Jan.01 – Feast of Holy Mary, Mother of God

giovanni-battista-salvi-da-sassoferrato-1640image – da Sassoferato – 1640

Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.he precise title “Mother of God” goes back at least to the third or fourth century. In the Greek form Theotokos (God-bearer), it became the touchstone of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. The Council of Ephesus in 431 insisted that the holy Fathers were right in calling the holy virgin Theotokos. At the end of this particular session, crowds of people marched through the street shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!” The tradition reaches to our own day. In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church calls Mary “Mother of God” 12 times.

Meditation for the New Year:

“What will tomorrow bring? What will happen to me this year? Will it be better or worse than last year?” Idle questions, useless forebodings. I know only one thing: that today as yesterday, that tomorrow as today, that this year as last, God loves me, and He loves me as my heart yearns to be loved – no, much more than I dare aspire to. I know only that during this year as in the past, I shall continue to live in the arms and in the Heart of Jesus, and that He, with incomparable solicitude, will rule over all things, including each detail of my life, designing all for my good and for my happiness… My heart echoes Bethlehem’s hymn: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.” My soul resounds with the tender accents of Jesus’ farewell: “My peace I leave you.”

-Bishop Luiz Martinez

Dec.11 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe

Business Form Template: Virgin Of Guadalupe Holy Card

Legion Of Mary

The Mary Queen of Angels Praesidium meets on Wednesdays at 5:30pm at St. Bernard’s.

New members (Catholics 18 years of age and older) are always welcome. For information, contact Louisa at: 403-264-6424

The Legion of Mary is a lay apostolic association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the powerful leadership of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of All Graces, serve the Church and their neighbour on a voluntary basis in about 170 countries. The first meeting of the Legion of Mary took place in Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin, Ireland, on 7 September, 1921. This meeting was to have very beneficial consequences for the mission of the Catholic Church and, in a special way, for millions of members of Christ’s lay faithful who would serve in the Legion and for those who would be served by the legionary apostolate. Many persons outside the Catholic Church would also benefit from that apostolate. With the approval and support of the Popes and a great many Bishops, Priests and Religious, as well as the prayers and efforts of legionaries, the Legion, by the grace of God, has grown into a worldwide organization with several million members.

More information about the Legion of Mary may be found on the Legion of Mary website.

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“Confer, O Lord, on us, who serve beneath the standard of Mary, that fullness of faith in You and trust in her, to which it is given to conquer the world. Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of You, and ever to see You and serve You in our neighbor; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our Legion’s Pillar of Fire – to lead us forth united – to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love – to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death – to inflame those who are lukewarm – to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace; so that – the battle of life over – our Legion may reassemble, without the loss of any one, in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen”

Sept. 12 – Feast of the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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“It is said: And the Virgin’s name was Mary. Let us speak a few words upon this name, which signifieth, being interpreted, Star of the Sea, and suiteth very well the Maiden Mother, who may very meetly be likened unto a star. A star giveth forth her rays without any harm to herself, and the Virgin brought forth her Son without any hurt to her virginity. The light of a star taketh nothing away from the Virginity of Mary. She is that noble star which was to come out of Jacob, whose brightness still sheddeth lustre upon all the earth, whose rays are most brilliant in heaven, and shine even unto hell, lighting up earth midway, and warming souls rather than bodies, fostering good and scaring away evil. She, I say, is a clear and shining star, twinkling with excellencies, and resplendent with example, needfully set to look down upon the surface of this great and wide sea.

O thou, whosoever thou art, that knowest thyself to be here not so much walking upon firm ground, as battered to and fro by the gales and storms of this life’s ocean, if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest, keep thine eyes fixed upon this star’s clear shining. If the hurricanes of temptation rise against thee, or thou art running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star, call on Mary. If the waves of pride, or ambition, or slander, or envy toss thee, look to the star, call on Mary. If the billows of anger or avarice, or the enticements of the flesh beat against thy soul’s bark, look to Mary. If the enormity of thy sins trouble thee, if the foulness of thy conscience confound thee, if the dread of judgement appal thee, if thou begin to slip into the deep of despondency, into the pit of despair, think of Mary.

