Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady of the Rosary


Madonna of the Rosary LLotto.jpgI once told a youth director who was getting “heat” from his colleagues for having his parish youth group pray the rosary that that prayer is really Scripture study. What else could you call the each of the mysteries, the Hail Mary and the Lord’s Prayer? On the simplest level praying the rosary is not only a tool of spiritual education in the School of Mary, but also uniting oneself more and more closely to the Lord.

It is often said that if you want to end sin in your life, evil in the world, that is, to slice the head off evil, then pray the Rosary. I see more rosaries around the rear view mirror or around the neck but so rarely in those same hands fingering the beads of the Mysteries of the Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In the rosary we trace the lines of salvation history and the beautiful mission of Jesus.

Pope, saints, good priests and religious and grandmothers recommend wholeheartedly our attachment to this divine gift of love.

The previous year’s post for this feast is here.

The infant church in prayer was gathered round

Th’apostles and the Mother of the Lord;

In faithfulness to Christ’s farewell command,

They prayed and waited, trusting in the Word.

With joy we think on incarnation’s grace;

With light we meditate upon Christ’s life;

With sorrow, all his passion keep in mind;

And in his glory, hope beyond all strife.

For Mary’s faithfulness we praise you, Lord,

who heard and trusted in your promise strong;

To you we sing, O Trinity most blessed,

In praise that through the ages echoes long.

10 10 10 10


Our Lady of Sorrows

NS de Dolores.jpgThere is certain richness these days in the liturgical memorials given to us by the Church (remember on St John Chrysostom on the 13th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 14th and Sts Cornelius and Cyprian on the 16th), all pointing to the meaning real Christian witness: that radical, honest, hopeful Christian discipleship means following Christ to the cross, adoring His sacred Passion and living as redeemed persons.

The bookend saints with the Blessed Mother provide us not only good example of what and who the Christian is called to be, but the truth of the Incarnation and the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus: to stand in very close proximity to Christ crucified. By baptism we share in the suffering of Christ’s Passion which gives way to sharing in His resurrection.

The Blessed Mother, today, under the title of Sorrows, reminds us the limitless love of God for us. With Mary, we know how to live the desire of our hearts for compassion, mercy and love. It is only through her that we know how to live in the intimacy of a spousal relationship with Christ and the Church.
For info on the 7 Sorrows of the Blessed Mother read the posts here and here.

Beatitudes and Beads: Rosary Meditations on Blessedness

Beatitudes and Beads Powell.jpgBeatitudes and Beads is a 32 page booklet guides the user through the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, often called Lord’s Commandments which have the same force as the Decalogue. Beatitudes and Beads gives the user the original rosary with meditations on the Eight Beatitudes.

As the author states so clearly, “Our happiness in Christ is not assured because we’re right or powerful or feared. Jesus said we inherit the kingdom when we face insult, persecution, and lies with gladness, charity and mercy.” So very true but so hard to live, but we ought not shy away from trying to live the Beatitudes.

The author, Dominican Father Philip Neri Powell is a member of the Order of Preachers of the Southern Province, pursuing studies at the Angelicum, Rome. 
Liguori Publications sells the booklet for $2.50 (click on the link above).

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this our liturgical remembrance of Our Lady’s birthday, it is apt to recall what Saint Andrew of Crete, preached: 

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!

Birth of Mary DGhirlanaio.jpg

With the choirs of saints and angels,

Let the Church be joined as one,

Binding earth to highest heaven,

Praising Jesus, Mary’s Son

Son of God-the Father’s glory

Who took flesh that we might be

Reconciled, reborn, forgiven,

From the pow’r of sin set free!

On this solemn, joyful feast day

Let us sing a song of praise,

Thanking God for Mary’s witness

Faithfully kept all her days.

From her birth to blessed Anna,

Mary listened to God’s word,

And, when summoned by the angel,

Lived in faith what she had heard.

Glory now to God the Father,

Who has made us for his own;

Glory now to Christ our Savior,

Who has raised us to his throne;

Glory now to God the Spirit,    

Who renews us in his grace: 

Laud and honor, never ceasing,  

Be to God from all our race!

J. Michael Thompson

Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications 


A closer look at the promise of the Assumption

Assumption Maronite icon.jpg

Christianity holds forth a surprising happiness and promise of joy. It describes and offers a mystery of life that is full and forever. The magnificent Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on August 15 proclaims the deepest and most profound of these Christian mysteries and promises. Virgin Mary–  the Bearer of God who was the first and best disciple of her Son– lived a long life in the presence of God. She experienced a resurrection after falling asleep in death (called Dormition) and a transport to Heaven (called   Metestiseen, Assumption). Remarkably, this is the joy that lies in wait for all other disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ whose bodies will rise at the end of time and be with God in Heaven forever.

Let us examine the details of the Assumption of Our Blessed Virgin Mary in the tradition and legend of the event of her falling asleep and transport to Heaven as found in the icon and liturgy of the ancient Church. At the beginning, understanding that God entered into the human realm to stamp out death and bring life without end to humanity, we see this believing young Hebrew mother as the first person since Adam and Eve to experience realization of God’s full life … herself receiving life without end both physically and spiritually in unity with God the Creator, a glory forever and ever.At the end of time, all those judged to be living in the presence of God, who is Life Eternal, will also receive this remarkable eternal gift.  


The spiritual powers receive her with honors due to God, and she who is truly the mother of Life departs unto life, the lamp of Light which no man can approach, the salvation of the faithful and the hope of our souls. (The Feast of Dormition, Great Vespers, Lete, Tone 2*). 

Cry out, O David, and tell us, what is this present feast about which you sang in the book of Psalms? And David says, “Christ has carried up into the heavenly mansions her who bore Him without seed. I sang of her in the Psalms calling her ‘daughter, bride of God and virgin’. Therefore, mothers, daughters and brides of Christ, rejoice and call out, “Hail to you, O Lady, who have been translated to the Kingdom on high.” (Orthros [Morning Prayer], Sessional Hymns after the First Reading from thePsalter, Tone 4*).  


Wherefore, O most pure Mother of God, forever alive with your Son, the Source of Life, do not cease to intercede with Him that He may guard and save your people from every trouble, for you are our intercessor. (Vespers, Tone 8 before the Entrance*).

Father Stephen Bonian, S.J.

A Maronite Jesuit priest serving the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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