When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
Of the God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery!
The ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love!…
Oh! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called: Jesus, your first-born!…
O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness:
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you!…
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Why I Love You, O Mary! Stanzas 3, 4, and 5
See the complete text of the poem in English here and photos of St. Therese’s rough drafts, complete with corrections, here
93. There are three principal devotions to Mary: the scapular, pictures, the rosary.
A)The scapular is the livery of Mary. A soul who wears it and who, of course, makes every effort to work out his own salvation cannot be cast into hell, it is impossible. Never take off your scapular.
B)Pictures. We love to have pictures of our loved ones in our homes, a portrait of those whom we love. Why not have one everywhere of our heavenly Mother?
C)The rosary. It is the chain that unites us to Mary. Through the practice of this pious recitation, we accumulate a number of graces and Mary takes us by the hand, Mary directs our frail skiff on the fury of the waves and, with her as our guide, we are sure of our eternal salvation; she cannot let us perish, that is impossible!…
From the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
On 23 March 1899 in every parish in St. Elizabeth’s hometown of Dijon, France, there was a great celebration in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of a city-wide preached retreat. [Source: De Meester]
See this image and more in A K M Adam’s photo album, Holy Cards on Flickr
This translation from the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity is the blogger's own work and may not be reproduced without permission.
On the last day of the novena let us praise God for the gift of St. Joseph to Jesus as his foster father, to Mary a loving husband, to the church a faithful guardian and to us a powerful intercessor.
Reading Psalm 150
1 Praise God in his holy place,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his powerful deeds,
praise his surpassing greatness.
3 O praise him with sound of trumpet,
praise him with lute and harp.
4 Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipes.
5 O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
6 Let everything that lives and that breathes
give praise to the Lord.
The Carmelites look to Saint Joseph as a guide and father, just like Mary and Jesus did. Devotion to St. Joseph isn’t just something to save for once a year, they turn to him for every need.
How can you make St. Joseph your constant guide and companion in prayer?
we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph’s intercession
your Church may constantly watch over
the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation,
whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Hymn to St. Joseph
All praise to God the Father,
Whose hidden, loving plan
Has come to sweet fruition
In Jesus, God made Man!
To them and to the Spirit
We raise our song of joy!
With Joseph and with Mary
Our hymns we now employ
Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.
Reading Matthew 2:13-15
13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
Jesus must live in exile and anguish. Persecution begins with his birth and will follow him until his death. Mary and Joseph are partners with Jesus’ sufferings and saving mission.
What is my contribution to make Jesus known?
Lord God, in your loving providence you chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of your holy Mother, grant that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy patron, Amen.
Hymn to St. Joseph
In Joseph’s care were Jesus
And Mary guarded well,
Provided for and cherished,
As all the stories tell;
And when he died, his spirit
Went forth from them in peace;
Within their arms so loving,
He found his soul’s release.
It behooveth thee to grant a favor and confirmation to my holy and devout Order of Carmel
For centuries the faithful who held a pious devotion to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel believed in an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Pope John XXII in Avignon. Based on that supposed apparition, the sovereign pontiff issued a Papal Bull, Sacratissimo uti culmine, dated 3 March 1322 from Avignon; it is in the text of the Bull that the pope mentions the apparition. The historical difficulty with this document lies in the fact that the Bull is mentioned nowhere prior to 1752, according to Joseph Hilgers.
A modern-day spiritual descendant of St. Simon Stock, former Carmelite prior general Father Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. writes, “In any case, the symbolism of the scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary, the Mother of Carmel, was and remains very important.” Citing the Carmelite friar, Mathias of St. John, Father Chalmers adds one important qualifier: “It would be far better to have holiness under a worldly habit than a worldly heart under a holy habit.” He concludes, “wearing the scapular is intended to be an outward reminder of what should be going on within.”
The recently deceased Discalced Carmelite scholar Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. discusses the historical problems head-on in his article, Brown Scapular: a Silent Devotion. He reviews the scapular as the habit of the Carmelites from their humble beginnings in the Holy Land to their spread through western Europe. In particular, Father Kieran describes the painstaking research undertaken by the Discalced Carmelites in defense of Carmelite Marian devotion following the Second Vatican Council, and how their careful documentation led to the restoration of the feast day of Saint Simon Stock to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1979 (God reward you, Father Nilo).
But more important, Father Kieran explains with great precision where the Church stands today in regard to the Brown Scapular devotion: “No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.”
