- Monday, 25 September 2017 07:50
Today is the feast day of Blessed Herman the Cripple (also known as Hermannus Contractus, or Herman of Reichenau, 1013-1054), monk, 11th century scholar, composer, musical theorist, mathematician, and astronomer.
Blessed Herman composed the Marian prayers Alma Redemptoris Mater, and the Salve Regina (also known as the “Hail Holy Queen”) which we pray each time we pray the Holy Rosary. Despite significant physical limitations and suffering, the bright and contemplative mind of Blessed Herman advanced not only our understanding of the physical world, but furthered our devotion to Our Blessed Mother. His contributions to both science and faith remind us that regardless of appearance or apparent physical abilities, we each possess immense God-given gifts and talents! He was called “The Wonder of His Age.”
A hundred years after Blessed Herman died, Saint Bernard added the O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria to the Salve Regina, genuflecting three times as he processed to the altar in the cathedral of Speyers in 1146 on a mission from Pope Eugene III as his legate to Emperor Conrad III in Germany.
- Friday, 15 September 2017 18:21
Today we honor Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. This feast is so intimately connected with yesterday’s feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. You know the image of the Mother of God, the mother of a son, at the foot of the cross in great pain, sorrow, yet hope that all is not lost. Personally, I also recall the fact of Our Lady of Sorrows when I pray for a family who is grieving the loss of a loved one; and in a more extended way for me, OL of Sorrows is the prime patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross (who educated me in high school and in university). In this latter fact, I hope and pray Mary is watching over the the CSC and Notre Dame in a keen way especially these days of spiritual combat. Nevertheless, Mary’s real, concrete experience the Life-Saving Cross is crucial to my understanding the mysteries of life and death.
The great Cistercian abbot and author of many works on the Holy Virgin, St. Bernard of Clairvaux has this to say to us:
Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus—who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours—gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.
~(Sermo in dom. infra oct. Assumptionis, 14-15: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968}, 273-274) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15.
~(The image was written by Connecticut iconographer Marek Czarnecki.)
- Tuesday, 12 September 2017 07:29
“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps”
– St Bernard of Clairvaux.
- Friday, 08 September 2017 07:30
This is the highest, all-embracing benefit
that Christ has bestowed upon us.
This is the revelation of the mystery,
this is the emptying-out of the divine nature,
the union of God and man,
and the deification of the manhood that was assumed.
This radiant and manifest coming of God to men
most certainly needed a joyful prelude
to introduce the great gift of salvation to us.
The present festival —the nativity of the Theotokos—
is that prelude,
while the final act is the foreordained union
of the Word with flesh.
Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed,
and prepared for her role as Mother of God,
that God who is the universal King of all the ages!
from a discourse of St. Andrew of Crete
from today’s Office of Readings for 8 September
- Tuesday, 15 August 2017 07:19
As the destiny for the Mother of God, so for us.
Today the universe, rejoicing mystically in thy glorious memorial, O Theotokos, doth go before crying and shouting with joy: Rejoice, O Virgin, pride of Christians! (Kontakion)