“Mondays with Mary” – History, Popes, and Prayers from Our Lady of Guadalupe

Since tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I thought I would share with you four articles that I have written in the past focusing on this great Marian celebration, but before I get to those, let me share some experiences I have had with this Marian shrine and title for Our Lady.

Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in my heart ever since I went on a pilgrimage to Mexico City when I was 17 years old. I had the chance to travel to Mexico with people from my parish at the time. It was great experience. I would love to return now knowing so much more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego.

When I was teaching high school theology during my first four years, I had an image, that I still have, that hung in my classroom each year. During the first two years, I planned prayer services that focused on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in my classroom. I was able to locate fake roses which we used to surround the image. See the picture below.

In recent years, I dedicated this website/blog to the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On the main page, you will see a picture of this Marian image. In my backyard, I also have a white stone statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She oversees the entire yard from her placement. I hope to put roses around the statute soon.

To continue to your reading about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would encourage you to check-out the aforementioned four articles below –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness 

2. 12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI and Our Lady of Guadalupe 

4. “Mondays with Mary” – Prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima  

Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us. 

10 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Today, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate one of the great solemnities associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This doctrine was declared dogmatic on December 8, 1854, by Blessed Pope Pius IX through an ex cathedra statement. For a full explanation of this dogma, I would encourage you to read my article, Special Friday Edition: “Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Conception: Explained.

Since you all know that I am a big Pope St. John Paul II fan, I thought I would focus today’s article on some of his quotes about this great Marian solemnity. Taken from a variety of his Angelus’ during his reign, here are 10 quotes from John Paul II on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception –

1. “The background for today’s solemnity is the biblical icon of the Annunciation, when the angel’s mysterious greeting resounded: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). “Full of grace”! Here is Mary, as God conceived of her and desired her in his inscrutable plan: a creature filled with divine love, all goodness, all beauty, all holiness.”

2. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sm 16:7). And Mary’s heart was fully disposed to the fulfilment of the divine will. This is why the Blessed Virgin is the model of Christian expectation and hope… In her heart there is no shade of selfishiness: she desires nothing for herself except God’s glory and human salvation. For her, the very privilege of being preserved from original sin is not a reason to boast, but one for total service to her Son’s redemptive mission.”

3. “This important Marian feast occurs during Advent, a season of watchful and prayerful preparation for Christmas. She who knew better than anyone how to wait attentively for the Lord guides us and shows us how to make more vital and active our journey to the Holy Night of Bethlehem. With her, we spend these weeks in prayer and, guided by her bright star, hasten to make the spiritual journey that will lead us to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation with greater intensity.”

4. “What happened to Mary turns our attention to Jesus Christ, the only Mediator of salvation, and helps us to see life as a loving plan with which we must cooperate responsibly. Mary is not only a model of the call, but also of the response. Indeed, she said “yes” to God at the beginning and at every successive moment of her life, fully complying with his will, even when she found it obscure and hard to accept.”

Immaculate Conception – Bartolomeo Murillo

5. “Today we contemplate the humble girl of Nazareth who, by an extraordinary and ineffable privilege, was preserved from the contagion of original sin and from every fault, so that she could be a worthy dwelling-place for the Incarnate Word. In Mary, the New Eve, Mother of the New Adam, the Father’s original, wondrous plan of love was re-established in an even more wondrous way. Therefore the Church gratefully acclaims:  “Through you, immaculate Virgin, the life we had lost was returned to us. You received a child from heaven, and brought forth to the world a Saviour” (Liturgy of the Hours, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, Benedictus Antiphon).”

6. “The Immaculate Virgin however invites us not to fix our eyes on her but to pass beyond, and as much as possible, to enter into the mystery in which she was conceived: the mystery of God who is One and Three, full of grace and fidelity. As the moon shines with the light of the sun, so the immaculate splendour of Mary is totally relative to that of the Redeemer. The Mother leads us to her Son; passing through her, we reach Christ. For this reason, Dante Allighieri notes fittingly: “that her radiance alone can dispose you to see Christ”.

7. “Mary was pleasing to God because of her docile humility. To the heavenly messenger, she replied, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1,38). It is with the same interior disposition that believers are called to accept the divine will in every circumstance.”

