|OUR LADY'S FEASTDAYS|
|Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D.
The Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8
Feast, December 8
1. Mary, Mother of God, I believe what Holy Mother Church teaches about your Immaculate Conception: that from the first moment of your conception you possessed justice and holiness—that is sanctifying grace, even the fullness of grace, with the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and with integrity of nature; yet you remained subject to death and other pains and miseries of life that your Son Himself willed to undergo.
For the first time after four thousand years God in His Wisdom and power and love, created again a human being in that state in which He had created our first parents. Immaculate Virgin, you are that human being. Because of sanctifying grace infused into your soul, you were from the first moment of your existence most intimately united with God and endowed with the most precious gifts of heaven. You possessed a perfect faith, a firm hope, a burning charity, a deep humility, a purity greater than that of the angels. Your soul is the creation and the masterpiece of almighty workmanship. The Archangel Gabriel expressed this very clearly: "Hail, full of grace"—there was no room left for sin; "the Lord is with thee"—where God dwells, Satan can have no rights; "blessed art thou among women"—you were elevated above all other women in the world.
Mary, My Mother, you were never without grace. From the first moment of your existence the Holy Spirit made you His temple and blessed you with the fullness of His grace. Your Immaculate Conception, purchased by the Precious Blood of the Son of God Himself and freely bestowed upon you as the highest gift of God, is the most wonderful work of sanctification that the world has ever seen.
2. Mary, Mother of God, no stain of original sin ever defiled your pure soul. This privilege separated you from all the rest of the children of Adam. As the Mother of the Incarnate Son you were so preserved from inheriting original sin that never for a moment was as much as a shadow cast by sin upon your spotless soul. You were the only one who was exempt from the universal curse that had fallen on the whole human race. You were never under the power of the serpent, whose head you crushed in giving a Redeemer to the world. Your Immaculate Conception is a triumph over Satan the author of evil, who under your heel, suffered his first complete defeat. It is but a symbol of the endless victories which you are to win over him to the last day. Hence the Church sings of you: "You are all fair, O Mary, and the original stain is not in you."
But you needed the redeeming Savior to obtain this exemption, and deliverance from the universal debt of being subject to original sin. Being the new Eve who was to be the Mother of the new Adam you were, by the eternal decree of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Your redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He paid the debt that original sin might not be incurred.
Mary, My Mother, what joy for you never to have been, even for a single instant, in the state of enmity toward God! You know that you are the well-beloved Daughter of the Father, you embrace the Son; you are united to the Holy Spirit with a simplicity, a confidence, and a delicacy of love which belong to you alone, for in you alone there cannot be the remembrance of a moment in which you were opposed to God. I share in this joy. I am happy at the thought that you, a human creature, have escaped completely from the clutches of Satan, that born of a race universally tainted, you are more pure and more brilliant than the most sublime of the angels; and that you are my Mother.
3. Mary, Mother of God, your greatness began at the first instant of your existence with the privilege of your Immaculate Conception. After Almighty God and the Sacred Humanity of Jesus, there is no being so great as you. It is true, you are a creature, and, therefore, far beneath the Supreme Being. But you are a creature so holy and so perfect that you are superior to all other creatures. You are above not only patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and all the saints but even all angels. You stand alone on a throne of greatness and perfection far above the rest of creatures.
It was fitting that you, a Virgin Mother, should conceive the Man Who was also the Son of God. It was fitting that you should be adorned with the greatest purity ever possible to a creature. You are the Virgin to whom God the Father decreed to give His only Son—the Divine Word, equal with Himself in all things—that entering the natural order He might become your Son as well as His. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Son Himself chose to make His Mother. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Holy Spirit willed to make His bride and in whom He would work the tremendous miracle of the Incarnation. The privilege of the Immaculate Conception was suitable to your dignity. It was possible for God to confer it, and He did confer it!
Mary, My Mother, help me to imitate your sinlessness by keeping my soul free from every willful sin by the faithful observance of God's commandments. Help me to imitate your fullness of grace by receiving Holy Communion frequently, where I shall obtain the sanctifying grace that will make my soul holy and pleasing to God, more like your own, and where I shall obtain the actual graces I need to practise virtue and to walk in your footsteps. Through prayer may grace fill my soul with the life of God and transform me into a living image of Jesus, just as you were.
1. Mary, Mother of God, in honoring you as Our Lady of Guadalupe, we honor you as the Immaculate Conception. The picture you imprinted on the cloak of the Indian at Guadalupe was the image of the Immaculate Conception. You appeared as the Woman of the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun, standing on the moon.
I believe the doctrine of the Church concerning your Immaculate Conception, which teaches that at the first moment of your conception you were, by the singular grace and privilege of the omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the Human race, preserved from all stains of original sin. The foundation of this doctrine is to be found in Sacred Scripture where we are taught that God, the Creator of all things, after the sad fall of Adam, addressed the serpent in words which the Church applies to you, "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head" (Gen. 3.15). If at any time you had been without Divine grace even for the shortest moment, there would not have come between you and the serpent that everlasting enmity spoken of by God.
Since the angel saluted you "full of grace" and "blessed among women" (Luke 1,28), you were the abode of all Divine graces, adorned with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that you were never subjected to the evil spirit.
This doctrine was received in the early Church and handed down by the Fathers who praised you with extraordinary titles and most important writings.
Mary, My Mother, may the example of your sinlessness urge us to that innocence and purity of life which flees from and abhors even the slightest stain of sin. Forming with your Divine Son one spiritual body, we experience the rage of Satan until the end of time. But we, too, by our union with Jesus, and by the power of His grace, will also be united with Him in His victory over the devil. As the seed of the serpent includes all those descendants of the first man and woman who by their sinful lives bear within them the traits of the devil, so, too, the seed of the Woman includes all who in the course of ages will take their stand with your Son, Jesus Christ, in His ceaseless conflict with the enemy of God.
2. Mary, Mother of God, your apparition at Guadalupe teaches me that devotion to you is a source of great graces. The Church has always taught that God has entrusted to your hands all heavenly treasures, and many of the saints assure me that you give to your clients as much of these treasures as you wish and when you wish to do so.
How consoling it is to know that you have these heavenly blessings at your disposal! I have but to ask for them for the salvation of my soul. There is nothing you want more than to give them to me, since you are even more anxious to save my soul than I am, for you know better than anyone else the price your Son has paid for it and the precious worth of each grace He so graciously offers to me through you.
Devotion to you brings with it sweetness and consolation for the soul. As a child runs to its mother in every need and finds comfort in her glance and kind word, I can turn to you for help when I need it, for you are truly my Mother, whose heart is overflowing with kindness and mercy.
Mary, My Mother, the Church puts these words of the Canticle on your lips: "I love those who love me." I want to love you with all my heart that I may in some way merit that you love me in return. I already know of your great love for me for the sake of your Son who entrusted the care of my soul to you. But I want to be loved by you even more; hence, give me an ever growing love for you. This love for you was the source of great joy in the hearts of the saints. May I have more of their love for you so that I may experience more of their joy in being devoted to you. Take my cold heart; put it into your own and inflame it with a fire of love like your own.
Mary, My Mother, your apparition at Guadalupe as the Immaculate Conception is your only recorded appearance in North America. Bless the people of the Americas, citizens of those lands to which uncounted thousands have come to seek refuge and livelihood. Preserve their faith, assailed at every hour by the forces opposed to Christ. Petition God that their hope may never fail amid the troubles and the cares of this life. We beg you for a burning charity for God to imitate the works of Christ. We ask you to procure for us, by your prayers the great grace of final perseverance so that those who are joined to honor you in the kingdom of your Son on earth may be together always in heaven.
3. Mary, Mother of God, since the United States was dedicated to your Immaculate Conception, be pleased to take our country under your special protection and grant that, guided by justice and nurtured by charity, it may serve God faithfully and be blessed with peace and prosperity.
Mary, My Mother, who crushed the head of the serpent, I pray for my country. Continue to work wonders on our shores for our spiritual and material prosperity and keep us in peace and charity. Intercede for us that we may win the victory over evil and that we may live and reign with Jesus, your Son. Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom we acclaim our Queen and Mother, lead our country to God.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, make intercession for holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen. 500 days.
Note: This prayer was approved and enriched with an indulgence of five hundred days by Pope Pius X at all audience held on August 18, 1908, and was included in the official edition of approved indulgenced prayers (1950).
Feast, December 18
1. Mary, Mother of God, how sacred was the life of Jesus in your womb while you awaited His coming! It was a life of concealment, and yet Jesus is infinite, the light of the angels and of the whole world. It was a life of silence, and yet He is the Word of the Father, the expression of His glory, the teacher of the prophets. It was life of the utmost weakness and helplessness, and yet His is the strength of God Himself.
During this long period of concealment in your womb, you perfected His bodily faculties for our benefit. You formed His Body in order that it might be given us in death and in the Blessed Sacrament. You formed His eyes, to look upon us with mild and pitying glance and to weep over us. You formed His lips, to teach us. You formed His feet, to search after and seek us as a Good Shepherd, His hands to heal us and to be pierced for us; and His shoulders to carry the cross. You formed His Heart, to love us, and His Precious Blood, to shed for us and to be given to us for our drink. You formed His whole Self, to die for us as a sacrificial Lamb.
Yet Jesus was active in your womb adoring and praising God. He found joy in God, His Heavenly Father, and in the Holy Spirit, joy in all the wonderful perfections of God. He also found joy in His Divine Sonship and glorious human nature, joy in His intellect, with its immeasurable knowledge and the contemplation of God; joy in His will, with its freedom, sinlessness, holiness and unbounded power joy in His destiny as our Redeemer; joy in the future kingdom of His Church, which was to arise from His life and death. But with these joys were also mingled bitter sorrows. He saw sin and its terrible effects in God's kingdom and in souls; He saw the sufferings of His Church and His own and your sufferings.
Mary, My Mother, in your womb, the sanctuary of the living God, Jesus was occupied with the sanctification and government of the world. From Him there flowed heavenwards an unceasing stream of glory, the waves of His grace ever poured over the earth. He already occupied Himself with the salvation of all souls, and as the hidden Ruler of the world He judged all who departed this life.
But Jesus was constantly sanctifying you, His loving Mother, transforming you ever more and more into Himself by wondrous graces of knowledge of the mystery of the Incarnation, and by graces of love which united you to Him. You became more and more filled with His spirit; you grew into Him, as it were, and became in your soul ever more the Mother of God and Mother of Jesus. It was indeed a divine life that Jesus led in Your womb, a life most active, and yet one of unbroken calm.
2. Mary, Mother of God, how wonderful was your own interior life as you carried the Son of God in your womb and awaited His coming! It was a life of closest union with Jesus—a union of body as well as of soul. There is no more intimate bodily union than that of mother and child, for they are one life, one heart-beat sustaining the life of both. The Supreme God rested and worked in you.
Your life with Jesus was one of deepest recollection, which gathered all the powers of your soul around the God-Man. The divine light, received from Him, led you deeper into the mystery of the Redemption and its effects in the past and in the future.
Your life with Jesus was one of the purest, most fervent, most perfect emotions of love to God, whom you sheltered within yourself. How can I ever imagine the emotions of longing and most eager expectation of the Birth of the Divine Child! How great must have been that longing! You were longing to see the Face of God and to be happy in the vision. You were soon really to see the Face of God the created image of divine perfection, the sight of which rejoices heaven and earth, from which all beings derive life and joy; the Face whose features enraptured God from all eternity, the Face for which all ages had expectantly yearned. You were to see this Face unveiled, in all the beauty and grace of childhood as the face of your own child.
Indeed, all were awaiting your Son: the world, to gain rest and peace, the angels, to see God's plans fulfilled; the Heavenly Father Himself to behold His created Image: and all this longing was united in your heart. While you bore the Author of all things in your womb, and your heart was beating quickly with love, adoration and longing, still your face told nothing of this, and no one knew that such marvellous things were taking place in you.
Mary, My Mother, I rejoice with you in the joyful expectation of your little Son. Though it is impossible for me to form any idea of the thoughts that flooded your mind and heart, I beg you to give me at least a spark of that fervor of divine love that burned in your soul. Let me feel some of the sentiments of loving expectation that you felt while waiting for the birth of your Child, so that I may prepare myself for His coming and the graces of the mystery of His Nativity may bear fruit in my soul. To you I entrust the preparation of my soul for the coming of my Savior on Christmas Day.
3. Mary, Mother of God, make my interior life of union with Jesus more like your own. After Holy Communion Jesus is with me as God and Man, with His Body and Blood, soul and divinity. Jesus is in me, too, through sanctifying grace, I bear within me the supernatural image of the Divine Sonship. He works in my soul by His grace. He forms Himself in me by supernatural principles, which He implants in my mind; by supernatural intentions and meritorious actions. He follows up in my heart also the aim that brought Him into your womb—He wishes to be born in me, to grow, rule, and reveal Himself. Thus my soul in sanctifying grace is always, in a spiritual manner, like your womb—a sanctuary of the living God!
As you led an interior life and centered all your thoughts and life upon the Word Incarnate in your womb, so help me to lead an interior, supernatural life, always guided and directed by supernatural principles, having always supernatural intentions and performing supernatural actions.
Mary, My Mother, I beg you to aid me in being watchful over myself, guarding my exterior and interior senses, avoiding all outward haste and inward passion, trying to make a virtuous action of everything I do, and by talking to God frequently in prayer. May my life thus become a copy of your own life especially during this time of your expectation!
I earnestly want to be filled with the dispositions in which you expected the coming of the Savior and thus prepare myself for His coming into my soul by faith and divine charity, as well as for His coming at the hour of my death and judgment. In union with you may my heart yield itself up to childlike confidence in Jesus so that the graces of His Nativity may be brought to my soul in abundance, and He may be born anew within my heart.
Feast, January 23
1. Mary, Mother of God, though marriage and motherhood were the cherished ideals of every Jewish maiden, you vowed your virginity to God, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Lord being your portion, you renounced all else—the honors, the pleasures, and the rewards of marriage—and joyously chose the life of a virgin. In consecrating your virginity to God, you had given up all hope of becoming the Mother of the Messias because you considered yourself unworthy of the highest honor of the divine maternity. No one after Christ was humbler than you were, yet no one after Christ gave God greater glory. This humility was richly rewarded. God would work a miracle so that you might remain a virgin, and yet become the Mother of God.
Teach me to imitate your humility by acknowledging my nothingness and seeking the glory of God in everything.
Mary, My Mother, to conceal the miraculous conception and birth of His Divine Son, the Eternal Father inspired Joseph to marry you before the annunciation by the archangel Gabriel. The husband whom God has destined for you was a man of faith of character, of purity, "a just man." Like you, he was of the tribe of Juda and the family of David.
Though Joseph planned to put you away privately when he recognized that you were with child, you still were unwilling to reveal your secret to him, lest you might seem to boast of your gifts. How great was your trust in God! You resigned yourself to the care of God, in the fullest confidence that He would guard your innocence and reputation. Thus an angel appeared to Joseph and said, "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to thee Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1, 20). Joseph could rest assured and marry you, his betrothed bride. He was obedient and immediately arranged with you the celebration of your chaste nuptials. On the appointed day, at nightfall, accompanied by friends, he went in procession to your parents' house, to conduct you to his own home. You were dressed in your finest clothes and surrounded by your friends as you joined the procession by the light of lamps and the sound of music. This introduction into the new home in which you were to live was your official marriage ceremony. Joseph, so humble, so pure, so loving respected your consecration to God, and he was willing to live with you a life of spotless virginity. You were indeed two of one heart and one soul.
2. Mary, Mother of God, God had a purpose in wanting you and Joseph to become man and wife. You were not to raise up children unto God—not ordinary offspring, but a Child, the Son of God! Overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit, you were to conceive and bear the Messias, and at the same time remain a Virgin in every respect. Through Joseph your descent from David would be known. If you had no husband, the unbelieving Jews would have stoned you as a sinner.
In your motherhood you would need protection and so would the Child in His infancy. Your union with Joseph was ordained in the designs of God for the education of Jesus. You could not of yourself provide the protection and training the Child needed. Joseph was chosen by God the Father to take His own place, in regard to His Divine Son, during the early years of that Son's life on earth. He was endowed by God with all a father's tenderness and love for Him who was confided to him as his Child.
Mary, My Mother, your Son Jesus came to enlighten the world with His teaching and example. He sanctified your marriage with St. Joseph so that it might be an example for all Christian marriages. Be pleased to intercede with Jesus, your Son, for Christian families. Protect, guard, and keep them in holy fear, in peace, and in harmony of Christian charity. By conforming themselves to the divine model of your Family, may they attain to eternal happiness.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I believe that the dignity, holiness and glory of Joseph rests on the fact that he was your spouse and that he was the foster father of Jesus Christ. Your dignity as Mother of God is so lofty that nothing created can rank above it. But as Joseph had been united to you by the ties of marriage, he approached nearer than anyone else to your eminent dignity. In giving you to Joseph as spouse, God appointed him to be not only your life's companion, but also a sharer of your dignity. Joseph was a virgin for your sake, that a Virgin Son might be born of a virginal marriage.
The Scriptures refer to you and Joseph as "the parents of Jesus." After the prophecy of Simeon, the Scriptures mention that "His father and mother" were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning Him. As your true and lawful spouse, Saint Joseph was meant by God to have the privilege of exercising as his right, in virtue of his virginal marriage, the parental office in regard to your Child.
Mary, My Mother, you and good St. Joseph were married to become the models of family life. May your holy marriage be an inspiration to Christian husbands and wives so that they may always live in sincere love and peace and be obedient to the commandments of God. Through your prayers may they and their children honor God by a virtuous life so as to be worthy of a heavenly reward. May the love and peace and happiness of your Holy Family reign in the Christian families of all times.
Feast, February 2
1. Mary, Mother of God, I admire Your obedience and humility in submitting to the law of purification by presenting yourself in the temple like every other Jewish Mother, forty days after the birth of Jesus. You were not bound by the Law, because you were a virgin as well as a mother. You hid your miraculous virginity under the mantle of humility. But the same spirit of humility which had induced Jesus to obey the law of circumcision, made you also submit to the law of purification. The God of holiness, having come upon the earth to take away the sins of the world, chose to appear among us as a sinner. It was, therefore, befitting that you, His Immaculate Mother, destined to cooperate with Him in the work of Redemption, should teach the world, by your submission to the law of purification, this great truth, that humility is the beginning of our salvation, as pride has been the root of our ruin.
Mary, My Mother, you were not obliged by the Law of Moses to present and ransom your firstborn Son. In order to free yourself from legal uncleanness and to give us an example of obedience to God's law, you submitted to the ceremony of the purification and made the offering demanded of the poor—two pigeons or turtledoves. In the fulfillment of the law you gave an example of the most perfect obedience and zeal for the edification of others; for since the real nature of your motherhood was not known to your Jewish neighbors, you might have been the cause of scandal to them if you had failed to comply with the law.
2. Mary, Mother of God, the offering of Jesus was presented by your virginal hands. Thus you associated yourself yet more directly and intimately with our salvation. You were the first to offer to the Eternal Father His Divine Son as the Victim for the world's Redemption. Here there was a sacrifice, and Jesus was the Victim. The victim had to belong to the person who offered it. But no child ever belonged to its mother as Jesus belonged to you. In this mystery Jesus is plainly a Victim, and not so plainly a Priest; He could not better communicate His spirit of priesthood than by allowing you, His Mother, to present His outward offering He could find no worthier altar on which to offer Himself than your immaculate hands. You really had the right to offer Jesus to His Heavenly Father in this mystery.
