Showing posts with label Virgin Mary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virgin Mary. Show all posts

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How Medjugorje Transformed My Life

Almost a year ago, my wife and I traveled to Medjugorje for two days. The experience was powerfully transformative for both of us. In the video below, I describe how my life has changed since that brief visit to the town of Medjugorje.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Seven Sorrows Rosary


The Origin of the Devotion

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows has a long history in the Catholic Church. The specific Seven Sorrows Rosary prayer was entrusted to the Church by Our Lady when, in the 13th century, she appeared to a group of men who later formed into the Order of Servites. The devotion has received ecclesial approval and support.

Over the years, Our Lady has encouraged devotion to her Seven Sorrows in various apparitions. In more recent times, in 1982, she appeared in Kibeho, Rawanda, urging us to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.

In the Gospel of Luke, the Prophet Simeon states: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary was more connected to Christ than any other human being, and therefore she shared in the suffering of Christ in a unique way. No human being, other than the human nature of Christ, suffered as much as Mary did. Therefore, she understands the depth of our sorrow, and since is she the Mother of us all, she is always eager to help us if we call upon her.


Praying the Seven Sorrows Rosary

Make the Sign of the Cross.

Opening Prayers on the large medallion or cross:

Introductory Prayer: My God, I offer you this rosary for your glory, so I may honor your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, so I can share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg you to give me true repentance for all my sins. Give me wisdom and humility, so that I may receive all the indulgences contained in this prayer.

Act of Contrition: My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend you my God, who are all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

One Hail Mary on each of the first three beads, in honor of the tears of the Virgin Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:22-35)

Reflection: Mary, being sinless, lived her life in perfect conformity to the will of God. The knowledge that her Divine Son would be rejected and contradicted pierced her heart with anguish. Today Christ continues to be rejected and contradicted in the world, more so than ever before. In our own lives too, unlike our all-holy Mother, we often fail to live in complete conformity with the will of God, succumbing instead to the lure of the world. Let us beseech our Immaculate Mother for the healing of the world and of our hearts.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)

Reflection: God led the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. But now the Messiah has to flee from the Holy Land to Egypt. Mary is grieved by the rejection of her son and the suffering he will endure during their escape. She feels anguish for the Holy Innocents whom Herod slaughters in the attempt to take the life of Jesus. Today, many Christians have to flee their homeland because of anti-Christian persecution. More Christians have been martyred in our era than ever before. The faith is forced out of the public square more and more forcefully in our society. After his exile, Jesus returned from Egypt to the Holy Land. May faith in Christ return to our society as well.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Third Sorrow: The Losing of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)

Reflection: As Mother of God, Mary had the singular honor of being with our Lord throughout his childhood. The separation of losing Jesus in the Temple pierces her heart with great sorrow. Jesus teaching in the Temple foreshadows the longer separation they must have in later years when he begins his earthly ministry as an adult. Losing Jesus for three days also foreshadows the three days in the tomb, after the anguish of Calvary. Mary never stopped worshipping Christ during their physical separation. But today, so many in the world do not know Christ and have no knowledge of his healing love. Mary found Jesus after her search. May our society, which, unlike our Holy Mother, keeps searching for answers in futile ways, also come to find Jesus.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Fourth Sorrow: Mary Meets Jesus on the Way of the Cross (Luke 23:27-31)

Reflection: Mary is filled with great anguish at seeing her Divine Son led away to execution, rejected by the jeering crowds. Today, the Church, the Body of Christ, is mocked, jeered at, and persecuted, almost entirely crushed in many lands formerly Catholic. As churches close and faith in Christ is displaced, we share in the grief of Mary, the Mother of the Church. But as Christ rose from the dead, may the Church of Christ experience new life in the face of ever-increasing persecution.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Fifth Sorrow: Jesus Dies on the Cross (John 19:25-27)

Reflection: As the Mother of God, Mary is more closely connected to Christ than any other human being, and thus, she experienced the suffering of Christ on the cross in a unique way. Her suffering was greater than that of any other human, other than the human nature of Christ. Therefore, she knows the anguish of our suffering, and, being our Mother, she is always ready to help us when we call upon her help. Let us always turn to her in our hour of sorrow.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Sixth Sorrow: Mary Receives the Body of Jesus from The Cross (John 19:38-40)

Reflection: Mary’s heart is filled with profound pain as she holds the body of her dead son in her arms. Her prompting of Jesus at the wedding of Cana to start his public ministry has led to this necessary moment. Although she believes in the ultimate triumph of her son over death, for this time, she is filled with sorrow. As we experience loss and death in our own lives, let us bring our sorrows to Mary, who knows our pain.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.


The Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb (John 19:41-42)

Reflection: Who can console a mother who has to see her own son placed in the tomb? The separation foreshadowed by the losing of Jesus in the Temple has come true. Mary, who was granted more time with our Lord in her earthly life than any other human in this world, now has to suffer the anguish of being without him. In our own lives, may we always yearn for the presence of Christ with the same desire that our Holy Mother had. Let us seek him in the good works he enjoined upon us, in the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, and in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

One Our Father for the small medallion or standalone bead: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

One Hail Mary for each of the seven beads: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At the end of the set: Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.

Conclusion:

After the Seventh Sorrow, pray the following:

For the holy souls in Purgatory:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Concluding Prayers: Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you by the merits of the tears you shed in these terrible and sorrowful times, to obtain for me and for all the sinners of the world the grace of complete sincerity and repentance. Amen.

Mary who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us. (3 times)

Make the Sign of the Cross.


Please note: The pictures in this post are from Google images and are not my own.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Praying at the Cave of the Annunciation in Nazareth

March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord in the Catholic Church, commemorating the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel in Nazareth to the Virgin Mary, as narrated in Luke 1:26-38, to reveal to her that she would become the Mother of God. Today, a magnificent two story basilica stands at the site. The bottom layer encloses the cave that, according to tradition, was the house of Mary, where the apparition and the Annunciation took place. The basilica is adorned with images of Our Lady from different parts of the world.








































Visiting the House of St. Joseph in Nazareth

March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph's (though this year the celebration was transferred to Monday, March 20, because March 19 fell on a Sunday). Next to the magnificent Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth in the Holy Land stands the Church of St. Joseph, under which pilgrims can visit the excavated ruins of ancient homes dating back to the small community of Nazareth at the time of Jesus. One of these homes is believed to be the house of St. Joseph, where the Holy Family lived. The last picture shows a sign at the foot of the altar saying: "Hic erat subditus illis," meaning "He became obedient to them," a reference to the story of the young Jesus at the temple, told in Luke 2-41-51.






























Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Beautiful Town of Lourdes

February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Below are some pictures of the enchanting town of Lourdes, France, from my visit there in October of 2015. Situated at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, Lourdes is a beautiful little town, complete with a Medieval castle overlooking the area. Lourdes is the site of a series of 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in 1958, over the course of several months. During one of the apparitions, Mary directed Bernadette to find a spring in the grotto, instructing people to drink from the water and to wash themselves with it.

The grotto of the apparition has been well preserved. Pilgrims are able to enter, touch the walls, and view the location, now behind Plexiglass, where Bernadette found the spring. A beautiful church complex was built over the rock formation in which the grotto is located. More recently, under the promenade leading to the grotto, a huge, modern-style basilica was built, large enough to accommodate 25,000 people, making it the third largest basilica in the world. This underground church might initially strike visitors more as a backup parking garage rather than as a church, but the space has a power of its own in its aggressive starkness. Ironically, the basilica is named after St. Pius X, who was not exactly a fan of modernity.

5 million people visit Lourdes every year. Pilgrims can drink from the water and are able to bathe in it through an elaborate, stream-lined process. Visitors can also tour the buildings where Bernadette lived while she was at Lourdes. From March through October, thousands of people participate in a nightly candle light procession, involving multi-lingual prayers. A nightly Eucharistic procession is also held in the underground basilica. Close to the grotto, a life-sized set of the Stations of the Cross winds up the side of a wooded hill, inviting pilgrims to a prayerful walk, with a stunning view of the surrounding area.

Lourdes has a profound spiritual power, and from a spiritual perspective, the experience of this shrine was an amazing spiritual highlight. On the other hand, the rows and rows of shops selling all kinds of articles of commercialized religion can be disturbing and spiritually deflating. God and mammon are both present in this place - it is our choice which we embrace.