MARY, OUR MOTHER

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mark

The Shortening of Days

IT seems much more than a cliché these days: just about everybody says that time is "flying by." Friday is here before we know it. Spring is almost over—already—and I’m writing you again in the wee hours of the morning (where did the day go??)

Time seems to literally fly by. Is it possible that time is speeding up? Or rather, is time being compressed?

As I pondered this question some time ago, the Lord seemed to answer with a technological analogy: the "Mp3". There is a technology called "compression" in which the size of a song (the amount of space or computer memory it takes up) can be "shrunk" without noticeably affecting the sound quality.

So too, it seems that our days are being compressed, even though one second still appears to be one second.

We are heading towards the end of time. Now the more we approach the end of time, the more quickly we proceed—this is what’s extraordinary. There is, as it were, a very significant acceleration in time; there’s an acceleration in time just as there’s an acceleration in speed. And we go faster and faster. We must be very attentive to this to understand what is happening in today’s world. —Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P., The Catholic Church at the End of an Age, Ralph Martin, p. 15-16

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Compression can, however, begin to deteriorate the sound quality of a song. The more compression there is, the worse the sound. So too, as the days seem increasingly "compressed," the more there is a deterioration in morals, civil order, and nature.

A priest recently said that God is shortening the days… as an act of mercy.

If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect whom he chose, he did shorten the days. (Mark 13:20)



Feast of the Visitation:


Mary's Soul Proclaims God's Greatness

St. Bede the Venerable

This excerpt from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable (Lib 1,4:CCL 122, 25-26, 30) on the Visitation of St. Elizabeth by the Blessed Virgin Mary is used in the Roman Liturgy's Office of Readings for the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, with the accompanying biblical reading being from Song of Songs 2:8-14 and 8:6-7. Written in the early 8th century, it explains why the Magnificat, Mary's prayer on the occasion of the Visitation, is used daily in the liturgy of the hours for evening prayer.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 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 savior, 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 savior.

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.




ON CALVARY - THE CRUCIFIXION

2. On the Cross.
Already nailed, He is dragged on the Cross to the ditch where it is to be erected. The cross is lifted, then dropped into the hole. It hits the ground violently. The pain is indescribable. The whole weight of His body is hanging on the nails. And now the shock of that cross striking the ground renders the pain more excruciating. Jesus shudders convulsively. The blood flows down the cross in abundance. Not a tremor escapes the eyes of His Mother. Not a pain escapes Her observation. She sees all, She understands all, like Her Son She bears all in silence.

Once again, together with, and close to, Mary, watch this picture. Behold your King hanging between Heaven and earth: crucified, like a criminal between two thieves. Abandoned by His own people who rejoice at His suffering. Look at Him well. Tell your Mother to show Him to you and to teach you how to look at Jesus crucified. See the divine head bending under the unbearable pain of the crown of thorns. See those eyes blinded by the blood which floods them. See that breast painfully heaving under the fatigue that chokes it. See that body all broken down, turned into one whole wound. see those hands and feet streaming blood. Look at Him well. It is Jesus, your Jesus, your King, your Redeemer, your Saviour.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In relation to my last post, here is an interesting article from Caritas of Birmingham,
regarding St. Louis de Montfort and his prophecies . . .


Those who thus far have accepted Our Lady’s plans and messages are suffering. Many sorrows surround them. To be a child of Our Lady is to be purified of your sins of the past, to be made into a new person. It is very unpleasant to a depth that when you think you cannot be brought lower, suddenly you are, and you are brought deeper into the midst of your trials. St. Louis De Montfort wrote four hundred years ago of the time when Our Lady would come and raise up the last apostles of the latter times, and that they would be “as the children of Levi, purified by the great fire of tribulation.” It, therefore, may be a revelation that you are not alone in your sufferings, but it should not surprise you when we find so much evidence and reason for it when we read the Scriptures, lives of the saints, and Our Lady’s messages. However, the joy is that we are in a time of grace, and we have Our Lady with us, nursing us as newborn infants as we learn to walk our first steps in the spiritual life. Just as a baby falls and gets hurt, it is a great comfort that our Mother is there to help us get back up, kissing and soothing the hurt away. Accepting the invitation of Our Lady ‘now’, while She is with us to help us will be an overwhelming joy to our hearts when the time of grace is no longer available.

December 25, 1989

“…Therefore, little children, accept with seriousness and live the messages for your soul not to be sad when I will not be with you anymore and when I will not guide you anymore like an insecure child in his first steps…”

As a mother, Our Lady is truly coming to the world to actually birth us. She said:

March 25, 1990

“…As I bore Jesus in my womb, so also, dear children, do I wish to bear you unto holiness…”

Our Lady didn’t say as I bore Jesus “like” or “symbolically” I want to bear you. She said, “as I bore Jesus in my womb so also, dear children, do I wish to bear you unto holiness…” Our Lady is somehow rebirthing us into holiness through Her love as She loved Jesus. The fact is, it is not just unbelievers who need to be reborn, but all Catholics and Christians. Perhaps Protestants are more correct in their concept of being reborn than we give credit for. As a true mother, this birth is followed up, watched over, and protected by the Mother of mothers. God gives the Heavenly Mother this special time to rescue us before the harvest, to really mother us and teach us until we can walk securely.

