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OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: TOWARDS THE PASTORS OF THE CHURCH, WE SHOW ALWAYS THAT LOYALTY AND OBEDIENCE WHICH SPRING FROM GENUINE CHARITY

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

If personal holiness, the perfection of charity, is the object of the Child of Mary, humility is the root and instrument of his apostolic action. The Children of Mary are an army and speak to their members in terms of battles and warfare; they are dedicated to Her who is terrible as an army set in battle array.

They are stimulated to carry out all their work with the seriousness of trained and faithful soldiers. Nevertheless, the warfare in which they engage is not of this world; it must be waged according to the tactics of Heaven. The whole system of this army is designed to implant in hearts lowly and unworldly qualities, the chief of which is true humility. Rightly understood, it confers a strange nobility and unique strength upon all who join it.

A strange nobility and unique strength

Only from true humility of heart does the Child of Mary derive the gentle, unassuming manners upon which he relies for the effecting and developing of the personal approach to souls that is such an essential factor in his work.

True humility of heart

In humility, he sees a virtue from which all others derive their value. One and all, they depend on grace and grace will not be given to the proud. When virtue is claimed as the result of one’s own efforts unaided by grace, it ceases to be virtue. Just as Mary’s lowliness brought the Saviour into Her womb, so the humility of Her children brings His Spirit and His Graces into their souls. The holier they are, the more they acknowledge their dependence on God; the more they receive, the greater is their debt to the Almighty. Gradually, the apostolate drives home even into the heart that is naturally proudest the hard lesson that only one’s worthlessness is one’s own. Everything else is God’s free gift. He gives it freely; He can increase it or diminish it or withdraw it entirely just as He wishes. The recognition of what one really is before God is the essence of true humility. “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” Humble and little-sought tasks are preferred; contempt and rebuffs are readily borne and God’s holy Will is generously accepted, especially when compliance means rigorous suppression of self.

– 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 1).

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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SPIRITUAL AND INTELLECTUAL ARTILLERY TO DEFEND THE FAITH

“Five hundred years ago this month, our holy father St Philip Neri was born in the early hours of 22nd July, the feast of St Mary Magdalene. Just hours later the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity were infused into his soul in Baptism. In the wretched heat and humidity that afflict Florence in high summer it was prudent to administer the Sacrament without delay.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed

Our Lord tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard which when it is sown is the tiniest seed in the field, but when grown it becomes a tree in the branches of which the birds of the air come and make their nests. The seed that was planted in St Philip’s heart in the famous Baptistery of St John, and which germinated and took root during his childhood in Florence, would eventually flourish into a mighty tree in Rome. His own room was the nest (he actually called it his ‘nido’) in which the fledgling first Oratory would become the base for an apostolic mission that would earn him the glorious title Apostle of Rome.

The purpose of an Oratory in the plan of salvation

As other Oratories began to be established, it was St Philip’s wish that each house remain autonomous, and this status is preserved to this day in the Church’s law. Nevertheless, every Oratory is to be like a branch that stems from and is animated by that supernatural life that was nurtured in St Philip’s ‘nido’ half a millennium ago. The purpose of an Oratory in the plan of salvation is to give encouragement and direction to anyone who seeks spiritual refreshment in the shade of its bough. An Oratory is supposed to provide a spiritual home, usually in an urban context, in which friendship with Our Saviour is nurtured under the gentle guidance of St Philip and the protection of Our Lady.

…where friendship with Our Saviour is nurtured

Mention of the Counter Reformation conjures up images of the Church rolling out all the engines of war. Established religious orders were to be reformed or suppressed; new congregations would be equipped with spiritual and intellectual artillery to defend the Faith and reclaim territories lost to schism. Jesuits were to be deployed around Europe to engage heretics in public dispute, or despatched to risk life and limb recruiting converts from the heathen New World. In contrast to this, St Philip’s mission within the Church Militant took place entirely on the home front. In the words of Bl. John Henry Newman, ‘He put away from him monastic rule and authoritative speech as David refused the armour of his king… His weapons should be but unaffected humility and unpretending love. All he did was to be done by the light and fervour and convincing eloquence of his personal character and his easy conversation. He came to the Eternal City and he sat himself down there, and his home and his family gradually grew up around him.” In other words, it was through personal contact and friendship that St Philip contributed to the success of the Catholic Reformation.

The Christian/spiritual meaning of friendship

Under the tyranny of sentimentalism that reigns supreme today, there is a danger that friendship can take on a shallow meaning and be understood mainly in terms of feelings and utility. To understand how friendship was so effective in St Philip’s apostolate, it is necessary to appreciate the classical and Christian traditions in which he had been formed by the Dominicans at San Marco, and through his later studies in Rome. In the Aristotelian understanding, friendship is a ‘settled disposition’ – a habit, based on virtue. It involves the recognition of an intrinsic good in the other, and a reciprocated commitment to serve that good and make it flourish. In a truly virtuous friendship, the parties will also work together for the common good. Whereas for Aristotele such friendship is only possible between equals (he said that the one good we must never desire for our friends is that they become gods because if our wish were fulfilled then we should immediately forfeit their friendship), St Thomas Aquinas’s teaching on Sanctifying Grace makes even friendship with God a reality, because God actually shares His Divine Life with us through Baptism.

The infectious spirit of generosity and charity

Saint Philip excelled in making men’s hearts receptive to this vocation to live as friends with God. His joyful influence fostered an ambience in which his spiritual children found pleasure in each other’s company and came to assist each other in living virtuously. A shy cobbler whom St Philip spotted sitting at the back of the Oratory was summoned to the front and hugged like a long-lost child returning to a family that included cardinals and princes. A watch-seller on the verge of bankruptcy found himself suddenly overwhelmed by eager customers at the Oratory, where St Philip’s friends had been primed to come to his assistance. This infectious spirit of generosity and charity was fostered by visits to attend to the poor in the Roman hospitals. Even those who came to the Oratory with unworthy motives were eventually captivated by the ‘Winning Saint’, and some found themselves taking Holy Orders or religious vows as a result.

This school of Christian friendship was the magnificent mustard tree which developed from that seed of the Kingdom planted in St Philip’s heart at his Baptism on 22nd July 1515. By his intercession, and under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, may it continue to flourish in the Oratory today and in the years to come.”

– From: “The Oratory Parish Magazine – From the Provost”, London Oratory, Vol. 92, No. 1130 (subheadings in bold added afterwards)

 

 

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“HE QUIETLY LEFT THE HOUSE CARRYING THE BUNDLE OF CLOTHES THAT HE WOULD WEAR ON THE ROAD” – ST STANISLAUS KOSTKA

A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF ST STANISLAUS KOSTKA, MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 13

AFTER ALL, GOD HAD CREATED HIM FOR SOMETHING

“Stanislaus was of a quiet nature. Very early in life he seems to have realised that nobility does not consist in showing off but in living one’s life according to God’s plan. After all, God had created him for something: he must find out just what that something was and, knowing it, he must have the strength to carry it out.

To know what he should do and to have the courage to do it, required more than human strength so he sought guidance and help from God. He could never have been satisfied with drifting through life. He was ambitious because he knew that God makes every man for greatness.

LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST IN SHOWING OFF

Paul (his brother) undoubtedly regarded Stanislaus’ sickened reaction to off-colour stories as prudish and childish though in reality it showed rather his strength.

Stanislaus was mature enough to realise how dangerous such stories and conversations can be. He knew that poisonous stories are to the soul what poison is to the body.

No one is likely to suggest that one who breathes in poison gas should be regarded as more adult than one who tries to prevent the gas from entering his system.

One who risks his life to save others is a hero but one who takes risks without reason is a fool.

