Read about Our Lady during Advent: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

J.M.J. Choosing a good book about Mary, given the large number of them, is more difficult than trying to decide what kind of chocolate to eat. 

There are innumerable fine books about Our Lady.

Here is a good one for Advent:

Mystery of Mary
by the Reverend Paul Haffner, S.T.D.
(Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2007)
paperback, 304 pages

Do you have a favorite volume about Mary?

Our Blessed Lady and Saint Andrew: Monday, November 30, 2015

J.M.J. We know that Our Lady and Saint Andrew, whose Feast is today, spent time together.

For example, Saint John the Evangelist tells us by way of his Holy Gospel that Mary was at the Wedding at Cana in Galilee (2:1) as well as her Son, Jesus and His disciples (2:2). And once the Feast concluded, Our Lord "went down to Capernaum, with His Mother and His brethren and His disciples; and there they stayed for a few days." (2:12).

Imagine the esteem with which Saint Andrew held the Mother of God, and the tenderness which the Ever-Virgin possessed for Jesus' friend.

What are some ways we may experience the communion among our coreligionists that Our Lady and Saint Andrew enjoyed?

Our Lady in Advent: First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015

J.M.J. The Church's extraordinary wisdom is illustrated in numerous ways, one being the very existence of Advent. The Faithful are granted several weeks to make ready for the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ. What is the result?

Such a period of prayerful preparation if sincerely "entered into" ensures that December 25 will not be just another day but rather a joyful, authentic commemoration of the first coming of Jesus over 2,000 years ago.

Mothers could tell us much about preparation. They are well aware of how to make ready for the birth of a child. The period of pregnancy helps mothers--and fathers--to adjust and anticipate the arrival of their son or daughter.

The Blessed Virgin Mary experienced the first Advent. She knew, thanks to the Archangel Gabriel, that the holy Child within her was "the Son of the Most High." She intensely waited the appearance to the world of the One nestled in her chaste womb.

The long anticipation of the people of Israel rested with Mary.

The Chosen People had spent centuries preparing their hearts for the Messiah. Now, this unique woman, during her Advent of nine months, shouldered the hopes of Zion.

Our Lady's pining for the Birth of the Savior is the pattern for us. We desperately need Jesus. He wants to be with us in our joys and sorrows. Therefore, to benefit from the annual celebration of Christmas, we commit ourselves to an Advent, in the spirit of Mary, filled with prayer, self-denial and service.

Here are some tried-and true Advent "exercises" to help us prepare for Christmas.

Prayer. Communication with God is necessary during any liturgical season. Advent calls forth our prayer by reminding us that Jesus, Who came to redeem us from Original Sin, desires that we pray because He knows how our relationship with Him, His Father and Their Holy Spirit needs to be nourished. Prayer is required if we are to remain faithful to Christ and His commands. He taught His Apostles to pray. He teaches us to do the same.

+++Spend extra time in personal prayer, read Chapters 1-2 from the Holy Gospels according to Saints Matthew and Luke, go to Confession during Advent, receive the Most Holy Eucharist more often.

Self-denial. Any solid mortification we practice is valuable to our souls. We are to be fortified in order to welcome Jesus again at Christmas. How pleased He will be if we show Him that we have cooperated with the Holy Spirit, thereby being genuinely converted to the principles of His Holy Gospel. Self-denial effects our detachment from the things of the world.

+++Deny yourself some legitimate pleasure, mortify your anger, stem your curiosity.

Service. The Birth of Jesus was about obeying His Father and serving us. Christ undertook His mission as the Suffering Servant Who selflessly laid down His life in adoration of His Father and in service of His brothers and sisters.

+++Visit an elderly person in a retirement home, extend kindness to a pregnant woman, offer some alms to a soup kitchen.

Mary did not merely wait for the Birth of Jesus, she actively prepared for His coming. The spiritual fruits we enjoy this Christmas will be in direct proportion to how we, endowed with divine grace, prepared this Advent to greet Jesus. 

Saturday Morning Mass in Honor of Our Blessed Lady: Saturday, November 28, 2015

J.M.J. Today is the last day of the liturgical year. How fitting that we conclude it with Mary.

The morning Mass on Saturday, unless there is a Solemnity, Feast or Obligatory Memorial, fittingly uses the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, published during the Pontificate of Saint John Paul II (1978-2005).

Would that the Saturday morning Mass return to our Parishes! 

We desperately need more veneration of the sinless Ever-Virgin, not less.

Of the twenty-nine seminarians listed in the Directory 2015-2016 of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, fifteen are from Parishes or Newman Centers where there is a Saturday morning Mass.

Let us pray that the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation, which is to be commemorated in little more than a week, is the catalyst for renewed love, devotion and service of the Mediatrix of All Graces.

Thank You, Mother, for all that Your Divine Son through You did for us this Year of Grace 2015.

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"I, too, received the Scapular, I think at the age of 10, and I still wear it." 

--Saint John Paul II 

If you need a Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, then please let me know (605 521-0175).

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal!: Friday, November 27, 2015

J.M.J. Here is a great explanation of the Miraculous Medal entitled, "The Meaning of the Miraculous Medal" by Dan Valenti. 

"November 27 marks the 185th anniversary of the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known by Catholics the world over as the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal has a special place in the hearts of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, since it paved the way for the Church's official declaration of the dogma in 1854. 

"The medal is striking because Our Lady herself presented the familiar design. 

"The front of the medal depicts Mary standing on a globe, with the head of a serpent beneath her feet. Circling the oval-shaped medal is the signature, 'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.' On the reverse, twelve stars surround a large 'M,' from which a cross arises. Below the 'M,' the medal depicts two flaming hearts. The left heart, circled with thorns, represents Jesus. The right heart, pierced by a sword, symbolizes Mary.

An Unlikely Helper

"By what intervention and through what vessel did the Blessed Mother convey the design of this medal? As in the case of The Divine Mercy revelations to St. Faustina, a young, unassuming nun in 1930s Poland, once again God chose an unlikely helper. Nearly 100 years earlier, He selected a 24-year-old novice in the community of Sisters known as the Daughters of Charity, Paris, France, in 1830. 

"The extraordinary story begins on the night of July 18, 1830, when a mysterious child awakens Sister Catherine Laboure. The child leads her to the convent's chapel. There, Sister Catherine sees the Virgin Mary, sitting in a chair. She kneels beside Mary, and rests her hands in the Virgin's lap. The two speak for several hours. During the conversation, Mary promises she will return and give the young nun 'a mission.' The child leads Catherine back to her bed. Catherine hears the clock strike 2 a.m., July 19.

"A little more than four months later, Sister Catherine learns what Mary wants.

"During her evening meditation on Nov. 27, 1830, Catherine has a vision of Mary standing in a position similar to the depiction on the medal. Later, the vision changes to include the inscription found on the front side of the medal.

"Mary speaks to Catherine, saying, 'Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck.'

Iconic Attraction

"It was as Mary said. The medal's effects were immediate.

"The first medals were made in 1832 and distributed throughout Paris. According to the Association of the Miraculous Medal, the blessings that Mary promised 'began to shower down' on wearers of the medal. The devotion spread rapidly. In 1836, a Church investigation declared the apparitions to be genuine.

"Since Mary asked Catherine to have the medal struck, devotion to the Miraculous Medal has spread the world over, the image having achieved iconic stature. 

"But what does the medal mean? In answering that, one discovers why it works.

The Front Side

• Mary stands on a globe, crushing a serpent beneath her feet. Describing the original vision, Catherine said the Blessed Mother appeared radiant as a sunrise, "in all her perfect beauty."

• Rays shoot out from Mary's hands, which she told Catherine, "... symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them."

• Words from the vision form an oval frame around Mary: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Seen as a matrix, the elements of the front design encapsulate major Marian tenets:

Quality of Our Lady As Illustrated by the Medal

• Mother Her open arms, the "recourse" we have in her
• Immaculate The words, "conceived without sin"
• Assumed into Heaven She stands on the globe
• Mediatrix Rays from her hands symbolizing "graces"
• Our Protection Crushes the serpent (Gn. 3:15)

The Reverse Side

• A cross-and-bar surmounts a large, bold "M" 

• 12 stars disperse around the perimeter 

• Two hearts are depicted underneath the "M," the left lapped with a crown of thorns, the right skewed by a sword. From each, a flame emanates from the top. Again, employing a grid analysis, we can see how the reverse-side design contains great symbolism reflecting major tenets of the Catholic faith.

Design Element and its Catholic Meaning

• The large letter "M" — Mary as Mother, Mediatrix.

• Cross and bar — Jesus' cross of Redemption.

• 12 stars — 12 Apostles, who formed the first Church.

• Left Heart — The Sacred Heart, who died for our sins.

• Right Heart — The Immaculate Heart, who intercedes for us.

• Flames — The burning love Jesus and Mary have for us.

"The Association of the Miraculous Medal, in Perryville, Mo., notes that there is no superstition or magic connected with the Miraculous Medal, nor is it 'a good luck charm.' Rather, it is 'a testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith.'"

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Our Lady as the Model of Thanks: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, 2015

J.M.J. It bears repeating repeatedly: The Ever-Virgin Mother of God loves Our Lord, loves us and gives to us an incredible example of gratitude.

Unite yourself to Mary in her thankfulness, and God will be pleased.

Some years ago, I wrote the following.

The fourth Thursday in November has become for many in the United States of America a "time-out" for feasting and relaxing. Thanksgiving Day connotes food, football and parades.

As disciples of the Risen Lord Jesus, food, football and parades, in their proper place, are not objectionable and may contribute to lasting friendship and harmony among families and loved ones.

But the true significance of Thanksgiving Day, as most would attest, runs much deeper. We bow our heads to thank our generous God for all He has done for us and for our beloved country. This is the essence of Thanksgiving Day: to acknowledge that our benevolent Creator has bestowed numerous favors on us--His needy children.

Giving thanks to God should be like breathing--it comes naturally. When we note what He has done for us, our only real posture can be one of praise and thanks.

But we confess that sometimes we forget to be grateful. We are pulled in a hundred directions simultaneously. Rendering thanks to God, via prayer and meditation, can seem to be an inconvenience. We may even try to "slough off" prayer by thinking that the Lord could hardly expect us to take time to pray, given our multiple and pressing commitments.

May our compassionate God forgive our negligence, both voluntary and involuntary!

The Lord desires that we be thankful not because He Himself will "benefit" but because it is good for us to be persons of gratitude. We ourselves reap many spiritual riches when we are thankful people who recognize and declare what God--and our neighbors--have done for us.

The virtue of gratitude is composed of two-parts: first, admitting what has been bestowed and, second, trying to make some return for the gift.

Our "return" to God for His blessings is our love, obedience and service. The Lord wishes that we would be moved by His grace to make the necessary changes in our lives so that we may become the disciples of Jesus He calls us to be. This is true gratitude--that lasts through eternity! And it is rooted in the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary that is perpetuated in each Holy Mass.

The familiar prayer--"Grace After Meals"--is surely appropriate on Thanksgiving Day and everyday. It challenges us to be grateful not only for food but also for the other treasures that we derive from the Lord's kind hand.

"We give Thee thanks, Almighty God, for all the benefits we have received from Thy bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all! 

Devotion to Our Lady is a Necessity: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

J.M.J. "Mary is our mother, the most admirable of mothers--Mater admirabilis; and we are her children, the best, the most faithful, the most loving, the most devoted of her children! Seen in this filial aspect, the cult of the Virgin seems more than ever a necessity, a spontaneous and an absolute need of the religious soul. At the very hour of our spiritual birth, it must have been deeply rooted in our being. 'Ah!' the Cure' of Ars used to cry, 'the holy Virgin is my oldest love; and I really believe that I loved her before I knew her.' He had this love in his veins from the day of his Baptism, through which he became the child of God and the child of Our Lady.

"As Leo XIII used to remark, every Christian goes to Mary as if 'drawn by a kind of natural impulse.' (Encyclical AdjutricemIndeed, devotion to the Virgin is innate, congenital, instinctive in us."

--The Reverend Louis Colin, C.SsR., Our Lady: Queen of the Religious Life, 163.

God's Goodness to Mary: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

J.M.J. The astonishing action of God in protecting Our Blessed Lady from the audacious and reckless sin of our first parents Adam and Eve occurred precisely at the first moment of her conception. When Mary’s father Joachim and mother Ann provided the human matter necessary for conception, the Lord, as He always does, infused the soul that would coalesce with the human ingredients to form Mary. And when the beneficent Creator did so, He ensured that Mary would never experience even the slightest stain of Original Sin.

What God did for the very young Mary underscores the fact that human life does begin at conception. Our Blessed Mother was not preserved from Original Sin before she came to be. Exactly when her existence began God worked His miracle that we gladly cherish and refer to as the “Immaculate Conception.”

We gain much whenever we mull over the challenging, reasonable tenets of our Catholic Faith. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is no exception. By meditating on and striving to penetrate what God did for Mary, we obtain fresh insights into the Lord’s goodness, the Virgin's holiness and human life's beauty and splendor even in its preborn state. 

The Loving Mother of the Holy Souls: Monday, November 23, 2015

J.M.J. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, as the old saying goes. "Regarding the deceased, nothing is said except the good."

It is stated that years ago, Blessed Paul VI (1963-1978) was in the presence of someone who offered an uncharitable remark about a recently murdered man reputed to have been involved with organized crime, to the effect that he had now received his just desserts. The long-suffering Pontiff abruptly cut off further discussion, insisting that--without delay--a prayer would then be recited for the immortal soul of that unfortunate person.

The Mother of the Poor Souls in Purgatory prays for them. She comforts them as only she can. 

We ask her today, and every day, to take countless of those Souls to Heaven. 

Mary's Son is Our King--The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: Sunday, November 22, 2015

J.M.J. Jesus Christ is the King and the Center of all hearts!

Let us hear an excerpt or two from Pope Francis before he recited the Angelus today in Saint Peter's Square (courtesy of the Website of the Holy See).

"On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. And today's Gospel makes us contemplate Jesus while He presents Himself before Pilate as the King of a Kingdom 'that is not of this world' (John 18:36)." 

After recounting the heroic Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, the Holy Father concluded:

"In view of many lacerations in the world and too many wounds to the flesh of men, we ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to imitate Jesus, Our King, making His Kingdom present with acts of tenderness, understanding and mercy."  

Christ, Our King, have mercy on us.

Mary, Our Queen, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Church, pray for us.

Saint Cecilia, the Patroness of Sacred Music, pray for us.

Asking Our Lady to Help Us to Make Up for Lost Time: Saturday, November 21, 2015

J.M.J. In commenting about today's Feast, The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reverend Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., in Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year (Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1996), wrote: "Never for a moment did Mary fail in her complete consecration; God was able to accomplish in her all that He willed, without meeting the least resistance." (page 1172)

Saint Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) summed up our exact sentiments, perhaps unspoken but nevertheless real and sincere: "O dearly Beloved of God, most amiable Child Mary, would that today I could offer you the first years of my life and consecrate myself to your service, my blessed and sweet Lady, as you presented and consecrated yourself in the Temple for the honor and glory of God . . . . But time has slipped away and so many years have been spent in serving the world and my own caprice, as it were, forgetful of you and of God. Woe to the time when I did not love you! But better late than never. Behold, O Mary, I present myself to you today, offering myself entirely to your service, for the number of days, whether few or many, that are still left to me on earth. ( . . . . ) Accept, O Most Holy Virgin, the offering which this wretched sinner presents to you; accept it, I beg, by the consolation your Heart felt when you gave yourself to God in the Temple. And if I am late in putting myself at your service, it is but fitting that I redeem the time lost by redoubling my devotion and my love." (pages 1172-1173)

Our Lady, presented in the Temple, teach us how to love God and neighbor!

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On Wednesday, November 18th, for "Diocesan Spotlight," which is one of the features on The Lamb Catholic Radio Network (, I interviewed the Reverend Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. Please listen.

Peace or War? Ask Our Lady for Peace: Friday, November 20, 2015

J.M.J. There are plans for Pope Francis to visit Fatima, Portugal in 1917 on the one hundredth Anniversary of the appearances of Our Lady of the Rosary there.

We may wonder whether our world will make it to 1917, given the terrible unrest all around us.

Please read the sobering words in the following excerpts from the Holy Father's Homily of yesterday morning during his morning Holy Mass in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta, Vatican City (courtesy of Vatican Radio).

"Today Jesus weeps as well: because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred, the way of enmities. We are close to Christmas: there will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes--all decked out--while the world continues to wage war. The world has not understood the way of peace.

"What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims: and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: 'You can not serve two masters:  either God or riches.' War is the right choice for him, who would serve wealth: 'Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests.' There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: 'Cursed!' Because He said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers!.' The men who work war, who make war, are cursed, they are criminals. A war can be justified--so to speak--with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war--piecemeal though that war may be--a little here, a little there, and everywhere--there is no justification--and God weeps. Jesus weeps.

"It will do us well to ask the for the grace of tears, for this world that does not recognize the path of peace, this world that lives for war, and cynically says not to make it. Let us pray for conversion of heart. Here before the door of this Jubilee of Mercy, let us ask that our joy, our jubilation, be this grace: that the world discover the ability to weep for its crimes, for what the world does with war."

Our Lady wants for us to enjoy the Peace of Christ. When we recite her Most Holy Rosary daily, let us not fail to ask her for it.

The Results of Reciting the Most Holy Rosary: Thursday, November 19, 2015

J.M.J. "The Rosary recited with meditation on the mysteries brings about the following marvelous results: 

1. It gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ; 
2. It purifies our souls, washing away sin;
3. It gives us victory over all our enemies; 
4. It makes it easy for us to practice virtue; 
5. It sets us on fire with love of Our Blessed Lord; 
6. It enriches us with graces and merits; 
7. It supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow men, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God."

--Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), The Secret of the Rosary, page 65.

A Tribute to Our Lady by John Donne: Wednesday, November 18, 2015


"To The Blessed Virgin Mary"

O FRUITFUL garden, and yet never till'd!
Box full of treasure, yet by no man fill'd!
O thou which hast made Him That first made thee!
O near of kin to all the Trinity!
O palace, where the King of all, and more,
Went in and out, yet never open'd door,
Whose flesh is purer than an other’s spirit,
Reach Him our prayers, and reach us down His merit!
O Bread of Life which swelld'st up without leaven!
O bridge which join'st together earth and heaven!
Whose eyes see me through these walls, and through glass,
And through this flesh as thorough cypress pass.
Behold a little heart made great by thee
Swelling, yet shrinking at thy majesty.
O dwell in it! for wheresoe'er thou go'st,
There is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

--John Donne (1572-1631), The Poems of John Donne (1896)

She Followed Him All the Way: Tuesday, November 17, 2015


"Our Lord and Our Lady"

They warned Our Lady for the Child
That was Our Blessed Lord, 
And She took Him into the desert wild, 
Over the camel's ford.

And a long song She sang to Him 
And a short story told: 
And She wrapped Him in a woollen cloak 
To keep Him from the cold. 

But when Our Lord was grown a man 
The rich they dragged Him down, 
And they crucified Him in Golgotha, 
Out and beyond the town.

They crucified Him on Calvary,
Upon an April day; 
And because He had been Her little Son
She followed Him all the way. 

Our Lady stood beside the Cross,
A little space apart, 
And when She heard Our Lord cry out
A sword went through Her Heart. 

They laid Our Lord in a marble tomb, 
Dead, in a winding sheet. 
But Our Lady stands above the world 
With the white moon at Her feet.

--Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953), Verses.

Our Blessed Lady and Saint Gertrude the Great: Monday, November 16, 2015

J.M.J. Today, the Church liturgically remembers Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1301/1302). 

She described in writing the friendship that her soul enjoyed with Jesus and Mary. 

It is stated that on the day of her death, Saint Gertrude saw the Ever-Virgin descend from Heaven to assist her.

And how can we forget "The Prayer of Saint Gertrude?"

Eternal Father, I offer Thee 
the most Precious Blood 
of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, 
in union with the Masses said 
throughout the world today, 
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, 
for sinners everywhere, 
for sinners in the Universal Church, 
for those in my own home 
and within my family.

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If you should know of someone or some family in need of food for Thanksgiving Day, then please contact me (605 521-0175).

Our Lady as One of the Pillars of the Interior Life of Saint John Paul II: Sunday, November 15, 2015

J.M.J. Robert Cardinal Sarah was asked by Nicolas Diat, as recounted in God Or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2015), to summarize the Pontificate of Saint John Paul II. Cardinal Sarah responded:

"All those very productive years can be traced back to the three pillars of his interior life, which were the Cross, the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin, Crux, Hostia, et Virgo. His extraordinary faith sought the foundations for its strength only in the most ordinary tools of the Christian life." (page 96)

Mary and France: Saturday, November 14, 2015

J.M.J. France has been called "Our Lady's Cradle," given the large number of canonized Saints and friends of Mary who have hailed from that venerable land.

We pray for all the deceased from the terrorist attacks that occurred yesterday in Paris. May they rest in peace. And Notre Dame de Bon Secours comfort their loved ones.

May Our Lady also bless the survivors and their families.

Our Lady Surrendered to the Word: Friday, November 13, 2015

J.M.J. "Then the Spirit of love who presides over all God's work came upon her; the Virgin said: 'Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word,' and the greatest of mysteries was accomplished."

--Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906)  

Our Lady's Presence during the Holy Mass: Sunday, November 8, 2015

J.M.J. If you attend Mass on Sunday and abstain from unnecessary servile work, you fulfill your "Sunday obligation." In that case, you do as required by the Church's precept that states that a Catholic must attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and avoid unnecessary servile work.

However, when it comes to Holy Mass we are encouraged to do more than merely to attend. We are invited to "participate" fully, actively and consciously as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council stated in its December 4, 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, also known as Sacrosanctum Concilium (see 14).

The Church wants us to have access to all the graces that Christ gives to His People. Attendance at and participation in the Holy Mass opens our hearts to those graces.

The presence of the Risen Jesus during Mass is clear. But what about His Mother? Is Mary, too, present at Mass?
In Vatican II—Marian Council (Athione, Ireland: Saint Paul Publications, 1972), Father William G. Most made a case for Our Lady’s presence during Mass.

To paraphrase the same Constitution: each Mass is the renewal of what Christ did on Holy Thursday in the Upper Room and the next day on Good Friday atop Calvary (see 47).

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) emphasized that the difference between what Jesus’ did on the cross and the Mass is “the mode of offering.” Calvary is the bloody offering; the Mass, the unbloody.

Father Most concluded: “Now if that be the only difference between the original and the renewal, then Mary should be united with the renewal (the Mass) too, just as she was in the original sacrifice.”
Given the internal (interior disposition) and external (the outward expression of that interior disposition) dimensions of any sacrifice, our author continued:

"Mary has a very obvious union with both aspects of the Mass. First, the outward sign is the renewal of the Death of her Son. But she is the one from whom He received the very Flesh and Blood that becomes present on our altar . . . . [Second] [s]he is also united with the interior dispositions of her Son. Just as He, in the glory of Heaven, still renews the offering of His obedience, His willingness to die again, were the Father to ask that, so too she has not changed the disposition of her Heart. She once consented to His offering at tremendous cost to herself. She has not withdrawn that consent. Her will is now not less aligned with the will of the Father and the will of her Son than when she was still upon this earth.

The Ever-Virgin’s “offering in the original Sacrifice was no less than having to consent to the terrible Death of the Son Whom she loved with a love that was and is literally beyond human comprehension.” Seeing the implication, Father Most observed: “We are not asked to go nearly as far as she was. But we should be ashamed to balk at things so much less.”
Therefore, at each Mass Mary is near the Altar, participating again in the one Sacrifice of Christ as she did on Calvary by her humble acceptance of Jesus’ death. She beckons us to submit to all that God requires. Her offering is the model for our offering.
Father Most advised us to remember that our union at Mass with our Blessed Lady is not automatic. Instead, we must recognize our filial relationship with the Mother of the Church, beg her help and receive the Sacraments often and worthily.
At Mass, Mary: a) prays for us, invoking God to give us what we need; and b) provides us with the pattern of holiness and assures us that it is possible for a human person to be conformed completely in thought, desire, word and deed to the Almighty.
Father Most summarized simply but persuasively his argument for Mary’s presence during the Holy Mass: “In being united to Him, we are by that very fact united to her, for the two are inseparable.”
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No further posts are foreseen until Friday, November 13th.

Our Lady Encourages Us to Make the Five First Saturdays: First Saturday, November 7, 2015

J.M.J. "On December 10, 1925, Sister Lucy received an apparition by the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary in her convent cell. The Holy Virgin shown her a Heart surrounded by thorns, Our Lady said to her:

'See, My daughter, My Heart surrounded by thorns which ungrateful men pierce at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude... Say to all those who:
  • for five months, on the first Saturday, confess,
  • receive Holy Communion,
  • recite the Rosary
  • and keep Me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, in a spirit of reparation,
I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.'"

The Pattern for Mary's Life: First Friday, November 6, 2015

J.M.J. "Heart of Christ, we sing Thy praises, Wellspring of Eternal Life."

Every First Friday reminds us of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who is our refuge and our strength.

In this Holy Heart, we find what Mary found: Grace, Peace, Joy and Love--in short, the assistance we need on the pilgrimage to Heaven.

May we respond to the Sacred Heart as Our Lady did: with complete abandonment and acceptance.

O Blessed Lady, may I have Your Understanding!: Thursday, November 5, 2015

J.M.J. William Keogh, in his article about Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) that appeared in The Catholic Encyclopedia, observed: "The twenty-fifth, and last, session of the council (of Trent) was held 3 and 4 December, 1563; at it were present 255 Fathers. At a consistory on the 26th of January, 1564, Pius IV confirmed the decrees of the council, and later appointed a congregation of eight cardinals to see to the execution of these decrees. During the sitting of the re-assembled council Charles' elder brother, Count Federigo, had died (28 November, 1562). This event had a very determining result as to Charles, for he immediately resolved to give himself with greater strictness to spiritual matters, and he looked upon his brother's death as a warning to him to give up all worldly things."

The sobriety and resolve practiced by the future Saint, who was not yet ordained to the Holy Priesthood, was praiseworthy. He saw things in regard to his last end, thereby allowing him to embrace them as helpful or reject them as dangerous.

Our Lady, too, kept her chaste eyes on the true--and only--goal of each of us: Everlasting Life. 

In the Dictionary of Moral Theology, Dom Gregory Manise, O.S.B., wrote that the Gift of Understanding "enables man to understand created things in their relation to God; to see in other men the image of God and in irrational creatures the vestiges of God through which man is led to God; to find in the happy or sad events which take place in the life of individuals and nations the means through which purification and a more intimate union with God is attained; it also enables man to see with much clarity the horror of sin."

How we need to beg the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Mary and the prayers of Saint Charles for an increase in His Gift of Understanding!

Mary, Queen of the Saints and of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Chaste Spouse of the Ever-Virgin Mary, pray for us.

Saint Charles Borromeo, Guiding Light of the Council of Trent, pray for us.