- A Friend of Medjugorje


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 May 2007 )



The Role of the Virgin Mary in the End Times


Introduction
One of the great contributions of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort in the teaching about Mary is his writing about her role in the latter times. A quote from his book, "The True Devotion to Mary", states and expresses well this role of Mary in the end times:
"The salvation of the world began through Mary and through her it must be accomplished." (True Devotion, #49)
Mary's role in the latter times St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort explains in detail why God wishes Mary to have a role in the end times. He writes in his book, "The True Devotion", the details why God wishes to make Mary better known. The reasons are as follows:
  • Keeping herself hidden by her great humility, Mary has obtained from God the favor of being made known
  • God wishes to be glorified and praised by those who devoted themselves to Him through Mary
  • Mary must be known and acknowledged so that Jesus may be known and acknowledged
  • As Mary is the way by which Jesus first came to us, she will again be the way by which Jesus will again come to us, though not in the same manner
  • Mary must be better known for the deeper understanding and the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity
  • In the latter times, or end times, Mary is to shine forth: in mercy, to bring back sinners to God and the Church; in power, to combat the enemies of Christ; in grace, to inspire and support Christ's soldiers
  • Mary must become as terrible as an army in battle array to the Evil One and his followers, especially in the end times [True Devotion, #50-54]
What are the latter times or end times? In his very scholarly book, "The End Will Not Be At Once", author Fr. Herman Hendrickx helps give an idea of what the end times will be through his study of Mark 13:1-4 and Luke 21:5-36. These two passages recount what Jesus told his disciples about the end. Although the scriptural texts may appear frightening since it speaks not only of a world disaster but also involving cataclysm in the cosmos, according to bible scholars, we must also see the context of all these in its connection to the second coming of Jesus - when the redemption of all Christians comes near and all will be called to stand with confidence before Christ.
Devotion to Mary is necessary in the latter times
It is in view of these end times that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort concludes that devotion to Mary is especially necessary. According to him, those devoting themselves to Mary in the end times will then have recourse to her as their advocate and mediatrix before Jesus. She will be the "safest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect way of approaching Jesus". St. Louis-Marie also foresees that those who will devote themselves to Mary in these end times will be the "true apostles of the latter times". The simplicity and self-sacrifice of Jesus will be reflected in the whole behavior of all who give themselves to Jesus through Mary in these latter times.
The latter times is a mystery
When the latter times or end times will be is beyond all human capacity to know. St. Louis-Marie says that: "Only God knows. For our part we must yearn and wait for it in silence and in prayer." (True Devotion, #55-59). Related resources: [From Catholic Internet Mission]
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Meditation 66

ON CALVARY - THE CRUCIFIXION

1. Preparations for the Crucifixion.
See now the arrival in Calvary. After the excruciating way of the cross, Jesus has finally reached there not without having several times stumbled and fallen to the ground. Crushed by the pain and the fatigue, He is exhausted, pale, bloodstained. The executioners also have arrived, and wasting no time they set about preparing all the requirements for the crucifixion of Our Lord and of the thieves. Follow His poor Mother at this moment. She also has climbed the hill. She knows what is awaiting Her. Yet, courageous and resolute, She is ready to bear it. The execution of a man, no matter how big a criminal he has been, is always an impressive and horrible sight. What, then, would that scene cause in the sensitive heart of Mary, His Mother! Do not leave Her. Let the crowds climb Calvary out of hatred or curiosity; you remain near the sorrowful Mother and while watching listen to the pantings of Her heart.


The executioners brutally tear away from Jesus all His garments. Fresh blood gushes from those renewed wounds. He remains bruised and naked, exposed to the eager eyes of the spectators. Hear the laughter and vulgarities of the soldiers and of the executioners. Maybe His own Jewish people echoed the same mocking cries. And try to hear the echoes in the heart of Mary. What would Her heart feel on seeing Her Jesus in such state? Presently, He is stretched with violence on the cross. They grasp one of His hands, press it on the wood, apply a nail and vigorously strike it home with the hammer. A shudder runs across the body of Jesus as the nail pierces His wrist. Observe His lips compressed in pain. See Him choking back the cry that would escape from His mouth. His eyes filled with unvoluntary tears, are lifted to Heaven. He looks at His Father. His thoughts run to you. He speaks to you. "This," He says, "is for you."

Then another blow of the hammer, then another, and another until both hands and feet are nailed to the cross. Can you not see those nails piercing the heart of His Mother? All those blows find terrible echo in Her heart. She felt every blow as fiercely as He did. She also shuddered. She also looked to Heaven. She also though of you. But how do you feel? What do you do on seeing Jesus and His Mother in such an ordeal?

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Mark Mallett continues his meditations on our troubled times:

Deluge of False Prophets

IN a dream which increasingly mirrors our times, St. John Bosco saw the Church represented by a great ship which, directly before a period of peace, was under great attack:

The enemy ships attack with everything they’ve got: bombs, canons, firearms, and even books and pamphlets are hurled at the Pope’s ship. Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco, compiled and edited by Fr. J. Bacchiarello, S.D.B.

That is, the Church would be flooded with a deluge of false prophets.

THE YEAR OF DISTORTION

The past year, we have seen an explosion of voices attacking the Catholic Church in the name of "truth."

  • The Da Vinci Code, authored by Dan Brown, is a book which suggests that Jesus may have survived the crucifixion, and had a child with Mary Magdalene.
  • The Lost Tomb of Jesus is a documentary produced by James Cameron (Titanic) which claims that the bones of Jesus and his family have been found in a tomb, thereby suggesting that Jesus never rose from the dead.
  • "The Gospel of Judas" discovered in 1978 was brought to the forefront by National Geographic Magazine, a "gospel" which one
    scholar said would "turn everything on its head." The ancient document alludes to the "Gnostic" heresy that we are saved by special knowledge, not faith in Christ.
  • Another form of Gnosticism is The Secret. This hugely popular film purports that the general population has been kept from a secret: the "law of attractions". It says that positive feelings and thoughts attract real events into one’s life; that one becomes his or her own savior through positive thinking.
  • Organized Atheism is gaining momentum in both Europe and North America, attacking religion as the cause of the world’s divisions and evils.
  • Separation of Church and State is rapidly growing into simply silencing the Church. Recently, 18 American Congressman issued a communiqué demanding that the papacy back off from instructing Catholic politicians in their duty—a move, says The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, that could precipitate a schism.
  • Talk show hosts and comedians are now regularly not only criticizing the Church, but using terms and language which are vulgar and blasphemous. It’s as if there is suddenly "open season" on Catholicism.
  • Perhaps one of the most powerful propaganda films of our times, Brokeback Mountain has gone a long way in changing countless minds that the practice of homosexuality is not only acceptable, but to be celebrated.
  • There is a strong movement of sedevacanists surging in the world (they are those who believe the seat of Peter is vacant, and that since Vatican II, the reigning popes are "anti-popes.") The arguments are clever but ultimately false, as the genuine mistakes made through erroneous applications of Vatican II are twisted to seem like present day Catholicism is actually a "false church." Pope Benedict XVI is working assiduously to correct these errors while being attacked by the media for imposing his "world view", and by certain quarters of the Church itself for "rewinding the clock."
  • While concern for the planet is part of man’s vocation as steward of creation, I believe there is a strong "false prophet" within the environmental movement which seeks to frighten mankind through exaggeration, and to manipulate and control us through this fear. (See "Control! Control!")