8. “Today the Church is celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If Christ is the day that never fades, Mary is its dawn, shining with beauty. Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt.”

9. “The Immaculate Conception shines like a beacon of light for humanity in all the ages. At the beginning of the third millennium, it guides us to believe and hope in God, in his salvation and in eternal life. In particular, it lights the way of the Church, which is committed to the new evangelization.”

10. “Hail, full of grace. What do these words mean? The Evangelist Luke writes that Mary (Miriam), at these words spoken by the Angel, “was greatly troubled…, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29). These words express a singular election. Grace means a particular fullness of creation through which the being, who resembles God, participates in God’s own interior life. Grace means love and the gift of God himself, the completely free gift (“given gratuitously”) in which God entrusts to man his Mystery, giving him, at the same time, the capacity of being able to bear witness to the Mystery, of filling with it his human being, his life, his thoughts, his will and his heart.”

Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception…Pray for Us

Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Praying with Mary during Advent

Before I get into the topic for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I want to share with all of you some monumental news when it comes to my writing. Today’s article is the 800th post I have written on TomPerna.org. I hope that my father is smiling down from eternity today since it was he who first encouraged me to start writing. In a month and a half, I will celebrate the 6th anniversary of this website/blog. Thank you to all my readers, followers, and supporters. Your prayers have been very helpful.

 Now that we have entered the Season of Advent, a season of anticipation, hope, and rejoicing, I wanted to share with you a great way to pray with Mary every night during this season. I didn’t realize the importance of this prayer until I heard it last night at our monthly Latin Novus Ordo Mass and then read about it this morning. I have mentioned it briefly in passing in previous posts and it has been listed among Catholic hymns when I wrote about Sacred Music, but I have never written on the prayer itself. The prayer I speak of is the Alma Redemptoris Mater.

In his encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, Pope St. John Paul II opens the document with these words about Mary –

“The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for “when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'” (Gal. 4:4-6).”

In God’s divine economy, even with the Fall of Adam and Eve, God always had a plan to save us, and just as a man and woman caused our great fall of grace, so too would a man and a woman reverse that fall from grace and establish a new covenant with all of humanity. Even on the first day of the disaster in Genesis, God promised us a Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ and the woman is Mary, the Dear Mother of the Redeemer. Her role in salvation history is unparalleled. Without her, we don’t get Jesus Christ.

The Alma Redemptoris Mater is one of the four antiphons associated with Mary, along with verses and prayers that follow. It is said or sung traditionally after night prayer, just before ones goes to sleep. The prayer is said from the beginning of Advent (from the night before the Fourth Sunday of Christmas) through February 1, leading us right into Candlemas. Below is the English translation. If you would like to say it or sing it in Latin, you can find it here.

O Loving Mother of our Redeemer

O loving Mother of our Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea,
Hasten to aid thy fallen people who strive to rise once more.
Thou who brought forth thy holy Creator, all creation wond’ring,
Yet remainest ever Virgin, taking from Gabriel’s lips
that joyful “Hail!”: be merciful to us sinners.

Up through the day before Christmas Eve:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Christmas Eve on:

Thou gavest birth without loss of thy virginity:
R. Intercede for us, O holy Mother of God.

Let us pray. O God, who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary hast offered unto the human race the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may know the effects of her intercession, through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen.

I would encourage you all to pray this wonderful prayer during the Season of Advent. Praying with Mary through this season and into Christmas will only benefit us more and help us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

O Holy Mother of the Redeemer…Pray for Us

A New Page – Pope Saint John Paul II

Over the past week, I have been working on a new page for this blog. Like my pages for “Mondays with Mary”, Quick Lessons from the Catechism, and the Doctors of the Church, I wanted this page to focus on a particular subject. Well, after a few days of slowly copying and pasting articles, I have created the new page – Pope Saint John Paul II.

You will find this page right after “Mondays with Mary” and before Quick Lessons from the Catechism on the top of my home page. Since so much of my writing is about Pope St. John Paul and since “JP2 Generation” is part of my subtitle, I figured that I should create a page where my readers can go and read my specific writings on John Paul II.  As of currently, there are 81 articles (82 if you include this one) that specifically focus on Pope St. John Paul II.

