Blessed Virgin Mary: May 2012 Archives

In Cenaculi Solitudine

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Our Lady of the Cenacle

Many years ago and long before I had any idea that I would one day play a role in establishing a monastery under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle, I was searching out the treasures of my missal, and discovered, among the Masses for Certain Places, the Mass of Our Lady of the Cenacle for the Saturday within the Octave of the Ascension. The Proper texts of the Mass stirred my heart. This Mass was composed and approved in 1886 at the request of Mother Marie-Aimée Lautier, Superior General of the Congregation of the Cenacle. The humble foundress of the Society of Our Lady of the Cenacle, Saint Thérèse Couderc, died in 1885.

(It is a pity that, with Ascension Thursday being observed in so many places on the following Sunday, both the Pentecost Novena and the feast of Our Lady of the Cenacle are adversely affected.)

This particular Mass was not retained in the Collection of Masses in Honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Religious of the Cenacle, for whom these texts were composed, no longer use them.

The orations are, like so many composed in the 19th century, addressed to Our Lord Jesus Christ, rather than to the Father. They contain some wonderfully evocative phrases in the original Latin.

Collect

Deus, qui beatam Mariam semper Virginem matrem tuam
in Cenaculi solitudine cum discipulis orantem
Sancti Spiritus donis cumulasti:
fac nos, quaesumus, cordis recessum diligere;
ut sic rectius orantes
Spiritus Sancti gratiis repleri mereamur.

O God, who, in the solitude of the Cenacle, didst fill with the gifts of the Holy Ghost
Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Thy mother, united in prayer with Thy disciples;
grant that we may so withdraw into the secret places of the heart
that by praying aright,
we may be made worthy to be filled with these graces in abundance.
Who with God the Father livest and reignest
in the unity of the same Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end.

Secret or Prayer Over the Oblations

Haec sacra, Domine, tibi in honorem beatae Mariae Virginis Matris tuae litantes.
humiliter petimus,
ut sicut ipsa verba tua sancta in corde suo sollicite servavit,
nobis quoque ejus intercessione concedas,
ita in lege tua assidue meditari,
ut fidelius opere implere eam valeamus.

Offering Thee, O Lord,
these sacred gifts in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary Thy mother,
we humbly ask that,
by the example and intercession of her
who carefully kept Thy holy words in her heart,
we too may meditate Thy law assiduously,
so as to put it into practice more faithfully.

Postcommunion

Deus, qui fideles tuos in Cenaculi recessu cum Maria Matre tua sacratissima
perseverantes et unanimes in oratione effecisti:
praesta, quaesumus;
ut his quoque donis ornati et a saeculi strepitu segregati,
tibi soli in caritate perfecta vivamus.

O God, who to thy faithful withdrawn in the Cenacle,
didst grant perseverance in prayer in oneness of heart
with Mary, Thy most holy Mother,
grant, we beseech Thee, that we also,
graced with the same gift
and separated from the noise of the world,
may live for Thee alone in perfect charity.

Our Lady of Knock

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I am going off to Knock today, having been invited there to address a gathering of Irish priests on the subject of Eucharistic adoration. I ask the readers of Vultus Christi to support me by their prayer, asking the Holy Ghost to inspire my preaching and make it fruitful.

In the Archdeacon's Room at Knock

On the evening of February 5, 2008, whilst on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, I was privileged to pray in the room where The Venerable Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh, Parish Priest of Knock at the time of the apparition, died on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1897. The room is now used as the Oratory for the community of Daughters of Charity who conduct Saint Mary's Hostel for pilgrims. Sister Elma, the lovely Daughter of Charity then in charge of Saint Mary's Hostel, told me that, according to tradition, it was in that room that Our Lady came and conversed with the Archdeacon before his death.

A Priest Who Loved Mary

It was believed in the parish of Knock that the Archdeacon was frequently graced with visits of Our Blessed Lady. When questioned about this, the Archdeacon replied that "there were a great many other manifestations of which he would not care to speak." Archdeacon Cavanagh had a consuming desire to promote Our Lady's Cause; he habitually referred to the Blessed Virgin Mary as "The ever Immaculate Mother of God."

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Charity Toward the Poor Souls

It is not generally known that the apparition at Knock took place on the evening of the very day when Archdeacon Cavanagh had completed offering one hundred Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, without receiving any stipend from the people. Preaching at Knock in 1882, he said, "We leave all our actions at the disposal of the Blessed Virgin Mary for those holy souls who, when released from purgatory, will never forget us. They will pray constantly for us at the throne of God."

Saint Joseph and Saint John

There are particular graces reserved for priests at Knock. In Saint Joseph and Saint John who appeared there together with the Blessed Virgin, one discovers the models of a priestly holiness that is at once paternal and virginal. These are the two men destined by God from all eternity to live in a sacred intimacy with the Virgin Mary. I have the distinct impression that, at the present time, Our Lady is offering to all her priest sons the special grace of a sacred intimacy with herself.