The Eternal Father once gave you the most precious treasure that heaven possessed—His own Divine Son. In the temple, you returned to Him His gift by consecrating your Child to His honor and glory. For your generosity the Eternal Father made you, through Christ, the dispenser of the riches of God. In presenting your only Son you present your all. For He was everything to you, and all else was nothing without Him.
Mary, My Mother, your love for Jesus made this sacrifice very great in the eyes of God. In Jesus there was wrapped up the double love of a mother for her only Child and of the holiest creature for her God. And for our sake, you were ready to devote this Child to a life of suffering, persecution, and scorn, even to a shameful death on the cross.
3. Mary, Mother of God, by your offering you sacrificed your own heart. The holy old man Simeon took your Son in his arms. It was in your arms that he found the Savior, to remind me that he who desires to find Jesus, will not find Him otherwise than through you. You heard Simeon's words as if they had been spoken to you by God Himself, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce " Since you were enlightened by the Scriptures, you realized that your Child would be contradicted and utterly rejected by the Jews, who had, for forty centuries, unceasingly sighed for Him as a Savior. You knew that thousands even of His faithful followers throughout the world would turn from Him and would make His coming the occasion of their eternal ruin. You, who were yourself the Queen of Prophets, saw that from that moment "the sword of sorrow" would enter your soul and remain there during the rest of your days. You saw clearly the agony you would feel at the crucifixion.
Having heard the prophecy of your Son's suffering, you almost rejoiced to hear that you would share His suffering. Who can describe the anguish of your generous soul when with your Divine Babe in your arms you were willing to sign His death warrant with your own hands? Jesus was a Son to you and a sword to you: a Son on your breast, a sword in your heart. Your Child, becoming the King of Martyrs, would make you their Queen. Your sorrow would be as deep as the sea.
But this prophecy did not disturb your peace of mind because your will was one with the will of God. What a difference between the woeful prediction of Simeon and the joyous tidings of the archangel Gabriel announcing the greatness of the Redeemer of mankind! You abandoned yourself to God's will with deep faith and confidence. You did not try to square both predictions. Your faith taught you that the predictions of both were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Mary, My Mother, I wish to offer myself as a sacrifice to God in union with Jesus and through your hands. Help me to sacrifice myself generously for the love of God—to abstain from those many hurtful things that prevent the union of my soul with God. In order to live, not to myself, but to God, I must bear the cross in union with Jesus. You suffered with Jesus and experienced in your soul what He underwent in His body. Let me never separate my sufferings from the sufferings of Your divine Son. This loving union will sustain me no matter how heavy my cross. Indeed, I will suffer with joy if I realize that Christ is suffering with me and in me and that He sends me the cross only to trace His image in my soul by uniting me closely with Himself. I shall realize that God, in His infinite wisdom will make all things work together unto my good.
Feast, February 11
1. Mary, Mother of God, God spoke of you as the Woman who would crush the serpent's head. Faith tells me that the fall of man was the effect of the malice and envy of the devil, who sought in this way to be revenged upon the Creator for having cast him out of paradise in punishment for his rebellion. But God turned the scheme of the evil one back upon its inventor. A man and a woman had both taken part in the degradation of our race; they must both have part in its restoration. Jesus is the new Adam and you are the new Eve.
God said to the serpent: "Because thou hast done this, I will place enmities between thee and the Woman, between thy seed and her Seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Gen. 3.14).
Mary, My Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, you are the Woman who appeared as the mortal enemy of the serpent. Your Divine Son was destined to crush the serpent's head by releasing mankind from the slavery of Satan, thus putting an end to the empire of sin. When God pronounced doom against the evil one, He also announced His merciful plan of saving mankind from the effects of the guilt of our first parents. This was the earliest promise of a Redeemer to come, and you were to be His immaculate Mother.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are the new Eve. The early writers of the Church already speak of you as a second Eve, who fulfilled in the restoration of mankind a role closely corresponding to that of Eve in the ruin of our race. You are a second and more blessed Eve. Eve was unbelieving and disobedient; you were believing and obedient. Eve listened to the voice of the serpent and brought death to the human race, you became a source of salvation to all mankind by receiving with humility the word of God brought to you by the angel Gabriel.
A woman, the tree, and death symbolize our defeat. Yet these three have become for us a principle of life. You are the woman, the new Eve; the wood of the Cross is the new tree of life, the death of Jesus, the new Adam, takes away the sting of the death of Adam. Eve was the mother of the dead, for all of us, her children, were doomed to enter this world under sentence of death, the slaves and children of Satan. But you are the Mother of the living, for by your fidelity to your Maker you deserved to give to mankind a Redeemer who by His death has destroyed the reign of death and has thrown open to us the gates of everlasting life. You are truly our immaculate Mother for it is to you, after Jesus, that we are indebted for the supernatural life of grace and the hope of eternal life.
Mary, My Mother, the beloved disciple, St. John, tells us that "a great sign appeared in heaven: "a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Apoc. 12, 1). The Woman is a striking image of you, the Immaculate Conception. The attitude of the Church toward you, symbolized by the moon under your feet, is that of a suppliant who is forever entreating you to use your power in favor of your children. She is forever imploring you to intercede in their behalf with Him who has clothed you with His light and His glory, and has poured out upon you the fullness of His grace. As our immaculate Mediatrix before your Son you have appeared at Lourdes to encourage us to amend our lives and to make sacrifices and offer prayers for sinners. In the spirit of loving confidence we have recourse to you. We recommend to you our hopes and our fears. Our eyes are upraised to you in sorrow and in joy. Immaculate Mother, you are the hope of a sinful race.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I firmly believe in the doctrine of Holy Mother Church concerning your Immaculate Conception, namely, that you were, in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
It was fitting that the God of all purity should spring from the greatest purity. Alone of all the children of Adam, you were gifted with the fullness of sanctifying grace which made you the object of a very special love on the part of God. How wonderful were the workings of divine power to make you a fitting dwelling for the Redeemer of the world! With no tendency to evil, but with a deep yearning for the highest virtue, you glorified God more than all His other creatures. Never did you yield to the least imperfection, let alone sin. At the very instant of your conception your mind was filled with the light of God, and your will was entirely conformed to the divine will. Your extreme hatred of sin was the measure of your supreme love of virtue. Aided by God's wondrous graces you surrendered yourself entirely to God in the smallest details of your life. Forgetting yourself completely, you were most intimately united with God.
Mary, My Mother, help me to imitate your holiness to some degree. My imitation of both Jesus and you depends upon my response to the amount of grace that God sees fit to give me. Your holiness was not the result of the privilege of your Immaculate Conception and sanctifying grace alone, but it followed from your gift of yourself to God and your constant cooperation with His graces. Help me to be generous with God by turning to good account the graces that He ever bestows on me, and by rising promptly when I fall, with renewed confidence in His mercy. Aid me through your influence with your Divine Son, to be a true child of yours and to grow daily into your likeness. Help me to imitate your virtues that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Feast, March 25
1. Mary, Mother of God, how great was the honor given to you at the Annunciation! Within your humble home in the little town of Nazareth, the Holy Spirit willed to perform a miracle that was the masterpiece of infinite power—the Incarnation of the Son of God. God sent Gabriel, one of His glorious archangels, to deliver the most important message in the history of mankind, announcing the coming of the Savior of the world and the selection of you to be His Mother. Thus was fulfilled the prophesy that Christ would be born of the family of David.
With heavenly homage the angelic messenger greeted you "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1, 28). Never before did angel greet man with the word "Hail, full of grace." In all humility you attributed this holiness to God alone, working wondrously within you. When the Triune God destined and elevated you, a mortal Virgin, to the dignity of Mother of the Redeemer, the Father had to endow you with a fullness of perfection suitable for such a dignity. The Son, the Eternal Wisdom of God, in choosing you for His Mother, bestowed on you a certain fullness of grace, so that as you gave Christ His human nature, Christ, in a certain sense, raised you as close to God as a mere creature can come. And the Holy Spirit, who descended upon you in the Incarnation with all His fullness, must have conferred upon you such treasures of sanctity as would prepare you to receive the Son of God in your most pure womb. You possessed, according to the words of the Archangel, such a fullness of grace that you were worthy to become the Mother of God.
"The Lord is with thee." He was with you in a manner more intimate, more perfect, and more divine than He ever was or will be with any other creature. He was with you not only by His essence, His presence, and His power, as He is with all His creatures. He was with you not only with His actual grace, touching your heart and enlightening your understanding. He was with you not only by His sanctifying grace, making you pleasing in His sight, as He is present with all the just. He was with you not only by a special protection guiding you in His ways and leading you securely to salvation. He was with you, and with you alone, in an unspeakable manner by bodily presence. In you, and of your substance, was this day formed His adorable Body. In you He reposed for nine months, with His whole divinity and humanity.
Mary, My Mother, the angel said to you, "Blessed art thou among women." Your blessedness was due to your unexcelled sanctity. You would be hailed by all generations as blessed above all other women because you are the Mother of God and at the same time a spotless Virgin. You are blessed because of the fullness of grace you received; blessed, because of the greatness of the mercy to be bestowed on you; blessed, because of the Majesty of the Person who was to take flesh of you; blessed, because of the glory which would become yours.
2. Mary, Mother of God, how pleasing to God was your humility! You were troubled not at the appearance of the angel, but at what he said. Your fear arose entirely from your humility, which was disturbed at the sound of praises so far exceeding your own lowly estimate of yourself. Had the angel said you were the most wicked sinner in the world, your wonder would not have been so great, as it was at the sound of his praises.
But Gabriel comforted you, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God." As Christ was pleased to be comforted by an angel, so was it necessary that you should be encouraged by one. Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found, not taken, grace, as Lucifer tried to take it. You have not lost grace, as Adam lost it, but you have found it because you have desired and sought it. You have found uncreated grace, that is, God Himself became your Son; and with that grace you have found and obtained every created good.
The more your humility was tried, the more lowly you became in your own estimation. Your humility was rewarded with the greatest privilege ever given to a creature. "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High." By your humility you have found such great grace with God that you were chosen to co-operate with His Divine Son in restoring man to a dignity far superior to that which he had lost by sin. What greater wonder could the world behold, than a woman become the Mother of God, and a God clothed in human flesh? Mary, by your humility, you became the Mother of your Creator. The Creator, in His goodness, became the Son of His own creature.
The Holy Spirit would work in you the greatest work of His omnipotence, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." By His almighty power He would form the body of the Savior of the world, and the Divine Son would unite it to Himself forever. How God rewarded your humble and deep faith! "And, therefore, the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God." Though you did not know the meaning of the archangel's inspired words, you serenely submitted to the will of God. In doing so you uttered the most gracious act of humility that ever fell from human lips, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." With a "fiat" God created light, heaven, earth, but with your "fiat" God became Man. O powerful answer which rejoiced Heaven and brought an immense sea of graces and blessings into the world! It was an answer which had scarcely fallen from your lips, before It drew the only-begotten Son of God from the bosom of His Eternal Father, to become Man in your most pure womb!
Mary, My Mother, the divine Motherhood meant for you deepest suffering. To become the Mother of God meant for you a knowledge of and a share in the Passion of Christ that would plunge you into the depths of a sea of lonely desolation. You became a victim and holocaust to the divine will, the Queen of Martyrs, the most perfect imitator of the Victim of Calvary. Since suffering is the measure and the very law of love, I cannot imagine the greatness of your love for us, your children. The moment of your exaltation, the highest to which God could raise a creature, finds you sunk in the abyss of your own nothingness. Fully acknowledging your unworthiness to be the Mother of Christ, you accepted the exalted privilege only in obedience to the divine will. You called yourself the servant of Him who for thirty years would be subject to you.
How wondrous you are in your humility. Like you let me realize my own nothingness. I cannot advance in the path of sanctity without humility, which is the heart and soul of virtue. If I have humility, God may flood my soul with grace here and exalt it eternally in heaven.
3. Mary, Mother of God, the instant that you gave your consent to the archangel, the Holy Spirit overshadowed you and wrought in your most chaste womb the Incarnation of the Son of God. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." How consistent with the infinite tenderness of God that His Christ, the Immortal Child, should be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the body of a young virgin and that a virgin should bear a Child to redeem the world. In that moment the mystery of love and mercy, promised to mankind thousands of years earlier foretold by so many prophets, desired by so many saints, was accomplished upon earth. In that instant the Word of God became forever united to humanity; the human soul of Jesus Christ, produced from nothing, began to enjoy God and to know all things past, present, and to come. From your pure blood the Holy Spirit formed the pure Body of Jesus. At that moment God began to have an Adorer who was infinite, and the world a Mediator who was all-powerful. To the working of this great mystery you also were chosen to cooperate by your free consent.
You are truly the Seat of Wisdom because you were the living Tabernacle of the God of Infinite Wisdom. Not only were you full of grace, but you also bore the Author of grace. You were entirely under the influence of Christ's divinity. In return for the natural strength that you gave Him, He gave you His divine strength. What a divine impression Jesus left upon you, His Mother! You were united with Him as closely as a Mother is united with her child, and your thoughts and desires were those of your Divine Son. Your heart beat in unison with His Heart. I cannot rise to the heights of your holiness because I cannot grasp the intimacy of your union with Christ when you became His Mother.
Mary, My Mother, I rejoice with you that you are so privileged, so exalted as to become the worthy Mother of God. We all rejoice because all the graces and spiritual benefits we have received and shall receive, all our future glory comes from this exalted mystery of the Incarnation. God could not have created a more beautiful throne for Himself than you; His Mother! I thank God for the great glory He has bestowed upon you for which all generations shall call you blessed.
Feasts, Friday of Passion Week and September 15
1. Mary, Mother of God, your sorrows are not merely the sorrows of an earthly mother grieving over the death of an only child. Rather, your sorrows were ordained by God from all eternity as part of the penalty to be paid for sin and were to mingle with the sufferings of your Son in that great sacrifice which was to redeem the world.
The Gospel speaks of you as standing beneath the cross. This posture is not the one usually describing a mourner who is affected with only human grief. You would have shown your grief as mothers do by sobs and tears. But though your soul was filled with grief, you bravely stood beneath the cross. You did not-abandon Jesus as the apostles did; you remained with Him until He expired. You did not go to a distance, but drew nearer to the cross—the hard bed on which Jesus had to die. You stood by its side never turning your eyes from Him. You beheld Him suspended by iron nails. You stood there silently fulfilling a part assigned you by Providence.
Mary, My Mother, you were to complete the offering of your Son, which you had begun on the day of His presentation in the temple. You presented Him in sacrifice to the Father as your God and the Son of Man, as your offering and the offering of humanity for the redemption of the world. You so loved the world as to give your only Son for our redemption. It was your duty to represent the whole of mankind and to offer those acts of adoration faith, hatred of sin, love and prayer, which were due from those who shared in this sacrifice.
At the same time you had to offer the most intense human suffering, in union with the Passion of your Son. You saw in the cross an altar, in your Son a Priest, and in His Blood the price of our Redemption. You suffered in your soul what Jesus suffered in His body, and in union with Him you offered yourself as a victim for our sins. There were two great altars on Calvary; one in the Body of Jesus, the other in your heart; for on that mount, at the same time that your Son sacrificed His body by death, you sacrificed your soul by compassion. What merits did not your perfect immolation gain! Thereby you sanctified all our afflictions and united them with those of Jesus. I can never fully understand the depth of those sorrows that filled your heart as you begot us to the spiritual life, while standing by the cross on Calvary. The words of the prophet are applied to you: "O all you that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be sorrow like unto my sorrow."
2. Mary, Mother of God, your life, like that of your Divine Son, was a daily crucifixion and martyrdom. You found the cross very heavy during the three years of His public life, for then He had to leave your side that He might be "about His Father's business,"—the sanctification and salvation of souls. Though deprived of the joy of His actual presence, you were more intimately united with Him than ever through your sacrificial love, since your will was one with His. He was preparing you for your final separation from Him at the foot of the cross.
Because you freely consented to become the Mother of God, you experienced mentally all the bitterness of your Son's Passion and death. At the very beginning of His public ministry, you observed the hatred and jealousy of His enemies and the false accusations which would bring about His death. Each event of the sorrowful drama of His sufferings was a sword that pierced your motherly heart.
The Apostles, who had abandoned their Master informed you of your Son's betrayal by Judas and of His brutal capture after His agony. The beloved disciple told you what he had seen in the houses of Annas and Caiphas: how Jesus had been accused as a blasphemer for stating that He was the Son of God. With your own eyes you saw Him brought first to Pilate, then to Herod and then again to Pilate. You were in the judgment-hall and heard it ring with lies. You saw Barabbas preferred to Jesus when the Roman governor showed the Man of Sorrows to the angry mob. What grief filled your heart as you gazed upon your Son with His flesh torn, His head encircled with long, sharp thorns, His whole body covered with blood—a mock-King with a reed in His hand and cast-off cloak over His bleeding shoulders.
You heard the mob, led by the chief priests clamoring for His crucifixion. You saw the heavy cross placed on His bent shoulders. Your heart sank each time He fell beneath its weight. You saw His virginal flesh torn open again when the soldiers pitilessly stripped Him of His garments. You beheld His arms and feet roughly extended on the hard wood of the cross. What must have been your anguish when you looked at the sacred body of Jesus as the long nails were being driven into His hands and feet! You saw the cross raised and heard the mob, not yet satisfied with their bloody work, continue to torment their dying Victim.
Though worn with sorrow, you at once took your place at the foot of the cross. There you stood bravely, your eyes fastened on your Divine Son. How generously you offered Jesus, your dearest treasure, as a Victim to the justice of His offended Father! How courageously you united the oblation of your own suffering and grief with the offering of Jesus, thus proving yourself worthy not only to share but also to be one with Him in the redemption of souls.
Parting with your dying Son was the height of your sorrow. But with the same humility with which you had conceived Him, you consented to the supreme loss of your God. Jesus had delivered Himself in His Passion to the will of His Father, and before His sacrifice for sinners could be perfect, He had to be forsaken by that Father. In the same way you, who freely delivered your son to a cruel death, parted with your Son. Only thus could you become one with Your God in the salvation of souls.
Mary, My Mother, more courageous than the martyrs, you stood at the foot of the cross. The suffering of Jesus in His dereliction was the most difficult test of your faith. In union with Him you also did the will of God perfectly as He exclaimed "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."
When you heard Jesus utter these words and saw Him bow His head and die, you died a spiritual death. Gazing sorrowfully on His lifeless body, you watched the soldier drive the spear into His Heart. The words of Simeon were then fulfilled. "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce." Filled with grief, you saw how the disciples removed the nails from the Redeemer's hands and feet, extracted the thorns from His head, and took Him down from the cross. What a sight met your tear-dimmed eyes when you beheld the body of your Son, bruised and mangled and covered with open bloody wounds. Your soul filled with love and sorrow, you embraced your Son now pale in death, a victim for the sins of mankind.
3. Mary, Mother of God, you are our spiritual Mother. The crucifixion was not only the sacrifice for sin, it was also the new birth of mankind to the spiritual life, lost by the sin of Adam. It was the great vital act that completed the work of God in the world. You had a share in that work; it was part of your life-work. The Nativity and the Crucifixion were as one action. The sacrifice of the cross began at Bethlehem. The new birth of mankind was completed on Calvary. You were concerned in both, and on each occasion you were present as Mother of the human race.
