Blessed Virgin Mary: April 2008 Archives

Living the "Totus Tuus"

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Totus tuus ego sum
et omnia mea Tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia.
Praebe mihi cor Tuum, Maria.

I am all thine,
and all that I have is thine.
I receive thee into everything that is mine.
Give me thy Heart, O Mary.

About a fortnight ago, a bishop whom I hold in the highest esteem gave me a copy of Monsignor Stephen Rossetti's book, Behold Your Mother, Priests Speak About Mary. The book contains the witnesses of ten priests on the presence and grace of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their lives. Monsignor Rossetti introduces and concludes the book. While I found something worth pondering in every chapter, I was most deeply moved by the one written by Monsignor Rossetti himself. He entitled it, "She Will Crush His Head." Here are few excerpts from it:

On Spiritual Combat

"The battleground of the spirit is very real in all Christians: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mt 26:41). But I believe that the spiritual battle is particularly important and waged with a special intensity in our priests. They are configured to Christ in a most unique way, and they are directly engaged in Jesus' mission and ministry."

Casting Out Evil

"It is no accident that prayers for casting out evil, including those in Church exorcisms, often mention the Virgin Mary and Michael the Archangel, and invoke Mary's intercession with her Divine Son. The former priest-exorcist of Rome wrote: 'The power of the Rosary and devotion to the Virgin Mary [in casting out evil] are well documented."

Our Lady and Saint Michael

"It is important for us priests, who are so accustomed to helping others, to have the humility to ask for and to let ourselves receive help from others. A confessor and a spiritual director are important guides along the spiritual path. At times, a professional counselor or therapist may be needed when a difficult personal problem surfaces. And we perpetually and universally depend upon the maternal protection of Our Lady and St. Michael in our unseen struggle to walk in the way of goodness."

Verba vitae aeternae habes

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Third Saturday of Paschaltide

Acts 9:31-42
John 6:60-69

Paschaltide With Mary

There is a particular grace attached to the celebration of these Saturdays of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Paschaltide. Nobody experienced the joy of the Resurrection as did the Mother of Jesus, just as nobody experienced His bitter Passion as she did. This is why the surest way to enter deeply into the Paschal Mystery is in the company of Mary or, if you will, through her Immaculate Heart.

Hearts Made for Each Other

The Immaculate Conception has a unique and unequaled sensitivity to the joys of the God-Man, her Son, just as she has a unique and unequaled sensitivity to the sorrows of His Sacred Heart. The most pure Heart of Mary is perfectly attuned to the Heart of Jesus. Nothing of what belongs to His experience is foreign to her. And nothing of what belongs to her experience is foreign to Him. Her Heart was made for His, and His Heart was formed for hers by the Holy Spirit in her womb.

Receiving From Her Hands

As Mediatrix of All Graces, Mary dispenses the gift of a share in her compassion to those of her children who are open to receiving it. Similarly, she dispenses the gift of a share in her joy at the Resurrection of her Son to those who are open to receiving it. Our Lady stands above us with open hands, just as she is depicted at the rue du Bac. Streams of grace flow from her hands. Some of these are bright; they signify the graces that souls welcome and receive with desire and gratitude. Others are dark; they signify the graces that she is ready to give, but that no one welcomes. One of the lessons that emerges from the apparitions to Saint Catherine Labouré at the rue du Bac is that a soul does well to say to the Blessed Virgin, “Give me, beloved Mother, the graces that no one else wants; the gifts that no one else claims; the blessings to which no heart is open.”

Keeping Company With Mary

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Another Joseph

Reading the Martyrology this morning I discovered that today is the dies natalis of Saint Hermann Joseph, one of my cherished heavenly friends and models. I related this anniversary to a question put to me today by another good friend, this one earthly — the irrepressible Jeron: "How does one keep the Blessed Mother company?" Saint Hermann Joseph shows us how. Hermann Joseph, a twelfth century Premonstratensian Canon, lived in such intimacy with the Virgin Mary that his relationship with her was compared to that of Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Her Chaplain and Her Spouse

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that, "After Hermann had been ordained priest, it was remarkable with what reverence and devotion he offered the Holy Sacrifice. He was known for his gentle demeanour and affability, his humility, his extraordinary mortifications, but, above all, for his affection for the Mother of God, before whose altar he remained for hours in pious intercourse and ecstatic visions, and in whose honour he composed wonderful prayers and hymns. Mary, in turn, showed him her predilection, called him her chaplain and her spouse, and confirmed his surname Joseph, given to him by his brothers in religion. Hermann was sometimes sent out to perform pastoral duties and was in frequent demand for the making and repairing of clocks. He had under his charge the spiritual welfare of the Cistercian nuns at Hoven near Zulpich. Here he died and was buried in the cloister."

He Took Her to His Own

Keeping company with the Blessed Virgin Mary has to do with living in her presence. One who shares with the Mother of Jesus every moment of his day and night, keeping no secrets from her and confiding every struggle, every sorrow, and every joy to her Immaculate Heart becomes a companion of Mary, walking in the footsteps of Saint Joseph, and of Saint John the Beloved Disciple. We read in John 19:26-27:

"When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own."

A Blessed Risk

"The disciple took her to his own." There you have it, dear Jeron. Take Mary to your own; that means, into everything that is yours. No secrets. No compartments. No mental reservation. There is, of course, a blessed risk in doing this. Once Mary is taken "to one's own," she sets about setting all things in order. She cleanses. She beautifies. She turns all things to the glory of her Son.

Little Practices

There are humble little practices that can concretize the heart's desire to keep company with Our Lady. I recommend having a special image of the Blessed Virgin in a prominent place. Whenever you pass by that image, kiss it, say an Ave, say with Pope John Paul II, Totus tuus, "I am all thine." (Jeron knows how much I love the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It is my favourite image of the Queen and Mother of Mercy who is to me life, sweetness, and hope.) Saint Alphonsus Liguori recommends a daily visit to the Madonna. It is enough to kneel before her image, or sit quietly in her company saying one Ave after another. It goes without saying that the Rosary leads to the highest Marian contemplation, that is, to an abiding awareness of living in the company of the Blessed Virgin.

Total Consecration

Whatever little practices you adopt, persevere in them with the freedom born of love. The "great act" that contextualizes every other expression of Marian devotion is total consecration to Mary. For this, there is no better school than that of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. Our Immaculate Mother desires nothing more than to gather us to her Heart. She offers us the grace of her company.

And the First Saturday

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The Marian Dimension of the Death of John Paul II

In speaking last week of the holy death of the Servant of God John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI alluded to First Saturday of the Month, I thought it might be helpful to recall the origin of the First Saturday devotion and the practices associated with it. This particular image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the work of a priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of Saint Joseph, Father Gianfranco Verri. He calls it "La Madonna delle Rose Blu — Our Lady of the Blue Roses."

The Blessed Virgin revealed her Immaculate Heart to the three children at Fatima in 1917. On December 10, 1925 she said to Sister Lucia:

Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen decades of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.

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In how many places will the Mass of Beata Maria in Resurrectione Domini be celebrated tomorrow? The proper texts of the Mass are found in the Collectio Missarum de Beata Maria Virgine or in the English translation of it, entitled Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here is the oration I composed to conclude the General Intercessions, and my own translation of the splendid Preface of this Mass. The painting of the Risen Jesus appearing to His Blessed Mother is by Giovanni Francesco Guercino (1599-1666).

Collect at the General Intercessions

Almighty and ever-living God,
who, during the great and silent sabbath
when your Son slept in the tomb,
looked upon the flame of faith and hope
that burned, for the sake of the whole Church,
in the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary,
grant us, we beseech you,
so to follow her in faith and in hope in this life
as to share her joy eternally in heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.

Preface

Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

At the resurrection of your Christ
you filled the blessed Virgin with joy beyond all telling
and wonderfully extolled her faith.
In the strength of that faith
she waited for that Day of Light and of Life
when the night of death would be ended,
the whole world would exult,
and the Church at her dawn would tremble with joy
in seeing again her deathless Lord.

Through him the choirs of Angels adore your majesty,
as in eternity they rejoice before your face.
Let our voices, we pray you, be joined to theirs,
in this their joyful hymn:


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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