nor where to turn.
While he maintained a holy silence, his countenance mirrored the anguish that inwardly convulsed him. The conviction that she was the blameless cause of his sharp suffering oppressed the immaculate heart of Mary beyond words. What a painful trial for these two favored creatures of God! Mary could have dispelled Joseph’s doubts and stilled the storm of his sensitive soul. Had she informed him of the miracle wrought within her, had she narrated to him the wonders worked in the house of Elizabeth, he would have fallen down before her, the living tabernacle of the Eternal God. But regardless of the consequences of silence, though death might have been its penalty, she did not speak. Her lips were sealed with a divine seal because she was guarding a divine secret. According to the law, Joseph could have disgraced her before both priests and people by consigning her to an ignominious death for the crime of which she seemed guilty.
Had Mary yielded to her natural inclination, she would have spoken, to vindicate her character, to pacify Joseph and to defend the honor of God which was so inextricably bound up with her own. But she did not utter a word. Wholly under the influence of the supernatural, she stifled all thought of self and kept an inviolate silence, fully realizing in her profound humility that God would reveal His own secret in His own time. Oftentimes God’s favors to us awaken the studied hatred and the cruel persecution of others. And frequently we yearn-to justify ourselves, almost entirely losing sight of the eternal truth that “through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21).
In all such distressing trials, if we obey the promptings of self-love, we will seek to exonerate ourselves in order, at least, to conciliate our tormentors. We reason that it is unjust to leave our neighbor under a false impression and perhaps therefore to scandalize him by allowing him to indulge his wrong notions about God’s goodness to us. This, we convince ourselves, we are bound to avoid doing, not only to defend but also to increase the honor and glory of God. All such false reasoning is born of our worst enemy in the warfare for salvation, our self-love.
What a rebuke to this arch-enemy of our souls is found in the conduct of Mary! She kept a holy silence and calmly awaited her justification by God. In the stress of searching anguish, her soul was at peace. She used her trial to intensify her humility by extinguishing all thought of herself. No one knew better than Mary God’s estimate of the fundamental virtue of Christianity. She thoroughly understood that by dying to herself she would contribute most to the honor and glory of God.
What a lesson for us! When, through the reception of God’s favors, we are placed in a false light, we should rejoice that God has enabled us to overturn the idol of our self-love and thus to love Him above all things for His own love-worthy sake. In the trials most repugnant to our natural selves, when we are misunderstood, misrepresented, calumniated, let us be silent, and like Jesus and Mary, make no attempt at justification. Perfect imitation of Christ and His Blessed Mother means only one thing―death to ourselves. The soul that is dead to herself has mastered the fine art of living.
SHRINES OF OUR LADY
A Brief Thumbnail Sketch of Some of Our Lady's Shrines throughout the World
This Website already has pages dedicated to some of Our Lady's Major Shrines click here to go to the Shrine Mainpage, Here we will catalog some of the lesser known shrines to Our Lady.
OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
On April 25th, 1467, the people of Genezzano, a small town not very far from Rome, were keeping a festival in honor of St. Mark, Patron Saint of that district. As they were coming to church for the First Vespers on Saturday afternoon, they suddenly heard, pouring down from Heaven, strains of sweet melody. All looked instinctively up towards the sky, where they beheld, to their great astonishment, high above the houses and church spires, a beautiful white cloud, whence issued rays of light. Gradually the cloud descended, until the crowds, who watched in breathless amazement, saw it rest on the edge of the wall of a dilapidated church. But why?
In the 5th century, large parts of the revenue from this town were given by Pope Sixtus III to the shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. In return Genazzano received a new church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. For some reason, however, with the passage of time this church fell into disrepair and even the fact of its dedication to Our Lady was almost forgotten.
In 1467 a widow and native of Genazzano, named Petruccia de Geneo, inspired by Our Lady and encouraged by some Franciscans, decided to rebuild the decrepit church. The townsfolk, knowing that she had no resources, laughed at her. It is true that they helped so long as she could provide some meager funds. But the moment she ran out of money, they refused their aid. Everything seemed to be lost to her and her cause. But she refused to give up, declaring that Our Lady would come herself and get the church finished. On April 25th, Our Lady came.
When the rays of light had gradually disappeared from the cloud, all the bells of the place began to ring of their own accord. The cloud dispersed, and there stood revealed to the eyes of the astonished people an image of Our Lady with the Christ Child. All through the first hours of the night the devout people remained on their knees praying to Our Lady. The tidings of the miracle soon spread throughout Italy.
