O All-Holy Servant and Mother

 

The Annunciation by El Greco 1577
The Annunciation, art by El Greco (1577, Spain)

 
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 Angelus

 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.
Amen!

 

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!
❤ 

Our Prayers Break On God

 

women lenten retreat
Photo taken by me at the Women’s Lenten Retreat Weekend (March 22nd to 24th) 

 

 

Our prayers break on God like waves,
and he an endless shore,
and when the seas evaporate 
and oceans are no more
and cries are carried in the wind
God hears and answers every sound
as he has done before.

Our troubles eat at God like nails.
He feels the gnawing pain
on souls and bodies. He never fails
but reassures he’ll heal again,
again, again, again and yet again.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

Thank you, my Beloved!
❤ 

 

 

women lenten retreat 5
Photo taken by me at the Chapel (March 2019)

 

women lenten retreat 3
“Just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands, and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him—really rest.”  ~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

Third Sunday of Lent

 

Icon of the Fig Tree
The Fig Tree icon

 

 

Cycle C: Luke 13: 1-9


The parable of the fig tree exhorts us not to live a fruitless life.


 

In 1970, during a protest at Kent State University, national guardsmen shot and killed several students. Shortly afterwards, psychologists interviewed parents of college-age children. Among other questions, they asked whether the students who had been killed were campus radicals or innocent bystanders. Overwhelmingly, the parents believed that the slain students were campus radicals. Applying to their findings Attribution Theory, which tries to explain how and why people make sense of their world, the psychologists concluded that the majority of parents held that the slain students were radicals because it was too frightening for them to believe otherwise. If they believed that the slain students were innocents bystanders, then they would have to admit that in a similar situation their own children were vulnerable. Whenever disaster strikes, we tend to attribute it to a cause that will protect us from a similar disaster.

This is what the people in today’s gospel were trying to do. They had to believe that those killed by Pilate or the falling Tower of Siloam were sinners. This belief protected them from living in an unpredictable world. They were reasoning thus: “All we need to do in order to be safe is to keep the Law, for bad things don’t happen to good people.” Jesus challenges their thinking by telling them the Parable of the Fig Tree, which teaches that to avert spiritual disaster it is not enough to keep the Law. Our lives must bear fruit.

The Greek word translated “wasting (katargeo) the soil,” means unused, idle, inactive, or useless. From a spiritual perspective, our life is useless and barren, if, like the fig tree, we provide shade only for our selves and offer no nourishment to others.

The parable is consoling, for it proclaims a season of grace, a second chance, a stay of execution. Each day when we wake up, we are given another opportunity to truly live life by loving our neighbor. But the parable is also sobering, for it warns us that our opportunities are not endless. Thoreau wrote that he wanted to live deliberately in order to avoid the ultimate disaster of life, that at the moment of death he would “discover that [he] had not lived” (86). This is what we must fear.

~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

The Lord’s Abundant Crop

Lord you’re doing
So much in our lives
To bring a deeper growth
A time of pruning
The withered branches
So healthier ones can grow

Though it is painful
And hard to endure,
It is needful in our lives —
For without it we’d be
An unhealthy tree
And may wither away and die

To keep on producing
The fruit of the Lord,
We need to have sin cut out
Then new branches will come
And we’ll flourish again
As the new shoots begin to sprout

Then we will produce
From the seeds God planted
Fruit that will never rot
Ripened by God
And picked in its season,
Is the Lord’s abundant crop!


A poem by Michelle Lowndes
© By M.S.Lowndes

Into the Desert

 

 

Christ man of sorrows
Art by William Dyce (1860)

 

 

Is Lent
and I feel the interior call to walk
by your side during these 40 days
united to you, 
my Beloved.

These 40 days in the wilderness
where the earth is barren and quiet,
I can feel your loneliness, 
my Beloved.
Silence engulfs this desert
and I can only hear  
your footsteps as we walk 
side by side.

