This novena is prayed each day from the Solemnity of the Annunciation to
the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, March 25 – December 25
Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen…)
O Virgin of the Incarnation, a thousand times we praise thee, a thousand times we greet thee, for the joy thou did know when the Son of God became flesh in thy womb. Because thou are most powerful, O Virgin Mother of God, grant what we beseech thee for the love of God: (here name the three intentions).
Memorare (Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary…)
May the heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world and in the hearts of all, even until the end of time. Amen.
Lowliness is assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it. For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins. He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth. He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death. He who is true God is also true man. There is not falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the preeminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh. One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person -this must be said over and over again–is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He is man in virtue of the fact that “the Word was made flesh, and dwells among us.”
As Christ came into the world, he said: Behold! I have come to do your will, O God.
O glorious lady, throned in rest,
Amidst the starry host above,
Who gavest nurture from thy breast
To God, with pure maternal love.
What we had lost through sinful Eve
The Blossom sprung from thee restores,
And, granting bliss to souls that grieve,
Unbars the everlasting doors.
O Gate, through which hath passed
O Hall, whence Light shone through the gloom;
The ransomed nations praise and sing
Life given from the Virgin womb.
All honor, praise, and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father, and to Paraclete. Amen.
The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates ‘the fullness of time,’ the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the ‘whole fullness of deity’ would dwell ‘bodily.’ The divine response to her question, “How can this be, since I know not man?’ was given by the power of the Spirit: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you.’ (CCC 484)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Protectress of Africa, you have given to the world the true Light, Jesus Christ. Through your obedience to the Father and the grace of the Holy Spirit, you have given us the source of our reconciliation and our justice, Jesus Christ, our peace and our joy. Mother of Tenderness and Wisdom, show us Jesus, your Son and the Son of God. Guide our path of conversion, so that Jesus might shine his glory on us in every aspect of our personal, familial and social lives.
Mother, full of Mercy and Justice, through your docility to the Spirit, the Counselor, obtain for us the grace to be witnesses of the Risen Lord, so that we will increasingly become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Mother of Perpetual Help, we entrust to your maternal intercession the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa. Queen of Peace, pray for us! Our Lady of Africa, pray for us!
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may suck and be satisfied with her consoling breasts; that you may drink deeply with delight from the abundance of her glory.
God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.
At Sunday’s Angelus the Pope spoke to the following address to the gathered people:
Today [Febraury 8, 2009] the Gospel (cf. Mark 1:29-39) — in direct continuation with last Sunday — presents us with Jesus, who after having preached on the Sabbath in the synagogue of Capernaum, cured many ill people, beginning with Simon’s mother-in-law. Entering his house, he found her in bed with a fever and immediately, taking her by the hand, he healed her and had her get up. After sunset, he healed a multitude of people afflicted with all sorts of ills.
The experience of the healing of the sick occupies a good portion of the public mission of Christ and it invites us once again to reflect on the meaning and value of illness in every situation in which the human being can find himself. This opportunity comes also because of the World Day of the Sick, which we will celebrate next Wednesday, Feb. 11, liturgical memorial of the Virgin Mary of Lourdes.
Despite the fact that illness is part of human existence, we never manage to get used to it, not only because sometimes it comes to be burdensome and grave, but essentially because we are made for life, for complete life. Precisely our “internal instinct” makes us think of God as plenitude of life, and even more, as eternal and perfect Life. When we are tested by sickness and our prayers seem in vain, doubt wells up in us and, filled with anguish, we ask ourselves: What is God’s will?
It is precisely to this question that we find an answer in the Gospel. For example, in the passage of today we read: “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him” (Mark 1:34). In another passage from St. Matthew, it says: “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people” (Matthew ).
Jesus does not leave room for doubt: God — whose face he himself has revealed — is the God of life, who frees us from all evil. The signs of this, his power of love are the healings that he carries out: He thus shows that the Kingdom of God is near, restoring men and women to their full integrity in spirit and body. I refer to these healings as signs: They guide toward the message of Christ, they guide us toward God and make us understand that man’s truest and deepest illness is the absence of God, who is the fount of truth and love. And only reconciliation with God can give us true healing, true life, because a life without love and without truth would not be a true life. The Kingdom of God is precisely the presence of truth and love, and thus it is healing in the depths of our being.
Thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, the work of Jesus is prolonged in the mission of the Church. Through the sacraments, it is Christ who communicates his life to the multitude of brothers and sisters, as he cures and comforts innumerable sick people through so many activities of health care service that Christian communities promote with fraternal charity, thereby showing the face of God, his love. It is true: How many Christians all over the world — priests, religious and laypeople — have given and continue giving their hands, eyes and hearts to Christ, true physician of bodies and souls!
Let us pray for all the ill, especially for those who are most grave, and who can in no way take care of themselves, but depend entirely on the care of others; may every one of them be able to experience, in the solicitude of those who are near to them, the power of the love of God and the richness of his grace that saves us. Mary, health of the sick, pray for us.
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.