Skip to comments.Beginning Our Lady's Month [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 05/01/2010 1:48:22 PM PDT by mlizzy
For the first day of the month of Mary, ponder this beautiful passage from the Sermon of Saint Germanus on the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God. I have added a few comments in italics.
Just as Our Lady was in communion with heaven during her life on earth, so too is she in communion with the earth -- that is, with her children in this valley tears -- from her place in the glory of heaven. Saint Germanus says that Our Lady continues to communicate with us spiritually.
The holy patriarch emphasizes the Mother of God's closeness to her children. He goes so far as to say that she "lives in the midst of us" and makes herself present "in the most varied of ways."
Could it ever happen, most holy Mother of God, that heaven and earth should feel honored by your presence, and that you, with your departure, would leave man deprived of your protection? No. It is impossible to think of such a thing. In fact when you were in the world you did not feel that the things of heaven were foreign; in the same way, after having emigrated from this world, you do not feel removed from the possibility of communicating in spirit with men.... In fact you have not abandoned those to whom you have guaranteed salvation ... indeed your spirit lives eternally, nor has your flesh suffered the corruption of the tomb.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, says Saint Germanus, "continues walking with us." There is immense comfort in that affirmation. It is the experience of the saints through the ages.
You, O Mother, are close to everyone and protect everyone, and even though our eyes cannot see you, we completely know, O One on high, that you live in the midst of all of us and that you make yourself present in the most varied of ways ... You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life.
Truly it was impossible that that which had been converted into the vessel of God and the living temple of the most holy divinity of the Only Begotten would be enclosed in the sepulcher of the dead. Again we believe with certainty that you continue walking with us. (PG 98, coll. 344B-346B, passim)
May Devotion: Blessed Virgin Mary
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life.
Thou who wast a virgin before thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin in thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin after thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
My Mother, deliver me from mortal sin.
Hail Mary (three times).
Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us.
Remember, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou shalt stand before the face of the Lord, that thou speak favorable things in our behalf and that He may turn away His indignation from us.
Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son, and obtain for me the grace to please Him always and in all things.
FOR THE HELP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
May we be assisted, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart and mind: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
THE SALVE REGINA
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found
the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, 0 blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
PETITION TO MARY
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou hast bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly for ever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior,
For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.
God who is mighty has done great things for me,
holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever.
Seen above is the Blessed Virgin Mary, portrayed as Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
It was she who was chosen by God, to provide His Son with His Sacred Humanity.
She did so in humble and total cooperation with the Holy Spirit and the Divine will of the Holy Trinity; providing God's Son with the Blood He shed for us on the Cross.
TO MARY, REFUGE OF SINNERS
Hail, most gracious Mother of mercy, hail, Mary, for whom we fondly yearn, through whom we obtain forgiveness! Who would not love thee? Thou art our light in uncertainty, our comfort in sorrow, our solace in the time of trial, our refuge from every peril and temptation. Thou art our sure hope of salvation, second only to thy only-begotten Son; blessed are they who love thee, our Lady! Incline, I beseech thee, thy ears of pity to the entreaties of this thy servant, a miserable sinner; dissipate the darkness of my sins by the bright beams of thy holiness, in order that I may be acceptable in thy sight.
FOR THE GRACE OF LOVE
O Mary, my dear Mother, how much I love thee! And yet in reality how little! Thou dost teach me what I ought to know, for thou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus. Dearly beloved Mother, how close to God thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee. Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus; obtain for me the grace of loving thee!
Cardinal Merry del Val
TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY FOR MAY
O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! glorious Queen of heaven and earth! powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, 0 Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. 0 deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God.
May my heart bum with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, 0 Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
TO OUR LADY
Saint John Vianney, better known as the Cure of Ars, when asked how long he had loved Mary, said: "I loved her almost before I could know her." In this prayer he expresses that love.
O thou most holy virgin Mary, who dost evermore stand before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to thy most beloved Son; pray for me in all my necessities; help me, combat for me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then do thou encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands," do thou say it for me; when I can no longer hear human words of consolation, do thou comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged; and if I have to expiate my sins in purgatory, oh! pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed sight of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with thee: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and thee for all eternity. Amen.
Saint John Vianney
ACT OF REPARATION
O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, look down in mercy from heaven, where thou art enthroned as Queen, upon me, a miserable sinner, thine unworthy servant. Although I know full well my own unworthiness, yet in order to atone for the offenses that are done to thee by impious and blasphemous
tongues, from the depths of my heart I praise and extol thee as the purest, the fairest, the holiest creature of all God's handiwork. I bless thy holy name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever virgin, conceived without stain of sin, co-redemptrix of the human race. I bless the Eternal Father who chose thee in an especial way for His daughter; I bless the Word Incarnate who took upon Himself our nature in thy bosom and so made thee His Mother; I bless the Holy Spirit who took thee as His bride. All honor, praise and thanksgiving to the ever-blessed Trinity, who predestined thee and loved thee so exceedingly from all eternity as to exalt thee above all creatures to the most sublime heights. 0 Virgin, holy and merciful, obtain for all who offend thee the grace of repentance, and graciously accept this poor act of homage from me thy servant, obtaining likewise for me from thy divine Son the pardon and remission of all my sins. Amen.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
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by Joseph Pronechen in Faith on Saturday, May 08, 2010 11:50 AM
What a blessing that Mothers Day is celebrated in May, the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother. As we honor our mothers, its the perfect time to sing the praises of Christs mother.