At the root of much of these and other attacks is an assault on the very divinity of Christ. This also is a sign of the times:

So now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:2:22)

FALSE PROPHETS—A PRECURSOR

There will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. (2 Pet 2:1-2)

St. Peter gives us a powerful picture of our day in which the truth perpetually proclaimed by the Magisterium of the Church is openly mocked and hated, just as Christ was slapped and spit upon by the Sanhedrin. This, before He was ultimately led into the streets to the chants of "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

The increasing number and influence of such false prophets is not only a precursor to what will become, I believe, an open and "official" persecution of Christians, but may be the harbinger of the coming False Prophet: an individual whose appearance coincides with that of the "AntiChrist" or the "Lawless One" (1 John 2:18; 2 Thess 2:3). Just as the growing lawlessness of our times may culminate in the appearance of the Lawless One, so too the sudden proliferation of false prophets may climax in the appearance of the False Prophet (Rev 13:11-14; 19:20). (Note: Some theologians equate the "second beast" of Revelation, the "False Prophet", to the person of AntiChrist, while others point to the "first beast" (Rev 13:1-2). I wish to avoid speculation on this point. The importance of this message is to recognize the signs of times as Christ urges us to do [Luke 12:54-56].)

According to the Early Church Fathers and Sacred Scripture, this manifestation of an individual AntiChrist will come before the Era of Peace, but after a great rebellion or apostasy:

For that day [of the coming of our Lord Jesus] will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed… (2 Thess 2:3)

When all this is considered there is good reason to fear… that there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” of whom the Apostle speaks. —POPE ST. PIUS X, Encylical, E Supremi, n.5

DISCERNING FALSE PROPHETS: FIVE TESTS

The days are coming and are already here when the darkness of confusion will become so thick, that only the supernatural grace of God will be able to carry souls through these times. Well-meaning Catholics will be calling one another heretics. False prophets will claim to have the truth. The din of voices will be overwhelming.

St. John gives us five tests by which we can determine who is in the spirit of Christ, and who is in the spirit of antichrist.

The first:

This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God…

One who denies Christ’s incarnation in the flesh does "not belong to God," but to the spirit of antichrist.

The second:

and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. (1 John 4:1-3)

The one who denies Christ’s divinity (and all that implies) is also a false prophet.

The third:

They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. (v. 5)

The message of the false prophet will be lapped up by the world. In many of the examples above, the world has quickly fallen into these seductive traps, drawing hundreds of millions away from the Truth. On the other hand, the genuine message of the Gospel is accepted by fewer souls because it requires repentance from sin and faith in God’s plan of salvation, and is therefore rejected by the majority.

Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:23-24)

You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. (Matt 10:22)

The fourth test given by St. John is fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church:

They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. (1 John 2:19)

Anyone who teaches a Gospel different than the one handed onto us down through the centuries in the unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession, is also working, if even unknowingly, through a spirit of deception. This does not mean that someone who is ignorant of the truth is guilty of apostasy; but it means that those who knowingly refuse to accept what Christ Himself has built upon Peter, the rock, place their souls—and the sheep they lead—in grave danger.

We must hear again what Jesus said to the first Bishops of the Church:

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

This final test is that he who persists in sin, calling evil, good and good, evil, is not of God. These kinds of false prophets are to be found everywhere in our modern age…

Whoever does not do right is not of God. (1 John 3:10)

BE LITTLE

Jesus gives us a very simple solution to navigating through the confusions and delusions spread by the false prophets of our day: be little like a child. One who is humble is obedient to the teachings of the Church, even though he may not fully comprehend them; he is submissive to the Commandments even though his flesh pulls at him to do otherwise; and he trusts in the Lord and in His Cross to save him—a notion which is "foolishness" to the world. He keeps his eyes on the Lord, simply doing the duty of the moment, abandoning himself to God in good times and bad. The five tests above are possible for him, because he trusts in the Body of Christ, which is the Church, to help him discern. And the more he opens his heart to grace as he lives in child-like submission to divine authority, the easier total faithfulness becomes.

One of the promises of the Virgin Mary to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that she will protect them from heresy, which is why lately I have been so vigorously promoting this prayer. Yes, to pray these beads each day may sometimes feel dry, pointless, and a burden. But it is the child-like heart which trusts, despite his feelings, that God has chosen this particular prayer as a means of grace and protection for our day…

…and protection from the false prophets.

Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray… many false prophets have gone out into the world… We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. (Matt 24:9; 1 John 4:1, 6)

John portrays the ‘beast rising out of the sea,’ out of the dark depths of evil, with the symbols of Roman imperial power, and he thus puts a very concrete face on the threat facing the Christians of his day: the total claim placed upon man by the emperor cult and the resulting elevation of political-military-economic might to the peak of absolute power—to the personification of the evil that threatens to devour us. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Jesus of Nazareth; 2007



THE MEETING WITH JESUS

3. The Meeting.
Watch in silence this striking incident. No words can depict it. Let your heart speak and feel whatever it is capable of. try to gauge the longing of that Mother who wants to get close to Her Son.