Your dying Son declared this in His words to you from the cross, "Woman, behold thy Son." Those words include us all. You were declared to be the spiritual "Mother of all the living." On this occasion you bore your share of the penalty allotted to woman: "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children."
When Jesus said to John, "Behold thy Mother," He wanted John to respect and to love you as his Mother. John took my place on Calvary and you became, in his person, my Mother. Jesus could give me—after the gift of Himself—nothing more precious than you. With your heart breaking with sorrow, you had to die a spiritual death in order to become my spiritual Mother. In becoming my Mother, you became the Queen of Martyrs!
Mary, My Mother, what a truly marvelous privilege is mine! Since you are my Mother, I share in the love you have for your Divine Son. Jesus gave me your own dear self, His dearest possession, whom He loved so much that He, in a sense, exhausted His power to exalt you above all other creatures. Jesus exhausted His love for man also. It was not enough for the Infinite Lover of souls to free us from the slavery of hell by His Passion and death and to bestow upon us His body and blood, soul and divinity. He had to crown the gift of His love with the grand gift of you, His Mother.
I can best thank Jesus for His dying bequest by striving daily to become like John in his love and imitation of you. It means imitating your humility, your purity, your detachment from the world, and your unselfish resignation to the will of God in every event of life. It also means unlimited confidence in your motherly intercession if I should have the misfortune of straying from Jesus by sin.
How precious is your love, my Mother! I give you my love by consecrating myself entirely to you, in joy and in sorrow, by complete abandonment to the divine will. May I remember always your sorrows on Calvary, through which you begot us to God and became the co-redemptrix of our race. May this remembrance fill me with love and gratitude to you, and be the reason for my trust in your powerful protection and in your prayers in Heaven, where you plead with your Divine Son for the salvation of us all.
Do not forsake me sweet Mother of Sorrows, because you are my spiritual Mother. If I confide my salvation to your loving care and faithfully imitate your virtues, I know you will keep me in your immaculate Heart both now and at the hour of my death.
Feast, April 26
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are Our Lady of Good Counsel because of the divine wisdom and prudence which you received from the Holy Spirit. This wisdom and prudence showed itself at a very early age, when you willed to devote yourself entirely to God and were presented by your saintly parents, at your own request, for the temple service. You remained there working for God, meditating on His holy Law, praying and praising His divine Goodness.
The virtue of holy prudence guides man in his choice of purposes and in the best means to attain them. You showed singular prudence during your life. You treasured up all the words spoken by the holy angels concerning your divine Son, as well as those pronounced by the prophetess Anna and by holy Simeon when you presented your Son in the temple, and you prudently pondered them in your heart. During your Son's public ministry you seldom appeared, because this was the prudent thing to do on account of your close relationship to the Redeemer.
Mary, My Mother, How perfectly you have followed the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and acted on divine wisdom! No one ever carried out the teaching of your Son with greater exactness than you; hence His words refer to you perfectly: "Everyone therefore who hears these my words and acts upon them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house on rock" (Matt. 7, 24). Wherefore the Church applies to you the words Jesus spoke of that other Mary who sat at His sacred feet, drinking in the words of divine wisdom flowing from His blessed lips: "Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10, 42). Teach me to imitate your prudence and listen to your counsel in all walks of life. Tell me how to embrace whatever is best that I may attain the great purpose of my life—heaven and the possession of God—and how to reject whatever is opposed to it or likely to make this attainment difficult. Let me never be influenced by temporal considerations—wealth, honors and pleasures—that I may always follow the counsel of Jesus: "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be given you besides" (Luke 12, 31).
2. Mary, you are Our Lady of Good Counsel because you are the Seat of Wisdom. You are the Mother of the Uncreated Wisdom, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You shared more in this wisdom than did any other creature, because you approached nearer to the Source from which it came—Jesus, the Eternal Wisdom. For thirty-three years you enjoyed the company of the only-begotten Son of God in the intimate relation of Mother and Son, and under your care, according to the Evangelist, He "advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace, before God and man" (Luke 2, 52).
In all your deeds you showed the fruits of the Divine Wisdom which had made you the dwelling-place of God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," says the psalmist (110, 10). Great must have been the childlike reverence and respect with which you watched over your every action and which preserved you from ever displeasing the Divine Wisdom.
Mary, My Mother, I am the work of the wisdom of God together with all other creatures. Everything inside and outside of me should reflect His divine perfections. Like you, let me learn divine wisdom and see God in all things, so that I may rise from the creature to the great Creator. Help me to esteem the light of my reason as a sharing in the divine wisdom, especially when I try to follow the teaching of the Gospel. Let me never esteem worldly wisdom so highly as to pay but little attention to the principles of that wisdom which is from heaven and which alone can make me truly wise and happy. Help me to bear in mind that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and that the secrets of divine wisdom are imparted only to the humble of heart, while they are hidden from the worldly-wise.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, I beg you to teach me true heavenly wisdom which was the source of every good deed you performed. Keep me humble that I may be able to receive your counsel. How often am I confused in the problems of life. How often I do not know where to turn. Advise me what to do. Give me your good counsel, so that following it humbly I may ever please God, find true happiness on this earth and eternal life in the world to come.
3. Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Good Counsel, I appeal to you for advice and guidance. Teach me to desire ardently all that is pleasing to God, to seek after it prudently, to accept it truthfully and to do it perfectly, for the praise and glory of God. I beg you to pray for me that by the light of the Holy Spirit and your direction, I may see my duty, and by God's grace and your help I may fulfill it.
Pray to Jesus, the Divine Word and Eternal Wisdom, who is "the life that is the light of men" (John 1, 4), that through you He may teach me His divine wisdom. He ordered most perfectly His whole creation, for He is the true fountain and highest source of light and wisdom. Ask Him to favor me with a ray of His brightness to enlighten the darkness of sin and ignorance in which I was born. May He who makes little ones to speak divine wisdom, direct my tongue and pour out upon my soul the grace I need ever to follow His and your example in my state of life.
Mary, My Mother, through your prayers may I be blessed with a keen understanding of the ways of God. I desire to place under your protection all my efforts in my striving for holiness and all the works of my daily life. I declare that I undertake them only that I may better promote the honor of God and devotion to you. Enlighten the beginning of my efforts, direct my progress, bring my completed work to perfection. Grant that following your good counsel, I may avoid sin, practise virtue, save my soul and attain eternal life.
Feast, Saturday after the Feast of the Ascension
1. Mary, Mother of God, at Pentecost you were with the Apostles, preparing for the Holy Spirit the promised Gift of your Son. Prayer was the soul of your preparation, and the Apostles were inspired by your example. When the Holy Spirit descended, you received the richest outpouring of His graces. Your holiness was due to this Spirit of Love, to Whose guidance you abandoned yourself. All that He could give, He bestowed upon you, His Immaculate Bride. On the day of Pentecost the Apostles' worldly views about the Kingdom of God on earth were banished by the Spirit of God, and holiness replaced their imperfections, but no-taint of the slightest sin had to be removed from your virginal soul. He overshadowed you at the Annunciation and on Pentecost He made your heart a furnace of divine love.
Not only did the Holy Spirit pour into your soul a fullness of grace, but He entrusted to you, the Mother of the human family, the distribution of all grace. What was true of the effusion of the Holy Spirit on that day, is equally true of every outpouring of grace: God gives nothing to earth without causing the gift to pass through your hands.
Mary, My Mother, you always lived under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and in the closest possible union with Him. Teach me to understand something of your love for the Holy Spirit and His love for you in keeping your soul beautiful and holy. Teach me to love Him with some of the love that glowed in your own heart so that my heart may always be His pleasing temple. Protect me from losing the Holy Spirit by sin. Make me ever attentive to His inspirations that I may grow in holiness and may merit to see this Divine Guest of my soul in the glory of His heavenly kingdom.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Queen of the Apostles because you were the source of their inspiration and zeal. By your love of God and of His adopted sons, you aided the Apostles in the spread of Christ's Kingdom on earth. You could not accompany the Apostles while they fulfilled the duties of their ministry, but in silence and solitude, by the power of your prayers and the fervor of your charity, you were the master-missionary of them all.
The part that you have played in the spread of the Church and in its struggles and triumphs, clearly shows the Divine Plan in your regard. You have given to the world the Savior whom the Apostles have proclaimed. From you all missionaries have received the salvation which they bring to the nations. God has made you Queen and Protectress of the Church. You have the charge of keeping faith intact and love unimpaired in the Church founded by our Lord, and of spreading through the nations and over continents the knowledge of the Kingdom of God. Thanks to you, the grace and the sanctifying gifts of the Holy Spirit are scattered abroad over the Church and its members.
3. Mary, Queen of the Apostles, pray for the triumph of God's Kingdom upon earth. Through your powerful intercession promote the propagation of the faith. Give strength and courage to those who work for the salvation of souls as apostles of our own time so that following the example of the divine Missionary, Jesus Christ, they may labor zealously for the spread of God's Kingdom. Give them zeal that by prayer and sacrifice they may cooperate in the great work of the Redemption.
May your glorious example be imitated by countless youths and maidens who will give themselves to the Lord to carry on His work throughout the world. Increase the number of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life and awaken in many young hearts a zeal for the salvation of pagans and sinners.
Pray for more lay apostles, who in every walk of life will defend the rights of God, proclaim His Truth and preach His holy Will by word and example. Fill their hearts with the virtues of joyous zeal for God and for souls and a warm love for divine learning. Give me the same virtues in my state of life—a will inflamed with the desire that God's Will be done and a mind steeped in the knowledge of what that Will is. Give me enthusiasm and joy in the knowledge, the love and the service of the Lord.
Implore the grace of conversion for many pagans that they may come to the knowledge of the true faith and one day be united with the saints in heaven, there to love you and praise your mercy for all eternity. Bless our prayers and labors for the conversion of the world and support them by your powerful intercession with your Son, Jesus, that His Kingdom of Truth and Life, Holiness and Grace Justice. Love and Peace, may be spread among men.
Feast, May 13
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are called Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament because you are associated in a special way with the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
From all eternity God chose you to be His Mother, and in time He adorned you with every spiritual charm. He preserved you from original sin and the sway of the devil; He filled you with grace. He made you immaculate in view of the fact that Jesus Christ, the God-man, was to take His Flesh and Blood from you.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, I see you in Bethlehem lovingly pressing to your heart your Child, your God, the future Eucharistic Christ. I see you offering Him to the heavenly Father in the temple for our salvation. That very same Christ is mine in the Holy Eucharist when I look upon Him as a Victim on our altars, when I kneel before Him as my Friend in the Tabernacle; when I receive Him into my soul as my Guest in Holy Communion. He is all mine—and all because you gave your consent to become His Mother.
Though it was out of sheer goodness that God decreed to give us His very Son in the Blessed Sacrament, I believe that your prayers had much to do with the carrying out of that plan; for you, too, must have prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread." And when Jesus instituted this Holy Sacrament, He surely thought especially of you.
But I see the relation between you and the Blessed Sacrament above all in your life after Good Friday when you began your new motherhood at the feet of Jesus in the Eucharist. If to live of the Eucharist and by the Eucharist was the very special spirit of the early Church—"And they continued steadfastly in the communion of the breaking of the bread" (Acts 2, 42)—it must have been the summary of your last years on earth. I can easily picture Saint John, the Apostle of love, saying Mass each day in his own home and daily giving you the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist. There before the tabernacle you relived in memory all the happy and sorrowful events of your life with Jesus. In your heart and life the Eucharist took the place of His former presence in the flesh. Your ardent faith and intense love pierced that thin veil which separated you from your loving Son. Your heart and His burned with one flame of love to the glory of the Father there at the altar. How happy Jesus must have been to receive the homage that you paid Him! What joy He must have felt at the thought that His Sacramental Presence brought you such consolation!
Mary, My Mother, I have every reason to honor you under the title of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, because you have given me the Eucharistic Christ. It is your Son who abides with me in the tabernacle as the best Friend I have in this world, who offers Himself to the Father for me as the Victim of Calvary at Holy Mass, who gives Himself to me as Food in Holy Communion.
2. Mary, Mother of God, Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is your Gift to us. Jesus, not satisfied with having given Himself to all mankind in the Incarnation, wished to become united with each of us in a most intimate manner by means of the Holy Eucharist, for by an unceasing act of love He gives Himself to us in each Consecration and in each Communion. Your Heart, Blessed Mother, is always conformable to Our Lord's will. Having loved your sinful children so much as to sacrifice for them your only Son in His Passion, you loved them to the end by giving them the Holy Eucharist. This gift of Your Heart entitles you to be called the Mother of the Holy Eucharist. Everyday you renew your Gift generously, because to each Sacrifice of your Son, you give your consent, each Consecration is your gift to us. Each Communion is a mystery of your love for us and a grace which you obtain and bestow on us.
Mary, My Mother, your whole life was like a Mass. The presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple was like the Offertory, for you offered to the Heavenly Father this "material" for the sacrifice—the body and blood of your little Son. You offered to the Father in Heaven the Body and Blood of the Lamb you bore and sacrificed Him with the knife of your will on the altar of your heart. You were willing to offer Him at this tender age, for the salvation of the world.
The Consecration took place on Calvary where you shared in the offering of the bloody sacrifice of the New Testament. You stood close to Jesus, your head raised to drink the bitter chalice offered your arms stretched out and reaching upward, like a priest at the altar. You offered Him on the altar of the Cross—the future Eucharistic Christ—in perfect adoration to the insulted majesty of God, in thanksgiving for all the blessings showered on mankind; in reparation for our sins and in petition for sinners. This Body, given to us at Christmas and immolated on Good Friday, was flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone. It died that we might never die, that It might nourish us unto eternal life.
The Communion was your life of union with Jesus in the Eucharist after His Ascension. The offering of your Son was continued in each Holy Mass ever to be offered, in each Holy Communion ever to be received, in each act of adoration and prayer before the Sacred Host.
You were the first Chalice of the Blood of Jesus for Our Lord dwelt in you during the nine months of expectation as in a kind of ciborium. How much more precious you were than any chalice of richest gold. At the Crib, you were the first ostensorium of your Son, showing Him to the shepherds, to the Magi and to the world. After the Ascension you found the past under another form; the consecrated Bread the Apostle John placed on your lips was Jesus, who was formed from your own flesh and with whom your body was again united.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I choose you as my model of Eucharistic devotion. I wish to attend Holy Mass, receive Holy Communion, and visit Jesus in the tabernacle in union with you, in the spirit in which you yourself did so. Just as in my tenderest years I learned to love God at my mother's knee, so now I desire to learn to love my Eucharistic God, as it were, at your knee, for I firmly believe that you are the shortest and surest way to the Heart of the Eucharistic Christ.
Your offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is the perfect model for my offering Holy Mass. You suffered with your Divine Son. Never did a mother love her son as you loved Jesus; and so never did a mother share in her son's agony so deeply as you shared the Passion. Jesus died because He willed to die. You must have willed your Son's death, because, hard as it was to make this sacrifice, it would have been quite impossible for your will to be the least separated from His. He died out of love for us; this was His final proof of love. Aside from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, no human heart ever loved mankind so deeply as your heart, and, therefore, you wanted to unite your will to His, offering to Almighty God this Holy Sacrifice out of pure charity for the human race.
Help me to share actively in Holy Mass by sharing in your spirit. Teach me to imitate you by accepting willingly all the suffering which my service of God involves, my struggles against temptation, my difficult acts of virtue, my little penances—in union with the Victim Jesus on the altar out of love for God and mankind. You are truly my model in offering Holy Mass. Each time Jesus becomes present in the hands of the priest, the Life given to us by the words of consecration comes originally from. you. Surely it is through your special influence as Mediatrix of Graces that this Life is shared with me. Therefore, I offer Jesus to the Father through your hands, and in Holy Communion I ask for graces through you.
How earnestly you invite me to come and partake of this Bread of Life. It is through you that I am able to eat the Bread of Heaven even every day. It is through your prayers that God inspires me to receive It and grants me the grace to receive It worthily. As Eve induced Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit which brought death upon us, so you prompt us to eat the Bread which gives us life. Help me to receive Holy Communion frequently, at least each week, if not daily.
Mary, My Mother, from your early years you adored the one true God in the Temple at Jerusalem. You adored your God incarnate within your chaste womb from the time of the Incarnation to His birth. In Bethlehem you first adored Him in His visible presence as He lay in all His helplessness before your joyful eyes. From that time forward until His Ascension into Heaven, you were the constant adorer of the Word-made-Flesh in all the mysteries of His earthly life. The early Christians, all lovers of the Eucharist, who visited you frequently during your hidden life of adoration, must have taken away with them the spirit of your Eucharistic devotion. As you knelt before the Sacred Species, you truly influenced the First Christians to be ardent lovers of your loving Son in the Blessed Sacrament. Teach me to prove my love for Jesus by visiting Him frequently in His tabernacle home, where He lives as the best Friend I have upon earth, ready to console and strengthen me in my trials, for His Sacred Heart invites me, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you lest."
Mary, I beg you to lead me to my Sacramental Jesus! Make me a fervent apostle of the Eucharist. Make me Eucharist-minded to the extent that my very life may be the Eucharist—in union with you, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Feast, May 24
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Mother of mankind and therefore the Help of Christians, the all-powerful suppliant. You abound in divine life for yourself; for us you abound in grace. Your part in distributing God's grace is a result of the part you played in obtaining it. Although it is true that Jesus in glory, by means of His divine wounds, is our intercessor before the Father and all God's gifts come to us through His merits, you are the all-powerful suppliant, through whom every prayer reaches up to Him and every grace comes down. From the moment you said, "Be it done to me according to thy word," the Father in heaven made Jesus and you, as it were, a redemptive pair; you, of course, have always been dependent on Him. In all of the mysteries of Jesus, in every part of His life, the Father always thought of you two together; together you labored to save men.
You were charged with dispensing the supernatural life to men because this was fitting. But you help Christians also by your prayers. You express your wishes to God, those wishes which have to do with our needs—needs of body and needs of soul. Because of your dignity, you reach to the borders of the divine. He who gives grace, takes your prayers for commands.
How earnestly you wish God's grace for us! How earnestly, too, you want to help us in all our needs! When the Persons of the Blessed Trinity gaze on you, the Immaculate One, most pure, most beautiful, supremely pleasing to eternal love, what can they refuse you? They see Jesus Christ in you, the treasure-house of all their blessings. Everything which Jesus may claim in justice is yours by friendship's title. Through your prayers and dignity the power and the fruits of the Passion of Jesus are applied to men No intercession, neither yours nor that of any saint, is of value except through Him, through His blessed wounds. But, if it is true that in the task of redemption you cooperated with Him in everything, in His joys and sorrows, in His winning our salvation then it is also true that you do the same in the dispensing of all the graces, material and spiritual, necessary for our salvation.
Mary, My Mother, I could go directly to God and ask Him for His grace without your help and that of the Saints, but God has not willed it so. Having once given us Jesus Christ by you, God does not change His way of helping us. Through you we have received Jesus Christ, the Universal Source of Grace, so through your intercession, we still continue to receive the various actual graces suited to our state of life. Jesus continues ceaselessly to pray for us, offering for us to His heavenly Father His infinite merits and atonement, and causing the floods of grace to descend upon us to save us. Since you had your place beside Jesus when there was question of ransoming us and meriting for us all the graces necessary for our salvation, you must in like manner have your place beside Him now, when there is question of securing for us by your prayers in heaven the graces prepared for us in view of the merits of Christ.