To show us how, we asked some notable Catholics to share their favorite saints quotes about Mary.
Father Lance Harlow, pastor of St. Charles Catholic Church in Bellows Falls, Vt., and author of Echo of God, likes what St. Louis de Montfort wrote in True Devotion:
Mary loves [her children] tenderly, and more tenderly than all other mothers put together. Throw, if you can, all the natural love which all the mothers of the world have for their children into the heart of one mother for only one child. Surely that mother will love that child immensely. Nevertheless, it is true that Mary loves her children still more tenderly than that mother would love that child of hers.
It is truly difficult to fathom the quality of the love that Mary has for us, explains Father Harlow. Because our experience of human love is imperfect, we are not familiar with what it means to be loved perfectly. So we tend to see Marys love for us as a reflection of our own love for others: inconstant and judgmental. But in reality, this is a grave injustice, because it is a theological truth that God provides sufficient grace for each person to fulfill his or her vocation. Therefore, it must be true that Mary has received the grace to be the mother of the human race.
How is it possible for one person to love billions of people simultaneously? Yet, God has given her that grace. Each one of us billions or so men and women on earth has a unique place in her Immaculate Heart, where she loves us with more than just a natural love with a supernatural love that draws all of her children to Jesus.
Catholic wife, mom and writer Sarah Reinhard connects with St. Bonaventure:
Mary above all men was most meek, so that neither in looks, nor in word, nor in deed did she ever show the very slightest sign of impatience, but was most patient.
Being meek isnt popular nowadays, reflects Reinhard, but I sure can use a lesson in patience. Its never been my strong suit, though I have plenty of opportunities to practice it. I often think of Mary at the village well, enduring the stares of the town gossip (who must have known something was up with Mary) and later, feeling the looks directed at her son as he carried his cross. Mary never embodies whats popular or cool, but when I look to her, I always find what God wants for me. It doesnt get much better than that!
Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Marys University, cites St. Bernard of Clairvauxs Fourth Sermon on the Glories of the Virgin Mary:
The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned; indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.
I love this excerpt from St. Bernard because it speaks of the freedom and the faith of Mary, says Msgr. Swetland. Only she can say Yes to Gods offer of salvation. What courage she must exhibit! Her fiat is the model of faith that we must all emulate.
But in a particular way, he says, her Yes to God is the model for all mothers, who say Yes to Gods offer of new life. In this age when the term choice is misused, elevating an act of destruction to a so-called right, Mothers Day is a day to recall and celebrate all mothers who have echoed Marys Yes throughout the years.
Best-selling Catholic author and talk-show host Teresa Tomeo (visit her website) refers to St. Maximilian Kolbe:
Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did and If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his mother, he will not have Christ for his brother.
St. Max, of course, is also considered a patron for those in the media. I think his devotion to the Blessed Mother is a reminder of how powerful she is as an intercessor and a mother who cares for her children and can give them comfort and strength, especially in todays toxic and extremely anti-Catholic culture, Tomeo says.
Author and EWTN host Father Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal points to a prayer by St. Francis, the antiphon from his office of the Passion:
Holy Virgin Mary, among all the women of the world there is none like you; you are the daughter and handmaid of the most high King and Father of Heaven; you are the Mother of our most holy Lord Jesus Christ; you are the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us, with St. Michael the Archangel and all the powers of heaven, and all the saints, to your most holy and beloved son, our Lord and master.
Mary helps us to understand our relationship to the Holy Trinity, says Father Apostoli, noting this quote from St. Augustine: Before Mary ever conceived Christ physically in her womb, she conceived him spiritually in her heart.
Father Apostoli connects the dots. As spouse of the Holy Spirit, she was so perfect Jesus actually took flesh in her. And the Holy Spirit is the one forming Christ in us. And so we share that maternal role of Mary with Jesus living spiritually in us. We conceive Christ in our hearts, and we have a kind of maternal relationship there.
We actually imitate Marys motherhood two ways, he says. First, Christ is living in us spiritually. Second, we become mothers of Jesus because the Holy Spirit helps us bring Christ to come to birth in others by our communicating the word (evangelization), by our witness, good example, teaching others to pray, encouraging them to receive the sacraments, and by prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of people.
This is part of the co-redemptive mission we share with Jesus for the salvation of souls, Father Apostoli says. Its a maternal role to help bring Christ to birth spiritually in others as St. Paul described his maternal mission (in Galatians 4:19): My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you! Mary is the perfect model and example of the maternal role. Its a role Mary beautifully fulfills, because she comes to warn her children, to call them to penance and conversion.
Wife, mother and author Kimberly Hahn also turns to St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on the Mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her son. There can be no doubt that whatever we say in praise of the Mother gives equal praise to the Son.
The honor she receives is a reflection of the glory of her son, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, says Hahn. In all ways, she redirects our gaze to the one who made her, redeemed her and provided salvation through her Yes, her son and our savior, Jesus.
What mother could do more?
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut. This article originally appeared in our sister publication, the National Catholic Register.
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