John Bosco (1815-88) had a special devotion to Mary. He founded the
Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians. He said: "Do what you can!
God and Our Lady will do the rest!"
excerpted from the book Mary, Queen of Apostles written by Rosalie Marie Levy.
Anger Is Destructive-Love Heals
April 12, 1994 After Communion at All Saints Church 7:00a.m.
R. Love is healing. If you attack me and I respond with love by the grace of God, but let it fester later into anger, I have an active emotion inside of me. You hurt me. I was right, you were wrong. I get angry or I get depressed. Some action occurs within me. If, by the grace of God, I acted lovingly when you attacked me, then, when I go away, I must continue to dismiss any thoughts of how I have been wronged and beg God for His help to forgive and love you.
household in Jerusalem, and brought to Constantinople, where it was
placed in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in place called the
Chalkepratois. The Zone is associated with several miracles, including
curing an incurable fatal disease from which Empress Zoe, the wife of
Emperor Leo, was dying in 486. Later, Empress Pulcheria had gold
threads sewn into the Zone. In 1101, the Zone was moved for
safe-keeping to to the Monastery of Vatepedi on Mount Athos. (Source:
George Poulos, Orthodox Saints, vol. 3).
From the Synaxarion:
The Placing of the Venerable Belt of the MostHoly Mother of God in the
Constantinople Blakhernae Church was during the reign of the emperor
Arcadius (395-408). Before this the holy relic, entrusted to the
Apostle Thomas by the Mother of God Herself, was after Her Dormition
thereafter kept at Jerusalem by pious Christians. After many years,
during the reign of emperor Leo the Wise (886-911), from the Belt of
the Mother of God was accomplished a miraculous healing of his spouse
Zoa, suffering from an unclean spirit.
The empress had a vision, that she would be healed of her infirmity
when the Belt of the Mother of God would be placed upon her. The
emperor turned with his petition to the Patriarch. The Patriarch
removed the seal and opened the vessel in which the relict was kept:
the Belt of the Mother of God appeared completely whole and undamaged
by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and she
immediately was freed from her infirmity. They served a solemn
thanksgiving molieben to the Most Holy Mother of God, and the
venerable Belt they placed back into the vessel and resealed the seal.
In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold Placing
of the venerable Belt, the feast of the Placing of the Venerable Belt
of the Most Holy Mother of God was established. Parts of the holy Belt
are in the Athos Batopedia monastery, in Trier monastery and in Gruzia
September 23 to November 1
The 40 Days for Life campaign, which incorporates prayer, fasting and outreach at local abortion clinics, will make its first appearance in San Diego.
Local leaders will target the San Marcos Care Center, where abortionist George Kung practices, and the Palomar Pomerado Health building in San Marcos.
For more information,click here.
Gene Villinski – firstname.lastname@example.org or Elena DiVentra – 760.438.2860
|Written by Bishop Peter M. Chenaparampil|
Every true Catholic has devotion to Our Lady. Our Lady is not only honored as Mother of God, admired as im maculately conceived, appreciated as perpetual virgin and sought after as Queen assumed to heaven, but she is consid ered as our own Spiritual Mother.
In India, Marian devotion is quite strong. Mary is the Chief Patron of India, especially since independence was granted to the country on the Feast of her Assumption on the Fifthteenth of August. Culturally in India, women are held in high esteem, although in practice there may be cases of ill treatments. Ac cording to the Hindu mentality women are loved and revered. The Godhead is conceived as having a female counterpart. God Vishnu has Goddess Lakhmi and God Siva has Parvathi. The Hindus think that by placating these female deities, they can get favors from the powerful male deities. Because of such concept, Mary, Mother of God, gets easily a place in the Hindu mind and heart. It is a fact that many Hindus venerate Mary. Mary also has a pride of place in Islam. Indian Catholics have naturally a great devotion to Our Lady since they also are trained in Marian devotion from a tender age.
But it is to be remembered that devotion remains in the periphery of one’s life and does not enter into one’s soul, one’s thinking, and one’s way of life, unless one is convinced of its necessity. As regards Our Lady, devotion to her should not just be merely based on her exalted dignity nor on her eminent virtues and qualities. In the devotion to Our Lady there is something beyond personal distinctions. That is, that Mary is very close to us and has something to do with our salvation. The earlier four dogmas portray Our Lady as a person of emi nence and intimately connected with Our Lord as the Im maculately conceived, Virgin Mother of God. But it is the three-fold maternal doctrinal roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, that bring into relief her dominant position in our life.
