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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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MAY THIS WAY OF SOWING CHARITY FIND MANY IMITATORS!

I know a person, passionately desirous of doing good, who used to apply a tenth of her alms to buy something which might be of service to souls.

Service to needy souls

Sometimes it was a little treatise on judgment, on the divine mercy, on the presence of God; sometimes, perhaps, a pious pamphlet or medal. For a shilling she often could buy a hundred of these trifles, which she selected in bright colours, red or blue… She let them fall, as if accidentally, along the road, so that they might be picked up by some child, young girl, or labourer returning from his work. Perhaps these few sentences, already heard at catechism, would awaken remorse or recall some forgotten resolution.

Pious seed

Oh! who can calculate what a holy harvest she has thus down? She never went on a journey without “forgetting” in the trains and diligences, those alms for souls! She never pretended to hear when anyone called after her to restore them.

She “lost” a great many of them by leaving them accidentally between the leaves of books borrowed by her, and in those which she lent.

She used them as wrappers when she had occasion to send parcels, and sometimes she gave a penny to some poor child to scatter them in public places.

A holy harvest

She never knew the good which sprung up from this pious seed, sown thus in some thousands of souls. Many grains were indeed trodden under foot, treated with contempt; but is it impossible to imagine that none of them took root?

Continue ceaselessly your labour, in silence and obscurity, industrious sower. God, who sees everything, God, who counts all your steps, writes it down in the book of life. May the publicity which I give to your zeal find you many imitators!

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

 

 
 

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A DAILY PRAYER FOR PRIESTS AND MISSIONARIES

DAILY PRAYER FOR PRIESTS AND MISSIONARIES

My dear Jesus, by Your most loving Heart, I implore You to inflame with zeal for Your love and glory all the priests of the world, all missionaries, and those whose office it is to preach Your word. Inflamed with this zeal, may they snatch souls from the devil and lead them into the shelter of Your Heart, where they may glorify You for ever. Amen.

 

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RELIEF AS KIDNAPPED PRIESTS HAVE FINALLY BEEN RELEASED

“YAOUNDE, CAMEROON: Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun kidnapped in northern Cameroon by gunmen allied to terrorist group Boko Haram were released last week.

The release of the trio – priests Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri and Sr Gilberte Bissiere – was greeted with relief by Cameroonian and Vatican authorities, who were becoming increasingly concerned about their fate.

Cameroon communications minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said: ‘I confirm the release of the two priests and the nun abducted a few weeks ago. They are in good health. They are now on a plane heading to Yaounde.’

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said news of the release ‘fills us with joy’. We thank the Lord that this dramatic episode has reached a positive outcome,’ Lombardi said.

Pope Francis had followed the affair closely, he said, and had been informed immediately of the releases.

The priests had been working on improving water supplies and fighting the spread of HIV Aids.”
– This article entitled “Relief as Church trio is released” was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Friday 6th June 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 

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AFTER YEARS OF FEELING USELESS CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES MADE ME FEEL I AM A VALUABLE MEMBER OF SOCIETY

“HIS LIFE HAS INVOLVED A LONG-TERM EMBRACING OF THE CROSS. HIS PAINTING SHOWS THE CROSS AS A CONSTANT REALITY. HOWEVER, HIS PAINTING ALSO SHOWS HOPE, THE RISING SUN THAT ANNOUNCES A NEW DAWN.”

“Yang Xu denied having any artistic ability when I asked him to express with colours the hope that is in his life. His reply was typical of how he refers to his own ability. However, further encouragement about producing a work of art brought a slight change of approach when he said that he would try to see what is possible.

Two years earlier his response was similar when he began to make Christmas cards as part of the Columban outreach to people with special needs in China. He was keen to be involved, but slow to declare his confidence.

Within a few weeks of joining the project Yang Xu had settled in well to what he proudly described as his first job. During those early weeks he also announced with joy that when he received his first pay packet he could hardly believe that this was really happening. As an expression of joy during that time he bought a gift for his mother from his first pay packet. Two years later Yang Xu continues to grow in his own confidence through the various people who encourage him.

