“The Lord promised that He would dwell in a cloud.” ~ 2 Chronicles 6:1
Symbol of star or lily of the snows,
rainbow or root or vine or fruit-filled tree:
these image the immaculate to me
less than a little cloud, a little light cloud rising
from Orient waters cleft by prophecy.
And as the Virgin in a most surprising
maternity bore God in the mysteries of grace
beseech her: Cloud, encompass God and me.
Nothing defiled can touch the cloud of Mary.
God as a child willed to be safe in her,
and the Divine Indweller sets His throne
deep in a cloud in me, His sanctuary.
I pray, O wrap me, Cloud, . . . light Cloud of Carmel
within whose purity my vows were sown
to lift their secrecies to God alone.
Say to my soul, the timorous and small
house of a Presence that it cannot see
and frightened acre of a Deity,
say in the fullness of your clemency:
I have enclosed you all.
You are in whiteness of a lighted lamb wool;
you are in softness of a summer wind lull.
O hut of God, deepen your faith anew.
Enfolded in this motherhood of mine,
all that is beautiful and all divine
is safe in you.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
On my way to Heaven, Where I shall see you, Your beloved image accompanies me on my earthly journey to be my Perpetual Help. You know how your sweet image captivates my soul, Near you I breath the fragrance of love, And find my peace in your gaze. Your maternal smile shone above me, When I was good, When I erred, sad was your gaze upon me. My childish prayer you welcomed with caresses and maternal love, I look upon you and weep no longer, For I anticipate my Heaven. My Mother, support me in the terrors of my battle for God on earth, To bring to Him my prisoners of war, A thousand souls for His love. Image of Mary, be always for me A rich honeycomb of love, To sweeten the bitterness of death;
My eyes to ever draw from you my consolation. From this earth to you I go Throwing myself into your arms, To rest forever in your sweet embrace, which none will ever take from me.
~ A poem by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!
The Church of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri stands out among the many churches in Rome…not for its’ external beauty but for what it contains: The original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
About the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
The original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is, perhaps, the most widely-recognized icon in the world.
The image was, for some time, kept in Saint Matthew’s Church in Rome. Then in 1798, the church was destroyed by Napoleon’s forces. In January 1855, the Redemptorist Order purchased a villa located here for their headquarters. They were unaware of the fact that the land they had purchased was actually the location of the church and monastery of Saint Matthew–the place which the Virgin Mary had specified for the image to be placed in an earlier vision.
The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) hangs above the main altar.
It is not very large, about 16 x 20″. But it is of great significance to many Catholics who have sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To stand in front of the icon–quite often un-disturbed by other visitors– is a wonderful experience.
*This information has been taken from The Catholic Travel Guide.
When a sister, born for each strong month-brother, Spring’s one daughter, the sweet child Mary, Lies in the breast of the young year-mother With light on her face like the waves at play, Man from the lips of him speaketh and saith, At the touch of her wandering wondering breath Warm on his brow: lo! where is another Fairer than this one to brighten our day?
We have suffered the sons of Winter in sorrow And been in their ruinous reigns oppressed, And fain in the springtime surcease would borrow From all the pain of the past’s unrest; And May has come, hair-bound in flowers, With eyes that smile thro’ the tears of the hours, With joy for to-day and hope for to-morrow And the promise of Summer within her breast!
And we that joy in this month joy-laden, The gladdest thing that our eyes have seen, Oh thou, proud mother and much proud maiden — Maid yet mother as May hath been — To thee we tender the beauties all Of the month by men called virginal. And, where thou dwellest in deep-groved Aidenn, Salute thee, mother, the maid-month’s Queen!
For thou, as she, wert the one fair daughter That came when a line of kings did cease, Princes strong for the sword and slaughter, That, warring, wasted the land’s increase, And like the storm-months smote the earth Till a maid in David’s house had birth, That was unto Judah as Mary, and brought her A son for King, whose name was peace.
Wherefore we love thee, wherefore we sing to thee, We, all we, thro’ the length of our days, The praise of the lips and the hearts of us bring to thee, Thee, oh maiden. most worthy of praise; For lips and hearts they belong to thee Who to us are as dew unto grass and tree, For the fallen rise and the stricken spring to thee, Thee, May-hope of our darkened ways!
~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) , S.J.
Happy Mother’s Day Blessed Virgin Mary, my heavenly Mother! Ora pro nobis!
May is Mary’s month, and I Muse at that and wonder why: Her feasts follow reason, Dated due to season —
Candlemas, Lady Day; But the Lady Month, May, Why fasten that upon her, With a feasting in her honour?
Is it only its being brighter Than the most are must delight her? Is it opportunest And flowers finds soonest?