I can’t wait for the night to arrive.
So I can view the magnificent sky
filled with all the beauty
of your Father’s creation.
The moon and the stars —
the sky looks like a blanket
of shooting stars covering us from above
giving us light and protection
marked by the beauty
of His love.

All those bright stars are speaking to you
they bring you messages from above,
from your Beloved Abba!
They prompt you to persevere,
and remain in His presence
all along this journey.
Giving you strength for your mission ahead,
consoling your weary heart,
my Beloved.

They urge you to keep going,
to keep focused,
to keep praying.
To stay and remain
in His perfect love.

Following you along this desert,
my Beloved,
is not an easy task.
At times 
I have so many questions,
so many concerns,
so much restlessness in my own heart.
But you only ask me
to trust in you,
to hold your hand and continue
to walk together,
side by side
these 40 days.

My heart is united to yours
and is finding true calm now,
being in your presence
is all I need
during these long 40 days.

In quietude and awe,
my heart is waiting,
and preparing.

Your beloved child, sister and friend,
Redeemed by your love!

 

~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visions To Behold

 

San Jose y Jesus art
Saint Joseph and Child, art by Francisco Antonio de la Fuente – 18th century

 

Fatima, Portugal 1917

From May to October three shepherd children beheld apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary atop a small holm-oak tree. During theses visions, the seers Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos were given secrets. They were instructed to pray the Rosary and to offer penance for the conversion of sinners. In the September apparition, Our Lady told them:

“Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus in order to bless the world. God is satisfied with your sacrifices.”
(L. Santos, 2007, pg. 181)

On October 13th over 70,000 people gathered around the site of the apparitions. All night it had rained non-stop and up till the moment of the Virgin’s arrival, the people had stood in the water and mud. After Our Lady appeared to the three children the rain suddenly stopped and the dark clouds parted. Thousands of people from different walks of life (including atheists who had gone to mock the children) witnessed what is now famously known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”

During the Miracle of the Sun, the three shepherd children were witnessing what the Virgin had promised them in September. Lucia dos Santos recounts what they saw:

“Our Lady having disappeared in the immensity of the firmament, we saw, beside the sun, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady clothed in white with a blue mantle. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.”
(L. Santos, 2007, pg. 183)

Here is St. Joseph, no words are spoken by him, but his actions speak. St. Joseph, holding his Son Jesus, blesses the world by tracing the sign of the cross with his hand. This is a powerful statement regarding his place as head of the Holy Family as well as his position in the Church. He holds Christ in his arms, making a statement about true fatherhood: “Fathers, love your children, take your place at the head of the family and protect those entrusted to your care.” The act of St. Joseph blessing the crowds shows his power in the Church, as intercessor and Patron of the Universal Church, as proclaimed in 1870 by Pope Pius IX. The glorious Saint Joseph is also patron saint of Canada, families and of all Carmelites.

 
~ Adapted from ‘The book of Joseph, God’s chosen father’ compiled by Jose A. Rodrigues

 

 

To St. Joseph

When the day was done
And all your work put by,
You saw the stars come one by one
Out in the violet sky.
You did not know the stars by name,
But there sat by your knee
One who had made the light and flame
And all things bright that be.
You heard with Him birds in the tree
Twitter “Good-night” o’erhead, —
The maker of the world must see
His little one to bed.
Then when the darkness settled round,
To Him your prayers were said;
No wonder that your sleep was ground
The angels loved to tread.

 

~ A poem by Father Charles L. O’Donnell

 

Saint Joseph and baby Jesus 1896
St. Joseph with Child Jesus, art by Ponziano Loverini, 1896

 

“I took for my advocate and comforter the glorious Saint Joseph, and commended myself fervently to him; … His aid has brought me more good than I ever desired to receive from him…. I am quite amazed at the great favors Our Lord has given me, and the many dangers, both of soul and body, from which He has delivered me through the intercession of this blessed saint!
~ Saint Teresa de Ávila

 

“When you invoke Saint Joseph, you don’t have to speak much. You know your Father in heaven knows what you need; well, so does, His friend Saint Joseph. Tell him, “If you were in my place, Saint Joseph, what would you do? Well, pray for this in my behalf.”
~ Saint André Bessette

 

 

Glorious Saint Joseph ❤ Master of the interior life, pray for us! 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Breastplate: A Prayer for Divine Protection

 

Saint Patrick of Ireland

 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

 

St. Patrick of Ireland ❤ Pray for us!