A QUIET PERSON

As Stanislaus Kostka was a very normal boy, nothing much has been reported about his early years except some references to his habits of prayer, his consideration for others and his popularity.

He was not yet fourteen when he was sent to Vienna to study. The first eight months there seem to have been among the happiest of his life. He enjoyed the boarding school life with its regularity and opportunities for prayer and study. He enjoyed the close friendship of the Fathers and his companions. Many of these contemporaries gave evidence of Stanislaus’ holiness after his death.

He was not a great talker; his expression was calm and pleasant. He was a very modest boy. On weekdays he used to attend three Masses, the first and second before and after the first lecture and the third at the end of the morning classes. On Sunday he spent most of his time in church and heard as many Masses as he could.

HE DID NOT IMPOSE HIMSELF ON ANYBODY

Stanislaus had an extraordinary love and devotion to the Mother of God. At a later stage of his life he was asked by Father de Sa, ‘Do you really love Our Lady?’ ‘What a question, Father! Mary is my dear Mother.’ Though the Sodality of Our Lady had not yet been canonically established there was a sodality of Our Lady in the college at Vienna with St Barbara as its secondary patron.

Laurence Pacifici, who was the personal servant of Stanislaus Kostka, while also attending the Jesuit college with them, wrote of his young master later, when he himself was a Canon of San Mose in Venice: ‘Stanislaus was extraordinarily given to prayer, and though he went to the school of the reverend Jesuit Fathers, and was at that time in the class of Rhetoric, he never cared for worldly eloquence. Hence his speeches, such as students were accustomed to deliver, were generally about Our Lady, to whom he had a great devotion in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and St Barbara, which is held there in great reverence and of which he and many other students were members.”

Stanislaus took part in all the normal school activities, in the recreations and games, he did his work very well, prayed at any time he had free and endeared himself to all. Though the other boys knew that he differed from themselves in his long hours of prayer and his penances, they were not in any way antagonised because he did not try to impose his way of life on them and he was always most considerate and obliging.

NO INTEREST IN THE SELFISH ‘LIFE IN THE FAST LANE’

While realising that his elder brother Paul was living dangerously Stanislaus knew that he could do nothing about it so he kept his peace. Paul found fault with Stanislaus because the latter would not dress up as he did. No one at the college, neither masters nor boys noticed anything unusual about Stanislaus’ dress but then Paul wanted to be unusual. For a year and nine months Stanislaus’ health held out.

HE WAS BEING BULLIED BY HIS BROTHER

In December 1566 his health was poor. He could scarcely eat and he had to drag himself out in the morning. Stanislaus was fasting and that was making him difficult to be with. They were not sufficiently interested to realise that he was ill.

HE WAS SO ILL THAT HE LONGED FOR THE LAST SACRAMENTS

On December 18th they got a surprise. For the first time since they had come to the house they found that Stanislaus was still in bed when they woke up. One look at him convinced them that he was very ill. His face was pale and haggard. He was feverish and in obvious pain. They got doctors for Stanislaus who did not seem to achieve much. Seeing that a priest was not coming to him Stanislaus had recourse to prayer. He sought the intercession of St Barbara who was not only the patroness of his Sodality, but also the special patron of those who desire to die fortified by the Last Sacraments.

ST BARBARA APPEARED AT HIS BEDSIDE

God does not leave his most devoted friends in grave distress of soul and one night when Bilinski (his guardian) was dozing at Stanislaus’ bedside St Barbara appeared and with her, two angels, one of them holding in his hands the Blessed Sacrament. Stanislaus managed to get out of bed and to kneel down telling Bilinski to kneel too. Three times Stanislaus repeated the words, ‘Lord, I am not worthy’ and then opened his mouth to receive the Eucharist. Shortly afterwards Stanislaus was favoured with another divine visitation.

