MARY, OUR MOTHER

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Meditation 33

MAGNIFICAT

So marvelous and rich in meaning are the words of the Magnificat that we cannot possibly glide over them. We must pause to relish their sweetness and study the lessons of this wonderful synthesis of prayer, of thanksgiving and of practical virtue.

1. My Soul Magnifies The Lord.
This is the aim of man: to praise and magnify the Lord. A sweet obligation indeed, but nevertheless an obligation. God has created all for His glory, but proper glory can be given to Him on earth only by man. Glory is knowledge followed by praise. We cannot praise unless we know.

And since the rest of creation has no knowledge, we are commissioned by them, so to say, to perform this duty that we may see and learn God in them and that in their name we may praise Him. This is, then, our task, to gather those notes of bounty, wisdom, power, beauty and love which God has deposited in creatures and with them to shape a hymn of gratitude that we must sing to the praise of God. Magnificent and sublime duty indeed. How do you fulfill it? Do you know how to praise God? Do you strive to know Him the better in order the better to love Him? whenever you do not do so, you fail in your duty: you are a false note, out of tune in this symphony of praise. You are unable to interpret the canticle which the whole of creation has entrusted to you. It is your fault and your shame. Look at Mary. The first words She utters are intended to turn the praises showered on Her by St. Elizabeth to God. To Him only is glory. A fine beginning for Her canticle.

Moreover, see how Mary praises the Lord with the whole of Her soul and heart. We sometimes speak, but only with our tongue, not with the whole of our being. When we sin, be it only venially, we render God smaller within us: just the opposite of magnifying God. And whenever we commit a mortal sin we make Him not only smaller but cause Him to disappear entirely from our souls.

All the saints with their works magnified God. They enhanced and magnified God within themselves with their sanctity. Not always, of course, since they also had their faults and imperfections. Mary is the only one that never for a single moment ceased magnifying and enhancing God's presence, in Her most pure soul. Mary says "My soul magnifies", in the present tense; not in the past nor the future but now and always. One would say that this was Her perpetual preoccupation, Her principal job as though She had no other.

Meditate on this example and think how you yourself compare. Oh, if we would always magnify and increase God's presence within us. If, at least, we would never make Him smaller within us! How great would our sanctity be! We are small and worthless but with the little we have and in the little way we can, let us in imitation of Mary, resolve to praise and magnify the Lord.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


MAGNIFICAT

4. Mary's Words.
Finally, in this canticle we possess Mary's longest speech. In the Gospel, only a few casual words of Mary are quoted; but they are so few that we, Her children, do not feel satisfied. Instead, in the Magnificat we have neither an abstract nor a sample. We have the very words of Mary; in fact, all the words She uttered on that occasion.

There seems to be some deep reason for all this; it appears as though She wanted to show us that although She was sparing in words whenever She spoke with men or with angels, as though She would not waste time in idle words but would limit Herself to the use of the most essential expressions only, yet, when speaking with God, She was not thus restrained. Here She measures neither time nor words but just lets Her heart speak. Meditate on Her prudence when talking to man and on Her love when talking to God.

Try to follow this prudence when speaking with men as well as Her love when dealing with God by prolonging your prayer instead of growing tired of it. Relish conversation with Heaven rather than the idle talk of the earth.

Finally ask Her that you may always love Her canticle because it is Hers and because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Ask the grace to recite it with that devotion and fervor She had when first She sang it in the presence of God.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Monday, January 29, 2007


THE MAGNIFICAT

3. The Canticle is Mary's Sublime Prayer.
How often would you like to pray as Your Heavenly Mother did. Here, then, you have a marvelous example of this most high prayer. It is not mere supposition or imagination: in order to speak with god you have the very words of Mary, those She uttered on that occasion. Words that were uttered aloud by Her so that we might learn how to pour out our heart in the presence of God.

One day the apostles asked the divine Master to teach then how to pray. For them He composed the Our Father. Since it has been composed by God Himself no other prayer can be compared with it. Now imagine that as the apostles petitioned Jesus so you too requested Our lady to teach you how to pray. And then She, a model of prayer, volunteering to teach you, sings the Magnificat. If the Our Father is the prayer of Jesus, the Magnificat is Mary's prayer. Therefore, next to the Our Father and the Hail Mary there can be no better prayer than Mary's prayer, Mary's canticle, the Magnificat.

Sunday, January 28, 2007



THE MAGNIFICAT

2. It is a canticle of Love.
It is Mary's canticle of love and of thanksgiving. How must Her heart have beaten with deep emotion when she with Her most pure lips gave vent to the feelings pent up in Her heart.

Just as you contemplate a rich jewel kept in a casket of great value; just as you admire the miraculous relics of the saints guarded in sumptuous and venerated sepulchres, so should you contemplate and admire that jewel which Mary was guarding in Her heart and which today in Her canticle She discloses to humanity.