 

 

 

Wishing you all a very Blessed Feast Day of St. Patrick! 

Second Sunday of Lent

 

(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
The Transfiguration, art by Giovanni Battista Moroni (c. 1520-1525-1578) The Fitzwilliam Museum

 

 

Cycle C: Luke 9: 28-36


Jesus is transfigured on Mount Hermon and resolves completely to accept his impending death.


 

Luke tells us that Jesus was transfigured while he was praying. We do not know for certain what he was praying about, but his conversation with Moses and Elijah provides a clue. “They appeared in glory and spoke to him of his departure (Greek exodus) which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.” The exodus or departure referred to here is Jesus’ death. In Luke’s gospel, this is the first time that Jesus had contemplated his death.

On Mount Hermon Jesus made a choice: he resolved to embrace his death fully. At his baptism Jesus accepted his mission as the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, but only now does he confront its stark and gruesome reality. It is one thing to say “yes” to suffering that lies in the far future. Imminent suffering presents a completely different reality. Jesus was changed at the transfiguration because he came to a resolution regarding his own death.

We have all experienced the great release of energy that results when, after years of irresolution, we make an important life decision. We do not realize how much energy living in a perpetual state of avoidance, vacillation, or procrastination consumes until we experience the incredible relief that follows such a decision.

The choice Jesus made at the transfiguration also protected him against any inner vacillation. When Jesus came down the mountain, “He set his face (Greek sterrizo) to go to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51). Sterrizo means to make fast, or to fix with an unalterable purpose. Saint Teresa encouraged her sisters to embrace the cross with a “determined determination.” In doing so, she wrote, “that person struggles more courageously. He knows that come what may he will not turn back” (“The Way of Perfection” 127).

A definitive choice protects us from inner vacillation. In The Lord of the Rings Tolkien portrays this symbolically. At the council of Elrond, a decision has to be made. Someone has to take the One Ring of Power into the evil land of Mordor and cast it into the fire of Mt. Doom. Frodo, who had lived comfortably all of his life, makes a fully conscious choice to be the Ring Bearer. At this point in the story, his uncle Bilbo Baggins gives Frodo a mithril coat.

This coat, as un undergarment made of an extremely strong but light metal, will protect the wearer from many dangers — arrows and the thrusting of spears. Why, asks Jungian analyst Helen Luke, does Bilbo present the mithril coat precisely at the moment that Frodo decides to be the Ring Bearer? What does it symbolize? Luke writes:

It was at this moment of his complete acceptance of exposure to every kind of danger, without thought of success or failure, that he was given the protection of the mithril coat…. It is not difficult to see the relevance of these things to ourselves. It is surely true that in the life of every person there is one major turning point — a moment of choice when one’s basic will (the Frodo in oneself) may say “yes” or “no” to the challenge of one individual way and to the inevitable suffering and danger it involves. It is certain that, if we say “yes” … then in proportion to the single-mindedness of this decision, we too are given protection…. Every day there is the temptation to go back on our choice … but each time we decide to take up a responsibility we have sought to evade … then, in the very moment of our willing self-exposure and conscious acceptance of the task … we can often literally feel a new invulnerability. (75-76)       

Like Jesus, when we decide to embrace the cross with determination, we are transfigured and given courage that protects us against inner vacillation.

~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

Christ “was transfigured, not by acquiring what he was not but by manifesting to his disciples what he in fact was; he opened their eyes and gave these blind man sight.”
St. John Damascene