These events and subsequent facts and investigations were carefully recorded and are still preserved. Pope Paul II sent a French bishop and a Dalmatian bishop to ascertain the facts. The reports of the bishops state that, between the end of April and mid-August, 1467, 171 miracles occurred in Genazzano. It is further related that a few days after the miraculous Madonna, which the people were now calling The Madonna of Paradise, appeared in their midst, two refugees, Albanians from Scutari, arrived in Genazzano. These men, fleeing from the Turks invading Albania, related that Our Lady had told them that she would not allow herself to be desecrated and that they should prepare for a journey, to follow her image. They said the image detached itself from the church in Scutari and floated in the air towards the coast. The two men followed the image and even walked across the Adriatic Sea!
Further inquiries commissioned by the Pope established two critical facts of a miraculous nature. One was the picture itself: the painting had been done on a thin layer of porcelain and its thickness was that of an eggshell. No human hand, however skillful, could have removed, unhurt, such a texture from anywhere. And this thin sheet of porcelain or plaster stood and still stands upright, without any support, having only a narrow ledge to rest on. The second evidence was the following: the picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel that had been venerated for centuries at Scutari had indeed disappeared from its church of origin; the commission of inquiry found an empty space of exact dimensions where the picture previously stood, thus confirming the statements of the Albanian refugees. Albanians began to visit the image and constantly referred to it as their Madonna.
Imagine trying to balance a large but thin pane of glass on its edge. Perhaps you could succeed for a few seconds. But for more than 500 years? Yet this image is much thinner than a pane of glass.
Another commission in 1936 reported that, if struck a slight blow, the image reacts as if it were hollow; if set in motion, it oscillates visibly. It is also noted that the colors of the picture change their tone at different seasons of the year, and that Our Lady’s cheeks sometimes change from red to pink – this, although the image is enclosed in glass.
The church was indeed rebuilt and the veneration of Our Lady of Good Counsel spread all over the world. The people of Genazzano commemorate the day of the appearance of the Madonna with a magnificent procession; and the day following, April 26th, has been designated as the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Pope Pius IX said his first Mass before this image. Pope Leo XIII had the title Mother of Good Counsel added to the Litany of Loreto.
During World War II, an Allied bomb fell on the Basilica housing the miraculous image. It crushed the roof and exploded on the floor of the sanctuary. Many altars, including the main altar, literally disappeared. The walls of the church fell in amid plaster and dust; ancient paintings were destroyed. But the paper-thin image of Our Lady of Good Counsel, which stood within a few yards of the explosion, remained intact.
We may not be able to visit in person the shrine at Genazzano, but every one of us is at all times able to invoke Our Lady under this title, and obtain from Her that precious gift, good counsel as how to act in the various difficulties of life. No one who goes to the Mother of Good Counsel to obtain light can ever go wrong. She is the best of all counselors and is ever ready to give us good advice and direct us in the right path. Let us form the habit of consulting her in all our difficulties, and begging her blessing on all our plans. Then when some very important decision has to be made, which may seriously affect our lives, we shall know what to do, we shall not be thrown off our guard, we shall not feel lonely or forsaken; the Mother of Good Counsel will stand by us and be our friend, as we have chosen her for our guide. Whatever decision we are called upon to make, let us never forget first of all to ask her counsel.
Motto: “Blessed is the man that heareth me! ... Blessed are they that keep my ways!” (Proverbs 8:34; 8:32).
Practice: Ask counsel of Our Lady in all you do or undertake.
There was once a criminal sentenced to death in Siena, Italy. On the eve of the fatal day, his confessor, a Franciscan Father, tired out by the prisoner’s entreaties to save him from death, and unable to reconcile him to his doom, exclaimed: “If the miraculous Madonna, who has just appeared at Genazzano, does not deliver you from death, you will most certainly die tomorrow.”
After the priest had gone, the prisoner, whose name was John, threw himself on the ground, weeping and calling on Our Lady. He cried out: “Holy Virgin, if thou wilt deliver me from death on the scaffold, I will cast myself at thy feet, and offer thee my life in thanksgiving for so great a miracle.”
Immediately he perceived that the chains, with which he had been loaded, were broken, and he was free. He tried to escape from his cell, but the window was so high he feared to jump from it. He made the Sign of the Cross, and trusting to Our Lady, called out, “Holy Mary, help me,” and cast himself into the air. He felt himself upheld by something resembling a cloud, and fell to the ground uninjured. In presence of so manifest a miracle, human justice relented, and he was granted his pardon by the government.
