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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 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.

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