She wants to exchange a glance, possibly one word, one token of love, one motherly touch. And so, there, in the middle of the street of sorrows She meets Him, stretches Her arms out to Him, would like to snatch Him from them, if it were possible, and take Him home. Jesus lifts His eyes and sees His Mother. Their eyes meet. What a lot of things would they tell! How well they understand each other! Both hearts compenetrate each other and feel their suffering increased at the sight of each other's sufferings. She knew it all in advance; but She would not avoid that meeting. Perhaps She did not expect to find Her Son so terribly disfigured. What would be Her sorrow on seeing that divine face so hideously ill-treated, beaten, swollen and abused. Only She with Her eyes of Mother could could make Him out. Learn generosity from Mary's decision to meet Jesus in spite of the pain that would be caused Her. Do you also not hesitate to go out to the encounter of sorrow and trial for there will you invariably meet Jesus.

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

Monday, May 28, 2007



THE MEETING WITH JESUS

2. The Cortege.
a)
There are those who loaded the cross on Him: the Jews, the Pharisees, the soldiers, the executioners. But they also bear within themselves the cross of their sins. There is no other alternative: either we bear the cross of Jesus or we bear the cross of Satan, which is more loathsome and far heavier.

b) There are also two men who bear their cross with Jesus: these are the thieves. But they do not bear it for Jesus, for His love, but with anger and despair, by compulsion.

c) In the third place, there is the Cyrenean who bears the cross on his shoulders. What great happiness is his! At the beginning he knew nothing about it, and, on account of that, he did not freely accept the burden, but little by little he resigned himself and in the end he was carrying the cross willingly and joyfully and this sanctified him. So it is with the cross. Even when it is accepted by compulsion and against our will, in the end it will bring about our sanctification.

d) There is another group in this scene, that of the pious women. They accompany Jesus, have pity on Him, would like to alleviate Him and take, if they could, that burden from His shoulders, but their compassion is incomplete, because it is merely human. They see in Jesus an unfortunate man: they do not see a suffering God. That is why they do not understand the cause that leads Him to Calvary. Jesus tells them, "Weep for your sins." In this manner and only thus will you console Him.

e) Lastly, look at the little group that surrounds His sorrowful Mother. She knows how to carry the cross with Jesus and like Him. What a share Our Lady takes in His sufferings and sorrows! How similar is the suffering in both hearts! They are equal in all. In intensity, because they have both reached the climax. In purpose, because it is for our sins that they are tortured. In the way, because they suffer out of pure love. The divine and infinite love of the Son reflects itself as much as it is possible in the heart of His sorrowful Mother.

Now make your choice. You have to bear your cross, you have to accompany Christ on the way to Calvary. There is no getting away from this obligation. You are free only to choose the form and way in which you would carry your cross. Which group are you going to join?


Ask Our Lady to admit you in Hers, in the company of those holy souls around Her. Stand by Her, very close to Her and brace yourself up to suffer and to bear that cross which god may be pleased to give you. Never attempt to carry it alone. You would not be able. It would be too heavy for you. But at the side of your Mother all your crosses will turn out to be small, all sufferings will appear to be sweet.


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


"Do whatever He tells you. (John 2:5)

VATICAN - AVE MARIA - God's glory is resplendent in Mary ,
Rev. Luciano Alimandi

Vatican City (Fides Service) - In the month of May the Church is especially attentive to the words of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2, 5). These were the last of the few words of Mary recorded in the Gospel according to Saint John who more than anyone knew the secrets of Our Lady's knowledge and love for the incarnate Word. “do whatever he tells you” is her legacy of love to us.

The numerous Marian apparitions through history even in our day, are simply a repetition of that heartfelt advice. Every time “they have no wine” and the Lord must work the miracle, in substance, the “conversion of humanity”, immediately the Mother is present, as in Cana in Galilee, to intercede with her Son and to tell his servants to do His Will. It is with regret that we must add that not rarely Marian apparitions have not been received as the intended gift: but as the cause of dispute, contrariety and extremism in one sense or the other …

Every authentic apparition is given essentially as a call to hearts to convert to the Lord; wherever Mary is present the words of Isaiah, applied to Jesus come true: “You have multiplied the nation, you have increased their joy: they joy before you according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Is 9, 2-3).

It would be unthinkable that human action alone, let alone that of the Evil One, could multiply joy and happiness and bring hearts to permanent conversion to God. The places “visited” by Mary have a special attraction which cannot be described in words or measured with human means; it is precisely this attractiveness of Mary which draws people from near and far to rediscover Jesus.
In those places the working of the Holy Spirit is intensified through prayer as it cannot be experienced elsewhere. Mary in fact intercedes with her Son that the manifestation of His glory may increase faith in Him in the hearts of all men and women of good will. Mary's love is immeasurable, her sole desire is that her Son's will be done, that His every word become lived reality, without hesitation, afterthoughts, and much less, regrets.

At times we are assailed by the temptation to think that following the Gospel to the letter we will be considered “losers”, people to “forget”, to “avoid”. In fact for the “world” we are because the “world” is far from attracted by the testimony of the life of Christ's servants who occupy the worst seats. If, sad to say, the worldly mentality falls into the trap of front row seats, this should not surprise us: Jesus warned of this temptation many times.

The Handmaid of the Lord, let us never forget, is more present in our life the more we grow in humility, because the smaller we are the more the glory of God will mysteriously irradiate from our life. It is as if those hearts bear the incision in capital letters of the wonderful words of the Psalmist: “not to us O Lord, not to us but to Thy name give glory” (Ps. 113,1).