Ask of her, the mighty mother: Her reply puts this other Question: What is Spring? Growth in everything —
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather, Grass and greenworld all together; Star-eyed strawberry-breasted Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin Forms and warms the life within; And bird and blossom swell In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing Mary sees, sympathising With that world of good, Nature’s motherhood.
Their magnifying of each its kind With delight calls to mind How she did in her stored Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this: Spring’s universal bliss Much, had much to say To offering Mary May.
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple Bloom lights the orchard-apple And thicket and thorp are merry With silver-surfed cherry.
And azuring-over greybell makes Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes And magic cuckoocall Caps, clears, and clinches all —
This ecstasy all through mothering earth Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth To remember and exultation In God who was her salvation.
~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
“Mother of God, tell me your mystery; of how your earthly life was spent: the way, right from the time of ‘Fiat – how you’d be buried in adoration, Mary! Say how – in a peace, a silence – you could enter in to deeps that none but you could do – bearing the gift of God within. Secure in God’s embrace keep me I ask. In me his imprint may He place – For wholly love is he.”
In the Liturgy of the Visigothic Church the prayers are woven essentially from Biblical texts, solidly grounded in theology, and enriched with true emotion.
Prayers abounding in their formulation span the centuries and echo the notes of blessing and invocation of Mary that resounded in ancient Spain.
Possibly for the first time in the history of Marian devotion, these prayers speak of Mary’s spiritual Motherhood, and they highlight the maternal ways of the mercy of God that are present in her.
They also inculcate the devotion of the “slavery” of love of Mary and the attitude of filial confidence to have toward Mary.
Because of these features, such prayers have an air of relevance about them.
O All-Holy Servant and Mother of the Divine Word, childbirth revealed you to be a virgin and virginity made you fruitful.
Gather in your devout embrace the people who have recourse to you.
In your profound mercy take care of the flock that was redeemed by the Blood of the Son Whom you have brought forth.
Show yourself a Mother to creatures, for you gave nourishment to their Creator. Bless with your service those whom you see offering themselves to you in homage.
Grant that we may be protected by your intercession for we exult in bearing the sweet yoke of your servitude.
And grant that all of us who have sung praises in honor of your conception may continue to live in your service, so that once the stain of sin has been removed we may attain the One Whose Mother we honor you to be by our celebrations.
Defend us now and forever with your inexhaustible affection so that the One Whom you brought forth may possess us eternally in His Kingdom.
~ By Most rev. Virgilio Noe
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen!
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord.
This beautiful prayer evolved from a recitation of three Hail Mary’s following an evening bell around the 12th century to its present form (with morning and midday recitations) in the 16th century.
Wishing you All a very Blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord! ❤
The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.
Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.
“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
O Jesus living in Mary,
come to live in Your servants,
with Your spirit of holiness,
in the fullness of Your power,
in the perfection of Your ways,
in the truth of Your virtues,
and in the communion of Your Divine Mysteries.
In Your Spirit
and for the glory of the Father,
overcome every hostile power!
There was nothing in the Virgin’s soul
that belonged to the Virgin—
no word, no thought, no image, no intent.
She was a pure, transparent pool reflecting
God, only God.
She held His burnished day; she held His night
of planet-glow or shade inscrutable.
God was her sky and she who mirrored Him
became His firmament.
When I so much as turn my thoughts toward her
my spirit is enisled in her repose.
And when I gaze into her selfless depths
an anguish in me grows
to hold such blueness and to hold such fire.
I pray to hollow out my earth and be
filled with these waters of transparency.
I think that one could die of this desire,
seeing oneself dry earth or stubborn sod.
Oh, to become a pure pool like the Virgin,
water that lost the semblances of water
and was a sky like God.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
I entered into the dim lit chapel and there you are sitting with your beloved holy child in your arms. I sat nearby and began to pray, then you turned your gaze to me and invited me to enter into your sacred and tender heart.
Oh Mother of Carmel, your brown habit and your blessed baby’s white spotless tunic, so beautiful and pure. Am I dreaming? Am I awake? This precious moment by your side, in your presence. I can’t help but to reflect on your life with your divine baby, Jesus. In your arms cuddling with you, while you tenderly and carefully took care of him and his needs.
How many times a day would you have contemplated his holy face? I’m sure you were mesmerized by his sweetness and gentleness. Those tender moments of intimate bonding with you and Joseph—those days living with him, watching him grow and play happily in your sacred space, being safe in your holy home.
And when evening came, I can picture Joseph resting peacefully in his bed watching you both cuddle with each other while getting ready to sleep. How many prayers did you recite him? Did you talk to him about his Abba?
And at dawn, your precious child waking up in your arms and looking at your motherly loving eyes. Your face was his first sight after his peaceful and restful night as he encountered the look of love. Then, after you fed him, you wrapped him in your arms and embraced him so close to you with so much tenderness and profound love that your hearts were beating as one.
