Virtual and Audio Rosaries

Readers have provided me with a couple of excellent links to sites where you can not only learn about the Rosary, but also pray it online.

My friend Carol highly recommends the Virtual Rosary site, and recent commentor Diane let me know about this excellent resource on Father Corapi’s website.

For the past couple of years I have been using the Rosary resources offered by Rosary Army, whose wonderful consecration podcasts I embedded on this site as well.  I downloaded their Rosary recordings onto my iPod, and am able to pray along with them as I ride the bus to and from work.  

The resources available to us now are seemingly endless; you can locate many other wonderful sites through your own search engines. If you spend some time on the sites I’ve linked to here, you will see that they provide information on many topics, along with the Rosary.

Thanks again, Carol and Diane, for sharing your finds, and thank you to all those who are behind the scenes setting up these resources for us. They are much appreciated.

Today is Wednesday. Would you like to pray the Glorious Mysteries with me (it doesn’t matter when you may be reading this, does it? After all, with God, there is no time) – together with Greg and Jennifer of Rosary Army? Let’s.

Filling the Protestant Void (Part 1): Mary

Neil Babcox, before his conversion to the Catholic Church, had been a member of the Protestant clergy.  After reading Sam’s comment on my previous post (i.e., Sam of Contemplative Christian), I remembered hearing Neil’s testimony and wanted to share it here, not with conversion uppermost in my mind – but not without that possibility hovering around either 🙂 – but with the knowledge of Mary’s love for all of her children, be they Catholic, Protestant or non-Christian.

In terms of conversion to the Catholic Church, Neil tells us that for many Protestants (he speaks of clergy, but I think it can be as readily said of most Protestants), “…the greatest stumbling block and the last obstacle to overcome is Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”  His own experience, however, was the exact opposite.  For Neil, Mary was one of the “greatest draws and guides” into the Catholic Church. 

He speaks of two experiences which brought him closer to Mary:  one, a week-long retreat at a Trappist monastery and the other, one of his meditations while doing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.

Neil recounts his developing understanding of the “Hail Mary”, as well as a transformation in his reading of the Scriptures in light of Mary.  He speaks of a “lifting of the veil” (as I too did in my previous post); Neil’s was in reference to the intercession of Mary and the saints and how this had been lost to Protestant understanding since the Reformation.

Listen as Neil tells us of his discoveries through his reading of Marian theology, and of his love for the Rosary.

Neil, “wasn’t looking for Mary, and yet she came over the hills of my heart into my life.”   He says to his Protestant brothers and sisters:  “…love for Mary didn’t take me away from Jesus a single bit.  Love for Mary brought me closer to Jesus than I ever had been before.”  Amen, Neil.  To Jesus through Mary.

Songs for Mary

The latest episode of one of my favourite podcasts,  Catholic Praise Cast, is dedicated to Mary.  Just click on #22 in the sidebar of Catholic Praise Cast to listen, or you can download the podcast if you’d like.  I particularly like the last song, called “Come Hold My Son”, by Thirsting.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is a Marian “optional memorial” wherein we commemorate several things:  Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Marian spirituality of the Carmelites, the scapular and consecration of oneself to Mary.

Picking up on the theme from my previous post, I would like to share a little bit from the Dictionary of Mary :

“The commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel calls for a rediscovery of the contemplative dimension of life. Nothing indeed is more foreign to Carmel and to Mary than an exteriority bereft of any intimate union of love with God….There is no more profound and urgent need for people today – who are in danger of losing themselves in a frenetic chaos without a definitive meaning – than the need to experience God in their own lives.

The great mystical Carmelite authors have had an acute sense of the spiritual life as a ‘way of perfection’…On this journey Mary is present as Mother and Model of contemplatives, that is, of Christians attuned to the filial listening to the Father through Christ in the Spirit.” [Dictionary of Mary, pg. 58]

 

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An excellent video about Our Lady of Mount Carmel produced by Catholic Radio Dramas (many thanks to YouTube Channel andresgran53):

Our Lady of Lourdes, from India

Mid-June, over at Contemplative Haven, I posted a link to a video of the trailer/promo for the movie, Our Lady of Lourdes, written and produced by Mr. Kamalakar Rao Ponnapalli.  As well as wishing to help in some small way to spread the word about this movie, I was curious as to why Mr. Ponnapalli, a Hindu, was inspired to create a movie about a Catholic saint and the Blessed Virgin (and to dedicate ten years of his life to it).