2. Mary, Mother of God, when I consider your compassion for mankind and your influence with God, I am urged to give my whole-hearted and unlimited confidence to you, Help of Christians. Your motherly interest in my needs and the salvation of my soul encourage me to make a prompt appeal to you in all my needs and dangers.
When I address the Almighty, I am frequently fearful because of my sinfulness in the presence of His infinite majesty and holiness. Jesus is my Savior and I have confidence in His infinite merits. Even in the Son of God I sometimes fear the Divine Majesty because although He became Man, He did not cease to be God. But because of my sinfulness, I also have need of an intercessor with Him. I need an advocate with God, and therefore I turn to you, the Mother of God. You are a human creature, but free from even the slightest sin or guilt, and absolutely pure by reason of the singular excellence of your nature. The Son will listen to you, His Mother, and the Father will listen to His Son.
Mary, My Mother, the word which best summarizes your whole career is "Mother." Mother you are and that doubly in the terms of our Catholic belief: human Mother of Jesus, supernatural Mother of every Christian. You brought forth Jesus, your First-born, without pain; but in giving birth to your second-born, what agony did you not have to endure? May I weigh well at what price you became the Mother of the human race, so that I may remember how much you love me and how eager you are to help me and all Christians. For from the moment when Jesus told you to see Him, in John, you saw Jesus in all Christians. You took your only Son to heart in all men born. Then for His sake, be our Help! You are, indeed, the ladder by which Christians may ascend to heaven; you are their greatest hope, and the whole ground of their hope. Surely the Son cannot refuse her who gave Him birth, the one who never denied Him anything. This thought wonderfully strengthens my confidence in you, Help of Christians.
3. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Help of Christians because you are the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ. As you were the Mother of Jesus in the Incarnation, when He assumed a physical Body, so also you are the Mother of Jesus in His Mystical Body, and of all those who, as members of that Body, are the brothers and sisters of Christ by Divine adoption. Jesus, your First-born, was brought forth in joy at Bethlehem, but His brethren, your spiritual children, were brought forth in anguish of spirit at the foot of the cross.
As you cradled the new-born Savior and nourished and cared for Him, so at Pentecost you cradled the new-born Church, watched over its frail, delicate body and fostered and nourished it with motherly care.
As you were called to cooperate with your Divine Son on Calvary in acquiring the treasure of His infinite merits, so now in Heaven you cooperate with Him in dispensing those merits to His Mystical Body. I believe that all graces and heavenly favors flow to the Mystical Body of Christ as from the Head, but you are the channel, through which, by God's will, all graces come to humanity.
Since you are the Mother of men, God gave you a special knowledge of the needs of every Christian that you might help us to save our souls. You would not be completely happy in heaven if you did not know the interests of those souls redeemed at the cost of so much pain to Jesus and you. I cannot for a moment suspect, all good and all powerful as you are, that you are unwilling to implore for me the graces which I need so much and above all. Moreover, I am confident that you will obtain for me.
Mary, My Mother, all the saints have prayed to you for help: the prophets, the evangelists, the apostles, the martyrs, the confessors, the heroic virgins and chaste widows. All those whose Queen you are have learnt of Jesus that they must call you Mother and ask your help. Following their example and striving to attain to their faith, joining in their admiration, in their intense pleading, I, a poor sinner, who am so in need of help and pity, in need of your mercy, cry out to you: Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us . . . pray for me! Pray for us, you who are so powerful, be all-powerful in our behalf! You know all our needs—needs of body and needs of soul—infinitely better than a mother. Pray for us Christians who sigh to you in this vale of tears so that we may be comforted, enlightened, strengthened, guided, and finally saved!
Feast, May 31
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are our Mediatrix. I believe, according to the inspired teaching of St. Paul, that there is but one Mediator between God and man—your Son Jesus. His role in our salvation is absolutely necessary. He saved us by offering to the justice of God perfect atonement for our sins. He alone has paid the full price of our ransom, and to this price no one else has contributed.
And yet, in the whole work of the redemption, your Son wanted to associate you with Himself. Though you did not pay even the smallest part of our debt, you cooperated in His work by the entire union of your will with His. Although He might have wrought our salvation alone, without inviting you to share in His work, He did not choose to do so. He willed that (1) you should be present at each stage of His mortal career—renewing, continuing, completing what you had done at the Incarnation. He also willed that (2) everywhere the offering of Himself should be presented to the Father through your hands. This is what took place at His entrance into the world; and again when He took upon Himself the office of Savior in the mystery of the Circumcision, and received from you the Holy Name of Jesus. Once more He renewed His offering at the Presentation in the Temple. And finally when the sacrifice was completed by His death upon the cross you had your place beside Him. Your will was one with His, faithful to your promise made at the Incarnation.
Mary, My Mother, your mediation is in reality one with that of Jesus, who had seen fit to give Himself to us only through you. He made His taking of the role of Mediator dependent on your consent, and it was your motherly care, shown toward Him through life, which made Him ready for the sacrifice that reconciled the world to God. Truly then, you are entitled to be called our Mediatrix.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Mediatrix of All Graces. By this title I understand: (1) upon your mediation and intercession depends the distribution of the riches of the treasury which Jesus acquired for the salvation of men; (2) consequently, no grace comes to all of us as a body or to any of us in particular which you have not asked for in our behalf; (3) according to the order of things established by God, you have become, under Jesus Christ, after Jesus Christ, and through Jesus Christ—from whom you can never be separated—the source and principle for us of all supernatural life.
Your Son won a treasure of grace for us by the life and death He offered up to the heavenly Father. I cannot secure my salvation without these graces, for it is the grace of God which gives me light and strength to do good deeds. Through the sacraments, prayer and good deeds, I can make my own the merit of the atonement of Jesus. You took part in this offering of the life and death of Jesus. (1) You prepared in your virginal womb a fit temple for the union of the Son of God—the Divine Word—with our human nature. (2) You took part in this offering also by the consent which you gave to the whole plan of the Redemption, and by your union of will with that of your divine Son even to the point of His sacrifice on the cross. If you had part in the work of the Redemption, then you also had part in all those graces which were prepared for us in view of the merits of Jesus for our salutation. You truly deserve to be called the Mediatrix of Grace.
Mary, My Mother, God has willed that you should distribute His graces because you far surpass all other creatures in holiness: you are the masterpiece of His creation, who more than all the others honored and loved Him during your life; because you are the one whom He has chosen to be the Mother of His Son, and because you have been, according to the Divine Plan, associated with Jesus in the work of Redemption.
Jesus is the only Mediator of justice, and by His merits He obtains for us all graces and salvation; but you are the Mediatrix of grace. You have merited by a merit of fitness all that Jesus has merited by a merit of justice. You receive all graces through Jesus Christ, because you pray and ask for them in the Name of Jesus Christ. Whatever graces we receive, come to us through your intercession.
3. Mary, Mother of God, as Mediatrix of All Graces you have entered into the highest state of power and glory in heaven in order that you may help us on our difficult journey to the heavenly City of God. All good things come to us through your hands. At every moment you interest yourself in our behalf in heaven, and obtain for us by your prayers all the graces we need to reach salvation. You are the channel by which all the favors of Jesus descend upon us, even as it was through you and in union with you that during His mortal life He won for us whatever title we have to His gifts and graces.
Jesus is the Head of the Church, and you are its neck. I believe that all graces, all heavenly blessings descend from Jesus—as from the Head—by means of you—as the neck—to the body of the Church. You were united with Jesus when He bestowed special favors. Jesus caused the wonderful effects of grace in the soul of John the Baptist, but at the sound of your voice his sanctification was effected, and both he and his mother Elizabeth were filled with the Holy Spirit. You were the instrument used by your Son. At your prayer Jesus changed the water into wine in Cana.
And so it is even now in heaven. While no gift is bestowed on us by God except in virtue of the Passion and death of your divine Son, the Precious Blood and the sacred wounds of Jesus are presented to God by you. Apart from your cooperation no grace descends to earth.
Mary, My Mother, since it is the will of God that we should obtain all through you, teach me to turn to you in all my needs. You are all-powerful because your divine Son instantly fulfills all your desires in order to honor you. At the marriage feast of Cana He worked His first miracle because you asked Him for this favor. Show the same compassion toward me, for I am in need of grace to fight temptation, to avoid sin and to lead a holy life. For the sake of Jesus be mindful of me as you stand near Him who granted you the fullness of grace. Bestow on me gifts from the riches of that fullness. You are the channel of all good things after the Trinity, Mediatrix of the world after the Mediator. Through you I hope to reach the heavenly Kingdom. I come to you with confidence, knowing that through you all glory, honor and holiness given to the human race from the first Adam to the last ages has been granted, is being granted and will be granted to apostles, prophets, martyrs and all the just. You "found grace with God" to restore salvation to all men. Save me, a poor sinner who confidently invokes your intercession, through the graces merited for me on the cross by the precious Blood of your Son.
Feast, May 31
1. Mary, Mother of God, I believe that as Mediatrix with Jesus you share also in His sovereign dominion over the universe. You are Queen because you are the Mother of the Word Incarnate. Christ is universal King because He rules all creatures by His personal union with the divinity. You brought Him into the world that He might be King, according to the words of the archangel: "And of His kingdom there shall be no end." By consenting to His birth, you made Him King.
Mary, My Mother, you are Queen also because your are Co-Redemptrix. Jesus reigns over us not only by natural right, but also by the right of redemption. As cooperator with your Son in that work of redemption, you also acquired the right to reign with Him. God chose you to be His Mother and by that very choice has associated you with Himself in the work of the salvation of men. Since you had your place beside Jesus when there was question of ransoming us and meriting for us all the graces necessary for our salvation, you must in like manner have your place beside Him now, when there is question of securing for us by your prayers in heaven the graces prepared for us in view of the merits of Christ. This is my hope that you will be a Mother to me and obtain for me the grace I need to save my soul.
2. Mary, Mother of God, yours is a queenship of goodness. You add a degree of motherly sweetness to the joy of the angels and saints and to the blessed of the Church triumphant. To the Church suffering you bring consolation, relief, deliverance, to the Church militant you offer aid, confidence, victory.
Yours is a queenship of dominion. You exercise your queenly dominion over the minds, the hearts, the wills and even over the bodies of your subjects. You rule over their minds, by making them understand better the teaching of Christ, over their hearts, by turning them to Jesus through the charm of your motherly affection, over their wills, by gently inclining them to observe all the commandments of your Son; over their bodies, by teaching men to subject their members to the law of God through the practice of temperance and chastity. The more fully you are Queen in a soul, the more does Jesus reign there as King. Reign over my mind and heart and will and body, so that I may belong completely to Jesus through you.
Mary, My Mother, yours is a queenship of conquest. How many souls have still to be brought under the rule of Christ the King! Fulfill your apostolic mission of winning the world for Christ. As formerly the shepherds and the magi found Jesus close to you, so now may all sinners, unbelievers and pagans find Jesus through you, His Mother. Hasten the reign of Christ by ruling over all of us, your children.
3. Mary, Mother of God, the apostolic mission confided to you as Queen by your Son is to help Him to the end of time in the sanctification and the salvation of all the souls that come into the world. This apostolic mission is a consequence of your office as Mother, as Co-Redemptrix and as Dispenser of all graces.
As Mother, it is your mission to preserve your children from sin and to make them live the supernatural life. You are the first apostle of your children not only because you are the most perfect of mothers, but especially because you are our spiritual Mother. Your apostolic work—to snatch souls from Satan and from sin to make them live the supernatural life—is the very reason for your motherhood.
As Co-Redemptrix, you must finish your work by applying the grace of redemption to each individual soul, for only then the redemption is achieved. This is the very heart of your apostolate. No apostolic act bears fruit without grace. But all graces come through you. Through your prayers all graces have come to the apostle and to the souls converted or sanctified. By granting them these graces you have performed a work of the apostolate. Your apostolate is universal because you are the spiritual Mother of all men and the universal Co-Redemptrix. All other apostles and workers for the salvation of souls depend upon you for blessing upon their missionary work. Bless the work of those who spend themselves to bring souls to your loving Son. Through your powerful intercession obtain for them the graces they need. Sanctify them first, so that they may then more effectively sanctify others.
Mary, My Mother, as Dispenser of all graces, you make the world share in the infinite merits of the redemption. You are the Mediatrix of our peace with God and the Giver of heavenly graces. You have entered into the highest state of power and glory in Heaven in order that you may help us in our journey through so many dangers to the kingdom of Heaven. I believe with the Church that from the great treasury of graces that Jesus has merited for us, nothing comes to us, by the will of God. except through you. Hence, it is through you that we must go to Christ, almost in the same way as through Christ we approach our Heavenly Father. You are our Mediatrix with our Mediator.
We do not attribute to you the power of producing supernatural grace, even though you are the Mother of God, for this power belongs to God alone. But, because you surpass all other creatures in holiness and in the closeness of your union with Jesus and. because you have been, according to the Divine Plan, associated with Jesus in the work of Redemption, you have merited by a merit of fitness all that Christ has merited by a merit of justice, and God has made you the Giver of His Graces.
You are Queen of the universe, not by force, but by the power of love. You embrace the universe in the realm of your love and enrich it through your unfailing intercession. You are "Suppliant Omnipotence" because your prayer obtains all graces from the infinite treasures of God.
From your heart we hope to obtain the love of God that He expects from His creatures, and also the pardon that guilty but repentant creatures ask from their merciful Creator. All souls belong to you and your Son. He is King and you are Queen of all hearts. Rule over us by the queenly power of your love that the Kingdom of your Son—the Kingdom of Truth and Life, Holiness and Grace, Justice, Love and Peace—may come upon earth.
Feast, June 9
1. Mary, Mother of God, since you are the Mother of Jesus Christ, you are the Mother of Grace as well. God prepared you for this exalted dignity by an extraordinary abundance of His graces, when He chose you to be the instrument of His mercy by making you the Mother of His divine Son. This is why you were greeted by the angel in the words, "Hail, full of grace." According to earthly standards, nothing could be added to your fullness of grace. According to God's eternal standards, the sanctity proclaimed by Gabriel when he called you "full of grace," was but the beginning of your wonderful growth in holiness. When Jesus was conceived in your womb by the infinite power of the Holy Spirit, you possessed the Author of grace, and He so adorned your soul with the richness of His heavenly gifts that you won the admiration of men and angels. After the birth of your Divine Son, this grace grew in splendor within you as it daily united you more closely with your God. Even your earthly sufferings were to deepen your sanctity. How many and how great then, were the graces you received in order to reach the eminent virtue that was yours when, on Calvary, you became the Queen of Martyrs.
Mary, My Mother, as I cannot grasp the depth of your sanctity, I cannot understand the measure of your grace. The gift that God conferred upon you when He chose you to be the Mother of His Divine Son, and the grace that was in proportion to that gift, are beyond the understanding of men and even angels. All that God could give, He bestowed on you. The Holy Spirit overshadowed you at the Annunciation, and on Pentecost He made your heart a furnace of Divine love.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are Mother of Grace, because you are begotten of you to the life of grace, and are indebted to you after Jesus, for our supernatural life. God, having once given us Jesus Christ by you, Holy Virgin, does not change His way of blessing us with His gifts. As we have received through you the Universal Source of Grace Jesus your Son, so we still continue to receive, by your intercession, the various actual graces suited to our state and calling in Christ. Your motherly love contributed so much to our salvation in the Incarnation of the Son of God, who is the Universal Source of Grace, that you will eternally contribute as much to all the works of grace, which come to us because of the Incarnation.
God is the source of every good and the absolute Master of all graces. You are only a pure creature, who receives whatever you obtain as a pure favor from God. But it is most reasonable and proper to say that God, who honored and loved You more than all others during your life, and whom He had chosen to be the Mother of His Son and our Redeemer, wills that all graces that are granted to those whom He has redeemed should pass through your hands and be distributed by you in order to exalt you. Jesus is the only Mediator of justice, and by His merits He obtains for us all graces and salvation but you are the Mediatrix of grace. Though receiving all you obtain through Jesus Christ, because you pray and ask for it in the Name of Jesus, yet whatever graces we receive, come to us through your intercession.
Mary, My Mother, I firmly believe that the saints and blessed in Heaven can aid us by interceding for us with God. The holier a person is and the greater the intimacy of his union with God, the greater also is the power of his prayers. But your holiness is so great, that the power of your intercession is greater than that of all the other saints. The prayers of the saints avail only in a limited way. The power of your intercession has no such limits, for the saints teach me that our Savior can refuse nothing to His Mother. You are indeed all-powerful in Heaven, but your omnipotence is not one of authority and command, but of intercession. We can certainly call you "Suppliant Omnipotence."
3. Mary, Mother of God, I believe that divine grace is absolutely necessary for the performing of any act that is meritorious for eternal life. I am grateful to your divine Son for this priceless gift of God, for by His Passion and death He not only reinstated us in the friendship of His heavenly Father, but also purchased for us all the graces we stand in need of to attain eternal life.
I also believe that grace is a free gift of God, and I have no claim to it except as a member of His holy Church, which is the mystical body of Christ. Whoever abides in this Church will bring forth much salutary fruit; whereas they who willingly separate themselves from it must wither away spiritually. How strongly Jesus reminded me of this: "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remain on the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15, 4).
Help me to be deeply grateful for God's generosity toward me. I have been especially blessed as a Catholic, for God has given me graces which He has not given to everyone else. The Catholic Church the Gospels, the sacraments, the Mother of Divine Grace as my advocate—these are among the special blessings with which I am favored. I know that much will be required from those to whom much is given. Help me to make good use of the graces given me by God. May my faith influence my conduct. May the instructions I receive increase the love of God in me and strengthen my determination to serve Him with greater zeal. May I derive all the beneficial results the holy sacraments are to produce in my soul.
Mary, My Mother, I realize that I have not always corresponded faithfully with these graces. I will not be discouraged, but rather go with confidence to you, the throne of grace. Even though my past sinfulness may have made me unworthy to appear before God, I trust that you will appeal to God in my behalf as the Mother of Divine Grace. Through your prayers you will obtain forgiveness for my past negligence. You will obtain for me grace to be faithful to God during the rest of my life.
Above all, I beg of you to secure for me in the our of death the grace of final perseverance: that triumphant grace which crowns the measure of God's rifts here below and which is followed by the possession of God in heaven.
Feast, June 27
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Mother of Perpetual Help because of the graces you have at your disposal. God has willed that by your intercession we should obtain the graces Jesus has merited for us. Your intimate union with your Divine Son is the reason for your power with Him. All-powerful though He is, God could not bestow upon a creature a degree of honor higher than that conferred on you as the Mother of His Son. He could not make you divine by nature, but He has made you inseparable from Jesus in the salvation of souls through the grace which He has so abundantly poured out upon you because of the Divine Motherhood. The angel said to you, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1 28). Your fullness of grace brought you to a most intimate union with the Author of grace. It was fitting that you receive into your holy womb the One who contained all graces. Thus you became in some way the source of that grace which Jesus would pour forth over all mankind.
Mary, My Mother, give me a rich share in the graces merited for me by your Son. Let not my sinfulness and human weakness stand in the way of my receiving the graces I need for the sanctification and salvation of my soul. Through your prayers be always my powerful helper.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are my Mother of Perpetual Help because of your love for me. No creature loved Jesus more than you, and consequently, no one loves the souls redeemed by His Blood more than you. Jesus purchased me at the cost of His own life, and you offered that life to God for me.
