Powerful Pillars

As I mentioned over at Contemplative Haven yesterday, Father Joseph Homick has a new blog called, Two Pillars:  Holy Eucharist and Our Lady.  I really appreciate the way Father Joseph has set it up, with separate pages for each topic that’s on his heart.  Although quite recent, there is already a wealth of information there, and I encourage you to go and have a readfest.

Also at Contemplative Haven back in January, I mentioned Father Joseph’s most recent book:

I will be putting this image in my sidebar here along with my other Marian resource material, and please check Father Joseph’s blog for ordering information for this and all of his other wonderful books.

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

As the Year for Priests was drawing to a close yesterday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our parish invited everyone last evening to attend a recitation of the Rosary in gratitude for our own two priests as well as for all priests and their needs/intentions.  It was very beautiful and powerful.  The setting sun was coming through the stained-glass window just behind our statue of the Blessed Virgin.  The cadence of the congregation was soothing and contemplative, yet energizing and inspiring as well, and it was good – somehow comforting – to hear the sound of so many men’s voices praying the Rosary.

Afterwards I was reflecting on what I would post in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary today, and I decided that I would like to incorporate Her love and guidance for our priests, and in that way pay honour to our priests as well, as their special year is ending.

In, “The Sacred Heart and The Priesthood”, Mother Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche (1868-1915) writes of the special love that the priest should have for Jesus – that this should be a love such as Mary had for Him. In Part Four, Chapter XII (The Blessed Virgin and the Priest), she writes:

There is only one creature who has loved, and who loves Jesus as the priest should love Him; there is only one heart which can serve as a model to him for this love; it is the heart of the Most Holy Virgin.  The love of the priest for Jesus should be in everything like the love of Mary for her divine Son.

Like Mary, the priest, elevated to a very high degree by a grace of preference, nevertheless remains an inferior creature, in submission to the divine Master.  Like her, he touches on nothingness by his nature, and on intimacy with the divinity, by a privilege of love.  Like her, he should be more enlightened on the truth of his own misery and wretchedness, and more influenced by divine radiations of Infinite Love.  Like her, he receives from the Omnipotence of the Holy Ghost the power to produce the Word Incarnate in the world:  the Mother produces Him in the truth of His visible flesh; the priest in the truth of His Eucharistic Flesh….

Jesus wishes to be loved by His priests as He has been loved by the Virgin Mary, and He has included in the privilege of the priesthood graces similar to those contained in the privilege of the divine Maternity:  graces of intimate and altogether singular union with His adorable Person; graces of ineffable purity; graces of unreserved devotedness.

Jesus holds the treasury of all graces, including those He has designated for “the privilege of the priesthood”, but He has given His Blessed Mother the honour of distributing them, of dispensing them.  So not only is the Blessed Virgin the model of love on which the priest should base himself, but as Mediatrix of all Graces, the priest is dependent upon Mary for receiving the graces required by him to be able to love Jesus the way he should.

What does it look like when a priest enters into a deeper, more intimate, mystical relationship with Mary?  What happens when Mary as model takes on a more profound meaning in his life, and the graces begin flooding in?  Abbot Joseph of Word Incarnate has written two beautiful posts about his own recent experiences in this area.  I’m posting two snippets here, but I invite you to read them in their entirety, and be blessed…

To Jesus with Mary

He looked at her and her arms, which were extended in a gesture of loving welcome. Tears spontaneously began to flow, freely but gently, as what may have been the grace of true repentance was granted him. In an instant something was communicated from her to him, which came much faster than the time it took to assemble it into words in his little brain. It was simply this: “Come to me, and I will take you to Him.” Here was the answer, without explaining how it would be the answer….

He had to admit that perhaps after all these years he didn’t know the Lord well enough to love Him the way He ought to be loved—and right here before him is this Lady who knows and loves Him more than anyone else.

One Jewel, Many Facets

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that she has made her presence felt in my life in profound and unexpected ways in the past six weeks or so, and I’m still in awestruck wonder as I go more deeply into the joyful mystery of it all. I’ll be eternally grateful for what the Almighty has done for me through her, this precious gift of God’s love, the Mother of Jesus.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Truly unfortunate are we poor children of Eve; for, guilty before God of her fault, and condemned to the same penalty, we have to wander about in this valley of tears as exiles from our country, and to weep over our many afflictions of body and soul.  But blessed is he who, in the midst of these sorrows, often turns to the comfortress of the world, to the refuge of the unfortunate, to the great Mother of God, and devoutly calls upon her and invokes her!

mary-2The above passage is taken from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s, “Hail Holy Queen”, from Chapter IV, entitled, “Mary, Our Help”. St. Alphonsus Liguori speaks of Mary’s compassion as our Mother of Mercy, and how we need never lack confidence in asking for anything we need: “Nor should the multitude of our sins diminish our confidence that Mary will grant our petitions when we cast ourselves at her feet. She is the Mother of mercy…”  He explains why our prayers to Mary are often heard and answered more quickly than our prayers to Jesus. St. Alphonsus quotes St. Anselm on this point: “…when we have recourse to this divine Mother, not only we may be sure of her protection, but that often we shall be heard more quickly, and be thus preserved, if we have recourse to Mary and call on her holy name, than we should be if we called on the name of Jesus our Saviour…”  What is the reasoning behind this statement of St. Anselm, upheld by St. Alphonsus Liguori? St. Anselm’s explanation continues: “…that to Jesus, as a judge, it belongs also to punish; but mercy alone belongs to the Blessed Virgin as a patroness” and “We often obtain more promptly what we ask by calling on the name of Mary than by invoking that of Jesus. Her Son is lord and judge of all, and discerns the merits of each one; and therefore if He does not immediately grant the prayers of all, He is just. When, however, the Mother’s name is invoked, though the merits of the suppliant are not such as to deserve that his prayer should be granted, those of the Mother supply that he may receive.”

In this chapter we are also reminded of the experiences/revelations of several saints on this matter. “Many things,” says Nicephorus, “are asked from God, and are not granted: they are asked from Mary, and are obtained…because God has thus decreed to honor His Mother.” Also, from St. Bridget’s revelations, we have the words that Jesus said to His Mother: “Thou shalt present Me with no petition that shall be refused. My Mother, ask what thou wilt, for never will I refuse thee anything…” Lastly, “The same thing was revealed to St. Gertrude, when she heard our divine Redeemer assure His Mother that in His omnipotence He granted her power to show mercy to sinners who invoke her in whatever manner she might please.”

Father Bob Williston (Redemptorist) singing, “Mother of Perpetual Help”