The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Awake, O my harp, your chords, in praise of the Virgin Mary! Lift up your voice and sing the wonderful history of this Virgin, the daughter of David, who gave birth to the Life of the world!

~ Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Inmaculado Corazon de Maria

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and optional memorial of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), he is one of Mary’s greatest cantors. He has exalted her in her privileges and in her unique perfection: “You, O Christ, and Your Mother are the only ones who are beautiful under every aspect, because there is no uncleanness in You, O Lord, and no stain in Your Mother.”

St. Ephrem also speaks in a notable fashion about the action that Mary exercises over the lives of Christians. He guides the faithful to invoke Mary as Mother and Mediatrix and to take refuge in her Immaculate Heart with humble and filial trust: “Mary is the hope of those exiled who can attain reconciliation and reenter paradise.”

Owing to the elegance of his writing style, St. Ephrem has been called the “lyre of the Holy Spirit.” In addition, his Mariological teaching has earned him the title of “Marian Doctor.”

~ By Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

Jesus and Mary with a rose

Madonna and Child, by artist unknown

 


“The greatest Syriac Father and most renowned Patristic poet, Ephrem the deacon is an example of liturgical fidelity and charitable service to all.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI


 

 Prayer of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Ephrem The Syrian:

O Virgin, most pure, wholly unspotted, O Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the universe, you are above all the saints, the hope of the elect and the joy of all the blessed. It is you who have reconciled us with God. You are the only refuge of sinners and the safe harbor of those who are shipwrecked. You are the consolation of the world, the ransom of captives, the health of the weak, the joy of the afflicted, and the salvation of all. We have recourse to you, and we beseech you to have pity on us. Amen!

 

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

 

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus


O Jesus, grant that I may penetrate the secrets hidden in Your divine Heart.


 

Sacred Heart of Jesus2

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, art by Jose Luis Castrillo

 

After we have contemplated the Eucharist, a gift crowning all the gifts of the love of Jesus for men, the Church invites us to give direct consideration to the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the source and cause of all His gifts. We may call the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus the feast of His love for us. “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary; “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” the Church repeats to us today, showing us that it is truly “in the Heart of Christ, wounded by our sins, that God has deigned to give us the infinite treasures of His love” (cf. Collect). Today’s liturgy inspired with this thought, reviews the immense benefits we owe to the love of Christ and sings a hymn in praise of His love. “Cogitationes cordis ejus,” chants the Introit of the Mass” “The thoughts of His Heart”—the Heart of Jesus—“are to all generations” to deliver them from death, to feed them in time of famine.” The Heart of Jesus is always in search of souls to save, to free from the snares of sin, to wash in His Blood, to feed with His Body. The Heart of Jesus is always living in the Eucharist to satisfy the hunger of all who long for Him, to welcome and console all those who, disillusioned by the vicissitudes of life, take refuge in Him, seeking peace and refreshment. Jesus Himself is our support on the hard road of life. “Take up My yoke upon you and learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls, Alleluia” It is impossible to eliminate sorrow from our life; yet if we live for Jesus we can suffer in peace and find in the Heart of Jesus repose for our weary soul.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

 


“O Jesus, now that I have been brought into Your most sweet Heart, and it is a great good to be here, I do not want to let myself be easily torn away from it. Oh! how good and pleasant it is to dwell in Your Heart! Your Heart, O good Jesus, is a rich treasure, it is the precious pearl which I have found in the secret of Your pierced Body, as in a furrowed field. Who could cast aside this pearl? Rather I will give all the pearls in the world, I will exchange for it all my thoughts and affections and I will purchase it for myself. I shall entrust all my cares to Your Heart, O good Jesus, and without fail it will support me. I have found Your Heart, O Lord, O most benign Jesus: the Heart of my King, my Brother, my Friend! Hidden in Your Heart, what is there that I shall not ask of You? I shall ask that Your Heart be mine also. If You, O Jesus, are my Head, can I not say that it is mine as well as Yours? Are not the eyes of my head also mine? Then the Heart of my spiritual Head is my Heart.  What joy for me! You and I have but one heart. Having found this divine Heart which is Yours and mine, O most sweet Jesus, I beseech You, O my God: receive my prayers in that sanctuary where You are attentive to them and, even more, draw me entirely into Your Heart”
~ Saint Bonaventure