All those precious moments, you pondered in your heart. So blessed, such intimate moments with God’s Son. Oh, Mother most holy! How was your heart keeping it all together? Filled with so much love and wonder!
Then, Jesus grew into a beautiful and gentle child. Always by your side and Joseph’s. So eager to learn the things of his Father. Those quiet and silent years of solitude and communion together as a holy family in Nazareth. Living together in pure contemplation. Those moments of intimate conversations and prayer at home, the three of you.
Then, comes that fateful trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover—How many times you travelled that route, but this time was different. On your way back, you and Joseph realized that your beloved child wasn’t there in the caravan with the group. The anguish that you both must have felt. I could only imagine. Those terrible days searching for him everywhere and not finding Jesus. Till you went to the Temple, and found him there talking with the elders and scribes. In his Father’s house.
Oh holy Mother! What did your heart understand at that moment? What did God the Father reveal to you and Joseph? And Jesus telling you— He’s doing the things of his Father—preparing for his mission ahead. Did you understand the enormity of it? Did your heart receive the gift of detachment then? To surrender your Son to his Father totally?
How difficult this must have been for you! You trust in God and you ponder all these things in your heart. Teach me Mother of love, to ponder the things of God in my heart, to trust Him completely, to seek God’s will alone in my life.
Holy Mother of Carmel, and Mother of mine, this is my prayer: May our hearts always learn to trust in the Lord. May our hearts always learn to love God more and more. May we always live to love Him for ever more.
As I leave the Chapel, I gaze at your loving eyes Blessed Mother and I thank you for this encounter and for this special moment of grace. To God be all the glory!
O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.
“And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.” These words are from today’s Gospel (Lk 1, 39-47). Mary, in the exquisite delicacy of her charity, has such a profound sense of the needs of others, that as soon as she hears of them, she acts spontaneously and decisively to bring help. Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin was about to become a mother, she goes immediately to offer her humble services.
If we consider the difficulty of traveling in those days, when the poor, such as Mary, had to go on foot over difficult roads, or at best, by means of some rude conveyance, and also the fact that Mary remained three months with Elizabeth, we can readily understand that she had to face many hardships in performing this act of charity. However, she was in no way disturbed: charity urged her, making her wholly forgetful of herself, for as St. Paul says: “Charity seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13,5). How many times, perhaps, have you omitted and act of kindness, not to spare yourself a hard journey, but only to avoid a little trouble. Think how uncharitable you are and how slow to help others. look at Mary, and see how much you can learn from her!
Charity makes Mary forget not only her hardships but also her own dignity, which was greater than that given to any other creature. Elizabeth is advanced in years, but Mary is the Mother of God; Elizabeth is about to give birth to a man, but Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Nevertheless, before her cousin as before the Angel, Mary continues to look upon herself as the humble handmaid of the Lord, and nothing more. Precisely because she considers herself a handmaid, she comports herself as such, even in respect to her neighbor. In your case, perhaps, although you know how to humble yourself before God and recognize your lack of perfection in the secrecy of your heart, it displeases you to appear imperfect before your neighbor, and you quickly resent being treated as such. Are you not anxious to have your dignity, education, and ability recognized, as well as the more or less honorable offices or charges which have been entrusted to you? Your dignity is a mere nothing, and yet you are so jealous of it. Mary’s dignity approaches the infinite, yet she considers herself and behaves as if she were the least of all creatures.
~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
O Mary, how great is your humility when you hasten to serve others! If it is true that he who humbles himself will be exalted, who will be more exalted than you who have humbled yourself so much?
“When Elizabeth caught sight of you she was astonished and exclaimed: ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? But I am still more astonished to see that you, as well as your Son, came not to be served, but to serve… It was for this purpose that you went to Elizabeth, you the Queen, to the servant, the Mother of God to the mother of the Precursor, you who would give birth to the Son of God, to her who would bring forth a mere man.
“But your profound humility in no way lessened your magnanimity; the greatness of your soul was not opposed to your humility. You, so small in your own eyes, were so magnanimous in your faith, in your hope in the Most High, that you never doubted His promises, and firmly believed that you would become the Mother of the Son of God.
“Humility did not make you fainthearted; magnanimity did not make you proud, but these two virtues were perfectly combined in you!
“O Mary, you cannot give me a share in your great privileges as Mother of God; these belong to you alone! But you want me to share in your virtues, giving me examples of them in yourself. If, then, sincere humility, magnanimous faith, and delicate, sympathetic charity are lacking in me, how can I excuse myself? O Mary, O Mother of mercy, you who are full of grace, nourish us, your poor little ones, with your virtues!” (cf. St. Bernard).