Blessed Virgin Mary: July 2012 Archives

A Gentle Insistence

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Image of Our Lady of Kibeho, Mother of the Word

When Mary Asks

It sometimes happens that a soul will sense that Our Lady is asking for the offering of a particular prayer, such as five decades of the rosary. This inspiration will come unsolicited; the soul experiences it like a gentle, but insistent, request. If one responds to the request, there will be a certain joy and consolation. If one delays it, or ignores it, there will be a certain sadness or the feeling of having fallen short of a opportunity to do good.

Spiritual Collaboration

Our Lady desires to associate souls to her work of bringing life, sweetness, and hope to those of her children who linger in the shadow of death, or suffer a great bitterness, or are tempted to despair. The Mother of God could, of course, act independently of any one of us, and her action would be supremely effective and powerful, but she, like her Divine Son, chooses and, I think, prefers to engage souls in the works that are closest to her Immaculate Heart.

I remember that once, some time ago, Our Blessed Lady asked me to say the beautiful old liturgical hymn of her Vespers -- the Ave Maris Stella -- each day. I did this, and had the distinct impression that by following this gentle inspiration, I was not only pleasing my heavenly Mother, but also cooperating with her in the mysterious domain of grace.

Particular Requests

In her various apparitions, Our Lady has often asked for particular prayers; generally, the rosary, but sometimes other devotions as well. At Kibeho, for example, she specifically asked for the Rosary of the Seven Dolours. What Our Lady does on a large, often public scale in her approved apparitions, she also does in a much quieter and more intimate way when she solicits prayer of individual souls, and especially of souls consecrated to her.

She may ask one to pray for a particular intention, making that intention know by an inspiration or a flash of inner knowledge, or she may keep her intention secret and simply bid us pray for the intentions of her Maternal Heart. Still, at other times, she may want us to pray to obtain the resolution of problems that beset ourselves and those whom we love.

We Know Not How to Pray as We Ought

Just as the Holy Ghost comes to help us in our infirmity, for we know not how to pray as we ought, so too does His Immaculate Spouse, the All-Pure Mother of God, Mary Most Holy move us to pray, and tell us how to pray, by acting upon the soul with a gentle insistence, and by engaging the soul in an interior collaboration with the work of her Maternal Heart.


2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Psalm 125: 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6
Matthew 20:20-28

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7). Another translation puts it this way: “We have a treasure, then, in our keeping, but its shell is of perishable earthenware; it must be God, and not anything in ourselves, that gives it its sovereign power.” The contrast is striking: treasure held in earthen vessels. But what is the treasure? In verse 6, Saint Paul says, “It is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). The treasure, then, is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the Face of Christ.

An Eye-Witness of the Transfiguration

When one considers that James was an eye-witness of the Transfiguration, the deeper meaning of today’s First Reading comes into focus. While James looked on, together with Peter and with his brother John, Jesus “was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (Mt 17:2). The splendour of Jesus’ Face burned itself indelibly into the heart of James. Contemplating the Face of the transfigured Jesus, James was filled with “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6). This is the treasure that Saint James carried in a shell of fragile earthenware: his own human weakness.


The Transfiguration reveals the treasure; the agony in the garden of Gethsemani reveals to us the fragility of the earthen vessels. To Peter, James, and John, Jesus said, “Remain here and watch with me” (Mt 26:38), but after His prayer to the Father, he found them sleeping. Again, a second time, He asked these, his intimate companions, to watch and pray, warning them of the weakness of the flesh, and again He came and “found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy” (Mt 26:43). And so it happened a third time but, by then, the hour of Jesus’ betrayal was already at hand (Mt 26:45). The radiant memory of Jesus transfigured, “the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6), was held in earthen vessels: in the hearts of men who could not watch even one hour with their Master in his agony.


For the First Saturday of the Month

I am your Mother,
the Mother given you by my Son Jesus, from the Cross,
in the solemn hour of His Sacrifice.
And you are my son, dear to my Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart,
precious to me, and ever under the mantle of my protection.

Let me live with you
as I lived with John,
the second son of my Heart
and the model for all my priest sons down through the ages.
Speak to me simply
and with complete trust in the compassion of my maternal Heart
and in the power given to my maternal intercession.