It is appropriate in this context to reread part of a prayer to Our Lady which Pope Benedict XVI prayed during his visit to Munich last year: “… Your Son, just before his farewell to his disciples, said to them: "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all" (Mk 10:43-44). At the decisive hour in your own life, you said: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord" (Lk 1:38). You lived your whole life as service. And you continue to do so throughout history. At Cana, you silently and discreetly interceded for the spouses, and so you continue to do. You take upon yourself people's needs and concerns, and you bring them before the Lord, before your Son. Your power is goodness. Your power is service. …” (Benedict XVI, 9 September 2006).

Please God may the presence of Mary multiply in the souls of the faithful the joy of giving to Him all glory and praise for ever and ever!

(Agenzia Fides 9/5/2007; righe 46, parole 707)

Sunday, May 27, 2007



Some thoughts on the Lord's Prayer . . . Do we think about what we are saying when we are praying? Lets think about:

Our Father: my Father, who created me from nothing, who loves me more than any earthly father . . .

Who art in Heaven: and everywhere above, on and below the earth; in every living thing . . .

Hallowed be Thy Name: Holy, Holy, Holy, Yahweh, I Am Who Am, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . . .

Thy Kingdom come: the Kingdom of Peace where Christ reigns as King and Mary as Queen . . .

Thy Will be done: May Thy Divine Will reign in the souls of all mankind . . .

On earth as it is in Heaven: May we on earth live as if we are already in Heaven, joined to the Communion of Saints . . .

Give us this day our Daily Bread: The Bread of Life to nourish our souls so that we can give bread to the hungry . . .

And forgive us our trespasses: Have mercy on us, forgive us our sins which we daily commit . . .

As we forgive those who trespass against us: I forgive everyone who has hurt me and I bless them . . .

And lead us not into temptation: Father, assist us with your graces to avoid occasions of sin and trials; help us to persevere in the Faith . . .

But deliver us from evil: Protect us from the devil and his minions, they surround us, rebuke them . . .

Amen.: So be it! I believe and I love you dear Father in Heaven!

Meditation 65

THE MEETING WITH JESUS

1. Jesus Loaded with the Cross.
Jesus is again clothed. He leaves the purple mantle and the scepter but retains the crown of thorns. He is King and as a King He is going to die. The crown will not fall from His head. He embraces the cross, raises it, places it on His shoulders, and the cortege moves on. By His side, soldiers and executioners insult Him and ill-treat Him. Around Him, a mob shouts insults and curses at Him. They watch His painful advance and they rejoice at it. Two criminals sentenced to death escort Jesus. Look at Him. Hear His painful breathing. He can hardly move. A streak of blood marks His trail and betrays the precarious state of His poor body, all torn by the scourging. The cross is very heavy. It is not its material weight that crushes Jesus but especially all that it stands for. It is the burden of all the sins of all men. What a frightful weight! Your sins were also enclosed in that cross that crushes Jesus. No wonder He is overwhelmed by it. Yet, nobody comes to help Him. He looks around and does not find any single volunteer to help Him carry the cross. He looks at you and at most He gets only fine words. Lofty desires but nothing practical. What are you doing to alleviate that burden of the Cross of Christ? Do you remember this in your many faults? He looks at His Heavenly Mother and behold! She is the one, the only one who did not contribute to the burden of His cross with any sin. And She is the only one who knows how to console Him, to alleviate Him, to help Him. Stand by Her side, imitate Her and ask Her to teach you how to comfort Jesus.


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



PENTECOST SUNDAY

The Dove of Pentecost

Yes, I have always come to the crucifix to pray,
But I never knew Jesus Christ and His love until today,
I sought by the feeble ray of the dim light of my mind;
But now it is dark, I learn by touch as they do who are blind.
I feel the pulse of infinite love beat feebly like my own,
And the heart of God confined in space to a little cage of bone.

I have often pondered this but have never understood
How hands which heal are stark and still,
nailed to a piece of wood.
The love that makes, the love that mends,
my own weak Faith could guess,
But not the love that wills to bear man's
utter hopelessness,
The love in the womb, the love in the Host,
the love in the burial bands,
The power and the gentleness of the love
nailed fast by feet and hands.

I knew the common soil enclosed the
Rood's strong root;
That therefore Christ remained with us,
its Seed and Flower and Fruit.
But I did not know the last extreme
of the mystery of love:
That when man is rent, on his fluttered breath
of death descends the Dove.
The Dove descends and the seed is sown
on the sigh of the last drawn breath.
And life smiles back through the hard grey dust
of the frozen face of death.

[From 'The Reed of God' by Caryll Houselander]
(Public Domain)
Ave Maria Press




Saturday, May 26, 2007



VATICAN - The month of Mary «Qué Soy Era Immaculada Councepciou»:
the 18 Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858 (18)

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Thursday 16 July 1858: 18th and last apparition. Mary's call comes unexpectedly while Bernadette is praying in the early evening in the parish church. Because by order of the authorities the Grotto is closed with barriers, Bernadette goes with her Aunt Lucile and a few friends to the Ribère field on right bank of the river Gave, opposite the Grotto. Here they all kneel and begin to pray. A few moments later Bernadette cries: «Yes there she is! There she is! She is smiling and greeting us from behind the barriers».

Our Lady stood in the illuminated niche and looked at length towards Bernadette smiling, she bowed her head and then disappeared leaving her little girl filled with sweet peace. «Our Lady appeared at the same place but she said nothing. I think Our Lady was in the same place all I could see was her and I have never seen her looking so beautiful». Bernadette saw Our Lady once again as she died on 16 April 1879.

The last apparition took place on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. And in Fatima on 13 October 1917, after the miracle of the sun, Lucia sees the Blessed Mother appear for the last time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In a way Lourdes announces Fatima, and the message is the same: a call to conversion and prayer.

