In Spain in the year 1218 A.D., the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in separate visions to St. Peter Nolasco, St. Raymond of Penafort, and King James I of Aragon, asking them to establish an Order to liberate Christians who had been kidnapped by the Moors, transported to African prisons, and cruelly tortured to deny their faith in Christ.
"Let us adore the Savior,
who gave his Mother a share in His passion."
Invitatory Antiphon for Our Lady of Sorrows
"Hail the Cross, our only Hope."
This is the exclamation which rises in the hearts of Christians today, as we celebrate the blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
"Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaims joy to the whole world,
for from you arose the glorious Sun of Justice, Christ our God;
he freed us from the age-old curse and filled us with holiness;
he destroyed death and gave us eternal life."
- Lauds of the Nativity Benedictus Antiphon
On this fifth day during the Octave of Our Mother's birth, we celebrate the feast of her most wonderful name: Maria. It is this name which bears such sweetness that we call upon in times of trouble, anguish, temptation, and supplication - but also in joy and thanksgiving. Today let us unceasingly offer her name as a prayer to heaven - like sweet roses rising up from earth to find their place within the crown upon Our Lady's head ... "Mary, sweet Mary, my dearest Mother Mary ... " Let us too offer her the prayer of her Holy Name, the Ave Maris Stella.
In our community, August 22 tends to be one of our favorite days of the liturgical year. For on this day, Holy Mother Church celebrates two great Marian feasts.
As the Sisters are about their respective duties behind closed doors - in the refectory, kitchen or chapel - they may periodically hear, "scratch .... scratch, scratch, scratch." This familiar sound is our little dog's attempt at communicating with the Sisters on the other side of the door. It usually means one of two things: "I'd like to come in" or "I'd like to see what's on the other side."
"You shall draw waters with joy out of the Savior's fountain."
This is beautiful scripture passage Pope Pius XII uses to open his encyclical on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Haurietis Aquas (You shall draw waters) - the Latin title - was published on May 15, 1956 in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Feast of the Sacred Heart by Pope Pius IX.
In this profound encyclical, the Holy Father Pius XII refutes various arguments against devotion to the Sacred Heart and explores both the Old and New Testament as grounds for this devotion. He also expounds upon what such a devotion means for our spiritual life, that devotion to the Heart of Jesus is to love the heart of God.
May the Heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment,
in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.
“If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady,
it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ,
and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ.
If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ,
we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil;
but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary,
necessary for us—as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter--
as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly,
of serving Him faithfully.”
- St. Louis Marie de Montfort: True Devotion
"This is the great Festival of the Incarnation, commemorating the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to Our Lady that the Divine Son of God, the Word, would take human nature upon Him in her virginal womb ... On this day the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, uniting for evermore our human nature to the Divine nature. The Mystery of the Incarnation brings vividly before us the boundless condescension and humility of God the Son in stooping to our condition in order to be our Savior. Equally it proclaims the glory and greatness of Mary, who was chosen to give to the Divine Word human flesh and human birth, and so to co-operate with God in the restoration of mankind. Hence her most glorious title of 'Mother of God,' which explains all her glories, her sanctity, and her honor." - The Roman Missal 1962