Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

O Marie, Ma Reine et ma Mère

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Today is the anniversary of the death of Monsieur le Chanoine Louis François CROSET. Born at Annecy-le-Vieux in 1914, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Annecy on 7 June 1941. He exercised the sacred ministry in the diocese of Annecy from 1941 until 1952, and in the diocese of Bayonne from 1952-1990. He died on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 7 December 1990.
Père Croset’s priestly life was marked by great suffering, by an extraordinary love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by a wonderful spiritual fruitfulness. I was privileged to be numbered among the many souls touched by his priesthood. At the end of his life Père Croset lived in a residence for elderly priests in Pau, not far from Lourdes. A number of years ago he drove me to Lourdes where, together in the February rain, we stood before the grotto and prayed this Act of Abandonment to the Blessed Virgin. Père Croset composed it in 1952 in a moment of intense moral suffering and darkness.
O Marie, ma Reine et ma Mère,
reçois en tes mains mon Acte d’Abandon
à la volonté du Père de notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ,
afin qu’à l’exemple de son Fils bien aimé
et par le secours de ta Tendresse,
je laisse conduire ma vie par l’Esprit-Saint
selon les mysterieux desseins de la Trinité.

O Mary, my Queen and my Mother,
receive into your hands
my Act of Abandonment
to the will of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
so that, following the example of His beloved Son
and with the help of your tenderness,
I may let my life be directed by the Holy Spirit
according to the mysterious designs of the Trinity.

Aide-moi à livrer sans réserve tout mon être à Dieu
dans la clarté obscure de la foi,
l’élan austère de l’Espérance
et l’étreinte crucifiante de l’Amour.

Help me to surrender without reserve
my whole being to God
in the dark brightness of Faith,
the austere élan of Hope,
and the crucifying embrace of Love.

Je veux m’enfoncer en ton Coeur Immaculé
pour y devenir l’hostie que tu donneras à Jésus,
afin qu’en son sacrifice
Il me consacre à la gloire de son Père
et à la fécondité de l’Eglise son Épouse.
Amen.

I want to hide myself within your Immaculate Heart
to become there the host
that you will give to Jesus,
so that He may consecrate me in His sacrifice
to the glory of His Father
and to the fecundity of His Bride the Church.
Amen.

Mater Ecclesiae

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Forty–two years ago today, on 21 November 1964, Pope Paul VI solemnly declared the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church.
Pope John Paul II recalled this moment in a General Audience on 17 September 1997:
The title “Mother of the Church” thus reflects the deep conviction of the Christian faithful, who see in Mary not only the mother of the person of Christ, but also of the faithful. She who is recognized as mother of salvation, life and grace, mother of the saved and mother of the living, is rightly proclaimed Mother of the Church.
Pope Paul VI would have liked the Second Vatican Council itself to have proclaimed “Mary Mother of the Church, that is, of the whole People of God, of the faithful and their Pastors”. He did so himself in his speech at the end of the Council’s third session (21 November 1964), also asking that “henceforth the Blessed Virgin be honoured and invoked with this title by all the Christian people” ( AAS 1964, 37).

If Today You Hear Her Voice, Harden Not Your Hearts

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“There is nothing that I will not do for sinners.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of All Saints is also the Mother of Mercy and the Refuge of Sinners. There is nothing that she will not do to help a fallen sinner rise from his sin. There is nothing that she will not do to draw a sinner to the Heart of her Son.
Though sinless from the moment of her conception, Mary is not repulsed by sinners; on the contrary, she is drawn to sinners. God has given her a Heart full of pity for sinners. Mary will pursue a sinner to the very gates of hell, pleading for him and pleading with him to stretch out his hand to hers. Only in the light of glory will we see the immense number of sinners rescued by the Mother of God and brought, by the ministrations of her mercy, to great holiness.
There are, I think, certain sinners whom it pleases Our Lord to reserve for his Mother. In some way, He entrusts them to her Heart and leaves them in her hands. Sinners who accept this particular disposition of the Mercy and Wisdom of God will necessarily become saints. In heaven they will shine with a particular glory reflected from Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
This perhaps is why Saint Bernard, Saint Alphonsus, the Curé of Ars and so many other saints, when confronted with hardened sinners, abandoned them into the hands of Mary as their final recourse. What no preacher can do, what no tears can obtain, Mary does and Mary obtains. While the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of All Saints, she is even more the Queen of those whom she herself delivered from bondage to sin. There is nothing in the Virgin Mary that is not wholly at the service of the Mercy of God.

September 8, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

20060908%20Maria%20Bambina.jpgRomans 8:28–30
Psalm 12:5, 6 (R. Is 61:10a)
Matthew 1:1–16, 18–23

Unto us a little girl is born; unto us a daughter is given. “The Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the power of the Most High will overshadow her” (Cf. Lk 1:35). The Word will take flesh in her virginal womb and suckle at her breast. And her name shall be called Full of Grace, Glory of Jerusalem, Joy of Israel, and Mother of God. In Italy she has another name, one that the people love to give her; she is their Maria Bambina, the little Infant Mary.