In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart, and that thou mayest not lack the succour of her prayers, turn not aside from the example of her conversation. If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray. If thou pray to her, thou wilt never have need to despair. If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never fall. If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary. If she help thee, thou wilt reach home safe at the last – and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said: And the Virgin’s name was Mary.”

Excerpt from the Breviary for Sept.12

Mary at the Foot of the Cross

“One of the hardest things to wrap our heads around as Christians is the nature of Jesus – fully human, yet fully divine. Like the Virgin Mary we often ponder: How can this be? Not that we doubt it’s possible, because God is God and we know that nothing is impossible for Him.1But our explanations somehow fall short, as if we lack the capacity, or the language, to fully describe this mystery of our faith.
Mary, did you know?

Yet we also wonder about the Blessed Virgin Mary… At what point did she come to know that her Son was God and realize the implications of the angel’s words? How could this young woman – a mere girl, really – comprehend what was happening, the wondrous plan that God had in mind for her life? Scripture only tells us that she “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Read the full article by Kelley Holy at Swords of Truth.

Springs Welling Up to Eternal Life – Lourdes

The Book of Genesis testifies that the Garden of Paradise was sustained by a “stream welling up out of the earth that was watering the surface of the ground.”  These words recall for me not only the mysterious event of creation, but another supernatural intervention that changed the life of an impoverished girl from a small town nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees in France. In an article at Word on Fire, Fr.Steve Grunow explores the history and spirituality of  Lourdes:

Springs Welling Up to Eternal Life

 

Rosary of the Seven Sorrows

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, also known as the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows or the Servite Rosary, is a Rosary based prayer that originated with the Servite Order. It is often said in connection with the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
It is a rosary consisting of a ring of seven groups of seven beads separated by a small medal depicting one of the sorrows of Mary, or a single bead. A further series of three beads and a medal are also attached to the chain (before the first “sorrow”) and these are dedicated to prayer in honour of Mary’s Tears, as well as to indicate the beginning of the chaplet. Conventionally the beads are of black wood or some other black material indicating sorrow.

Sharon at Swords of Truth explains:  Rosary of the Seven Sorrows

 

The Mystery of Mary, Mother of God.

In an article at Word on Fire – Fr.Steve Grunow explores the mystery of Mary the Mother of God.

“Today, while much of the world marks the new beginning of the calendar year, the Church commemorates the great solemnity of the Mother of God. What does this mean? That the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God means that the child— conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, carried in her body for nine months, and born into this world— is God. As such, this celebration highlights the pivotal truth of the Church’s Faith- that God has, in Jesus Christ, accepted a human nature, chosen to be born into this world as we have all been born into this world, and has lived a real, human life….”

Read more at: The Mystery of Mary, Mother of God.

theokotos
With Permission, Word on Fire

 

 

 

“Have you seen her?” Apparitions of Mary

From Swords of Truth [- “Apparitions are wonderful gifts that are meant to inspire people – to support us in our faith and help us draw closer to God. So it might seem confusing to suggest that such reports might also be disturbing. But in today’s high-tech culture, ‘eye-witness’ accounts of alleged apparitions are transmitted so rapidly around the world that it can be tempting to accept them as authentic even before the Church has an opportunity to undertake an investigation.”

Read more about Marian Apparitions at Swords of Truth.com

“Have you seen her?” Apparitions of Mary – Part I

“But was that really Mary?” Apparitions of Mary – Part II

Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn.

“Of the nine gates that were once part of the defensive walls encircling the old, medieval city of Vilnius, only one remains. Built between 1503 and 1522, the Gate of Dawn is one of Vilnius’ most important religious, historical, and cultural monuments. It owes its significance to the fact that the chapel built over its arch is home to the icon of the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy” – also known as “Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn”
This Gate was also to have a significant connection to Sister Faustina and her visions of the Divine Mercy. Read the entire article HERE at Swords of Truth.