If Mary’s role is shown as Co-redemptrix, then naturally people will realize her importance in the work of redemption and will be impelled to venerate her and love her as a person very much needed in their life and in their salvation. If Our Lady is proclaimed to the peoples as Mediatrix, then people will be drawn to her to get the graces from Our Lord through her. It is the title of Our Lady as Advocate that inspires confi dence in the people. So it will be of great advantage to the people at large, if these three prerogatives of Our Lady are declared as a Marian dogma of faith.
Why certain theologians find it difficult to understand the position of Our Lady as Coredemptrix, I think, is be cause they are caught up in the meshes of syllogisms and mis understandings. It is true that Our Lord is the only Redeemer but we see that in the act of redemption Our Lord deigned to involve others with Him. That He chose to be born from the humble Virgin of Nazareth while He could have accomplished redemption in a different way, makes us understand that Re demption is not exclusive of co-operation from others. Our Lord made use of Mary in His redemptive work to such an extent that she became the Mother of the Redeemer. What St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:9 is quite revealing: We are God’s "co-workers."
Our Lord is the sole redeemer of mankind; however, in His divine disposition He made use of humanity in His act of redemption and Mary is the most prominent person. When we say that Our Lady is Coredemptrix, we do not mean that she is independent of Our Lord, nor that She is on par with Him. We only mean to say that Our Lord made use of Mary in His redemptive work. That Our Lady is Mediatrix follows as a corollary from her role as Coredemptrix. So too, with the prerogative of Our Lady as Advocate.
By imploring the Holy Father to define these three ma ternal roles of Our Lady as a dogma, the supporters of the Vox Populi Movement are only desiring to get Our Lady placed more centrally in Marian devotion. It is a matter of consola tion that many eminent personalities in the upper echelons of the clergy and many distinguished theologians are now com ing to realize the necessity of getting this Fifth Dogma pro claimed by the Holy Father. May Mary our Advocate obtain this favor from the Triune God by illuminating the mind and strengthening the heart of the Holy Father towards the declaration of the dogma.
Most Rev. Peter M. Chenaparampil Bishop of Alleppey, India
|Written by Anne, "a Lay Apostle"|
The messages from "Anne, a Lay Apostle," from the international spiritual movement "Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King" have been released for international distribution with the permission of Bishop Leo O’Reilly of the Diocese of Kilmore, Ireland, the diocese in which Anne and the international headquarters of the Lay apostolate reside. They have also been submitted by Bishop O’Reilly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.
The following message comes from Volume Six, entitled Heaven Speaks to Families. I strongly encourage our readers to download these messages and, if possible, read them prayerfully before the Blessed Sacrament in the presence of our Eucharistic Jesus. They have been of untold spiritual benefit to me.
St. Joseph Speaks to Fathers
June 16, 2004
With the help of heaven, you will do this successfully. But in order to obtain this help, you must ask for it. In order to ask for it, you must be prayerful. If you are not prayerful, you will not see the need to pray because you will be too busy scur rying from one day to the next and telling your self that all is well because this is what everyone else is doing. Fathers, set a tone of quietness in your home whenever possible. Children in your care will then feel free to come to you with their little difficulties and fears. Be available to them by often sitting quietly or working in silence. There is no need for the constant distraction of noise. It dulls your soul, dear man, and God cannot find rest in you. If you spend time in quietness, your soul will calm and your God can claim you and communicate with you. He will inspire you to give consideration to His will for your life. He will give you an awareness of the large view of your life and your family, pulling you away from the small view, which is the moment. If your large view includes heaven, and seeing God, you will understand that you must live each moment differently. Set your sight on heaven, for both you and your family, and you will see your perspective begin to shift a little here and alter a little there. This is a process and you can be comfortable that all will not change in a day, particularly if you have been spending too much time in the world or practicing bad habits. But it will change. Gradually, your home will feel different to you. You will long for holiness for each of the souls in your family who are walking your life journey with you. You will see their spiritual development as the priority. Dearest man, created by God, this is your role. You, in partnership with your wife, are to shepherd your little ones through their childhoods so that they can grow strong in the service to the Kingdom. Be brave and allow Me, Joseph, to show you how this should be
done.Dear fathers of the world, you must heed my voice. I am speaking to you from kindness and concern. We in heaven watch the events in the world because we are eager to assist you. We hear your prayers and immediately begin interceding for you so that any graces available will be utilized. Allow us to help you to examine your role as father so you can be certain you are fulfilling this role as God has willed. You must examine your role in comparison to me, Joseph, the head of the Holy Family. Do not examine your role in comparison to a soul who is not following God. You must take this opportunity to also look at your companions. Are they true followers? Do they encourage you to be a good father and husband? Are they themselves good fathers and husbands? Dear man, if they are not fulfilling their role as father and husband, it will be difficult for you to resist their influence. Many in this time will encourage you to put yourself first, but I tell you in all seriousness that you should not do this. Your wife and children must come first. You are to lead your family to heaven. In heaven, the first will be last. Consider yourself a servant to your family. In this way you will not spend too much time meditating on how you would like to follow the world. You live in a world of great darkness. I must speak the truth so that you know that it is critical that your family be steered safely through these times.
Continued from Part II
The Image and the Pro-life Movement
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which converted the Aztecs has been replicated and travels the United States on an explicit mission to end abortion. It is carried into Churches and it is brought in front of abortion clinics nationwide. I have been with the image many times in these settings. In one instance in Florida, a Catholic girl who was already in the clinic’s waiting room looked outside and saw us praying, and decided to cancel her abortion. She came out to talk to us. We arranged for all the assistance she needed, and later that year I had the joy of baptizing her baby, whom she named "Guadalupe."
The image speaks to these girls a message of hope. It also speaks to the pro-life people a message about the task before us. We who fight abortion do not see abortion walking down the street. Instead, we see a girl, frightened and in the grip of despair. We, the Church, are to reach out to her in what is
That mission is illustrated by the Annunciation and the Visitation. When Mary is told she will be the Mother of Christ, she does not get wrapped up in herself, thinking about what has just been said and isolating herself from others in order to absorb some unique spiritual experience. Rather, she seems to pay more attention to what Gabriel said about Elisabeth, Mary’s cousin, than about Mary! She runs in haste into the hill country and tends to Elisabeth’s needs during her pregnancy. The message for us is that authentic religious experience and true worship never turn us in on ourselves. Rather, the more real our encounter is with God, the more attentive and responsive we are to the needs of our brothers and sisters.
Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the "Patroness of the Unborn." They will be saved by the message of hope she brings, and by the message of concrete charity with which she challenges the Church. Among the many and varied groups that carry out this pro-life mission, one of special note in this context is "Indians for Life." The outreach department of the National Right to Life Committee, as well as Priests for Life, have fostered and encouraged the growth of this yet small organization, coordinated by Clementine "Little Hawk" Hernandez. Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., has been among the strong supporters of this effort, which gives concrete expression to the reverence of Native Americans for the gift of life.
Conclusion: For the little ones, for us
Image via Wikipedia Juan Diego
When Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, she addressed him as "Juanito" (signifying the weakest or smallest member of the family), and as "Son", and spoke of herself as both his "Mother" and the "Mother of the One, True living God." All of this indicates another reason why Our Lady of Guadalupe should be entrusted with the unborn. Today she addresses to us who defend life the same words she addressed to Juan Diego:
"Hear and let it penetrate your hearts, my dear little ones. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Do not fear vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?"
Continued from Part I
A Theology of Despair
The Aztecs had a complicated mythology-theology. The universe for them was essentially unstable, and in that universe humans played a very small role. This view led to pessimism, and a fear that they needed to always appease the deities. Their view was that the present world was the "Fifth world," made by the "Feathered Serpent." The previous four worlds had been destroyed by gods who turned people into monkeys or dogs. The present world, they thought, would be destroyed by an earthquake, as a result of which skeleton creatures would come out of the ground to destroy the surviving inhabitants of earth.
This is a theology of despair. Whatever moral aversion they may have had to human sacrifice, their despair made them feel they had no choice but to practice it. The dynamics behind abortion are essentially the same. While there may not be a mythology of feathered serpents and skeletons, there is real despair. People do not get abortions because of "freedom of choice"; they get them because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. They feel trapped, abandoned, desperate, and afraid.