We shall never be able to understand all the meaning and vigour of expression that She brought to it. The more you scrutinize it, the more you will find in it; but never will you exhaust it. We would have to love as Mary did, we would have to fathom God's mysteries as She did in order to understand fully the Magnificat. See then with how much devotion and fervor you should often repeat this canticle, since you know that in it the loving heart of Mary gives vent to Her feelings. It is the summary of Her gratitude to God. Whenever you have to thank God for some particular grace you will find no better words to express your gratitude than those of the Magnificat. Can any other canticle please God as much as the Magnificat since it reminds Him of the intense love of the one Who composed and uttered it for us?

Saturday, January 27, 2007



Meditation 32

THE MAGNIFICAT

This canticle was Our Lady's answer to the praise given Her by St. Elizabeth. It well deserves, therefore, that all who love Our lady should know it and meditate upon it.

1. How sublime is the Magnificat!

It would suffice to know that it sprang from the lips of Our Mother: that alone would make it very dear to us. But it will be much dearer if we are acquainted with its circumstances. It is the canticle which Our Lady raised in praise of God after having been filled with the Holy Spirit and with the divine joy of knowing that She was the Mother of God. It has been said that it is a canticle of praise to the Redemption. Who, except God, could sing the Redemption better than Mary? There is no one so fit to extoll this most sublime work of God; not even the angels of Heaven. It was Our Blessed lady, then, Who in a public and official manner heralded to all generations the power and love which God packed into this work of the Redemption of mankind.


[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Friday, January 26, 2007


OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND THE BAPTIST

3. Through Mary.
A thousand times should we repeat these words. Whatever was achieved in the Precursor and in all souls is done through Mary. She appears here for the first time as the instrument of the wonders of God, performing Her most high mission of Mediatrix of all graces. The first ransom of the soul of St. John is achieved with Mary and through Mary. At the sound of Her voice, at the very moment She addresses Her cousin, neither before nor after, but only then, this first liberation of a soul from the power of the devil is performed. We would say that Her words are a sentence of pardon, or a declaration of victory over Satan. The Lord could have achieved this sanctification in a hidden and silent way, but He wanted to reveal the power and the mission of His Son Who was coming to save the world whilst at the same time He wanted to introduce Mary as the Mediatrix of the grace of sanctification and salvation.

Jesus will always be the source-spring, but Mary is the channel through which this stream of grace flows into our souls.

St. John the Baptist was, therefore, a child of Mary by grace. like him as all saintly souls have been we also must be children of Mary. When shall we have a practical conviction that we shall become saints only in the measure of our love and imitation of Our Heavenly Mother? Ask St. John the baptist to intercede for you so that he may be not only the Precursor of Jesus but also the Forerunner of Mary.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Thursday, January 25, 2007



JANUARY 25th, 2007 MEDJUGORJE MESSAGE


Dear children! Put Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family and read it. In this way, you will come to know prayer with the heart and your thoughts will be on God. Do not forget that you are passing like a flower in a field, which is visible from afar but disappears in a moment. Little children, leave a sign of goodness and love wherever you pass and God will bless you with an abundance of His blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.


A beautiful Message from Our dearest Mother Mary! She reminds us how important Sacred Scripture (the Bible) is in our lives. Praying the Bible lifts our hearts to Almighty God, purifies us, enlightens us, and corrects our consciences! It also keeps in our mind how we are God's creatures, who are here today and gone tomorrow, and each day we should prepare for our meeting with God. One way to do this is by "Good Works," signs of our love of God and neighbor. As we love and assist others, God will bless us abundantly!


Deacon John

St. John the Baptist is born.


OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND THE BAPTIST

2. The Sanctification of St. John.
This was the principal aim of this mystery. God wanted to sanctify His forerunner; and since Jesus could not go there by Himself, He went within the most pure womb of Mary. Think of the principal details in this mysterious sanctification. St. John must precede Jesus on the path of sanctity for only on that path can souls meet Him. Only if you strive towards sanctity you go along with Jesus.

Again think of the readiness and the promptness which we must bring to the service of God. No putting off, no procrastination, no leaving things for later on or for the morrow. That is slackness and lukewarmness. God must be served promptly and speedily. We can proceed along the road to sanctity only by advancing and keeping on the run. No stopping or delay. No turning back. Do you see an example of sanctification in St. John? Jesus is in a hurry to achieve it. John is not yet born and God already wants him a saint. How happy we would be if only we could say the same! But since the grace of being born a saint has not been granted us, why do we delay and waste the time He gives us?

The subject of the Baptist's preaching is summed up in his words: Behold the Lamb of God Who take away the sins of the world! How feelingly must St. John uttered these words since he, pardoned and sanctified in the bosom of his mother, had been the first to experience them in himself.