Fides is deeply grateful to the Shrine of Lourdes for allowing us to organize this virtual world pilgrimage to the grotto of Lourdes to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mother and to publish the Lourdes hymns in various languages.

During the month of Mary, Our Lady received abundant 'roses', the Hail Mary prayers. We would like to conclude our Marian cycle dedicated to Lourdes with a picture of the Coronation of Our Lady Queen of Heaven”, taken from the Lourdes booklet of Hymns for the daily torchlight procession (J.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/ 2007 righe: 25 parole: 328)

Links:
Coronation of Our Lady Queen of Heaven
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0030.pdf



MARY IN THE PASSION

3. The Death Sentence.
Pilate cowardly surrenders to the shouts of the crowd and consequently sentences Jesus to death. The people cheer the sentence and clap their hands. Mary also hears the sentence. You also hear it. And what would you do? Jesus is sentenced to death! He dies, and you can still live? How would Jesus and Mary receive that sentence? And how do you hear it, if you think that on it your salvation depends? What sentiments of gratitude and at the same time what deep sorrow should fill your heart!

Look at Jesus barely able to stand, making an extreme effort and throwing Himself forward eagerly to meet the cross that is brought to him by the executioners. See Him well: how He embraces it as if it were something long desired and dearly loved. He does not want anybody else to carry it for Him. He will place it on His own shoulders. What generosity, what true love is that of Our Saviour!

But now Mary has something to say. Listen. She wants something from you. She wants you to acknowledge Jesus as your King. She wants Him to be the only one reigning in your heart. She wants that nobody, not even yourself, should occupy the place that corresponds to His. She wants you to be generous in sacrifice. She wants you not only to accept but also to love, and to look for, the cross. That the Cross should be your happiness. That you should bear it with constancy, with perseverance to the last. And She adds that She will help you to do so.

Finally, She wants you to realize what sin is. And to atone for your sins with penance and fervor. Furthermore, She asks you to make amends to Jesus for the sins of the whole world. She expects you not to be a coward, ungrateful, unfaithful in front of a love as great as that of Jesus.

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

Friday, May 25, 2007



VATICAN - The Month of Mary - «Qué Soy Era Immaculada Councepciou»:
the 18 Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes in 1858 (17)

Vatican City ( Fides Service) - Wednesday 7 April 1858, miracle of the candle: 17th apparition. “Our Lady called Bernadette in the evening of April 6. The news that Bernadette was going to the Grotto spread and about 1,200 people were waiting for her when she arrived a 6 in the morning. They see Bernadette in ecstasy for three quarters of an hour. That day, Dr Dozous witnessed the “miracle of the candle” for fifteen minutes. The flame of the candle did not burn the skin of Bernadette who participated so to say during the ecstasy with the impassability of her glorious body”. (J.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/5/2007; righe 7, parole 106)

Links:
hymn 22a Lourdes booklet
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0047.pdf

Links:
hymn 22b Lourdes booklet
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0048.pdf

Links:
hymn 22c Lourdes booklet
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0049.pdf


MARY IN THE PASSION

2. The Crowning with Thorns.
Jesus tries to rest and recover His strength but there is no time for rest: He has still much more to undergo. Only demons from Hell could have suggested to those soldiers the mockery of the crowning with thorns. Hear the laughter and clapping of hands with which the diabolical idea is received and see how they hasten to put it into practice. Someone brings out a dirty piece of purple rag; another makes a scepter from a short cane, others weave a crown and then they again strip Jesus.


They seat Him on a stone, the purple rag around His shoulders, the cane in His hands. The moment of the crowning arrives. Amongst jokes and infernal mockery, with grand ceremonial they place the crown on His head tightly and hammer it into position with sticks onto His Sacred Head. What suffering must that cause. Jesus closes His eyes, and tears mixed with blood flow in abundance down His face.


Now see the sacrilegious comedy they are going to stage. He has been crowned king. they must then render Him obeisance. They come forward, bend their knees before Jesus and some of them give Him a slap, some spit upon Him, others pull His mantle and whisper some offensive pleasantry. Finally some take the cane from His hand and strike His head with it. Did Our Lady witness this scene? Did She know what they were doing with Jesus? Could she have the heart to bear all that? Great miracle it was, indeed, that She did not die of sorrow.

Certainly did She, at least, witness the scene of the Ecce homo! Present yourself there with Our Lady. Look at Her face. How must She feel? What is going to happen in the square when Jesus appears? Hear the mob demanding His death. Speak with Our Lady. What have you to tell Her?

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



Our Lady Queen of Peace of Medjugorje’s May 25, 2007 Monthly Message

“Dear children! Pray with me to the Holy Spirit for Him to lead you in the search of God’s will on the way of your holiness. And you, who are far from prayer, convert and, in the silence of your heart, seek salvation for your soul and nurture it with prayer. I bless you all individually with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

As we approach Pentecost Our Lady is in prayer with us as we prepare to honor the Holy Spirit! Each of us is searching to know God's Will in our lives and through prayer, in union with Mother Mary, we will find it! And for those who are "far from prayer", it is time for conversion, for the Lord is near and may return very soon to convict the world! Let us begin our conversion experience now and be in a "state of grace" when Jesus returns! Mother Mary is blessing us and will be Our Advocate with Almighty God for our salvation!
Blessings+
Deacon John
(Diocese of Brooklyn)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Feast of Mary Help of Christians
As Mother of God's children, Mary has responded by helping Christians throughout the ages. She has done this by coming to the aid of individuals, families, towns, kingdoms and nations.

In 1214 she gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic as a weapon to combat the Albigesian heresy which was devastating Southern France. It is very clear to Christians and it is also the Will of God that we have and will continue to have the Help of Mary through the recitation of the Holy Rosary.

In the year 1531 Our Lady appeared in Mexico to an indian named Juan Diego. He was a humble peasant aged 51. As a result of the apparitions, over 10 million indians were converted to Catholicism, the sacrificial killings of babies stopped, and Our Lady left an image which is a reflection of herself imprinted miraculously on the tilma of Juan Diego.

