Mary: The Icon of Our Future: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

J.M.J. "Mary's assumption is an event that concerns us, precisely because every human being is destined to die. But death is not the last word. It is the passage to the eternal happiness in store for those who toil for truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ."

--Saint John Paul II (1978-2005)

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If you will be in the Sioux Falls area during September, then please join us as we recite the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

First Friday, September 4th=10:00 a.m. (Saint Michael Cemetery)

First Saturday, September 5th=9:40 a.m. (The Mothers' Garden)

Tuesday, September 8th (The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)=6:00 p.m. (The Mother's Garden)

Saturday, September 12th (The Most Holy Name of Mary; Bishop Swain's Birthday)=9:40 a.m. (The Mothers' Garden)

Tuesday, September 15th (Our Lady of Sorrows)=6:00 p.m. (The Mothers' Garden)

The Immaculate One: Monday, August 24, 2015

J.M.J. "The Fathers and writers of the Church, well versed in the heavenly Scriptures, had nothing more at heart than to vie with one another in preaching and teaching in many wonderful ways the Virgin's supreme sanctity, dignity, and immunity from all stain of sin, and her renowned victory over the most foul enemy of the human race. This they did in the books they wrote to explain the Scriptures, to vindicate the dogmas, and to instruct the faithful. These ecclesiastical writers in quoting the words by which at the beginning of the world God announced his merciful remedies prepared for the regeneration of mankind—words by which He crushed the audacity of the deceitful serpent and wondrously raised up the Hope of our race, saying, 'I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her Seed'—taught that by this divine prophecy the merciful Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was clearly foretold: That His most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was prophetically indicated; and, at the same time, the very enmity of Both against the evil one was significantly expressed. Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with Him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with Him and through Him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot."

--Blessed Pius IX, Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854.

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I am on Retreat starting today. Therefore, posts will resume--God willing--on Tuesday, September 1st. My prayers for all who gather at this Blog.

Our Spiritual Mother: Sunday, August 23, 2015

J.M.J. In his January 1, 2007 Homily during the Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City on the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, which was also the Fortieth World Day of Peace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (2005-2013) recognized the centuries-old doctrine of the Spiritual Maternity, not to mention the fact that Our Blessed Lady is also Mater Ecclesiae or "Mother of the Church":

As Mother of Christ, Mary is also 
Mother of the Church, which my venerable 
Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI chose 
to proclaim on 21 November 1964 
at the Second Vatican Council. Lastly, 
Mary is the Spiritual Mother of all humanity
because Jesus on the Cross shed His blood 
for all of us and from the Cross He entrusted us 
all to her maternal care.

Mary is Our Queen!: Saturday, August 22, 2015

J.M.J. "50. In some countries of the world there are people who are unjustly persecuted for professing their Christian faith and who are deprived of their divine and human rights to freedom; up till now reasonable demands and repeated protests have availed nothing to remove these evils. May the powerful Queen of creation, whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies, look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; may the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials."

Venerable Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam (October 11, 1954), 50.

This Vicar of Christ's Tender Devotion to Our Lady: Friday, August 21, 2015

J.M.J. Today's Saint, Pius X (1903-1914), wrote his Encyclical, Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum, which was dated February 2, 1904, to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by his Predecessor, Blessed Pius IX (1846-1878). 

It is very well worth reading:

Here is only a very brief passage.

"25. This same charity we desire that all should earnestly endeavor to attain, taking special occasion from the extraordinary feasts in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Oh how bitterly and fiercely is Jesus Christ now being persecuted, and the most holy religion which He founded! And how grave is the peril that threatens many of being drawn away by the errors that are afoot on all sides, to the abandonment of the faith! 'Then let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall' (I Cor. x., 12). And let all, with humble prayer and entreaty, implore of God, through the intercession of Mary, that those who have abandoned the truth may repent. We know, indeed, from experience that such prayer, born of charity and relying on the Virgin, has never been vain. True, even in the future the strife against the Church will never cease, 'for there must be also heresies, that they also who are reproved may be made manifest among you' (I Cor. xi., 19). But neither will the Virgin ever cease to succor us in our trials, however grave they be, and to carry on the fight fought by her since her conception, so that every day we may repeat: 'To-day the head of the serpent of old was crushed by her' (Office Immac. Con., 11. Vespers, Magnif.). "