I am not worthy to undo the lace of His sandals, he would say later, meaning thereby, "I am nothing in His presence because whatever I am I am not of myself but only thanks to Him." Apply these words to yourself and be persuaded of their truth. Without God you are but rottenness and misery. Without Him there is nothing pleasing in your soul. Whatever we are, we are through Him. If there is anything good, worthy and great within us, it is only through Him. The Baptist is the first successful example of what the power and goodness of Jesus can achieve. The experiment will be repeated later on in all other souls.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007



Meditation 31

OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND THE BAPTIST

The wonderful blessings rich in abundant graces, brought to St. Elizabeth by her cousin's visit, were nevertheless surpassed by the favors bestowed on the child in her bosom. Let us consider the effects of Our Lady's visit on St. John

1. A Fruitful Visit.
The first effect that the child, a future forerunner of Our Lord, experienced whilst still in the bosom of his mother was an intimate joy, so great and uncontrollable that he leapt in the maternal womb, as Elizabeth expressed her immense joy to her august visitor.
The spirit of God is peace, joy and contentment. You may have sorrows and displeasures. You may perhaps have to undergo very painful trials. Nevertheless, by being with Jesus and by enjoying His presence and the presence of your beloved Mother everything will become sweet. Do not seek for happiness and joy outside Jesus, because nowhere save in Him will you find it.
Moreover the joy of the child on hearing the words of Mary and on feeling the closeness of Jesus signifies the joy of an awakening world at the arrival of the Redeemer. Darkness is always sad, whereas the awakening of Creation is full of joy, life and beauty. Recall the sight of a world sunk in the eternal darkness of sin, and see it suddenly awakening. Night is over, day has arrived and the sweet awakening from such a horrible nightmare causes humanity to exult with happiness and immense joy. All that is pictured in the leap of joy which St. John made in the womb of his mother. It is the first sign of happiness. A happiness that will be eternal for all those who wish to avail themselves of the coming of Jesus.
Think of a prisoner loaded with chains under sentence to death, lying sadly in a dark dungeon. How he will welcome the dawn of the day of freedom, on which his fetters will be shattered, and he will begin a new life of light and joy! Such were the feelings of St. John, the representative of mankind. His happiness at that moment was the expression of the joy of all those who through Christ would one day enjoy the life of Heaven.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND ST. ELIZABETH

4. Her Humility.
The other words of Elizabeth show feelings of deep and lovely humility. How have I deserved to be thus visited by the Mother of my Lord? Elizabeth was bound to Mary by links of human relationship. She was senior in age to Mary. She too was a holy woman. Yet she proclaims that she does not merit to receive the visit of Our Lady. And do you think you deserve it? Have you reason to ask Our Lady not to leave you, to ask Her to accompany and to visit you? Yes, you have a very powerful reason to demand Her visit and it is just the reason given above: namely: that you are so small, so despicable, so miserable: this entitles you to trust in Our Lady more and more, because She, like a loving Mother, lavishes Her fondest care on Her most needy, most weak, most feeble child. And Her glory will be the greater if She manages to give such a child the life so badly needed. How great will be the glory of Mary if She, in spite of all your failings, ingratitude and miseries, manages to make of you a holy soul. Trust Her, then, and ask Her to try.

Finally, St. Elizabeth prophesies that because Mary believed in the Word of God She will be blessed. Eve did not believe in God's word and brought us havoc. Mary believed, and through Her faith the Incarnation and our Redemption took place. Thank Mary for Her faith which has brought salvation to us. Ask Her the grace to imitate that same spirit of simple faith, to follow Her words, to accept Her inspirations. Since faith entails humility and mistrust of ourselves, Faith, together with obedience and acceptance of God's will, is the way to make good Eve's disobedience; it enables us to partake of the fruits of Mary's obedience.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Monday, January 22, 2007



OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND SAINT ELIZABETH

3. Elizabeth's Praises.
As soon as St. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, she recognized the Divine Conception of Mary by which She had become the Mother of God. She broke into exclamations of praise: Blessed art Thou amongst women, and Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb. Consider how the greatness of Mary is known only under the light of Heaven. Only through prayer, only by asking it from the Lord. We should, then, pray that we may realize what Mary is. Without light from above we cannot catch a glimpse of Her beauty nor recognize Her next-to-infinite sanctity.

Consider the mystery of these exclamations of St. Elizabeth on seeing the greatness of Her cousin. What did she discover in Her since the Gospel tells us that she could not control herself, but in a loud voice broke into irresistible cries of surprise and joy.

Consider that the words she utters are the very words of the Angel: Blessed art Thou amongst women . . . What an admirable coincidence! The Angel and the woman greet Mary as the Queen of Heaven and earth raised above all creatures. Marvellous, indeed, are the ways of the Lord.

What must have taken place in the heart of Mary on seeing the mystery of Her divine maternity discovered by Her cousin and on hearing repeated the very words of the Angel? Angels, men, earth and heaven are all united in the same praise. That is so because the Author is the same: it was the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Angel and St. Elizabeth; it was the loving Spouse of Mary who thus made use of all creatures in order to exalt and praise Her.


Sunday, January 21, 2007



OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND ST. ELIZABETH

2. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
No sooner had Elizabeth heard Mary's salutation than Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. What power lies in the words of Mary! How effective they are, since a simple greeting from Her is enough to fill a soul with grace and sanctity! Just as flowers spread their perfume around so does Mary pour the grace and loveliness that fills Her soul into those who draw close to Her.

Ask Mary to reserve for you some of Her soul-sanctifying words. Ask Her not to ignore you since it is precisely your great misery more than anything else that entitles you to them. Be confident that Our Lady will not let you down.

Think also how your own words ought to be. Whatever word comes from your mouth should be of edification or sanctification. Never an idle, useless, or harmful word that destroys, disedifies or leads your neighbor into fault.

Saturday, January 20, 2007



Meditation 30


OUR LADY'S VISITATION AND ST. ELIZABETH

During the three months that the Ark of the Covenant remained in the house of Obededom, the Lord blessed that house and poured into it countless graces and marvels. Is it any wonder then that the three months Our Lady spent in the house of Zachary should be rich in heavenly blessings, since Mary was the Divine Ark containing the Heavenly Manna? Let us, then, see what the Visitation meant for St. Elizabeth and for St. John.

1. St. Elizabeth and the Visitation.
It is sweet to think it was through Our Blessed Lady that Jesus wanted to achieve the first sanctification of souls: the souls of Elizabeth and of her son, John.
Realize, too, that the sanctification of your own soul will not be achieved by God except in the measure in which you give yourself up to Mary.

Consider also the reception given by St. Elizabeth to her cousin. What joy! She had never before experienced anything like it. Imagine how Elizabeth would entertain Her; how she would try to render Her stay as pleasant as possible. What would you have done on a similar occasion? Do you not feel a kind of holy jealousy at the fortune of this woman who is the first to offer her homage to Mary? But rather than feel jealous it would be better to imitate her. Our Lady wants to visit your heart. She wishes to dwell in your soul. Do you try to entertain Her or do you leave Her alone without giving a thought to the mysteries you have in your soul? This is rank discourtesy. Look after Mary, keep Her company, serve your Heavenly Mother. Oh, how fortunate to e able to render a service to Our Lady, to be useful to the Most Holy Virgin! Think what this means. You will derive sweet consolation and practical guidance from it.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Friday, January 19, 2007



THE VISITATION OF OUR BLESSED LADY

4. The Visit was primarily an Act of Charity.
This is the only occasion when the Gospel says that Mary went with all haste. This haste does not seem to be in keeping with the calm and tranquillity of Her condition.Why, then, this haste? Because of the flame of charity. In Her virginal bosom She has the Word of God Who is love and this fire inflames Her and makes Her run where charity calls Her.

St. Paul said that he was spurred on by the charity of Christ. So he could have no rest and wanted to bring the flame of his charity all over the world. How great, then, would be the fire of the love of Mary! How eager was Her desire that Jesus should spread His grace as soon as possible and begin the work of the sanctification of souls. On account of this She flies in great haste to give vent to the charity which inflames Her.

Now, think and compare your visits with Hers. Are they always a model of delicate courtesy under the inspiration of God? Are they, above all, prompted by that spirit of charity whereby you long to do some good to your neighbor? Are they not rather a means of wasting time, of indulging in back-biting and criticism? How much hypocrisy very often lies under the visits which are prompted by the spirit of the world?

Examine your conversations also and the motives behind your words. Promise Our Lady that you will always edify your neighbor by never uttering words offensive to others and that ever you will keep in mind the law of charity so well practiced by Our Heavenly Mother.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rembrandt

THE VISITATION OF OUR BLESSED LADY



3. It Was an Act of Obedience.
Our Lady was not driven by a mere act of courtesy and far less by a desire of verifying the words of the Angel since Mary's faith never faltered or wavered. Neither did She go to visit Her cousin just to inform her of the mystery that had taken place in Her bosom and which had raised Her to the dignity of Mother of the Messias. On the contrary, She had kept it hidden even from Her spouse, St. Joseph. Not a word had been said to him about the secret that had arisen between God and Herself.

Mary goes to Elizabeth's house out of obedience, moved by an inner drive, by an inspiration from God which compels Her. She does not waver. She follows the inspiration without any fear. She was still a young girl. The way is long and hard. Her state was very delicate. Yet because God wants it She immediately puts it into execution. What an immense love for obedience, what trust in God! Little did Mary know about the aim intended by God in this visit. She knew nothing of what was going to happen in that house. Yet She never questioned; She did not worry. The only thing that matters is to abandon Herself to God and obey blindly and promptly. God knows where He is taking Her. That suffices.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007



THE VISITATION OF OUR BLESSED LADY

2. Mary's Visitation was an Act of delicate Courtesy.
Our Lady knew how happy St. Elizabeth would be when after so many years of sterility God granted her to have a child at such an advanced age. What joy pervaded her home! How great was Elizabeth's happiness when she realized that God had in the end yielded to her constant prayer! Our Lady knew it and without hesitation She decides to share that joy and even, by running to give her Her personal congratulations, to increase it.

Courtesy and sanctity are never at variance. Ridiculous exaggerations and false compliments such as the world offers are, of course, another question. But selfish, discourteous behavior by which we do not give our neighbor his due is directly opposed to sanctity.

Think of these most delicate and courteous traits of Our Heavenly Mother and be persuaded that good manners and courtesy, when practiced in a Christian way, are a great part of sanctity, nay, they form one and the same thing with it. It will be well to examine ourselves in front of this exquisite model, Our Blessed Lady.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007



Meditation 29

THE VISITATION OF OUR BLESSED LADY

The Visitation of Our Blessed Lady is a witness given by God to confirm the miraculous conception which took place in Mary. That is why it is a sublime mystery in the life of Our Heavenly Mother and a consoling one for us, Her devoted children.

1. The Mystery.
No sooner had the mystery of the Incarnation been completed than the mystery of the Visitation takes place. Both are closely connected with each other. We could say that in the Annunciation Heaven itself through an angel hails Mary with the most beautiful of all salutations, and acknowledges Her as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven. But God does not want Earth to remain indifferent, and thus on earth too He prepares a salutation, a witness for Mary. The Angel spoke for Heaven. Saint Elizabeth spoke in the name of earth. Her words, sentiments and praises contain something of ours. In her greetings to Mary, she speaks also for us.

Rejoice at this arrangement made by God, Who, indeed, wanted that we through Elizabeth should share the joy that thrilled Heaven and earth in front of the Incarnation of the Word and the Divine Maternity of Mary. Imagine, then, that you yourself are speaking. Repeat with enthusiasm and fervor the praises which were addressed to Our Heavenly Mother by Her cousin.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Monday, January 15, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION OF MARY-HER FEAST


4. The Consent.
Mary once She was satisfied that everything came from God gives Her consent. Think also how the Lord behaves. God could have done all that without awaiting Our Lady's consent but He does not want to force Her will.

In like manner He proceeds with us. God does not want any forced consent, any forced love. God wants souls who freely, voluntarily and generously surrender themselves to Him. When it was a matter of creating you, He did not seek your consent; yet for the work of your salvation and sanctification, it is absolutely necessary that you should spontaneously give your consent. He will not forcibly make you a saint against your own will. He will give you His grace and His help; but whether you sanctify yourself through that grace, or waste it and ignore it, that is your own personal business.

The business of your sanctification depends on you, on your own free will. Make no mistake about that.



Sunday, January 14, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION OF MARY-HER FEAST


3. How Mary Receives the Message.
Consider how Our Lady, so prepared by the Angel, receives the most important part of God's message: that She will be the Mother of God because She will bring forth the Holy of Holies. Mary listens, but instead of immediately giving Her consent as though impelled by self-glory, She instead with great prudence and humility ponders over the words and examines if they coincide with the will of God as shown to Her in His agreement to Her vow of virginity.


Learn prudence of Mary. How easily we believe something to be God's business, seeing it as easily as a suggestion from an angel when it redounds to our won profit or glory. How readily we sprint towards those things that please us. And how often we afterwards realise that the inspiration did not after all come from the Angel of Light but from the Angel of Darkness, and what we thought to be a divine whisper was in reality a temptation! Examine, meditate, take advice, so that you may always be right in your choice and resolves, thereby imitating the prudence of your Heavenly Mother.


[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Saturday, January 13, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION OF MARY-HER FEAST


2. The Salutation of the Angel.
Consider in this salutation not only the praise he offers Mary but also the glorious truths he recalls to Her mind. He calls Her full of grace, tells Her that God is with Her, and adds that She is blessed amongst women. Thus does the Angel prepare Mary to correspond to these favors from God and give Her consent to His message and thus not hinder the plans of God. So it is that God often speaks to us. very often and in many ways, and especially with His internal light He whispers into our hearts and reminds us of the graces He has bestowed on us. Hence the obligation we have to correspond to, and cooperate with them. He encourages us with the hope of the wealth of grace and glory that we gain through our correspondence.
But we, so wretched, what do we do? How do we receive those inspirations from God? And if perchance on some rare occasion we feel inspired to work on our own sanctification with fervor and enthusiasm, is it not true that oftener than not we pay no heed to such prompting? And we keep on wasting our time by disregarding those whisperings of grace thus deafening our ears to the advances of God.

