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ST JOHN DAMASCENE ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

ST JOHN DAMASCENE ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, FEAST: NOVEMBER 21

Joachim was united in marriage with Anna, a most excellent and praiseworthy woman. Like that first Anna, who was barren but who through prayer and a vow bore Samuel, this Anna, through her supplications and a promise received from God – the very Mother of God – that in this she might not be inferior in any way to those other illustrious matrons. Thus grace (for the name Anna means grace) brings forth the Lady (for the name Mary means Lady). Truly she becomes the lady among all created beings, since she was the Mother of the Creator. Mary first saw the light of day in the house of Joachim near the Probatica, and was brought to the temple. Like a flower planted in the house of God, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, like a fruitful olive tree, she became the abode of all virtues. She dispelled from her mind every desire of this life or of the flesh. She preserved virginity in soul and body as became her who was to receive God into her bosom.

– From the book of St John Damascene on the orthodox faith, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE SPIRIT OF ENVY CANNOT CO-EXIST WITH TRUE APOSTLESHIP

THE SPIRIT OF ENVY CANNOT CO-EXIST WITH TRUE APOSTLESHIP

HE MUST INCREASE; I MUST DECREASE. (Jn 3:30)

In the true Marian soul, there is no room for jealousy, petty or otherwise. The flame of charity consumes the feeling of resentment which at times comes even to the most un-selfish and purest of hearts upon seeing himself displaced by another or outpaced in virtue or set aside in favour of the young.

The contemplation of one’s own eclipse is a bitter thing: but if one feels a secret pang when another is preferred to him, he takes warning that his charity is yet imperfect. He must aim higher. The bitterness, the smouldering jealousy and the latent hate revealed by a feeling of resentment, be it ever so slight, must be transformed wholly into Christ-like love, by which he sees his Master in each of his brethren.

When they advance, even at his own expense, he is content to say with St John the Baptist: “He must increase; I must decrease.” In this way, Mary is given scope to free the souls of Her soldiers from every taint of vanity, transforming them into selfless envoys who go forth to prepare the way before the Lord. When those around him grow in virtue, he never measures their growth against his own for he knows that the spirit of envy cannot co-exist with true apostleship.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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WE ARE MEANT TO RAISE THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY

WE ARE MEANT TO RAISE THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: THE DEGREE OF GRACE OFFERED TO ANY SOUL IS GOD’S SECRET

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Through supernatural charity, the Child of Mary tries to raise the spiritual level of the whole community. His method is that of direct and persevering contact with souls – quiet, unobtrusive, delicate work. He does not indulge in extremely fervent renunciation of the major abuses and gross evils: rather he tries to develop slowly but steadily an intense Catholic life and outlook, Catholic principles and Catholic feeling, thus cultivating a spiritual atmosphere in which evil finds it impossible to thrive.

The cultivation of a spiritual atmosphere in which evil finds it impossible to thrive

It is the duty of every Child of Mary to promote always the spirit of charity. Mary’s entire army must be saturated with love. The whole idea and spirit of Her Army is one of intense charity and sympathy, which before radiating its warmth outside, must first of all burn brightly and strongly in the domestic hearth itself. He must try always to regard the shortcomings, real or apparent, of others with kindliness, not because he is attracted to a particular person, but because he is anxious to love and serve Jesus through Mary. Real or imagined slights, lack of appreciation of himself or his work, disagreements, rebukes: all these he takes in his stride as steppingstones to selfless service. The basis of all work, in common, must be renunciation of self. Those who are otherwise excellent threaten unity unless they are prepared to moderate their own individuality and adapt themselves completely and harmoniously to the system.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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THE DEGREE OF GRACE OFFERED TO ANY SOUL IS GOD’S SECRET

THE DEGREE OF GRACE OFFERED TO ANY SOUL IS GOD’S SECRET

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: ZEAL FOR SOULS IS SIMPLY LOVE IN ACTION

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

In working for souls, the Child of Mary is constantly aware that he is working for Christ. The secret of his influence over others is simply his own love of God overflowing upon them. His is no apostolate of mere philanthropy or natural pity for the unfortunate ones of the world. Written on his heart are the words of the Master: “So long as you did it unto one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me.

In this light, he sees all mankind, even the most repulsive, the thankless, the despised, the ungrateful, the selfish, the stupid, the afflicted, the vicious. To one and all, as to the least of Christ’s brethren, he strives to render a princely and reverential service. In each of them, he sees neither an equal nor an inferior, but one as superior to himself as is Christ. He approaches each one as he would Christ Himself, humbly, respectfully, reverently. Never does he deliver a lecture or ask a multitude of questions. He enters the cottage of the poorest in exactly the same spirit as he would enter the palace of the greatest.

Through the exercise of supernatural charity, his one aim is to sow the seeds of that eventual intimacy which will, one day, open the floodgates of grace. He regards it to be the special glory of charity to understand others. When they are deliberately rude to him, he submits meekly, remembering that such conduct often springs from a sense of neglect which most people suffer. He is never critical; he never sits in judgment on those for whom he works; he never sets up his own standards of conduct as those to which all must conform. When some differ from him, oppose him or refuse to receive him, he remembers his obligation to love and banishes the thought that they are necessarily less worthy than he. Even when he comes across lives that are unsightly with sin, he remembers that God alone can see the heart and judge as to its real position. The degree of grace offered to any soul is God’s secret and none will be asked for any return save that which has been given to him.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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ZEAL FOR SOULS IS SIMPLY LOVE IN ACTION

ZEAL FOR SOULS IS SIMPLY LOVE IN ACTION

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: HE KNOWS THAT, FOR EVEN THE MOST SERIOUS EVILS, THERE IS A REMEDY, AND ONE ONLY WHICH GOD WILLS HIM TO EMPLOY

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

The love of God is the heart of sanctity. Training in the love of God is, therefore, the principal task of the Child of Mary. Everything is designed to make the flame of Divine Love burn brighter: His every act is made to converge towards God, the supreme Object of his love.

In mind, will and heart, he is united with God and assimilated to Him. Thus seeking God, he relishes and lives the great Truths of his Faith, receiving eventually indomitable strength to overcome every obstacle and perform even heroic acts of virtue. The Holy Spirit comes into his soul with fire and love, making it one with Mary’s love and with Mary’s will to save the world.

Then, the love aflame there bursts forth from soul to soul pressing on daily towards the final objective, the setting of the whole world alight with the Divine Fire. The love of God expresses itself particularly in the exercise of the supernatural love of all men for God’s sake; in other words, in zeal for souls. His whole life is made one long exercise of zeal and, therefore, of love: for ZEAL is simply LOVE in action. Thus, he merits all the graces, privileges and power attached to the ceaseless practice of Divine Charity.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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IT IS EVER GOD’S WAY TO PERFECT HIS GREATEST PROJECTS WITH INADEQUATE INSTRUMENTS

IT IS EVER GOD’S WAY TO PERFECT HIS GREATEST PROJECTS WITH INADEQUATE INSTRUMENTS

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: CONFER, O LORD, ON US WHO SERVE BENEATH THE STANDARD OF MARY THAT FULLNESS OF FAITH IN THEE…

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

A life of intense practical faith is necessarily one of hope and trust, which sustain the Child of Mary amidst all the obstacles he encounters in sanctifying himself and working for souls. He knows that he has at his disposal nothing less than the infinite might of God and so he strives to co-operate with grace as steadfastly as God permits him.

Frequent instruction and meditation on the power of trust unite him with God more closely by convincing him of the worthlessness of worldly things: his prayers are rendered efficacious; they engender within him holy desires and increase his energies, labours and sacrifices for souls.

If success graces his efforts, he is thankful to God; if he seems to fail, he merely increases his trust and regards his failure as postponed success. The mark of the Cross is for him always a sign of hope. The work of the Lord will always bear the Lord’s own mark.

It is never done under ideal circumstances nor as one would have chosen or imagined. In fact, when he sees his work threatened by obstacles that seem destined to prevent the achievement of success, so long as the obstacles are not due to neglect on his part, he knows that they are, in reality, the requisites for success, the fuel which feeds his efforts and helps them to attain their purpose. It is ever God’s way to perfect his greatest projects with inadequate instruments.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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CONFER, O LORD, ON US WHO SERVE BENEATH THE STANDARD OF MARY THAT FULLNESS OF FAITH IN THEE..

CONFER, O LORD, ON US WHO SERVE BENEATH THE STANDARD OF MARY THAT FULLNESS OF FAITH IN THEE..

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: INTENSITY OF PURPOSE, UNRELAXED EFFORT… COME ONLY FROM A TRUE SPIRIT OF FAITH

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Confer, O Lord, on us who serve beneath the standard of Mary that fullness of faith in Thee and trust in Her to which is given to conquer the world. Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of Thee, and ever to see Thee and serve Thee in our neighbour; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of this life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for God and the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our apostolate’s Pillar of Fire – to lead us forth united – to kindle everywhere the fires of Divine Love – to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death – to inflame those who are lukewarm – to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our feet in the Way of Peace.”

– Concluding Prayer in the Legion of Mary Tessera, from excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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