HE BOUGHT A GIFT FOR HIS MOTHER

Yang Xu was born with severe cerebral palsy thirty years ago. His legs were always too weak to ever provide the possibility of him being able to walk. His restricted speech and the limited control of his hands meant that he never had the opportunity to attend school. In spite of the physical limitations that are part of Yang Xu’s life, he is an intelligent and capable person.

XU’S EXPRESSION OF HOPE

The recent request for him to express himself in an artistic way led to the painting named ‘Sunrise over Calvary’. When he showed me the painting he returned to a familiar style of expression by saying the painting was not so good, apologising for what he saw as untidy lines.

The painting, as I see it, is an expression of his life experience that comes from deep within his own being. Yang Xu is not baptised, but he goes to the church regularly. His life has involved a long-term embracing of the cross. His painting shows the cross as a constant reality. However, his painting also shows hope, the rising sun that announces a new dawn. A physical condition that could have crushed Yang Xu has not triumphed over him.

Recently Yang Xu began to make greeting cards with printed images of his original painting. His meaningful artistic work and his patient assembly of the cards ensure that a part of Yang Xu is linked with the cards that are gradually finding their way to people in various parts of the world.

As expressed by Yang Xu in his painting, even in difficult and complex situations, God can find a way to bring hope.”
– This article by Columban Fr Dan Troy was published in “Far East” (Magazine of the Columban Missionaries” issue March/April 2014. To order the magazine, for more information about the Columbans and about missionary vocations please visit http://www.columbans.co.uk (external link) or http://www.columbansisters.org (external link).

 

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“HE HAS BEEN LOST FOR EIGHTY YEARS BUT ST ANTHONY HAS FOUND HIM AND BROUGHT HIM BACK – PRAISE THE LORD!”

…As I got to know the couple he began to share his story with me and now I share it with you.

“…Through the early thirties, years of the Great Depression, Bibby [his mother] worked hard to bring up Anthony [who was born whilst she lived in South Africa in her native England]. She brought him up in the Anglican faith sending him to Sunday School at an early age. Anthony later attended a Protestant church and sang in the choir for a number of years. He grew up and started to make his way in the world. He was conscripted into the R.A.F. For two years, and afterwards commenced a career in a bank. He gave up his faith and turned his back on God.

HE GAVE UP HIS FAITH AND TURNED HIS BACK ON GOD

His employers sent him overseas to Hong Kong on a four-year contract. At the end of this he travelled back to England and spent a few months with his mother who was working as a civil servant. In Hong Kong he had become attached to a local girl and they had made plans to start a business together. Thus he resigned his job and returned to Hong Kong, where he took up permanent residence.

THE BUSINESS PROSPERED AND HE WAS ABLE TO BUY A HOUSE FOR HIS MOTHER

After ten years he prospered and was able to make regular annual visits to England to see his mother and eventually to buy her a house for her retirement. Bibby enjoyed a happy and active retirement. In 1994 she passed away at the age of 91. Sadly, Anthony’s wife passed away three years later succumbing to cancer.

A SURPRISING DISCOVERY

Anthony was lucky enough to meet a young [Buddhist] lady, half his age, whom he married two years later. He had retired by now and they lived happily in their home in Shek O, on the island of Hong Kong. But Anthony was still living without religious faith. However after his mother had passed away, on going through her papers, he found a certificate of Baptism issued by the Roman Catholic Church in a Diocese in South Africa. This indicated that Claude [Anthony’s late father] must have been a Catholic because he had his son baptised. In Shek O there is a Catholic Church looked after by two Columban Sisters. Anthony and his wife walk early in the mornings and most mornings meet one of the Sisters who has become a dear friend.

BECAUSE HE COULD NOT PRAY, HE ASKED THE NUN TO PRAY FOR HIS WIFE

In October of 2012 Anthony’s wife had to enter hospital for a long-postponed operation. For the first time in his life Anthony was afraid. Should he lose her he would be completely alone in the world. The day before the operation he met the Sister and asked her to pray for his wife. He told her he could not pray.

UPON THIS, HE WAS SENT A SIGN FROM GOD

The next day when Anthony returned to his house he went to his verandah to perform his usual exercises. In the midst of his exercises he looked ahead and suddenly there was a light above him which lasted about 30 seconds. Anthony was convinced this was a sign, a revelation, a message from God. From that moment he knew he would never be alone, that the Lord would always be with him. His faith returned. He could pray again. It was now time to return to God’s house.

IT WAS NOW TIME TO RETURN TO GOD’S HOUSE

On the first Sunday of December he walked up the hill to the Church where Sister introduced him to the visiting priest. In private Father Wurth heard his confession and gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Anthony then went to his very first Mass and received his First Holy Communion. Before Communion and during the sermon the priest said there was news to celebrate, ‘A new member of the Congregation, Anthony, has been lost for eighty years but St Anthony has found him and brought him back.’ Praise the Lord.

MUCH REJOICING IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH

There was a great sense of celebration and excitement in our Chapel that morning as the community welcomed Anthony. Anthony’s wife was also very happy… she had hoped he would find his own religion. Anthony’s quiet space for prayer has a crucifix and a small icon. His wife spends time in meditation before a statue of Buddha.

SEEDS OF FAITH IN THE HEART

An orchid blooming outside our house reminds me of Anthony’s story. It has survived the storms of winter, the typhoons, the monsoon rains, and is now in full bloom this Spring. It has survived because the roots are tightly knit around a tree. Like Anthony, the seeds of faith sewn in his heart some eighty years ago have survived and are now blooming in New Life and Resurrection.”
– This article by Sr Isobel Loughrey was published in “Far East” (Magazine of the Columban Missionaries), issue January/February 2014. For information, subscriptions, vocations and donations please visit http://www.columbans.co.uk (external link) or http://www.columbansisters.org (external link).

 
 

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ST ANSGAR – “CONVERTING THE HEATHENS WAS A VERY RISKY BUSINESS”

ST ANSGAR (MEMORIAL: FEBRUARY 3): THE “APOSTLE OF THE NORTH”

“The ‘Apostle of the North’ was one of the most influential of the early medieval Christian evangelists. He took the faith north into areas that were still pagan – and dangerously so – at the time.

Born in 801 in Amiens, part of the Christian Frankish Empire which a year earlier had set itself as the successor to Rome when Charlemagne was crowned emperor, he was bereaved at an early age when his mother died. He was raised in Corbie Abbey in Picardy, where he showed unusual academic talent. According to a later biography it was while at the school that he had a vision in which he saw his mother who was in the company of the Virgin, and he became far more devout. Throughout his life he would be guided by visions, and often make decisions based on them.

GUIDED BY VISIONS

Unusually for men who Christianised Germany and Scandinavia, Ansgar was himself a German, one of the many Saxons (from what is now the north-west of Germany) who had been converted under the rule of the Frankish kings Charlemagne and Louis the Pious… Following the conversion of the Saxons Ansgar was one of a handful of missionaries to be sent further north to the land of the Jutes, in the emerging kingdom of Denmark, a perilous mission at the time.

A PERILOUS MISSION

Fiercely pagan, Scandinavia was also suffering from acute land shortage and social unrest that would see 250,000 people leave the region, pillaging from Ireland to Russia. Many advocates of Christianity were given a short shrift.

After returning to the Rhineland, Ansgar was called 829 for a mission to the Swedes at the behest of its king. With his assistant Witmar, he made converts in Birka, near Stockholm, and in 831 came back to the Frankish court at Worms and was appointed Archbishop of Hamburg. He then founded a monastery and school near Hamburg, although his plans for the latter to be a springboard for the conversion of Scandinavia came to nothing.

THE CITY OF HAMBURG WAS RAIDED BY PAGANS

Converting the heathens was a very risky business – most of the Anglo-Saxons who went about bringing the ‘Old Saxons’ on the continent to the faith met violent ends – and in 845 the Danes raided Hamburg, destroying all its treasures and books.

ST ANSGAR DID NOT GIVE UP

But he did not give up. He returned to Denmark, then in the middle of a destructive war between kings, as well as Sweden, where he prevented the pagans from destroying the growing Christian community which had enjoyed the protection of the kings. After spending a couple of years there, he returned to Germany and died peacefully in 865.

EVEN A MOON CRATER IS NAMED AFTER ST ANSGAR

Today there are statues of Ansgar in Hamburg and Copenhagen. There is also a crater on the Moon, Ansgarious, named in his honour.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue January 31 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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