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Monday, December 11, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12

We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. Our Blessed Mother appeared to a Native Indian, Juan Deigo on December 9, 1531.

Juan who had become a Catholic, was going to Mass early one morning when Our Lady stopped him as he was making his way down Tepyac Hill. Mary asked him to go to the bishop and tell him that she wanted a great church built on the very spot where she was standing.

The Indian was very troubled. He wanted with all his heart to do what the Lady commanded. But how could he approach the bishop? How could anyone believe such an unusual request?
Juan Diego went to the bishop. The bishop of course, did not believe his story. He did not want to offend Juan and told him to ask the Lady for a sign the next time he met her.

Juan was caught in the middle. The Lady knew what she wanted and the bishop had the power to make her wish come true, but he wanted proof.

On December 12, early in the morning, Juan Diego was hurrying along the path. His uncle was dying and he was going to get the priest. Juan had no time to waste and did not want to meet the lady so he took another route.

But Mary appeared again to Juan and told him that his uncle was better. In fact, Juan found out a little later that Our Lady had for a moment appeared to his uncle and he was immediately cured.

The Lady asked Juan to go back to the bishop. She wanted him to build a church. Juan remembered the bishop's request and asked Mary for a sign. Mary sent Juan into the rocky area nearby and told him to gather the roses that were there.

Juan was confused. He knew there were no roses. It was winter, there was snow on the ground and the bushes were bare. But Juan did as he was told and there really were roses, beautiful roses. Excited, Juan picked them all and went to the bishop.

He carried them carefully in his tilma or cloak. Juan clutched his cloak and made his way into the room where the bishop was. Slowly he let down his cloak and the beautiful roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell to the floor.

Juan smiled but was shocked when the bishop and his attendants knelt down in front of him. He followed the bishop's eyes that were staring at his cloak. And then he saw her, the picture of his beautiful lady, glowing on his tilma.

Her image was life-size, exactly as she had appeared. The bishop had received his sign and Mary would have her church.

Today a great church, called a basilica, stands on the spot where Our Lady of Guadalupe came to her people. Our Lady of Guadalupe was named patroness of Mexico and is also patroness of Latin America and the Philippines.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

On December 8, we honor the Immaculate Conception of Mary our Mother.

Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously. Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, every baby is born into the world with original sin.

We are all children of our first parents so we all inherit their sin. This sin in us is called original sin.

But the Blessed Virgin Mary was given a marvelous gift. She was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without this original sin.

Our Lady was to be the mother of Jesus, God's only Son. The evil one, the devil, should have no power over Mary. There was never the slightest sin in our all-beautiful mother.

That is why one of the Church's favorite hymns to Mary is: "You are all-beautiful, O Mary, and there is no sin in you."

This great favor that God blessed Our Lady with is called her Immaculate Conception.

One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed to the whole world that there was no doubt at all that Mary was conceived without sin.

Four years later, she appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes. When St. Bernadette asked the lovely lady who she was, Mary joined her hands and raised her eyes toward heaven. She said, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Birth Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

September 8

We do not usually celebrate the birthdays of the saints. Instead we celebrate the day they died, because that is the day they were born into the joys of heaven.

The birthday of Mary, our Blessed Mother, is special. We celebrate her birthday because she came into this world full of grace and because she was to be the Mother of Jesus.

The birth of Our Lady was like a new dawn for all of us. When the sky starts to turn a pretty rosy pink early in the morning, we know the sun will soon rise.

In this same way, when Mary was born, she brought great happiness to the world. Her birth meant that soon Jesus, the Son of God, would be born! Mary was the special and wonderful human who was chosen to bring the Lord Jesus to all people.

When we are close to Mary, we have Jesus. Whoever is very faithful to her is very close to the heart of Jesus because she always leads us to Him.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mary, Our Queen

August 22

After a very Holy life and death, our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven, body and soul. She was crowned Queen of Heaven and the Saints by Jesus her Son. All the virtues the Saints practiced are found and seen in her.

We should do something special to show our Blessed Mother that we love her. If you have a garden and flowers you can place some flowers at the foot of a statue of her at home or in church, and perhaps say the Rosary with your family.

I pray to you in these words:

Hail Mary, full of grace!
The Lord is with you
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus,

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Prayer to Our Lady of Knock

Most Blessed Lady of Knock, it is easy for me to recite the prayers I am taught. You teach me that silence can also be prayer, silent attention to God is most reverent. Dearest Lady of Silence, remind me often of the importance of silence. Help me to quiet myself and my soul so that I can be fully attentive to God and all that He asks me to do.


Our Lady of Knock

Knock, a western village in Ireland was very unknown before this most beautiful apparition of Our Blessed Mother.

It was a rainy evening on August 21, it had been storming all day. Mary McLoughlin, the housekeeper to the village priest was on her way to visit a friend. She walked passed the chapel and noticed a few strange figures. She continued on her way but when she and her friend made their way back to the chapel they realized that the figures were actually people!

They were the Blessed Mother, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist. They were bathed in bright light. Our Blessed Mother was wearing white garments and a brilliant golden crown with a rose under the crown on the forehead. She was prayerfully raising her hands and eyes to heaven. St. Joseph was on her right with his head leaning toward Mary. St. John the Evangelist was to the left of Mary, vested as a bishop, in his left hand he was holding an open book and his right hand was raised as if he were preaching. To the left of St. John were a cross and a lamb on top of an altar.

They watched the apparition in the pouring rain for approximately two hours while reciting the Rosary. Though it continued to rain heavily all during this time, no rain fell around them or on the ground beneath them. Shortly after the apparition occurred at Knock, both pilgrimages and miracles began. Ten days after the apparition, a small girl received the cure of a painful ear condition that had left her deaf, when her parents made a pilgrimage to Knock with her.

Our Lady of Knock is also known as Our Lady of Silence. Our Blessed Mother delivered no verbal message, no warning, no request, nor even a word of comfort. But her silence was more than enough to comfort the suffering oppressed Irish people. Their silence and reverence in the presence of the Eucharistic Lamb showed the kind of respect and reverence we should have enough for Jesus who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

This apparition at Knock was on the vigil of the feast of her Immaculate Heart to remind the Irish people that they were close to her Heart and to encourage them to persevere in the faith. She came as the Queen of Heaven and Ireland to remind the faithful of the grace and hope which comes from her Son and the perpetual Sacrifice of the Mass.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15

On this feast of Mary we celebrate a special favor that God gave to Mary, our Mother.

The Assumption means that Mary was taken up into the glory of heaven not only with her soul, but also with her body.

Jesus, the Son of God was born from Mary's pure womb. So when Mary died, God the Father and Jesus, would not let the body of the Mother of God be spoilt. This was her reward for her love of God and her years of faithful prayers and suffering.

Now Mary is in heaven. She is queen of heaven and earth. She is the Mother of Jesus' Church and queen of apostles. Every time Mary asks Jesus to give us graces, he listens to her request.

After the resurrection from the dead, we, too, can go to heaven with our bodies. Our bodies will be perfect. They will not suffer illness anymore. They will not need any more food and drink to keep alive. They will be beautiful and splendid! If we use our bodies now to do good, those bodies will share in our heavenly reward.

As we celebrate the feast day of Mary, let us ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to guide, protect and care for us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Prayer To The Holy Mother

Oh Blessed Virgin,
pray to God for us always,
that He may pardon us and give us grace,
pray to God for us always,
that He may grant us peace in this life
pray to God for us always,
that He may reward us with paradise at our death.