"A rarely mentioned fact about the shrine of Knock is that the parish church is under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. That makes him a hidden but not insignificant presence at the apparitions and at the shrine today. How fitting that the Lord would choose the church of St. John the Baptist as the site for this wonderful apparition with all that it teaches. At Knock he is again acting as the precursor and herald of the Lamb of God. John the Baptist is the "friend of the Bridegroom", and therefore a friend to Christ the Bridegroom in each priest. How great will be his joy if the shrine of Knock would become a place of priestly renewal." Brother Augustine, O.F.M., Conv.

Intimacy With Mary

Could this not be the means by which Mary desires to purify, sanctify, and renew the priesthood in this age of the Church's life? In the intimacy with Our Blessed Lady represented by Saint Joseph and Saint John there is healing even for the most broken among her priest sons. For those most defiled by sin, in Mary's presence there is purity and the recovery of a spotless innocence. For those who have grown weary and lost the fervour of their youth, in Mary's company there is zeal for souls and apostolic boldness. For those who are depressed, close to Mary there is comfort, and to those who are despondent and anxious, she gives hope and peace. Finally, in the intimacy of Mary there is joy for those who fallen prey to the sadness that weakens the soul and opens it to sin.

Made Pure in the Blood of the Lamb

The Immaculate Virgin Mary presents herself to priests today as she presented herself to Saint Joseph and to Saint John. To Saint Joseph, her chaste spouse, she was the Virgin Bride, and to Saint John, the Beloved Disciple of her Son, she was a Mother. In the acceptance of this grace lies the remedy for the weaknesses and inclinations to sin that have soiled the priesthood and brought it low in the eyes of so many in recent years. The desire of Mary's Immaculate Heart is to purify the priesthood and lift it out of the infamy into which it has fallen, so as to make it shine with a wonderful holiness, and with the purity that comes from the Precious Blood of the Lamb. It is the Lamb in the apparition of Knock that casts the whole event in the light of the mysteries revealed to Saint John on Patmos.

Priests at Knock

It seems to me that Our Lady desires that Knock should become a place of pilgrimage for priests. A dimension of Knock, not yet fully developed, is that it must become a place of healing for priests, a place where Mary can restore them to purity and to holiness of life by drawing them into her company. Knock invites all priests to share their lives with Mary by opening their homes and their hearts to her, and by living every moment in her presence.

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At Home With Mary

As Virgin Bride, Mary is the image of the Church. Just as Saint Joseph took his Virgin Bride into his home, so too must every priest welcome Mary and discover in her intimacy the nuptial quality of his dedication to the Church. Just as Saint John, obeying the word of Jesus from the Cross, took Mary into his home, so too must every priest shelter her in the space that is most personal to him. The gift of sacred intimacy with the Blessed Virgin Mary, suggested by the apparition at Knock, may well be among the heavenly secrets reserved by her for this time of trial for the Church.

She will impart this gift to every priest who desires it. She will make herself known as the Virgin Bride who brought joy to Saint Joseph, and as the Mother entrusted to Saint John and to those priests in whom the Johannine grace is renewed in every age.

A Pilgrimage for Priests

It is time, I think, for priests and their bishops to go -- as priests together -- in pilgrimage to Knock. Our Lady's Merciful and Immaculate Heart waits for them there. She is ready to open a wellspring of purity, holiness, and renewal for all priests, beginning with those of Ireland. Our Lady of Knock beckons to all priests. She would have her priest sons wash themselves in the Blood of the Lamb, and unite themselves to her Son, Priest and Victim, in the mystery of His Sacrifice. Yes, Knock is for all people, but I believe that it was, from the beginning, destined to be a place of healing and of abundant graces for priests.

A Radiant Priestly Holiness

As I prayed in Archdeacon Cavanagh's room, I understood that Mary longs to show herself to all priests as Virgin Bride and Mother. In Mary's intimacy we priests will find the holiness desired by Christ for each one of us: a radiant holiness, a holiness to illumine the Church in these last days with the brightness of the Lamb. Knock invites priests to remain in adoration before Mary's Son, the Lamb Who was slain. Knock invites priests to wash themselves in His Precious Blood by seeking absolution from all their sins. Knock invites priests to follow Saint Joseph and Saint John by consecrating themselves to Mary as Virgin Bride and Mother.

No Need to Remain Alone

Our Lady of Knock, praying with uplifted hands, is the Mediatrix of All Graces. She is the New Eve given to Christ the New Adam, and given by Him, from the Cross, to all His priests, those whom He has called to continue His mission of salvation in the world. There is no need for any priest to remain alone. The Virgin Mary's Heart is open to all her priest sons, and she will not refuse, to those who ask for it, a participation in the unique grace given Saint Joseph and Saint John in the beginning.


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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