Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, Day Three

A chariot of fire appeared taking the Prophet Elias to heaven in a whirlwind. Eliseus
grabbed hold of Elias’ Mantle, shouting: My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!
And the Mantle of Elias, torn in two, fell back on the shoulders of Eliseus. Bowing
before this mystery that prefigured the Divine Incarnation, we cry:
Rejoice, Chariot of Fire, on which the Saviour of the world came down to us!
Rejoice, Unburning Bush in Whom God the Uncontained was contained!
Rejoice, New Ark of the Covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice, for meditating on your Ascent to the Lord after your Dormition, we receive a
double share of your Protection!
Rejoice, for by it you cover our hearts against fiery darts!
Rejoice, for by it you cover us front and back and place your hand over us!
Rejoice, for your Prophet Elias foretold your coming in a cave on Mount Carmel!
Rejoice, for you fulfilled his prophecy, filling us with unspeakable joy!
Rejoice, for you are the Star of the Sea, guiding us into a Divine safe-harbor!
Rejoice, for you put on us the swaddling-clothes of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, for your Divine Son bequeaths you to us as our Most Holy Mother!
Rejoice, for you fill us with the Wine of Astonishment!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Spendour of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, Day Two

O Most Holy Mother of God, we rejoice in God our Saviour Who covers us with the
Divine Protection of your prayers. Pondering your great benevolence in granting us a
visible symbol, so like the Mantle of Elias, of your great care for us as the Body of Christ
and our true spiritual Mother, we cry out:
Rejoice, Heavenly Mantle clothing us in the Power of the Spirit!
Rejoice, making unseen our spiritual nakedness and weakness!
Rejoice, for we are made happy under the wings of your Protection!
Rejoice, for in your Scapular, God has clothed us in the garments of salvation!
Rejoice, for you have wrapped us in the Cloak of integrity!
Rejoice, for we have become like a bridegroom wearing his wreath!
Rejoice, for we are like brides adorned in her jewels!
Rejoice, for through you the Spirit of the Lord is given to us!
Rejoice, for by you the Lord anoints us!
Rejoice, for He sends us, your children, to bring good news to the poor!
Rejoice, for you give us a commission to bind up hearts that are broken!
Rejoice, for we are enlivened to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine

Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, Day One

If you want to make a novena ending on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, begin today.

Your Holy Prophet Elias saw you pre- figured in the light cloud upon which the Heavenly
Dew came down to make fruitful the dryness of our souls. Empowered by the Spirit in
the two-part mantle of your Protection, the prophet calls all to the Holy Mountain of the
Lord, crying:
Rejoice, Summit of Divine Joy!
Rejoice, Height of Heavenly Radiance!
Rejoice, Peak of Holiness and Perfection!
Rejoice, Gentle Cloud on which Christ descended to earth!
Rejoice, Golden Fleece bringing the Dew of Spiritual Refreshment!
Rejoice, Desert Rock flowing with the Waters of Salvation!
Rejoice, Unmovable Wall of Protection!
Rejoice, bestowing on us your Mantle of spiritual defense!
Rejoice, our good defense at the dread judgement seat of Christ!
Rejoice, Never-fading Bloom!
Rejoice, Ever-Fragrant Rose!
Rejoice, Most Pure Lily!
Rejoice, O Most Beautiful Flower of Carmel, Splendor of Heaven and Fruitful Vine
richly laden with Blossoms Divine!

Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help

This morning I walked to the Church of Sant’ Alfonso, the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It was quiet and peaceful there with but a few pilgrims kneeling before the miraculous icon. Earlier, I had celebrated the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Perpetual Help in the Chapel of San Gregorio here at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Rejoice we all in the Lord,
as we keep festival in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
whose solemnity makes angels joyful
and sets them praising the Son of God.
V. Joyful the thoughts that well up from my heart,
I shall speak of the works of the King (Ps 44:2).
Gaudeamus is a magnificent festal chant originally composed for the virgin martyr Saint Agatha, and then adapted to other occasions. It is used on a number of other feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, making it familiar enough to be sung with a certain jubilant ease. The gentle balancing of the first mode melody evokes the ceaseless, sweeping joys of the heavenly liturgy celebrated by “the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands” (Ap 5:11). The verse, drawn from Psalm 44, the exuberant messianic wedding song, is placed in the mouth of the Church, the Bride of Christ, as she declares the wonders wrought through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of Perpetual Help.

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Soon To Ireland

To Mayo and Leitrim
On Saturday 30 June, making my way via Ireland to the United States, I will fly Aerlingus from Rome to Dublin, and then from Dublin to Knock in County Mayo. After a few days in Knock I will travel the short distance northeast to Carrick–on Shannon in County Leitrim to visit Cousin John McKeon.
As a small boy, I heard about Knock from my Grandmother Margaret Kirby (1900–1993). Her Aunt Mary had gone there on pilgrimage and sent her a little bottle of blessed water from the shrine. Grandma told me what she knew about the apparitions. In 1988, when I went to Knock together with my Mom, Dad and brother Terence, I was able to celebrate Holy Mass on the site of the apparitions.
Actuosa Participatio and the Silence of the Mother of God
The apparition at Knock is unusual in that the Blessed Virgin spoke no message and uttered no warning; she asked for nothing. Our Lady was silent and, at the same time, intensely present to the Immolated Lamb upon the altar, and to the people who watched the apparition.
The contemplative silence of the Mother of God speaks to my own understanding of actuosa participatio (actual participation) in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There is a silent inward cleaving to the Mystery of the Eucharist that precedes and perfects all other forms of participation in the Holy Sacrifice. The fifteen parishioners of Knock, young and old, to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared on that rainy night in 1879, were accustomed to “hearing Mass” in silence. By her own silence in the presence of The Mystery, the Mother of Jesus was confirming them in theirs.
Toward the Recovery of Silence
The Irish custom of silence at the Holy Mysteries was, in its own way, an actual participation in the sacramental re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ. While silence is not the only mode of actual participation in the Mass, it remains one that is valid, fruitful, and profoundly unifying. It is remarkable that the neglect of spaces and moments of silence within the celebration of the Mass — even of those clearly prescribed by the Roman Missal — had led, in most places, to the complete loss of silence around the Mass, that is to say, in church before and after the celebration.
Knock After the Motu Proprio
If things here in Rome go this week as I rather suspect they will, I will find myself in Knock very shortly after the promulgation of the long-awaited Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Knock is the Blessed Virgin’s invitation to enter deeply into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The presence of the Lamb upon the altar surmounted by the cross, of angels in adoration, of Saint John proclaiming the Word, and of Saint Joseph reverently inclined toward the Virgin Mother is, in pictorial form, a mystagogical catechesis waiting to be developed.
In Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI writes:
The Church’s great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one’s life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world. For this reason, the Synod of Bishops asked that the faithful be helped to make their interior dispositions correspond to their gestures and words. Otherwise, however carefully planned and executed our liturgies may be, they would risk falling into a certain ritualism. Hence the need to provide an education in eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live personally what they celebrate. Given the vital importance of this personal and conscious participation, what methods of formation are needed? The Synod Fathers unanimously indicated, in this regard, a mystagogical approach to catechesis, which would lead the faithful to understand more deeply the mysteries being celebrated.
A Devout Method
Compare the teaching of the Holy Father with this Devout Method of Hearing Mass Before Holy Communion in my heirloom Treasury of the Sacred Heart published in 1860 in Dublin, that is nineteen years before the apparition at Knock:
To hear Mass with fruit, and to obtain from that adorable sacrifice abundant treasures of grace, there is no method more efficacious than to unite ourselves with Jesus Christ, who is at once our Priest, Mediator, and Victim. Separated from Him we are nothing, but even in the eyes of God Himself, we are truly great, by and with His Beloved Son. United thus with Jesus Christ, covered, as it were with His merits, present yourself before the throne of mercy.

This was written in a widely diffused household manual of Catholic piety 103 years before the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. It is not a complete presentation of the mystery of the Mass. Its genre is that of the pious exhortation, not of a comprehensive theology of the Eucharist. That being said, it strikes me that this little Irish text goes to the heart of what is meant by actual participation: communion with Christ, Priest, Mediator, and Victim. Through Him, with Him, and in Him, all who partake of His Sacred Body and Precious Blood are priests, mediators, and victims, offering, and offered to the Father, in the Holy Spirit.
Saint Joseph and Saint John
One last thing. The presence at Knock of Saint Joseph and of Saint John the Evangelist is especially significant to me. Although it was not so in 1879, both are now named in the venerable Roman Canon. They are the two men chosen by God to share most intimately in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Joseph obeyed the word of the Angel of the Lord: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost” (Mt 1:20). Saint John, for his part, obeyed the word of the crucified Jesus: “Behold thy mother.” “And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own” (Jn 19:27).
Saint Joseph and Saint John entered in the silence of Blessed Virgin. One cannot live in the company of Mary without being drawn into her silence, that is, into the ceaseless prayer of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, and into the mystery of the Mass: the Sacrifice of the Lamb renewed in an unbloody manner on the altars of the world.

Support the monks of Silverstream Priory:

Situated amidst pasture land and forest in the eastern reaches of County Meath, Silverstream Priory was founded in 2012 at the invitation of the Most Reverend Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, and canonically erected as an autonomous monastery of diocesan right on 25 February 2017. The property belonged, from the early 15th century, to the Preston family, premier Viscounts of Ireland and Lords of Gormanston. In 1843 Thomas Preston (1817-1903), son of Jenico Preston, the 12th Viscount (1775-1860), built what today is Silverstream Priory.

Silverstream Priory is a providential realisation of the cherished project of Abbot Celestino Maria Colombo, O.S.B. (1874–1935), who, following the impetus given by Catherine–Mectilde de Bar in the 17th century, sought to establish a house of Benedictine monks committed to ceaseless prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation. The community of Silverstream Priory holding to the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant, celebrate the Divine Office in its traditional Benedictine form and Holy Mass in the “Usus Antiquior” of the Roman Rite. Praying and working in the enclosure of the monastery, the monks of Silverstream keep at heart the sanctification of priests labouring in the vineyard of the Lord. They undertake various works compatible with their monastic vocation, notably the development of the land and gardens, hospitality to the clergy in need of a spiritual respite, scholarly work, and publishing.

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