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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for September

«Mary is the most tender mother of the human race; she is the refuge of sinners.» (St. Alphonsus of Liguori).

St. Alphonsus was born on september 27th 1696. He is considered as one of the greatest spiritual teachers, and stands out particularly for his devotion to Mary, Jesus’ mother. One of his most know books is “the Glories of Mary”. He preached and insisted greatly on God’s mercy and forgiveness. He founded the Order of our Most Holy Redeemer. He was canonised in 1839 and proclaimed “Church doctor” in 1871.

Lumen Gentium, 58

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"The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: "Woman, behold thy son" (Lumen Gentium, 58).

Liturgical text of the Hispanic Mozarabic rite

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"Innate and supreme Father, You bestowed countless and great gifts upon the glorious Virgin Mary, enriching her by your word with the message of the angel, immaculately conceiving your Son in her by your Spirit, covering her with your divinely powerful shadow and instructing her with the pure spring of your knowledge of how she was to give birth to the Savior. Being by your will virgin before the birth, after the birth she remains virgin by your power. Her pure chastity responds to your word. Her immaculate virginity is a miracle of yours. In her favor turn your eyes to our want, pull us out of our frivolities and deliver us from our vicious tendencies" (Liturgical text of the Hispanic Mozarabic rite).

This ancient Hispanic rite was part of the group of Latin language liturgies that were constituted in the West between the fifth and seventh centuries.

Haurietis Aquas

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"Another most precious gift of His Sacred Heart is, as We have said, Mary the beloved Mother of God and the most loving Mother of us all. She who gave birth to our Savior according to the flesh and was associated with Him in recalling the children of Eve to the life of divine grace has deservedly been hailed as the spiritual Mother of the whole human race. And so St. Augustine writes of her: "Clearly She is Mother of the members of the Savior (which is what we are), because She labored with Him in love that the faithful who are members of the Head might be born in the Church.'" (Luke 2:19; cf. Luke 2:51)." (Haurietis Aquas).

Blessed Bartolo Longo

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"Just as two friends, frequently in each other's company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar convsersation with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living a life of communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection" (Blessed Bartolo Longo).

Bartolo Longo was born in Latiano, a province of Brindisi, Italy, on February 10, 1841. He went to Naples in 1863 to finish his education and got involved in spiritism because of professors and bad company. He completely abandoned the Catholic Faith in which he had been educated. Discontent, assaults from the devil and deep sadness led him to search for help, which he found in a Catholic professor. The words of the professor were a shock for Bartolo: "You're going to die in a lunatic asylum and be condemned for eternity!" Later he went to a Dominican, Fr. Alberto Radente. On the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1865, he went to Confession and returned to the Church. This caused great joy in his family, which had not ceased to beg God for his conversion since he had gone astray. After Bartolo's conversion, a thought tormeneted him: "How could he be saved after the life he lived in the past? He felt a voice inside of him say, "If you spread the Rosary you will be saved." He understood that his vocation was to spread the Rosary and devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. In his lifetime he saw several works in favor of this mission and its extension throughout the world. A large church would be erected in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. He did not limit himself to this mission alone, but also helped in different works of Christian charity directed especially toward orphans and the poor. He died on October 5, 1926, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 26, 1980.

Saint John Berchmans

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"Let us go full of confidence to Our Lady, because She has brought us to God, and is in a certain way an aqueduct from which we will easily draw the heavenly water of Christ to our gardens; She is a very rich and generous queen. What safer place than in the wounds of Jesus, and the arms of the Queen of Angels?" (Saint John Berchmans).

This ancient Hispanic rite was part of the group of Latin language liturgies that were constituted in the West between the fifth and seventh centuries.Saint John Berchmans was born in Belgium on March 13, 1599, to a good catholic family. He was one of five children, 3 of whom consecrated themselves to the Lord. He always behaved well at home, helping his mother as much as he could. He studied at the seminary in Mechelen and then entered the Jesuit novitiate of the same city. John was distinguished by his charity, study and piety. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin whom he wanted to love with a very affectionate love, not wanting to stop until he achieved such love. He always lived under the gaze of this sweet Mother. During his life he was a defender of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and in the last year of his life, John had committed himself, signing with his own blood, to "affirm and defend the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception wherever it is found". He wanted to practice all the virtues and made an effort to observe perfectly his obligations, without excuses. He took advantage of his daily crosses, worked passionately for the glory of God, did everything by supernaturalizing the intention. He said "when you have to pray, pray with all love; when you have to study, study with all interest; when you have to practice a sport, practice it with all enthusiasm." He wanted to do things always with more love. He studied thinking about the future apostolate he would have and the souls he would meet. He died young saying that his greatest consolation was never having broken, in his religious life, any rule or order of his superiors and never having committed a venial sin. Before dying he pressed close to his chest a crucifix, a rosary and the book of the Rules, saying "these are my three most beloved garments, with them I die happy." He died on August 13, 1621. His last words were: Jesus, Mary.

Saint Catherine Labouré

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"This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular. These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask" (Our Lady to Saint Catherine Labouré).

Saint Catherine was born in France in 1806. Her mother passed away when Catherine was 9 years old. This made her entrust herself to the Virgin Mary in a special way so that She would be her Mother. Since a young age, Catherine desired to dedicate her life to God in the religious life. Her father resisted her going because there was no one to attend to the duties at home. Disconsolate, she begged the Lord insistently to grant her what she desired: to become a religious. One night in a dream, she saw an elderly priest who said to her, "One day you will help me take care of the sick." When she was 24, she visited her sister and saw in the convent Saint Vincent de Paul's portrait. She recognized the elderly priest from her dream and understood that she had to dedicate her life there. After insisting a great deal, she obtained permission and was accepted by the community. On November 27, 1830, she was praying in the convent's chapel when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her, completely radiant and shedding beautiful rays of light from her hands to the earth. She entrusted Catherine the making of an image of the apparition and a medal. On one side, the medal would have the Virgin Mary's initials--m and a cross--with the quote, "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The medal was made, and through it many miracles and special graces were obtained for those who wore it and prayed the prayer on it. From 1830 until 1876, when she died, Catherine lived in the convent and no one thought that she was the one the Virgin Mary had appeared to. Eight months before her death, Catherine told her new superior about all of the apparitions in detail, and it was known who was the one who had seen and heard the Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII declared her a saint in 1947.

 

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