I hope you can read some of my articles on JP2 and share them with your family and friends. Feel free to share my website/blog with others as well.

In Christ through Mary,

Tom Perna

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray for Us.

Cardinal Wojtyla on the ski slopes.

“Mondays with Mary” – St. Teresa of Calcutta and The Miraculous Medal

Famously known as Mother Teresa, St. Teresa of Calcutta in her many years of worldwide missionary work with the poor was often seen with a Miraculous Medal in her hands. At times, she would pass out handfuls to priests who would meet with her. It didn’t matter who you were – young, old, dying, or healthy, if you came into a contact with Mother Teresa, there is a chance you received a medal.

During one of her last public appearances, just three months before her death in 1997 while visiting the South Bronx in New York, she held tightly to a basket full of these medals on her lap. As she gave large sums of them away, her sisters just kept on replenishing the basket. She loved this tiny sacramental. She said it’s one of the best tools to spread the Gospel message of love to the world.

She was so devoted to the Miraculous Medal that St. Teresa of Calcutta could be seen as the primary advocate during the second half of 20th century for this medal (St. Maximillian Kolbe is the first half).  Just like Kolbe, St. Teresa understand that the medal was more than just an object. It was sign of the Gospel’s message of love because the medal taught about Jesus Christ, His Church, Redemption, the Eucharist, Divine Mercy, original sin, grace, Mary, and the Last Things.

The Saint of Calcutta knew the importance of having Mary as Our Mother. She would often pray with the sick while holding this medal as well as press it against the person who was sick showing the importance of acknowledging Mary as Mother. Often, she would press the medal on the person’s body where the pain originated. The Miraculous Medal for St. Teresa of Calcutta was a medal of charity – a symbol of God’s love for all people, most especially the every now moment of our lives.

The Miraculous Medal or the Medal of the Immaculate Conception begins with the Apparitions of Rue du Bac in Paris, France at the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity. In the year 1830, St. Catherine Laboure received three apparitions –

  1. The “Virgin of the Chair” (July 18, 1830)
  2. the “Virgin of the Globe” (November 27, 1830);
  3. “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” (November 27, 1830)

On the night of July 18, 1830, St. Catherine was awakened by an angel disguised as a small child and was led to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. Catherine would recollect hearing the rustling of a silk dress just before seeing the Blessed Virgin seating in the director’s chair in the sanctuary. As Catherine approached the Blessed Virgin, after a time of hesitation, the Virgin said to her: “My child, the good God wishes to charge you with a mission.”

The Virgin Mary would explain to her all the things that would occur to her personally, the events and suffering that would happen in France, and the major events that were coming to the entire world. The Virgin Mary said,

“You will be in anguish until you have told them who is charged with directing you…tell it with simplicity. Have Confidence. Do not be afraid. The times are very evil. Sorrows will come to France…the whole world will be upset by miseries of every kind…graces will be especially shed upon those who ask for them.”

The Virgin Mary also told Catherine that the Vincentian Fathers and Daughters of Charity were in need of much reform. She said that a new community would develop from the Daughters of Charity. This came to fruition when St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Sisters in Emmitsburg, Maryland would eventually join the Paris community.

As she wept, the Virgin Mary told Catherine of the great dangers that would come to France and the world. Nine days after this first apparition, there was a revolution in Paris by Charles X to reestablish the “divine right” to the Bourbon monarchy. However, he was trampled upon in the “Three Glorious Days” where monarchists, merchants, and radical anarchists attacked the Church by beating, killing, and imprisoning priests and religious. They burned churches and pulled down statues and crosses. The Archbishop was force to flee for his life. The apparition prophecy of nine days earlier came to pass.

On November 27, 1830, the visions of the “Virgin of the Globe” and the “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” both occurred. The “Virgin of the Globe” is where the Virgin Mary is holding a golden ball in her hands and offering it up to God. This golden ball represents the Earth, but especially France and all people. After this vision, St. Catherine then saw another vision.

At this moment in the apparition, an oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin. Surrounding the oval frame were the words – “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

The Virgin then said, “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”

The vision then turned around and Catherine viewed the back of the medal. This image was shown to her seven times before the medal was struck.

These symbols from the vision are enriched with deep Marian theology and importance. On the front of the medal, we see Our Lady outstretched and rays coming from her hands. She is also crushing the head of the serpent. The crushing of the head of the serpent is the image we have from Genesis 3:15 (known as the Protoevangelium – first gospel) – “She will crush your head.”

The rays of light flowing from her hands represent her as Mediatrix of all graces. In prayer, she is our universal Advocate – “pray for us who have recourse to thee.” She offers our prayers to the Heavenly Father (as Queen Mother brings the petitions to the King).

The doctrine (and eventual dogma – December 8, 1854 by Bl. Pius IX) of the Immaculate Conception is revealed here – “O Mary, conceived without sin…” The medal was known first as the “Medal of the Immaculate Conception” but because it invoked so many miracles, it became known as the “Miraculous Medal.”

On the backside of the medal, we see the “M” connected to the cross with the crossbeam. This represents Mary’s Co-Redemption with her son and her role as Co-Redemptrix but always subordinate to Him (Jn 19:25-27). Mary is able to crush the head of the serpent by the power of Our Lord, not with her own power.

The two hearts on the bottom of the medal (Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus) define the whole age of Mary and the motif of the Marian messages to the modern world. The hearts of Mary and Jesus would be developed in the message of Fatima. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart leads to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The twelve stars on the back of the medal represent Mary’s universal Queenship (Rev 12:1), she is also the mother of the male child (Rev 12:5), and the mother of the “rest of her offspring” (Rev 12:7). She is our Queen Mother (1 Kings 2:19-21). The twelve stars also represent the twelve apostles who fulfill the twelve tribes of Israel. Mary is also known in the Tradition of the Church as the Queen of the Apostles.

The first medals were struck in 1832 under the permission of the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor de Quelen. In 1836, the Church investigated the apparition as well as the miracles attributed to the medal and said that there was a supernatural authenticity. In 1842, due to the conversion of a famous European Jewish figure, the Church declared the Miraculous Medal devotion approved. It is believed that the Miraculous Medal was the defining factor in promulgation of the Immaculate Conception being declared dogmatic on December 8, 1854 by Bl. Pius IX.

Sr. Catherine Laboure passed into Eternal Glory in 1876. Fifty-seven years after her death, while her cause for Canonization was occurring, her body was exhumed and was found incorrupt. On July 27, 1947, Pope Pius XII canonized St. Catherine of Laboure a Saint of the Catholic Church. The Miraculous Medal is worn by thousands of Catholics on a daily basis.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…Pray for Us

St. Catherine Laboure…Pray for Us

Source: 

McCurry , Fr. James. “Mother Teresa and the Miraculous Medal.” Mother of All Peoples, 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2004/09/mother-teresa-and-the-miraculous-medal/.

“Mondays with Mary” – Litany in Honor of the Holy Infancy of the Blessed Virgin

Since tomorrow, November 21, is the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the West (East – The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple), I thought I provide you with a litany to pray before or after Mass, or if you can’t make daily mass, you could recite in it your home in from a Marian image or statue. It is the Litany in Honor of the Holy Infancy of the Blessed Virgin Mary written by St. John Eudes.

In the book, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, written by the aforementioned saint, he explains the twelve mysteries that belong to the Holy Childhood of the Blessed Virgin. The eighth through the twelfth mysteries focus on tomorrow’s memorial, particularly the ninth mystery which is actually – her Presentation in the Temple. Mary’s presentation in the Temple of Jerusalem, at the age of three years old, was a great day for not just Mary and her parents, Sts. Joachim and Ann, but it was a glorious day for all of creation. It was the day that set forth the path for many great things to come beginning most notably at the Annunciation.

In the chapter focusing on the tenth mystery, St. John Eudes says,

“From the first moment of her entrance into the Temple she realizes that she is in the house of God, a house not less holy than heaven and meriting the same veneration and respect, since the God of heaven makes His dwelling there…She contemplates, adores, praises, loves, glorifies Him, and offers; consecrates and sacrifices herself entirely to His Divine Majesty. She renders to God adoration and praise more holy and more agreeable to Him than all which has risen from this Temple during the thousand years it has been in existence.”

Litany in Honor of the Holy Infancy of the Blessed Virgin Mary –

Lord, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us.

Infant Jesus, hear us,
Have mercy on us.

Infant Jesus, graciously hear us,
Have mercy on us.

God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Infant Mary,
Pray for us.

Infant Daughter of the Father,
Pray for us.

Infant, Mother of the Son,
Pray for us.

Infant, Spouse of the Holy Ghost,
Pray for us.

Infant, Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity,
Pray for us.

Infant, fruit of the prayers of thy parents,
Pray for us.

Infant, riches of thy father,
Pray for us.

Infant, delight of thy mother,
Pray for us.

Infant, honor of thy father,
Pray for us.

Infant, honor of thy mother,
Pray for us.

Infant, miracle of nature,
Pray for us.

Infant, prodigy of grace,
Pray for us.

Immaculate in thy Conception,
Pray for us.

Most holy in thy Nativity,
Pray for us.

Most devout in thy Presentation,
Pray for us.

Masterpiece of God’s grace,
Pray for us.

Aurora of the Sun of Justice,
Pray for us.

Beginning of our joy,
Pray for us.

End of our evils,
Pray for us.

Infant, joy of earth,
Pray for us.

Infant, joy of heaven,
Pray for us.

Pattern of our charity,
Pray for us.

Model of our humility,
Pray for us.

Infant, most powerful,
Pray for us.

Infant, most mild,
Pray for us.

Infant, most pure,
Pray for us.

Infant, most obedient,
Pray for us.

Infant, most poor,
Pray for us.

Infant, most meek,
Pray for us.

Infant, most amiable,
Pray for us.

Infant, most admirable,
Pray for us.

Infant, incomparable,
Pray for us.

Infant, health of the sick,
Pray for us.

Comfortess of the afflicted,
Pray for us.

Refuge of Sinners,
Pray for us.

Hope of Christians,
Pray for us.

Lady of the Angels,
Pray for us.

Daughter of the Patriarchs,
Pray for us.

Desire of the Prophets,
Pray for us.

Mistress of the Apostles,
Pray for us.

Strength of Martyrs,
Pray for us.

Glory of the Priesthood,
Pray for us.

Joy of Confessors,
Pray for us.

Purity of Virgins,
Pray for us.

Queen of all Saints,
Pray for us.

Infant, our Mother,
Pray for us.

Infant, Queen of our hearts,
Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, Infant Jesus.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, Infant Jesus.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us, Infant Jesus.

Infant Jesus,
Hear us.

Infant Jesus,
Graciously hear us.

LET US PRAY:

O almighty and merciful God,
Who through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost,
didst prepare the body and soul
of the Immaculate Infant Mary
that she might be the worthy Mother of Thy Son,
and didst preserve her from all stain,
grant that we who venerate with all our hearts
her most holy childhood,
may be freed,
through her merits and intercession,
from all uncleanness of mind and body,
and be able to imitate her perfect humility,
obedience and charity.
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Most Holy Blessed Virgin Mother…Pray for Us

Silence is Golden…especially before Mass begins

I remember in the early 2000’s every time I went to an AMC movie theatre, you would see a 1 minute and 3 second clip about being quiet in the movie theater. Well, in not so many words, Pope Francis said the same thing yesterday about not talking prior to Mass.

To this writer, this is a great thing! I have visited to many parishes around this country where “chitchat”, as the Holy Father referred to it, is done, and sometimes even encouraged. If you want to chat before Mass, I would say do it outside or in the church vestibule or foyer, but once you enter the nave of the church, talking (chitchat) should cease. I am glad the Holy Father taught about this yesterday.

Here is the article from the National Catholic Register speaking about what Pope Francis said  – Pope: Pre-Mass Time Is Meant for Silent Prayer, Not Chitchat

The Holy Father goes on to talk about prayer as well in his catechesis. To understand what Prayer is in the Catholic faith, check out a Quick Lesson from the Catechism on the very subject here.