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HAC for Fr.Nathan – image “Ostrobramskaphoto”. Licensed under Public Domain

 

The Legion of Mary at St.Bernards

The Mary Queen of Angels Praesidium meets on Wednesdays at 5:30pm at St. Bernard’s.
New members (Catholics 18 years of age and older) are always welcome. For information, contact Louisa at: 403-264-6424

More information on Mary Queen of Angels Praesidium  may be found HERE on our website

 
Legion_of_Mary

To Jesus Through Mary

From the work “Christ is Passing By” by St. Josemaría Escrivá

“Seeing how so many Christians express their affection for the Virgin Mary, surely you also feel more a part of the Church, closer to those brothers and sisters of yours. It is like a family reunion. Grown-up children, whom life has separated, come back to their mother for some family anniversary. And even if they have not always got on well together, today things are different; they feel united, sharing the same affection.

Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the mystical body and more united to its visible head, the pope. That’s why I like to repeat: All with Peter to Jesus through Mary! By seeing ourselves as part of the Church and united to our brothers in the faith, we understand more deeply that we are brothers of all mankind, for the Church has been sent to all the peoples of the earth…..

Faithful to the divine purpose for which she was born, Mary continues to spend herself in the service of men, who are all called to be brothers of her son Jesus. The Mother of God is also truly the mother of men.  Our Lord wanted it to be this way. So that future generations might know it, the Holy Spirit inspired St John to write:

“Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother ‘Woman, behold your son. ‘Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, brought Mary into his home, into his life. Spiritual writers have seen these words of the Gospel as an invitation to all Christians to bring Mary into their lives. Mary certainly wants us to invoke her, to approach her confidently, to appeal to her as our mother, asking her to “show that you are our mother.”

But she is a mother who anticipates our requests. Knowing our needs, she comes quickly to our aid. If we recall that God’s mercies come to us through the hands of our Lady, each of us can find many reasons for feeling that Mary is our mother in a very special way.”

The Joy of Consecration to Mary

For centuries, Marian devotions among Roman Catholics have included many examples of personal or collective acts of consecration and entrustment to the Virgin Mary, with the Latin terms oblatio, servitus, commendatio and dedicatio having been used in this context.Consecration is an act by which a person is dedicated to a sacred service. Sword of Truth’s Kelley Holy looks at the joy total Consecration to Mary can bring.

Bound to Mary, Bound for Heaven: The Joy of Total Consecration

Mary was born a Saint.

St Alphonsus Liguori affirms that the Immaculate Conception of Mary means that, full of grace and without stain of sin, Mary was born a Saint.

“To begin with the first point, it is certain that Mary’s soul was the most beautiful that God had ever created: nay more, after the work of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, this was the greatest and most worthy of himself that an omnipotent God ever did in the world.  St. Peter Damian calls it “a work only surpassed by God” (“Videbis solum Opificem opus istud supergredi”—In Nat. B. V. s. 1).  Hence it follows that divine grace did not come into Mary by drops as in other saints, but like rain on the fleece (“Sicut pluvial in vellus”—Ps. lxxi. 6), as it was foretold by David.  The soul of Mary was like fleece, and imbibed the whole shower of grace, without losing a drop.  St. Basil of Seleucia says, “that the holy Virgin was full of grace, because she was elected and pre-elected by God, and the Holy Spirit was about to take full possession of her” (“Virgo Sancta totam sibi hauserat Spiritus gratiam”—Cat. aur. In Luc. i. 47).  Hence she said, by the lips of Ecclesiasticus, My abode is in the full assembly of saints (“In plenitudine Sanctorum detention mea”—Ecclus. xxiv. 16); that is, as St. Bonaventure explains it, “I hold in plenitude all that other saints have held in part” (“Totum teneo in plenitudine, quod alii Sancti tenent in parte”—De B. V. s. 3).  And St. Vincent Ferrer, speaking particularly of the sanctity of Mary before her birth, says “that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified” (surpassed in sanctity) “in her mother’s womb above all saints and angels” (“Virgi fuit sanctificata super omnes Sanctos et Angelos”—De Nat. B. M. s. 1).

The grace that the Blessed Virgin received exceeded not only that of each particular saint, but of all the angels and saints put together, as the most learned Father Francis Pepe, of the Society of Jesus, proves in his beautiful work on the greatness of Jesus and Mary.  And he asserts that this opinion, so glorious for our Queen, is now generally admitted, and considered as beyond doubt by modern theologians (such as Carthagena, Suarez, Spinelli, Recupito, and Guerra, who have professedly examined the question, and this was never done by the more ancient theologians).  And besides this, he relates that the divine Mother sent Father Martin Guttierez to thank Father Suarez, on her part, for having so courageously defended this most probable opinion, and which, according to Father Segneri, in his “client of Mary,” was afterwards believed and defended by the University of Salamanca.