Friday, January 12, 2007



Mediation 28


THE ANNUNCIATION OF MARY-HER FEAST


This incomparable mystery in the life of Our Lady was accomplished through the embassy of an angel. It will, then, be convenient to compare this embassy with the messages which God so often sends our souls.


1. The Embassy.
God sent the Angel in a visible way to announce to Our Heavenly Mother Her promotion to the dignity of Mother of God. It appears that the Angel took on a human shape most befitting the lofty scope of his embassy, that of a beautiful youth surrounded by heavenly splendor, for he had to deal with the most sublime business ever undertaken between Heaven and earth, between God and man.

Thus does God often attempt to deal with us about some business appertaining to His glory and to the welfare of our souls. And He does so through His angels although in an invisible shape. How often is our guardian angel in the name of God trying to draw our attention to some inspiration, and yet we do not pay any heed. If we could see him visibly, we would not behave in this manner. But why do we not see with the eyes of Faith?

We should also see God through the eyes of faith in those who speak to us in His name, namely, the superiors, the spiritual directors, the preachers, good readings, good example and even humiliations and trials. What are all these but embassies sent to us by God? Compared with the way Our lady received the Angel how do we receive them?

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Thursday, January 11, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION

MARIAN SLAVERY


2. The Divine Mould.
But all this means that I must lose myself in Mary, like a drop in the ocean, or like the metal in the mould. Mary is the mould of God. God wants us to be similar to Jesus and thus He gives us the pattern. we must, by being similar to Mary, be shaped in it in order to be perfect images of Jesus. Now think well of what is entailed by this being shaped, by our being emptied into that mould. You must be filled with Mary. Until you do so you will not be a real slave, nay you will not be a real lover of Mary.


But think also of the inherent reward. To be similar to Mary is a reward in itself. Is this too little? Think of being able to attract the love of God as She did. Because She made Herself a slave, She became the Queen and Mother of God. Something similar will happen to you. God cannot be beaten in generosity. That is why we cannot even imagine the reward that He reserves for those who surrender themselves perfectly to Him in this holy slavery. Do not however think of the reward, but give yourself up and expect no other prize than that of intimately loving Jesus and Mary and of being similar to them.


Without fear adopt this practice, this divine slavery. Ask Mary to help you. Examine yourself daily and ask yourself often whether you are really emptying yourself of yourself. when self-love tingles, remember Mary. At every stroke of the hour remember your slavery. Never think of your own likes or dislikes. Just think whether or not your loving Mother wants it so.


[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Meditation 27


THE ANNUNCIATION

MARIAN SLAVERY


1. In what it consists.
I must have an intimate knowledge of the strict meaning of this word. a slave depends on somebody else in such a manner that all that he is and has does not belong to him but to his master. (Such was the barbaric law of old.) He disposes of nothing and of nobody, not even of himself. He has no freedom. He must do only what his master orders. He has no self-will. He must limit his desires to the wishes of his master. He has no juridical personality. He is a thing rather than a person. The master does with him what he pleases. He can sell him, or present him to another. He can punish him even without reason, kill him even for a whim. Nobody can call the master to task for what he does with his slave. The slave is merely at his mercy and caprice.

Now this slavery of man to man as it existed in pagan times is brutal and unworthy, degrading, forbidden by God. It was abolished by Christ. But if this slavery is practiced towards God, and if a man freely and voluntarily renders himself a slave to Him, this slavery is the greatest, the most worthy and beautiful possible. It is a proof of a most profound humility based on the formula: "All belongs to God, nothing is mine. Consequently, everything for God and nothing for myself." So then, my body with its senses, my soul with its powers and all the actions and movements of my being, all my sensations, thoughts, affections, loves, all my words, as well as my silences, my laughter, whatever I suffer, whatever I do, whenever I walk, sleep, eat, or pray, all is for God. This most sublime slavery is the highest possible sanctity. The more independently of God I live and work, the greater my faults and my imperfections; whereas the more God dwells and works within me, the greater will my perfection be. Is this not slavery? Well, thus my own slavery to Mary ought to be. I must live as Her son. I must depend on Her for everything. My intentions must always be Hers. The means I use must be Hers. I must hide in Her Heart in order to live in Her presence so that, by living in this manner, I shall finally direct all my activities, not to my own glory of profit, but only to Her glory, and to Her service.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


THE ANNUNCIATION

THE MOTHER OF GOD



4. The Mother of God is My Mother.

But that union affects me also. God wanted His Mother to be my Mother also, thus She loved me from that moment as His brother. Hence She ardently desired that Her Son should be born and should redeem the world, and consequently too She had me constantly in mind. She wanted then, as She wants now, to keep me as Her son, to be another Jesus. She wants me to be united with Her as She was with Jesus, so that I also like Jesus should partake of the same life. What immence happiness to think that I have as Mother the one chosen as the Mother of God. It is through Mary that we acquire a real relationship with Jesus. Jesus and I are brothers. Think of this and thank both Mother and Son for this marvelous achievement of love.