In 1571 the whole of Christendom was saved by Mary Help of Christians when faithful Catholics throughout Europe prayed the Rosary. The great battle of Lepanto occurred on October 7th 1571. For this reason this date has been chosen as the feast of the Holy Rosary. In 1573 Pope Pius V instituted the feast in thanksgiving for the decisive victory of Christianity over Islamism.

Near the end of the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I of Austria took refuge in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Pasau, when 200,000 Ottoman Turks besieged the capital city of Vienna. Pope Innocent XI united Christendom against the ominous attack of Mohammedanism. A great victory occurred thanks to Mary Help of Christians. On September 8th, Feast of Our Lady's Birthday, plans were drawn for the battle. On September 12, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Vienna was finally freed through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians. All Europe had joined with the Emperor crying out "Mary, Help!" and praying the Holy rosary.

In 1809, Napoleon's men entered the Vatican, arrested Pius VII and brought him in chains to Grenoble, and eventually Fontainbleau. His imprisonment lasted five years. The Pope smuggled out orders from prison for the whole of Christendom to pray to Our Lady Help of Christians, and thus the whole of Europe once again became a spiritual battle ground, not of arms against ruthless arms, but of Rosaries against ruthless military might. Soon Napoleon was off the throne and the Pope freed from prison.

After proving her maternal help, throughout the centuries, Our Lady has continued to appear in hundreds of places throughout the world mainly during the 20th century, Lourdes and Fatima being the most famous apparitions. She has brought help from Heaven, and has warned her children to do prayer and penance as a formula for peace. She has stressed that her children must pray the Holy Rosary daily.




MAY 24th - FEAST OF OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS

PROPER OF THE MASS

Entrance Antiphon The disciples were constantly at prayer together, with Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Opening Prayer Lord, we have long been the dowry of Mary and the subjects of Peter, Prince of the Apostles. Let us hold to the Catholic faith and remain devoted to the Blessed Virgin and obedient to Peter. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reading Galations 4:4-7, God sent his Son, born of a woman.

When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject to the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our heads; the Spirit that cries, ”Abba, Father”, and it is this that makes you a son, you are not a slave anymore; and if God has made you son, then he has made you heir. This is the word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm

Response Blessed is the Virgin Mary who bore the son of the eternal Father.

1. My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my saviour. (RI.)

2. He looks on his servant in her nothingness; henceforward all ages will call me blessed.

The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy is his name. (R/.)

3 His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. He puts forth his arm in strength and

scatters the proud-headed. (RI.)

4. He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly. He fills the starving with good

things, sends the rich away empty. (R/.)

5. He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy, the mercy promised to our fathers, for

Abraham and his sons for ever, (RI.)

Gospel John 19:25-2 7. This is your son. This is your mother

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mothers sister Mary the wife of Clopas, and

Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said

to his mother, “Woman this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.”

And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Prayers of the Faithful The priest introduces the bidding prayers. (Prayers should be offered for)

Our Holy Father,

A just and lasting peace in the world.

The needs of young people,

Protection of Life,

Father Michael J. McGivney,

For all members of the Alliance and their families,

Our Blessed Mother - Hail Mary - Priest says a concluding prayer.

Prayer over the Gifts Lord, accept our gifts so that by the help of Mary’s prayers we may continue in this faith which bears fruit in charity, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Communion Antiphon All generations will call me blessed, because God has looked upon his servant in her lowliness.

Prayer after Communion Lord, grant that this sacrament may strengthen us in Love for Mary our mother and in obedience to Peter, through Christ our Lord Amen.




VATICAN - The Month of Mary - «Qué Soy Era Immaculada Councepciou»:
the 18 Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858 (16)

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Thursday 25 March 1858, revelation of the “Name”: 16ª Apparition. “ What was next?

After three weeks, life had regained some normalcy. The faithful still gathered at the grotto, but Bernadette was not to be seen. She was busy studying her catechism and preparing for her first Holy Communion. In the early morning hours on March 25th, Bernadette awoke with the familiar inner call to return to the grotto. This was a call that she could not resist. The day was an important one in the church - the feast of the Annunciation, a day when young Mary of Nazareth also received a call in her own poor dwelling. An angel visited to announce that she would become the mother of the Saviour. Bernadette joyfully rejoined the Lady in the Grotto. It had been three weeks since she had not known if she would ever see her again. This time she was determined to asked her name so she could tell the priest Would you be so kind as to tell me who you are?" The answer finally came: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Bernadette planted a candle between two rocks as a sign of her prayer and the revelation and then ran home. Running all the way, she repeated these strange words over and over so that she would not forget them. Of course the words were spoken in her native Bigourdan dialect and were completely unfamiliar, "que soy era Immaculada Councepciou." Bernadette did not understand but the parish priest did. In fact four years earlier in 1854, Pope Pius IX made the Immaculate Conception a dogma of Catholic faith .

Note: the archangel Gabriel greeted Mary, Hail Full of Grace which was a revelation with regard to Mary. Blessed Pius IX said in the Ineffabilis Deus Encyclical 8th December 1854: “ When the Fathers and writers of the Church meditated on the fact that the most Blessed Virgin was, in the name and by order of God himself, proclaimed full of grace[22] by the Angel Gabriel when he announced her most sublime dignity of Mother of God, they thought that this singular and solemn salutation, never heard before, showed that the Mother of God is the seat of all divine graces and is adorned with all gifts of the Holy Spirit. To them Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction. Hence she was worthy to hear Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, exclaim: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."» (Ineffabilis Deus). And the feast of the Annunciation was the date on which Our Lady chose to reveal to the Bernadette that she is the «Immaculate Conception».