You love Jesus because you are His Mother, and you love me because you are my Mother. By offering your Divine Son on Calvary you brought me forth to a life of grace and thus became my spiritual Mother. When Jesus said, "Woman, behold thy son...Behold thy Mother," He gave you to me to be my Mother for all Christians form one body with Christ, and Saint John represented them all beneath the cross. After your Divine Son, you are God's most precious gift to man. Therefore, no one could ever love me more, after Christ, than you do.
Mary, My Mother, help me to realize that the closer my union with you, the more intimate is my union with your Son. I cannot have Jesus for my Brother if I do not have you for my Mother. Help me to love Jesus with all my heart and to show my love for Him by loving you whom He has loved so dearly. I know that He wants you ever to be my Mother of Perpetual Help so that the graces He has merited for me may effect the salvation of my soul.
3. Mary, Mother of God, in your own lifetime you showed that you are truly our Mother of Perpetual Help. At the marriage feast of Cana you asked your Son to perform a miracle for the distressed bride and groom. At your request He worked the first miracle of His public life. He was pleased to help others for your sake. Your directions to the waiters: "Do whatever He tells you" (John 2, 5), show that you regarded your Son's answer as a striking sign of His special love for you.
Furthermore, Jesus made the revelation of His divinity and the strengthening of the faith of His disciples the effect of your intercession. When He changed the water to wine, He did your bidding as God, since as man He could not perform miracles. Thus He clearly revealed that in His kingdom you were to be the dispenser of His riches.
What a striking lesson you give me by this unlimited confidence in the power and goodness-of your Divine Son! Enlightened by God, you knew that He would grant your request. I should learn from your conduct never to oppose the divine will, even though conformity to it may mean a severe test of my faith. Your example teaches me that Jesus will work miracles for persevering prayer that springs from confidence and humility.
Mary, My Mother, give me an absolute trust in your help. How truly can the words of Holy Scripture be applied to you: "In me is all grace of the way and of the truth: in me is all hope of life and of virtue" (Ecclus 24, 25). How consoling to know that I have Christ, my elder Brother, "always living to make intercession for me," and you, my Mother, ever pleading for me before the throne of God. I can pray to you with full confidence because you are loved by the Father as the Mother of His Son, loved by the Son as His own Mother, loved by the Holy Spirit as His Immaculate Bride.
Since Jesus has given you charge of the dispensing of His graces, I know that you are most eager to use this power to help me. You want to give me help every time I need it. I beg you to take care of me for I am a poor sinful child. Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me!
Feast, July 2
1. Mary, Mother of God, your charity is strikingly shown forth in the Visitation. When you learned from the angel that your cousin Elizabeth was with child and needed your help, you set out to care for her. Neither your long absence from home, nor the inconvenience of a difficult and dangerous journey to the mountain country kept you from making this mission of love. You thought only of the good you could do in Elizabeth's home. Your sincere love made you hasten to be of service. As you entered the house of Zachary and greeted your aged cousin, you offered kind words of comfort and congratulation. You lovingly served her till you saw her happily delivered of the child of promise with which God had blessed her.
How humble you were! Though you were the Mother of the Most High, you wanted to become the nurse of Elizabeth and the infant John. Though declared blessed among women, yet you considered yourself the servant of two of God's beloved children.
Help me to strive to imitate your wonderful charity by aiding those who are in need, by sympathizing with those who are afflicted, by opening my heart and applying my hands to relieve every form of distress. Give me charity like yours, which recognized in every human being a brother or sister in Jesus Christ, to be treated with respect and tenderness and to be aided according to the measure of my power. 'Teach me that the test of my following of your Divine Son is practical charity. Help me, above all, so that by my good example I may enrich and ennoble every human being whose life I touch.
Mary, My Mother, may the thought of your tenderness and charity increase my confidence in you and make me look up to you in all the dangers that surround me in life. I am sure that you, who are all-powerful as my advocate, will not desert me but will bring to my poor afflicted soul grace and sanctification.
2. Mary, Mother of God, the results of your visit to Elizabeth were wonderful. Scarcely had you greeted your aged cousin, when mother and son felt at once the sanctifying effects of your loving presence. The child in the womb of Elizabeth was sanctified and exulted for joy at the presence of Jesus. At the sound of your voice Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." She humbly exclaimed, "How have I deserved this happiness that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" God freed His future messenger from original sin and enriched him with grace. Elizabeth proclaimed that you were the Mother of Christ and declared you blessed among women because you were the most holy dwelling of the Eternal God.
The effects of the presence of Jesus and you are still the same. Grace comes to us from Jesus and reaches us through you. Saint Elizabeth received the Holy Spirit through your intervention, in order to teach us that we must make use of you as our Mediatrix with your Divine Son, if we wish to obtain the Holy Spirit. It is true that we could go directly to God and ask Him for His grace without your help, but God has not willed it so.
Mary, My Mother, in the mystery of the Visitation, you began your high office of bringing Jesus into the souls of men. With joy you must have foreseen the millions of souls who by your presence in their lives would cast off the bonds of sin. Through the mystery of your Visitation enlighten my mind with divine truth, warm my heart with heavenly love; strengthen me to win the victory over my evil inclinations and the power of evil.
3. Mary, Mother of God, how beautifully you expressed your gratitude and humility! Unmindful of your dignity and greatness, you thought only of returning thanks to God, to whom you attributed all your greatness and privileges. God had exalted you above all creatures. You thought only of praising Him as your greatest Benefactor when you exclaimed, "My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...For He who is mighty has done great things for me." In your humility, you looked upon yourself as His lowly handmaid. Though you prophesied that all generations would call you blessed, you attributed all holiness to God. The glory of the great things that had been done in you, you attributed to God's mercy and power and love. God had raised you to the highest dignity in His power in choosing you to be the Mother of His Son. The whole human race rejoices in you as Queen and Mother.
Mary, My Mother, teach me ever to seek the glory of God and to render to Him what is His divine rights. God looks for gratitude and humility which draw down upon us His favor and His gifts. God wants His gifts recognized. Whereas pride and ingratitude repel grace from our souls, gratitude and humility, like golden keys, unlock the treasury of heaven. Help me to return unceasing thanks to God for His many favors, and keep me humble in possessing and using them. May I be found worthy of your frequent visits with Jesus to my heart in this life and of the invitation to come and live with You both for all eternity in heaven.
Feast, July 16
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are our true Mother because you have given us supernatural life. The supernatural life is the life of Jesus in us through grace. You have given us Christ that He may make us live of His life.
At Nazareth, you knew that by saying Yes or No to Gabriel, you would be giving us life or leaving us in spiritual death. You said Yes so that we might live. By consenting to give natural life to Jesus, you consented to give us supernatural life. In becoming His Mother, you became ours. From that hour, we were members of the Mystical Body of Christ. I thank you for consenting to become my spiritual Mother by giving me Jesus. Through your prayers, may Jesus make me live of His life through sanctifying and actual grace. May these graces become most fruitful in my soul till I become like you, another Christ.
On Calvary our redemption was accomplished, by His death, Jesus merited for us the grace to live His life. Jesus did this in union with you. You conceived Him as victim, you prepared Him for this sacrifice beneath the cross you offered Him to the Father for our salvation. Though you felt joy in the birth of your first-born Son, you brought us forth in sorrow at the death of that same Son. Jesus proclaimed your motherhood from the cross by entrusting you to John and John to you when He said, "Woman behold thy son...Son, behold thy Mother."
Mary, My Mother, at my baptism you gave me life at the moment when sanctifying grace was infused into my soul at the baptismal font. You obtained that grace for me. I became a child of God. You brought me forth to the divine life.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are more truly our Mother than any other mother by the way in which you have given us life. To bring us forth, you gave much more than our earthly mothers gave. You bore unspeakable sufferings and offered the life of Him who was dearer to you than your own life.
You love me with a love that is greater than the love of my own mother; you love me with the very love with which you love Jesus, since all your children form but one body with Him.
Mary, My Mother, you are mother in a higher degree because of the kind of life which you have imparted to me. You have given me life without end, a life of happiness for all eternity, not a created life, but a share in uncreated life, in the very life of God. I thank you for all you mean to me as my spiritual Mother. During my whole life you continue to take care of me until Christ be formed in me. If unfortunately I should lose this life by sin, you can bring me back to supernatural life. May I always be most grateful by striving to grow in this divine life. Only then can I really love you as you desire—when Jesus is formed in me so that I can love you as Jesus does.
3. Mary, Blessed Virgin, full of grace, Queen of all Saints, how consoling it is for me to venerate you under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! It takes me back to the days of the prophet Elias when you were prefigured on Mount Carmel under the form of the little cloud from which, as it grew larger, there fell a kindly rain, a symbol of the sanctifying graces that come to us from you. Even from the days of the Apostles you were honored under this mystical title. Today I am filled with joy at the thought that we are united with those first clients of yours, and in union with them we greet you, saying: O beauty of Carmel, glory of Libanus, purest of lilies, mystical rose in the flowering garden of the Church.
Virgin of virgins, remember me in my needs, and show yourself my Mother. Shed upon me more and more the living light of that faith which made you blessed. Inflame me with that heavenly love with which you loved your dear Son, Jesus Christ . . . I am filled with miseries both spiritual and temporal. I am afflicted with many sorrows in body and soul, and I take refuge, like a child, in the embrace of your motherly protection.
Mother of God, you have very great power. Obtain for me from Jesus the heavenly gifts of humility, chastity and meekness, which were the fairest adornments of your immaculate soul. Make me strong in the midst of the temptations and bitterness which so often trouble my soul. And when the days of my earthly pilgrimage are over, according to God's holy will, grant that my soul may obtain the glory of heaven, through the merits of Christ and through your intercession. Amen.
Feast, July 17
1. Mary, Mother of God, humility is the virtue you especially practised from childhood. The saints tell me that it is the foundation and guard of all virtues, since without humility a soul can possess no other virtue. Your loving Son came to teach this virtue to mankind by His example, and He desired that we should especially strive to imitate Him, for He said, "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11, 29). As you were the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus in all the virtues, you were the first and most perfect disciple also in humility. First of all, because of your humility you merited to be exalted above all creatures.
The first characteristic of humility of heart is a humble opinion of oneself. You always had so lowly an opinion of yourself that, although you realized how many more graces and favors were bestowed upon you than upon others, you still preferred all others before yourself. Of course, you never thought of yourself as a sinner for humility is truth, and you knew that you had never offended God.
Mary, My Mother, you did acknowledge having received greater graces from God than had any other creature, for a humble heart always acknowledges the special favors of God that it may humble itself the more. But by the greater light you possessed for recognizing the infinite greatness and goodness of God, you recognized also your own littleness, and, therefore, you humbled yourself more than all others: you ever had before your eyes the majesty of God against your nothingness as His creature. The more you beheld yourself enriched, the more humble did you become, remembering that all came to you from the infinite generosity of your Maker. No creature in the world has been more exalted than you, because no creature in the world has ever humbled himself more.
2. Mary, Mother of God, your humility was expressed especially in the Annunciation. You were fully enlightened as to the greatness of the dignity of a Mother of God. Though you had already been assured by the angel that you were this happy Mother chosen by the Lord, you did not stop to rejoice in your exaltation. Seeing your own nothingness as compared with the infinite majesty of God, who chose you for His Mother, you acknowledged how unworthy you were of so great honor, but you did not oppose His will in the least thing. Filled with deep humility, and yet on fire with desire to unite yourself still more closely to God, you abandoned yourself entirely to the Divine will and answered, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 1, 38).
Mary, My Mother, you showed your humility by striving to conceal from others the gifts you received from God. You concealed even from your beloved spouse, Saint Joseph, the important fact that you were the chosen Mother of God, and you awaited God's good pleasure to reveal the great mystery to him.
In your humility you refused praise, giving all the praise and glory to God. When your cousin Saint Elizabeth greeted you as blessed among women, you answered, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid" (Luke 1, 46). You humbled yourself so deeply because you knew that of and by yourself you were nothing and had nothing. Therefore, you gave your praise to the Creator and Giver of every good and perfect gift.
In your humility you wished to serve others rather than to be served. You visited the house of Zachary to serve your cousin Elizabeth for three months. Later in the public life of Jesus, you sought no attention. At one time when you wanted to speak with Jesus, your humility forbade you to enter the house where He was preaching until you were asked to do so.
In your humility you gladly suffered contempt with Jesus. We do not find you in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, when your divine Son was received with so much honor by the people. But we do find you standing beneath the cross on Calvary, when your Son was derided and mocked. You did not shrink from the disgrace of being recognized as the Mother of one condemned to die a shameful death.
3. Mary, Mother of God, teach me to be truly humble. Since I sincerely love you, I want to follow your example; this is the greatest honor I can pay you. For my proud nature, humility is most difficult to practise. But I can never be your true child if I am not humble. You invite none to come to you but the lowly of spirit. It is under the mantle of humility that you will protect me. Clothe me with your own humility.
Teach me the real kind of ambition, that is, greatness in God's eyes. Only childlike humility entitles me to the first place in God's estimation and consequently, in heaven also. The degree of childlike humility I have attained in life will be the degree of my greatness in heaven. Help me to see that humility is nothing more nor less than a just and equal judgment of myself, my talents, my opportunities and the use I make of them.
Humility is not belittling myself, but taking the place which rightly belongs to me, not a higher place, nor a lower, but the true and just place where God wants me. For if I have any ability, any worth or goodness, the glory is not mine, but God's. Without God I can do nothing. All that I am or have. He has given me. This is truly your spirit, as you expressed it at the Visitation: "Behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed: because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name" (Luke 1, 48).
Mary, My Mother, I beg you for this humility which is so necessary for me that without it I cannot enter God's kingdom, as Jesus reminded His disciples, "Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18, 3). I beg you for this humility which is loved both by God and men for in it lies something sublime—a living resemblance to Jesus and to you.
Blessed Mother, teach me humility. Help me to become a child in your school. Let me know nothing else except this entire surrender of myself to God, this simple childlike act of the heart, as I cast myself into the Arms of Jesus and promise Him my fidelity. To love Jesus, to do His will, to accept all from His hands—let this be my humility, as it was yours!
Feast, August 5
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are also the Mother of men. You conceived Jesus as the Head of regenerated mankind, the Head of a mystical body whose members we are. You also conceived His members who have been born again and are called to incorporation with Him. When you became the Mother of Jesus according to the flesh, you became the Mother of men according to the spirit. This truth was confirmed on Calvary, when at the very moment our redemption was to be completed by the death of Jesus, He said to you: "Behold thy son," then to St. John, who took our place beneath the cross: "Behold thy mother." This was a declaration that all Christians are your spiritual children.
Mary, My Mother, I am happy to be your child. As the surest refuge for a child is the heart of its mother, so your Immaculate Heart is my refuge. In His infancy Jesus depended upon your loving care, and in death when He was abandoned by all, even by His Father, He still had your heart. The last beat of His Heart was to be one with yours just as the first had been.
It is the will of God that His aid should reach me through your heart, because you are my Mother, and motherliness means willingness to help. He wished to adapt Himself to our nature by giving us life and aid through the heart of a mother, having placed in your heart some of His own love for mankind to make you the spiritual Mother of the redeemed. He renders it possible to give greater expression to His own love and mercy through your Heart. Therefore, with childlike confidence I appeal to your motherly Heart for help. I trust that through you I shall obtain the help I need to keep the commandments, avoid sin, receive the Sacraments frequently, pray much and save my soul.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are my Model of perfect dedication to God. Holiness is union with God through love. Through love you consecrated yourself with all your powers to God as the highest form of beauty and goodness. You knew nothing but God and His love you wished for nothing but Him and His holy will; you sought nothing but His greater honor. This intimacy with God was the soul of your soul—your very life.
God enriched your soul with such a love above all other creatures that in you alone He found His fullest delights. Your soul was most beautiful, lovable and immaculate, rich in graces and virtues. The Holy Spirit, who in virtue of your Son's merits lived in you, made you a living image of Jesus. Never were you guilty of the least fault; never did you offer the least resistance to grace. You are the model of all virtues. As I gaze upon you—the ideal of perfection and sanctity, may a similar longing for God and complete dedication of myself to Him awaken in my soul. God's grace can also do wonders in me if only I do not refuse to cooperate with it. May looking upon your Immaculate Heart inspire confidence in me which will make me more eager to grow in holiness. And I am sure there is nothing you want more than that, to see me perfectly dedicated to God even as you are. Since this is the mission of your life, to bring souls to God through Jesus, lead me to your loving Son. Only give me the grace to abandon myself completely to your motherly guidance.
Mary, My Mother, the saints have taught me that the best veneration of you is always imitation. Teach me to admire your virtues that I maybe constantly reminded to imitate them and become like you. I trust that you will lovingly bow down to help my efforts. You are a Model easy to imitate because you sanctified yourself in the ordinary, everyday life common to most of us by fulfilling those lowly household duties of a young woman a mother and by leading a hidden, retired life both in joy and in sorrow. I realize that imitating you is the best way of imitating Jesus and of obtaining your all-powerful intercession. I unite myself with your heart so that everything I have to do or suffer may become a pure sacrifice of love in the sight of God.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I consecrate myself to your Immaculate Heart. Teach me to understand that personal consecration to you does not mean only to place myself under your special protection, but rather to live for God in union with you by avoiding every sin and practising virtue.
I want to be devoted to you by giving myself entirely to you and through you to God. In so doing I simply imitate God who gave Himself and His Son to us through you. I give you my intellect by holding you in loving reverence because of your dignity as Mother of God. I give you my will by an absolute confidence in you, a confidence founded on your power and your goodness. I give you my heart by the gift of a tender and childlike love, because you are my Mother and you love me more than my own mother could ever think of loving me. I give you my whole being by copying as far as possible all your virtues by performing each of my actions through you, with you and in you This is the most pleasing homage I can render you.
Mary, My Mother, help me to perform all my actions through you—to ask through your intercession the graces I need in order to imitate you, and to go through you to Jesus. Help me to perform all my actions with you—to look upon you as a model and helper. Help me to perform all my actions in you—to be entirely dependent upon you, taking your point of view, doing all things as you did them for God's honor and glory.
Feast, August 13
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the mother of the Judge: you are also the Mother of the sinners. You are the Mother of mercy and kindness not only to the just, but also to the despairing sinners so that no sooner do you see them coming to you and seeking your help, than you aid them; you welcome them and obtain their pardon from your Son. You have such a desire to save sinners that you look for them in order to help them. As the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour, you go about seeking whom you may save. There is no sinner so spoiled and so mired in vice that you would deny him aid. It is impossible for any one to perish who sincerely and humbly cultivates devotion to you. But you are Mother only of penitent sinners who have left their evil ways before death. You are certainly the refuge of sinners, but you wish what your Son wishes. If the sinner dies in his sins you cannot desire to save him, because Jesus will not save him.
From all eternity God chose you to be His Mother that those who could not be saved according to the rigor of divine justice, might be saved with the help of your sweet mercy and powerful intercession. Unceasingly praying for sinners, you stand before your Son.
How many sinners after losing hope have found refuge in you, and, under your protection, returned to God's grace! God has made you so kind even to sinners that your goodness restores us to hope. Heaven and earth shall perish before you are seen to abandon the miserable who pray to you sincerely.
Mary, My Mother, when my heart is oppressed with guilt and fear, let me look to you. In every struggle l am sure to find in you both help and consolation because you are the Mediatrix between sinners and your Divine Son. You have never turned away your eyes from souls in need. Look with pity on me for in You is my hope.
