Love Came Down At Christmas

“Worship we our Jesus… Through our hearts may His love shine.”

Merry Christmas to all! May your hearts and homes be filled with love and peace.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

On this feastday of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the fourth anniversary of this blog, I would like to thank Our Lady for all she has done for me.  I ask for her continued protection and aid — for all I may do here, for myself, my family and everyone who may come here to learn more about our Mother, about consecration to her, or for prayer, support and encouragement.

Presentation of Mary

SHORT PRAYER ON THE PRESENTATION OF MARY

Heavenly Father, the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated to You by her parents when she was three. In the temple, she joined the girls who spent their days praying, reading Scripture, and serving the temple priests. Her holiness was very evident, and the high priest thought that You probably had great plans for her. I ask Mary to pray for the plans You have for my life. Where I have strayed onto a road of my own choosing, give me her hand to guide me back to where You want me. Where I need to wait for a new plan to begin, give me the grace to remain patient and say, “Your will be done.” Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for me. Amen.

[This prayer was found at the website of Saint Michael Center]

[Artwork:  The artist was known as “Meister des Marienlebens” (the Master of the Life of the Virgin), working circa 1463-1490]

One cannot help but notice that in the painting, those gathered around the temple steps have removed their eyes from Mary. They are focused either on another event, two puppies playing, or looking around to see what other people’s responses are to that event. In reality, we know that this is a heartrending moment for Saints Anne and Joachim, and as parents, many of us know that we wouldn’t have taken our eyes off that child until she was no longer in sight, and even then, we probably would have been running around the temple walls, tears in our eyes, trying to catch a final glimpse of her through the windows.

I’m sure the artist knew that too, and wasn’t disparaging Saints Anne or Joachim, or Mary’s family and friends as they gathered near the temple steps to give Mary over to her new life. He created a scene which is so far removed from how we know in reality Mary’s loving parents would have been acting that it captures our attention and causes us to reflect.

How easily we are distracted from what is truly important. How easily we turn our focus to the events around us, and to individual or global reactions to those events. Mary is our Mother, daily leading us to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, and helping us to know the heart of the Father. How often will she have to turn her head and look back, to see if we are still watching her, still near her, still focusing our eyes and hearts on her?

Recourse To Mary

In these turbulent times – when the world’s economy, outbreaks of violence, natural disasters and the daily challenges in all of our lives threaten to overwhelm our peace of mind and leave us floundering, immobile or heading towards despair – let us take to heart the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

In danger, anguish, or doubt,
think of Mary and call upon her.
Let the name of Mary
never be far from your lips or heart.
And to obtain the fruit of her prayers,
do not forget the example of her life.
Following Mary,
you will never lose your way.
Praying to her,
you will never sink into despair.
Contemplating Mary,
you will never go wrong.
With Mary’s support,
you will never fall.
Beneath her protection,
you will never fear.
Under her guidance,
you will never tire.
And with her help,
you will reach your heavenly goal.

I will be offline until the first week of September [comments will be closed until then]. Be safe. Be strong. Stay under Her mantle, dear ones.

[St. Bernard’s words were excerpted from: Favorite Prayers to Our Lady, Anthony M. Buono]

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

At Mass this morning, our pastor mentioned in his short homily that he had heard a talk given once, which he couldn’t go into detail about in such a limited time, but that he wanted to just share with us something he had found very interesting. 

He related how, with Noah, the rainbow signified an ark (arc) of promise; with Moses, the Ark of the Covenant signified God’s presence; and with Mary (and through her), since she herself is the Ark of the New Covenant, we have not only God’s presence but union with Him.

So this is what I’ll be reflecting on as I go about my day, this beautiful feastday of our Lady’s, which is the fourth anniversary of my consecration to Mary.  This 33-day renewal period has been a real challenge for personal reasons at home – I’ve been scattered, distracted, and living with much emotional upheaval, but plodded through with Mary’s encouragement and, I suspect, much help from the Holy Spirit.  I am eternally grateful.

From:  “In the End My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph”, page 79:

“To the souls who are consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary…. She [Mary] will bring all hearts into union and lead them into the embrace of Jesus.  Each one of us will become the sign of unity to all the world.”

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

As I posted yesterday at Contemplative Haven, this year the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary seem to have an extra special significance for our times and for the darkness in the world these days.  For one thing, they are not falling in June as they usually do, and for another, they are coinciding this year with the First Friday and First Saturday of the month. I hope you will have time to read the post at Contemplative Haven as a backdrop to my post here today, because reparation is as central to the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as I mentioned that it is to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is entirely and divinely appropriate and ordained, isn’t it, since the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are the Two Hearts United, after all.

Mary revealed her Immaculate Heart to the children at Fatima, and it was through the Fatima apparitions that reparation came to the fore, with the institution of the First Five Saturdays.

As Father Joseph Homick wrote in his  most recent book, A Place Prepared by God [see book image in the right-hand sidebar]“Reparation to the Heart of Mary is required simply because Jesus loves her so much and will not tolerate that she be reviled by evil or ignorant people….  Now in the glory of Heaven, Jesus wants the world to know that He loves his Mother as well, and therefore that reparation must be offered by his faithful people for those who wound her heart with their sins and their callous disregard for her whom God has loved so much and exalted so highly.”  [page 210]

Of course, our Mother’s Immaculate Heart is far more than a reminder to us of the need for reparation.  As Father Joseph so beautifully put it:  “The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the place prepared by God as a refuge for his children as they make their difficult way to Heaven along the narrow and hard but life-giving path to the Kingdom.  What a marvelous place of beauty, purity, holiness and joy, and what a source of wisdom, courage, and peace!  The Lord is so good to us to share with us this treasure of his.  He knows how much we need her, even if we have not come to the fullness of that awareness ourselves.  We will find her waiting for us when we do.”  [pages 209-210]

The Visitation

From:  Mary My Hope [Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D.] pages 56-57

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, 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 love 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.