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Header-May: The Month of Mary

 

During the month of May—the month of Mary—we feel a special protection of Our Lady that extends to all the faithful; we feel a special joy that shines and illuminates our hearts expressing the universal certainty of Catholics that the indispensable patronage of our heavenly mother becomes even more tender, more loving and more full of visible mercy and exorable condescendence during her month of May.

Even after the month of May passes, a remnant of this remains if we have profited from those thirty-one days especially consecrated to Our Lady. We are left with an increased devotion, a keener confidence and, so to speak, such an increased intimacy with Our Lady that in all the vicissitudes of life we will know how to petition her with respectful insistence, hope in her with invincible confidence and thank her with humble tenderness for all the good she does us.

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Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven and Earth and, at the same time, our mother. We enter the month of May with this conviction, and it becomes more deeply rooted in us when we leave it, strengthening our faith and increasing our fortitude. May teaches us to love Mary Most Holy for the glory she rightly possesses and for all that she represents in the plans of Divine Providence. It also teaches us to be more constant in our filial union with Mary.

Children are never more sure of the loving vigilance of their mothers than when they suffer. All of mankind suffers today; all peoples suffer. They suffer in every conceivable way.

Our Lady of Fatima imageWindstorms of impiety and skepticism sweep through minds, and crazy whirlwinds of all types of messianism devastate them. Nebulous, confused and rash ideas filter into every milieu and mislead not only the wretched and the lukewarm, but sometimes even those of whom greater constancy in the Faith is expected.

Those who are tenaciously faithful to the fulfillment of duty suffer from all the adversity they meet by their fidelity to the Law of Christ. Yet those who transgress the Law also suffer, for without Christ every pleasure is nothing but bitterness, and every joy is a lie.

Hearts suffer, torn by the revolutionary psychological war, which is so intense in our days. Bodies suffer, impoverished by work, undermined by malady, overwhelmed by necessities of every kind.

The contemporary world could be likened to the time when Our Lord was born in Bethlehem: Its tortured mouth opens with a loud and agonizing groan, the groan of the evildoers who live far removed from God and the groan of the just who live tormented by the evildoers.

The more somber circumstances become and the more excruciating sundry pains grow, the more we should ask Our Lady to put an end to so much suffering not merely for our own relief, but for the greater benefit of our souls. Sacred theology says that Our Lady's prayers anticipated the moment of the world's redemption by the Messias. At this anguished moment in history then, let us turn our eyes to Our Lady with confidence, asking her to hasten the great moment we all await, when a new Pentecost will kindle beacons of light and hope in this darkness and restore the kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth.

We should be like Daniel, whom Holy Scripture describes as the "desideriorum vir," that is, a man full of great desires. Let us desire many great things for the glory of God. Let us always ask Our Lady for everything. And let us, above all, ask her for that which the Sacred Liturgy beseeches of God: "Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur, et renovabis faciem terrae" (Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth). We should ask, through the mediation of Our Lady, that God once again send us the Holy Ghost with the plenitude of His gifts so that His kingdom may be created anew and be purified by a renewal of the face of the earth. In the Divine Comedy, Dante wrote that praying without the patronage of Our Lady is like wanting to fly without wings. Let us then confide to Our Lady this heartfelt yearning and desire. The hands of Mary will be for our prayer a pair of pure wings that will carry it with certainty to the throne of God.

 


  

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021

It is easy to infuse a most fervent devotion into others, ev...

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July 24

 

It is easy to infuse
a most fervent devotion into others, even in a short time;
but the great matter is
– to persevere.

St. Philip Neri


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Charbel Makhlouf

Multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was fi...

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St. Charbel Makhlouf

Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in the village of Bekka Kafra in Lebanon on May 8, 1828 and was one of five children born to Antoun Zarrour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. His father was a mule driver who died when Youssef was only three years old, leaving his widow to bring up their children alone.

Although Brigitta was left nearly destitute, she reserved a profoundly religious atmosphere in their home and instilled in her children a deep spirit of piety. Because of this fidelity, Youssef became unusually devoted and inclined to prayer and solitude at a very young age. He was greatly attracted to the life and spirituality of hermits; and as a young boy tending his family’s small flock, he would often go to a nearby grotto where he had erected a little shrine to the Holy Mother of God and would spend his whole day there in prayer.

When he was twenty-three years old, Youssef, feeling the call to the religious life, left his home and family to join the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Our Lady in Marfouq. Here he began his formation as a monk before later being transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron near Beirut. There he received the religious habit of the Maronite monk and took the name Charbel. He made his final profession as a religious brother on November 1, 1853 – he was twenty-five years old.

Brother Charbel immediately began his studies for the priesthood under the instruction of Father Nimattullah Kassab, who was also later declared a saint by the Church. Charbel was ordained on July 23, 1859, following which he returned to the Monastery of St. Maron where he lived a life of great austerity. In 1875, he was granted permission by his superiors to live a solitary life in the Hermitage of Sts. Peter and Paul, which was under the jurisdiction of the monastery; and there he resided for the remaining twenty-three years of his life until his death on Christmas Eve, 1898.

St. Charbel is renowned for his many miracles both during his life and after his death. His most famous miracle – which was also his first – occurred when, multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was filled with water. He is also credited with many healing miracles.

After his death, he was interned at the Monastery of St. Maron, now a famous pilgrimage site. His tomb was often witnessed surrounded by a dazzling light, and to this day his remains are incorrupt and an unexplainable blood-like fluid flows from his body. He was canonized on December 9, 1977, by Pope Paul VI, who held him up as an example to help us understand “in a world, largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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