The 6th Anniversary of “Mondays with Mary”

Today marks another milestone in my writing – it is the 6th Anniversary of “Mondays with Mary.” I started this series on a whim 6 years ago thinking that I would only do it during the month of that first year, but after receiving some comments on the blog posts that I wrote in May of 2012, I decided to continue to write every Monday on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As of late though, my writing on this series and overall has decreased due to family commitments (marriage/wedding preparation and our newest four-legged addition to our family, who we rescued and adopted). Writing has allowed me to share with you the importance of the Catholic faith and why it is so important to me. If writing wasn’t important to me, I would have quit long ago, but in case you are unaware, today’s post is my 828th overall and the 287th “Mondays with Mary.”

Our Lady of the Host by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

To celebrate today’s 6th Anniversary, I am going to provide for you the Top 6 “Mondays with Mary” of all time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them and sharing them with you today –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – The Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

2. “Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes from Padre Pio on the Blessed Virgin Mary 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – 10 Memorable Quotes about the Blessed Virgin Mary from St. John Vianney 

4. “Mondays with Mary” – 7 Benefits of Praying the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from the Saints on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Our Lady, Most Pure and Immaculate…Pray for Us. 

“Mondays with Mary” – A Marian Prayer of Saint Louis De Montfort

Although there are many saints that have a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the greatest Marian saints in the Catholic Church is Saint Louis De Montfort. He is most notably known for the classic, True Devotion to Mary: with Preparation for Total Consecration. It is considered among many as the greatest work of Marian spirituality ever written. Through this work, a Christian will find Jesus Christ completely and fully through the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is also known for the work, The Secret of the Rosary. 

Queen of Heaven – Diego Velázquez

As much as I would like to focus on St. Louis De Montfort and some of his works, for today’s short post, I want to provide for you one of his Marian prayers. As of late (last week I was flying home and I was sick) in these blog posts, I have been trying to locate, research, and provide for you Marian prayers written by different saints. I believe if we want to grow in our love and devotion to Mary, the best examples are our older brothers and sisters in the faith – the Saints! Their prayers to Mama Mary inspire me to write my own Marian prayer, but for now, I personally pray The Hail Mary and The Memorare.

My powerful Queen,
you are all mine through your mercy,
and I am all yours.
Take away from me all that may displease God
and cultivate in me all that is pleasing to him.
May the light of your faith
dispel the darkness of my mind,
your deep humility
take the place of my pride,
your continual sight of God
fill my memory with his presence.
May the first of the love of your heart
inflame the lukewarmness of my own heart.
May your virtues take the place of my sins.
May your merits be my enrichment
and make up for all
that is wanting in me before God.
My beloved Mother,
grant that I may have no other spirit but your spirit, to know Jesus Christ and His divine will and to praise and glorify the Lord, that I may love God with burning love like yours.
Amen.

Saint Louis De Montfort…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint Gemma Galgani

This coming Wednesday, April 11, is the memorial for one of the great young saints of the Catholic Church, and I imagine a saint that many of you don’t know well. In recent years, I have come to know a little more about this female saint of the late eighteenth century, but still have much to learn. I have not written anything on her as of yet but hope to in the next few days. The saint in which I am referring to – Saint Gemma Galgani.

Although she did not live as long as St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), she died at the age of 25, there are some rather striking similarities in their lives. Most notably, they are both considered mystics, both were given the Stigmata, and both battled demons. I would love to spend more time on writing about her life, and as I’ve just said, hope to write more this week, however, today’s post is about providing you one of her Marian prayers. Like so many of the saints before her, St. Gemma had a true and deep devotion to Our Lady, which in turn, led her to have a deep passionate love for Jesus Christ. Our Lady interceded for Gemma and led her repentant soul to the great merciful heart of Jesus Christ.

Sassoferrato – Virgin Mother

Here is the Marian prayer of St. Gemma Galgani –

Jesus entrusted me to His Mother,
and charged me to love her very much.
You are then my heavenly Mother.
You will be towards me
like any mother towards her children.
You see me weak?
You will have mercy on my weakness.
You see me poor in virtue?
You will help me.
O my Mother,
do not forsake me!
My dearest Mother,
do not abandon me!

Saint Gemma Galgani…Pray for Us. 

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope Saint John Paul II, Regina Caeli, and Easter Monday

Now that we have entered the Easter Season, the Marian antiphon that is proper to chant during this time is the Regina Caeli. The antiphon replaces the more common chanted Angelus, which is often heard throughout the rest of the year. Pilgrims traveling to Rome can gather to hear the weekly prayer and message given by the Holy Father. To learn more about the Regina Caeli and the Angelus, I would suggest reading the linked posts.

Madonna by Fra’ Filippo Lippi, O.Carm.

