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WHY DID THE VIRGIN MARY APPEAR AT KNOCK?

WHY DID THE VIRGIN MARY APPEAR AT KNOCK?

A meditation on Knock will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. (Rev. Patrick O’Carroll) 

Pilgrimages to Knock began soon after the apparition and have continued ever since. About 250.000 pilgrims go there every year. This is a remarkable number in view of the fact that Knock has no train or bus service and that the shrine has not been formally approved by the Holy See. During World War II, 10.000 Masses were offered in honour of Our Lady of Knock for the intention of keeping Ireland at peace. Many of the people credit Our Lady of Knock with keeping Ireland out of the war just as the Portuguese people give credit to Our Lady of Fatima for keeping their country at peace.

WHAT DID THE APPARITION MEAN? 

What did the apparition mean? At Paris, La Salette, Lourdes, and Fatima, our Lady spoke. We have her own words on record. At Knock, she said nothing. Yet we can be certain that she did not appear without an important purpose.

IN IRELAND, THE PEOPLE HAD CLUNG TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH DESPITE OF BITTER PERSECUTION

In most of Europe – in most of the [Western] world, for that matter – people had turned away from God. Even in such supposedly Catholic countries as Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, men were worshipping reason and science instead of God. But in Ireland, the people had clung to their faith despite three and a half centuries of bitter persecution. They had retained their love for the Mass during all the years that the Mass had been officially outlawed. They had never faltered in their devotion to the Blessed Mother, a devotion that had been brought to them by St Patrick himself. Every night, in thousands of miserable huts all over the island, families had knelt on the dirt floors to say the Rosary together.

SHE COMFORTED THEM IN THEIR AFFLICTIONS

It seems likely that Mary appeared in Ireland to reward the people for their devotion and to comfort them in their afflictions. Many authorities on Knock point out that Mary was wearing a crown. Thus, they say, she represented herself as Queen of Heaven, Queen of Ireland, Mediatrix of All Graces.

“The mission of Mary to Knock was not one of rebuke or complaint against our people, as was the case at La Salette and Lourdes, against the prevailing vices and abuses that were shaking the very foundations of the faith in France in those days,” says the Very Rev. Jarlath Royanne, O. Cist. “Neither was it a call to do penance on those occasions. No, Mary’s mission to her faithful Irish people that day was rather one of compassion and comfort, with an implied admonition, no doubt, of dangers ahead, and the imperative need of prayer.”

ON THE EVE OF THE OCTAVE OF THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

Every early account of the apparition points out that it occurred on the eve of the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Did Mary intend to establish this connection between Knock and Fatima? At any rate, the coincidence is interesting. It reminds us that Mary, Our Queen, has an Immaculate Heart filled with an almost infinite love for us.

ST JOSEPH’S APPEARANCE 

The two saints who appeared with Mary were the two people – next to our Lord Himself – who were most closely associated with her while she was in this world. St Joseph cared for her before Jesus was born, and he watched over her and Jesus for some years after that. As head of the Holy Family, he is the model husband and father. He is also the Patron of the Universal Church. In the apparition he was looking at her in a reverential manner. It seems likely that he represented all families and also the Universal Church in paying homage to the Queen of Heaven.

ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST 

St John was Mary’s guardian after our Lord’s death. He stood with her beneath the cross while Jesus was giving His life for the world. It was to him that our Lord almost with His dying breath said, “Behold thy mother.” St John represented all of us that day.

So St John, by his presence, reminds us that Mary is our spiritual mother. But he does more than that. He was garbed as a bishop and was reading from a Mass book. He stood next to the altar on which was the sacrificial lamb. St John was our Lady’s priest. After the Resurrection he celebrated Mass for her, renewing the sacrifice of Calvary, bringing her Son down upon the altar. It is also interesting to note that in the Apocalypse, St John refers to our Lord as a lamb twenty-seven times.

A FULLER APPRECIATION OF THE HOLY MASS

“A meditation on Knock,” says Rev. Patrick O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. Our attention is above all turned to the same Lamb of God that is mystically immolated on every altar, when the Holy Mass is celebrated. Knock, then, calls for a fuller appreciation of the Mass.”

Virtually all authorities agree on this, that the Mass is the central feature of Knock. Our Lady herself seems to bear this out. Most of the cures there have occurred during Mass. At Lourdes, the Blessed Sacrament is emphasized; at Knock, the Mass.

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

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Devotions

 

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AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

AFTER FIRST COMMUNION SHE GAINED MORE SELF-CONTROL AS SHE DEEPENED HER UNDERSTANDING OF GOD: ST ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

She had a terrible temper as a child

On 16th October, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass of Canonisation, giving the church some new saints. One of these is St Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was born in 1880 in the military base at Avord in France. Her father was a Captain. St Elizabeth was baptised in the chapel of the military base. Sadly, her father died when St Elizabeth was seven years old and the family moved to Dijon. St Elizabeth had a terrible temper as a child, but after receiving her First Holy Communion she was able to gain more self-control as she deepened her understanding of God.

She gained an understanding of the Most Holy Trinity

She also gained a profound understanding of the Most Holy Trinity, which she cultivated in ardent devotion. St Elizabeth started to visit the sick, sing in the church choir and taught religion to the young people who worked at the local factories. As she grew older, St Elizabeth became interested in entering the Discalced Carmelite Order, though her mother was very much against this. St Elizabeth declined marriage from several men because of the desire that she had for religious life.

A fulfilled life of selfless, loving service

St Elizabeth entered the Dijon Carmel in 1901. She said, “I find Him everywhere while doing the washing as well as while praying.” Realising that she had become very ill, she also said: “I think in heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep in the great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.” Her spirituality is considered to be remarkably similar to that of her contemporary St Therese of Lisieux, who was also in Carmel. The two saints shared a zeal for the salvation of souls. St Elizabeth died at the young age of 26, having contracted Addison’s disease. Though her death was painful, St Elizabeth gratefully accepted her suffering as a gift from God. Her last words were: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life.”

St Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us.

– From: Spiritual Thought From Fr Chris, 2016

 

 

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THE ANGELS OF THE FIRESIDE: THE ANGEL OF GRATITUDE

THE ANGELS OF THE FIRESIDE: THE ANGEL OF GRATITUDE

How to attain a happy home and a content family

The Angel of Gratitude

This is perhaps the most beloved of the Angels of the Fireside, because he unceasingly reminds us of our kindness to others. Nothing is so sweet as to feel that we are kind.

But it must be confessed, alas! that the angel of gratitude – that angel who, either as a child, friend, brother, sister, or companion, repeatedly makes us know that we are kind and generous – is not often to be found.

Unconditional appreciation and kindness

To merit this name it is not sufficient to manifest the gratitude of our hearts on particular occasions, such as when we receive a benefit, or on some feast or anniversary; on the contrary, this sentiment should so fill our hearts as to flood over all our faculties and senses.

Whenever we are in the presence of a benefactor, or in conversation with him, the smile on our lips and the gentleness of our words must let him see that “we are happy near him, because he is so kind.”

When we seek to give him pleasure, or to lavish attention upon him which we think he requires, our manner must say to him: “I do it all to remind you how kind you are.”

Finally, our repeated attentions, without being obtrusive, and our services, without being troublesome, must say to him: “I can never be as kind as you are.”

Oh! is it not true that there is happiness in having near us a heart thus filled with gratitude?

It will never weary of us, nor we of it.

It will never cease to be devoted to us, and we will never cease our efforts to do it good.

It will make us know that we can always rely on it, and it understands that it can equally depend on us.

Such a heart is not a mere dream of the imagination; there are many such in families, in communities, and amongst friends… but they have not the courage to show themselves.

Do you, who read and love these pages, not feel that they make known your experiences, and relate only what you yourself would wish to do for some people near you, and to whom you owe very much?

Why, then, do you not do it?

Why do you gradually permit to depart from you that desire to be grateful which God has been pleased to give you, and of which he will demand an account?

A grateful heart is a privileged grace.

The absence of this virtue, says Father Faber, is a grave fault, and certainly does not prove the holiness of him who is devoid of it.

Show me a person who retains for a long time the remembrance of some trifling favour, who seems never able to pay the debts which he thinks his heart owes, who exaggerates his obligations to others, who estimates them at twenty times their value; … in my opinion that person is infinitely more likely to become a saint than if he were raised in ecstasy during prayer.

Then prove yourselves grateful. Gratitude attracts new favours, too, and this sweet interchange of treasures between hearts softens them, opens them to grace, frees them from little antipathies, mean jealousies, petty rivalries – all of which are to the family what thorns are to the rose.

Prove yourselves grateful. It is impossible for a grateful heart ever to become a wicked heart.

– From: Golden Grains, A Collection of Little Counsels for the Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, H.M.Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WHAT FATHER HAS EVER SHARED HIS CHILDREN’S GRIEFS AS GOD HAS SHARED OURS?

WHAT FATHER HAS EVER SHARED HIS CHILDREN’S GRIEFS AS GOD HAS SHARED OURS?

GOD IS OUR FATHER

God is our Father, and we are His children by predilection; idle and wasteful, unworthy to be still called His sons, and nevertheless, still His heirs, still the objects of His paternal tenderness.

What mother has ever watched over the cradle of her first-born with the solicitude which He has shown for us? What father has ever shared his children’s griefs as God has shared ours, or bestowed his treasures more generously upon them, without even making the smallest claim on their gratitude?

Never has an affectionate father, in leading his children to bewail their fault, by showing them the pain it has caused him, and by redoubling the proofs of his affection, shown such patience as God has employed to touch our hardened hearts, and led us, humbled but more loving, to His feet. Even the rigour of His chastisements becomes dear to us, since they are accompanied by such favours and such fresh contrivances of His love.

– Fr Faber in Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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I AM FED UP! SAVE ME FROM BEING FED UP!

I AM FED UP! SAVE ME FROM BEING FED UP!

I am weary! I am weary! Save me from weariness! Without taste for prayer, without energy for work, without strength for suffering, I am helpless. Save me!

I know an infallible remedy: Put a good action beside your weariness; it will destroy it.

A good action! I am incapable of performing one!

What! you cannot even stand up and walk? Do you not know of some wretched hovel in your village in which some poor invalid lies on his bed of pain? Force yourself to go thither, and, seated by his bedside, remain in his company for a while, soothing his soul with words of consolation and hope.

You who dwell in a city, do you not know the way to the hospital, which our ancestors, in their simple faith, called the restorative for sick hearts? Walk slowly through these halls of sorrow and expiation, listen to the complaints of these poor abandoned people, and, taking them by the hand, say to them, Pray for me.

*     *     *

We have given up the habit of visiting hospitals under the ridiculous pretext of fear of contagion from the pestilential atmosphere, as if the heated air of a theatre or ball-room is not more injurious. A visit to the hospital has seldom caused disease in the body, but it has always elevated the soul, restored serenity of mind, and soothed the heart.

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

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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LITTLE GOOD WORKS: THE SEEKER OF EXCUSES FOR OTHERS

LITTLE GOOD WORKS: THE SEEKER OF EXCUSES FOR OTHERS

TO EXCUSE, SUSTAIN, AND PROTECT; IS THAT NOT WHAT JESUS WOULD DO IN YOUR PLACE?

What a useful and delightful occupation!

What a useful and delightful occupation is this! Have you never seen the embarrassment and terror of a child, a servant, a brother, or a sister, who has committed a fault, and who is reprimanded rather sharply, perhaps even a little unjustly?

Let you, who possess a good heart, not leave them under the weight of reproach and shame.

Human justice always furnishes to prisoners accused of crimes a counsellor, whose office is to defend them.

Assume, then, this paternal – I would almost say divine – mission.

An almost divine mission

In order to mitigate a punishment, or to shorten a painful separation, can you not plead the frivolity due to the person’s age, the thoughtlessness of his character, the ardour of his temperament, the devotion displayed by him in the past, the affection so many times manifested, the efforts towards reformation made with such constancy, the heartfelt tears which you have seen him shed, the fear which prevented his submission?

Peace-maker

Ask pardon for him, insist, promise, guarantee fidelity for the future; and, when you see that the person who had to reprimand is moved, go to the culprit, speak to him some of those affectionate words which certainly do not encourage his fault, but tend to renew his courage; bring before his mind the pain which he has caused those he loves, and lead him back repentant.

I know it is often necessary to scold and to punish, but those on whom God has imposed this duty are very much to be pitied.

Let you who have it not, excuse, sustain, and protect; is that not what Jesus would do in your place?

You require tact; your heart will give it to you. You require constancy; prayer will sustain you. You require courage – you who want it on almost all occasions; affection will strengthen you, and you will be astonished at the bravery which you will exhibit.

A father of a family once said: “If I wish to scold any one, I must do so in the absence of my daughter; she always finds excuses for others.”

Oh! if that could be said of you.

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

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 4:1-11)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 4:1-11)

Week 33 of the Year, Cycle II, Wednesday

Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty; he was, he is and he will be.

In my vision, I, John, saw a door open in heaven and heard the same voice speaking to me, the voice like a trumpet, saying, “Come up here: I will show you what is to come in the future.” With that, the Spirit possessed me and I saw a throne standing in heaven, and the One who was sitting on the throne, and the Person sitting there looked like a diamond and a ruby. There was a rainbow encircling the throne, and this looked like an emerald. Round the throne in a circle there were twenty-four thrones, and on them I saw twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads.

Flashes of lightning were coming from the throne, and the sound of peals of thunder, and in front of the throne there were seven flaming lamps burning, the seven Spirits of God. Between the throne and myself was a sea that seemed to be made of glass, like crystal. In the centre, grouped round the throne itself, were four animals with many eyes, in front and behind.

The first animal was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third animal had a human face, and the fourth animal was like a flying eagle. Each of the four animals had six wings and had eyes all the way round as well as inside; and day and night they never stopped singing:

“Holy, Holy, Holy

is the Lord God, the Almighty;

he was, he is, and he is to come.”

Every time the animals glorified and honoured and gave thanks to the One sitting on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders prostrated themselves before him to worship the One who lives for ever and ever, and threw down their crowns in front of the throne, saying, “You are our Lord and our God, you are worthy of glory and honour and power, because you made all the universe and it was only by your will that everything was made and exists.”

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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