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Ave Maria Meditations

Preparing for the Coming of the Holy One of God

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

 “Mary wrapped the child in swaddling cloths. Without yielding to sentimentality, we may imagine with what great love Mary approached her hour and prepared for the birth of her child. Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the manger and the swaddling cloths in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim (…). The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.

Augustine drew out the meaning of the manger using an idea that at first seems almost shocking, but on closer examination contains a profound truth. The manger is the place where animals find their food. But now, lying in the manger, is he who called himself the true bread come down from heaven, the true nourishment that we need in order to be fully ourselves. This is the food that gives us true life, eternal life. Thus the manger becomes a reference to the table of God, to which we are invited so as to receive the bread of God. From the poverty of Jesus’ birth emerges the miracle in which man’s redemption is mysteriously accomplished.”
(Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, p. 68.)

The Son of God was lovingly carried by His holy virgin Mother for nine months as an unborn child.  When He came into this world a tender and helpless baby, He was laid in a manger of straw–prickly straw.  The One who was to redeem mankind began immediately and the life He was to live was not one filled with comforts or luxury.  But He would know the love of a mother and father, a family.  Mary and Joseph prepared as best they could within their means for the coming child, both spiritually and materially.  Often we prepare materially but spiritually is more difficult for busy-ness and obligation seem to choke out the time we need for quiet, to prepare our hearts and souls for a new dawn in our spiritual lives.  May we find time these remaining days of Advent for extra Masses, for confession, for times given to adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Our faith tells us that He, the Lord, is truly present in the Holy Eucharist; it was faith that brought souls to believe that the Baby, the Boy, the Man Jesus was the Son of God.  Marantha!

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Patroness for the Unborn

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Dearest Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe: to you we offer our efforts to protect the unborn.  You who are our life, our sweetness and our hope:  we do believe with St. Juan Diego that you are with us as our spiritual Mother. 

We seek your powerful intercession as we stand witness to the dignity of unborn persons and all persons who are made in the image and likeness of God.  We are in need of grace and strength to shine a light into the dark Culture of Death.  Help us to know that we must fight evil with good and to love even those who persecute us as we are to love our enemies and pray for salvation for them. 

Please obtain the grace for us not to grow weary or discouraged when do not see many results from our efforts. Help us to know that no prayer is ever wasted and we are heard in heaven and that there are many conversions that we will not know of until that day when we hope to see God face to face in eternity.  We thank you and love you, O dearest Lady of Guadalupe!

 

 

Who are you, Immaculate Conception?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: These words fell from the lips of the Immaculata herself. Hence, they must tell us, in the most precise and essential manner, who she really is. Since human words are incapable of expressing Divine realities, it follows that these words, “Immaculate” and “Conception”, must be understood in a much more profound, much more beautiful and sublime meaning than usual: a meaning beyond that which human reason at its most penetrating commonly gives to them…

Who then are you, O Immaculate Conception? Not God, of course, because He has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth. Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib. Not the Incarnate Word, Who exists before all ages, and of Whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception.” Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.”

But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by Original Sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate, Conception. Everything which exists, outside of God Himself, since it is from God and depends on Him in every way, bears within itself some semblance to its Creator; there is nothing in any creature which does not betray this resemblance, because every created thing is an effect of the Primal Cause… (more…)

A Little Treatise on Mary

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

A Little Treatise on Mary by St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church (Feast is December 4th)

But we, who consider God the object of adoration—–a God not made out of anything, but existing from all eternity, beyond every cause, word, or concept of time and nature —–we honor and venerate the mother of God. The cult of Mary, even though inferior to that owed to God, is superior to the honor paid to the other Saints and to the Angels in Heaven.

Because she is queen and mistress of all things, she merits the veneration suited to her greatness and unique dignity: If the memory of all the Saints is celebrated with panegyrics, who will refuse to praise the font of justice and the treasury of holiness? This is not done to glorify her but so that God might be glorified with an eternal glory.  

O daughter of Joachim and Anna, O Lady, receive the word of a sinful servant, who nevertheless burns with love and places in you his only hope of joy; in you he finds the guardian of his life, not only a Mediatrix in your Son’s presence, but also a sure pledge of salvation. We today also remain near you, O Lady. Yes, I repeat, O Lady, Mother of God and Virgin. We bind our souls to your hope, as to a most firm and totally unbreakable anchor, consecrating to you mind, soul, body, and all our being and honoring you, as much as we can, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

As soon as I believed there was a God, I understood I could do nothing else but live for him, my religious vocation dates from the same moment as my faith: God is so great. There is such a difference between God and everything that is not.

Blessed Charles prayed to be a martyr:  To prepare oneself constantly for martyrdom, and accept it without a shadow of reluctance, like the Divine Lamb-in Jesus, through Jesus, for Jesus- I must try and live as if I were to die a martyr today.  Every minute I must imagine I am going to be martyred this very evening.

OUR LORD TO BL. CHARLES IN PRAYER ON HIS WISH TO BE A MARTYR: 

“This life will be followed by death.  You wish for a mar­tyr’s death. You know how cowardly you are, but you know too that you can do all things in Him who gives you strength, that I am all powerful in My creatures. Ask day and night for it but always with this condition, that it be My will, and for My glory and my pleasure which I know you desire and pray for above all things. And have confidence; I will grant what you ask, that which is for My greater glory.  It is good to ask for this, for ‘there is no greater love than to give your life for the beloved,’ and it is right to wish to give Me this greatest love of all“’

Blessed Charles was martyred on December 1, 1916 in  Algeria where he had gone to live in order to bring the Presence of Christ to be amongst the people there.

 

On the Twofold Coming of Christ

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations encore

 

We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, what relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  (more…)

St. Leonard of Port Maurice: Feast Day is Nov.26

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks’ mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades.

He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard’s most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.

One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice’s most famous sermons was “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved.” It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men. The reader who meditates on this remarkable text will grasp the soundness of its argumentation, which has earned it the approbation of the Church.

(We can wonder how well such a preaching would go over in our day!)

The Presentation of Our Lady: A Feast of Preparation

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

On the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple:

On the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, we celebrate the fact that Our Lady’s parents brought her to the Temple at the age of three and handed her over to live there for a long period as a consecrated virgin where she might exclusively contemplate God.

There is a special beauty to this feast since it highlights the fact that Our Lady was chosen even before time began. She is called the root of Jesse (Isaiah, 11:1) from which Our Lord Jesus Christ would be born. She is introduced to the synagogue, the institution in charge of keeping this promise. Thus, the synagogue receives Our Lady as a first step. In this act, the hopes of ages would soon be fulfilled. Our Lady, a supremely holy soul, is received in the Temple and entered into the service of God. (more…)

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Litany of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Protector and Patroness of Third Order Franciscans

Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.
O Christ, hear us. O Christ, graciously hear us.
O God the Father, of heaven: have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world: have mercy on us.
O God, the Holy Ghost: have mercy on us.
O Holy Trinity, one God: have mercy upon us.
Holy Mary: Pray for us.
Immaculate Virgin: Mother and Mistress of our Order: Pray for us.
+
St. Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary:  Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, Duchess of Thuringia: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, queen in the Kingdom of God: Pray for us.
 St. Elizabeth, consoler of sinners: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, nurse of lepers: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, devoted wife of Louis the Good: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, famous exemplar of Christian widowhood: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, fervent spouse of the Son of God: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, humble in prosperity: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, patient in adversity: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, mighty in penance: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, wondrous in prayer: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, first-born of the Tertiaries: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, Protectress of our Order: Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, the “dear saint” of Holy Church: Pray for us.
 +
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world: spare us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world: graciously hear us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
 +
V. Pray for us, O blessed Elizabeth. Alleluia.
R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Alleluia.
 +
Let us pray: Merciful Lord, we pray Thee to pour the bright beams of Thy grace into our hearts: that, by the glorious prayers of Thy Saint Elizabeth, we may learn to despise all worldly prosperity, and ever to rejoice in all Heavenly consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Passive Penances

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Some means of practicing penance:

First we ought to be aware of what are called passive mortifications.  These can be–when offered with love–what happens to us unexpectedly, or what does not depend on our will: cold, heat, pain, patience at having to wait longer than we expected, not reacting in kind to a brusque answer we might receive. Along with these passive mortifications, there are many others which can make our dealings with other people more pleasant–punctuality for example, listening with real interest, speaking when there is an uncomfortable moment of silence, being affable and not allowing circumstances to dictate our moods, being courteous and polite with others, saying thank you and apologizing when we have annoyed someone. (more…)

Christians in the World

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

The Christians in the world 

“Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. 

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.  

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them.

(more…)

Prayer for the Canonization of Bl. John Duns Scotus

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations November 8th is the Feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus

O Most High, Almighty and gracious Lord,  Who exalts the humble and confounds the proud of heart,  grant us the great joy of seeing Blessed John Duns Scotus canonized.

He honoured Your Son with the most sublime praises;  he was the first to defend successfully  the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary;  he lived in heroic obedience to the Holy Father,  to the Church and to the Seraphic Order. O

Most Holy Father, God of infinite love,  hear, we beseech You, our humble prayer,  through the merits of Your Only-Begotten Son and of His Mother,  Coredemptrix and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Joseph: Patron of the Dying

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

In this month of November let us remember the souls in Purgatory in a special way every day and let us also pray for the great blessing of a happy death in a state of grace for ourselves.  St. Joseph is the Patron of a Blessed Death; let us ask him for this grace.

Petition Prayer to St. Joseph:
 
O glorious Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor we now request…
 
(State your request here.)
 
O guardian of the Word Incarnate,
we feel animated with confidence that your prayers
in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
 
O glorious St. Joseph,
through the love you bear to Jesus Christ
and for the glory of His name,
hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
 
Amen.

November 2nd: All Souls Day

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

November is a month especially dedicated to praying for the souls in Purgatory.  Let us begin with these thoughts:

According to tradition, our Lord promised St. Gertrude the Great that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

other prayers:

O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: “Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

For more information on the Indulgence to be gained and also an Introduction to All Souls Day: (more…)

Loving Jesus

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

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