“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” – Pope Paul VI and The Need for the Angelus

During this Year of Faith and as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, I think it’s important to highlight some of the theology written by the Pope who oversaw the majority of the Council – Pope Paul VI. Reading his magisterial documents is important for us Catholics since he was the temporal guidance of the council (the Holy Spirit, as He does always, was the Heavenly guidance).

Most people remember his encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which caused a great stir in the Church and the in secular world when it was written at the height of the Sexual Revolution. Although it was rejected at the time by many, Pope Paul VI was quite prophetic in his writing of the document since we have seen the bad fruits of the Sexual Revolution come to “fruition” – and they have been destroying the beauty and dignity of the human person since the 1960’s.  Co-habitation, Abortion, Contraception, Pornography, and Same-Sex Unions are all bad “fruits” that were sold and have continued to sell at the market price by the media and organizations out to destroy the human person.

At a time in our world when these evils are being sold as if they were on a commodity exchange, we need a prayer that is based in the Paschal Mystery and the Motherly love and intercession for all of humanity that comes from the Blessed Mother. The evils above stand no chance against the Incarnation of Jesus and His Holy Mother. Together they show us the synthesis of humanity and divinity. One of the prayers that I think can lead us to destroying the immorality of this age is – THE ANGELUS.

In his Apostolic Exhortation, Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI says, “ What we have to say about the Angelus is meant to be only a simple but earnest exhortation to continue its traditional recitation wherever and whenever possible. The Angelus does not need to be revised, because of its simple structure, its biblical character, its historical origin which links it to the prayer for peace and safety, and its quasi-liturgical rhythm sanctifies different moments during the day, and because it reminds us of the Paschal Mystery, in which, recalling the Incarnation of the Son of God, we pray that we may be led “through his passion and cross to the glory of his resurrection.” These factors ensure that the Angelus, despite the passing of centuries, retains an unaltered value and an intact freshness. It is true that certain customs traditionally linked with the Angelus have disappeared or can continue only with difficulty in modern life. But these are marginal elements. The value of contemplation on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, of the greeting to the Virgin, and of recourse to her merciful intercession remains unchanged. And despite the changed conditions of the times, for the majority of people there remain unaltered the characteristic periods of the day – morning, noon, and evening – which marks the periods of their activity and constitute an invitation to pause in prayer.”

I would encourage you to begin reciting this simple yet powerful prayer on a daily basis (if you don’t already). I know after writing this post and reading the words of Pope Paul VI, it will be my initiative to recite this prayer at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. In a time when our world needs our prayers, here is a great prayer that can be said anywhere.

On a side note, please pray for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, Blessed John Paul II, Blessed Karl of Austria, and all the Angels and Saints as we head into the United States of America Presidential Election. May the will of God be done.

“Mondays with Mary” – Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on the Assumption of Mary

As Catholics, we have been blessed to live during two of the most memorable pontificates in recent history. Many people my age (late 30’s) consider ourselves the JP2 Generation and will go on to say that we are also now the B16 generation. The JP2 generation extends from individuals in their early 50’s and individuals in their mid 20’s, since Blessed John Paul II reigned as Holy Father for 26 years. His Pontificate will be in the memory of many individuals for years to come.

Our current Holy Father, Benedict XVI, is another amazing man of God and one that I love to read just as I love to read Blessed John Paul II. We are blessed to have Popes that are philosophers and theologians, for in history, Popes came from other fields of study.

For my last blog post of August 2012, I give you one excerpt from both of these men on the Assumption of Mary. Both of these excerpts are from The Angelus. It’s been my hope that you have enjoyed these “Monday’s with Mary” on the Assumption and Queenship of our Blessed Virgin Mary. In the months ahead, I will continue to focus on her relationship with the Church. In October, “Monday’s with Mary” will focus on the Rosary. In the month of the December, each “Monday’s with Mary” will explain the Immaculate Conception.

In the comment section below, please tell me if you have enjoyed these posts and offer suggestions of topics that you want to know more about regarding Our Lady.

Blessed John Paul II – The Angelus on August 15, 1999

“Today the liturgy invites us to contemplate Mary, taken up body and soul into heaven. By a special privilege, she was enriched by divine grace from the moment of her conception, and Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Father, opened the doors of his kingdom to her, first among human creatures. Now from heaven, where the Queen of the angels and saints is crowned, the Mother of God and of the Church is close to the Christian people before whom she shines as the “new and immaculate woman (who) mediated for the guilt of the first woman” (Sacramentarium Gregorianum, Praefatio in Assumpt., n. 1688).

“Let us turn trustingly to her who “shines among the saints like the sun among the stars”. Mary, like a bright star, shows us, pilgrims on earth on our way to heavenly glory, the homeland for which we are bound. She reassures us that we will reach our goal if we do not tire of constantly seeking the “things of above” with living faith, certain hope and fervent love. Not only does she show us the way, but she herself accompanies us and is the “happy Gate of heaven”.

“In various parts of the world, this ancient Marian feast occurs at the height of the summer season, a time when many people are on holiday, which is sometimes a mere escape and release. But if one’s physical constitution properly gains new strength, freedom from work enables one to make more room for the interior life and contemplation of eternal realities. In many tourist localities there are wonderful shrines and welcoming places of Marian devotion. So as to make the most of these days of rest, why not visit them and pause there in prayer, possibly together with the family? The encounter with Mary, in these spiritual oases, will be a comfort and encouragement for a more serene life and a Christian witness that adheres ever more closely to the Gospel.”

May the Solemnity of the Assumption therefore be an opportunity to experience Mary’s loving presence more deeply. As a sign of sure and comforting hope she is a support and an incentive for believers to be true disciples of Christ. May everyone feel her closeness; may the suffering, the sick and all who turn to her in their difficulties and trials, especially experience her efficacious intercession.

Mary, sweet Queen of heaven, show yourself a Mother to us all! “Give us days of peace, watch over our journey, make us see your Son, full of the joy of heaven” (Hymn for Second Vespers).”

Pope Benedict XVI – The Angelus on August 15, 2012 

“To understand the Assumption we must look to Easter, the great mystery of our salvation, which marks the passage of Jesus to the glory of the Father through the passion, death, and resurrection. Mary, who gave birth to the Son of God in the flesh, is the creature who is most deeply inserted in this mystery, redeemed from the first moment of her life, and associated in a special way with the passion and glory of her Son. Thus, Mary’s Assumption into heaven is the mystery of the Passover (Pasqua) of Christ fully realized in her. She is intimately united to her risen Son, victor over sin and death, fully conformed to him. But the Assumption is a reality that touches us too because it points to our destiny in a luminous way, the destiny of humanity in history. In Mary, in fact, that reality of glory to which each of us and the whole Church is called.

“The passage of the Gospel of St. Luke that we read in the liturgy of this solemnity shows us the journey that the Virgin of Nazareth took to be in the glory of God. It is the account of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (cf. Luke 1:39-56), in which Our Lady is proclaimed blessed among all women and blessed because she believed in the fulfillment of the words of the Lord that were spoken to her. And in the song of the “Magnificat,” which elevates her to God in joy, the depth of her faith shines through. She places herself among the “poor” and the “lowly,” who do not trust in their own strength, but give themselves over to God, who make room for his action, which is capable of doing great things precisely in weakness. If the Assumption opens us up to the bright future that awaits us, it also powerfully invites us to entrust ourselves to God, to follow his Word, to seek and do his will every day: this is the path that makes us “blessed” on our earthly pilgrimage and opens the gates of heaven to us.”

Blessed Mother, Assumed Into Heaven and now Queen of the Kingdom of God…Pray For Us!