 

 

My painting of Jesus Sacred Heart

This is a little prayer area I have in my house and I placed there a painting I did of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤  “Choose the divine Heart for your sacred oratory, wherein to offer to God your petitions and prayers that may be pleasing to Him.” ~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤

Love For Love

 

Corpus Christi

“Corpus Christi is one of God’s most beautiful and precious gifts. It is beautiful because it encompasses the reality of the Trinity being present , and precious because it is a gift which we do not deserve and yet was given to us freely and unconditionally. Many Saints and spiritual writers spent many long hours of contemplation before our Eucharistic Lord, and put down in writing what they have experienced during those hours of prayer and contemplation. And yet, all of them would tell us that there is no word to describe the gift of this Presence of Jesus in this simple piece of bread. The Holy Eucharist is both a unifying doctrine for those who accept in faith the words of Jesus, “This IS My Body!” in the passage of the Last Supper, and a stumbling block for those who do not yet believe. For us, Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is not just a representation of Jesus, it IS Jesus Himself, the Real Presence. It is not just the product of a collective imagination of pious people but a mystery presented to us which can only be apprehended by faith alone. The Holy Eucharist is one of those mysteries of “believe to understand,” as opposed to “understand to believe.” (paraphrasing St. Augustine).” *
*https://srhelena.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-eucharistic-lord.html

~ A Reflection by Sister Helena of Mary, Carmelite nun

 

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist by Saint Teresa of Avila:


“Once after receiving Communion,” St. Teresa wrote, “I was given understanding of how the Father receives within our soul the most holy Body of Christ, and of how I know and have seen that these Divine Persons are present, and how pleasing to the Father this offering of His Son is, because He delights and rejoices with Him here—let us say—on earth. For His humanity is not present with us in the soul, but His divinity is. Thus the humanity is so welcome and pleasing to the Father and bestows on us so many favors.”


“What a powerful insight! In our reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become connected to Christ’s humanity. We are united with God-made-man and experience the most intimate communion possible between two human persons. He becomes one with us, and we are united with Him. We are right to wonder at this great mystery of our faith! We can say nothing more profound than Thank You (which is what the word “Eucharist” means in Greek) when we experience the indescribable blessings that result from our communion with God’s only Son.”*  * http://stlouisreview.com/article/2012-07-25/eucharist-sacrament

 

Holy Eucharist4

Holy Eucharist, by unknown artist

 

The Real Presence

Jesus is present in the Eucharist with all His divinity and all His humanity. Although His humanity is present “per modum substantiae,” that is, in substance and not in corporeal extension, it is whole and entire in the consecrated Host—body and soul, and this latter with its faculties of intellect and will. Therefore our Eucharistic Lord knows and loves us as God and as Man. He is not a passive object for our adoration but He is living; He sees us, listens to us, answers our prayers with His graces. Thus we may have, with the gentle Master of the Gospel, living, concrete relations which, although imperceptible to our senses, it substitutes for what we do not see or touch; “sola fides sufficit,” says St. Thomas, faith alone is sufficient (Pange Lingua). As Jesus, disguised as a traveler, once taught the disciples of Emmaus, and inflamed their hearts, so too, Jesus hidden under the Eucharistic veil illumines our souls, inflames them with His love and inclines them over more effectively toward sanctity.

Jesus is there, in the consecrated Host, true God and true Man; as He became incarnate for us, so for us too, has He hidden Himself under the Sacred Species. There He waits for us, longs for us, is always ready to welcome and listen to us. And we need Him so much! God, pure Spirit, is present everywhere, it is true; and in His Unity and Trinity, He even deigns to dwell within our souls, vivified by grace. Nevertheless, we always have need of contact with Jesus, the Word made Flesh, God made Man, our Mediator, our Savior, our Brother, and we find Him present in the Eucharist. Here on earth we are never closer to Him than when we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

 

Jesus and the Holy Eucharist


LOVE FOR LOVE

White Host set in tabernacle gold,
Real Presence no eye can behold,
Called down from heaven by priestly words,
His name is Jesus, Savior long foretold.

What love our Savior has for us,
To make himself a prisoner of love.
Asking for nothing but giving everything
Dwelling in silence, patiently waiting.

My soul, awaken!
Do you hear him sighing?
The God of heaven,
For your love is thirsting.