A Pope Praised the Marian Insight of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor: Thursday, August 20, 2015

J.M.J. "In another famous Sermon on the Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption the Holy Abbot described with passionate words Mary's intimate participation in the redeeming sacrifice of her Son. 'O Blessed Mother', he exclaimed, 'a sword has truly pierced your soul!... So deeply has the violence of pain pierced your soul, that we may rightly call you more than a martyr for in you participation in the passion of the Son by far surpasses in intensity the physical sufferings of martyrdom' (14: PL 183, 437-438). Bernard had no doubts: 'per Mariam ad Iesum', through Mary we are led to Jesus. He testifies clearly to Mary's subordination to Jesus, in accordance with the foundation of traditional Mariology. Yet the text of the Sermone also documents the Virgin's privileged place in the economy of salvation, subsequent to the Mother's most particular participation (compassio) in the sacrifice of the Son. It is not for nothing that a century and a half after Bernard's death, Dante Alighieri, in the last canticle of the Divine Comedy, was to put on the lips of the Doctor Mellifluus the sublime prayer to Mary: 'Virgin Mother, daughter of your own Son, / humble and exalted more than any creature, / fixed term of the eternal counsel' (Paradise XXXIII, vv. 1 ff.)."

--Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, October 21, 2009

The Two Hearts Give Their Love to Us: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

J.M.J. Saint John Eudes (1601-1680), whose liturgical Memorial is today, wrote lovingly of the Two Hearts:

"I give myself to the incomprehensible love by which my Jesus and His good Mother gave me Their beloved Heart in a very special manner, and in union with that same love, I give this same Heart as something that belongs to me and of which I can dispose for the glory of God . . . ."

What consoling news (from "Rome Reports")!

Our Lady's Assumption Leads to Her Queenship: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

J.M.J. "Immediately after the Bull of the definition (of the Assumption) had been read on November 1, 1950, the Holy Father delivered a homily on the Assumption. Several times in that homily he refers to the glorious 'Queen of the Universe.' It is his closing prayer, however, that is of special interest to us:

We believe with all the fervor of our Faith
in your triumphal Assumption, both in body
and soul, into heaven, where you are acclaimed
as Queen by all the choirs of Angels and all the
legions of Saints. (. . . ) We believe, finally, that in
the glory where you reign, clothed with the sun  
and crowned with the stars, you are, after Jesus, 
the joy and gladness of all the Angels and of all
the Saints."

--The Reverend Firmin M. Schmidt, O.F.M. Cap., S.T.D., "The Universal Queenship of Mary" in Mariology, Volume 2, edited by the Reverend Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., S.T.D., 513.

The Angel of the Lord Declared unto Mary: Monday, August 17, 2015

J.M.J. "Rome Reports" has two excellent videos for your viewing.

The True Body Born of the Virgin: Sunday, August 16, 2015

J.M.J. After the reception of Holy Communion today during the Holy Mass celebrated in the Sioux Falls Arena by the His Excellency the Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, D.D., J.D., the Bishop of Sioux Falls, the Diocesan Choir sang the famous setting (K. 618) from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of the Ave Verum Corpus.

Is there any more moving music and text?

Ave verum Corpus, natum

de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius Latus perforatum
fluxit Aqua et Sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
Who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
Whose pierced Side
flowed with Water and Blood:
May It be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death.


Let us thank Our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Son of God and the True Son of Mary, for the Graces that He bestowed upon thousands of persons (and, by extension, billions of persons) who attended the "Legacy." May Bishop Swain, Mrs. Jan Feterl, Miss Katie O'Connor and the Diocesan Staff be rewarded abundantly.

Happy Feast Day of the Assumption! The Act of Consecration/Re-Consecration Ad Iesum Per Mariam by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort: Saturday, August 15, 2015


Consecration of Oneself
to Jesus Christ,
Wisdom Incarnate,
though the Hands of Mary

Eternal and incarnate Wisdom, most lovable and adorable Jesus, true God and true man, only Son of the eternal Father and of Mary always Virgin, I adore You profoundly, dwelling in the splendor of Your Father from all eternity, and in the virginal womb of Mary, your most worthy Mother, at the time of Your Incarnation.

I thank You for having emptied Yourself in assuming the condition of a slave to set me free from the cruel slavery of the evil one.

I praise and glorify You for having willingly chosen to obey Mary, your holy Mother, in all things, so that through her I may be Your faithful slave of love.

But I must confess that I have not kept the vows and promises which I made to You so solemnly at my Baptism. I have not fulfilled my obligations, and I do not deserve to be called your child or even Your slave.

Since I cannot lay claim to anything except what merits Your rejection and displeasure, I dare no longer approach the holiness of Your majesty on my own. That is why I turn to the intercession and the mercy of Your holy Mother, whom You Yourself have given me to mediate with You. Through her I hope to obtain from You contrition and pardon for my sins, and that Wisdom whom I desire to dwell in me always.

I turn to you, then, Mary Immaculate, living tabernacle of God, in whom Eternal wisdom willed to receive the adoration of both men and angels.

I greet you as Queen of heaven and earth, for all that is under God has been made subject to your sovereignty.

I call upon you, the unfailing refuge of sinners, confident in your mercy that has never forsaken anyone.

Grant my desire for divine Wisdom and, in support of my petition, accept the promises and the offering of myself which I now make, conscious of my unworthiness.

I, N., an unfaithful sinner, renew and ratify today through you my baptismal promises. I renounce forever Satan, his empty promises, and his evil designs, and I give myself completely to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him for the rest of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have been till now.

This day, with the whole court of heaven as witness, I choose you, Mary, as my Mother and Queen. I surrender and consecrate myself to you, body and soul, as your slave, with all that I possess, both spiritual and material, even including the value of all my good actions, past, present, and to come. I give you the full right to dispose of me and all that belongs to me, without any reservations, in whatever way you please, for the greater glory of God in time and throughout eternity.

Accept, gracious Virgin, this little offering of my slavery to honor and imitate the obedience which Eternal Wisdom willingly chose to have towards you, His Mother. I wish to acknowledge the authority which both of You have over this pitiful sinner. By it, I wish also to thank God for the privileges bestowed on you by the Blessed Trinity. I declare that for the future, I will try to honor and obey you in all things, as your true slave of love.

O admirable Mother, present me to your dear Son as His slave, now and for always, so that He Who redeemed me through you, will now receive me through you.

Mother of mercy, grant me the favor of obtaining the true Wisdom of God, and so make me one of those whom you love, teach and guide, whom you nourish and protect as your children and slaves.

Virgin most faithful, make me in everything so committed a disciple, imitator, and slave of Jesus, your Son, incarnate Wisdom, that I may become, through your intercession and example, fully mature with the fullness which Jesus possessed on earth, and with the fullness of His glory in heaven. Amen.  

Receiving Jesus in Holy Communion with Our Lady--Saint Louis Marie's Recommendations: Friday, August 14, 2015


Before Holy Communion

"266. 1) Place yourself humbly in the presence of God.

  2) Renounce your corrupt nature and dispositions, no matter how good self-love makes them appear to you.

  3) Renew your consecration saying, 'I belong entirely to you, dear Mother, and all that I have is yours.'

  4) Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may receive her Son with her dispositions. Remind her that her Son's glory requires that he should not come into a heart so sullied and fickle as your own, which could not fail to diminish his glory and might cause him to leave. Tell her that if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son--which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all hearts--he will be received by her in a perfect manner without danger of being affronted or being forced to depart.  'God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved.'  

Tell her with confidence that all you have given her of your possessions is little enough to honor her, but that in Holy Communion you wish to give her the same gifts as the eternal Father gave her. Thus she will feel more honored than if you gave her all the wealth in the world. Tell her, finally, that Jesus, whose love for her is unique, still wishes to take his delight and his repose in her even in your soul, even though it is poorer and less clean than the stable which he readily entered because she was there. Beg her to lend you her heart, saying, 'O Mary, I take you for my all; give me your heart.'"

During Holy Communion

"267. After the Our Father, when you are about to receive our Lord, say to Him three times the prayer, 'Lord, I am not worthy.' Say it the first time as if you were telling the eternal Father that because of your evil thoughts and your ingratitude to such a good Father, you are unworthy to receive His only-begotten Son, but that here is Mary, His handmaid, who acts for you and whose presence gives you a special confidence and hope in Him.

"268. Say to God the Son, 'Lord, I am not worthy', meaning that you are not worthy to receive Him because of your useless and evil words and your carelessness in His service, but nevertheless you ask Him to have pity on you because you are going to usher Him into the house of His Mother and yours, and you will not let Him go until He has made it His home. Implore Him to rise and come to the place of His repose and the ark of His sanctification. Tell Him that you have no faith in your own merits, strength and preparedness, like Esau, but only in Mary, your Mother, just as Jacob had trust in Rebecca his mother. Tell Him that although you are a great sinner you still presume to approach Him, supported by His holy Mother and adorned with her merits and virtues.

"269. Say to the Holy Spirit, 'Lord, I am not worthy'. Tell Him that you are not worthy to receive the masterpiece of His love because of your luke-warmness, wickedness and resistance to his inspirations. But, nonetheless, you put all your confidence in Mary, His faithful Spouse, and say with St. Bernard, 'She is my greatest safeguard, the whole foundation of my hope.' Beg him to overshadow Mary, His inseparable Spouse, once again. Her womb is as pure and her heart as ardent as ever. Tell Him that if He does not enter your soul neither Jesus nor Mary will be formed there nor will it be a worthy dwelling for Them.

After Holy Communion

"270. After Holy Communion, close your eyes and recollect yourself. Then usher Jesus into the Heart of Mary: you are giving Him to His Mother who will receive Him with great love and give Him the place of honor, adore Him profoundly, show Him perfect love, embrace Him intimately in spirit and in truth, and perform many offices for Him of which we, in our ignorance, would know nothing.

"271. Or, maintain a profoundly humble heart in the presence of Jesus dwelling in Mary. Or be in attendance like a slave at the gate of the royal palace, where the King is speaking with the Queen. While They are talking to each other, with no need of you, go in spirit to Heaven and to the whole world, and call upon all creatures to thank, adore and love Jesus and Mary for you. "Come, let us adore."

"272. Or, ask Jesus living in Mary that His kingdom may come upon earth through His holy Mother. Ask for divine Wisdom, divine love, the forgiveness of your sins, or any other grace, but always through Mary and in Mary. Cast a look of reproach upon yourself and say, 'Lord, do not look at my sins, let your eyes see nothing in me but the virtues and merits of Mary.'  Remembering your sins, you may add, 'I am my own worst enemy and I am guilty of all these sins.' Or, 'Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.' Or again, 'Dear Jesus, You must increase in my soul and I must decrease.' 'Mary, you must increase in me and I must always go on decreasing.'  'O Jesus and Mary, increase in me and increase in others around me.'

"273. There are innumerable other thoughts with which the Holy Spirit will inspire you, which He will make yours if you are thoroughly recollected and mortified, and constantly faithful to the great and sublime devotion which I have been teaching you. But remember, the more you let Mary act in your Communion the more Jesus will be glorified. The more you humble yourself and listen to Jesus and Mary in peace and silence--with no desire to see, taste or feel--then the more freedom you will give to Mary to act in Jesus' Name and the more Jesus will act in Mary. For the just man lives everywhere by faith, but especially in Holy Communion, which is an action of faith."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266-273.

Our Lady's Fruit is Jesus!: Thursday, August 13, 2015

J.M.J. "218. If Mary, the Tree of Life, is well cultivated in our soul by fidelity to this devotion, she will in due time bring forth her fruit which is none other than Jesus. I have seen many devout souls searching for Jesus in one way or another, and so often when they have worked hard throughout the night, all they can say is, 'Despite our having worked all night, we have caught nothing.' To them we can say, 'You have worked hard and gained little; Jesus can only be recognized faintly in you.' But if we follow the immaculate path of Mary, living the devotion that I teach, we will always work in daylight, we will work in a holy place, and we will work but little. There is no darkness in Mary, not even the slightest shadow since there was never any sin in her. She is a holy place, a holy of holies, in which saints are formed and moulded."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 218.

Mary Keeps Us in Jesus and Keeps Jesus in Us: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

J.M.J. "212. Furthermore, once Mary has heaped her favors upon her children and her faithful servants and has secured for them the blessing of the heavenly Father and union with Jesus Christ, she keeps them in Jesus and keeps Jesus in them. She guards them, watching over them unceasingly, lest they lose the grace of God and fall into the snares of their enemies. 'She keeps the saints in their fullness' (St. Bonaventure), and inspires them to persevere to the end, as we have already said."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 212.

The Faithful Servants of Mary: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

J.M.J. "182. So the faithful servants of the Blessed Virgin may confidently say with St. John Damascene, "If I confide in you, Mother of God, I shall be saved. Under your protection I shall fear nothing. With your help I shall rout all my enemies. For devotion to you is a weapon of salvation which God gives to those He wishes to save."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 182.

Asking for Our Lady's Continued Help: Monday, August 10, 2015

J.M.J. "Why is it that most conversions of sinners are not lasting? Why do they relapse so easily into sin? Why is it that most of the faithful, instead of making progress in one virtue after another and so acquiring new graces, often lose the little grace and virtue they have? This misfortune arises, as I have already shown, from the fact that man, so prone to evil, so weak and changeable, trusts himself too much, relies on his own strength, and wrongly presumes he is able to safeguard his precious graces, virtues and merits.

"By this devotion we entrust all we possess to Mary, the faithful Virgin. We choose her as the guardian of all our possessions in the natural and supernatural sphere. We trust her because she is faithful, we rely on her strength, we count on her mercy and charity to preserve and increase our virtues and merits in spite of the efforts of the devil, the world, and the flesh to rob us of them. We say to her as a good child would say to its mother or a faithful servant to the mistress of the house, 'My dear Mother and Mistress, I realize that up to now I have received from God through your intercession more graces than I deserve. But bitter experience has taught me that I carry these riches in a very fragile vessel and that I am too weak and sinful to guard them by myself. Please accept in trust everything I possess, and in your faithfulness and power keep it for me. If you watch over me, I shall lose nothing. If you support me, I shall not fail. If you protect me, I shall be safe from my enemies.'"

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 173.

Trust in Mary, Who Always Reveals Her Divine Son to Us: Sunday, August 9, 2015

J.M.J. "167. Since Mary alone has crushed all heresies, as we are told by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Office of B.V.M.), a devoted servant of hers will never fall into formal heresy or error, though critics may contest this. He may very well err materially, mistaking lies for truth or an evil spirit for a good one, but he will be less likely to do this than others. Sooner or later he will discover his error and will not go on stubbornly believing and maintaining what he mistakenly thought was the truth.

"168. Whoever then wishes to advance along the road to holiness and be sure of encountering the true Christ, without fear of the illusions which afflict many devout people, should take up with valiant heart and willing spirit this devotion to Mary which perhaps he had not previously heard about. Even if it is new to him, let him enter upon this excellent way which I am now revealing to him. 'I will show you a more excellent way.'

"It was opened up by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom. He is our one and only Head, and we, his members, cannot go wrong in following Him. It is a smooth way made easy by the fullness of grace, the unction of the Holy Spirit. In our progress along this road, we do not weaken or turn back. It is a quick way and leads us to Jesus in a short time. It is a perfect way without mud or dust or any vileness of sin. Finally, it is a reliable way, for it is direct and sure, having no turnings to right or left but leading us straight to Jesus and to life eternal.

"Let us then take this road and travel along it night and day until we arrive at the fullness of the age of Jesus Christ."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 167-168.

Our Lady, The Sure Path to Her Son: Saturday, August 8, 2015

J.M.J. "165. Rest assured that the more you turn to Mary in your prayers, meditations, actions and sufferings, seeing her if not perhaps clearly and distinctly, at least in a general and indistinct way, the more surely you will discover Jesus. For he is always greater, more powerful, more active, and more mysterious when acting through Mary than he is in any other creature in the universe, or even in heaven. Thus Mary, so divinely-favored and so lost in God, is far from being an obstacle to good people who are striving for union with him. There has never been and there never will be a creature so ready to help us in achieving that union more effectively, for she will dispense to us all the graces to attain that end. As a saint once remarked, 'Only Mary knows how to fill our minds with the thought of God.' Moreover, Mary will safeguard us against the deception and cunning of the evil one.

"166. Where Mary is present, the evil one is absent. One of the unmistakable signs that a person is led by the Spirit of God is the devotion he has to Mary, and his habit of thinking and speaking of her. This is the opinion of a saint, who goes on to say that just as breathing is a proof that the body is not dead, so the habitual thought of Mary and loving converse with her is a proof that the soul is not spiritually dead in sin." 

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 165-166.

Saint John Paul II Explains Our Lady's Virginity after the Birth of Her Divine Son: First Friday, August 7, 2015

J.M.J. "According to some, Mary's virginity after the Birth is denied by the Gospel texts which record the existence of four 'brothers of Jesus': James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Mt 13:55-56; Mk 6:3), and of several sisters.

"It should be recalled that no specific term exists in Hebrew and Aramaic to express the word 'cousin', and that the terms 'brother' and 'sister', therefore had a far broader meaning which included several degrees of relationship. In fact, the phrase 'brothers of Jesus' indicates 'the children' of a Mary who was a disciple of Christ (cf. Mt 27:56) and who is significantly described as 'the other Mary' (Mt 28:1). 'They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 500).

"Mary Most Holy is thus the 'Ever Virgin'. Her prerogative is the consequence of her Divine Motherhood which totally consecrated her to Christ's mission of redemption."

--Saint John Paul II, Wednesday General Audience, August 28, 1996.

The Transfiguration of Mary's Son:Thursday, August 6, 2015

J.M.J. "The mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration, traditionally believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor. The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to Him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with Him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with Him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit."

--Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002), 21.

Our Lady's Basilica in Rome: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

J.M.J. On this the Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, let us hear about that great church from the Website of the Basilica.

"The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the Church's role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. For nearly sixteen centuries, St. Mary Major has held its position as a Marian shrine par excellence and has been a magnet for pilgrims from all over the world who have come to the Eternal City to experience the beauty, grandeur and holiness of the basilica.

"Among the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome, St. Mary Major is the only one to have kept its original structure, though it has been enhanced over the course of years. Special details within the church render it unique including the fifth century mosaics of the central nave, the triumphal arch dating back to the pontificate of Pope Sixtus III (432-440) and the apsidal mosaic executed by the Franciscan friar Jacopo Torriti at the order of Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292). Other gems of the church include the Cosmatesque pavement donated by the Roman nobleman Scoto Paparone and his son in 1288, Arnolfo di Cambio's Nativity scene from the thirteenth century and the coffered ceiling in gilt wood designed by Giuliano Sangallo in 1450. The numerous chapels, from the most ornate to the most humble, constructed by popes, cardinals and pious confraternities, the high altar begun by Ferdinando Fuga and later enriched by the genius of Valadier, the Baptistery and finally the relic of the Holy Crib complete the array of splendors contained within these walls. Every column, painting, sculpture and ornament of this basilica resonates with history and pious sentiment.

"From the devout pilgrim absorbed in prayer to the studious art-lover, every visitor to St. Mary Major finds both spiritual and visual fulfillment in this holy place. A visit to the Liberian basilica, as it is also called in honor of Pope Liberius, enriches both the mind and soul. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see visitors rapt in admiration before the spellbinding beauty of the artwork nor, at the same time, to observe the devotion of all those engrossed in prayer in search of comfort and assistance before the image of Mary, who is venerated here under the beloved title of Salus Populi Romani.

"Every August 5th, a solemn celebration recalls the Miracle of the Snows. Before the amazed eyes of the congregation, a cascade of white petals descends from the coffered ceiling, blanketing the hypogeum. From the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II requested that an oil lamp burn day and night under the icon of the Salus Populi Romani, as witness to his great devotion to the Madonna.

"This same Pope, on the eighth of December 2001, inaugurated another precious jewel of the basilica--the museum, where a modern structure would house ancient masterpieces offering visitors a unique perspective of the history of the Basilica.

"The numerous treasures contained in the museum render St. Mary Major a place where art and spirituality combine in a perfect union, offering visitors a unique experience in contemplating the great works of man inspired by God."

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"A theme dear to Pope Leo XIII was that Mary is the Mother of all people, and that God has implanted the germ of love for her in every heart, even in those who hate her or do not know her. This germ is meant to grow, and like any capacity it can be fostered by giving it proper conditions. Souls must be approached and informed as to the maternal role of Mary."

--The Servant of God Frank Duff, The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, 306.

Mary's Concern for Us: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

J.M.J. We look to today's Saint, John Mary Vianney, Priest (1786-1859), for insight into Our Lady. This is from his Catechetical Instructions.

"The Father takes pleasure in looking upon the Heart of the most Holy Virgin Mary, as the masterpiece of His hands; for we always like our own work, especially when it is well done. The Son takes pleasure in it as the Heart of His Mother, the source from which He drew the Blood that has ransomed us; the Holy Ghost as His temple. The Prophets published the glory of Mary before her birth; they compared her to the sun. Indeed, the apparition of the Holy Virgin may well be compared to a beautiful gleam of sun on a foggy day.

"Before her coming, the anger of God was hanging over our heads like a sword ready to strike us. As soon as the Holy Virgin appeared upon the earth, His anger was appeased. . . . She did not know that she was to be the Mother of God, and when she was a little child she used to say, 'When shall I then see that beautiful creature who is to be the Mother of God?' The Holy Virgin has brought us forth twice, in the Incarnation and at the foot of the Cross; she is then doubly our Mother. The Holy Virgin is often compared to a mother, but she is much better still than the best of mothers; for the best of mothers sometimes punishes her child when it displeases her, and even beats it: she thinks she is doing right. But the Holy Virgin does not so; she is so good that she treats us with love, and never punishes us.

"The Heart of this good Mother is all love and mercy; she desires only to see us happy. We have only to turn to her to be heard. The Son has His justice, the Mother has nothing but her love. God has loved us so much as to die for us; but in the heart of Our Lord there is justice, which is an attribute of God; in that of the most Holy Virgin there is nothing but mercy. Her Son being ready to punish a sinner, Mary interposes, checks the sword, implores pardon for the poor criminal. 'Mother,' Our Lord says to her, 'I can refuse you nothing. If Hell could repent, you would obtain its pardon.'

"The most Holy Virgin places herself between her Son and us. The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion does she feel for us. The child that has cost its mother most tears is the dearest to her Heart. Does not a mother always run to the help of the weakest and the most exposed to danger? Is not a physician in the hospital most attentive to those who are most seriously ill? The Heart of Mary is so tender towards us, that those of all the mothers in the world put together are like a piece of ice in comparison to hers. See how good the Holy Virgin is! Her great servant St. Bernard used often to say to her, 'I salute thee, Mary.' One day this good Mother answered him, 'I salute thee, my son Bernard.'

"The Ave Maria is a prayer that is never wearisome. The devotion to the Holy Virgin is delicious, sweet, nourishing. When we talk on earthly subjects or politics, we grow weary; but when we talk of the Holy Virgin, it is always new. All the Saints have a great devotion to Our Lady; no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the porter; well, the Holy Virgin is the portress of Heaven.

"When we have to offer anything to a great personage, we get it presented by the person he likes best, in order that the homage may be agreeable to him. So our prayers have quite a different sort of merit when they are presented by the Blessed Virgin, because she is the only creature who has never offended God. The Blessed Virgin alone has fulfilled the first Commandment--to adore God only, and love Him perfectly. She fulfilled it completely.

"All that the Son asks of the Father is granted Him. All that the Mother asks of the Son is in like manner granted to her. When we have handled something fragrant, our hands perfume whatever they touch: let our prayers pass through the hands of the Holy Virgin; she will perfume them. I think that at the end of the world the Blessed Virgin will be very tranquil; but while the world lasts, we drag her in all directions. . . . The Holy Virgin is like a mother who has a great many children--she is continually occupied in going from one to the other."

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Thanks to the Reverend Martin Lawrence, I saw this post on the Blog called "Aspicientes in Jesum." 

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