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THE COMFORT OF OUR MOTHER MARY

We need not to be told of the comfort that a good mother is to her child. We know how such a mother from the earliest days of her little baby has surrounded and protected it by her constant and unwavering love and tenderness: how eager she is always to come to the assistance of the child when ailing or in distress of any sort: how anxious to promote by all the means in her power the well-being and happiness of her little one.

THE WELL-BEING AND HAPPINESS OF HER LITTLE ONE

We know, too, how when the child has grown in years and has become independent in many ways of a parent’s help, the good mother’s love still persists and is ready to befriend or take up the defence of son or daughter, when perhaps he or she has gone wrong and done something that brings what may be well-merited punishment and disgrace. History alone gives us innumerable examples of the sacrificing love of good mothers for their children. And many of us, no doubt, can recall among our happiest memories the love that our own mother had for us, and how often she shielded us in times when we were in some danger or difficulty, and we were left with no one else, perhaps, to stand by us in our urgent need.

STANDING BY US IN OUR URGENT NEED

We may well thank God for a good mother; but for no mother may we be more grateful than for that Heavenly Mother whom, as His last legacy and as an earnest of His own infinite love for us, Christ bequeathed us, when dying on the Cross He said to His disciple John and in his person to each and every one of us: “Behold thy Mother.” [John 19:26-27].

THERE IS NOBODY WHO CANNOT CLAIM MARY’S PROTECTION OR AID

We cannot question the fact that Mary is the Mother of each one of us, as is so often declared to us by the infallible teaching of the Church. There is nobody, however worthless he or she may be, who cannot claim her protection and aid. But what we have to impress upon ourselves, as perhaps hitherto we have not done, is the reality of this relation that exists between us, and how anxious her Divine Son is that we should look upon Mary as our true Mother.

MARY, OUR TRUE MOTHER

How evident this has been made by the countless graces and favours that God has granted to men through the intercession of her whom He always delights to honour! Throughout the history of the Church it is this great Mother who, after her Divine Son, takes a foremost place, so that we can hail her as the “Mediatrix omnium gratiarum”. It was she who helped by her prayers to prepare the first apostles to receive the Holy Ghost [Acts 1:14] and to go forth with all the gifts they had received to preach the Gospel of Christ to all nations, with a success so great that it was in itself a miracle and is one of the proofs of the divinity of the Church which they helped to found.

And so we find Mary, the Mother of the Church and of all Christians, in each successive age exercising her power and giving proof of her solicitude for the maintenance of the Faith. It is she who is invoked to exterminate heresy, as when, for instance, St Dominic with his devoted sons employed the devotion of the Rosary to stem and suppress the Albigensian heresy in the thirteenth century.

And when we come down to our times, how clearly God has given us proof that it is to His Holy Mother that we must have recourse for succour, both spiritual and temporal. Think of the apparitions to that poor little peasant girl (now St Bernadette) at Lourdes and of the millions from all parts of the world who have made pilgrimages to that famous shrine ever since, many of whom have been recipients of miraculous cures that the closest medical investigation cannot disprove. And even as late as 1917 Our Lady’s intercessory power with God was again made manifest by her apparitions to the three little children at Fatima at Portugal, and there resulting, as at Lourdes, in many miraculous favours bestowed on soul as well as on body.

It would be an incredulous person, indeed, who, having studied closely and with an open mind the wonderful effects of Mary’s intercession throughout the ages of Christianity, would still refuse to accept as a well-authenticated fact that it is through His Mother that Christ would have us find favour with Him and get into closer union with Him, thereby more certainly securing our own salvation.

AN IMMENSE COMFORT

This is the immense comfort that every good Catholic can enjoy, that Mary is in very truth his own Mother, as truly his mother in the supernatural order as the mother of whom he was born in the natural. Remembering the words of St Bernard in the familiar prayer of the Memorarethat “no one ever had recourse to her protection or sought her mediation without obtaining relief,” he should be emboldened to turn to her in his every necessity. In these bitter days of suffering and multiplied woes, it is well for all of us to re-enkindle our devotion to Mary and to ponder more deeply on all those prerogatives of hers which are recounted in the Litany of Loreto. She is the Virgin-Mother of God, and because of that very fact she is the Virgin most amiable, the Virgin most powerful, the Virgin most faithful to all her duties as a Mother to each and every one of her children. She is the “Seat of Wisdom” who will bring home to us those supernatural truths, so infinitely more important than any mere human knowledge or learning. And even if our lives have been lives of the most grievous and terrible sins, so many and so great that we may shudder and fear when we think of them, approach to this good and merciful Mother is not barred to us, because has not she made herself the “Refuge of Sinners”? And as the “Help of Christians” and the “Consoler of the Afflicted”, be they afflictions in soul or in body, has she not shown in countless instances that through her intercession we can be relieved of all our ills, that our sins will be forgiven and forgotten, and that we can enter into a peace of soul that she as the “Queen of Peace” can infallibly procure for us?

PEACE OF SOUL

She stands so infinitely higher than all the rest of God’s creatures that no human measurements or comparisons can give us an adequate idea of the distance that lies between her and them. She is far above all the Angels, Archangels, Dominations, Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim in all their ascending ranks of glory: she is above all saints, martyrs, confessors, and virgins.  She is the Queen of them all, the one and only human creature conceived without the least stain of sin and so verifying the truth of the poet’s words, “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast”.

OH, THAT WE MIGHT TAKE IT DEEPLY TO HEART

Oh, that we might take it deeply to heart. She, this great Queen and Mother, so surpassing as she is in the grandeur and splendour of her soul, is our own dear Mother. Each of us can claim her for himself, seeing in her one who is incomparably more tender and loving than any earthly mother has ever been or could be, one who is ever so solicitous for our eternal salvation, knowing so well at what price her Son has redeemed us, and ever interceding on our behalf that the prodigal outpouring of His Precious Blood on Calvary, of which she was such a close witness, may not be fruitless.

“MONSTRA TE ESSE MATREM”

Often, then, let us turn to her during the day, even as we go about our work, with such prayers on our lips as “Monstra the esse matrem” (Show thyself a mother), or with some indulgenced invocation as “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation”. The more we run to this good Mother, as little children run to their mothers, and the greater our love for her grows, the easier we shall find it to face the hard conditions of our lives, and the more consolation and comfort we shall enjoy under her protecting mantle.

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, S.J., The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

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WHY ARE THERE HOURS IN WHICH THE WHOLE WORLD SEEMS TO TURN AGAINST US?

There are hours in which this entire world, in the midst of which we are happy to live, “seems to turn against us.”

Our intentions are misconceived, wrong meanings are given to our words; we detect a malicious smile, or a half-unkind word, which leads us to suspect a thought hostile to us; our warm greeting meets with a cool reception, a curt refusal repulses our offers of service… Oh! how hard are these hours, and the more so as we do not know why they are sent upon us.

The secret is to bear this quietly and patiently

Courage, patience, poor desolate soul! God makes a furrow in your heart in order to sow his graces therein.

It is rare that these injustices, patiently borne, do not give at the end of the day an extraordinary feeling of calmness and joy.

It is the seed cast forth by God which is taking root and blossoming.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

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PSALM 12 – USQUEQUO, DOMINE

Psalm 12 [Psalm 13]

A prayer in tribulation.

Unto the end, a psalm for David.

How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me unto the end? how long dost thou turn away thy face from me?

How long shall I take counsels in my soul, sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider, and hear me, O Lord, my God.

Enlighten my eyes, that I never sleep in death: lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him.

They that trouble me, will rejoice when I am moved: but I have trusted in thy mercy.

My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation: I will sing to the Lord, who giveth me good things: yea I will sing to the name of the Lord the most high.

 

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WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE INQUIETUDE OF A SOUL OR OF A FAMILY?

The inquietude of a soul or of a family always comes from the absence of the direct action of God.

Do you wish that life should return to these drooping souls with all its fullness, bringing its clear sky and joyous sun?

Bring back God to them.

 

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

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BEWARE OF NOISY AND DESTRUCTIVE TENANTS!

The mind and the heart are like a house in which lodgers are received.They may be honest and quiet, or, on the other hand, noisy and destructive, doing much injury to the dwelling which shelters them.

Let us beware, then, of the ideas which we receive beneath our roof; let us not collect them at random from every book or magazine [or T.V., internet, commercials, music videos, etc.] which comes across out path. There are ideas which, when received as lodgers, can only be got rid of with great difficulty.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

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TRUST IN GOD GIVES US INNER STRENGTH AND A FUNDAMENTAL TRANQUILLITY

The antidote to fear

“‘Do not be afraid.’ These were the reassuring words of Jesus to Peter, James and John as they groveled on the ground at the sight of His transfiguration. They were frightened to find themselves on such intimate terms with divinity.

Our Lord’s words had a much wider range, however, than the disciples’ present moment of confusion. Very soon Jesus would die in disgrace, apparently helpless to defend Himself. The apostles (Judas excepted) would survive this test of their faith, but then they themselves would become the victims of persecution. There would be times when every man’s hand would seem to be set against them. In the end they would be faced with the choice of denying Christ or suffering violent death.

It undoubtedly was with all this in mind that Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ They had seen His glory. They would remember Tabor. They would know that Jesus was with them through all their trials.

‘Do not be afraid.’ It is the constant remembrance of this admonition which will give serenity to our own lives.

Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened

God loves us. Unceasingly we have His attention, His whole attention, His concerned attention. There is not a thing which happens to us of which God does not take note. Time and again in the Gospels our Lord tries to inspire our confidence in this loving care which He has for us.

‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?’ He reminds us. ‘And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave… Therefore do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.’ Then there is the beautiful parable of the lilies of the field whose raiment exceeds in beauty the robes of Solomon, and Jesus’ conclusion: ‘How much more you, O you of little faith!’

From His quiet invitation, ‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest,’ to His majestic, ‘Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world,’ Jesus keeps appealing for our trust.

Situations which test our confidence in God

We might be tempted to think that our Lord has been unduly repetitious in this matter, except for our own experience. Shamefacedly we have to admit that we still forget His assurances, still burn up an untold amount of nervous energy in unprofitable worry.

All of us are faced, and faced frequently, with situations which test our confidence in God. Some of these anxiety-producers are small ones, others are of major proportion. ‘I really should attend that funeral tomorrow, but if I do how shall I get my washing done?’ ‘I have to give a speech at the meeting and I’m frightened to death. What shall I say?’

‘I studied so hard for that exam, and still I flunked it.’ ‘The bills keep piling up. How shall we ever get out of debt?’ ‘If the diagnosis is cancer, how shall I ever bear it? And what will become of my family?’ ‘If I had taken the baby to the doctor sooner, I’m sure she wouldn’t have died.’

Out of all that happens to me God is going to bring good

In these and a million other worries and regrets, there are a few basic facts which we have to keep repeating to ourselves, over and over. God does love me. God does know and God does care what happens to me. Whatever happens to me (my own sins excepted) is God’s permissive will, is part of God’s plan for me and for those who depend on me. Even my mistakes, my well-intentioned mistakes, are a part of His plan.

Out of all that happens to me God is going to bring good; otherwise He would not let it happen. God knows my weaknesses and makes generous allowance for them. All that He asks is that I do my best, however inadequate that best may sometimes seem. When I have done my best, whether the result is success or failure, I can leave it to God to work it into His plan for me. Finally, I can never, never lose when I choose to do God’s will as I see it, no matter what human wisdom may dictate to the contrary.

Inner strength and tranquillity

We must be realistic. Trust in God will not stifle sorrow. It will not eliminate disappointment. It will not still all apprehension. Our emotions are not easily controlled. But trust in God will give us an inner strength and a fundamental tranquillity. Trust in God will keep us from defeatism and despair.”

– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

 

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“CONFORMITY WITH JESUS CHRIST” – COUNSELS FOR A CHRISTIAN LIFE

“These counsels which I am offering to you here, are those of a mother – the testament of her Christian heart; she wished to draw up herself a line of conduct, which would keep her beloved children in the path of duty, and assure their eternal salvation.

• IN CONDUCT: Uniformity, uprightness, moderation, prudence, gentleness, firmness.

• IN CONVERSATION: Gaiety without dissipation, reserve in language, forgetfulness of self, few confidences.

• IN FAULTS: Humble and sincere acknowledgement; deep sorrow without despondency; recourse to God; abandonment to His mercy.

• IN THE FREQUENTATION OF THE SACRAMENTS: Purity of heart, and of intention; lively faith, detachment, practical fervour.

• WITH GOD: Filial confidence, the study of His will, peaceful waiting for His time; prompt, generous, unqualified obedience.

• WITH OUR NEIGHBOUR: Cordiality, thoughtfulness, tolerance, compliance without meanness, deference without flattery, condescension without human respect.

• WITH OURSELVES: Strict justice, genuine and constant self-denial, patience in every trial.

• FOR THE MIND: Wise mistrust of its own enlightenment, blissful ignorance of its merit, holy employment of its talents.

• FOR THE IMAGINATION: Unalterable tranquillity in its flights, disregard of its phantoms, turning aside from its importunity.

• FOR THE HEART: Fidelity in banishing from it every kind of anxiety, watchfulness over all its motions, sacrifice of all that is opposed to the good pleasure of God.

• A LIFE OF FAITH: That is, entire conformity with Jesus Christ, in speech, thought, sentiment, and works: and continual dependence on His Spirit, in all things.”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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