(J.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/5/2007; righe 36, parole 545)

Links:
Hymn 21 a Lourdes bookle
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0045.pdf

Links:
Hymn 21 b Lourdes booklet
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0046.pdf

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

HOLY ICON OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER AT JASNA GORA

Meditation 64

MARY IN THE PASSION

1. At the Scourging.

After having spent the night in prayer, comforted and strengthened by it but still with Her eyes tearful and Her face sorrow-stricken, Our Blessed Lady emerges at the break of day in search of Her Son. Her heart is not content merely to follow His sufferings only from afar. She must go wherever He goes. We know no details of this episode nor do we know where and when She found him. Was it at the house of Pilate? Was it, perhaps, when going to, or returning from, the palace of Herod? Was it, perhaps, when the people were already preferring Barabbas to Him? Be it as it may, Her meeting with Her Son must have been a terrible shock to Her heart. She could hardly recognize Him. How terribly changed! And all in a few hours! How grievously disfigured! His face swollen from the blows received in the house of Annas. The blows dealt by the soldiers on the previous night had caused that divine beauty to fade away from the most beautiful of the sons of men. And yet all this was but the beginning. The horrible and barbarous torturers started at the scourging. The private revelations of St. Bridget have it that Our Blessed Lady was present at this torment. Pause to consider what this terrible passage of the Gospel has to tell to your heart. First of all, ask yourself what would Our Lady feel when She saw the preparations being made? What were Her thoughts when She heard the wild cries of the torturers inciting one another, challenging one another as to who would deal the heaviest blow! Stand by the side of Our Lady, watch Her grow intensely pale, hear the panting of Her heart which due to the violence of its beating seems to jump from Her breast. See Her close Her eyes not to see the awful sight; then open them again, unable, despite Herself to keep them closed.

She sees Jesus roughly handled by the executioners. They imprudently tear His garments from Him. You cannot understand what happened then in the heart of Mary. If you should realize what modesty meant for Her, only then could you fathom what She must have felt on seeing Her Son exposed to that multitude, the target not only of blows and scourging, but of mocking, jeering and laughter, of vulgar sarcastic jokes.

Jesus is already tied to the pillar. The torturers are on either side and then, at a signal, they with all their might unleash vigorous blows. Jesus shudders, and in order not to break out into cries of pain He clenches hard His teeth. He lifts His eyes to Heaven with an indescribable look of suffering. Mary sees this all.

From private revelations we are told that She fainted and at the first blows fell unconscious. Go close to Her, take Her in your arms, but do not take your eyes from Jesus and be astonished that you also do not faint or die of sorrow at this scene. The two torturers have been relieved. Two more come, then another two. They are wearied after the effort of scourging Jesus and His body is one horrible wound. The flesh has been torn away from the bones. Contemplate that body so broken and think: "And all this for what and for whom?" Remember all the sins of impurity in the world and ask yourself who deserves this punishment. Who should have borne these cruel whips?

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



THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN

3. The Capture.
The prayer of Jesus is over. And then, with determination, with generosity and courage, He calls His disciples, and at their head goes to encounter His enemies, not in order to offer resistance and defend Himself but just to deliver Himself into their hands.


Now see Jesus being roughly tied. His executioners tighten His fetters. But go also into the Heart of Jesus and see there another executioner, namely, His love which binds Him much more tightly and violently. Jesus was a victim and a slave of His love. Sic deus dilexit mundum! He loved me and gave Himself for me!, St. Paul would later exclaim.

When Our Lady saw Him so cruelly bound, Her anxiety increased. What was going to happen to Him? What were they going to do to Her Jesus? And He is bound in such a manner for your sake. Look at Him well. Ponder what this means: bound for you, which means that not only does He let Himself be bound in order to suffer for you or in your place, or for your sake, but it also means that often you yourself are the one who binds His hands. Are you aware of what this means?

There is nothing which so binds the hands of Jesus as ingratitude, coldness, tepidity, want of correspondence to His grace, in other words, sin! Just guess, if you can, how many times Jesus wanted to bestow great graces on you, wanted to shower favors and benefits on you; and you by your behavior bound His hands. He wanted to sanctify you but you would not let Him; you would just obstruct Him. Come, then, bind yourself hand and feet to Him, for the sake of His love. Bind yourself to Him with loving fetters that you may never lose Him any more and you may repeat with the Canticle of Canticles, I found Him whom my soul loves, I held Him and would not let Him go. Beg of Our Blessed Lady that this grace may be granted to you.

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




VATICAN - The Month of Mary - «Qué Soy Era Immaculada Councepciou»:
the 18 Apparitions of the Blessed Vurgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858 (15)

Vatican City (Fides Service) - Thursday 4 March 1858: 15th apparition.

“Thursday 4 March is the most awaited day the last day of the two weeks. The crowd about 8,000 expects a miracle. Bernadette goes to the Grotto after Mass at 7am. She is in ecstasy for an hour from the third Hail Mary of the second decade. The Lady appears and Bernadette smiles and cries alternately. She goes nearer and speaks with the Lady who tells her about the happy secrets of heaven and the sad secrets of the sinful world. But the people had to be disappointed in order to mature. The Lady has no name, the rosebush does not flower in front of the crowds, the Lady does not let herself be seen by the pilgrims. T he following day hundreds of thousands made their way to the Grotto and thus pilgrimage to Lourdes began. Everyone wants to know the name of the Lady who appeared in the place where many miracles were seen, the blind began to see, crippled to walk. The parish priest Peyramale is immovable. For twenty days Bernadette did not go to the Grotto she no longer felt that irresistible inner calling”. (J.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/5/2007; righe 15, parole 232)

Links:
Hymn 18 (Night Litanies) Lourdes Booklet (3)
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0043.pdf

Links:
Hymn 18 (Night Litanies) Lourdes Booklet (4)
http://www.fides.org/ita/approfondire/preghiere/altre/aa_0044.pdf