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Ave Maria Meditations

Our Lady of Sorrows

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

BVM_OL_sorrowsThe martyrdom of the Virgin Mary, implicit in Simeon’s prophecy, is put before us in the story of our Lord’s passion. That venerable old man, Simeon, said of the infant Jesus: ‘This child is set for a sign that will be contradicted’; and to Mary: ‘A sword will pierce your soul.’

Blessed Mother, a sword did pierce your soul. For no sword could penetrate your Son’s flesh without piercing your soul. After your own son Jesus gave up his life – he was yours in a special sense though he belongs to all – the cruel lance opened his side and would not spare him in death though it could do him no injury and could not touch his soul. But it pierced your soul. His soul was no longer there, but yours could not be set free, and it was pierced by a sword of sorrow. We rightly speak of you as more than a martyr, for the anguish of mind you suffered exceeded all bodily pain.

“Mother, behold your son”. These words were more painful than a sword thrust for they pierced your soul and touched the quick where soul is divided from spirit. What an exchange! John was given to you in place of Jesus, a disciple in place of the Master, a son of Zebedee in place of the Son of God, a mere man in place of the true God. These words must have pierced your loving soul, since just to recall them breaks our hearts, hard and stony though they be. Do not marvel, brethren, that Mary is said to have endured martyrdom in her soul. Only he will marvel who forgets what Paul said of the Gentiles, that among their worst vices was that they were without compassion. Not so with Mary! May it never be so with those who venerate her.

Someone may say: “Did she not know in advance that her Son would die?” Without a doubt. “Did she not have sure hope in his immediate resurrection?” Full confidence indeed. “Did she then grieve when he was crucified?” Intensely. Who are you, brother, and what sort of judgment is yours that you marvel at the grief of Mary any more than that the Son of Mary should suffer? Could he die bodily and she not share his death in her heart? Charity it was that moved him to suffer death, charity greater than that of any man before or since: charity too moved Mary, the like of which no mother has ever known.

St. Bernard

The Holy Name of Mary

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

MHNecg[1]

THE NAME OF MARY

“Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising,  fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?”

Mary, our sweet loving other, Can my tongue her beauty tell?  All the splendor of her glory, raised on high with God to dwell. There is naught on earth to mirror our great Queen so chaste and fair,  Yet, the silent voice of nature whispers sweetly everywhere

THE NAME OF MARY.

She, Judea’s fairest lily, purer than the mountain’s snow, Brighter than the rays of sunshine,  than the diamond’s lustrous glow. Hence I love earth’s fragrant lilies, emblems of her purity, For their rare translucent whiteness, breathes so sweetly unto me.                             

THE NAME OF MARY.

(more…)

Pope Francis speaks about Our Lady

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

2013-05-31t193003z_1938558082_gm1e96109mq01_rtrmadp_3_pope[1]Pope Francis on vocations:  Christians need Mary, Church

On (a) Saturday evening, in the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis with a group of young people from the Diocese of Rome who are involved in vocational discernment.
 
He then proceeded to speak about the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives. “I thank you for this visit, this visit to the Madonna who is so important in our lives. And she accompanies even in the definitive choice, the vocational choice, because she accompanied her Son in his vocational path, which was so hard, so sorrowful. She accompanies us always.”

Pope Francis said he feels said when he hears Christians say they do not seek the Mary or pray to Mary. He recalled a conversation with two young catechists in the seventies, a couple with young children, who spoke beautifully about Jesus:

“At one point I said, ‘And devotion to the Madonna?’ ‘But we have passed that stage. We know Jesus Christ so well, that we have no need of the Madonna.’ And what came into my heart and my mind was ‘Oh… poor orphans!’ … because a Christian without the Madonna is an orphan. And a Christian without the Church is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, these two women who are mothers, two women who are virgins: the Church and the Madonna.
And to make a ‘test’ of a good Christian vocation, you need to ask yourself: ‘How is my relationship with these two mothers going?’ with mother Church and with mother Mary. This is not a question of ‘piety,’ no, it’s pure theology. This is theology. How is my relationship with the Church going, with my mother the Church, with the holy mother the hierarchic Church? And how is my relationship going with the Madonna, who is my Mamma, my Mother?”
 
Finally, Pope Francis led the young people in singing the “Salve Regina” to the Blessed Virgin Mary, before leaving them with a blessing and the request that they pray for him. 

The Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

 

The Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows of St. Joseph:

1. St. JOSEPH, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the SORROW with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep JOY that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.
 
2. St. JOSEPH, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter SORROW which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the JOY which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

(more…)

Little White Guest

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

LITTLE WHITE GUEST

You have come to my heart, dearest Jesus, I am holding You close to my breast;

I’m telling You over and over, You are welcome, Little White Guest.

I love You, I love You, my Jesus, O please do not think I am bold;

Of course, You must know that I love You, but I am sure that you like to be told.

I’ll whisper, “I love You, my Jesus,” and ask that we never may part;

I love You, O kind, loving Jesus and press You still nearer my heart.

And when I shall meet You in Heaven, my soul then will lean on Your breast;

And You will recall our fond meetings, when You were my Little White Guest.

 

Our Lady: Throne of Grace

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Our Lady is the throne of grace, in a very profound way. To her we can apply these words from the epistle to the Hebrews: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The throne is a symbol of the authority which belongs to Christ, Who is the King of the living and the dead. But the throne is a throne of grace and mercy, and we can apply it to Mary according to ancient liturgical texts; through her all graces come to us.

Mary’s protection is like a spiritual river which has been pouring down upon all men for nearly two thousand years.It is a tree that keeps giving fruit, a tree that God willed to plant with so much love. It is the immense treasure of Mary who is constantly caring for her children. What better way to obtain divine mercy than by having recourse to the Mother of God, who is also our Mother?

The plenitude of grace with which God wished to fill her soul is also an immense gift for us. Let us give thanks to God for having given us his Mother as our own, for having made her so exquisitely beautiful in her whole being. And the best way to thank him is to love her very much, to deal with her throughout each day, to learn to imitate her in her love for her Son – and in her complete availability for whatever refers to God. (more…)

A Call to Love

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Each one is called to fullness of life through the love of Jesus. He came to make all things new, to restore all things in Him, that our humanness, though weak, might be strong in Him. The Father sent His Son to take on a human nature to share with us the power of His Spirit that our inner nature might grow to the full stature in Christ. The only thing that can make us complete and whole is the love of God given to us through the Heart of Jesus.  Only when we are free can we be completely human. We are freed through the love of Jesus and His suffering humanity. 

The freedom gained in the love of Jesus unshackles the mind and empowers the spirit of man to expand to his full stature. Through his strengthening of our our humanness we grow in the love that makes us whole.  We can be completely human only when we give ourselves completely in love.  Only love makes our actions human. Our call to bea new man is essentially dependent on our ability to love with Christ’s love.
 
Humans are able to speak, but if we speak with tongues of angels and men but do not have love, we are nothing. Humans are able to believe, but if we have faith to move mountain but have not love, it is worthless. As humans we can make  sacrifices, even our own bodies; but if we have not love, we are nothing at all. We need love to be completely human. Our call to humanness is a call to love.
 
from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

In the Midst of War: Still Loving Jesus

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

fr-william-doyle-s-j[1]

Jesus is the most loving of lovable friends there never was a friend like Him before, there never can be one to equal Him, because there is only one Jesus in the whole wide world and the vast expanse of Heaven; and that sweet and loving friend, that true lover of the holiest and purest love is my Jesus, mine alone and all mine.
+
Every fibre of His divine nature is thrilling with love for me, every beat of His gentle Heart is a throb of intense affection for me, His sacred arms are round me, He draws me to His breast, He bends down with infinite tenderness over me, His child, for He knows I am all His and He is all mine.
+
O Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! who would not love You, who would not give their heart’s blood for You, if only once they realised the depth and the breadth and the realness of Your burning love? Why not then make every human heart a burning furnace of love for You, so that sin would become an impossibility, sacrifice a pleasure and a joy, virtue the longing of every soul, so that we should live for love, dream of love, breathe Your love, and at last die of a broken heart of love, pierced through and through with the shaft of love, the sweetest gift of God to man.
 
+Fr. Willie Doyle, SJ
WWI chaplain killed in the war on August 16, 1917
http://fatherdoyle.com/

St. Maximilian: a Short Guide to a Holy Life

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

maxkolbecrowns[1]

In any case, those who on this earth have had a chance to taste in advance a little bit of heaven can get some idea of what it will be like. Now everyone can have this experience. All he needs to do is:
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1) Go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment.
2) Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation.
3) Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin, but let him purify it immediately.
4) Let him do his duty manfully.
5) Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hands of the Immaculate Virgin.
6) Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life.
7) Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men.
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Then he will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise; and perhaps more than once he will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace, or illness.
 
+ St. Maximilian Kolbe

A Franciscan Tertiary Martyr: Bl.Franz Jagerstatter

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

In February 1943 Franz was called up again for military service. He presented himself at the induction centre on 1 March 1943 and announced his refusal to fight, offering to carry out non-violent services: this was denied him.

He was held in custody at Linz in March and April, transferred to Berlin-Tegel in May and subject to trial on 6 July 1943 when he was condemned to death for sedition. The prison chaplain was struck by the man’s tranquil character. On being offered the New Testament, he replied: “I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord, and any reading would only interrupt my communication with my God”.

On 9 August, before being executed, Franz wrote: “If I must write… with my hands in chains, I find that much better than if my will were in chains. Neither prison nor chains nor sentence of death can rob a man of the Faith and his free will. God gives so much strength that it is possible to bear any suffering…. People worry about the obligations of conscience as they concern my wife and children.

But I cannot believe that, just because one has a wife and children, a man is free to offend God”.

Franz Jägerstätter, who would not bow his head to Hitler, bowed his head to God, and the guillotine took care of the rest. He was obviously called up to serve a higher order.

The rest of this short biography can be found at the Vatican website at www.vatican.va

The Love that is True Friendship

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

What is happening to Friendship?

Once upon a time, there was friendship. Once upon a time, society accepted that the love of friends could be the single most important thing in a person’s life, and they did more than just accept, they celebrated the fact. Throughout history, discourses and sermons have been written in praise of friendship…
      Perhaps the change was the fault of Freud and Oscar Wilde; and then again, perhaps not. But today no love is accepted as valid that is not in some way sexual, and even if we set out to reject the sex-obsessed outlook of today’s society, we think in those terms despite ourselves.  What a waste! What a wicked denial and perversion of love! God has made friendship – did not Christ have his own beloved disciple? – and how dare we corrupt it and deny it!
       Of course, we must not despise sex: sex is holy, divinely ordained as a way of love and procreation – but it is not the only love. Friendship is not “mere” friendship, not a second-best; still less is it a repressed substitute for erotic love. It is a love in its own right, powerful, holy, overwhelming. A world with Eros but without friendship is a world full of isolated, self-obsessed couples, of love unshared – a sad thing indeed. And we are heading that way.

(more…)

Our Lord’s Love for Us through the Holy Eucharist

Friday, August 1st, 2014

priesthood3-5eymard[1]Ave Maria Meditations

“WE BELIEVE in the love of God for us.” That is a profound saying. Belief in the truth of the words of God is required of every Christian; but there is another belief, which is more perfect and is the crown of the first: belief in Divine love. Belief in the Divine truths will be vain if it does not lead to belief in Divine love.

What is this love in which we must believe? It is the love of Jesus Christ; the love which He manifests to us in the Eucharist, a love that is Himself, a living and infinite love. But what proofs of His love does our Lord give us in the Eucharist? FIRST of all we have His word, His veracity. Jesus tells us that He loves us, that He instituted His Sacrament only out of love for us. Therefore, it is true. We believe an honest man on his word. Why should we not trust our Lord as much? When someone wants to give his friend a proof of his love, he tells him personally that he loves him and he gives him an affectionate handshake. Well, our Lord sends neither Angels nor ministers to assure us of His love; He comes in person. Love will have no go-between. And so He perpetuates Himself only to tell us over and over again: “I love you. You see that I love you!” (more…)

Our Will/ God’s Divine Will

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Thy+will+be+done[1]

Try to grasp the fact – a very hard thing to do – that in the spiritual life ‘feelings’ count for nothing, that they are no indication of our real state; generally speaking they are just the opposite. . . You are perfectly right when you say that the first thing to do is ‘to give up your own will.

Why not aim at making God’s will alone yours in every detail of life, so that you would never desire or wish for anything except what He willed, and look on every detail as coming from His hand, as it does? Such a one is never ‘put out’ by anything — bad weather, unpleasant work, annoying incidents, they are all His doing and His sweet will. Try it, though it means high perfection.

+Fr. Willie Doyle

 

 

 

Desire to be a Saint

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

holiness1-3[1]On the Desire to be a Saint:

“When I spoke of you as a “chosen soul”, or words to that effect, I did not mean to imply that you were a saint–you have a long way to go yet. What I intended to imply was that I thought God had special designs on your soul and very great graces in store for you if only you will co-operate with Him in the work of your sanctification.
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With the record of much want of courage and generosity there is running through your life an undercurrent of earnest desire to be a saint. Not that desires alone will do the work: barren desires are most dangerous to a soul, making one content with intentions only; yet without a big ardent desire nothing will be done.
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“If thou wilt be perfect,” Our Lord once said, implying that sanctification is largely a question of good will. This, then, is the first grace you must pray for: the desire to be a saint.”
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Fr. Willie Doyle (1917)

 

Reparation

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

jesus-mary-magdalene[1]Ave Maria Meditations

It is easy to understand that we must make reparation for our own sins, but sometimes we do not see as clearly that reparation should also aim at consoling the Heart of Jesus. “But indeed, can acts of expiation console Christ who now reigns happily in heaven?” asks Pius XI. “‘Give me a lover and he will understand what I say’”, replies the great Pope in the words of St Augustine.

In fact, a soul who lovingly penetrates the mystery of Jesus will realize that when, in Gethsamane, He saw all our sins, He also saw the good works we would do in order to comfort Him. What we do today with this intention consoled Him then in reality. This thought spurs us on to further acts of reparation, so that Jesus finds no reason to complain sorrowfully to us: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery … I looked for one that would comfort Me, and I found none” (Mass of the Sacred Heart).

The idea of reparation brings to mind that of “victim of reparation” well-known to lovers of the Sacred Heart, and officially recognized by the Church in the Encyclical of Pius XI on reparation. (more…)