INSTRUCTIONS FROM OUR LADY

This time it was Our Lady carrying the Divine Infant. Our Lady put the Infant Jesus in Stanislaus’ arms and told him he was to enter the Society that bears her Son’s name. It might be easy to question these divine apparations, in spite of the evidence, but for the fact of Stanislaus’ sudden cure. When Bilinski looked at the boy in the morning Stanislaus was awake and normal colour had returned to his cheeks. He asked for his clothes so that he could get up and go to the church to thank God for his cure but Bilinski would not let him up until he had permission from the doctors. These could not understand how the boy who had been at death’s door the previous day was now fully recovered.

HIS BROTHER’S VIOLENCE TOWARDS HIM CONTINUED

When he returned to health, his brother Paul repeatedly knocked him down, mercilessly kicked him and stamped on him so that Bilinski more than once had to drag him away and insist on him letting Stanislaus alone.

STANISLAUS WAS TOLD TO ‘CLEAR OFF’

It was after a day of particularly brutal treatment that Stanislaus had warned Paul: ‘Your rough treatment will end in my going away never to return and you will have to explain my leaving to our father and mother.’ Paul was so infuriated that he had told him to clear off, never dreaming that Stanislaus would take him at his word. The next morning Stanislaus was gone on his first long walk. Though Father Nicholas Doni his confessor was surprised, not at the fact that Stanislaus wished to be a Jesuit priest but that he was told that he could be accepted on condition that his parents accepted.

HE WAS FACED WITH A THREE-HUNDRED MILE WALK

Stanislaus’ spiritual director advised him to go to Augsburg and agreed to give him a letter of introduction to Father Canisius. How far was Augsburg? Stanislaus was faced with a three-hundred mile walk. It was early one Sunday morning when Stanislaus quietly left the house carrying the bundle of clothes that he would wear on the road.

HE LEFT EARLY ONE SUNDAY MORNING

Stanislaus never told the details of the journey to Augsburg perhaps because it was uneventful. When he got to Augsburg Stanislaus went directly to look for the Jesuit Father Provincial. He agreed willingly to admit Stanislaus on probation. He knew what Stanislaus had suffered for his ideal but wished to make sure of his obedience and humility. He sent him to work in the kitchen. Stanislaus was never more content. He wrote afterwards ‘I found heaven in the midst of pots and pans.’ To be as far away as possible from the danger of his father’s wrath Father General, St Francis Borgia, explained why he was sending him to Rome.

A DANGEROUS AND TEDIOUS JOURNEY

The journey to Rome was not only a long one but it was also dangerous. The peril of travel in those days was expressed in the saying that the would-be traveller had better do two things: make his peace with God and make his will. Stanislaus had already come a long way: from Dillingen to Munich, from Munich to Innsbruck, across the Brenner Pass to Bolzano, Salerno, Trent, Verona, Mantua and Bologna. Bologna was half-way to Rome.

ON OCTOBER 25th THEY ENTERED THE ETERNAL CITY

At last after a weary month of travelling, from September 25th to October 25th 1567 on which day Stanislaus and his companions entered the Eternal City. Truly now, was Stanislaus Kostka an experienced traveller.

Stanislaus and his companions had arrived in Rome after an incredibly fast walk. They had done over eight-hundred miles in thirty days, an average of over twenty-six miles a day. That speed would be fast for any human being. It was really astonishing for a boy of seventeen and there is no doubting its having happened.

STANISLAUS WAS NOT THE ONLY ARISTOCRAT THERE

After a few days rest St Francis Borgia allowed Stanislaus to begin his novitiate. His arrival did not cause a stir for there were many other novices and he had not even the distinction of being the only Pole nor the only nobleman in the novitiate.

HE LIVED CONSTANTLY IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Once he was admitted into the novitiate the hardest part of his struggle was over. He was now with others who were trying like himself to do the will of God in all things and the will of God was made clear in the minute and detailed order of time and the directions of the Master of Novices.

Those who lived with him in the novitiate had no doubts about his sanctity. His love of God and of Our Lady had that utter sincerity that cannot be hidden.

He was always kind in his dealings with others but strict and hard on himself. He prayed always and lived constantly in the presence of God. He was entirely absorbed both in God and in the task assigned to him, combining prayer and work, work and prayer.

HIS GREAT DESIRE TO GIVE ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING TO GOD

His favourite topic of conversation was two-fold; he loved to speak of the Blessed Virgin Mary constantly referring to her as ‘My Mother’.

Towards the beginning of the month of August of this year, after listening to an exhortation given in our novitiate by our Father Peter Canisius, he began to be consumed with a great desire to suffer martyrdom and he no longer cared to live. The cause of Stanislaus’ death is somewhat mysterious. He was a healthy young man and physically capable of great endurance as we know.

THE SMILE OF ONE WHO WAS GOING HOME

Stanislaus became ill on the 10th August but not very seriously so. He affirmed that he would not recover but the Infirmarian told him that it would be a miracle if he died of such a mild indisposition. Yet Stanislaus affirmed that Our Lady would take him to heaven for the feast of her Assumption. He died as he had said, shortly before midnight on the 14th August, with the smile of one who was going home.

The mystery and the explanation of St Stanislaus’ life is found in the words of our Saviour to His own mother: ‘Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?'”
– This article by Fr Richard Brennan SJ was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue November 2013. For subscriptions and donations please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.com (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.com (external link).

 
 

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ABOUT ST SIMON STOCK

ST SIMON STOCK; MEMORIAL: MAY 16

St Simon Stock received the Brown Scapular in a vision from Our Lady. He lived in the 13th century and was from Kent, England. After a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he joined the hermit order of the Carmelite friars. His role was important to the consolidation of the order, which at the middle of the 13th century was transformed from a hermit order to being one of mendicant friars, and Simon Stock was its prior general at London. He died at Bordeaux, France, in 1265, and his cult spread during the 14th century.

 

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YEAR OF FAITH: DATES OF THE MAJOR PILGRIMAGES TO THE NATIONAL SHRINE OF OUR LADY – WALSINGHAM

ROMAN CATHOLIC NATIONAL SHRINE OF OUR LADY – WALSINGHAM

MARY, WOMAN OF FAITH

“The Year of Faith…is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the Saviour of the world. Let us entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed ‘Blessed because she believed’ [Luke 1:45]” – Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, 2011.

If you would like to bring a Day Pilgrimage to the Shrine, please contact us so we can advise you about dates, let you know the specific programme for the day, offer travel advice and, most importantly, welcome your Group at Mass. Telephone 01328 820217 or email pilcoord@walsingham.org.uk for information.

To navigate your way to the Shrine, please use the Postcode NR22 6AS and follow the road signs from there.
RC National Shrine, Pilgrim Bureau, Friday Market Place, Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6DB

MARCH
THE EASTER TRIDUUM
• 28 Maundy Thursday – 8pm: Mass and Procession to Altar of Repose
• 29 Good Friday – 3pm: The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. Student Cross arrive
• 30 Holy Saturday – 9pm: Easter Vigil
• 31 Easter Sunday
APRIL
• 7 Divine Mercy Pilgrimage
• 8 Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
• 23 Solemnity of St George, Patron of England
MAY
• 4 Diocese of Salford
• 5 Tamil Pilgrimage
• 6 Diocese of East Anglia
• 11 Archdiocese of Birmingham
• 11 (also) *Walsingham Mass at Northampton Cathedral*
• 12 Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
• 12 (also) Dominican Pilgrimage
• 18 Pilgrimage for the Deaf
• 19 Solemnity of Pentecost
• 19 (also) Diocese of East Anglia Adult Confirmation Mass
• 25 Diocese of Brentwood
• 25-27 National Association of Catholic Families
• 26 Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
• 26 (also) “A Day with Mary”
• 28 East Anglian Children’s Pilgrimage
• 31 The Visitation of the BVM
JUNE
• 1 National Divine Mercy Pilgrimage
• 2 Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
• 6 Diocese of Nottingham Schools Pilgrimage
• 7 Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
• 8 Immaculate Heart of Mary
• 8 (also) Diocese of Northampton
• 9 Catenian Pilgrimage
• 15 Vocations Pilgrimage
• 16 Diocese of Nottingham
• 22 Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Pilgrimage
• 24 Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist
• 30 Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul
• 30 (also) Caribbean Pilgrimage
JULY
• 2 Union of Catholic Mothers’ Pilgrimage – 11.30am Mass
• 4 Diocese of Northampton Schools Pilgrimage
• 6 Marist Pilgrimage
• 7 SVP Pilgrimage for the Sick
• 13 Pilgrimage of Reparation and Consecration
• 14 Tamil Pilgrimage – No Pilgrim Mass today
• 20 Diocese of Hallam
• 21 Syro-Malabar Pilgrimage
• 28 Grandparent’s Pilgrimage
AUGUST
• 3 St Patrick’s Missionary Society
• 5-10 New Dawn Conference
• 6 Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
• 14 Ecumenical Vigil Procession through the village
• 15 Solemnity of the Assumption of the BVM
• 22-26 Youth 2000
• 24 Tyneside Pilgrimage
• 25 Latin Mass Society
• 26 Our Lady, Queen of Peace Pilgrimage
SEPTEMBER
• 7 Archconfraternity of St Stephen Pilgrimage
• 8 The Birthday of the BVM
• 8 (also) The Dowry of Mary Pilgrimage – 12 noon Mass
• 12 Holy Name of Mary
• 13-15 Order of Malta
• 22 Pro-life Pilgrimage
• 24 Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham
• 28 Diocese of Leeds
OCTOBER
• 5 Faith and Light Pilgrimage
• 5/6 Diocese of Middlesbrough
• 7 Our Lady of the Rosary
• 27 Jesus Youth UK

From Easter to October – open daily (as above) from 8.00am to 7.00pm. 12 noon Mass daily (except Christmas Day and as above on days of major pilgrimage).

From November 2013 to Easter 2014 open daily from 8.30am to dusk – see website for more details: http://www.walsingham.org.uk (external link). Our accommodation is open now until 19 December – telephone or email above for details (telephone Julian on 01328 820217 to enquire.)

 

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“HELP ME, O LOVING MOTHER”

O Mother of Perpetual Succour, you whose very name inspires confidence, help me, O loving Mother.

That I may be victorious in the trying time of temptation, help me, O loving Mother.

That I may arise again, should I have the misfortune to fall into sin, help me, O loving Mother.

That I may break asunder any bonds of Satan in which I may become entangled, help me, O loving Mother.

Against the seductions of the world, evil companions, bad books and bad electronic media, help me, O loving Mother.

That I may soon return to my former fervour, should I ever become lukewarm, help me, O loving Mother.

In my preparation for the Sacraments and the performance of my Christian duties, help me, O loving Mother.

In all the trials and troubles of life, help me, O loving Mother.

Against my own inconstancy, that I may persevere to the end, help me, O loving Mother.

That I may be able to induce others to love and serve, and to pray to you, help me, O loving Mother.

To my last hour, to my last breath, help me, O loving Mother.

 

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PRAYER TO ST CASIMIR

SAINT CASIMIR; MEMORIAL: MARCH 4

St Casimir was born in Poland in 1458, son of the King Casimir IV of Poland. He died in 1484. He was intelligent and generous, involved in public affairs, but first and foremost a man of prayer. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady were most marked; he served the poor, and endeavoured to live a holy and pure life.

PRAYER:

All-powerful God,
to serve you is to reign:
by the prayers of Saint Casimir,
help us to serve you in holiness and justice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 
 

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