He at once set out for Genazzano, and there, on the 11th of July, 1467, he gave thanks to his heavenly Deliverer, and deposed an oath on the Holy Gospels, in the presence of numerous witnesses, to the truth of the great miracle Our Lady had worked for him.
YOUR DAILY DATE WITH MARY
Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Angels (Paris, France)
Our Lady of the Angels, in the forest Livry, four leagues from Paris. Three merchants of Anjou having been ill-treated in 1212 in this forest, by robbers who tied them to trees, intending to leave them there to die, had recourse to the Blessed Virgin, who immediately sent to them three angels to restore them to liberty. After this miracle, several more were wrought, which made this chapel very celebrated.
THE GLORIES OF MARY
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
The key passages of this book will be serialized daily
CHAPTER 1 : Section 5
Mary becomes our Mother on Calvary
The second occasion on which Mary became our spiritual Mother, and brought us forth to the life of grace, was when she offered to the Eternal Father the life of her beloved Son on Mount Calvary, with so bitter sorrow and suffering. So that St. Augustine declares that “as she then co-operated by her love in the birth of the faithful to the life of grace, she became the spiritual Mother of all who are members of the one Head, Christ Jesus” (De S. Virginitate, c. vi). This we are given to understand by the following verse of the sacred Canticles, and which refers to the most Blessed Virgin: They have made me the keeper in the vineyards; my vineyard I have not kept (Cant. i. 5). St. William says, that “Mary, in order that she might save many souls, exposed her own to death” (Delrio, In Cant. i. 6); meaning, that to save us, she sacrificed the life of her Son.
And who but Jesus was the soul of Mary? He was her life, and all her love. And therefore the prophet Simeon foretold that a sword of sorrow would one day transpierce her own most blessed soul (Luke, 2:35). And it was precisely the lance which transpierced the side of Jesus, who was the soul of Mary. Then it was that this most Blessed Virgin brought us forth by her sorrows to eternal life: and thus we can all call ourselves the children of the sorrows of Mary. Our most loving Mother was always, and in all, united to the will of God. “And therefore,” says St. Bonaventure, “when she saw the love of the Eternal Father towards men to be so great that, in order to save them, he willed the death of his Son; and, on the other hand, seeing the love of the Son in wishing to die for us: in order to conform herself to this excessive love of both the Father and the Son towards the human race, she also with her entire will offered, and consented to, the death of her Son, in order that we might be saved” (In Sent. l. i. D. 48, a. 2., q. 2).
It is true that, according to the prophecy of Isaias, Jesus, in dying for the redemption of the human race, chose to be alone. I have trodden the winepress alone (Isaias 63:3); but, seeing the ardent desire of Mary to aid in the salvation of man, he disposed it so that she, by the sacrifice and offering of the life of her Jesus, should co-operate in our salvation, and thus become the Mother of our souls. This our Savior signified, when, before expiring, he looked down from the cross on his Mother and on the disciple St. John, who stood at its foot, and, first addressing Mary, he said, Behold thy Son (John 19:26); as it were saying, Behold, the whole human race, which by the offer thou makes of my life for the salvation of all, is even now being born to the life of grace. Then, turning to the disciple, he said, Behold thy Mother (John 19:26).
“By these words,” says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “Mary, by reason of the love she bore them, became the Mother, not only of St. John, but of all men” (Vol. 1, s. 51, a. 1, c. 3). And Silveira remarks, that St. John himself, in stating this fact in his Gospel, says, “Then he said to the disciple, Behold thy Mother.” Here observe well that Jesus Christ did not address himself to John, but to the disciple, in order to show that he then gave Mary to all who are his disciples, that is to say, to all Christians, that she might be their Mother. “John is but the name of one, whereas the word disciple is applicable to all; therefore our Lord makes use of a name common to all, to show that Mary was given as a Mother to us” (In Evang. l. viii, c. 17, q. 14).