Imitate Mary in Her divine maternity by living more intimately with Jesus. Make this union rich in practical results. But make sure you first unite yourself that your soul may be in word and in deed really worthy of such a great Mother.

Monday, January 08, 2007




THE ANNUNCIATION
THE MOTHER OF GOD

3. The Life of the Mother of God.
At that time Her life was a life of intimate union with God both in body and soul. It was the intimate life of a Mother with Her Son. It was only one life, only one beating of both hearts. What an intense and deep recollection was Hers! All was centered upon the life of Her divine Son. Whatever She did, She did for Him and with Him. She would view things with the eyes of Her Son. She would love with His heart. His pleasure was Her pleasure. Hence, that most intimate life with Jesus; hence, those pure and perfect sentiments of love and joy towards that God Who was enclosed in Her bosom. If Heaven consists in the possession of God, Mary was already enjoying Paradise through that most intimate possession which was more perfect, indeed, than that of even the angels in Heaven. It was, then, through the union with Her Son a totally divine life, totally glorious, totally sanctifying.

Sunday, January 07, 2007




THE ANNUNCIATION
THE MOTHER OF GOD

2. The Divine Maternity.
Mary at that moment became the true Mother of God. A sublime and wonderful dignity! This dignity is infinite, in as much as the dignity of Her Son is infinite. Mary has a real and physical relationship with the Son of God. From this moment God abides in Mary, not in image, not only with His grace, but with His very Divine Person. There is now between God and Mary a true identification in as much as the blood and flesh of His Son are the blood and flesh of Mary. This is the most intimate and sublime union which can exist between a creature and God. Through it Mary, as the Mother of God, attains the highest authority, namely, that of commanding Her Divine Son. She also acquires the highest privilege, namely, that of a special right to the love of Her Divine Son and from Him receives all the treasures of grace and glory together with the power to communicate them to others.

The truth of Her divine mediation is based on this divine maternity. She is an all-powerful Mediatrix because She partakes by grace of the omnipotence which God has by His own nature. Moreover through this maternity, She is the dispenser of grace. We can clearly see that God wants to grant graces to mankind through the ministry of Mary, rather than by Himself direct. How wonderful, sublime and divine is this maternity of Mary! We shall never fathom the depths of its profound magnificence. God can create more worlds, more angels and many other beings very much more perfect than the angels themselves, but He cannot produce a greater Mother than the Mother of God.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Saturday, January 06, 2007




Meditation 26


THE ANNUNCIATION
THE MOTHER OF GOD


1. The all-Powerfulness of Her "Fiat".
When Mary says, Be it done, She not only practises Her submission to God, She tells us the secret of Her omnipotence. Hardly had She uttered these words than as announced by the Angel, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Her and gave accomplishment to the work of the Incarnation. At that very moment the Word was made flesh and began dwelling amongst us. Such was the power of Mary's word. At the beginning of time "Be it done", was the word uttered by the omnipotence of God; at once worlds sprang out of nothing, swimming round in space. In the abyss of Her humility the same word is uttered by Mary and thus is brought about a work even more wonderful than the one achieved by the Creator. That initial "Be it done" drew Creation from naught. This "Be it done" of Mary draws God Himself from His eternity, so that He, without ceasing to be God, commences to be man. Look at the Holy Virgin and look at the Holy Spirit whilst in the Immaculate blood of Mary He organizes the body of Jesus Christ. Thus the body and blood taken from the Virgin become the matter of the sacrifice which later He will offer on the Cross for the redemption of the world. Adore such a sublime mystery and thank Jesus and Mary for it.

Friday, January 05, 2007






THE ANNUNCIATION

THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD

2. True servitude.
But you must not limit yourself to mere lip service. You also have often raised to God words of offering, of surrender, of servitude. Yes, but then afterwards how have you kept your word? With Mary it was otherwise. She says what She feels and She does what She says. On account of that She repeats Be it done to me according to Thy word!
Ponder and relish the world of meaning enclosed in the word Fiat, "Be it done!", the formula of true servitude to God. "I am a Handmaid and therefore I have nothing, I can want nothing except God. Everything must come from God, nothing from the Handmaid." Fiat, then, implies a total renunciation, a complete, perfect and absolute surrender of Her being. Neither self-will, nor freedom, nor choice; only what God wants and orders. Sublime servitude indeed!
But there is still more. This servitude must not halt in the face of any sacrifice, heavy and painful though it be. Mary at this point proceeds quite cautiously. She is perfectly aware of the step She is taking. Without haste, she thinks, ponders things over, raises objections to the Angel, advancing reasons, suggesting solutions. All this is a clear sign that She is proceeding with full knowledge. She knows from now on all that She must suffer, if She is going to be the Mother of God. She knows in advance the tortures lying in wait for Her; She appreciates that to be a co-Redemptrix will mean wading through a sea of bitter sorrows. Nevertheless, she knows that such is God's will; hence that suffices. Until she clearly knows what God wants, she raises some difficulties; but as soon as She knows the will of God, she has naught to say than Be it done! Remember the words of Christ in His Passion. He also said Let Thy will, not Mine, be done! Is not this fiat the same as that of His Mother? Do you also say, "Let God's will be done!" especially when self-love rises in rebellion? Why do you not ask your Mother to help you follow her example in order that you also may do the Holy Will of God?

