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MATER DEI, MATER MEI – GOD’S MOTHER IS MY MOTHER

MATER DEI, MATER MEI – GOD’S MOTHER IS MY MOTHER

DO WE REALLY BELIEVE IT? 

Mary is our Mother. – Most of us realise this fact in a vague sort of way. We have heard it since we were old enough to remember. We have been accustomed to referring to Mary as our Blessed Mother.

Yet, do we really believe it? We have a mother who brought us into the world. Perhaps she is still living. If not, we probably have vivid memories of her. We can’t have two mothers, can we? Mary is our mother in a figurative sense, she is called our mother because she has taken such an interest in us.

That is the way many of us would express our thoughts on the matter if we should ever stop to analyse them.

This attitude, however, is not correct. We do have two mothers, a mother in the natural order and a mother in the supernatural order.

Mary is our mother in the supernatural order. She is really and truly our mother, just as much so as is our mother in the natural order.

MARY MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO RECEIVE SUPERNATURAL LIFE

A mother is one who gives life. Our earthly mother gave us our life in this world, our natural life. Mary has given us the life that elevates our life in this world and flowers in the next, our supernatural life.

After the sin of Adam, our souls were deprived of supernatural life. This life was restored through the Redemption of Christ and Baptism. Mary made it possible for us to receive this life. She did this at Nazareth, on Calvary and at our Baptism.

At Nazareth the angel Gabriel brought to Mary the most wonderful news that has ever been given to any human being. He told her that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God. Mary’s consent was needed, before the Incarnation could take place. She thought of us at that moment. By answering “No” she could have left us in death. By answering “Yes”she could give us life. She gave her consent and the Word was made Flesh. Our Redemption had been made possible.

ABOUT 34 YEARS LATER… 

About 34 years later Mary stood on the hill of Calvary beneath the cross on which her divine Son was giving His life for us. He was dying that we might be delivered from sin and death. Mary united her sacrifice with His. She thought of us, her children, at that moment. She bravely and generously offered her Son to the Father for our salvation. Never did any creature make such a sacrifice. And she did it for us. Mary, ever Virgin, experienced only joy when she brought Jesus into the world. When she gave us our spiritual birth, she underwent the most agonising sorrow.

Again at Baptism Mary gave us spiritual life. It was by her intercession that we had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Baptism fruitfully .

LIFE WITHOUT END

Because of Mary, then, we can hope to enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven. She has given us our life in the next world. This “is not a passing life like your terrestrial one, but a life without end,” says Father Emil Neubert, S. M., in My Ideal-Jesus, Son of Mary. “Not a life full of imperfections and anguish like our present existence, but a life incomparably happy; not a created life, human or angelical, but – and understand it well – a participation in uncreated life, in the very life of God, the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. And that is why this life will be endless and incomparably happy, because it is a sharing in the eternity and in the beatitude of God.”

So the life that Mary has given us is much greater than the life we are now living. She is truly our spiritual mother.

EACH OF US CAN REPEAT THIS TREMENDOUS TRUTH

St Stanislaus Kostka used to repeat with great happiness, “Mater Dei, Mater mei” – “God’s Mother is my Mother.” Each of us can repeat this tremendous truth.

Mary’s Immaculate Heart was fashioned by her Creator so that God made Man could receive the perfect love of the perfect mother. Mary loves us with the same Immaculate Heart.

Because she loves us so much, she watches over us always. She guards the supernatural life which she has given us. If we should lose our supernatural life by falling into mortal sin, she can obtain for us the grace to recover it…

“God’s Mother is my Mother.” What a world of meaning in those words! What a depth of consolation and hope! If we but heed her pleas, if we but join our prayers with hers, we need have no fears.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 

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ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT

ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT

ST SYLVESTER GOZZOLINI, ABBOT – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 26

Sylvester, born of a noble family at Osimo, in Picenum, was remarkable, even as a boy, for his keen intelligence and upright conduct. Being duly instructed in sacred learning and made a Canon, he benefited his people by his example and his sermons. At the funeral of a relative, who was also a nobleman and a very handsome person, on seeing the disfigured corpse in the open tomb, he said: “What this man was, I am now; what he is now, I shall be.”

WITH THE DESIRE FOR GREATER PERFECTION, HE SPENT HIMSELF IN VIGILS, PRAYER AND FASTING 

He soon retired to a lonely place with the desire for greater perfection, and there spent himself in vigils, prayer and fasting. To hide himself better from men, he kept changing his dwelling place. At length, he arrived at Monte Fano, at that time a solitary place, built a church in honour of St Benedict and laid the foundations of the Congregation of Sylvestrines. There he strengthened the monks with his wonderful holiness. He shone with the spirit of prophecy, and possessed power over the demons and other gifts, which he always tried to hide with deep humility. He fell asleep in the Lord in the year of salvation 1267.

PRAYER:

Most merciful God, who, when the holy Abbot Sylvester was devoutly meditating upon the vanity of this world beside an open grave, graciously willed to call him into the desert and enrich him with unusual merits, we humbly pray that, following his example, despising the things of earth, we may thoroughly enjoy your everlasting presence. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 18:1-8)

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 18:1-8)
GOD WILL SEE JUSTICE DONE TO HIS CHOSEN WHO CRY TO HIM. 
 
 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 12:8-12)

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 12:8-12)

WHEN THE TIME COMES, THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL TEACH YOU WHAT YOU MUST SAY. 

Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, if anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of men, the Son of Man will declare himself for him in the presence of God’s angels.

But the man who disowns me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of God’s angels. “Everyone who says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

“When they take you before synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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FEAST OF ST LUKE, EVANGELIST; GOSPEL READING (LUKE 10:1-9)

FEAST OF ST LUKE, EVANGELIST; GOSPEL READING (LUKE 10:1-9)

THE HARVEST IS RICH BUT THE LABOURERS ARE FEW. 

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.

Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, ‘The kingdom of God is very near to you.’”

 
 

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ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 9

John Leonard was born not far from the city of Lucca, and from very early boyhood appeared mature and serious. At the age of twenty-six, God called him to enlist among the soldiers of the Church. At first he had to study elementary Latin with little boys, but in a short time he advanced to such an extent in the knowledge of literature, philosophy and theology that scarcely four years had passed when, under obedience, he was elevated to the priesthood.

THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, whose care and zeal effected a great reform in the city-state of Lucca. Thereupon, he encountered most bitter insults from wicked men but, bearing all things cheerfully and with resignation, he obtained the confirmation of his congregation from Gregory XIII.

MISSIONARY PRIESTS

Greatly saddened that so many people in distant places were without the light of the Gospel, he took counsel with the most holy Bishop Vives and founded a society of priests who would take upon themselves the task of training qualified young men to be sent to distant lands for the propagation of the faith. Never relaxing in his sacred ministry, in sack-cloth and ashes, he passed to the Lord at Rome on the ninth day of October in the year 1609. Pius XI enrolled him among the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who in a wondrous way graciously urged blessed John, your Confessor, to propagate your faith among the pagans, and through him brought together a new religious family in your Church for the education of the faithful, grant your servants so to profit by his teaching that we may reach everlasting rewards. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: JANUARY 16

Marcellus, a Roman, was pope from the reign of Constantinus and Galerius to that of Maxentius. It was by his counsel that the Roman matron Lucina made the Church of God the heir of her property. On account of the increase in the number of the faithful, he established new titular churches in the city and rearranged their district boundaries. For this reason Maxentius was greatly angered and threatened severe punishments unless Marcellus gave up his pontifical office and offered sacrifice to the idols.

MAXENTIUS THREATENED SEVERE PUNISHMENTS

The pontiff strongly resisted him and was sent to a menagerie to take care of the beasts, which were kept at the public expense. Marcellus spent nine months there, visiting by his letters the churches he could not visit in person. From there he was rescued by some of his clerics and was given refuge by blessed Lucina, in whose house he dedicated a church, where he preached to the faithful.

HE WAS GIVEN REFUGE BY BLESSED LUCINA 

Then Maxentius ordered the wild beasts to be brought from the menagerie into the church and to be guarded by Marcellus. Sickened by the foul atmosphere and worn out by many hardships, he fell asleep in the Lord [A. D. 309]. His body was buried by blessed Lucina in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way, on the sixteenth day of January.

PRAYER:

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Marcellus, your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom you constituted Shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST LAWRENCE BRINDISI, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: JULY 21

Lawrence was born at Brindisi, in Apulia. A a young man he entered the Capuchin Order. H acquired a thorough knowledge of philosophy and theology and became proficient in several languages, ancient as well as modern. When he became a priest, he undertook the task of preaching, in which he laboured unflinchingly throughout almost all of Italy and other European countries.

POPES ENLISTED HIS HELP

Possessed of unusual prudence and the gift of counsel as well, he was made Superior of his whole Order, and was often employed by the Popes on very important diplomatic missions. One of his greatest achievements was to persuade Christian leaders to unite their forces against the threatening onslaughts of the Turks. When the Christian army was assembled in Hungary, Lawrence rode at their head with the cross and, encouraging the soldiers and their officers, they gained a very celebrated victory.

HE COMBINED THE INTERIOR LIFE WITH EXTERNAL ENTERPRISES

In spite of the pressure of so many great activities he practised to an heroic degree the virtues of a religious. Whatever spare time he had, he would devote to prayer, wonderfully combining the interior life with external enterprises. Finally at Lisbon, the which he was sent by the people of Naples as their spokesman before the King of Spain, a strenuous defender of Christian liberty and justice, he succumbed as it were in battle, in the year 1619.

He left many writings defending the Catholic faith against heresies, and explaining Sacred Scripture. Pope Leo XIII added him to the number of the saints, and Pope John XXIII declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.

PRAYER:

O God, who, to enable him to accomplish tasks, no matter how difficult, for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls, endowed blessed Lawrence, your Confessor and Doctor, with the spirit of wisdom and fortitude; grant us, in the same spirit, ever to know our duty, and through his prayers do it. Through our Lord.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ARE YOU BECOMING A HYPOCRITE, MY BROTHER?

A Christian woman, praying one evening in tears before her crucifix, was surprised by her daughter, who, throwing her arms around her neck, said to her tenderly: “You are suffering, mother. But tell me what troubles you.” – “My daughter,” sadly replied the mother, “pray for your brother.” – “Does he no longer love you?” – “I am sure that he still loves me, but he no longer loves God; and you know, my child, that when the love of God is driven from the heart, the love of family and of duty quickly departs also.”

A useful piece of information

The young girl, when alone in her own room, prayed for a long time before retiring to rest.

The next day God caused to come into her hands one of those books, modest missionaries, which, borne upon the wings of angels, go forth to sow good seeds.

She found several pages in it which were like a revelation to her, and, taking her pen, she wrote, somewhat in the style of what she had been reading, the following lines:

A FEW QUESTIONS TO WHICH I BEG MY BROTHER TO REPLY THIS EVENING

How is it that my brother, so grateful for the smallest attention from his sister, so thoughtful in giving her pleasure, so ingenious in framing gracious words and affectionate thanks, forgets God so easily. He, to whom he is indebted for a loving mother, a competence which places him beyond the reach of want, health which permits him to enjoy life? How is it that he never says to Him, “I thank thee;” nor even a short prayer at the beginning or the end of the day?

Is my brother becoming ungrateful?

How is it that my brother, so exact in fulfilling all his obligations, so industrious when at his work, so submissive to those who can advance his interests, violates with so much indifference the solemn laws of God and the Church, allowing his mother and sister to go alone to Mass on Sunday, and alone to the Table of the Lord? He knows, nevertheless, that there is an express command for the performance of these religious duties, and he has not forgotten that several times he publicly renewed the solemn promises made for him at baptism.

Is my brother about to break his own word?

Will my brother prove faithless to his word? How is it that my brother, who has received a Christian education, who has not lost his faith; who knows well all that he owes to God and the Church; who could prove, if necessary, the perfect lawfulness of her authority; yet dares not to make any open profession of his religion, not even a simple sign of the cross; permits in his presence, without remonstrance, lying and blasphemous attacks upon God, the Church, and the priesthood?

Will my brother become a coward?

How is it that my brother – so discreet before his sister, so proud of her candour and purity, promptly silencing in her presence the least objectionable word – reads in secret, removed from the eyes of his mother, things he would not permit his sister to read, frequents society forbidden to his sister, and which he tries to hide from his mother?

Will my brother become a hypocrite?

How is it, finally, that my brother, so loving to his mother, so tender to his sister, so happy heretofore in living with them, seems at times to fly from their caresses, to cast down his eyes before them, amuses himself far from the family fireside, and exhibits impatience and weariness when circumstances force him to remain with them.

Will my brother become forgetful of love?

Oh! my brother! answer thy sister.

And the young girl, kneeling for a moment before the statue of the Blessed Virgin in her room, presented the little leaf to her, as if asking her to bless it. She then placed it on her brother’s desk.

Before the evening meal, which reunited the mother, brother, and sister, the young apostle waited anxiously at the door of the drawing room…

The brother enters, and, hastening to his sister, his eyes filled with tears, takes both her hands in his, and embracing her most affectionately, says: “Sister, I come to give you an answer: Before separating we will all say our evening prayers together.”

Sorrowful mothers and sisters, know you not some heart which vice has not yet quite corrupted, and to whom these lines would be of service?

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

 
 

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SUBJECTION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

“Brethren, be ye subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:21)

A “tough one” for worldly-minded people

If there is a word which in the ears of the world sounds harsh and grating, the very mention of which rouses contentiousness and opposition, it is the word “subjection”. People will listen with equanimity to the Christian preacher so long as he discourses on the attributes of God, or the benefits of Redemption, or the miseries of this life; but when he solemnly tells them they must be subjects, men, to whatever class they may belong, chafe and rebel and argue and will not have it so. And yet what truth is put forth more plainly in the inspired word of God than our duty of subjection to those who are our superiors, to those in authority?

St Paul tells us: “Be ye subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” And he goes on to explain his meaning: “Let women be subjects to their husbands, as to the Lord”; and again: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just.” And further on: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ.” And St Peter instructs his flock in a similar manner: “Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake, whether it be to the king as excelling, or governors, as sent by him… for so is the will of God.” And Christ Himself enjoins the same obligation when speaking of the Church: “he who heareth you, heareth me; and he who despiseth you, despiseth me,” and “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.”

These texts will not be readily accepted by the modern world which even if it professes to believe in the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, glosses over anything that it imagines strikes at its independence.

The modern world, including many who claim to believe in the Bible, glosses over anything that it imagines to strike at its independence

But it may be profitable for us to consider how the very conditions of our nature point to the necessity of subjection on the part of man. And first of all the fact itself of our existence requires that we be dependent on that Mighty Being who brought us forth out of nothingness, who encompasses us with His abiding presence, who can mould and fashion us according to every dictate of His will. “Behold as clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” Who then is there who can escape the grasp of that hand which has kindled in us the spark of life and whose breath alone feeds it and keeps it from vanishing into darkness? Who can withdraw himself from the dominion of One whose prerogative is that His possession of us is the condition of our existence, so that were He for one moment to stay His retaining hold, time and space and spirit and matter would be swept away and nothing remain but He, the one unchangeable, everlasting God.

We are then by essence, by the very fact that we are created, dependent upon God in every faculty of our soul, in every member of our body, in every action and operation of our whole being.

We are dependent upon God in soul and body

But it has been His will that in a secondary sense we should also be dependent on His creatures. You have but to look round this material world to see how truly we are ruled and governed by laws not of our making and by forces beyond our control. We are affected by the vicissitudes of climate and weather, by heat and cold, by storm and sunshine. The ocean may rise and overwhelm us, the earth itself on which we stand may be shaken to its very foundations. Again, how powerless we are when contagion is abroad, or desolation covers the land; how helpless when sickness overtakes us and death knocks at the door and closes our eyes upon this fitful scene.

In the material world, we are dependent upon our fellow men as well as on the inanimate world around us

Nor are we less dependent upon our fellow men than on the inanimate world about us. From the moment he sees the light the child is in need of parents to keep within him the breath of life, to educate and to guide him. As he grows up he requires friends to help and advise him, and organised society to secure his person, his property and his rights.

Dependence in the spiritual world

And again, if we pass from the visible to the invisible and spiritual world, we are met once more with the sense of our dependence and subjection. Mysterious as is that world, nevertheless there occur at intervals marvellous disclosures of its nearness and its influence. It may be that at some time we thought we heard as it were a whisper that told us of some course to adopt or some danger to avoid, and it was our Angel Guardian counselling us. Or kneeling before the tabernacle there may come to us a light, a glimmer what lies beyond when we shall see Christ in His glory, who bids us to take heart in His changeless love for us. Thus it is that though living in a world of sense, we are surrounded on all sides by another world, a world hidden from us behind a dark veil, yet one with which we are ever and anon brought into contact.

Though living in a world of sense, we are surrounded on all sides by another world, one with which we are ever brought into contact

We are then led to the conclusion of the intimate and necessary dependence of man, of his essential subjection to the material, the moral, the spiritual order. What then is there in man that makes him uneasy and rebellious when he is reminded of his obligation to submit to the yoke? What is it that makes him sullen and mulish when the curb is put upon him?

What is it, then, that makes those men uneasy and rebellious when they are reminded of their obligation to submit to the yoke?

What is it but that spirit of stubborn pride ingrained in his nature, constantly urging him to repeat the cry of the fallen angel, “Non serviam” (“I will not serve”).

May we then strive to attain to some degree of that lofty virtue of humility, which is the doorway to true obedience and subjection, the virtue which was such a distinguishing mark in Our Blessed Lord’s life.

A distinguishing mark in Our Lord Jesus’ life

Our Blessed Lord said, “I have come to do the will of him who sent me,” and He saw His Father’s will in every order He received from the legitimate secular authorities, even though they were His bitterest enemies. He who was God “became obedient unto death, even death of the cross.”

And who are we? May we ever deepen in our hearts the knowledge of ourselves, of our nothingness before God, of our littleness even in the eyes of men.

Let us consider alone the little esteem in which we are held by others

If we considered alone the little esteem in which we are held by others, where would be that pride and self-appreciation which causes us to stiffen our necks against all authority?

Unknown and unheeded as we are outside our own narrow circle, how often are we hardly noticed by many of those with whom we live in daily contact? How a short absence effaces us from the minds of others! What trace then shall we leave behind us, when we have passed out of this world altogether, when men have no more to hope or to fear from us, or perhaps every reason for trying to forget us, as bringing before them the unwelcome recollection of death, or of failings and sins in which we participated or of which we have been the cause. As transient as the light wake left by the ship gliding through the water, we shall be as if we had not been.

As transient as the light wake left by the ship gliding through the water, we shall be as if we had not been

Poor insignificant drops in the vast surging ocean, why weary ourselves seeking the sympathy and applause of such a world as this?

Why, to the neglect of an infinitely greater love, do we toil and labour to win the hearts of those who will forget us, alas, even as we have forgotten others?

Why, to the neglect of an infinite love, do we toil to win the hearts of those who will forget us, alas, even as we have forgotten others?

Only One for a certainty bears us for ever written in His heart. There then let us take our refuge: be subject to Him, and for His sake to those, whoever they be, placed over us: and He who “putteth down the mighty from their seats will exalt His humble servants”. Let us cling to that arm, never will it fail us: lean our tired heads upon that breast, never will it cease to throb with the truest and the deepest love for us.

Inward peace and serenity

If we pray continuously, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put all my trust in thee,” we shall gain that confidence that will outride all the storms of this brief life and keep us in inward peace and serenity, awaiting the coming of the eternity of complete joy and happiness.

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

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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