Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Mary, Mother of God
The most sublime of Mary's privileges is her Divine Maternity. Without that Maternity, her other privileges would not exist; she herself would not exist, for she was created only to be the Mother of God.
Mary's Divine Maternity is great also because this privilege is the reason for her other privileges her Immaculate Conception, miraculous virginity, fullness of grace, Assumption, and the spiritual maternity of all mankind. The Divine Maternity explains everything in her; without this Maternity nothing in Mary can be explained.
In her teaching concerning the union of the human and the Divine natures in Christ the church states that Jesus Christ is God and Man, perfect God and perfect Man, and that this Divinity and Humanity are united in only one Person so that the actions of the Divine Nature or the Human nature are the actions of one person, the Divine Person.
Since God was born of Mary, she is the Mother of God. If we could not say that she is the Mother of God for having given a body to the Son of God, then neither could we adore this Body; nor would we have been redeemed by the sacrifice of this Body on the Cross; nor would we be united to the Divinity in receiving this Body in the Eucharist.
Mary's Divine Maternity is such a sublime privilege that no creature, not even Mary herself, can understand it fully. To understand her dignity as Mother of God in all its fullness, we would have to understand fully the dignity of the Son of God whose Mother she is.
The dignity of the Divine Maternity raises Mary above all the rest of creation. As Mother of God she surpasses, in an immeasurable degree, all other creatures, Angels, and men. They are God's servants, but she is His Mother.
We have the sublime dignity of being children of God by adoption; Jesus alone is His son by nature. But Mary is not the adoptive Mother of the Son of God; she is His real Mother. We can lose our Divine adoption, but Mary can never lose her Divine Maternity. God might have created a more beautiful world, more perfect people, more marvelous spirits; He could not have made anything more wonderful than a Mother of God.
Mary's Divine Maternity places her in a very wonderful relationship with the three Divine Persons. She is the loving daughter of the Father because, before all creatures, she was predestined to be His daughter at the same moment that He decreed the Incarnation of His son. He bestowed marvelous privileges upon her and loved her more than all other creatures together. As Mother of the Son of God, she is associated with the Father in the generation of His Son. With the Father she, too, can say: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
Mary is the Mother of the Son of God. She fulfills the duties and enjoys the rights of a true mother. From her own flesh and blood, she formed the Body of her Son. She nourished him, clothed Him, educated Him. She commanded Him and He obeyed. How can we ever understand the great love that bound their hearts together!
Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit because according to the Gospel and the teaching of the Apostles Creed, she conceived of the Holy Spirit the Son of God, made Man. She is also called the temple of the Holy Spirit because, in virtue of her Immaculate Conception and her fullness of grace, He dwells within her in a most singular manner.
During all eternity it will be one of our greatest joys to admire the infinite love of God for Mary whose Son he willed to be, just as He is in all truth the Son of the Father. The Divine Maternity itself, more than any particular privilege, is a mark of God's unequalled love for Mary. We should rejoice with her in the happiness that filled her heart because of such love. We can ask Mary to pray to God that we return His love with some of the generosity and fervor with which she loved Him.
THE WORD OF GOD
When the designated time had come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman.so that we might receive our status as adopted sons. (Gal 4:4-5)
Shout for joy .O daughter of Jerusalem!.the King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst. (Zep 3:14-15)
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory: the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. (Jn 1:14)
Mary gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in
swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. (Lk
Novena Prayer of the Assumption
Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.
Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.
From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. In honour of your Assumption into heaven I ask for this favour: (Mention your request).
When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you. Amen.
Prayer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth
Mary, Assumed into Heaven, I venerate you as the Queen of heaven and earth. Your own Son led you to a throne of glory in heaven next to His own. As you tasted the bitterness of pain and sorrow with Him on earth, you now enjoy eternal bliss with Him in heaven. I thank Jesus for having put a most beautiful crown upon your head, while all the Angels and Saints acclaim you as their Queen.
