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A Reflection

 

 

(7 minute read - Enjoy!)

 

Mary’s Charity In The Visitation

WE must not imagine that the Blessed Virgin Mary was moved to undertake this long journey to visit her cousin, St. Elizabeth, by curiosity to know if what the Angel had told her were true, for she had not the slightest doubt of it. Our Blessed Lady was moved by a secret impulse of God, Who wished to commence the work of Redemption and the sanctification of souls in this visit, by the sanctification of the infant St. John.

The most ardent charity and most profound humility animated her, and gave her wings to fly across the mountains of Judea, and these two virtues were also the cause of her journey. As St. Ambrose says, charity or grace knows no delays nor cold deliberations: Nescit tarda molimina sancti spiritus gratiae.

It need not therefore surprise us if the Most Holy Virgin, filled as she was with charity (because she bore in her womb Him Who is Love itself), should exercise it in continual acts towards God, to Whom she was closely united by the sacred bond of perfect love, and towards her neighbors, whom she loved so tenderly and sincerely that she sighed for the salvation and sanctification of the whole world.

She went with all alacrity, because she knew with what happy results her visit would be attended, in the person of St. John, and also because she wished to congratulate her cousin who, notwithstanding her age and sterility, had conceived the long-predicted precursor of the Word Incarnate. She went that they might rejoice together, and excite each other to glorify the God of all mercy, and to thank Him for so many favors and benedictions.

St. Luke would teach us by the words, Exurgens Maria abiit cum festinatione in montana in dvitatem Juda –‘Mary arose and went into the mountain country with haste, into a city of Judea’ – the care and readiness with which we also ought to correspond to the Divine inspirations. As it is the work of the Holy Spirit to banish all tepidity and negligence from the heart, so He would have us execute His Divine Will with all care and diligence, and He is offended by any kind of delay.
The virginal purity of Mary, which so dearly loved solitude, also caused her to go with haste, for the best protection for virginal purity is to appear as little as possible in the tumult of the world.

Having reached the house of Zachary, she entered it. She saluted Elizabeth. The Evangelist does not relate that she saluted Zachary also, for her love of purity was so great that she spoke little with men. Let virgins learn from this that they cannot take too great care for the preservation of this virtue.

Who can imagine the sweet fragrance of this most beautiful lily in the house of Zachary during the three months that she remained there? How well did she spend every instant! What honey, what precious balsam, must those sacred lips have distilled in the few but excellent words that they uttered! Indeed, Mary could speak only that which filled her heart, and that was Jesus!

Let us consider the meaning of the words, that ‘Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost’ – Et repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth – that Elizabeth, who had already received the Holy Ghost with all His gifts, received a new fullness and a new increase of grace by this visit. Although the Lord grants His graces to the just in full measure, yet, as the Gospel says, this measure can be so augmented as to overflow on all sides: Mensuram bonam confertam et coagitatam et supereffluentem dabunt in sinum vestrum.

Let us well understand this important truth. The grace of the Holy Ghost can never be granted to us in this life in such full measure that it cannot be augmented; therefore, let us beware of saying: “It is enough; I am sufficiently enriched with graces and virtues. Mensura conferta est – the measure is filled up, further progress in mortification is unnecessary.”

He who should speak thus would only show too clearly his misery, or, rather, his presumption, and the great danger to which he exposes himself. Omni habenti dabitur et abundabit, ei autem qui non habet et quod videtur habere auferetur ab eo. This text signifies that to him who has received much – that is to say, who has labored much, and never gives up – much shall be given.

Such a one believes that he has never done enough; but, conscious of his own misery, he continues to labor with holy and sincere humility. He, then, who possesses much, shall receive with usury, and superabundantly; but from him who profits not by the grace received, letting it lie idle and fruitless, because he believes he is rich enough, from him shall be taken that which he thinketh himself to possess and that which he does not possess.

This means that graces already received shall be taken away, because he has not traded with them, and those which have been prepared for him shall not be bestowed upon him, since he has rendered himself unworthy of them by his negligence. All this, however, is not to be understood of sufficient grace, which is never denied by God to anyone, but of efficacious grace, which, by a just judgment of God, is not granted to tepid and ungrateful souls.

The thirst for riches and honors, by which worldlings are tormented, never allows them to say, Enough. And yet they ought to be contented with a little, for experience teaches us that the highest dignities and honors and great wealth frequently occasion the loss of souls. It is in regard of such temporal matters that we should say, I have sufficient.

But, with regard to spiritual goods, let us never believe that we possess them in sufficient abundance, so long as we remain in this land of exile, but let us make every possible effort to advance day by day from virtue to virtue.

Experience teaches us that plants and fruits do not attain maturity until they have produced their seeds, which are necessary for the reproduction of their species. In the same way our virtues will never be sufficiently perfected, or reach their maturity, until they produce within us an ardent desire to make further progress. This desire is
the spiritual seed which produces new degrees of virtue.

 

Consecration of the Saturday to Mary

Holy Church is ever desirous to maintain a tender devotion in the hearts of the faithful towards the Most Blessed Virgin, and from the earliest ages of Christianity she has encouraged the consecration of the Saturday to her.

It is related that there was in the church of Santa Sofia at Constantinople a picture of the Mother of God which was veiled during the rest of the week, but on Friday evening the veil was raised without human aid, and lowered on the evening of Saturday.

Thus did Almighty God manifest His Will that Saturday should be dedicated to Mary. It was on Saturday she took so great a part in the work of our redemption, and it was fitting that on the morrow of the day when she so bitterly wept over the sorrowful scene of Calvary we should remember her tears shed for us in a special manner.

Again, on Saturday God rested from His work in the creation of the world, and the Church consecrates this day to her, to honor the mysterious repose of the Holy Ghost in her Immaculate Heart, and that of Our Blessed Savior in her chaste womb. Saturday is the introduction to Sunday – the symbol of eternal rest – and the Holy Virgin is truly invoked under the title of “Gate of Heaven” – Janua Caeli.

Saturday, moreover, is the day between Friday, the day of mourning, and Sunday, the day of joy and the Holy Virgin is the mediatrix between God, Who is Eternal Beatitude, and man, who is subject to endless evils and miseries.

Mary is the way to arrive at Jesus, and Saturday is a prelude to the solemnity of Sunday. Saturday is as a magnificent portal consecrated to the Mother of God, by which we enter the Sanctuary of God Himself. The Saints held this day in great esteem – on it they redoubled their pious exercises – and many begged, as a signal favor, that they might die on a Saturday.

 


This “Stories of Mary – Stories of the Rosary” is taken from The Month of Mary, According to the Spirit of St. Francis de Sales; by Don Gaspar Gilli; translated and abridged from the Italian by a Sister of the Institute of Charity. Robert Washbourne, London. 1890. Nihil Obstat: Fr. T.A. Smith, O.P. Imprimatur:Henricus Eduardus, March 14, 1890.

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 17, 2021

The heart of man is, so to speak, the paradise of God. Since...

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April 17

 

The heart of man is, so to speak,
the paradise of God.
Since His delights are to be with you,
let yours be found in Him.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Stephen Harding

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked a...

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St. Stephen Harding

Stephen Harding was an Englishman of an honorable family, and heir to a large estate. Born in Dorset, he was educated at the monastery of Sherborne and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin.

Desirous of seeking a more perfect way of Christian perfection, he, with a devout companion, traveled into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and to Rome. On their return journey, the two travelers chanced upon a collection of huts in the forest of Molesme in Burgundy, where monks lived in great austerity. Struck by their way of life and finding kindred spirits in Robert the Abbot, and Alberic the Prior, he bid his friend goodbye and threw in his lot with the monks.

After some years, finding that religious fervor had waned considerably, Stephen, Robert, Alberic and others went to Lyons and with the support of Bishop Hugh struck a new foundation in the forest of Citeaux sponsored by Rainald, Lord of Beaune, and Odo, Duke of Burgundy.

Later Robert returned to his monks of Molesme who reclaimed him as their abbot, and upon the death of Alberic, in 1109, Stephen succeeded him as Abbot of Citeaux.

He immediately instituted such austere measures to keep the spirit of the world out that he alienated the support of many who had helped to establish the abbey. Novices ceased applying, and to make matters worse, a mysterious disease decimated his monks to the point that even Stephen’s stout heart began to quiver wondering if he were really doing God’s will.

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked at the abbey’s door seeking admittance. They were headed by young St. Bernard who in his zeal had convinced his brothers, uncles and a number of his acquaintances to give up the world with him.

Increasing numbers called for additional foundations and the first two were made at Morimond and Clairvaux. To the general surprise, Stephen appointed twenty-four-year-old Bernard as Abbot of Clairvaux. When nine abbeys had sprung from Citeaux, Stephen drew up the statutes of his Charter of Charity which officially organized the Cistercians into an order.

Stephen Harding died in 1134, advanced in age and nearly blind, and having served as Abbot of Cîteaux for twenty-five years.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is...

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Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

Question:  I pray and pray, but I feel as if God is not listening. We always had a good, peaceful family life, but these last years have been tough. We don’t seem to be getting along and our finances have taken a turn for the worse.

I am so anxious about this situation that, not having anyone to turn to, I turned to God.

But God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists, who laugh at prayer, saying it is nonsensical and only a figment of the imagination with no real value?

Answer:  God is faithful to His promises, and God promised to answer our prayers. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

If God promises to answer our prayers, He will do so infallibly. But in prayer there are two sides: he who asks and He Who gives.

Our part is to ask. How must we ask?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, teaches in his book Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation that prayer must be persevering and humble.

So many times we hear people saying: “Oh, I used to ask God for this and that and the other, but He never gave it to me. Now, ten years later, how glad I am that He didn’t!”

One thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverance prayer. Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good. What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will. Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.


Answering Atheists and Agnostics
As for atheists and agnostics, their skepticism proceeds from the fact that they, respectively, deny God’s existence or deny men’s capacity to know God.

In this case, we can only express our regret over their ignorance of this Supreme Being, our omnipotent Creator and loving Savior.

We may direct them to a few sources that may help in their search for the truth of His existence. Atheism and agnosticism can only be sustained in ignorance or ill will because the evidence of God’s existence is overwhelming.

Moreover, God will not hide Himself from those who seek Him sincerely and unconditionally.

Another consideration pertaining to non-believers is this: If God were to grant us absolutely everything we ask at a moment’s notice, such people might start believing purely out of self-interest.

They would look at God as a wand-wielding wizard. And God Our Lord is infinitely more than that. He wants us to know, love, and serve Him for Himself so that He can treat us as children and heirs and grant us unending happiness in Heaven.

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady of Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."  Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima.

 

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I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists,

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