MARY SPEAKS TO YOU
The words Our Lady has spoken in her apparitions and to various saints
WORDS OF OUR LADY TO THE VENERABLE MARY OF AGREDA
In this passage, Our Lady speaks of obedience to God and men
In all my life thou wilt find the admirable providence of the Most High and his fatherly love toward me, His humble servant. Although human capacity cannot fully penetrate and estimate the admirable works of such high wisdom, yet it must venerate it with all its powers, and must seek to participate in the favors which the Lord showed me, by striving to imitate me. For mortals must not think that only for my sake and in me God wished to show Himself as holy, powerful and infinitely good. It is certain that if any or all of the souls would entrust themselves to the direction and government of this Lord they would soon experience that same fidelity, punctuality and most sweet efficacy with which His Majesty arranged all things that touched upon His honor and service in my life.
They would likewise taste those delightful and divine emotions which I felt in relying upon His most holy will; nor would they fail to receive the abundance of His gifts, which are enclosed as in an infinite ocean within His Divinity. And just as the waters of the ocean rush forth wherever they find a suitable opening, so the graces and blessings of the Lord overflow upon rational creatures, when they are well-disposed and do not hinder their course. This truth is hidden to mortals because they do not stop to ponder and consider the works of the Almighty.
I desire thee to study this truth, to write it within thy heart, and to learn from my own actions the secret workings of thy own interior so that thou understand what goes on within thee; also that thou practice ready obedience and subjection to others, always preferring the good counsels of others to thy own insight and judgment. Thou must carry this to such a point that, in order to obey thy superiors and thy spiritual directors, thou take no notice of what thou foreseest will happen contrary to their expectations; just as I, when I knew that what my holy spouse Joseph expected would not happen on our journey to Bethlehem.
And even when some equal or inferior command thee such things, be silent and hide thy better foreknowledge; perform all that is no sin or imperfection. Listen to all with attention and silence so that thou mayest learn; in speaking be very slow and reserved, for in this consist prudent and careful communication. Always bear in mind that thou ask the blessing of the Lord for all that thou wishest to undertake, in order that thou mayest not wander from what is pleasing to Him. Whenever thou hast an opportunity, ask also the permission and blessing of thy spiritual father and director, so that thou mayest not fall short of the greatest merits and perfections in thy works, and in order that thou mayest also give me the pleasure, which I desire of thee.
DAILY EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
What's the point of it all?
A Method of Making the General Examen from
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola
There is no better way to make a daily examination of conscience or “Examen” as St. Ignatius calls it, than following the recommendations of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as described in his masterful Spiritual Exercises. Before we give any kind of list to help you with your daily Examen, it is good to review the points and purposes placed before us by St. Ignatius.
ST. IGNATIUS: “The first point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the gifts received.”
Ignatius once said that the most abominable sin he could imagine was the sin of ingratitude. He knew that an awareness of God's goodness and generosity is the foundation of our relationship with God. Once we recognize God's goodness, we spontaneously feel gratitude. Most people today are oblivious to God’s intervention in their lives—yes, even ‘good’ people. They only see God where and when they want to see Him. They fail or refuse to see Him in the disappointments, setbacks, failures, hurts and irritations of the day. Besides barely or never thanking Him for all the good things that come our way daily—life itself, relative health, relative wealth or well-being, security, job, food, drink, weather, relative peace (as opposed to war), being able to live in a non-Third World environment, having the Faith, the Mass, etc.—most people just blindly drag themselves through life, muttering and chuntering, groaning and moaning, about a myriad of things that they blindly encounter, failing to thank God for anything and everything—the pleasant and not so pleasant.
Thus, in this first point, we express gratitude for the experiences and encounters during the day that have been good or pleasant or meaningful, whether they seem trivial or important. We thank God for the disappointments, setbacks, failures, hurts and irritations of the day. We also express gratitude for the larger gifts we have received: our Faith and our potential salvation, our life, our talents and abilities, significant relationships, whatever comes to mind.
St. Thomas Aquinas says that if we feel that our love of God is weak or barely sparking, then the remedy is to start thanking God. At first, the person runs out of things to thank Him for very quickly—that is because the soul is blind to the incredible amount of things that God does for us. As our spiritual life deepens, we become more and more aware that all we have is gift, given to us far beyond anything we might expect or deserve.
We might sometimes find ourselves in a mood of resentment or depression where a feeling of gratitude is hard to muster. At that time, it is all the more important for us to express thanks to God. Not to pretend to feelings we don't feel, but to acknowledge, at whatever level we can, the truth of God's goodness to us.
ST. IGNATIUS: “The second point is to ask for the grace to know my sins and to root them out.”
