The image of Blessed Abbot Marmion is a photograph I took of a painting in the Irish College in Rome in 2006. I remain grateful to The Reverend Father Bernard Healy for the opportunity he gave me to make my “Marmion pilgrimage” to the Irish College.
January 30, 2010 will be the 87th anniversary of the death of Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B. His liturgical feast, however, is celebrated on October 3rd, the anniversary of his reception of the abbatial blessing in 1909. In observance of his dies natalis (heavenly birthday), I propose the following novena, composed in the context of this Year of the Priest from the writings of Blessed Columba Marmion in his classic, Christ, the Ideal of the Priest.
The First Day of the Novena
Friday, 22 January 2010
O Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son,
establish Thyself as a furnace of love in the centre of our hearts
and bear constantly upwards, like eager flames,
our thoughts, our affections, and our actions
even to the bosom of the Father.
If anyone should say to you: “To aspire to such elevation of soul is beyond my capacity, I must give up the idea,” you should rely firmly: “Yes, it is impossible for you if you must rely on your natural strength and without allowing the necessary length of time.” But so powerful is the action of Christ, so sanctifying the influence of a Mass well celebrated, of Holy Communion, of the atmosphere of prayer and of noble generosity in which the priestly life is normally lived, that you must fill your heart with unlimited confidence. If you show even a little fidelity to Him, Christ, by His grace, will raise you up.
Even if your life as a priest appears mediocre in the eyes of some — the world often judges thus — you may be sure that, in the eyes of God, it is great and agreeable because the Father sees in it the image of the life of His Son. “For you are dead: and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3, 3).
V. Pray for us, Blessed Columba Marmion.
R. That our lives may be hid with Christ in God.
Let us pray.
O God, Almighty Father,
who, having called the blessed abbot Columba
to the priesthood and to the monastic way of life,
wonderfully opened to him the secrets of the mysteries of Christ,
grant, in Thy goodness,
that, strengthened by his teachings
in the spirit of our adoption as Thy sons,
we may pray to Thee with a boundless confidence,
and so obtain, through his intercession,
a favourable answer
to the petitions we place before Thee.
[Express your intentions and requests.]
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.