There is nothing
that you cannot bring to me,
nothing that you cannot present to me,
nothing that you cannot offer me,
even to your very sins.
Anything given to me by My sons, I press to my Heart;
all that is impure, every vestige of sin
is consumed in the flame of love
that burns in my Immaculate Heart,
in the fire of love that is the Holy Spirit in me,
the very Fire of the Divinity.
Give to me, then, all that you would offer to my Son and to His Father.
It will be purified as gold in the furnace
because I will press it to my Heart.
Nothing impure can endure the flame of love
that burns in my Heart. Only love remains.

Give me your weaknesses,
your past sins, your daily faults,
and I will present to my Son only the love with which,
in spite of all your weaknesses,
you desire to love Him, and with Him, love the Father.

I am your Mother.
I am the Mother from whom you need hide nothing.
Even those things that you think are hidden
appear clearly to me in the pure light of the Godhead.
When I see a priest son of mine disfigured or polluted by sin,
I am moved, not to judge him but, to show him mercy
and to employ all the means at my disposal
for his full recovery from the vestiges of sin.
So many of those who struggle
against inveterate habits of sin and pernicious vices
would find themselves quickly set free from them
if they would only approach me with filial confidence
and allow me to do for them
what my maternal and merciful Heart moves me to do.

There are no limits to my intercessory power
because the Father has so ordained it.
One can never go wrong in turning to me.
No matter how complex the problem,
no matter how sordid the sin,
I am the Handmaid of the Divine Mercy,
the Refuge of Sinners,
and the Mother of all who struggle against the forces of darkness.
Come to me, then.
I can even say those comforting words
first spoken by my beloved Son:
"Come to me, and I will give you rest."

It is not enough to have some practices in my honour
in the course of the day:
I desire more, and you are called to more.
You are called to reproduce
the life of Saint John with me in the Cenacle
and at Ephesus.
If only you knew the bonds of love for Jesus,
and of obedience to the Father,
and of joy in the Holy Spirit that united John's soul to Mine.
We were the nucleus of a family of souls
that has grown wondrously through the ages:
the family of all those who, like John,
lived with me, learned from me, and allowed me
so to love them
that love for my Jesus blazed in their hearts
like a great fire,
the fire that my Son came to cast upon the earth.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

Tantum Portasti Gaudii

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Do Not Tire of Visiting Us

Full of wonder and gratitude at your continuing presence in our midst, in the name of all priests I too want to cry out: "Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Lk 1:43).
Our Mother for all time, do not tire of "visiting us", consoling us, sustaining us. Come to our aid and deliver us from every danger that threatens us.
Pope Benedict XVI, 12 May 2010

I find it significant, and moving, that Our Holy Father, in his Act of Consecration and Entrustment of Priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, should say to Our Lady, "Do not tire of visiting us." There is no priest who is not in need of being visited by the Mother of God. When Mary visits a priest, she consoles him, sustains him, and delivers him from the dangers that threaten his priesthood. The Holy Father words are echoed in the hymn that, this morning, opened the Office of Matins.

Singing the Mystery of the Visitation

Every year on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2 July in the traditional calendar) I rediscover with wonderment the magnificent hymn: Veni, praecelsa Domina. The hymn dates from the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Remarkably, each of its six strophes begins with the word, Veni: Come!

The Spirit and the Bride

The first thing that strikes me about this hymn is how deeply it resonates with the liturgical prayers that the Church addresses to the Holy Spirit. Just as, over and over again, we call upon the Holy Spirit, crying Veni -- I am thinking of the Veni, Creator Spiritus and of the Golden Sequence the Veni, Sancte Spiritus -- so too do we address the Virgin Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, singing Veni today. Here is the text of the hymn as I translated it:

COME, Lady upon the heights;
Mary, visit us,
you who already brought such joy
to the house of your kinswoman.

COME, Help of the World
remove the stains of sin
and, in visiting your people,
take away the threat of punishment.

COME, Star and Light of the Sea,
pour forth a ray of peace;
set straight what is crooked,
give innocence of life.

COME visit us, we pray you,
strengthen our vigor
with the energy of a holy impulse,
lest our soul waver.

COME, Royal Sceptre,
bring back the wave of those in error
to the unity of the faith
by which the citizens of heaven were saved.

COME, that together with you
we may ceaselessly praise the Son,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit;
may they give us their help. Amen.

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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory