Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary leads us on the path to Christ

“Following Jesus from Bethlehem to exile in
Egypt, in the hidden life and public life, even to the foot of the Cross, Mary
lives her steady ascent to God in the spirit of the Magnificat, adhering in
full, even through moments of  ‘darkness and suffering’, to the project of
the love of God and nourishing in her heart her total abandonment to the hands
of the Lord, so as to be a paradigm for the faith of the Church (cf. Lumen
Gentium
, 64-65). All of life is an ascent, all of life is meditation,
obedience, trust and hope even in darkness and all of life is this sacred haste
that knows that God is always the priority and nothing else should create haste
in our lives.


The Assumption reminds us that Mary’s life, like that of every
Christian is a journey to follow Jesus, a path that has a clearly defined goal,
a future already mapped out: the final victory over sin and death and full
communion with God.”

(Pope Benedict XVI Assumption 2009)

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

See the beauty of the daughter of Jerusalem, who ascended to
heaven like the rising sun at dawn.

The ark which God has sanctified,

OL Assumption ACastagno.jpg

Which He has filled with
grace,

Within the temple of the Lord

Has found a resting-place.

More glorious
than the seraphim,

This ark of love divine,

Corruption could not blemish her

Whom
death could not confine.

God-bearing Mother, Virgin chaste,

Who shines in
heaven’s sight;

She wears a royal crown of stars

Who is the door of Light.

To Father, Son and Spirit blest

may we give endless praise

With Mary, who is Queen of heaven,

Through everlasting days.

(from Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal)

Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula


OL of the Angels of teh Portiuncula.jpgToday is the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, the Virgin under whose mantle Saint Francis of Assisiwas wrapped; Mary’s maternal protection made it possible for blessed Francis to experience an intentse Presence of the Lord and to receive his vocation to rebuild the Church. The Portiuncula is also the place where Francis knew first hand the experience of being sustained by the Angels. Likewise his intimate devotion to the Blessed Mother, under whose protection did he place himself to do the Lord’s work did this place become holy for the members of the Franciscan family and for the Church universal. As a place of pilgrimage, the holy Portiuncula is a poignant reminder of how important the encounter with Christ was for Saint Francis and how much the encounter ought to be pivotal for us today. Without meeting Christ, little makes sense. Saint Bonaventure had this to say about this devotion:

The Portiuncula was an old church dedicated to the Virgin
Mother of God which was abandoned. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ. This is also the place where St Clare took her vows and where Saint Francis died.

Consider the words of an early biographer of Saint Francis of Assisi:

From there he moved to another place, which is called the

“Portiuncula,” where there stood a church of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God built in ancient times.  At that time it was deserted and no one was taking care of it.  When the holy man of God saw it so ruined, he was moved by piety because he had a warm devotion to the Mother of all good and he began to stay there continually. The restoration of that church took place in the third year of his conversion. At this time he wore a sort of hermit’s habit with a leather belt. He carried a staff in his hand and wore shoes. One day the gospel was being read in that church about how the Lord sent out his disciples to preach. The holy man of God, who was attending there, in order to understand better the words of the gospel, humbly begged the priest after celebrating the solemnities of the Mass to explain the gospel to him. The priest explained it all to him thoroughly line by line.  When he heard that Christ’s disciples should not possess gold or silver or money, or carry on
their journey a wallet or a sack, nor bread nor a staff, not to have shoes nor two tunics, but that they should preach the kingdom of God and penance, the holy man, Francis immediately exulted in the spirit of God. “This is what I want,” he said, “this is what I seek, this is what I desire with all my heart.” The holy father, overflowing with joy, hastened to
implement the words of salvation, and did not delay before he devoutly began to put into effect what he heard. (From The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano)

Read about and perhaps seek The Portiuncula Indulgence if you visit any Franciscan Church and observe the conditions for receiving the indulgence.

The Holy Father made reference to this in his Sunday Angelus address:

… today is the feast of the “Pardon of Assisi,” which St. Francis obtained from Pope Honorious III in the year 1216, after
having a vision while he was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula. Jesus appeared to him in his glory, with the Virgin Mary on his right and surrounded by many Angels. They asked him to express a wish and Francis implored a “full and generous pardon” for all those who would visit that church who “repented and confessed their sins”. Having received
papal approval, the Saint did not wait for any written document but hastened to Assisi and when he reached the Portiuncula announced the good news: “Friends, the Lord wants to have us all in Heaven!”. Since then, from noon on 1 August to midnight on the second, it has been possible to obtain, on the usual conditions, a Plenary Indulgence, also for the dead, on visiting a parish church or a Franciscan one.

A note about indulgences, which are often misunderstood.  Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness
for temporal punishment due to sin; that the residual effects of sin are forgiven.

Also, visit The Shrine website (read in 3 languages)

On this feast we pray

August Queen of Heaven, sovereign queen of Angels, you who at the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we beseech you humbly, send your holy legions so that, on your orders and by your power, they will track down demons, fight them everywhere, curb their audacity and plunge them into the hell.

Who can be compared to God? Oh good and tender Mother, you will always be our love and our hope. Oh divine Mother, send the Holy Angels and Archangels to defend me and to keep the cruel enemy far from me. Holy Angels and Archangels defend us, protect us. Amen.

Medjugorje apparitions of Mary a hoax???

20090724-vlasic-letter.jpgA CNA article today announces the priest who identified the alleged apparitions of the BVM is now leaving the priesthood and his religious order. The authorized his defrocking in March. Also disturbing are the reports that some of the seers are living in wealthy conditions, presumably derived from monies given by pilgrims. See the brief Mail Online article. The Telegraph tells more

The blog Te Deum laudamus has lots of pertinent information.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

OL Mt Carmel.jpgIn communion with Our Lady of Mount Carmel help us,
dear Lord, to arrive at last at the mountain which is Christ who lives and
reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.



Today is a good day to read up on the devotion of wearing a scapular.

What is the brown scapular devotion?

Get a free brown scapular here.

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]yahoo.com.
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