But if this opinion is general and certain, the other is also very probable; namely, that Mary received this grace, exceeding that of all men and angels together, in the first instance of her Immaculate Conception”

St Alphonsus Liguori – Glories of Mary, Discourse II

The Holy Name of Mary

A homily of St. Bernard, Abbot & Doctor

“And the Virgin’s name was Mary.” Let us speak a little about this name, which is said to mean “star of the sea,” and which so well befits the Virgin Mother. Rightly is she likened to a star. As a star emits a ray without being dimmed, so the Virgin brought forth her Son without receiving any injury. The ray takes naught from the brightness of the star, nor the Son from His Mother’s virginal integrity. This is the noble star risen out of Jacob, whose ray illumines the whole world, whose splendor shines in the heavens, penetrates the abyss, and, traversing the whole earth, gives warmth rather to souls than to bodies, cherishing virtues, withering vices. Mary is that bright and incomparable star, whom we need to see raised above this vast sea, shining by her merits, and giving us light by her example.

“All of you, who see yourselves amid the tides of the world, tossed by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, do not turn your eyes away from this shining star, unless you want to be overwhelmed by the hurricane. If temptation storms, or y ou fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star: Call upon Mary! If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship o f your soul, turn your eyes to Mary. If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life: “Following her, thou strayest not; invoking her, thou despairest not; thinking of her, thou wanderest not; upheld by her, thou fallest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her, thou growest not weary; favored by her, thou reachest the goal. And thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary.'”

The Humility of Mary

Humility is essential for the development of all the virtues. Saint Alphonsus Liguori teaches that Mary had perfection in humility.

“Humility,” says St. Bernard of Clairveaux, “is the foundation and guardian of virtues;” and with reason, for without it no other virtue can exist in a soul. Should she possess all virtues, all will depart when humility is gone. But, on the other hand, as St. Francis de Sales wrote to St. Jane Frances de Chantal, “God so loves humility, that whenever He sees it, He is immediately drawn thither.” This beautiful and so necessary virtue was unknown in the world; but the Son of God Himself came on earth to teach it by His Own example, and willed that in that virtue in particular we should endeavor to imitate Him: Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart. Mary, being the first and most perfect disciple of Jesus Christ in the practice of all virtues, was the first also in that of humility, and by it merited to be exalted above all creatures. It was revealed to St. Matilda that the first virtue in which the Blessed Mother particularly exercised herself, from her very childhood, was that of humility… The first act of humility of heart is to have an humble opinion of ourselves; and Mary always thought so lowly of herself, as was revealed to the same St. Matilda, that although she saw so many more graces bestowed upon her than upon others, she preferred all others before herself… Mary, the more she saw herself enriched, the more humble she became, remembering that all was the gift of God; whence she herself said to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun: “Know for certain that I esteemed myself most abject, and unworthy of the grace of God.” And therefore, says St. Bernardine, no creature in the world has been more exalted, because no creature has ever humbled herself more than Mary.”

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“O, how dear are humble souls to Mary,” says St. Bernard; “this Blessed Virgin recognizes and loves those who love her, and is near to all who call upon her; and especially to those whom she sees like unto herself in chastity and humility.” Hence the Saint exhorts all who love Mary to be humble: “Emulate this virtue of Mary, if thou lovest her.” Marinus, or Martin d’ Alberto, of the Society of Jesus, used to sweep the house, and collect the filth, through love for this Blessed Virgin. The Divine Mother one day appeared to him, as Father Nieremberg relates in his life, and thanking him, as it were, said, “O, how pleasing to me is this humble action done—for my love.”

“Then, O my queen, I can never be really thy child unless I am humble; but dost thou not see that my sins, after having rendered me ungrateful to my Lord, have also made me proud? O my Mother, do thou supply a remedy. By the merit of thy humility obtain that I may be truly humble, and thus become thy child, Amen. “

TAKEN FROM THE GLORIES OF MARY by Saint Alphonsus Liguori with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1931