St. Ignatius gives his second point a moralistic tone. The particular grace we are seeking here can be expressed more broadly as the light to see our life the way that God sees it, without the illusions and deceptions that we commonly live by. If we are to ask for this grace wholeheartedly, it is important for us to know how desperately we are in need of it. Our Lord once said to one of His mystics that if she could see herself as He saw her, then she would die out of terror. All of us have terrible illusions about ourselves and think ourselves to FAR better than we are in reality. Psychology has shown that many of our true feelings and motivations are genuinely hidden from us. The unconscious part of ourselves can have a powerful influence on what we feel and how we act. Even apart from this, there is a natural tendency to rationalize our actions and to believe the sort of front we put on for other people. Or we can deny or repress unpleasant or embarrassing things about ourselves. Or we can have attitudes of self-deprecation or contempt that distort our view of ourselves and others.
The possibilities for self-deception are endless. To truly know ourselves is not something that we are able to do alone. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for the light that can reveal us to ourselves.
ST. IGNATIUS: “The third point is to demand an account of my soul from the moment of rising to that of the present examination, hour by hour or period by period. The thoughts should be examined first, then the words, and finally the actions.”
The third point is the heart of the Examen. Our actions, words, thoughts, feelings can come from an internal source of freedom and openness to other people and God. Or they can come from what St. Paul calls the “flesh” or the “law of sin”; that is to say from the self-centeredness that inhabits all of us. We examine the events of our day methodically in order to uncover the source and the direction of our life that day.
Ignatius suggests we move from thoughts to words to actions. However, it can be more fruitful to move the other way, to look at words and actions and then reflect on the real motivations, intentions and feelings that underlay them. Actions that are apparently good can be done for bad motives, such as a desire for praise. Such an action might be considered praiseworthy but really springs from self-centeredness.
Some people are free from actions that are obviously sinful. But when we go to a deeper level of intention and feeling, we can discover that sin has a larger hold on our life than we suspect, that there are all sorts of subtle ways that we focus on self rather than moving outward, towards others and towards the Other―the capitalized “Other” being God.
The Christian life aims at a purity of intention, where all our actions spring from freedom and grace. At first we achieve this type of freedom only sporadically and often fall short. But we can grow towards it.
The examination of our day is not simply earnest introspection, it is prayer. It is going through our day with God, attentive to the inner feelings and desires which is where we experience God's call in the midst of everyday activity.
ST. IGNATIUS: “The fourth point is to ask pardon of God our Lord for my faults.”
Once we have reviewed our day, we may have come to a sense of the dynamic of sin and grace that has been operating in our life that day. The fourth point is our response to that awareness.
Insofar as we have discovered grace and freedom operative during the day, our response is gratitude and wonder for the work of God in our soul. Genuine freedom always comes as a surprise to us, because it involves a sort of self-transcendence that we know we don't have in ourselves. When we discover that in our day, we need to praise God for it.
Conversely, when we discover sinfulness and self-centeredness, our response is remorse and contrition. Contrition does not mean dwelling in guilt and shame and beating ourselves for not being perfect. It means recognizing our distance from God, our moving away from God, and asking for and receiving God's forgiveness. The difference between contrition and shame is that contrition is a feeling that moves us out of ourselves and towards God. Shame simply moves us deeper into ourselves.
Like gratitude in the first point, we may not be able to deeply feel the contrition that is the proper response to recognition of our self-centeredness. But it is important then to express it, even if it doesn't seem very deep, by asking for pardon.
ST. IGNATIUS: “The fifth point is to resolve to amend with the help of God's grace. Close with the Lord's Prayer.”
We end the Examen by looking towards tomorrow with the desire and resolve to effect changes in action or attitude that God has called us to today.
Alcoholics Anonymous has a slogan, “One Day at a Time” by which they mean that sobriety is not achieved by big and noble resolutions, but by trying to stay sober for one day.
It can be useful to look at our spiritual life in that way. We deal with it one day at a time. In this fifth point we don't look at changing our whole lives, we simply look at what we want to change tomorrow, and ask God's help for it. Our lives are a drama of sin and grace. But this drama is being played out on the rather humble stage of our day to day life.
Ignatius adds our need for God's grace, an important point. We are not resolving to perfect ourselves by force of our own will. We are resolving to open ourselves to grace through awareness of where we need it.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O Good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Permit me not to be separated from thee
From the wicked foe defend me
At the hour of my death call me
And bid me come to thee
That with the Saints I may praise thee
Forever and ever. Amen