Blessed Virgin Mary: July 2007 Archives

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It was fitting on this last Saturday of July to remember the Madonna of the Most Precious Blood. The First Lesson at Mass (Exodus 24:3-8) also suggested a Votive Mass in her honour. For more on the Mother of God of the Most Precious Blood visit Father Keyes at the Refugio San Gaspare.

Collect

Almighty and ever-living God
by whose will the Most Precious Blood of Your only-begotten Son
was formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
and poured out for the salvation of the world on the altar of the Cross;
mercifully grant, through her intercession,
that we who partake of the Chalice of the New and Eternal Covenant,
may so adore the Mystery of Faith
as to experience within ourselves the fruit of that Redeeming Blood.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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I was happy to discover that today's "Moment with Mary" was a text of Blessed Charles of Jesus on Our Mother of Perpetual Help. (If you are not familiar with the daily "Moment with Mary" and the International Centre of Mary of Nazareth that offers it as a free service to subscribers, do visit the Centre's beautiful site.)

Last week, at the beginning of the retreat I preached to the Bridgettines in Connecticut, I blessed a magnificent reproduction of the original icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Gazing out at us from her icon, Our Mother of Perpetual Help graced the retreat with her presence from beginning to end.

Blessed Charles of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld) was greatly devoted to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. His favourite place to pray in Rome was the Church of Sant'Alfonso, the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. There he renewed his consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Blessed Charles painted two images of Our Mother of Perpetual Help: one while he was living in Jerusalem, and the other while living in Nazareth.

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Blessed Charles of Jesus wrote:

In a time of great sorrow, not knowing where to take refuge, fearing to be misled by the devil, I remembered the heart of the Mother of Perpetual Help, and I placed myself between her hands, like her child, like her property.

I begged her, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to carry me, as she carried Jesus when He was a child, and to make me become, not what I would like to become, but what she herself would like for the greatest glory of her Son, according to His will, according to what she read in His heart. Since that time, I consider myself as yours, O Mother of Perpetual Help!

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Your servant, Saint Simon of the Tree Stock, was shown to be another Melodist in praising you and invoking your motherly Protection as the Sovereign Lady of Mount Carmel. Having won your favour, he rejoiced to have his prayers answered by you, his only hope after God. Bowing our heads in praying with him, we too hymn:

Rejoice, Childbearing yet maiden, with none who equals you!
Rejoice, Mother so tender, bestowing your favors on Carmel's children!
Rejoice, O strong Stem of Jesse, Star of the Sea!
Rejoice, Who bore the Bright Flower!
Rejoice, Purest of Lilies that flowers among thorns!
Rejoice, bringing help to the heart that in weakness turns to you!
Rejoice, Strongest of armor with might invincible!
Rejoice, calling to thee from under your Mantle!
Rejoice, Unfailing counsel to those who trust in you!
Rejoice, O Gentle Mother who in Carmel reigns!
Rejoice, Sharing with your servants the gladness that you gained!
Rejoice, Gate of Heaven, who with glory is now crowned!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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Your Son immediately felt His Healing Power go out of him and asked who it was that touched him, even though there were many crowds pressing Him on all sides. Approaching with fear, the woman fell in humility before Him to receive His words of consolation that her faith had restored her health. Joining with her in thanking our Lord, we sing:

Rejoice, for your Mantle of Protection heals with Grace all who touch it with faith!
Rejoice, for the Lord Jesus has wrought many miracles by it to this day!
Rejoice, for by it you strengthen our faith!
Rejoice, for you clothe us with a powerful sign!
Rejoice, for we reach out to your Mantle in hope!
Rejoice, for you never leave us without your help!
Rejoice, for your Mantle resounds in the four corners of the earth!
Rejoice, for its four corners signify the Gospels of your Son!
Rejoice, for its fringes symbolize the dripping Oil of Gladness!
Rejoice, for the Oil of Compunction has bedewed us to the very edges of the garment!
Rejoice, for it is like the dew of Hermon!
Rejoice, for it descends upon the Mountains of Zion where the Lord commanded the
blessing - life forevermore.
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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It is not against human enemies that we struggle, but against sovereignties and powers
who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil, as the Apostle warns
us. Relying on God's armor, signified by your Scapular of Mount Carmel, O Mother of
the Redeemer, we sing:

Rejoice, Most Holy General, commanding us with unfailing spiritual strategy!
Rejoice, Leader in the day of battle, assisting us to hold our ground!
Rejoice, bestower of spiritual resources in our constant struggle with evil!
Rejoice, buckling truth around our waist!
Rejoice, granting us a breastplate of integrity!
Rejoice, putting on us the shoes of spiritual eagerness for the Gospel!
Rejoice, giving us the shield of faith!
Rejoice, defending us against the fiery arrows of the evil one!
Rejoice, placing on us the helmet of salvation!
Rejoice, arming us with the Sword of the Spirit!
Rejoice, empowering us with the Word of God!
Rejoice, inspiring us in the constant invocation of the Name of Jesus!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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O Most Holy Mother of Carmel, having learned the truth in the Lord Jesus, the Apostle to the Gentiles calls us to give up all illusory desires and cling, instead, to the Way of God, that is goodness and holiness of truth. Taking hold of our high calling as sharers in the Royal Priesthood of Christ, we sing:

Rejoice, for your Mantle reminds us that we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice, for your Grace aids us in making no provision for the flesh!
Rejoice, for we live protected under the wings of your Cloak of sure defense!
Rejoice, for you renew in us our minds in conformity with that which is in your Son!
Rejoice, O Guide in the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Rejoice, for you, the Enclosed Garden, grant us Divine flowers of grace!
Rejoice, for you make us grow strong in the Lord!
Rejoice, for you pray for us day and night!
Rejoice, for you are our constant aid!
Rejoice, O Mountain Unquarried!
Rejoice, O Rock Unhewn!
Rejoice, O Mother of the Cornerstone!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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We join with the Prophet Ezekiel in pondering the rich treasury of Grace that your most
holy Mantle of Carmel sends down on us who have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Praying
unceasingly for your intercession before the Throne of Almighty God, we cry:

Rejoice, for through you God has bathed us in water, and anointed us with oil!
Rejoice, for through you God has given us a cloak of heavenly silk!
Rejoice, for He has bestowed on us a necklace for our throats!
Rejoice, for you have put on us a Divine diadem on our head!
Rejoice, for by you we are loaded with spiritual gold and silver!
Rejoice, for you place on us fine linen with embroidery!
Rejoice, for your food is the finest flour, honey and oil!
Rejoice, for you grow more and more beautiful!
Rejoice, for you rose to be Queen of Heaven and Earth!
Rejoice, for the fame of your beauty is throughout the nations!
Rejoice, for the Lord Himself has clothed you with His own splendor!
Rejoice, for it is the Lord Himself that has made you perfect!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven, and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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A chariot of fire appeared taking the Prophet Elias to heaven in a whirlwind. Eliseus
grabbed hold of Elias' Mantle, shouting: My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!
And the Mantle of Elias, torn in two, fell back on the shoulders of Eliseus. Bowing
before this mystery that prefigured the Divine Incarnation, we cry:

Rejoice, Chariot of Fire, on which the Saviour of the world came down to us!
Rejoice, Unburning Bush in Whom God the Uncontained was contained!
Rejoice, New Ark of the Covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice, for meditating on your Ascent to the Lord after your Dormition, we receive a
double share of your Protection!
Rejoice, for by it you cover our hearts against fiery darts!
Rejoice, for by it you cover us front and back and place your hand over us!
Rejoice, for your Prophet Elias foretold your coming in a cave on Mount Carmel!
Rejoice, for you fulfilled his prophecy, filling us with unspeakable joy!
Rejoice, for you are the Star of the Sea, guiding us into a Divine safe-harbor!
Rejoice, for you put on us the swaddling-clothes of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, for your Divine Son bequeaths you to us as our Most Holy Mother!
Rejoice, for you fill us with the Wine of Astonishment!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Spendour of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

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O Most Holy Mother of God, we rejoice in God our Saviour Who covers us with the
Divine Protection of your prayers. Pondering your great benevolence in granting us a
visible symbol, so like the Mantle of Elias, of your great care for us as the Body of Christ
and our true spiritual Mother, we cry out:

Rejoice, Heavenly Mantle clothing us in the Power of the Spirit!
Rejoice, making unseen our spiritual nakedness and weakness!
Rejoice, for we are made happy under the wings of your Protection!
Rejoice, for in your Scapular, God has clothed us in the garments of salvation!
Rejoice, for you have wrapped us in the Cloak of integrity!
Rejoice, for we have become like a bridegroom wearing his wreath!
Rejoice, for we are like brides adorned in her jewels!
Rejoice, for through you the Spirit of the Lord is given to us!
Rejoice, for by you the Lord anoints us!
Rejoice, for He sends us, your children, to bring good news to the poor!
Rejoice, for you give us a commission to bind up hearts that are broken!
Rejoice, for we are enlivened to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine

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If you want to make a novena ending on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, begin today. Terry at Abbey-Roads2 has a fine post on the novena with a beautiful prayer attributed to Saint Simon Stock.

Your Holy Prophet Elias saw you pre- figured in the light cloud upon which the Heavenly
Dew came down to make fruitful the dryness of our souls. Empowered by the Spirit in
the two-part mantle of your Protection, the prophet calls all to the Holy Mountain of the
Lord, crying:

Rejoice, Summit of Divine Joy!
Rejoice, Height of Heavenly Radiance!
Rejoice, Peak of Holiness and Perfection!
Rejoice, Gentle Cloud on which Christ descended to earth!
Rejoice, Golden Fleece bringing the Dew of Spiritual Refreshment!
Rejoice, Desert Rock flowing with the Waters of Salvation!
Rejoice, Unmovable Wall of Protection!
Rejoice, bestowing on us your Mantle of spiritual defense!
Rejoice, our good defense at the dread judgement seat of Christ!
Rejoice, Never-fading Bloom!
Rejoice, Ever-Fragrant Rose!
Rejoice, Most Pure Lily!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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