The Greatest Gifts
"The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, alleluia;
and that which containeth all things hath knowledge
of the voice, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!"
- Introit for Pentecost
Gift of God Most High - This title of the Holy Spirit is a title of the Spirit's nature, True Gift. He is the gift sent from God the Father to be a Consoler to the Apostles at the loss of our Lord. He is the gift of a Teacher and Advocate Who was sent to teach the young Church "all things" and remind the Apostles of everything Christ said to them. But most importantly, the Holy Spirit is a gift of God's presence, where we can know that God moves, acts, and speaks within our very selves.
Exalted Above the Heavens
"Ye Men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? Alleluia.
He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into heaven,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!" (Acts 1:11)
"Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families… that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” - Sr. Lucia
Refrain: Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge
and the way that will lead you to God.”
Queen of the May
“…Is Mary the rose then? Mary the tree?
But the blossom, the blossom there, who can it be?
Who can her rose be? It could be but one:
Christ Jesus our Lord, her God and her son.
In the gardens of God, in the daylight divine
Shew me thy son, mother, mother of mine….”
-Excerpt from “Rosa Mystica” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Perhaps it is Our Lady’s title of Rosa Mystica, under which we invoke her in the Litany of Loretto, that flora such powerful connection to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary—particularly during her month of May, when flowers are abundant (especially here in Santa Rosa!). Devotions such as May Crowning, wherein Our Mother is decorated with a corona of blossoms, are endearing displays of devotion—but they are also much more when one takes into account the symbolism behind such an action:
The Model of Workmen
Come let us worship Christ the Lord
who was honored to be known as the son of a carpenter, alleluia.
"The Carpenter's Family"
by Rose Myra Phillips
He must have been a very busy man
Joseph of Nazareth with plane and saw
Making each meitre and each dovetail join
Into a finished work without a flaw.
But now and then he'd pause a bit and smile
(As any loving Father might have done)
At Jesus playing with sweet-ribboned wood
From smoothed boards, once tall trees on Lebanon.
I think that Mary often watched the two...
Whenever hammer-blows caused her to start
With terror, Jesus patted her pale cheek
And laid His shining head against her heart.
To Know Divine Wisdom
"Can we love someone we do not even know? Can we love deeply someone we know only vaguely? Why is Jesus, the adorable, eternal and incarnate Wisdom loved so little if not because he is either too little known or not known at all? Hardly anyone studies the supreme science of Jesus, as did St. Paul (Eph. 3:19). And yet this is the most noble, the most consoling, the most useful and the most vital of all sciences and subjects in heaven and on earth.
"First, it is the most noble of all sciences because its subject is the most noble and the most sublime: Wisdom uncreated and incarnate. He possesses in himself the fullness of divinity and humanity alike and all that is great in heaven and on earth, namely, all creatures visible and invisible, spiritual and corporal. St. John Chrysostom says that our Lord is the summary of all God's works, the epitome of all the perfections to be found in God and in his creatures (cf. Col. 1:16; 2:9). "Jesus Christ is everything that you can and should wish for. Long for him, seek for him, because he is that unique and precious pearl for which you should be ready to sell everything you possess" …
Pity Thou Him and He Will Pity Thee
“…I knew God by His pain!
And by that sight
I saw the light;
Thus did my grief
For Him beget relief…
So learn this rule from me:
Pity thou Him and He will pity thee!”
It is the agonizing privilege of every Sister Teacher and Sister Catechist, explaining to wide-eyed innocents for the first time about the dolorous passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to regard with fresh unction the painful realities of the sorrowful mysteries:
Let Us Go Together To Meet Christ
Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum,
obviaverunt Domino, clamantes et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
The Hebrew children bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord,
crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.
Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.
Fiat Mihi Secudum Verbum Tuum
O God, Who didst will that thy Word should, by the message of an Angel,
take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant unto us,
we beseech thee, that all who do believe her to be in very deed
the Mother of God, may be helped by her prayers in thy sight.
- Vespers I, Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zealous Defender of Christ
In the beautiful litany of St. Joseph, we call upon our spiritual Father under many varied titles:
Guardian of Virgins…
Head of the Holy Family…
Mirror of Patience….
Each invocation is striking in its individuality and yet seamlessly part of the whole in painting for us, by the strokes of these titles, the figure of the greatest and last of the patriarchs. Any of these is worthy to be the subject of our meditation, but one that brings itself to the forefront on this occasion is: “Christi Defensor Sedule”, Zealous Defender of Christ.