2. Mary, Mother of God, as Refuge of sinners, you will never turn away those who have recourse to your compassion. There are some who are far from their Father's house, who even refuse to turn to you. But many of these straying children are ignorant and not fully responsible. You love them still, in spite of their sins, and you follow them with your motherly gaze and your prayers. Your heart watches over them tenderly. All these souls were given to you by Jesus on the cross—they are your children. You are not only the Mother of the guilty but also Mother of Jesus, their Judge.
I plead for these sinners and I beg you to help them to break their chains, to shake off their human respect, to hope in the mercy of your Son. Help those of our faith to throw themselves at the feet of a priest and confess their sins and ask pardon for them. Obtain for them that deep conviction of faith, that unwavering hope, that Jesus, Infinite Love, who died for them, will b completely ready to welcome them, to take them in His arms, press them to His Heart and once again say, "Father, forgive them . . ." Grant that all these, men and women alike, may be freed from sin, to repose on His Heart of merciful love.
Mary, My Mother, you alone never knew shipwreck in the deep ocean of humanity's crimes. You alone know how to triumph over the old serpent—and to crush his head under your heel. Your great lover, Saint Bernard, along with many other saints and writers, reminds me: "Through you, Mary, heaven has been filled; through you hell has beheld itself robbed of an army of souls, in a word, through you eternal life was imparted to multitudes of wretched ones, who had made themselves unworthy of it." Refuge of sinners, do not turn us away when we entreat you. Have pity on the sinners of the world.
3. Mary, Mother of God, you are the hope of sinners, you are my hope! I, too, am a sinner. I am deeply conscious that I am unable to do good. I need you desperately. Like other men, I bear in my heart the original wound; that wound has opened other wounds which are hard to close and heal.
In fallen man there is, as Saint John reminds us, "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2, 16). I feel this threefold inclination to evil. It urges my senses to lower desires, because I seek sensible pleasure in its every degree. Because I am arrogant, it makes me rebel against God's law, the law forbidding me that abuse of liberty which insults Him. It impels my mind to self-exaltation, because I am proud. I feel myself consumed by original sin and its dread consequences. Wicked lust, the source and occasion of sin, flowing directly from original Sill and inclining to evil, drags me along in spite of myself—although always voluntarily—to personal sins, sins that I know only too well are my own.
I was false to God's trust; I refused to obey my Maker. How often has mortal sin, destroying in me the beautiful image of the Blessed Trinity, brought death to my soul, delivered me to God's wrath and condemned me to everlasting hell-fire!
Mary, My Mother, I am one of the murderers who slew your beloved Son, for it was my sins, together with the malice and cruelty of the Jews, which crucified Him. And I did this, not under the sudden influence of passion, but deliberately with full knowledge of the act, of its horrible malice in the sight of God and of the terrible consequences in which it involved me. I did it not once or twice but numberless times. For as often as I offended God by mortal sin, so often have I crucified the Son of God and made a mockery of Him.
And yet, Refuge of Sinners, you are my refuge, if I but have recourse to you, and you will extend your loving hands to receive me, to shelter me from the divine anger I so justly deserve. Your charity for the souls redeemed by the precious blood of your divine Son is so great that you ask mercy for those who flee to you for refuge, with all the earnest tenderness of a mother pleading for her only child. Behold I come to you to show you the wounds sin has inflicted on me. Place your gentle motherly hands on those wounds of my soul and grant that through the grace of the Sacraments and prayer they may be healed. With sincere contrition for my sins I cry to you for help. Be a mother to me and save me. Obtain for me the grace of true conversion. Give me a deep sorrow for my sins which have hurt God so very much. I earnestly wish to make atonement for all of them. Through your all powerful prayers, obtain for me not only God's forgiveness, but also the grace to amend my life and to save my soul.
Feast, August 15
1. Mary, Mother of God, your death was entirely free from whatever might make death bitter: attachment to the world, remorse for sins and the uncertainty of salvation. Rather, your death was accompanied by three graces that made it precious and full of joy. You died as you had lived, entirely detached from the things of the world, you died in the most perfect peace and in the certainty of eternal glory.
Your Son, though He was Life itself, did not exempt Himself from death. So, as daughter of Adam you submitted to the sentence passed in the garden of Eden. You died of no infirmity. Little by little the links between your body and soul were dissolved by the resistless force of love. Intense love for the Infinite God withdrew your soul from this earthly life, and caused you death.
Mary, My Mother, though your body was separated from your soul in death, your soul was reunited in your incorrupt body, and you were taken up into heaven by angels. The bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul. But God has willed that you should be exempted from this general rule because, by an entirely singular privilege, you completely overcame sin by your Immaculate Conception. Corruption is a consequence of sin, but you were sinless. You did not have to wait until the end of time for the resurrection of your body. As the body of your Divine Son was preserved from the corruption of the grave, so you, from whom He took flesh, were also free from the power of earthly decay. Your body, which was the living tabernacle of the Eternal God and the temple of the Adorable Trinity, was not meant to crumble into dust.
2. Mary, Mother of God, I believe that it is a divinely revealed dogma that you, Immaculate Mother of God, having completed the course of your earthly life, were assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Jesus ascended to Heaven by His own power as Lord and Creator, accompanied by angels who paid Him homage. You were taken to Heaven by the power of God, accompanied and upheld by the angels, raised aloft by grace, not by nature. Jesus ascended to Heaven before you not only that He might prepare a throne for you in that Kingdom, but also that He might Himself accompany you with all the blessed spirits and thus render your entry into Heaven more glorious and worthy of His Mother. At the Annunciation you received Jesus on earth; it was proper that He should receive you in Heaven. Having deigned to come down to you, He wished to raise you up to Himself in order that you might enter into glory.
Mary, My Mother, the day of your Assumption was the great day of your triumph. After the triumph of your Divine Son on the day of His Ascension, there never was, and there never will be, a triumph like that which you enjoyed on this day. When He had finished the work of our Redemption by His labors, suffering and death, the Eternal Word, clothed in our nature, entered into His glory and was seated on the right hand of the Eternal Father. He became Sovereign Master of the universe and Supreme Judge of the living and the dead. In your triumph, as the Mother of the same Word Incarnate, having perfectly followed out the great designs of God upon you, having acquired immense merits by the practice of all the virtues, and having reached the highest holiness, you were assumed body and soul, into Heaven. Angels came to escort you. You were borne aloft to the palace of your Beloved.
You passed amid the different choirs of the blessed, above all the heavenly spirits, and approached the throne of light prepared for you. Your loving Son welcomed you with joy. What songs of gladness by the elect as you were crowned by the Blessed Trinity and made Queen of heaven, advocate of the human race and dispenser of the graces of the Redemption!
3. Mary, Mother of God, you reign in splendor for all eternity with your Divine Son. Your kingdom, like His, is a kingdom of imperishable glory, because yours is a throne of clemency, mercy and pardon. All your trials and sufferings are now transformed into jewels that decorate your triumphal throne in Heaven. In God there are no disappointments, no false promises. Eternity is real; Heaven is eternal happiness, the final reward for loyalty to God. Through you my own goal becomes more real, more attainable, for the lessons of your life are the doors to eternal peace and happiness.
I can only faintly imagine with what tenderness the Eternal Father received you, His loving daughter the Divine Son, His chosen Mother; and the Holy Spirit, His immaculate Bride. The Father crowned you by making you a sharer in His power, the Son by making you partaker of His wisdom; the Holy Spirit, by making you partaker of His love. The three Divine Persons declared you Queen of heaven and earth and assigned to you a place at the right hand of Jesus. You received from the Adorable Trinity the crown and sceptre, which made you Queen of all the angels and saints and the all-powerful Mediatrix between God and men. You became the treasurer of God's graces, the channel through which He dispenses His gifts upon earth.
Your Assumption was for you not only the crowning of a holy life, but also a cause of joy and triumph for the human race. Just as the patriarchs in Limbo had beheld your birth as the breaking of that dawn which announced to them their near deliverance, so, too, your Assumption, together with the Ascension of Jesus, became for mortal man a sure pledge of resurrection and immortality.
Mary, My Mother, I wish to recall this triumph and to share in your greatness and glory.
If the honor of parents descends upon their children, what glory and joy for all of us, your children, to see you raised to such heights of glory! Confidence fills my soul, for you were raised to this glory not for your own advantage only, but for that of your children also, in order to make us feel the effects of your powerful protection and intercession. One of your greatest delights is to lavish these treasures upon your faithful children. With your arms outstretched—those arms in which the Eternal God delighted to rest when He became our Brother—plead our cause. Pray to Him for us, your children, that in our exile we may resemble you, His most devoted follower, and at last may glorify Him in union with you forever.
Feast, August 22—Octave of the Assumption
Mary, Mother of God, your Heart is a shrine of holiness, into which the demon of sin has never entered; whose sanctuary was never once defiled by the least touch of evil, whose altar was the chosen resting place of the Holy Spirit. After the Sacred Heart of Jesus, never was there a heart more pure and more holy.
The Eternal Father takes pleasure in looking upon your Heart as the masterpiece of His Divine power. The Son takes pleasure in it as the Heart of His Mother, the source from which He drew the blood that ransomed us. The Holy Spirit dwells in you as in a temple.
When still a child you consecrated yourself entirely to God, the Love of chaste souls; and afterwards you would rather be deprived of the great dignity of Divine Motherhood than to lose your virginity. Your Heart remained spotless as a lily, and you are, therefore, justly called the "Queen of Virgins."
Your Heart is a shrine of peace, for it is the Heart of the Mother of the Prince of Peace, a Heart never for a moment disturbed by evil passions, a Heart whose gifts to mankind are mercy, love and peace. To all of us your Immaculate Heart after that of Jesus is most loving and most merciful. How many afflicted hearts are consoled in you! How many frail hearts are strengthened by you! How many are now in heaven because of the protection given them by your merciful Heart! We obtain everything for our peace of soul in time and eternity from the Father through the Heart of Jesus and everything from Jesus through your Heart. You are truly the "Queen of Peace."
Your Heart is a shrine adorned with all the skill of the Divine Creator, Who has lavished upon it the riches of His treasure-house—sanctifying grace, greater in worth than all the riches of the world.
Mary, My Mother, your Heart is the masterpiece of the Holy Trinity. The Eternal Father unfolded His Omnipotence in order to form in you a heart full of sweetness and obedience to your Creator. The Divine Son gave you a mother's heart, in which, as in a sanctuary, He wished to dwell. The Holy Spirit gave you the heart of a bride, all burning with a love pure and ardent. Your Heart is truly a mirror of all the virtues, a vivid image and a faithful copy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; hence you are called the "Mirror of Justice."
2. Mary, Mother of God, your Heart is a counterpart of the Heart of Jesus. His Heart is a loving Heart, and that love is symbolized by the flames which St. Margaret Mary saw coming forth from it. Your Heart is also the most affectionate of hearts after that of Jesus. You love us as a mother loves her children. Your eyes ever watch over us; your ears ever listen to our cries; your hands are ever extended over us to help us and impart heavenly gifts to us; above all, your Heart is full of tenderest care for us.
You had a Heart of love from which in the course of time was to be formed the Sacred Heart of the loving Christ. Even before His coming your Heart was filled with love for those whom later He was to love with a tremendous love. Aside from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, no human heart ever loved mankind as deeply as your Heart. There the poor find aid; the sick and needy, remedy, the afflicted, consolation; the doubting, counsel; the distressed, help.
But your love for God was even greater. God inflamed no other heart, after that of the Heart of His Son, with His love so much as yours. Free from all attachment to earthly things, you were most capable of being filled with Divine love. Such love set your Heart on fire with love for your Divine Son, not only as your Son, but also as your God and Savior since you had shared in advance in the merits of His Passion and death.
The Heart of Jesus was a suffering Heart, symbolized by the thorns encircling it, the cross above it, and the gash opened in its side. Your Heart was also a suffering Heart. Its martyrdom began with holy Simeon's prophecy in the temple and was completed on Calvary. When the hands and feet of Jesus were pierced with nails, the sound of each blow of the hammer inflicted a wound in your Heart. When His head was crowned with thorns, another crown of thorns encircled your Heart. When His side was opened with a lance, a sword of anguish also pierced your Heart. When His lips were tortured with gall and vinegar, a sea of bitterness was poured into your Heart.
The Heart of Jesus was a pure Heart, symbolized by the light that St. Margaret Mary saw streaming round it. Your Heart was also a pure Heart, pure as the light, purer than the snow, free from the stain of original sin, from the least taint of actual sin, from the least evil tendency of our fallen nature—a heart full of light and beauty reflecting to the full the radiance of the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son.
Your Heart is pure and spotless because sanctified beyond all other hearts by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, making it worthy to be the dwelling-place of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You are the spotless tabernacle, the earthly resting-place prepared for the Son of God, hence the Church pays loving respect to your Immaculate Heart.
Mary, My Mother, the Heart of Jesus was a generous Heart, symbolized by the wound in His side from which came forth the last drops of His Heart's Blood shed for us, and by which w e can reach the treasures of that Divine Heart. Your Heart is also a generous Heart, full of love, abounding in mercy. All mankind may find a place there as your children, if they only choose to listen to your loving appeal. Your Heart is a refuge for sinners, for you are the Mother of Mercy, who has never been known to turn away any one who came to seek your aid.
3. Mary, Mother of God, your Immaculate Heart is the Hope of the world. In your apparitions at Fatima you revealed that it is in the designs of the Divine Mercy to cure the world through your Heart. As the heart of a mother triumphs over the just anger of a father in an earthly family so your Heart will triumph by averting the force of God's justice upon this sinful world. In your six apparitions at Fatima you made repeated demands for penance and reparation.
Grant that we all may heed your warning, for only through penance and reparation can we blot out sin and the insult it afflicts on God. Penance and reparation is the one sure way of winning God's love and blessing for a misguided and sinful world. In the past you have expressed your willingness to help and made your requests in your personal apparitions. Be pleased to lead mankind securely to certain victory over Communism through the triumph of your Immaculate Heart as you promised at Fatima: "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity."
Mary, My Mother, help me to take your requests at Fatima to heart. I wish to do penance by giving up sin and amending my life, by asking pardon and making reparation to the Heart of Jesus and to your Immaculate Heart, so grievously offended by our sins. I wish to make reparation by offering sacrifices to atone for sin by fulfilling my daily duties well, by accepting the crosses of life with resignation and love, by obeying the commandments, by going to Mass, confession and Communion frequently, above all on the first Saturday of each month, and by praying much, especially your holy Rosary.
I consecrate myself entirely to your Immaculate Heart. I consecrate to you my very being and my whole life: all that I have, all that I love, all that I am. To you I give my body, my heart and my soul. I desire that all that is in me and around me may belong to you and may share in the benefits of your motherly blessing. I promise to devote myself wholeheartedly to the spreading of devotion to your Immaculate Heart so that the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart may come and He may reign with you in my heart and in the hearts of all men.
Feast, Saturday before the before the last Sunday in August
1. Mary, Mother of God, help me to understand as clearly as God wishes to let me do so, the value of suffering and sickness. God has created nature and all the wondrous functions of the human body. He is the Master of His creation. He can and does suspend the laws of nature for those who have faith in His goodness and entreat Him in fervent prayer. He promised that my prayers would be heard when He said, "Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matt. 5, 7).
During His lifetime Jesus cured sickness and disease and even raised the dead to life, because people asked Him to do so in prayer. I firmly believe that He will hear my prayer also, if this should be the Will of God.
Help me to realize that it is only through the cross that I can attain to its glory and that it is only through suffering that I can possess the kingdom of heaven. Before you were crowned Queen of Heaven you became the Mother of Sorrows. All the saints suffered during their lifetime, but you are the Queen of them all as Queen of Martyrs. If I have been blessed with suffering, let me remember that this is the only way I can follow Jesus and you, for He said, "If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16, 24).
2. Mary, Mother of God, because of your influence in obtaining helpful remedies against spiritual and bodily maladies, the Church calls you the "Health of the Sick." Your power and motherly care not only embrace spiritual miseries but also extend to the ills of the body. How often do we see you restoring health to the sick who have recourse to you with childlike confidence? But much as your compassionate heart sympathizes with man's sufferings from bodily sickness, you certainly show greater care to relieve the spiritual sickness and weaknesses under which we labor.
How much I worry about my physical health! But how careless I am about my spiritual health! I realize that it is the command of God that I take ordinary care to insure bodily health. However, my sick soul is entitled to more vigilant care, for Jesus reminded me, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul" (Matt. 16, 26).
Mary, My Mother, in all infirmities of body and soul, you are a sure refuge and relief. Down through the ages numberless people have recovered health of body and of spirit through your intercession! You lighten our sufferings, you obtain for us bodily health when it is conducive to our salvation and you help the soul to conquer its spiritual enemies; Teach me to be more earnest about seeking health of soul: to overcome my ruling passion, to free myself from the occasions of sin. I ask this with special earnestness from you who are the Health of the Sick.
How unimportant are the infirmities of the body compared to the infirmities of the soul! Infirmities of the body, patiently endured, may become the occasion of great merit. May the infirmities of my soul be my chief concern. Let me fear such sickness of soul as avarice, lust, luxury, ambition, hatred, anger—because, unless these are cured, they may bring about the eternal death of my soul.
3. Mary, Mother of God, sincere devotion to you is a sign of perseverance in doing good till death. Infirmities of the body are nature's warning voice concerning the approach of death, which I cannot finally escape. The Church teaches that final perseverance in good and a happy death are graces so great that no one can obtain them by his own merits or without special help from God. But saints and writers of the Church speak of devotion to you as a sign of perseverance in good and a happy death. They apply these words of Scripture to you: "He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord" (Prov. 8, 35).
Jesus gave you to me to be my Mother that you may enable me at my death to say as He did with a sense of humble gratitude to God for His graces: "It is finished"—"I have done the work God placed me upon this earth to do. I have loved and followed Jesus to the end. I have carried my cross patiently which He gave me to carry. I have saved my soul."
Mary, My Mother, I turn to you rather for health of soul than of body. Keep my soul in good health so that when my body fails, my soul may be prepared to meet its Maker and Judge. I am in need of forgiveness of sin, of strength in temptation. I need virtues, especially charity and humility and purity. Help me to overcome the enemies of my salvation and to persevere to the end in the friendship of God.
For vain joys or small profits people sacrifice much. For the small sacrifice of being devoted to you I can obtain a happy death and eternal life. I want to take devotion to you seriously. If I put my trust in you, I shall be saved. If you receive me under your care, I shall fear nothing because devotion to you is an unfailing sign of salvation. Your aid at the hour of my death will be for me a guarantee of salvation if through life I have sought to imitate the beautiful example of your life. How fortunate I will be, if at death I am bound with the sweet chains of love to you! These chains are chains of salvation for me, and they will make me enjoy in death that blessed peace which will be-the beginning of my eternal peace and rest. I look to you for the grace of final perseverance and a happy death. Thus you will be for me not only the Health of the Sick but also the Gate of Heaven.
Feast, Saturday after the Feast of St. Augustine (Aug. 28)
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Comforter of the Afflicted because in your lifetime you bore every sort of affliction and you can now sympathize with me in my sufferings. You willingly became the Mother of Jesus when you answered the message of the Archangel Gabriel with the words "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 36, 38). This marked the beginning of your life of suffering together with Jesus. Simeon prophesied it when you offered the little Victim-Savior to the Heavenly Father for the first time in the temple: "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce" (Luke 2, 35). You confidently accepted whatever God willed. You bore your sorrows bravely because you received them from God's hands.