It was in Rome, many years ago, that I encountered the image of Maria Bambina, for the first time. I didn’t know quite what to make of it. She looked rather like a doll, all dressed up in lace and satin, resting on her pillow. I knew only that old people and children came to pray before her, that Maria Bambina had stolen their hearts. She attracted the most extraordinary outpouring of tender devotion, and does to this day.

The image of Maria Bambina originated in Milan where the cathedral is dedicated to the Infant Mary. A Poor Clare nun fashioned the image out of wax in 1735. Maria Bambina suffered the vicissitudes of the times under Napoleon. The convent that kept the image was suppressed. Maria Bambina was passed from one “foster home” to another until, in 1885, she found a permanent home in the motherhouse of Milan’s Sisters of Charity. Beginning in 1884 various miracles were attributed to the image of the Infant Mary. She was dressed in new clothes and placed in a new cradle in the chapel of the Sisters. Devotion to Maria Bambina spread throughout Italy and then elsewhere in the world.

The learned and the clever, the theologically sophisticated and those who think that holiness has no need of warmth and no time for tenderness, are baffled by Maria Bambina. But children understand her. Raïssa Maritain understood the Child Mary perfectly; “The Blessed Virgin is the spoiled child of the Blessed Trinity,” she wrote. “She knows no law. Everything yields to her in heaven and on earth. The whole of heaven gazes on her with delight. She plays before the ravished eyes of God himself.”

The birth to Joachim and Anna of a little girl “full of grace” (Lk 1:28) set in motion great rolling waves of grace that reach even to us, for she was born to be the Mother of Christ. “And from His fulness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16). All the joy of today’s festival is summed up in the last three words of the Gospel: “God with us” (Mt 1:23).
In the birth of the Child Mary, “those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:79) see the first glimmers of the long–awaited Dayspring from on high (cf. Lk 1:78). Joachim and Anna rejoice! Abraham and Sarah rejoice! The ancestors of Jesus Christ rejoice!

Today, with good reason, Mother Church gives us the Genealogy of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew. The long list of patriarchs and of prophets, of kings and of warriors, of saints and of sinners is transformed by the birth of Mary. We see all the ancestors of Christ standing on tiptoe to see the joy that comes to them from afar. With the birth of Mary they begin to rejoice ahead of time.

This is the little girl who will give her consent to the Angel — “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Lk 1:38) — “therefore the child to be born of her will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). The Mother of the Messiah has arrived. Isaiah’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is 7:14).

The cries of little Mary announce the arrival of the Bridegroom in the night of history. “I hear my Beloved! Behold He comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills (Ct 2:8).

In the daughter of Joachim and Anna we can already see the human features of the Word made flesh. Her face announces His. Speaking at the Sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello on September 1st, Pope Benedict XVI called her, “Our Lady in whose face — more than in any other creature — we can recognize the features of the Incarnate Word.” The face of Maria Bambina already reveals the Human Face of God.

The sound of little Mary’s voice is jubilation to our ears because it means that the voice of the Word is very close! Soon the Beloved will lift up His voice: at Bethlehem in the cries of an infant; at Nazareth as a little boy learning His Hebrew alphabet and beginning to read the Scriptures in the synagogue; at Jerusalem in dialogue with the elders in the Temple; on the Mount of the Beatitudes; in Galilee and in Judea; in the Cenacle and in Gethsemane; on the Cross, saying: “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:27); “I thirst” (Jn 19:28); “Father forgive them” (Lk 23:34); “Father, into thy hands” (Lk 23:46); “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). In the splendour of His resurrection, He will call another Mary by name, and He will ask Peter, “Do you love me?” (Jn 21:17).

The inarticulate cries of the newborn baby Myriam, daughter of Joachim and of Anna, announce all of this. And so we bend over the cradle of Maria Bambina, the Mother of God, and say to her in the words of the Canticle: “O my dove, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely (Ct 2:14).

In your face, O little Mary, we already see that of Jesus; in your voice, we already hear His. Your voice, O little Mary, is sweet to our ears; your face is lovely to our eyes, for He whom the whole universe cannot contain will be enclosed in your womb. He will grow for nine months beneath your Immaculate Heart. Out of your flesh and blood the Holy Spirit will form a human Heart for the Son of God, the very Heart that, together with yours, will be pierced on Calvary.

You, O little Mary, Maria Bambina, are the Cause of our Joy! Your appearance in the arms of your mother announces that the Word of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, will soon appear in your arms. And you have but one desire, one joy: to give us your Son, to draw us to Him, that your joy might be ours and that our joy might be fulfilled.

As we celebrate this Eucharist, we ask Maria Bambina, the little Child Mary, to chase all sadness, all coldness, and all fear from our hearts, that we, like little children, may worthily welcome her Son, her very Flesh and Blood in the holy and life–giving Mysteries.

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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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