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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for February

«It was not enough for God to give us his Son on a Cross, but he also gave Mary to us. When we honor the Virgin Mary, we will love Jesus more. When we place ourselves under her mantle we will better understand divine mercy. How great is God, how sweet is Mary!» (St. Rafael Arnáiz)

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

Saint Faustina Kowalksa

sta faustina

"O Mother, Virgin, this will no one comprehend, that the infinite God is becoming a man; It’s only love’s and His inscrutable mercy’s purpose. Through You, Mother - it’s given us to live with Him forever."

Saint Faustina Kowalska, whose baptismal name was Helen, was born in a town called Głogowiec, Poland, on August 25, 1905. From a young age, she was very sensitive to divine things; she often prayed and spoke with God. At the age of seven, she felt the call to the religious life for the first time. This call was later repeated when she was fifteen years old, but her parents did not give their consent for her entrance. She insisted again when she had turned eighteen, and, since her parents still refused to accept her vocation, she abandoned herself to life's vanities, trying to drown out the voice that was calling her, giving herself to creatures. Nonetheless, divine grace conquered in the end. One day, while she was at a dance, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared before her. He was covered with wounds and said to her, "How long will you keep putting me off?" She fled from the dance and went to the Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. She fell prostrate and begged the Lord to make her know what she was supposed to do. The Lord answered that she had to go to Warsaw immediately, for she was to enter a convent there. And so it happened. She responded promptly, a characteristic that would mark the rest of her life. The Lord called her to be an Apostle of his Mercy, granting her private revelations in which He spoke to her of his Heart, full of love and mercy. He asked her to write and speak to the world of his infinite Mercy and to spread the devotion to his Divine Mercy. The revelations are collected in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. During her lifetime, she sought strength from the Mother of God to be able to respond and to be faithful to the Lord. On several occasions, she tells of how the Mother of God appeared to her, encouraging her in the mission that Jesus had entrusted to her. Saint Faustina died on October 5, 1938 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1993. She was later canonized by him on April 30, 2002.

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