Three swords brought anguish to you while Jesus was yet a young child, four swords pierced your soul in His Holy Passion. Yet no selfish thought, no bitter resentment has marred your beauty. From the knowledge of the Will of God you gathered the strength that was to uphold you at the foot of the Cross on which your Son hung, dying. Through thirty-three years of Jesus' life on earth you suffered in silence. The climax of that sorrow came when the innocent Victim for the sins of mankind was given, dead, into your arms. Your loving submission to the Divine Will could not dry your tears, but it quieted the agony of your mother-heart.
Mary, My Mother, you associated yourself with the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus in order that you might share in His glorification. You had to become the Mother of Sorrows before you were raised above the angels as Heaven's Queen. En life's dark hours you always remembered that you were God's handmaid, and you always wanted everything to be done according to His holy Will. Your heart was visited with seven swords of sorrow before you became the Comforter of the Afflicted and the Cause of our Joy.
2. Mary, Mother of God, I pour out to you the sorrows of my own troubled heart. In your greater sorrow may my own be lost, and in calm resignation may my anguished soul find peace and strength. Through the sorrow which you felt during your whole life, but especially when you saw Jesus led to His death and then crucified, obtain for me the grace that I may patiently bear the sufferings which God has seen fit to send me, even as you bore your sufferings. Let this be my consolation to know that I am doing God's Will. I shall be blessed if I imitate you in bearing my cross till death. Since you bore a much heavier one together with your innocent Son, should not I, a sinner deserving of eternal punishments, carry mine patiently? Let me find consolation and strength in your favorite devotion—the rosary.
When you lived in this valley of tears, you were ever loving and merciful toward the afflicted. How much more compassionate are you now since you reign happily in Heaven? Now you realize human misery more fully and, therefore, show your mercy and compassion and help more generously. You are indeed our Mother, and a mother can never forget her children.
Mary, My Mother, I thank you for having suffered and wept for love of me that you might become my consolation in affliction. I entrust to you all my anxieties and needs so that through the merits of your sorrows I may bear the trials and sufferings of life with the same love and resignation to God's Will with which you bore yours. I beg you to make me strong enough to bear my trials for the love of God so that I may become like you in suffering. Help me to cling tightly to Jesus and to you. May each pain and disappointment of my life become a perfect act of love of God because I offer all to God through your immaculate hands.
To you I entrust my soul for which Jesus died and I beg you to help me to save it. Protect me from the snares of the world, the flesh and the devil. And grant that after having suffered with you and your loving Son in this life, I may be glorified with You both in His Kingdom beyond the stars.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I thank you for being my companion in suffering. You love me with a Heart human like my own—a Heart that can understand my sorrows and problems since you experienced all that I must bear; a Heart that can sympathize with me and befriend me in my hour of need. Not all the affection you pour out upon countless other souls lessens your love for me. Even when I forget you and begin to complain in my sufferings and crosses, you try to console me. Even when I disappoint you by doing my best to shake off the cross God has placed upon my shoulders, you pray for me. When I have pain, you are ready to comfort and strengthen me.
I am most grateful for such devoted love and sympathy. You are indeed the most wonderful Mother that has ever walked this earth. Teach me to answer such love with childlike confidence. I want to turn to you in all my pressing needs and difficulties as to a most sure refuge, imploring the help of your protection, choosing you as my advocate, whole-heartedly entrusting my cause to you who are the Consoler of the Afflicted. But that my devotion may be acceptable and my homage pleasing, let me endeavor to maintain within my soul, as much as possible the spotlessness of your purity and try to walk in your footsteps humbly and gently.
Mary, My Mother, I unite myself with you in the spirit in which you offered yourself as a sacrifice of love during your lifetime. Through your hands I offer myself with Jesus during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Give my heart sentiments like His and your own so that, through frequent Holy Communion and prayer, I may become a worthy co-victim with Jesus, holy and pleasing to God, and so that all the actions, sufferings, tears and disappointments of my life may be thus consecrated to God as a sacrifice for His glory and the salvation of souls, especially my own. Everything that God may send me, or permit in my life, whether favorable or unfavorable, sweet or bitter—even illness, is acceptable to me, for I have resolved, after your example to conform myself to the Divine Will in all things. Jesus invites me to do so, for He said, "Take my yoke upon you...My yoke is easy and My burden light" (Matt. 11, 29).
Feast, September 8
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Virgin who was promised as the Mother of the Savior. After the fall of our First Parents, earth which was to be paradise, was changed into a valley of tears on which the curse of God fell. People became the poor banished children of Eve. They roamed about in the darkness of sin and despair. In His infinite mercy God chose Abraham who was to be the Father of a Chosen Nation. You were descended from the most renowned men of that nation and counted among your ancestors patriarchs prophets, leaders of the people of God and kings of the ancient law. Your birth was represented beforehand by many figures, announced by prophets, desired for many ages by the human race.
Prophets foretold the coming of the Savior and the manner in which the Redemption would take place. They spoke of you as His Virgin Mother and of the part you would play in the Redemption of mankind. Balaam referred to you as a star: "The star which shall arise from Jacob." Isaias called you a Virgin; "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be Emmanuel." King Solomon described your beauty: "Thou art all fair my beloved, beautiful as the moon, brilliant as the sun."
Mary, My Mother, your birth was awaited as the near sign of the deliverance of the human race. The Church regards you as the rising dawn. As the dawn precedes and announces the coming of the sun, makes the darkness of the night disappear, consoles the sick and rejoices all nature, so you went before and announced Jesus, "The Sun of Justice," who made the darkness of the world disappear by the light of His Gospel, consoled and cured the sick in soul and body and brought an abundance of graces and blessings to the whole world.
2. Mary, Mother of God, at the very beginning of your existence, you received grace exceeding in greatness that of all the saints together, because you were destined to be the Mother of the Redeemer and the mediatrix of the world. From the first instant of your existence your mind was filled by the supernatural light of faith and your soul with love of God. You used most perfectly every actual grace given you by God in acts and virtue. What untold merit you must have laid up for eternity during the nine months that preceded your Nativity. Who can describe the merits and graces that adorned your soul at the glorious instant of your Nativity at a period when all other children have no merit!
How delightful a sight must your beautiful soul have been to heaven! The angels saw a soul which had never been touched by original sin. They had seen Adam created in grace, and John the Baptist, spotless from his birth, because he had been cleansed from original sin before birth. In his soul they saw no more than they see in each little soul as it leaves the baptismal font, grace having taken the place of original sin. But in you they saw a soul whose sanctity surpassed that of angels and of men, a soul which would glorify God more perfectly than any other creature ever had glorified Him, or ever would glorify Him. No wonder the angels were lost in admiration! They beheld the dwelling place prepared for the Son of God.
Mary, My Mother, your little life held a mystery immeasurably deeper than that of any other human life, since no mind could measure the distance that lay between the chosen Maiden who was not only the servant of the Lord but also His true Mother, and the rest of mankind who were His servants and no more. You were one of us, and yet you stood above us! With my whole heart I thank God for all He has done for you and for all mankind through you!
3. Mary, Mother of God, your dear parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, rejoiced at your birth. I admire the holiness of their lives and the nobility of their family. Joachim was of the royal house of David, and Anne of the priestly family of Aaron. They observed the Law of God most diligently and spent their days in prayer and in works of mercy.
Though they had both vowed to consecrate their first-born child to the service of the Lord, they remained childless, a condition considered a disgrace among the Jews and a mark of heavenly disfavor. Only after many years of fervent prayers did God reward them. You were born into the world in the humble city of Nazareth. Your birth was a miracle of the power of God because both of your parents were far advanced in years. Who could tell the great joy which filled their hearts when they held you in their arms?
But all heaven rejoiced at your birth, because you were destined one day to bring the Savior into the world; you were to become God's Mother and the Queen of heaven and earth.
Mary, My Mother, I rejoice with the Blessed Trinity on your birthday because you were to take part in the Incarnation and Redemption of the world, I rejoice with all mankind because you became the Mother of our Redeemer. I rejoice with the whole Church because you are our life; you bore Jesus, who is the Way and the Truth and the Life and who was to restore to mankind that supernatural life which had been lost. I have every reason to rejoice, for as the Mother of Jesus and my Mother you are my hope of salvation. Through your prayers and the prayers of your holy parents may I learn to know and love you more and ever remain your faithful child. This is my sure way of reaching heaven and my God.
Feast, September 12
1. Mary, Mother of God, your name is most glorious and most powerful. After the most holy and adorable Name of Jesus, there is no name more glorious and more powerful than yours. At the mention of it, the angels rejoice and the devils tremble; through the invocation of your name, sinners obtain grace and pardon.
Your name is the name of the one I love. At the same time your name brings before me your virtues, your merits, your beauty. Merit and glory attend your name. How I long to repeat It unceasingly so as to spread its fame, to carry that fame to every shore, to imprint it on every mind. Teach me to utter your name with deep respect because, after the name of Jesus, it is most sacred and revered above all others.
When I say "Hail, Mary!" I breathe the name of one who is virgin and mother, Mother of God and Mother of men, my Mother. I need not see you appear, as you did to so many others. I am unworthy of that. But when I say "Mary," in an instant you are there before me and I feel in my heart a stirring of joy and comfort. You see me, smile on me, listen to me, stretch your arms out to me, because you hear my prayer and, like a mother, you are anxious to help your child. After the name of Jesus, neither heaven nor earth can utter a name by which my faith and love receive more abundant grace, and reassuring hope, and lasting sweetness.
Mary, My Mother, as often as your sweet name comes to my lips, you appear to me as a masterpiece of God's power, so perfect and so sublime that even the hand of Almighty God could not produce anything more perfect in the form of a pure creature. May my soul always find comfort in your holy name! A mother, as she hears her child lisping her name, is thrilled beyond all telling, at all times; and better than she, you will understand me when I say, "Hail Mary!".
2. Mary, Mother of God, your name means Lady and Queen. If Jesus is Our Lord, so you are Our Lady. You rule in heaven and on earth. You are the Queen of your Son's kingdom. In heaven all your subjects are crowned by the King of kings, and they pay homage to you. Here on earth kings and rulers lay at your feet their crowns, their very selves. Hell is forced to bear the weight of your lasting hatred. Satan is more humiliated at seeing himself under the heel of the lowliest of creatures than at feeling himself crushed by God's almighty arm.
You are my Queen, my Lady. I long for your complete dominion over me—over my body, my soul, my senses, over all that I am and have. I regard that dominion as a shining star lighting and guiding my life.
Mary, My Mother, your name means Star of the Sea. You are the morning star,—the morning star that announces the arrival of the sun of justice. You are to be our guide toward the haven of salvation. I fix my gaze on that star and wish never to turn from it. I find faith in its light, hope in its help. As a slave of love, I willingly deliver myself to the everlasting service of so wonderful and majestic a Lady.
Your name means Sea of Bitterness. You experienced a sea of bitterness in your life so that you might be an example to us in our sufferings and so that we might learn from your own sorrow to sympathize with others in theirs. We know that you are ever ready to be our help in trouble, our solace in affliction, our hope in despair.
3. Mary, Mother of God, your name means "full of light" and "light-giving." How well your name gives expression to your position and your mission in life—your divine Motherhood In virtue of this privilege, you reflect as a spotless mirror the eternal Light of the Word, which is first poured into you and illuminates you. Being filled with light from Heaven, you have shed brightness upon the whole world, by giving birth to the Eternal Light, Our Lord Jesus Christ, although still remaining in the glory of your virginity.
As Mother of the spiritual and heavenly you are the mediatrix of the light of grace to mankind. Truly, you are "light-giving" because you have given us Jesus, the Light of the World. Jesus is our life and you have given Him to us. He has reconciled us to God. He is for us the source of all grace, the cause of our supernatural life. To you then we owe the salvation which Jesus brought to us. To you we owe the life of grace, without which there is no escape from the death of sin. No one is saved, except through you, no one comes to life, except through you. You are our Mother, the Mother of all the living. You are our spiritual Mother in the order of grace. You are our Mother, because you have begotten us to the life of grace. It is to you, after God, that we are indebted for our spiritual life, the life of the children of God. As breathing is not only a sign but even a cause of life, so your name, which is constantly found on the lips of your servants, both proves that they are spiritually alive, and at the same time causes and preserves their life, and gives them every help in their needs.
Teach me to utter your most holy name that it may fill my heart with hope and burning love for you and that loving you I might reach the Light of the World.
Mary, My Mother, glorious is your name for those who pronounce it at death, for they need not fear all the powers of hell. As wax melts before fire, so do the devils lose their power against those souls who remember to speak your name and devoutly invoke it. May your name be the last sound that escapes my lips upon this earth and the first I breathe in heaven.
Feast, September 15 (Novena, September 6-14)
Feast, September 24
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are so filled with compassion that you deserve to be called not only merciful but even mercy itself. We praise your virginity and admire your humility; but because we are poor sinners, your mercy attracts us more and we embrace it more lovingly. You are the throne of divine mercy in whom we find solace of mercy. The more holy you are, the greater is your sweetness and compassion toward sinners who have recourse to you with the desire to amend their lives. Your prayers are those of a Mother and, therefore, have a certain maternal authority with Jesus Christ so that you obtain the grace of pardon even for those who, though guilty of grievous crimes, commend themselves to you. Your protection never ceases, your intercession brings hope and life.
Mary, My Mother, you stand in the presence of your Son, interceding for sinners. You are truly the pledge of Divine mercy. Be merciful to us. Help us that our souls may be cleansed from the stains of sin.
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are called Mother of Mercy because of the fullness with which mercy is given to those who seek it at your hands. Mercy proceeds from you as from an abundant, never-failing source. Mercy is your special work in this drama of human life.
You are called the Mother of Mercy because God has given you power to deal with every sort of misery to which mankind is subjected. God reserves to Himself the dispensing of justice to all creatures. It was His will that you dispense mercy by helping sinners, healing the sick, relieving the distressed and comforting the sorrowful everywhere. You are far more than an instrument of God's mercy towards us. You yourself are full of grace, and from the Holy Spirit, your Divine Spouse, you have received in overflowing measure His boundless love for all mankind. You are ever active in procuring for each and every one of us, by fervent and ceaseless intercession all the heavenly gifts we need. Such gifts assure us the everlasting indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, together with the Father and the Son, and that endless life which is its blessed fruit.
Mary, My Mother, your intercession is all-powerful. No other saint exerts such universal influence in the affair of our salvation as you do. No other has a like understanding of our miseries, or is in a position to render us on all occasions timely and powerful help. I may address myself to the saints for favors of various kinds, but my prayer must always pass through your hands if it is to reach the throne of grace and draw down the divine blessing.
3. Mary, Mother of God, I turn to you in all my pressing needs and difficulties as to a most sure refuge. I implore the help of your protection and choose you as my advocate. I entrust my cause to you who are the Mother of Mercy, and I wish to offer you day by day my most reverent love. But that my devotion may be pleasing to you, help me to maintain my soul and body in the spotlessness of your purity, help me to try as best I can to walk in your footsteps, humbly seeking to be like you.
Even if I have committed all possible sins, let me never lose confidence in you, for I know I shall always find your Heart filled with mercy The Son of God has His justice, but you, the Mother, have only your mercy. You desire more to do good to me than I can desire to receive favors from you, for your Heart is all love and mercy.
Mary, My Mother, how shall I stand before my Judge at the day of judgment? How shall I answer for the wasted days and years which God has given me to serve Him alone? I look to you, Mother of Mercy. You are all-merciful that you may obtain for me pardon and mercy. You are kind and loving for you have a mother's heart, full of pity for the erring. You are a Mother of Mercy to the sinner and the fallen; have pity on me!
Feast, October 7
1. Mary, Mother of God, the joyful mysteries of your Holy Rosary remind me of the mysteries in which the Word was made flesh and you, the inviolate Virgin and Mother, performed your maternal duties with holy joy. You became the Mother of a Son who is almighty, eternal and infinite in all perfections, equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. You became the Mother of God without ceasing to be a virgin, and your happy fruitfulness only consecrated and increased your purity. By your Divine Motherhood you formed the closest bond of union with the adorable Trinity, the privileged Daughter of the Father, the loving Mother of the Son and the immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit. By your Motherhood you acquired a mother's power over your Divine Son, and you saw yourself raised above all the angels and saints.
When the Angel Gabriel came as a messenger from God, it was not only to ask your consent to become the Mother of the Son of God, but also to treat with you of the salvation of the human race, of the birth of the Savior of the world, of the regeneration of mankind and the setting up of an everlasting kingdom. The repetition of the "Hail Marys" keep before my mind the importance of the Incarnation and your share in it. When you agreed to the proposal made to you by the Angel, you gave Jesus to us by your own free act. Realizing that your consent had been made a necessary condition for the accomplishment of the great mystery of the Incarnation, you made the supreme act of obedience and faith when you said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." You spoke in behalf of our human nature and by your consent you sealed forever the union between our human nature and the Son of God. Thus in consenting to the Incarnation, you cooperated directly in the redemption of the world, for the Incarnation was the first step in the work of our salvation.
Mary, My Mother, may the faithful recitation of the Rosary help me to remember God's love for me in becoming man for my salvation. May it be given me to understand your own love for me, and your dignity and beauty, that I may love you with a love more like the love that God Himself has for you.
2. Mary, Mother of God, the sorrowful mysteries of your Holy Rosary remind me of the sorrows, the agony and death of the suffering Christ, the price at which the salvation of our race was accomplished. As Mother of God, you became a cooperator in the Redemption of mankind. It was you who nourished and prepared the holy Victim who was offered to the Eternal Father in expiation of our sins. From you was derived the Precious Blood which was shed upon the cross for our salvation and the adorable Body which, after having been made the price of our Redemption, has become the food of our souls in the Holy Eucharist.
From the moment of His entering the world, your loving Son Jesus, was the price of our salvation. He took to Himself our human flesh and became man in order that He might give Himself up for us to the death of the cross. From the very first, He offered Himself as our ransom and the victim for our sins. He did so through your hands when you presented Him in the Temple, and in union with Him you offered yourself to the Father on Calvary.
From the cross Jesus gave you to me to be my Mother, and I was entrusted to your care as your child. You brought me forth spiritually to a new life of grace. This was your spiritual Motherhood. The pangs of this childbirth were the sufferings you felt on Calvary. Your life, like that of your Divine Son, was a daily crucifixion and martyrdom, but on Good Friday that crucifixion reached its climax. The cross is the measure of God's love for us and the sum total of our love for God. Only when I have understood your martyrdom, will I understand the greatness of the love of Jesus for you and the intensity of your love for your Son. It was your exclusive privilege to be Christ's Mother according to the flesh. Not for this reason alone did He love you. Your willingness to suffer and to bear your cross in imitation of His own resignation to the will of God, made you especially dear to Him.
Mary, My Mother, may the faithful recitation of my Rosary show my gratitude to Jesus for having redeemed me on the cross and for having given you to me as my spiritual Mother. Make me your faithful child. Teach me to bear my cross patiently in imitation of Jesus and you so that in this way I may prove how much I really love you. Since you have had such an intimate share in my redemption, I entrust my soul to your loving care.
Help me to use the graces God gives me for my sanctification. May the merits of my crucified Savior never be lost on my soul, but rather may they enable me to reach true holiness and the possession of God in His eternal kingdom.