Since Regina Caeli means “Queen of Heaven” and today is Easter Monday, and on Mondays I focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary, I want to concentrate on some of the words from Pope Saint John Paul during from his Regina Caeli on the Easter Monday’s in his later Pontificate. As many of you know, he is big part of what I do for my full-time job and why I am so dedicated to my writing here and in other places.

The Polish Pope said…

“Today is Easter Monday, traditionally called “Monday of the Angel”, because angels appeared beside the women and the Apostles with a significant role in the extraordinary event of the Resurrection. It was precisely an angel who addressed the first message from the empty tomb to the women who had come to finish the burial arrangements for Jesus’ body. He says to them: “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here” (Mk 16:6) …Let us invoke the Queen of angels and saints, that she may grant us, supported by our guardian angels, to be authentic witnesses to the Lord’s paschal mystery.”

“But there is a second teaching we can draw from the angel’s words. When he [the Angel] urges the women not to seek “the living among the dead”, he wants us to understand that Christ — the living God who shines with glory — can be better known by his disciples now than before his passion and death. Now he gives his disciples the Holy Spirit, who can guide them “into all the truth” (Jn 16:13). The Spirit, the first gift of the Risen One to believers (cf. Jn 20:22), helps them in their weakness, leading them to “know fully the mystery of Redemption and to preach the rule of faith in all truth” (Peter Damian, Carmina et preces, III)…Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Queen of Heaven, who certainly did not fail to meet her risen Son and was able joyfully to continue her conversation with him. May Mary obtain for all the faithful the gift of a joyful and consistent witness, which will lead many others to meet and know the risen Lord, who lives always among us.”

“The proclamation ‘Christ my hope is arisen! ’(Sequence) continues to echo in today’s liturgy. In this way the spiritual joy of Easter is prolonged and expands in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful. Christ’s Resurrection is the most overwhelming event in human history. This event gave everyone new hope: from now on hope no longer means waiting for something to happen. It means being certain that something has happened because ‘the Lord is risen and reigns immortal!’…Let us entrust our heartfelt petition to Mary. “Queen of heaven, you who rejoice because the Son you were chosen to bear has risen…’”

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia – Rejoice, Queen of heaven, alleluia!”

This is the prayer that replaces the Angelus, which we address to her throughout the Easter season. The joy of the Blessed Virgin contains in itself everything for which the Church rejoices: every good of grace and nature. Let us therefore call upon her with faith and devotion: Regina caeli laetare, alleluia!”

“On this holiday, known in Italy as “Monday of the Angel“, there is still a strong echo in the liturgy of the heavenly messenger’s words to the women who had gone to the tomb: “Go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead” (Mt 28: 7). We hear the invitation as though addressed to us, too, to “go quickly” and proclaim the Gospel to the people of our time. May Mary, whom we call upon today in the Regina Caeli prayer, help us in this demanding mission which belongs to all the baptized. May she support us especially in bearing faithful witness that Jesus is truly risen and that humanity’s hope is restored to life in him.”

“May Mary, a silent witness of the Death and Resurrection of her Son Jesus, help us to believe totally in this mystery of salvation which, received with deep faith, can change life. May she enable us to transmit it with joy, as consistent and courageous disciples of the risen Lord, to all those we come across.”

“Mary became a model for Christian communities “rejoicing” in the Passover of the Lord, a source of true joy to all believers. Indeed, the Risen Christ is the source of and ultimate reason for this spiritual joy that no shadow can dim. The liturgy of the Octave of Easter echoes it constantly: “Christ has risen as he promised”. This is also what we proclaim in the “Regina Caeli”, a prayer so dear to popular piety…May the Virgin Mary, silent witness of this mystery, strengthen us in our personal attachment to the One who died and rose for the salvation of every human being. May she be our teacher and guide in the faith; may she support us in moments of doubt and temptation; may she obtain for us that inner peace which no one can disturb, because it is rooted in the certainty that Christ is truly risen.”

Regina Caeli…Pray for Us.

Pope Saint John Paul II…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Holy Week with the Mater Dolorosa

Yesterday, beginning with Palm Sunday, the Catholic Church entered Holy Week also known as the Great Week. In my personal opinion, these are the best days in the entire liturgical cycle because we celebrate the High Holy Days of Catholicism.

Holy Week begins with the great imagery of palms and olive branches, which were symbolic for victory and triumphant in the ancient world. We also witness Jesus riding a colt into Jerusalem, just as Solomon rode David’s mule into Jerusalem centuries before declaring him as king. We now see the New Davidic King, Jesus Christ, enter to the words – “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our Father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mk 11:9-10; cf. Ps 118:26).

As we begin this week of suffering with Our Lord, I want you to remember the one person who was there with him, most united with him, and always prepared to lead us closer to him, yes, even into his suffering – the person is of course the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the Mater Dolorosa, the Sorrowful Mother, Mary leads us into a more complete union with Jesus, not only during the joyful and blessed times of our lives, but also during the times of suffering and pain. During this week, as we walk with Our Lord to Calvary, we must keep in mind that we also walk with Our Mother.

Mary’s role is so important during the week of Holy Week that in the Roman Missal and Calendar prior to 1970, the Church commemorated the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Friday preceding Palm Sunday. Today, this commemoration is still celebrated in Catholic parishes where the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite is celebrated as well as in the Anglican Ordinariate parishes. This special day is a day where we remember what the Mother of God witnessed and underwent as she watched her Son brutally tortured and executed.

To better prepare for this Holy Week with the Mater Dolorosa, I encourage you to read and pray with the Seven Sorrows (Dolors) of Mary. Often prayed as part of the Mater Dolorosa Rosary, these seven sorrows will lead us into the suffering Our Lady endured not only during Holy Week, but also in the childhood of Jesus.

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady are the following:

1. The Prophecy of Holy Simeon

2. The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt

3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple

4. The Encounter of Jesus with His Blessed Mother as He Carries the Cross

5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross

6. The Descent from the Cross, and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother

7. The Burial of Our Lord, and the Loneliness of the Blessed Virgin

Mater Dolorosa…Pray for Us. 

“Mondays with Mary” – A Marian Image Painted by Saint Luke (Our Lady of Expectation, India)

According to traditions within the Catholic Church, it has been said that Saint Luke, the author of the Gospel that bears his name, the same author of the Acts of the Apostles, and a companion of Saint Paul, drew a variety of paintings and icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not only was he a trained physician, historian and theologian, but he was also a talented artist.

In the Eastern Church, he is raised to high esteem as the original “iconographer” – the man responsible for the first icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will often see paintings throughout the centuries of St. Luke in front of an easel, painting a portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus.

Although there are four specific icons that are attributed to Saint Luke, there are other opinions that he drew many more than just these four. The four often attributed to him are – Our Lady of Vladimir, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Salus Populi Romani, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As you will see from this online catalog, there are the other paintings attributed to Saint Luke.

The reason I am focusing on this topic today is because in last week’s “Mondays with Mary”, I mentioned that St. Denis placed a portrait similar to Our Lady, which was said to have been drawn by St. Luke. In my research for last week’s blog post, I came upon this image of Our Lady (see image below) –

Our Lady of Expectation (India) – Saint Luke

You will find this image in the online catalog above under the title – Our Lady of Expectation (also an older feast I have written on numerous times). It is believed that Saint Thomas the Apostle, the apostle to India, carried this “scapular” like image, strapped like a breastplate to his body, as he went to India to bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

This image is still venerated today in the main altar of St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is the place where St. Thomas was martyred for the Catholic faith.

Devotion to Our Lady goes back to the time of the Apostles. Even though she is our Mother, she was first mother to the Apostles. Also see “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Mylapore, another Marian image and veneration in India.

Although I have written about some of these Marian images in the past as well as written about the Blessed Virgin in Sacred Art, I am going to write on these from time-to-time for the foreseeable future to focus on the Lukan images of Our Lady in the aforementioned online catalog.

Our Lady of Expectation…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Fields

Traditionally, today in France, February 26, is the memorial of Our Lady of the Fields, also known as Notre-Dame des Champs. Instituted by St. Denis in the middle of the third century, this Marian title has withstood throughout the centuries, beginning in the early days of Catholicism in France.

Our Lady des Champs, during the ancient years, was dedicated to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility, and motherly relations. During this time, St. Denis was Bishop of France. He had a great love and devotion to the Blessed Mother. According to tradition, St. Denis drove out the demons from the Temple of Ceres and then consecrated the building to Our Lady placing inside an image of the Madonna similar to the one after St. Luke’s painting (next week’s Mondays with Mary). Catholics in Paris have honored this image for centuries under the title – Our Lady of the Fields.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is a woman of simple beauty, approachable – always leading us closer to our Son, Jesus Christ. She is humble and holy. She is the defining woman of creation and her simple beauty gives honor to the Heavenly Kingdom, for she is our Mother. St. Denis knew this well. He placed her in the former temple and Parisians have been honoring her ever since.

A simple flower of the field is the lily. The white lilies (Madonna lilies) and their beautiful fragrance represent Mary’s perfect purity, love, and humility to God’s divine economy. They are often seen during the Easter season when they represent the Resurrection of Christ.

If you can read French, I encourage you to look at the parish website in the Archdiocese of France.

Our Lady of the Fields…Pray for Us

Source: Roman Catholic Saints – Our Lady of the Fields (website).