Tag Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today Catholic around the world celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe “La Morena” to celebrate the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to  a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego in 1531.

What strikes me as extraordinary about these apparitions is that they occured while hundreds of thousands Europeans were abandoning the faith of their fathers.  Whereas in Europe protestantism was creating disunity and confusion amongst Christians, Our Lady of Guadalupe was pointing millions and millions indigenous people towards Christ.

Coincidence? I think not.

I loved today’s  Bishop Barron reflection about this feast day:

Friends, today we celebrate the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What followed the apparition of Mary at Tepeyac is one of the most astounding chapters in the history of Christian evangelism.

Though Franciscan missionaries had been laboring in Mexico for twenty years, they had made little progress. But within ten years of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, practically the entire Mexican people, nine million strong, had converted to Christianity. La Morena had proved a more effective evangelist than St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Patrick, and St. Francis Xavier combined! And with that great national conversion, the Aztec practice of human sacrifice came to an end. She had done battle with fallen spirits and had won a culture-changing victory for the God of love.

The challenge for us who honor her today is to join the same fight. We must announce to our culture today the truth of the God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, the God of nonviolence and forgiving love. And we ought, like La Morena, to be bearers of Jesus to a world that needs him more than ever.

Bishop Robert Baron

Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us!

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today Gospel reading:

Mary-In-The-Bible-blessed-virgin-mary-31169283-591-875

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38

Blessed Virgin Mary pray for us that a culture of life takes hold of our hearts and bring us closer to the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus!

Beneath Thy Protection

Beneath your compassion,
We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

Beneath Thy Protection is one of the earliest Christian prayers of our Blessed Virgin Mary. It dates to approximately the year ~250 AD a century before the Church established for the first time the canon of scripture in the Synod of Hippo in 393 AD. It was part of the Christmas liturgy celebration and it is still used in the liturgies of the Coptic, Byzantine, Armenian and Roman rites of the Church.

mariejesus

This very early Christian devotion to our Lady embraces the words of Christ when He said to John at the foot of the Cross:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home”.

John 19:26-27

John his beloved disciple stands right there for all of us: “Behold, your mother”, Christ gave us his mother to us; the Blessed Virgin Mary is our mama! Christians throughout the centuries have understood it clearly. That is why Beneath Thy Protection is such a beautiful intercessory prayer to our Lady.


 

Battle of Lepanto

1280px-Battle_of_Lepanto_1571

Centuries later Christians in Europe fled to the Blessed Virgin for protection against the invasion of the Muslim forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571 stand as one of those defining days in Western history. Many historians argue that a defeat of the Christian forces opposing the Muslim invasion would have been a catastrophe for Christendom in Europe, allowing the Turks to overrun most if not all of Europe.

As the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states, including Genoa, Spain and Papal States fought the invading forces many cities throughout Europe prayed the Holy Rosary asking for the intersection of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her Son. It is easy to imagine people gather in Churches chanting in Latin:

Sub tuum praesidium
confugimus,
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

We fly to thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Amen.

At the end of the five hour battle only about 210 Ottoman ships were destroyed compared to about 60 from the Christian fleet. The battle signified the last great maritime battle fought with galleys and a major victory against Islamic invading forces. As the result, Pope Pius V instituted October 7 as the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

GK Chesterton brilliant Poem Lepanto:

Lepanto

(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still–hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships…

Viva Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Excerpts taken from Lepanto by GK Chesterton

Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us!

For GK Chesterton complete Poem click here.

For my thoughts on Islamic persecution of  Christians persecution in the Middle East click here.

St. Maximillian Kolby: Priest, Missionary, Auschwitz Prisoner and Martyr

Maximilian-Kolbe-211x300

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.”

 St. Maximillian Kolbe

It was a summer day and the camp prisoners were standing in front of their Nazi guards in disbelief against such inhuman cruelty. They all stood until the last of ten prisoners was chosen to suffer death by starvation. No barbarian is content with the blood they wanted more. They want it to teach a lesson to those who would try to escape.

The sentence was pronounced and like a piercing thunder aloud cried erupted from one of the condemned:

 “O my poor wife, my poor children. I shall never see them again.”

At that moment, a flood of mercy rushed into his Heart, all his life was for this moment. As a child, he asked the Virgin Mary what would be of him. She responded by showing him two crowns, one white and the other one red. She tenderly asked him if he was willing to accept either one of them. The white one meant that he should persevere in purity and the red one that he should become a martyr. He chose both.

Long time later, that child now barely resembling a grown human being due to the scourge of hard labor and inhuman mistreatment slowly walk to the prison guards and said:

maximilian-kolbe

“My name is Maximillian Kolby”.

“I am a polish catholic priest and I want to take this man place.”

Prisoner 16670 said calmly as he offered his life for the family man. What thoughts must have passed through the SS officer? Could such act of love have broken through his soul and lifted the clouds of darkness?

They tried to take their humanity away, but instead fervently and loud prayers; hymns and the rosary met their inhumanity. The starvation bunkers were not longer and instruments of death, but one of redemption. In imitation of Christ, they turned those starvation bunkers from a sign of despair and extreme human cruelty into a sign of Faith, Hope and Charity. They turn their cross into an instrument of love.

St. Maximillian Kolby pray for us!


This was a fictionalized re-creation of what happen based on witness account. To learn more about this great saint please visit:

Catholic resource:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/kolbe2.htm

Non-Catholic resource:

http://moralheroes.org/maximilian-kolbe