Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Visitation of Holy Mary

VisitationThe feast of the Visitation fell on  Trinity Sunday, the feast is transferred in many places to today.  The Responsory for the Office reads:

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out:

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
— and who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For when your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
— and who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

 

Saint Bede points us to the importance of Mary and the model of the Christian she is.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.” With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favours, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.

These words are often for all God’s creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her saviour, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

“For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: “and holy is his name,” to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: “and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This is the name she spoke of earlier: “and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.”

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

A sermon by St Bede the Venerable

Let us pray for the Visitation Order.

Our hope comes through Mary

The Lord has placed in Mary the fullness of all good. So that if there is anything of hope in us, if anything of grace, if anything of salvation, we may rest assured it has overflowed into us from her. With every fiber of our being, every feeling of our hearts, with all affections of our minds, and with all the ardor of our souls let us honor Mary because this is the will of God, who would have us obtain everything through her hands.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 6: For the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The day that changed human history

John Collier Annunciation

Our Lady of Lourdes

LourdesOn February 11, 1858, a very young Bernadette Soubirous (1844–79)  and two other young girls were gathering kindling wood for families. At some point in the wood-gathering expedition, Bernadette was alone on the shores of the River Gave, near the grotto of Massabielle. It was here that Our Lady, Mary the Mother of God, unexpectedly appeared to her.  From this moment until July 16, “the beautiful Lady in white” appeared 18 times.

As the history goes, on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, Bernadette asked the beautiful woman in white: “Would you please tell me who you are?” The answer she heard was: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The title was something Bernadette never knew until this moment. Remember, only four years earlier did Pope Pius IX define(December 8, 1854) Mary’s Immaculate Conception. This grotto named Our Lady of Lourdes has become one of the most famous shrines in Western Europe dedicated to Mary.

Countless pilgrims go there to present their petition for a healing and cure –miracles are frequent. In 1890, Pope Leo XIII permitted the local Diocese of Tarbes, in which Lourdes is located, to celebrate this feast; Pope Pius X extended it to the universal Church in 1907.

Liturgically, we acclaim Mary as the sinless Mother of God, and the sacred Liturgy recalls for us  the name that our Lady gave herself when she said “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette entered in 1866 the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction of Nevers. She died in 1879 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933.

Today’s feast is the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Let’s remember those in need of a healing and cure from God.

Pope’s prayer to Mary, the Immaculate Conception

immaculate conceptionWe know that Pope Francis has a devotion to the Mother of God. No doubt strongly influenced by his Argentinian/Italian and Jesuit background. In some ways he’s no different than most faithful Catholics who have a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Francis has become a frequent papal visitor to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major; yesterday, he went to this basilica and prayed in front of the Marian image of Salus Populi Romani. Thereafter, the Holy Father went to Piazza di Spagna for the traditional act of veneration of the Immaculate Conception. Having made the Act of Veneration of the Immaculate Conception, Francis prayed a special prayer he composed. Here is what he prayed, and this ought to be our prayer, too:

Oh Mary, our Mother,
today the people of God in celebration
venerate the Immaculate,
always preserved from the contagion of sin.

Accept the gift I offer on behalf of the Church in Rome
and throughout the world.

Knowing that You, our Mother, are completely free from sin
gives us great comfort.
Knowing that evil has no power over You,
fills us with hope and fortitude
in the daily struggle that we must fulfill against the threats of the evil one.

But we are not alone in this struggle, we are not orphans, because Jesus,
before dying on the cross,has given You to us as a Mother.

We, therefore, despite being sinners, are your children, sons of the Immaculate,
called to the holiness that shines through You
by the grace of God from the beginning.

Animated by this hope,
we pray today for Your maternal protection for us, for our families,
for this city, for the whole world.

May the power of God’s love,
that preserved You from original sin,
through Your intercession, free humanity from every spiritual and material slavery,
and make us win, in hearts and in events, God’s plan of salvation.

May grace prevail in us, Your children, over
pride and we can become merciful
as our heavenly Father is merciful.

In this time that leads us
towards the feast of the Nativity of Jesus,
teach us to go against the tide:
to divest ourselves, to lower ourselves, to give ourselves, to listen, to be silent,
to decentralize ourselves,
to make room for the beauty of God, the source of true joy.

Oh Immaculate, Our Mother, pray for us!

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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