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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for January

“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.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

s cirilo

"We salute you, O Mary, Mother of God, treasure of the universe, inextinguishable flame, crown of virginity (…) We salute you who in your virginal womb enclosed the Immense and Incomprehensible One."

Saint Cyril was patriarch of Alexandria (Egypt). Saint Cyril lived between 376-444 and is famous for his battle against several heresies, above all against nestorianism. He presided the Council at Ephesus (431), in which the dogma that defines that Mary is the Mother God was proclaimed. He defended the doctrine that gives Mary the name "Theotokos" (Mother of God). This defense led to imprisonment and many battles out of which he emerged victorious.

 

Blessed Paul VI

pablo vi

"The Blessed Virgin's role as Mother leads the People of God to turn with filial confidence to the one who is ever ready to listen with a mother's affection and efficacious assistance. Thus the People of God have learned to call on her as the Consoler of the afflicted, the Health of the sick, and the Refuge of sinners, that they may find comfort in tribulation, relief in sickness and liberating strength in guilt."

Blessed Paul VI was born in Concesio, near Brescia (Italy), on September 26, 1897. He felt the call to the priesthood and at 19 years of age entered the seminary in Brescia. He was ordained a priest on May 29, 1920. In Rome, he studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and later served as a member of the Secretariat of State. He had several important positions in Nunciatures and in the Secretariat of State until he was named Archbishop of Milan in 1954. Pope John XXIII named him Cardinal in 1958 and in 1963 he succeed John XXIII as Pope. He continued the labor of the Second Vatican Council. He wrote several encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, and letters, amongst which is the apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus for the right ordering and development of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he signed on February 2, 1974. He died August 6, 1978 on the Feast of the Transfiguration.

 

Blessed Jacinta Marto

jacinta

"Tell everyone that God grants us His grace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They should turn to Her to obtain the graces they seek. The Sacred Heart of Jesus wants Mary’s Immaculate Heart to be venerated next to His. People should ask for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary because God has placed it in Her hands."

Jacinta Marto was born on March 11, 1910. She was one of the visionaries of Fatima, where Our Blessed Mother appeared in 1917. Sr. Lucia spoke of her saying that she had a very mature spirit despite her young age. Jacinta loved the Heart of Mary and wanted to make reparation for the many offenses She receives. She had a great spirit of self-denial, and sacrifices for poor sinners did not frighten her. She always prayed for the conversion of sinners. She also prayed and offered sacrifices for the Pope, whom she loved dearly. In 1918, she fell ill during the influenza epidemic which later developed into purulent pleurisy. At first she hid the pain caused by the illness, offering it up in reparation for the sins committed against Our Lady. She eventually had to go to the hospital and suffered greatly there, although she never complained. During that time she continued to receive visits from the Blessed Virgin. The last sacrifice she was asked to make was to die all alone. Our Lady came down to take her to Heaven when Jacinta was only 9 years old. She was beatified on May 13, 2000.

 

St. Angela of the Cross

s angela

"My mother, my lady, my queen, teacher of meekness and humility, teach me to desire nothing more than to learn from you: most pure, most clean, most beautiful, most white, most beautiful, Holy Mary, my hope, my consolation, my happiness, my joy."

Angela was born in Seville, Spain on January 30, 1846. Her family was large, poor, hardworking, and pious. At home she learned to pray the rosary, the prayers of the month of May, and attended the dawn rosary with her father. From a young age she worked in a shoe shop, making shoes and serving the poor and marginalized. She felt called to the religious life but couldn’t find her place. In 1875, while she was in prayer, she saw Mount Calvary with a bare cross in front of Christ Crucified. She understood that she was to be crucified on that other cross. Guided by her confessor, Fr. Torres, she discovered that the Lord was calling her to found a new congregation, Institute of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross. The statutes of the Institute were approved in 1879. The Sisters of the Cross would live in great austerity while attending to the sick and needy. Though Sister Angela was relatively uneducated, she left us writings of great spiritual value. In her beatification, John Paul II said that: “The austere life of the Sisters of the Cross is fruit of their union with the redemptive mystery of Jesus Christ… Their example is a permanent sign of a charity which does not pass away.” Sister Angela of the Cross died in Seville on March 2, 1932. She was beatified November 5, 1982, and later canonized in 2003, by John Paul II.

 

Saint Therese of Lisieux

s terese

"What a joy to remember that she [Mary] is our Mother! Since she loves us and knows our weakness, what have we to fear?."

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was born in Alençon, France on January 2, 1873. Therese, the youngest of five children, lost her mother at the age of five. She was educated by her sisters and her father, who taught her to love the poor and to pray. Her sister, who was like a mother to her, entered the Carmelite Order. This new cause of suffering for Therese brought with it the certainty of her own call to Carmel, and she desired to enter the monastery as well. Due to the fact that she was only 15 years old, she decided to ask for the Pope's permission while on a pilgrimage to Rome. She pleaded before the Pope and he answered, "You will enter if God wills it." She was finally able to enter the Carmelite monastery, where she lived her spiritual childhood very intensely. She knew how to offer up the seemingly little everyday things to the Lord. She lived in self-denial and offered herself as instrument in God's hands. She contracted tuberculosis when she was 23 years old, and died a year later on September 30, 1897. She was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1922 and canonized two years later. Her feast day is October 1st.

 

Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous

s bernadette

"I do not promise you happiness in this life, but in the next."

Bernadette was born in Lourdes (France) in 1844. Her baptismal name, which later became her religious name, was Maria Bernarda, but everyone called her Bernadette. Although she still had not learned to read or write at the age of 14, nor was she able to learn her catechism lessons, she had many other qualities, like her honesty and devotion to Our Lady. She was graced with apparitions by Our Lady from February 11 to July 16, 1858, in which Our Blessed Mother confided to Bernadette her desire of having a chapel built in the place of the apparitions and that the people may go there in procession. She also spoke to her about the need to do penance. A fountain sprang up in the place of the apparitions, whose water became a fount of graces and of physical and spiritual miracles until today. One day, the Blessed Virgin said to her, “I do not promise you happiness in this life, but in the next,” and so it was. The life of St. Bernadette was a life of sickness, hardship and humiliations, but all these things helped her grow in holiness. Many people offered her money and other items, but she never accepted. Later on in her life, after the apparitions, Bernadette requested the entrance into the religious community of the Daughters of Charity in Nevers, France, where she would fulfill the duties of nurse and sacristan. She had much to suffer because of her poor health, and said “What I ask of Our Lord is not that he may grant me health, but that he may give me courage and strength to live my sickness with patience. To fulfill what the Blessed Virgin said, I offer my sufferings as penance for the conversion of sinners.” She only lived 15 years as a religious before dying, and nine of these years she spent suffering day and night from asthma and tuberculosis. She said in one occasion, “If someone has seen the Blessed Virgin just one time, he would be willing to do any sacrifice just to be able to see her again. She is so beautiful.” During her time as a religious, she was not allowed to speak about the apparitions but on April 16, 1879, the day in which she died, she exclaimed, “I saw Our Lady. Yes, I saw her, and how beautiful she was!” She was canonized by Pope Pio XI on December 8, 1933.

 
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