3. Mary, Mother of God, the glorious mysteries of the Holy Rosary remind me of the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ. His triumph over death His Ascension into Heaven, the sending of the Holy Spirit. These mysteries remind me also of your own glory, the Assumption of your soul and body into heaven and your crowning there as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Finally, they remind me of the everlasting glory of all the saints in Heaven united with your own glory and that of your Son. And now as Mother of God and Mother of men, and as Queen of Heaven and Earth, you serve as a bond between God and men. As the God-man, Jesus is the perfect Mediator between God and man, because He alone could in all justice merit our reconciliation with God as well as the graces which God would impart after the reconciliation. You are a Mediatrix in union with Christ from whom your mediation draws all its power. With Christ you have contributed to our redemption; hence you may be called Co-Redemptrix. You consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer at the Annunciation, and thus you were willing to share in the sufferings of the Redeemer. But you merited the title Co-Redemptrix above all by your union with Christ in His redemptive sacrifice. After Jesus, no one suffered as you did. You share so entirely in His Passion that, if it had been possible, you would gladly have borne all the torments your Son bore.
You are a Mediatrix because since your Assumption, with Christ you obtain all graces for men. This is your role of universal Dispenser of all graces. Your action is above all one of intercession. In your contemplation of God, you behold our needs with our prayers, and you beg God to grant these favors to us. You obtain graces for us even without our asking you for them. It is truly the will of God that all graces should come to us through you. Since with Christ you had helped to merit all graces, it is fitting that you also should help to distribute all graces with Him. It affords Jesus the joy of rewarding you who, with Him, suffered so much for men. Who can understand the joy you feel to be able to give happiness to the whole world? This universal distribution of grace enables you to exercise your spiritual motherhood, to make your children live the divine life by obtaining for them sanctifying grace and all their actual graces.
Mary, My Mother, may the faithful recitation of my Rosary be a sign of my gratitude to Jesus and to you for all you have done for me in bringing about my Redemption. May the Rosary also be a means of obtaining all the graces I need for the sanctification and salvation of my soul.
Queen of the Holy Rosary, in times past, when the enemies of the Church sought to break its unity, you came to the aid of your suffering children. To single nations, to private families, to individual persons, you have always provided help, given solace and rekindled hope, especially when they turned to you with Rosary in hand. More than ever before, we have need of your help today. The dangers facing the Church and the world are grave and evil. Those dangers are to be found in the principles and activities of Communism, the present day Anti-Christ, which tries to penetrate every walk of life, every class of society. In this time of crisis there is need that we hasten to you for aid, strength and direction. With your foot you crushed the head of the serpent and conquered evil with goodness. Crush the evil which strives to destroy all that is Catholic, all that is Christian, all that is civilized. Help us to heed your message of Fatima so that by penance and prayer, especially the Rosary, we may appease the just anger of God and obtain His forgiveness and blessing. We join you, Queen of the Holy Rosary, in praying for peace in the world.
Feast, October 11
1. Mary, Mother of God, I believe that the most sublime of your privileges is your divine maternity. Without that maternity, your other privileges would not exist; you yourself would not exist, for you were created only to be the Mother of God.
Your divine maternity is great also because this privilege is the reason for your other privileges—your Immaculate Conception, miraculous virginity, fullness of grace, Assumption and the spiritual maternity of all mankind. The divine maternity explains everything in you; without this maternity nothing in you can be explained.
I believe the teaching of the Church concerning the union of the human and divine natures in Christ: that Jesus Christ is God and man, perfect God and perfect man and that this divinity and humanity are united in only one person so that the actions of the divine nature or the human nature are the actions of one person, the divine Person. Since God was born of you, you are the Mother of God. If we could not say that you are the Mother of God for having given a body to the Son of God, then we could neither adore this Body; nor would we have been redeemed by the sacrifice of this Body on the cross, nor would we be united to the divinity in receiving this Body in the Eucharist.
Mary, My Mother, your divine maternity is such a sublime privilege that no creature, not even you yourself, can understand it fully. To understand your dignity as Mother of God in all its fullness, we would have to understand fully the dignity of the Son of God whose Mother you are. The dignity of the divine maternity raised you above all the rest of creation. As Mother of God you surpass, in an immeasurable degree, all other creatures, angels and men. They are God's servants, but you are His Mother. We have the sublime dignity of being children of God by adoption; Jesus alone is His Son by nature. But you are not the adoptive Mother of the Son of God; you are His real Mother. We can lose our divine adoption, but you can never lose your divine maternity. God might have created a more beautiful world, perfect men. more marvelous spirits; He could not have made anything more wonderful than a Mother of God.
2. Mary, Mother of God, your divine maternity places you in a very wonderful relationship with the three divine Persons. You are the loving daughter of the Father, because, before all creatures, you were predestined to be His daughter at the same moment that He decreed the Incarnation of His Son. He bestowed marvelous privileges upon you and loved you more than all other creatures together. As Mother of the Son of God, you are associated with the Father in the generation of His Son. With the Father you, too, can say: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
You are the Mother of the Son of God. You fulfill the duties and enjoy the rights of a true mother. From your own flesh and blood you formed the body of your Son. You nourished Him, clothed Him, educated Him. You commanded Him and He obeyed. How can I ever understand the great love that bound your hearts together!
You are the spouse of the Holy Spirit because according to the gospel and the teaching of the Apostles' Creed, you conceived of the Holy Spirit the Son of God, made man. You are also called the temple of the Holy Spirit because, in virtue of your Immaculate Conception and your fullness of grace, He dwells within you in a most singular manner.
Mary, My Mother, through your divine maternity you procure for the three divine Persons a new and singular glory. To the Father you present in your Son, an adorer worthy of Him, and adoration and love of infinite value. To the Son you give His human nature which allows Him to make full reparation to the honor of His Father outraged by our sins. You permit Him to draw the hearts of men toward Himself and to be the object of our love and confidence. To the Holy Spirit you offer the possibility of giving a new existence to the Son and of making this Son live in the hearts of the faithful through the power of His grace.
3. Mary, Mother of God, your divine maternity is most cherished by you, because it is a token of God's special love for you. Though a creature, you gave birth to the Creator. He is your child and you are His Mother. You were chosen as Mother predestined before all creatures, filled with all grace, all virtue, all holiness so that the Son, infinitely pure, who in Heaven has an immortal and eternal Father, on earth has a Mother exempt from all sin. As in Heaven the Divine Word is like the Father, so on earth the Son, according to the flesh, is like you His Mother. Jesus is the Son of God by His marvelous and eternal birth "in the bosom of His Father." He is Son of man by His birth, in time, in the bosom of a woman. You are this woman, and you are a virgin. It is from you alone that Christ took His human nature. You became the Mother of God and remained a virgin. How God has loved you by making you His Mother!
The divine maternity permits you to love God with a very singular kind of love and to be loved by Him with an equally singular love. There is no closer bond of love among relationships than that which exists between a mother and her son. All your privileges increased your power to love God. Your Immaculate Conception permitted you to love God from the first instant of your existence; your virginity led you to vow an undivided love to Him, your fullness of grace made you capable of loving Him with the most intense love possible. No one could ever love God with the love of a mother. Only you could love God as your Son; only you could love your Son as God.
Mary, My Mother, during all eternity it will be one of our greatest joys to admire the infinite love of God for you whose Son He willed to be, just as He is in all truth the Son of the Father. The divine maternity itself, more than any particular privilege, is a mark of God's unequalled love for you. I rejoice with you in the happiness which filled your heart because of such love. I beg you to ask God that I return His love with some of the generosity and fervor with which you loved Him.
Feast, October 16
1. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Virgin most pure because you are the Immaculate Conception. The closer a soul is to God, the farther it is from sin. God is infinite good; sin, horrible evil. No one could have had a closer approach to God than you, for it is impossible for any creature to be closer to God's Son than His own Mother. From eternity, before anything was, you were united to your Son in the mind of God as His most pure Mother. When God decreed the incarnation of the Word, His very own Son, through you alone, you had a place in the same plan as Jesus. Since the conception of the Son of God is all holy, all pure, infinitely removed from every appearance of sin, it was supremely fitting that your conception should be equally far from sin. For that reason you were conceived by your mother, Saint Anne, without even the shadow of sin. You are the Virgin most pure.
Because you were to be the Mother of God, original sin, which like all Eve's daughters you should have contracted, could not touch you. Such a stain would have reflected upon your Son, who is Holiness itself. Then Satan could boast that he had overcome Jesus in you, His Mother. You are pure and sinless. You expressed this to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes when you said, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Mary, My Mother, there is no sin in you; in you there is only God's grace—His light, His splendor, His love, His unspeakable delight. You are truly His beloved Daughter, the only one in whom there was never a stain. With you all is pure, virginal, immaculate In you there is no inclination to evil—no impure thoughts or desires. You are God's purest and holiest creature, the one chosen to conceive and bear the Son of God. Who would not love you and endeavor to imitate you, most beautiful and immaculate Mother of God?
2. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Virgin most pure because you are full of grace. You are the most beautiful of creatures, the one in whom there is no spot, God's masterpiece. You are full of grace, the Lord's free gift, and it overflows in you filling your soul with every virtue and perfection. What marvels of grace possessed your soul! Sanctifying grace made you God's adopted child and the lawful heir to His eternal kingdom, putting you in possession of God's goods and of God Himself forever. That grace made you holy and most pleasing in God's eyes, the special object of His love. Sanctifying grace likened you to God as it did no other pure creature. Because you were full of God's grace and a Virgin most pure, Gabriel could exclaim, "You have found grace with God." No one has found or received such grace as you.
But who can describe the matchless purity and beauty of your soul? Jesus is the most beautiful of men; you were His mould, His mirror, and He, yours. Your soul contained all the marvels of God's grace, for which reason the Church calls you the Singular Vessel of Devotion.
Mary, My Mother, you are all beautiful—beautiful in mind, in body, in soul! In you I behold the charm of the purest of virgins, the majesty of the noblest of mothers. You are beautiful at your presentation in the temple; in prayer before Gabriel as he awaited your answer, in Nazareth's hidden life and later as you followed Jesus and listened to Wisdom speak. You were beautiful when you stood as the brave Queen of Martyrs beneath the cross of your dying Son; in the supper room beneath the fiery tongues of the Divine Spirit; beautiful, above all, in the glory in which you reign with Jesus. If a single soul in the state of grace by far excels in beauty all other earthly beauty, what beauty must you possess, Virgin most pure, who surpassed in holiness all other souls in the state of grace!
3. Mary, Mother of God, you are the Virgin most pure because you are the holiest of God's creatures. You are the holiest of God's creatures because you are the Mother of God. The Prophet tells us that God is "wonderful in His saints" (Ps. 67, 36). How wonderful, then, He must be in the Mother of the Saint of saints! In you, to an eminent degree, all the privileges of other saints meet. The Church venerates many holy virgins, martyrs and other saints, but no one of them has merited or obtained your title of Holy Virgin, Virgin most pure. Whatever of sanctity, of dignity, of merit, of grace and of glory, that we can imagine, all is in you.
Holiness is a complete separation from creatures and perfect union with God through love. No one ever belonged to Jesus as completely as you, for you are His Mother. Jesus belonged entirely to you, the holiest among women. Your womb was so pure, so immaculate that it became the Holy of Holies, in which Jesus Christ our Lord, the Eternal High Priest, alone found entrance.
Mary, My Mother, God raised you so high in Himself that He never has created and never will create a holier person more worthy of Himself, of His greatness, of His love, than you, O Virgin most pure. Having carried within you Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you share, as no one else does, in your divine Son's holiness and purity. You come nearest to the holiness of God.
You are the holiest of women, the Virgin-Mother thrice holy, because you are holy of the Father, holy of the Son, holy of the Holy Spirit of Love. Hence with Holy Church I repeat, "You are all fair, Mary, and the stain of original sin is not in you. You are the Glory of Jerusalem; you are the Joy of Israel; you are the Honor of our people."
Feast, November 21
1. Mary, Mother of God, tradition tells us that when you were three years of age, your parents, Joachim and Anne, took you to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill their vow. The holy couple offered you to God by the ministry of the priest in charge, who invoked the blessing of God upon you and your parents. How fervently your mother and father thanked God for having given you to them and begged Him to accept the offering which they were making! They then left a small offering of silver required by the Law of Moses.
What a beautiful example for parents to imitate! Their children also belong to God, for they are His gift. Teach parents to care for their children as God's sacred trust, to guard them from sin and to lead them in the way of virtue. May they consider it to be the greatest privilege bestowed upon them by God to dedicate their sons and daughters to His holy service. Help them to become worthy of this blessing through their own prayers and good example.
Mary, My Mother, your first presentation to God, made by the hands of your parents, was an offering most acceptable in His sight. Let my consecration of myself to God be made under your patronage and assisted by your intercession and in union with your merits.
2. Mary, Mother of God, already in your childhood you dedicated yourself to the love and service of God. Led by divine inspiration to His house, you prepared yourself for your sublime dignity of Divine Motherhood in silence and solitude with God. Though the designs of God were unknown to you, you, nevertheless, detached your heart from the world in order to give all your love to God.
I can picture you alone with your God, following with devotion the life led in common by the virgins of God's house. You were trained there with other girls, under the care of holy women, and with deepest reverence you assisted at the sacred functions. But the true sanctuary in which you dwelt with God was not the palace of worship at Jerusalem but the immaculate temple of your heart.
You may have remained in the Temple till the age of twelve. When you later returned to your home, you were under the loving care of your mother, Saint Anne. With her you loved to sing the psalms and canticles of the inspired authors of your nation. From Anne you heard the touching story of the chosen people. You learned to read the sacred books by yourself and tried to penetrate their hidden meaning. You often discussed the coming of the Messias, since you knew He would be of your race and family.
I cannot even imagine the heavenly beauty that adorned your innocent soul as you were being prepared by the Eternal Father to be the Mother of His Divine Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The wisdom and power of God was constructing a living temple for the Savior of the world.
Mary, My Mother, you were laying the foundation of that hidden life in which by the practice of the highest virtues, you were to reach that sublime degree of holiness to which you were predestined as Mother of the Son of God and Mother of all the souls for whom He was to die. Attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, you diligently gathered up all His lessons, preserving them in your soul with zealous care.
3. Mary, Mother of God, may the perfect gift of yourself to God through love in your presentation in the temple be an inspiration to me. You loved God with your whole heart and mind and strength. Obtain for me the grace to love God with my whole heart—so that all the love my heart is capable of may be consecrated to Him, and all other affection subordinated to the love I owe God.
Help me to love God with my whole soul—so that all the faculties of my soul may be consecrated to Him, and that I may make use of them only to make Him known, loved and served.
Help me to love God with my whole mind—so that my mind may be habitually occupied with God and that I may value His good pleasure above everything else—above my convenience, above all earthly treasures, above all knowledge and friendship, above health and life.
Help me to love God with my whole strength—so that I may consecrate undividedly, unreservedly and continually to His service, my life, my health and all I am and have.
Mary, My Mother, pray that the love of God above all things and detachment from the world and its false pleasures, may also make my soul the temple of the living God. After your example, I desire to be known to God and unknown to men, to possess God and to be forgotten by creatures. May God dwell in me and may I live to Him alone through frequent Holy Communion and still more frequent prayer so that God may direct my whole life—my thoughts, words and actions—to His greater honor and glory.
Feast, Saturday before the 3rd Sunday of November
1. Mary, Mother of God, the miracle of the Marriage feast of Cana shows that you are the Mother of Divine Providence. For the first time in the public life of Jesus you appeared in the exalted character of our Advocate, a character which would be yours as long as time would last. Filled with motherly compassion, you appealed to Jesus in behalf of your friends. With greatest confidence in the mercy and kindness of Your Son, you left Him free to give assistance or withhold it, as He saw fit.
Jesus rewarded your confidence and resignation by working His first miracle at your request. He wanted the strengthening of the faith of His disciples and the manifestation of His Divinity to depend upon your prayers. In this I see God's plan that in the Kingdom of Jesus all graces should go through your hands and Heart. As your prayer brought about His birth as the Sun of Justice, so also your request decided His rise and shining in His public life.
Mary, My Mother, how kindly you provided for the needs of this newly-married couple! This is but a reminder that you are equally interested in providing for all your children in all their needs of soul and body. Teach me to seek all things through your prayers, for your intercession is most powerful and Jesus can refuse you nothing. Help me to imitate your zeal in assisting my neighbor in his needs.
2. Mary, Mother of God, as the Mother of Divine Providence, you provide for us in our varied needs through your prayers in the presence of God. Your own extraordinary grace and merit, your own wondrous privileges give to your prayer an irresistible force and power. As the loving Mother of Jesus, the glorious daughter of the Father, the cherished Bride of the Holy Spirit, you can never meet with a refusal. Your slightest wish carries with it a powerful appeal. Yet more powerfully still than even your exalted merits does the Precious Blood render God merciful to the sinner, for all comes to us through the Passion and death of Christ, your Son.
But it has been the will of God, that from first to last, Jesus, as the Victim of atonement for our sins, should be presented to Him by you. It was so when you gave your consent to the divine plan of the Redemption. It was so when you renewed your consent at the birth of the Savior at Bethlehem, at His presentation in the temple at Jerusalem and finally at the foot of the cross on Calvary.
And now in Heaven, when the fruits of the Redemption are applied to our souls, and the graces won for us by the Passion of Jesus are distributed to the redeemed, being united to Him by a close and unbreakable bond, you still continue your part as Mediatrix in the work of our salvation, by offering to the Father the merits of Christ, uniting meanwhile your prayers, and, in a secondary sense, your merits, to the intercession of your Divine Son.
Mary, My Mother, as Mother of Divine Providence, remember your children in need of God's mercy and help. Plead for us in the presence of God and provide for us those graces and blessings especially which will enable us to serve God better and save our souls.
3. Mary, Mother of God, in the Kingdom of Heaven you are continually employed in deeds of kindness and mercy, therefore you are truly the Mother of Divine Providence. You are ever imploring favors for the just, as well as for sinners. Your eyes are the eyes of a good Mother, ever watchful to notice the need of your children, just as you looked out for the young couple at the marriage feast of Cana. Your Son will deny you nothing. God destined you to be a Mother of Mercy, a Refuge of Sinners and an Advocate of the Afflicted, and you fulfill these offices perfectly. You are so tender and compassionate, so watchful to relieve the needy, that it would seem you had no other desire, no other concern except this.
If you showed such compassion for the sufferings of others while on earth, and were so ready to relieve them, how much greater must your compassion be now that you are in heaven and understand so much better the difficulties your children meet with and the sufferings that afflict them? Though you are raised to the high dignity of Queen of Heaven, you have not forgotten man's wretched condition. You show your compassion toward all so that there is no one in this world who does not, if he seeks it, share in the kindness and mercy of your motherly Heart. You have become all things to all men; you have opened your Heart to all that all may receive of your generosity: the imprisoned, freedom, the sick, health, the afflicted, consolation; the sinner, pardon; and God, glory.
Mary, My Mother, your power as Mother of Divine Providence is indeed as great as your compassion and willingness to help. As you are powerful to obtain and provide, you are merciful to pardon. You can readily obtain for us whatever you will as you can listen to our woes. Then, through your compassion be pleased to send down to us, your poor servants, a rich abundance of your graces and blessing. Provide for our needs of soul and of body. May your title of Mother of Divine Providence ever give us confidence that you will never fail us, but will provide for all we need in this present life that we may attain eternal life.
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