The thousands of case-studies that Priests for Life has collected from post-abortive women are permeated by the theme expressed by the woman who said, "My friends told me I had no other option. The clinic did not offer me any alternative, and I was almost crying out for one." As author Frederica Mathewes-Green has said, a woman does not choose an abortion like she chooses a Porsche or an ice-cream — rather, she chooses it like an animal caught in a trap chooses to gnaw off its own leg. Her experience is that she either chooses to end the life of this baby, or her own life will end. "I cannot handle it, I can’t do it, nobody will support me, it’s impossible."
The rationalizations offered for abortion are also full of despair for the child. "Why bring a child into this world, into these circumstances, where he/she will have to suffer so much?"
Image via Wikipedia 18th Century painting of God Himself painting the Icon.
From Despair to Hope
How does the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe answer the theology of despair, both for the Aztecs and for the Americas?
Our Lady is carrying God within her womb. The God of the Universe has now become a human being. No longer is there any question as to whether God is on our side. He is not a God who will destroy us; He is a God who has become our brother. He is not a God far away who waits to be appeased by blood. He is a God who shares our own flesh and blood, and is as close to the human family as an unborn child to his mother.
In this framework, human beings no longer play a small part in the universe. On the contrary, as the Second Vatican Council proclaimed, "By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being" (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22). The result of that is the promise of Revelation 3:21, "I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne."
The universe into which Our Lady of Guadalupe invites us is no longer an unstable universe. God clearly reveals Himself as the only God, who is and shares both love and life. This truth brings hope. There is no longer need for human sacrifice, whether on pagan altars or in abortion clinics, because both the present and the future are in the hands of a God who is "God with us."
Do you know why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Unborn?
The next series of articles feature Fr. Frank Pavone’s letter that appears in the Aug.-Sept. special edition newsletter of the San Juan Diego Women’s Center. Fr. Pavone writes about the power of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in converting hearts to Christ. Just as it had converted the Aztecs and put an end to their human sacrifice, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to work powerfully to put an end to abortion through the Pro-Life Movement.
A Surprising Image
If you are involved in the pro-life movement for any length of time, you will encounter the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are many connections between this particular image of Our Lady and the pro-life cause.
On December 12, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian named Juan Diego and requested that a shrine be built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego, upon reporting this event to the bishop, was disappointed because the bishop didn’t seem to believe him. Juan returned to the place of the apparition where Our Lady again appeared. She told him to return the next morning when she would give him a sign that would convince the bishop of the truth of her appearance and her request.
The following morning Our Lady told Juan to go to the top of the hill and gather Castilian roses that he would find there. Although he knew that only cactus grew there, he obeyed, and his simple faith was rewarded by the sight of beautiful roses growing where she had told him they would be. He gathered them and showed them to Our Lady who rearranged them for him. Juan returned to the bishop. As he opened his tilma (a type of poncho), the roses fell to the floor. All who were present were startled to see an image of Our Lady on the tilma.
Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego’s tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City. In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God. Many articles have been written on dozens of other theological lessons drawn from the details of the image.
When asked who the lady was, Juan replied in his Aztec dialect, "Te Coatlaxopeuh," which means "she who crush the stone serpent." His answer recalls Gen. 3:15 and the depictions of Mary as the Immaculate Conception, her heel on the serpent’s head. The devil exalts himself above God and above God’s law (see Isaiah 14:12-15), whereas Mary submits to God (see Luke 1:38). Some promote abortion as a "choice." Self-will is exalted. We reject abortion because we, like Mary, submit all our choices to God. That spirit of obedience crushes evil and sin. Our Lady’s image reminds us to live in that obedience each day.
Human Sacrifice Then and Now
Some nine million Aztecs were converted to Christ by the power of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At that time, the Aztec peoples were practicing human sacrifice. As a result of the image’s presence among the people, their hearts were converted to the true God and the practice of human sacrifice was abolished. A key theological dynamic operating here is that Our Lady turned the Aztecs from a worldview of despair to one of hope, from a conviction that the gods were against them to a conviction that God was so much for them that He became one of them.
We can listen to stories of Aztecs cutting out their victims’ hearts or placing their heads on poles and say, "Oh, how terrible that was!" But America is not doing any better, as the hearts and heads of innocent babies are destroyed by abortion! The image is therefore being used again to change the hearts of our people.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life