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Thursday, January 04, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION

THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD


1. Mary's Answer.
Picture that scene at Nazareth and in spirit watch it from close quarters. The angel has already ended his embassy. His mission is over; he keeps silent. He awaits Mary's answer. Look at the whole of creation. Look at God Himself at this solemn moment. What a moving scene! Draw close to Mary and beg Her not to delay her answer. Tell Her that all the unfortunate children of Eve, all of us, born slaves of sin, are eagerly awaiting Her word of redemption and of grace. Tell Her that the whole world and the very heavens themselves are in suspense while waiting Her answer.


And then the silence is broken. Mary speaks. The Angel trembles with emotion. From Mary prostrate on the ground from the bottom of Her soul spring these simple and sublime words Behold the Handmaid of the Lord! Now the Angel is troubled. With all his angelic intelligence, he fails to comprehend her great humility, her great sanctity. The Queen of queens, the Mistress of Heaven and earth, the One Blessed amongst women, a slave, a handmaid! Yes, she accepts that state, she avows it unashamedly. She does not try to conceal it. She proclaims it in the face of the whole world, and stresses this truth so that all may know that, for all Her greatness, she is and always has been the handmaid of the Lord. Try to penetrate the heart of God Himself. What would God on hearing these words feel in the face of this adorable behavior? If God fills the humble and the poor spirit with His blessings what will not He do with this little Handmaid of His? How readily He will respond: "So Thou art My Handmaid, then I make Thee My Queen." He would instantly order all the angels of Heaven to render obeisance to Her. Do you also the same. Adore the immense greatness amidst such profound humility.


[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Wednesday, January 03, 2007




THE ANNUNCIATION
THE VIRGINAL PURITY OF MARY


5. Your Virginity.
Think often of the exceptional grace bestowed by God on the souls He has called to the state of virginity. If you are one of those chosen ones, be convinced of the privilege which is yours and give thanks to God. Show your gratitude in a practical manner, taking care that an interior and external modesty accompanies all your actions, your looks, enquiries, composure, clothing. Then foster humility, the basis of charity in your soul. Many have fallen into shameful sins on account of their pride. Cultivate mortification and penance so essential to this virtue. No sacrifice is too great, if it is necessary to keep virginity intact and flourishing. Finally, ask Our Lady the grace of imitating Her especially in her love for virginal chastity. Ask her to help you to cooperate with her in spreading love and reverence for virginity.

[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Tuesday, January 02, 2007




THE ANNUNCIATION
THE VIRGINAL PURITY OF MARY


4. The Predilection of Jesus.
Our Lord had a great love and preference for virginity. To it He devoted one of His beatitudes. He loved with preference that disciple who was a virgin. To him at the foot of the Cross He entrusted the treasure of His Mother, judging him on account of his virginity to be the one best fit to look after the Virgin of Virgins. Jesus remained with us in the Eucharist and gave His priests full power over His Body and Blood, but He demands that the priesthood be virginal. Jesus has some chosen souls, virgins of the Lord, as His spouses. Finally, He reserves for the virgins a special reward in Heaven; they accompany the Lamb of God wherever He goes and sing with Him a new canticle which they alone know.


[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]

Monday, January 01, 2007



THE ANNUNCIATION
THE VIRGINAL PURITY OF MARY


3. Incarnation Through Virginity.
Try to understand the sublimity of this plan. See God drawing a blue-print for the magnificent work of the Incarnation on the basis of the virginity of His Mother. As we have already seen elsewhere, the redemption of mankind was faced by two insurmountable difficulties: a) Humanly speaking, redemption was not possible because all mankind together could not atone for one single sin. It was necessary that redemption should be achieved by God. b) But God could not possibly atone and redeem as long as He could not sacrifice Himself, immolate Himself, suffer and die for man. Divinely speaking, redemption seemed also impossible.

But God finds a way: He will become man and thus possess a body through which to suffer and die. But this body could not be formed like other bodies. Otherwise it would be born stained like the rest; it would be a body conceived in sin. And such a body could not be taken up by the Son of God. The way out of this conflict is Mary Immaculate, stainlessly conceived; the Virgin Mary could be a Mother without any detriment to Her virginity. In this way Jesus, as God, holy, virginal and pure, will likewise, because His Mother is holy, virginal and pure, be so as man. Incarnation through virginity! How much beauty there is in this virtue!