Because here below you shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned you not only with glory but with power. He placed you at His right hand that you may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular ittle - that of Mother of God.
In the midst of all the Saints you stand as their Queen and ours - dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God's Kingdom. You pray for your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Saviour on the Cross.
Queen Assumed into Heaven, may your glorious beauty fill my heart with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of heaven.
May your merciful eyes glance down upon my struggles and my weakness in this vale of tears. Crown me with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in heaven. Amen.
Prayer to Mary Assumed into Heaven
Mary, my dear Mother and mighty Queen, take and receive my poor heart with all its freedom and desires, all its love and all the virtues and graces with which it may be adorned. All I am, all I might be, all I have and hold in the order of nature as well as of grace, I have received from God through your loving intercession, my Lady and Queen. Into your sovereign hands I entrust all, that it may be returned to its noble origin.
Mary, Queen of every heart, accept all that I am and bind me to you with the bonds fo love, that I may be yours forever, and may be able to say in all truth: "I belong to Jesus through Mary."
My Mother, assumed into heaven, I love you. Give me a greater love for Jesus and for you.
Mary, Assumed into Heaven and Queen of the Universe, ever-Virgin Mother of God, obtain peace and salvation for us throgh your prayers, for you have given birth to Christ the Lord, the Saviour of all Mankind. Amen.
Almighty, ever-living God, You raised to eternal glory the body and soul of the immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Son. Grant that our minds may always be directed heavenward and that we may deserve to share in her glory. Amen.
by the late Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD)
THE PRESENTATION OF THE
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
1. Although Holy Scripture does not tell us anything about the presentation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple, this belief is based upon evidence authorized by a very ancient Christian tradition, and the Church has given it official recognition by making it the object of a special Marian feast. Mary, who leaves her home and parents in her most tender years in order to live in the shadow of the Temple, speaks to us of detachment, of separation from the world, of complete dedication to the service of God, of virginal consecration to the Most High. After her, countless virginal souls will present themselves in the Temple to offer themselves to God, but no offering will be as pure, as total, as acceptable as Mary's ...
Our Lady is truly the privileged one among all creatures, who, from the first moment of her existence, heard the great call: "Hearken, O daughter, and see and incline thy ear, and forget thy people and thy father's house" (Ps 44,11). The Most High is enamored of her beauty and wills that she be wholly His. Mary responds, and her answer is eminently prompt and complete ...
2. ... Mary gave herself wholly to God, unreservedly, forever. "Lord, in the simplicity of my heart I offer myself to You this day as Your servant for evermore, for Your homage and for a sacrifice of perpetual praise" (Imit IV, 9,1). Such must have been the dispositions with which this holy child offered herself to the Most High, dispositions which were lived with a fullness and coherence incomprehensible to our wretchedness.
Never for a moment did Mary fail in her complete consecration; God was able to accomplish in her all that He willed, without meeting the least resistance. Circumstances of an exceedingly difficult and painful nature abounded in the life of our Blessed Lady: Joseph's doubt concerning the origin of her maternity; the hardships and inconveniences of the journey to Bethlehem; the bleak poverty in which she saw her Child born, the flight into Egypt, the life of privation at Nazareth, the hostility and malice of the Pharisees toward Jesus, the treason of Judas, the ingratitude of a people so favored and beloved, her Son's condemnation to death, the way to Calvary, the Crucifixion amid the insults of the populace. In vain would we scrutinize Mary's heart to find there a single movement of resentment, of protest; of complaint. Mary gave herself wholly to God, allowing Him to exercise over her all His rights as Sovereign, Lord, and Master. She made no objections nor did she marvel that her immolation should reach such proportions: had she not offered herself without reserve? And when her offering was consummated she did nothing but repeat: "Fiat! Ecce ancilla Domini!".
What a contrast to our life as consecrated souls! How easily we take back the gift made to God! We take back our heart when we admit human affections, we take back our will when we refuse to submit to certain commands of obedience which mortify or contradict us, when we will not accept that which entails sacrifice, when we complain, protest or defend our rights. Yet the only true right of a soul consecrated to God is that of letting itself be used and consumed for His glory.
Let us ask Mary, presented in the Temple, to take our poor offering into her maternal hands, to purify and complete it by her offering, so pure, so perfect; to include and hide it in hers, so great and so generous, that being thus purified and renewed, it may be agreeable to God.
PRESENCE OF GOD: O' my Mother, show me how to have firm faith in God and how to entrust myself entirely to Him.
1. Using St. Elizabeth's words, the Church says in praise of Mary: "Blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord" (Lk 1,45). Great things indeed were to be accomplished in Mary; and she had the great merit of believing in them. On the word of God as announced by the Angel, she believed that she would become a mother without losing her virginity; she, who was so humble, believed that she would be truly the Mother of God, and that the fruit of her womb would really be the Son of the Most High. She adhered with entire faith to all that had been revealed to her, accepting, without the least hesitation, a plan that would upset the whole natural order of things: a virgin mother; a creature, Mother of the Creator. She believed when the Angel spoke to her; she continued to believe even when the Angel left her alone and she found herself in the condition of any ordinary woman who knows that she is about to become a mother. "The Virgin," St. Bernard says, "so little in her own eyes, was magnanimous in her faith in God's promise! She, who considered herself nothing but a poor handmaid, never had the least doubt concerning her vocation to this incomprehensible mystery, to this marvelous change, to this inscrutable sacrament; she firmly believed that she would become the true Mother of the God-Man.
The Blessed Virgin teaches us to believe in our vocation to sanctity, to divine intimacy. We did believe in it when God revealed it to us in the brightness of interior light, and the words of His minister confirmed it; but we should also believe in it when we find ourselves alone, in darkness, amid difficulties that tend to disturb and discourage us. God is faithful, and He does not do things by halves: He will finish His work in us, provided we have complete confidence in Him.
2. It would be very far from the truth to think that the divine mysteries were so revealed to Mary, and the divinity of Jesus was so evident to her that she had no need of faith. Excepting the Annunciation and the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, we do not find any extraordinary manifestations of the supernatural in her life. Mary lived by pure faith, trusting in God's word even as we must. The divine mysteries which took place in her and around her remained habitually hidden under the veil of faith, assuming an outward appearance common to the various circumstances of ordinary daily life. Hence, they were often concealed under obscure, disconcerting aspects such as, the extreme poverty in which Jesus was born, the necessity of fleeing into exile in order to save Him, the King of heaven, from the wrath of an earthly king, the toil undergone to procure for Him the strict necessities, and the lack of even these, perhaps. Yet Mary never doubted that this weak, helpless Child, who needed her maternal care and protection just like any other child, was the Son of God. She always believed, even when she did not understand. Witness for example, the un4expected disappearance of the twelve-year-old Boy who had remained in the Temple without His parents' knowledge. St. Luke relates that when Jesus explained His action, giving as a reason that He was carrying out the mission entrusted to Him by His heavenly Father, Mary and Joseph "did not understand His words" (cf. 2,50). Although Mary knew that Jesus was the Messiah, she did not know how He was to accomplish His mission; at this time, therefore, she did not see the connection between the divine will and His remaining behind in the Temple. Nevertheless, she questioned Him no further. She believed that Jesus was her God, and that was enough for her; she was certain, absolutely certain of Him.
Sometimes in our spiritual life, we come to a halt because we insist on understanding and searching into God's plans for our soul. A faithful soul, on the other hand, does not linger to inquire about God's actions; even though not fully understanding them, it believes, following blindly, if necessary, the manifestations of the divine will. This is pleasing to God who does not ask us to understand, but only to believe with all our strength.
PRESENCE OF GOD: O' Mary, humblest of all creatures, make me humble of heart.
1. St. Bernard says: "It is not hard to be humble in a hidden life, but to remain so in the midst of honors is a truly rare and beautiful virtue." The Blessed Virgin was certainly the woman whom God honored most highly, whom He raised above all other creatures; yet no creature was as humble and lowly as she. A holy rivalry seemed to exist between Mary and God; the higher God elevated her, the lowlier she became in her humility. The Angel called her "full of grace," and Mary "was troubled" [Lk I, 28.29]. According to St. Alphonsus' explanation, "Mary was troubled because she was filled with humility, disliked praise, and desired that God be praised." The Angel revealed to her the sublime mission which was to be entrusted to her by the Most High, and Mary declared herself "the handmaid of the Lord" [ibid., 38]. Her thoughts did not linger over the immense honor that would be hers as the woman chosen from all women to be the Mother of the Son of God; but she contemplated in wonder the great mystery of a God who willed to become incarnate in the womb of a poor creature. If God wished to descend so far as to give Himself to her as a Son, to what depths should not His little handmaid abase herself? The more she understood the grandeur of the mystery, the immensity of the divine gift, the more she humbled herself, submerging herself in her nothingness. Her attitude was the same when Elizabeth greeted her, "Blessed art thou among women" [ibid, 42]. Those words did not astonish her, for she was already the Mother of God; yet she remained steadfast in her profound humility. She attributed everything to God whose mercies she sang, acknowledging the condescension with which He had "regarded the humility of His handmaid" [ibid, 48]. That God had performed great works in her she knew and acknowledged, but instead of boasting about them, she directed everything to His glory. With reason St. Bernardine exclaims: "As no other creature, after the Son of God, has been raised in dignity and grace equal to Mary, so neither has anyone descended so deep into the abyss of humility." Behold the effect that graces and divine favors should produce in us: an increase of humility, a greater awareness of our nothingness.
2. "If you cannot equal Mary's absolute purity," says St. Bernard, "at least imitate her humility. The virtue of chastity is admirable, but humility is essential. A simple invitation calls to the first: "He that can take, let him take it", for the second, we have an absolute command: "Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Chastity, therefore, will be rewarded; humility will be demanded. We can be saved without virginity, but not without humility. Even Mary's virginity would not have been pleasing to God without humility. Mary certainly pleased God by her virginity, but she became His Mother because of her humility."
The greatest qualities and gifts, such as the spirit of penance or of poverty, virginity, the call to the apostolate, a life consecrated to God, even the priesthood, are sterile if they are not accompanied by sincere humility. Furthermore, without humility, they might be a source of danger for the soul. Lucifer was pure but not humble and pride was his downfall. The higher the place we occupy in the Savior's vineyard, the higher the life of perfection we profess, and the more important the mission which God has entrusted to us, the deeper we need to plant the roots of humility. Mary's maternity was the fruit of her humility: humilitate concepit, she conceived in humility. Even so, the fruitfulness of our interior life, of our apostolate, will depend on our humility and will always be proportioned to it. Only God can accomplish great things in us and by us, but He will not do so unless He finds us completely humble. Humility alone is the fertile ground in which God's gifts fructify, while it is always humility which draws down upon us divine graces and favors. "No queen," says St. Teresa of Jesus, "forces the King of heaven to give Himself, as does humility. It was humility that drew Him down from heaven into the Virgin's womb" [Way, 1].
The Marian Life
1. The high place which Mary, as the Mother of God, occupies in the work of our sanctification fully justifies our desire to live intimately with her. As children love to be near their mother, so we as Christians want to live with Mary, and in order to do this, we resort to little means of keeping her in our thoughts. For instance, we may have her picture before us and greet her affectionately every time we look at it. Then, with a glance of faith, we can go beyond the picture, and reach Mary living in glory, Mary who, by means of the Beatific Vision, sees us, follows us, knows all our needs, and helps us with her maternal aid. By means of this our faith, our soul remains in continual contact with Mary. Spontaneously throughout the day, we increase our little pious practices in her honor, our prayers and ejaculations; all these combine to intensify our relations with Mary. Saturday's the month of May, the several feasts of Mary are for us so many occasions of remembering her especially, of meditating on her prerogatives, contemplating her beauty, and continually increasing our love for her. In fact, it is impossible to bear the sweet picture of Mary in our mind and heart without feeling moved to love her, without feeling the need of showing her the reality of our love by trying to please her, that is, by living like true children of hers. In this way the "Marian" life, or the life of intimacy with Mary, can penetrate the whole of our "Christian" life and make us more faithful in the fulfillment of all our duties, for nothing can please Mary more than to see us accomplishing with love her Son's will. Furthermore, Christian life lived under Mary's maternal eye acquires that special gentleness and sweetness which arise spontaneously from the constant companionship of a most loving Mother who lavishes attention on us.
2. Another aspect of the Marian life is the imitation of Mary. Jesus alone is the "Way" that leads to the Father. He is the only model but who is more like Jesus than Mary? Of whom more than of Mary can it be said that she has the same thoughts as Christ? "O Lady," exclaims St. Bernard, "God lives in you and you live in Him. You clothe Him with the substance of your flesh, and He clothes you with the glory of His Majesty." While Jesus dwelt in the Virgin's pure womb, he clothed her with Himself, communicated His infinite perfections to her, filled her with His sentiments, desires, affections, and divine wishes; and Mary, who gave herself up entirely to His action, was completely transformed into Him, so that she became a faithful copy of Him. The liturgy says that "Mary is the most perfect image of Christ, formed truly by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, took full possession of Mary's pure, gentle soul, and traced in it, very delicately and perfectly, all the features and characteristics of the soul of Jesus. This is why we choose her for our model We do not love Mary for herself alone, but because she is the Mother of Christ; likewise we do not imitate Mary for herself, but for Christ, whose most faithful image she is. Jesus is the one Way which leads us to the Father, and Mary is the surest and easiest way to reach Jesus. By incarnating in Himself the perfections of the Father, Jesus made it possible for us to imitate them; by retracing Jesus' perfections in herself, Mary has made them more accessible to us, has brought them within our very reach. None can say as well as she: "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ" (I Cor 4,16). Since Jesus came to us through Mary, it is wholly appropriate that we should go to Jesus through her.
"O' My most sweet Mother, you call me and
say to me: 'If anyone is a little one, let him come to me.' Children
always have their mother's name on their lips and they call her whenever they
are in danger, fright, or difficulty. O sweet Mother, O loving Mother, you
want me, like a little child, to call upon you always and to have unceasing
recourse to you ... Permit me then to invoke you constantly to say:
'O Mother, loving Mother!' Your name consoles me, moves me tenderly, and
reminds me of my obligation to love you. Your name encourages me to
confide myself to you. 'My Mother', thus I call you, and thus I want to
call you always. After God, you are my hope, my refuge, and my love in
this vale of tears. O my sweet Lady and Mother! by the love you show your
children you ravish their hearts. Ravish also, I beg you, my poor heart
which so greatly desires to love you. You, O Mother, charmed God with your
beauty and drew Him from heaven into your womb; and I, shall I live and not love
you? No, I shall have no rest without the assurance that I have a true
love for you, my Mother, a constant, tender love. Yes, I want to love you,
O sweet Mother, but I fear, at the same time, that I do not love you, for I have
heard it said that love makes a lover resemble the loved one ... I know
how different I am from you! Could this be a sign that I do not love
you? You are so pure, and I so impure! You are so humble, and I am
so proud! You are so holy, and I so wicked! But this is what you
ought to do, O Mary, since you love me: make me like you. You have
the power to change hearts; then take mine and transform it. Show all the
world how great is your power in favor of those you love! Sanctify me and
make me worthy of being your child" (cf. St. Alphonsus)
We have presented here some thoughtful meditations on The Blessed Virgin Mary.
For more here is an authoritative site http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/marprayer.html#novena
for marian prayers and Novenas, Litanies and other prayers
Yours in the Love of christ: