Sorrowful Mother

“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing, in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, “Ecce Mater Tua,” Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up those things which are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as He did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear”. (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity- Last Retreat)

Prudence in Action

Do not yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech.

Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.

Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations.

A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.

(Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter 4 by Thomas a Kempis)

The Virtues of the Annunciation

Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum

In today’s feast, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Our Savior. Recorded in Luke’s Gospel, is the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Lk 1:28). The Word is made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary.

Inspired by this narrative of St. Luke, let us enter into the dispositions of Mary. She is recollected in solitude when the angel approaches and says to her the words repeated in every Hail Mary. Mary’s reaction to this angelic visitor is one of humility. She is ‘troubled’, that is, astonished at such an unusual greeting addressed to her.

fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum

Then Mary gives her ‘fiat’: “Let it be done to me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38). This is the only proper response to God’s will.

The Angelus is a devotion that commemorates the Annunciation. This beautiful prayer is traditionally said three times a day: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. In the past, this corresponded to the sound of a bell. The prayer consists of three Hail Mary’s and verses that come from the Gospel narrative. The prayer gets its name from the first word of the verse: “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”.
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh:
And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Into Solitude

“We are going into solitude.”

“I’ll lead her into solitude and there I’ll speak to her heart
(Hosea 2:14).

“I’ll retire with Him into the intimate depths of my soul and there, as in another Nazareth, I’ll live in His company with my Mother and Saint Joseph. Jesus told me He will search through His little house to see what’s lacking so that He can purify it.”

(Retreat of 1917, St. Teresa of the Andes, God the Joy of My Life, Ignatius Press)

Go to Joseph

The just man, St. Joseph, is an example for all of us. He is especially a model for young men to answer the challenges in all walks of life. St Joseph is the patron of workers and of families. He is also the special patron of priests. Priests are married to the Church in a virginal life; they are the special guardians of the Eucharist and have this holy saint as their special patron. During this Year of the Priest, ask for the intercession of St. Joseph for our priests. Ask him to aid those young men whom God is calling to the priesthood, to respond to that call with courage and generosity.

The Misery and Imperfection of Every Good Desire

More on virtue… Can I really admit how miserable my deeds are as St. Teresa so readily does?

“He does not fail to repay, even in his life, every good desire. As miserable and imperfect as my deeds were, this Lord of mine improved and perfected them and gave them value, and the evils and sins He then hid. His Majesty even permitted that the eyes of those who saw these sins be blinded and He removed these sins from their memory. He gilds my faults; the Lord makes a virtue shine that He himself places in me – almost forcing me to have it.”

(The Book of Her Life, chapter 4) (The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Vol. 1)

Truly, if there is anything good that I have done, it is really not me, but God who has done them through me.

Praying for Virtue

How often do we ask for virtue when we pray? Virtue is not something that we possess; it is really only borrowed.

St. Therese’s Prayer to Obtain Humility

“O Lord, You could not humble Yourself any more in order to teach me humility. That is why I want to respond to your love by putting myself in the lowest place and by sharing Your humiliations, so as to be able to share the kingdom of heaven with You hereafter. I beg You, divine Jesus, send me a humiliation every time I try to put myself above others. But Lord, You know my weakness; every morning I make resolution to practice humility and every evening I acknowledge that I still have many failures. I am tempted to be discouraged by this, but I know that discouragement also has its source in pride. That is why I prefer to put my trust in You alone, O my God. Since You are all–powerful, deign to create in my soul the virtue for which I long.”