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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for March

“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).

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 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.

St. Manuel Gonzalez

san manuel

"Immaculate Mother, teach me to repeat generously, firmly, and peacefully in everything and every moment, the answer you gave to the Angel Gabriel, "Be it done unto me according to your word."

St. Manuel Gonzalez was born in Seville, Spain, on February 25, 1877. Known as "the Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle," he tried to instill the great love he had for Jesus in the Eucharist in his faithful and those around him. Before reaching ten years of age, he was a choirboy who sang and danced before the Blessed Sacrament on the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception. At twelve years of age, he entered the minor seminary and was at the top of all of his classes. He received his doctorate in Theology and his bachelor's degree in Canon Law after fifteen years of studying. He was ordained a priest in 1901 by Cardinal Spinola. He gave his first parish mission shortly after his ordination. He had an experience that convinced him of his mission to defend the Eucharist from abandonment. In a small down in Andalucía, he was shocked to find an abandoned tabernacle. Four years after his ordination, he was named archpriest of Huelva, Spain. In 1916, he was consecrated bishop of Malaga where he exercised his office for almost 20 years. On the night of May 11, 1931, a mass of people set fire to the Bishop's Palace. Miraculously, the bishop, together with his faithful, escaped from the flames. After this, he never returned to Malaga. As if exiled, he moved to Madrid, but in spite of all that had taken place, his zeal for Our Lord in the tabernacle continued. In 1935, he was named bishop of Palencia until 1940 when, after an illness, he passed away in Madrid on January 4, 1940. He was buried in the Cathedral of Palencia in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel as he had requested. "I ask that I may be buried alongside a tabernacle so that after my death, my bones, just like my tongue and my pen during my life, may repeat to those who pass by, 'Jesus is there! He is there! Do not abandon Him!'" He was beatified on April 29, 2001 and canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.

 

Venerable Maria Teresa Gonzalez Quevedo

teresa quevedo

"My Mother, may those who look at me, see you."

Maria Teresa Gonzalez Quevedo was born in Madrid, Spain, on April 12, 1930. She was joyful, active and enthusiastic. She loved to play sports and had a great love for life. When she was 10 years old, she decided to become a saint, and from that moment on she began to grow in her spiritual life. She joined the Marian Congregation. Upon receiving a medal of Our Lady, she decided to write on the back of it the following phrase: “My Mother, may those who look at me, see you.” It was during the month of May when she spontaneously prayed from her heart: “My Mother, grant me the vocation to religious life!” God later showed her that He wanted her only for Him. One of her friends experienced the same thing, but decided to wait to respond when she was older, but Teresa, generous and decided, corrected her by saying: “How stingy and egotistical! How can you think that Jesus is going to accept you all worn out after you’ve offered the best of your life to the world! Jesus has better taste than that, and wants your youth with all its joys and dreams as an offering.” In February of 1948, she entered as a Carmelite of Charity. Upon seeing her self-offering, many of her friends discovered that giving oneself to God did not mean sadness or failure, but rather joy. A little more than a year later in May of 1949, she suffered a serious fever, indicating that something was not right, the cause of which was acute pleurisy. In her diary she wrote: “During Communion, I had such a desire to give myself completely to Jesus in order to show Him how much I loved Him, that I offered myself as a victim so that He could do with me what He wanted.” In January of 1950, she suffered a terrible headache. Her father, who was a doctor, diagnosed her with tuberculosis meningitis. On Holy Thursday of that same year, her state suddenly worsened and she exclaimed: “Jesus, I love you for all those who do not love you!” Before dying, she shouted: “My Mother, come and receive me… take me with you to Heaven!” A few minutes later, she left this earth. It was April 8, 1950. She was proclaimed venerable by Pope John Paul II on June 9, 1983.

Blessed Philip Rinaldi

b felipe

"If you do something for the Virgin Mary, she will do much more for you."

Bl. Philip Rinaldi was born on May 28, 1856, in the province of Alessandria, Italy. He had the joy of meeting St. John Bosco who later invited him to become a Salesian. He was ordained a priest in 1882, and a bit later was placed in charge of aspirants to the priesthood. He worked in Spain and Portugal. In 1901, John Bosco's successor named him vicar-general of the congregation. He never allowed his intense work to impide him from exercising his ministry as priest and spiritual guide. He was named Rector Major in 1922 and dedicated himself to the formation of the Salesians. He lived totally committed to his vocation. He fell ill during August 1928 and, realizing its gravity, stated on one occasion, "I have grown old, I must forget about the world." He died in the year 1931, and was beatified on April 9, 1990 by Saint John Paul II..

 

St. Francis of Assisi

san francisco

"Hail Mary, Mother of God, in you was and remains, the whole fullness of grace and everything that is good."

St. Francis was born in Assisi (Italy) in the year 1182. During his youth, he led a worldly life, and, attracted by the world of chivalry, decided to become a soldier. He was imprisoned for a year after a battle between Perugia and Assisi. During that time period, he suffered a grave illness, which led him to change his life. He had a personal encounter with Our Lord and, leaving everything behind, Francis decided to follow Him in poverty. He practiced charity with those affected by leprosy and began working to restore a collapsed church. He started this mission after a vision in which Our Lord, from the crucifix of the abandoned church, asked Francis to repair His house. Although his father disinherited him, Francis preferred to renounce to his luxurious clothing and life rather than stop following Christ. He felt the call to go out into the world. When he returned to Assisi, he began to preach and, through his preaching, the first 12 disciples began to imitate his way of life. They would later become the first Franciscan brothers of the order. He led a life full of love for Our Lord and for poverty. He also traveled to the Holy Land and had an ardent desire to become a martyr. It was he who began the tradition of using Nativity scenes. He is also known for having received the stigmata (the signs of Christ’s crucifixion) and for writing the “Canticle of the Creatures.” He was very devoted to Our Lady. In his feverous prayers, he often asked her to be his “advocate.” St. Francis died on October 3, 1226. He was canonized on July 16, 1228.

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

san luis

"God the Father gathered together of all the waters, and He named it the sea (mare). He has gathered together of all His graces, and He has called it Mary (Maria)."

Saint Louis Marie de Montfort was born in Montfort (France) on January 31st, 1673. He was the eldest of 18 siblings, 3 of which became priests and another 3 religious sisters. Since an early age he was greatly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary and would often be found spending long periods of time before an image of the Virgin Mary. Ever since he was little he used to go to daily mass even though that meant getting up early in the morning and walking 4 km to get to the Church. He was 20 years old when he felt the call from God to consecrate his life in the priesthood. He was ordained at the age of 27 on June 5th, 1700. His priestly motto was: "Be a slave to Mary". Among his writings we find one of the most well known works written about Our Lady: "True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary". Saint Louis Marie is venerated as a priest, a missionary, and a founder, but above all as the slave of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died in Saint Laurent sur Sevre on April 28th, 1716 when he was just 43 years old. He was beatified in 1888 and canonized on July 20th, 1947.

 
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