O Jesus,
how often we have neglected you.
Distracted by the works we have to do.
Missing those moments,
We could have spent with you.

Lord my God, in the tabernacle
You are always there.
If only we find few moments to spare.
Returning the love that keeps you there
A Prisoner for us whom you hold so dear.

~ A poem by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm

 

Let us celebrate this day of devotion with much love. Let us return Love for love ❤

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of Corpus Christi! 

The Visitation


O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.


 

The Visitation by Bradi Barth

The Visitation, art by Bradi Barth

 

“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.

The Visitation2

Art by Bradi Barth


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).

 

 

God In Your Neighbor

 

love of neighbor hear my plea art by rochelle blumenfeld

Art by Rochelle Blumenfeld

 
Since God has become human, he himself has become your closest neighbor. He so identifies with us that we can meet and love him in each and every human being. “If you have met your brother, you have met God,” the desert fathers said.

We can only truly love our neighbor if we see him or her as God does. God sees right through our exterior into our depths where the Spirit witnesses that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). God says of every human being: This is my child, my beloved (Mt 3:17).

Jesus Christ is the light of each of us, a light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:4-5). Love sees this light. To encounter this light is to meet the most personal in your neighbor, the center where he or she is most authentic.

Humanity is most human in the divine. John of the Cross writes: “The center of humanity is God.” Love doesn’t attach itself to nonessentials: talents, character, intellect. Love jumps over all obstacles that the other might have erected, and meets him or her in the center. When you behold the core of your neighbor, you love and revere God in that one and that one in God.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

The Most Holy Trinity


“I return thanks to You, O God, one and true Trinity, one sovereign divinity, holy and indivisible unity. (RB).”


 

The Holy Trinity art by Andrei Roublev

Icon of The Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev, 15th century

From Advent until today, the Church has had us consider the magnificent manifestations of God’s mercy toward men: the Incarnation, the Redemption, Pentecost. Now she directs our attention to the source of these gifts, the most Holy Trinity, from whom everything proceeds. Spontaneously, there rises to our lips the hymn of gratitude expressed in the Introit of the Mass: “Blessed be the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity; we will give glory to Him, because He has shown His mercy to us”: the mercy of God the Father, “who so loved the world that He gave it His only-begotten Son” (cf. Jn 3,16); the mercy of God the Son, who to redeem us became incarnate and died on the Cross; the mercy of the Holy Spirit, who deigned to come down into our hearts to communicate to us the charity of God and to make us participate in the divine life. The Church has very fittingly included in the Office for today the beautiful antiphon inspired by St. Paul: “Caritas Pater est, gratia Filius, communication Spiritus Sanctus, O beata Trinitas!”; the Father is charity, the Son is grace and the Holy Spirit is communication: applying this, the charity of the Father and the grace of the Son are communicated to us by the Holy Spirit, who diffuses them in our heart. The marvelous work of the Trinity in our souls could not be better synthesized. Today’s Office and Mass form a veritable paean of praise and gratitude to the Blessed Trinity; they are a prolonged Gloria Patri  and Te Deum. These two hymns—one a succinct epitome, and the other a majestic alternation of praises—are truly hymns for today, intended to awaken in our hearts a deep echo of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration.

~ By Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. ~ Divine Intimacy

 

 

O eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea in which the more I seek the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek to know You. You fill us insatiably, because the soul, before the abyss which You are, is always famished; and hungering for You, O eternal Trinity, it desires to behold truth in Your light. As the thirsty hart pants after the fount of living water, so does my soul long to leave this gloomy body and see You as your are, in truth.

O unfathomable depth! O Deity eternal! O deep ocean! What more could You give me than to give me Yourself? You are an ever-burning Fire; You consume and are not consumed. By Your fire, You consume every trace of self-love in the soul. You are a Fire which drives away all coldness and illumines minds with its light, and with this light You have made me know Your truth. Truly this light is a sea which feeds the soul until it is all immersed  in You. O peaceful Sea, eternal Trinity! The water of this sea is never turbid; it never causes fear, but gives knowledge of the truth. This water is transparent and discloses hidden things; and a living faith gives such abundance of light that the soul almost attains to certitude in what it believes.

You are the supreme and infinite Good, good above all good; good which is joyful, incomprehensible, inestimable; beauty exceeding all other beauty; wisdom surpassing all wisdom, because You are Wisdom itself. Food of angels, giving Yourself with fire of love to men! You are the garment which covers our nakedness; You feed us, hungry as we are, with Your sweetness, because You are all sweetness with no bitterness. Clothe me, O eternal Trinity, clothe me with Yourself, so that I may pass this mortal life in true obedience and in the light of the most holy faith with which You have inebriated my soul.

~ By Saint Catherine of Siena

 

Holy Trinity2

The Blessed Holy Trinity by unknown artist

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Holy Trinity!  ❤

 

The Sanctifier: God’s Spirit Is Your Spirit

 

Pentecost2

Pentecost, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). These words are usually interpreted as if they exclusively spoke about life in heaven following death, but they are primarily about the everlasting life we carry within us here on earth. This everlasting life begins when Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Every Christian must experience Pentecost, which is when he or she enters into the holy of holies, into God’s own life, and for ever after feels at home there. When the Spirit fills you, you learn to think God’s thoughts and love with God’s love. Everything Jesus has done and taught is given insight from within, because the same Spirit who filled and led Jesus in everything he did now fills you as well and has become your Spirit, too.

“As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you,” writes Saint John, “and so you do not need anyone to teach you…his anointing teaches you about all things” (1 Jn 2:27). It isn’t possible to say that the words of Jesus are too difficult to understand or comply with. You have an inner teacher who explains everything while giving you the strength to live what Jesus has said.

You are capable of so much more than you think; you have received God’s own life…God’s Spirit, who lives his life in you, if only you let him. “All mine is yours,” says God when he gives you his Spirit. The divine life is no longer something foreign to you. It is the air you breathe.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 


O Holy Spirit, teach me to know You, to want You, to love You, and to prepare myself to second Your action in my soul.
~ Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.


 

 

In the presence of the Holy Spirit by signesnadelin

In the Presence of The Holy Spirit, art by Signe Sandelin


Holy Spirit, I see You coming down into the soul like the sun which, finding no obstacle, no impediment, illumines everything; I see You descending like a fiery thunderbolt which, in falling goes to the lowest place it finds and there it reposes, never stopping on the way nor resting on the mountainous or high places but rather in the center of the earth. Thus You, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from heaven with the fiery dart of Your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirits, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemplative in their own eyes.

 ~ By St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, Carmelite nun and mystic  

 

Wishing all of you a very joyful and blessed Feast Day of Pentecost! ❤

Centuries of Love

rosario de rosas rosadas

 

How many centuries of love and prayer brought the Rosary to us in this simple, childlike form we have it today? The hand of God must have slowly fashioned it, as he himself let the beads of years slip to the earth, one by one, each containing within itself his loving care, his providence, his mercy, his justice and his infinite charity, each gift of his loving-kindness to us.

It grew slowly with the infant Church. How many chanted it throughout Christendom in the days when Christians sought first the kingdom of heaven, knowing that all the rest would be added to them!

When did it become a string of beads? Our Lady must have liked the simplicity that made it available to all—children, youth, and all the ages of men and women, both the learned and unlearned. “The Psalter of Mary” it was called: three times fifty Hail Marys said by anyone in the place of the one hundred and fifty psalms of the Office, in the days when many could not read. And tradition has it that she blessed it and gave it to St. Dominic to give to others. It is a heavenly lasso, perhaps, to entice her wayward children back into her motherly arms!

It is part of so many recent apparitions, in which she has so emphatically told the world, through the lips of children, to pray the Rosary. How slender a thread to hold our disintegrating world up! And yet how strong. It consists of a short string of a crucifix, one large bead, three smaller ones, and then another large one. This short string is attached to a circlet of beads: five decades, or sets of one large bead and ten smaller ones.

How childishly simple beads , made of anything and everything, strung in orderly rows, beginning with the cross. It is her Son’s cross, which she never can or will forget. On the crucifix, we recite the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…” Then on the first large bead, the first Our Father: “Our Father, who art in heaven…”—her Father and ours. The Father who chose her to be the mother of his Son. The Father who is so pleased with her. The Father who made her immaculate, a vessel of predilection. Then on the three small beads three Hail Marys, Gabriel’s angelic salutation, “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…” which forever resounds in her ears. The last large bead for the Glory Be, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…” She must love that so, she who is Our Lady of the Trinity! And then the measured, evenly recurring Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and Glory Be said for each decade.

While reciting each decade we meditate on a particular mystery, or event in her life, as she leads us through the whole of her life, so full of mysteries. Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries—deep as the seas of eternity. Simple as the smile of a child. Leading us to the very heart of God, through her who gave him his human heart.

Rosaries are held by millions of hands: the chubby ones of babies, the smooth, beautiful, strong and manly hands of youth, the capable and gentle hands of women and men, the gnarled and work-worn hands of old, the transparent  and weak hands of the sick. Sinners and saints hold them, and, letting them pass through their fingers, bead by bead, enter an unspeakably beautiful symphony of love, woven of two prayers—the Hail Mary, given us by an angel; and the Our Father, revealed by the Son of God. They are music that lead us on to heights uncharted and unknown, to where God dwells.

A promise of salvation and peace! As we pray, we will remember her promise that she will hold our disintegrating world together and will help us restore ourselves and it, to her Son.

Our life Is a Rosary

Much has been written and will yet be written about the Rosary, that simple, profound, almost unfathomable prayer to the gracious Mother of God, which takes her children again and again on the pilgrimage of her life and her Son’s, until, through it, their lives and God’s become one.

Still, there is another “rosary” that many of us miss completely. It is the one that opens up right at our feet, day by day, hour by hour, on the road all of us must travel, the road to God. It is a strange rosary. Its mysteries embrace the life of Christ and his mother, in the Mystical Body of his Church. It is the rosary of our own life.

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

Today, May 13th we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. On this day in 1917, our Lady made her first appearance to three shepherd children, Jacinta (age 7), Francisco (age 9), and Lucia (age 10), at Fatima in Portugal. She appeared to them once a month from May to October. The lives of the three children were entirely transformed by the heavenly apparitions. In each of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, she insisted on praying the Rosary. “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”  Lucia often repeated and emphasized what Our Lady has recommended to her.
In the final apparition on October 13th, 1917, Our Lady silently held out the scapular (the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel). Lucia had said that the Blessed Mother wants everyone to wear it: “The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable.”  

Fatima3

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal ~ Photo taken by me (January 2015)


The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is built on the spot where three children saw a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fatima2

The Chapel of the Apparitions ~ Photo taken by me


The Chapel of the Apparitions is at the very heart of the Basilica and the exact location of the apparitions is marked by a marble pillar which holds the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

Fatima4

Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!


Our Lady of Fatima

O Most holy Virgin Mary,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima
and reveal a glorious message.
We implore you,
inspire in our hearts a fervent love
for the recitation of the Rosary.
By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption
that are recalled therein
may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask,
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Redeemer.
Amen!

 

Wishing all of you a very happy Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima and a very blessed Mother’s Day! ❤

rosa rosada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ascension of the Lord


“So then, the lord Jesus after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. 
But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”
~ Saint Mark 16:19-20


 

Ascension of Christ by william blake

The Ascension, art by William Blake, 1805

 

God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavens, says Saint Paul. Does this mean that it is wrong to have both feet on the ground, to actively work for a better world? Of course not. Living with a focus on heaven must make one even more engaged in the well-being of the world. Heaven is love, the giving and receiving of love. And the one who carries heaven in his or her heart will even now love as much as that makes it possible. In this way, life on earth becomes more like life in heaven—a little of heaven comes down to earth.

We are the body of Christ on earth. Jesus, our head, is in heaven. It is the head that directs the members of the body. If we really live as Christians, our actions are guided by a heavenly code. Christ, our head, leads us in all that we do. To have our heart in heaven and heaven in our heart doesn’t just mean that we long for heaven. It also means that we live life on earth in a heavenly way.

The members who let themselves be used, who let the head determine what they are to do, accomplish something lasting here on earth. But those who want to function without contact with the head will only cause confusion and chaos.

If you share communion with Christ in your heart, you are already now living a heavenly life. And, together with him, you are to lead others to the Father.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

The Prayer of the Heart


As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
~ Psalm 42, 2


 

Beside quiet waters art by yong sung kim

 

While taking a walk through nature, listening to a beautiful music that “sends one into raptures” or fervently praying, who has not suddenly experienced a strange and overwhelming sense of freedom, a delightful feeling of being liberated from the constraints and limitations of daily life? At that instant, we are released from the grip of time and space, and overcome with a joy and inner peace that nothing could shatter. In those privileged moments, we love everybody, we feel unified, reconciled with ourselves, with others, with the whole universe. It is “the state of grace”, which happens unexpectedly, but which, unfortunately, we cannot recreate at will…

The Springs of Life

It is as if we had come upon a spring, ready to give us water in abundance, only to see it disappear again, shrouded in mystery… Once we have had a glimpse of that other world, we can never forget it and we will always try to find it again.

We will continue to yearn for those blessed states when our soul brushed against eternity, when we sensed the existence of another dimension of our being: immutable, peaceful, unchanging in the midst of fluctuating events. It is the deep, calm waters of a lake that reflect a wild duck in rapid flight without a single ripple on the surface. It is the discovery of “something indefinable” that suddenly and completely takes hold of us. Is not this “little corner of paradise” a reflection of that untarnished happiness enjoyed by our parents in the garden of Eden of our beginnings?

How can we find that center of our being where springs the water of life, where our thirst for happiness and fulfillment can be wholly quenched? How can we reach that secret place whose existence all traditions in the world have sensed and that so many men and women have “realized” in union with God?

Toward the Bliss of the Kingdom

To enter the Kingdom, it is not enough to think about it, just as we cannot quench our thirst merely by thinking of a cup of tea. If our intellect enables us to understand many things, it cannot alone fill the gap between us and these realities. It leaves us standing on the shore, trying to measure the surging waves, yet not allowing us to dive in and splash about in the sea spray.

And so, in his infinite love for us, the Lord does not content himself with our good thoughts for him; he wants us closer and wishes us to unite with his divine Person, just as a fiancé will not be satisfied merely to correspond with his beloved, but longs to marry her and live with her.

The love God has for us is a burning fire, and we are invited to warm ourselves up by its flame; it is the Song of Songs, in which the Lover kisses his bride on the lips: such is the intimate embrace to which God summons us, as of now, on this earth!

The pleasures of this world are but a pale reflection of the profusion of joys that God wishes to share with us; a flash in the pan, they fade away as soon as our passions are assuaged, leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled. Only permanent happiness can satisfy completely our yearning for infinity and eternity, but such happiness is not of this earth, but belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven.

If our mind cannot lead us to it, we must use another instrument, better suited to our quest of unity with God: our heart… Not only the heart that loves or rejects, the seat of feelings and emotions, but the very center of our being, that innermost “place” within ourselves where the divine Presence is revealed. And the path to ever deepening interiority is the prayer of the heart.

Knock and the Door Shall Be Opened

The word prayer is used in many different senses. For some, it is the reading of the Holy Scriptures or a meditation on their meaning; for others, it is communing with oneself… These exercises of Christian life certainly complement each other toward achieving union with God. But what we call the prayer of the heart is a form of contemplation.

In the secret garden of the heart, we no longer pray, we become prayer: the prayer of the heart is “pure prayer”. But we must not think of it as a difficult exercise, only meant for contemplatives. It is surely more difficult to meditate on the Word of God than to contemplate his face. The infant who cannot yet speak gazes at his mother, drinking her presence in, and she delights in returning that loving look that says so much more than mere words!

Likewise, the prayer of the heart is a contemplation of God’s Presence, a moment, heart to heart, when we surrender in the divine sight, in the Lord’s tender presence, just as when he was in Galilea with his disciples: how sweet it was to rest beside Him!

It is as when two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes: all talking ceases, activity is reduced to the simplicity of silent mutual contemplation where words have no place.

But why do we need a method to achieve this? Is it not sufficient to let ourselves be carried by the flow of grace itself? Can we actually learn something in a domain where God is the only captain on board? Why not let ourselves drift alone, rocked by the waves?

It is right that we should contribute to our relationship with the Lord; if indeed he does not impose himself upon us, he always offers his love and secretly calls us: I stand at your door and I knock (Rv 3, 20); Jesus, who is gentle and of humble heart, stands by, ready to receive those who seek him and who knock at the Kingdom’s door: Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened (Lk 11, 10).

~ By Daniel Maurin

Jesus grace art by yong sung kim

Grace, art by Yong Sung Kim