Mr. Ponnapalli has kindly sent me an article previously printed in Lourdes Magazine, from which we can gain some further insight into the motivating forces behind the creation of the movie. If you click on the article it should expand, and you may click once more to get it to a readable size.

 

Mr. Ponnapalli was inspired by the fact that a simple girl like Bernadette could be used as an instrument of God, and he wished to express this to the people of India, so that they too would understand that wealth, roots, health and power are not necessary in the sight of God, and are not prerequisites for making a difference in this world.  It is quite exciting to read that even though Mr. Ponnapalli received guidance from both a Catholic priest and a Catholic Brother regarding the film, things did not really flow smoothly until after a visit to Lourdes in 2005. His spontaneous meetings with various people who proved to be of great benefit in the creation of the film were “encounters arranged by Mary”, Mr. Ponnapalli believes – he even uses the word miracle!  I was reflecting on all this when I happened upon a passage in my Redemptorist “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” book, which seemed to me to be quite appropriate in terms of Mr. Ponnapalli’s experience with Mother Mary:

In these pages we are not using the word “miracle” in the theological sense as when we speak of the miracles of Jesus or the miracles recognized by the Church in the process of canonization of the Saints.  Here we use the word “miracle” in a wider sense as used by the faithful.  It is not a question of dogmas of faith but rather, experiences of faith.  In this Christian sense, these “miracles” also have norms of certitude.  In the idiom of the faithful a miracle is a grace, a help, a protection, a favor asked for and received, an experience of inner peace.

Truly, Mary is Our Lady of All Nations and the Mother of All Peoples.  Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with us, Mr. Ponnapalli; the miracles of Lourdes continue!

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today is a very special day, as we celebrate here both the Visitation and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although Marian feasts are broken down into Solemnities, Feastdays, Memorials, “other” feasts and “local” feasts according to the liturgical calendar, they will all be treated as Feastdays in my “Categories”, because that is what they are in my heart!

To honour and celebrate the Immaculate Heart of Mary here today, I would like to share a video with you from the YouTube Channel of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. This video, in eight minutes, encapsulates exactly how I hope to spend my day, and the rest of my life, for that matter: reflection on Mary, responding to an invitation to consecration or renewal of consecration, prayer and song. May you be blessed today!

 
O Holy and Immaculate Heart (featuring Fr. Maximilian Dean and Michael Grogan)

The Feast of the Visitation

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth before the birth of Saint John the Baptist is the second joyful mystery of the Rosary.  The theme of the liturgical celebration of this Marian Feast is “sharing feelings of joy by praising God.” 

Everywhere we turn in the unfolding of the Visitation we find joy, thanksgiving and praise.  Mary makes haste to go to Elizabeth so that they may rejoice together over both being with child.  As soon as Mary greets Elizabeth, John leaps for joy in the womb.  Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth cries out in a loud voice, and then praises both Mary, and Jesus in the womb, as being blessed.  Mary’s response of praise and thanksgiving is her spontaneous, powerful Magnificat.

Underlying all of this joy, praise and thanksgiving is the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who urges Mary to make haste to visit Elizabeth; it is the Holy Spirit who fills Elizabeth, and the Holy Spirit who causes John to leap with joy in the womb because he is so near to the presence of Jesus.

In the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia we are told that Mary’s “presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John…  Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us.”

This is another wonderful thing upon which to meditate – that Mary, in the Visitation, exercises her role as Mediatrix of all Graces for the very first time.  With a short, inspirational homily touching upon this very aspect of the Visitation, as well as Mary’s role not only as Mother of God but our Mother as well, here is Father Ignatius of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, courtesy of the franciscanfriars YouTube Channel: