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Devotional

Hail, Full of Grace!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Meditation on Luke 1:26-38: The Angel Gabriel was sent….


“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1:26f.). In the first place, the annunciation of the birth of Jesus is linked chronologically with the story of John the Baptist by the reference to the time that has elapsed since the archangel Gabriel’s message to Zechariah, that is to say “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. The two events and the two missions are also linked in this passage by the indication that Mary and Elizabeth, and hence their offspring too, are blood relatives.

 Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, made as a consequence of the dialogue between Gabriel and Mary (cf. Lk 1:36), occasions an encounter in the Holy Spirit between Jesus and John even before they are born, and this encounter at the same time makes visible the relationship between their respective missions: Jesus is the younger of the two, the one who comes later. But he is the one whose proximity causes John to leap in his mother’s womb and fills Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:41). So in Luke’s annunciation and nativity narratives, what the Baptist was to say in John’s Gospel is already objectively present: “This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me’” (1:30).

Now, though, it is time to look more closely at the story of the annunciation to Mary of the birth of Jesus. First let us consider the angel’s message, then Mary’s answer.

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Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Prayer: (Recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be after each number)

  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.
  3. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the JOY that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.
  4. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy JOY when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.
  5. St. JOSEPH, by thy SORROW when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy JOY in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.
  6. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the JOY in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.
  7. St. JOSEPH, by the bitter SORROW with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy JOY which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Savior Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

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Prayer of a Penitent

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

My Lord Jesus behold me defiled by sin. Again I have stained the holy garment of grace in my soul that Your Blood has cleansed so often. O, Father of mercy, hear my prayer. Give me a true spirit of penance that through the humble supplication of a contrite heart I may again receive pardon.

Since my last confession I have fallen more frequently than usual. My Jesus, I have gone back. But do not for sake me, though I richly deserve to be rejected as obstinate and incorrigible. Behold me prostrate before You, O my God. My sinfulness weighs me down. Alas, Jesus my God and Savior, I do not raise my eyes to you. How can I who have so often violated my past resolves presume to ask pardon again?

O my soul, crushed by the load of sin, take courage: your Redeemer will console you in your desolation. Reject me not, though I have miserably broken my promise of amendment. Cast not off Your wretched child or I shall be forever lost. From my heart I grieve for having offended you.

O holy Mother of God, my guardian angel, my holy patrons: intercede for me with my Judge and obtain for me the pardon of my sins. O Jesus, grant me a true spirit of penance. My Jesus, have mercy on me.

+St. John Neumann

Humility will Praise

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

The Fruit of Praising: 

As love grows stronger, so does the desire to praise increase. It is always a sign of the weakening of love when we have less taste for praising a loved one. This is a good point of spiritual examen. lf our love for God is growing less fervent and ardent, we have an inbuilt barometer to warn us. it registers less concern for praising Him. No, it is definitely not a rather bleak activity for all eternity, simply to praise.
 
For one thing, the more we love a human being, and certainly the more we grow in the love of God, the more do we see to praise. The person who loves very little does not see much to praise in the other: Again, this is a test of our charity. lf we do not observe much to praise in our neighbor; one thing is certain: we do not know him well enough, love him well enough. lf we come to love him more, we shall have our own reward of seeing more and more to praise. The heart that loves little always sees little or perhaps even nothing to praise. The heart that loves much will see something to praise where others may not. But there are qualities and characteristics of praise.
 
Praise is always humble. This is prominently its very first attribute because in praising another we in some way situate ourselves below that person. Praise of its nature exalts the one praised, sets this respected person or this dear God or this loved friend above the one praising. By the mere act of praising, we assume a position of humility. We take a willing stance beneath another person.
 
+ Mother Mary Francis p,c.c.

Humbling Ourselves

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Humbling Ourselves:   Only the truly humble shall! be exalted, says the Blessed Virgin. The haughty, proud, and presumptuous shall be brought low and sunk to the lowest deep. Let us then humble ourselves, not serving God negligently, but striving to employ vigorously all our strength to acquire true humility of heart and submission. Let us examine ourselves continually before God if we can say with truth that we arc submissive to all that is wished of us, receiving all as coming from the hand of God Most High, who sees the depths of our hearts. To put on a fair exterior and not to be submissive within is not to have humility. Though it seem to creatures who see only the outside that such souls are humble it is not so and God, who sees all, takes no account of that. We must submit the understanding and the will if we are to be humble. 

Let us humble ourselves greatly before this great God, because he looks only to the humble takes account only of the humble. Upon whom shall my spirit rest, he says by the prophet, but upon the humble and contrite of heart, who fears my words? The prayer of the humble shall be heard. These are the words of Holy Scripture which ought to excite us strongly to become little and to love our littleness.
 
+Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

Humility is the Safe Path

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

One Minute Meditation

Humility is always safe. 
There is one thing we need never be afraid of, namely, that the devil will ever attempt us to be humble. He may delude us in the practice of other virtues: indiscreet zeal, for instance, or the desire to devote our time solely to prayer. But we need never be in doubt as to whether it would be better to humble ourselves or not. There can be no doubt about it: it is always safe to do so.
 + Father William Doyle

There are Crosses in our Lives

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

 I want to assure you of my profound compassion in the painful crisis that you are going through. I understand it thoroughly. But if the waves of suffering and bitterness are violent, do not let yourself go under, especially under the influence of a physical and emotional depression that is very natural after such a shock. Do not let harmful imaginings and debilitating thoughts invade your heart…. 

Having come to Jesus to share in his sacrifices and his Passion, you have experienced this and continue to go through an agony similar to the one the Savior knew in Gethsemane. Do you know that these anxieties, these dilemmas are not unknown even in the world? It is enough to have received these choice graces and to know at the same time the deep call, the mysterious vocation of suffering….
 
You cannot relive your life in your mind and imagine that all would have been easier and better in another direction. No, the cross is planted everywhere, in the world…. And if the cross plunges more deeply into God’s chosen ones it is because he has himself prepared favorable soil….
 
A priest said about a woman who was struggling with her feelings: “There are times when you have to take your heart, throw it at God’s feet…and step on it.” How hard that is, but how mysterious! At that moment, miracles of grace take place, and one hour of such suffering is equal to a life given over simply to doing the good.
 
+ The Servant of God, Elisabeth Leseur

Misery: Mercy

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

St. Francis de Sales tells us that when we have committed some fault or have taken a fall from grace this is what we should do:    

“When your heart sinks, raise it gently, humbling yourself quietly in God’s presence with the knowledge of your misery, without surprise at your fall. For it is no cause for marveling that sickness may make us ill, that weakness tends to diminish our strength, and that misery will cause us to be wretched. But hate with all your heart the offense you have committed against God, and filled with courage and confidence in His mercy, get back on board to resume of the voyage to virtue, which you had abandoned. 

Between misery and mercy there is such a great link that the one cannot exist without the other. Certainly our miseries and our weaknesses, however grievous they may be, must not discourage us; they must, rather, make us humble and lead us to throw ourselves into the arms of divine Mercy. This mercy will be glorified in us in proportion to our miseries, provided we rise out of them. We should hope to be able to do this with the grace of our Lord.”

Do It For God

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

God is in the midst of us, or rather we are in the midst of Him; wherever we are He sees us and touches us at prayer, at work, at table, at recreation. We do not think of this; if we did, with what fervor and devotion we should live. Let us often make acts of faith, saying to ourselves: God is looking at me; He is here present.

Keep yourself as much as possible in the presence of God, humbly tasting the sweetness you will find there. Do not fear illusion. Despise troublesome thoughts and bear their importunity with resignation. A soul that fears God is not troubled by her fear of committing faults; she goes to her good Master with great liberty of spirit and with childlike confidence. When we only desire to please Him, we must not fear that He is offended by things that we believe to be well done… The only secret for accomplishing your actions well is to do them only to please God and to avoid anxiety and discouragement at your faults; this comes merely from self-love, because you think more of yourself than of God; yet we should think only of Him.

St. Claude de la Colombiere

A Heart Made for God

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Look at your heart. It tells the story of why you were made. It is not perfect in shape and contour, like a Valentine heart. There seems to be a small piece missing out of the side of every human heart. That may be to symbolize a piece that was torn out of the Heart of Christ which embraced all humanity on the cross. 

But I think the real meaning is that when God made your human heart, He found it so good and so lovable that He kept a small sample of it in heaven. He sent the rest of it into this world to enjoy His gifts, and to use them as stepping stones back to Him, but to be ever mindful that you could never love anything in this world with your whole heart because you have not a whole heart with which to love.
 
In order to love anyone with your whole heart, in order to be really peaceful, in order to be really wholehearted, you must go back again to God to recover the piece He has been keeping for you from all eternity.
 
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Feb 17 – Homily – Fr Johannes: Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150217m ( 14min) Play – In today’s homily, Fr. Johannes stresses the importance of the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and the role of the seven founders of the Servite order  on spreading this devotion. He also elaborates on the seven promises made to St. Bridget of Sweden for those whose practice this devotion daily.
Ave Maria!
Mass: 7 Founders of Servite Order – Opt Mem – Form: OF
Readings: 

1st: gen 6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10

Resp: psa 29:1-2, 3-4, 8, 9-10

Gsp: mar 8:14-21

Audio (MP3)

+++

Acting on Inspirations

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

One Minute Meditation

No human being can be as close to us as the Son of God in the Spirit that dwells in our souls. All we have to do, therefore, is act on our belief and open our minds in prayer. The moment we begin to pray our minds are open. And as long as we remain in the posture of prayer, whether we are conscious of it or not, whether we realize it or not, the Spirit of Christ is speaking to our spirit, we make ourselves aware of God and He pours in His divine wisdom.

 
Once thus enlightened, we must act on what we believe is God’s way of teaching us. Do not let these divinely inspired ideas remains sterile on the mind. They are there to be fructified in action: to be put into practice. Those who believe this and act on their belief achieve great things for the extension of the kingdom of Christ, as witness those great men and women who never doubted they were following Christ when they follow the illuminations He inspired in their minds during prayer.
 
+The Servant oF God, Fr. John Hardon SJ

Revealing Our Lady

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

God wishes therefore to reveal Mary, his masterpiece and make her more known in these latter times:

  • ·       Because she kept herself hidden in this world and in her great humility considered herself lower than dust, having obtained from God, his Apostles, and evangelists the favor of not being made known.
  • ·       Because, as Mary is not only God’s masterpiece of glory in heaven, but also his masterpiece of grace on earth, he wishes to be glorified and praised because of her by those living upon earth.
  • ·       Since she is the dawn which precedes and discloses the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, she must be known and acknowledged so that Jesus may be known and acknowledged.
  • ·       As she was the way by which Jesus first came to us, she will again be the way by which he will come to us the second time though not in the same manner.
  • ·       Since she is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him.
  • ·       He who finds Mary finds life that is, Jesus Christ. 
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

Importance of Gratitude

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

We know so well the gospel account of the 10 lepers made clean, only one of who returns to thank Christ. How much is revealed in this instance of the human heart of Christ and the human soul of Christ. He let us know that he was hurt by ingratitude: “Were not 10 made clean? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

We can say that Christ’s memory was assaulted by the sorrow evoked in him by the ingratitude of the nine but he chose not to “remember” after that one revelatory cry of this human heart, surely enough to break the ungrateful hearts of us all. He let us know how He felt and about the struggle with the hurt of this human heart; but then he made a human decision not to “remember” (the hurt). Instead he chose to remember that one was grateful.

We find decisions like that quite difficult sometimes. It is so easy to remember the hurt, the misunderstanding, so tempting to rehearse to ourselves the ingratitudes. Christ elected to remember what what would humanly enable Him to go on doing good. He did not allow His memory do enfeeble His soul but humanly disciplined His human mind to serve His human soul.

And there was Peter, with saint not quite yet prefixed to his name. When Jesus after his resurrection asked the famous triple question, was He not telling us that what He would choose to remember about Peter? He gave his poor, weak, but so loving disciple, Peter, the opportunity to present him with what He would choose to remember. Jesus could have remembered only the denials. He chose to remember the love, and gave us our first pope.

+Sr. Mary Frances PCC

Sanguis Christi, Inebria Me!

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Sanguis Christi, inebria me!

Blood of Christ, inebriate me!

It is the spilled Blood of Christ that through the ages has inebriated souls to the point of martyrdom. One has to be enlivened and beyond one’s own possibilities to be a martyr. One has to be, in the mystical and profoundly spiritual sense, quite “drunk” with God. The martyrs were the outstanding inebriates, enlivened and exhilarated beyond their nature, their potential.

Nature claims fiercely to life. The spiritual inebriate runs singing to martyrdom. All the saints of God were inebriated by the Blood of Christ. And if we are to excel our own meager possibilities, we must also be made drunk with that most Precious Blood. It is the Blood of Christ alone that can enliven us to respond with service beyond ourselves, that can achieve the overextension of ourselves without harm and, in fact, with glory…we are enabled to do the impossible when we are inebriated with the blood of Christ.

+Sr. Mary Frances PCC