Fr. Kavanaugh continues: “Nonetheless, the Carmelites have also been authorized to freely preach to the faithful that they can piously believe in the powerful intercession, merits, and suffrages of the Blessed Virgin, that she will help them even after their death, especially on Saturday, which is the day of the week particularly dedicated to Mary, if they have died in the grace of God and devoutly worn the scapular. But no mention is made of the “first” Saturday after their death.”
One particular reflection that this great Discalced Carmelite scholar offers is rather consoling: “If some day an historian were to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there are no grounds to the Marian apparition to St. Simon Stock or the scapular promise, the scapular devotion would still maintain its value. The Church’s esteem of it as a sacramental, her appreciation of its meaning and of the good that has come about through its pious use on the part of the faithful is all that is needed.” Thank you, Father Kieran.
Perhaps Saint John Paul II summarized the Church’s teaching and the Carmelite scapular catechesis best in his 2001 Message to the Carmelite Family. The saint wrote, “the scapular is essentially a habit.”
For our readers who are history buffs, we have researched the Bull Sacratissimo uti culmine and found the text in Satolli’s Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique, which we present to you sans scrupule. An English translation is found here.
SACRATISSIMO UTI CULMINE
JOANNES EPISCOPUS SERVUS SERVORUM DEI, Universis et singulis Christifidelibus, tam praesentibus quam futuris, praesentes literas inspecturis, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.
Sacratissimo uti culmine Paradisi angelorum tam suavis et dulcis reperitur melodia, modulamine visionis, dum paterno Jesus Numini circumspicitur adumatus, dicendo: Domine, Ego et Pater unum sumus, et qui videt me, videt et Patrem meum, et angelorum chorus non desinit dicere: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; ita Synodus non cessat laudes effundere celsæ Virgini, dicendo Virgo, Virgo, Virgo, sis speculum nostrum pariter et exemplum. Quoniam munere munitur gratiarum, sicut sancta cantat Ecclesia: Gratia plena et Mater misericordiae. Sic ille mons reputatur de Carmelo Ordine cantibus extollendo, et hanc gratiarum Genitricem commendando et dicendo: Salve Regina, Mater misericordiæ et spes nostra.
Sic mihi flexis genibus supplicanti Virgo visa fuit Carmelita, sequentem effata sermonem: 0 Joannes, o Joannes, vicarie mei dilecti Filii, veluti a tuo te eripiam adversario, te Papam facio solemni dono Vicarium, meis coadjuvantibus supplicationibus, a dulcissimo meo Filio petens, quod gratiose obtinui, ita gratiam et amplam meo sancto ac devoto Carmelitarum Ordini confirmationem debeas praeconcedere, per Eliam et Eliseum in Monte Carmeli inchoato. Quod unusquisque professionem faciens, Regulam a meo servo Alberto, patriarcha, ordinatam observabit et inviolatam obtinebit, et per meum dilectum filium Innocentium approbatam, ut veri mei Filii Vicarius debeas in terris assentire, quod in cœlis meus statuit et ordinavit Filius; quod qui in sancta perseverabit obedientia, paupertate et castitate, vel qui sanctum intrabit Ordinem, salvabitur; et si alii, devotionis causa, in sanctam ingrediantur Religionem, sancti Habitus signum ferentes, appellantes se Confratres et Consorores mei Ordinis prænominati, liberentur et absolvantur a tertia eorum peccatorum portione, a die quo præfatum Ordinem intrabunt, castitatem, si vidua est, promittendo; virginitatis, si est virgo, fidem præstando; si est conjugata, inviolati conservationem matrimonii adhibendo, ut sancta mater imperat Ecclesia. Fratres proféssi dicti Ordinis supplicio solvantur et culpa, et die quo ab isto se culo recedunt, properato gradu accelerant purgatorium, ego Mater gratiose descendam sabbato post eorum obitum, et quot inveniam in purgatorio liberabo, et eos in Montem sanctum vitæ æternæ reducam. Verum quod ipsi Confratres et Consorores te neantur Horas dicere Canonicales, ut opus fuerit, secundum Regulam datam ab Alberto; illi, qui ignari sunt, debeant vitam jejunam ducere diebus quos sacra jubet Ecclesia, nisi, necessitatis causa, alicui essent traditi impedimento ; mercurio ac sabbato debeant se a carnibus abstinere, præterquam in mei Filii Nativitate. Et hoc dicto, evanuit ista sancta visio.
Istam ergo sanctam Indulgentiam accepto, roboro et in terris confirmo, sicut, propter merita Virginis Matris, gratiose Jesus-Christus concessit in coelis. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostræ Indulgentiæ, seu statuti, et ordinationis irritare, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare præsumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei, et Beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli se noverit incursurum.
Datum Avenione, tertia die Martii, Pontificatus nostri anno sexto
She is there at the foot of the Cross, standing, full of strength and courage, and here my Master says to me: “Ecce Mater tua.” He gives her to me for my Mother. . . . And now that He has returned to the Father and has substituted me for Himself on the Cross so that “I may suffer in my body what is lacking in His passion for the sake of His body, which is the Church,” the Blessed Virgin is again there to teach me to suffer as He did, to tell me, to make me hear those last songs of His soul which no one else but she, His Mother, could overhear.
When I shall have said my “consummatum est,” it is again she, “Janua coeli,” who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: “Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi; in domum Domini ibimus!”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the Others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the Cross. When the blessed Virgin brought the Child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this Child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the Passion, the light between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib.
“In some years Candlemas and Septuagesima are celebrated almost together, the feast of the Incarnation and the preparation of the Passion. The star of Bethlehem shines in the night of sin. The shadow of the Cross falls on the light that shines from the crib. The light is extinguished in the darkness of Good Friday, but it rises all the more brilliantly as the sun of grace on the morning of the Resurrection. The way of the incarnate Son of God leads through the Cross and Passion to the glory of the Resurrection. In his company the way of every one of us, indeed of all mankind, leads through suffering and death to this same glorious goal.”
She is the model of all
who live by the Spirit of the gospel;
As we look up to her in prayer we learn
from her mind to love you above all things,
from her spirit to be rapt in contemplation of your Word, and
from her heart to serve the needs of others.
It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul; the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven. Jesus himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22): the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!”
Carmelite saints have all taken up this theme of Mary as mother. St. Thérèse of Lisieux memorably stated: “She is more Mother than Queen.” For many centuries the Carmelite liturgy has shown special affection for the Gospel scene at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25-27) where Mary, “became the Mother of all, associated with the offering of her Son and given to all people when Jesus Himself gave Her to the beloved disciple”.
Seeing Mary as Mother we are encouraged to reflect on our relationship with her: she cares for us as Mother; we love and respect her as sons and daughters. Moreover, in viewing Mary as our Mother, we are pointed towards her Divine Son in whose allegiance we live. From early times the Fathers of the Church have seen that a correct Mariology serves to guarantee a correct Christology.
~Camilo Maccise, O.C.D. and Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm.
Letter on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the Carmelite scapular
When November 15 falls on a Sunday, the Commemoration is celebrated on the following day.
Just as the love of Christ and the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary have brought us together in a single family, fraternal charity unites those of us still striving to lead a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ in this world, and those already awaiting the vision of God in purgatory. Today the whole Order commends our departed brothers and sisters to God’s mercy through the intercession of Our Lady, sure sign of hope and consolation, and begs for their admission to the courts of heaven.
All as in the Office of the Dead.
you are the glory of those who serve you.
Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters,
united in following Christ and his Mother
by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel.
In your mercy
grant them everlasting sight of you,
their Creator and Redeemer.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
O Theotokos, Virgin Mary, it is indeed a dread and ineffable mystery,
what has been done in you.
For you, indeed, gave birth to the Word who is the cause of all things,
and who was incarnated by the Holy Spirit, beyond any cause or reason.
For from you, who remained unchangeable,
he received flesh of his own divine,
immutable and unaltered nature.
Since in him coexisted the two natures,
the divine and human,
in one hypostasis,
he was dual in nature,
a whole man and a God as well,
showing the perfect wholeness
and having all the energies of the characteristics of both.
As a moral he was crucified in flesh voluntarily
but as God during his passion, he overcame his passion.
As a mortal he died,
but as God he was risen.
As a mortal he was laid in a tomb,
but as God he was in hades,
defeating the power of death
and saving men.
Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
the saviour and redeemer of the human race,
entreat unceasingly for us, your servants,
that he may send down from heaven to us joy and peace.
From you, O holy Virgin,
Christ was born,
Who was God eternally,
but appeared as man recently.
He kept for himself,
in a divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;
He showed the divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;
He showed the divine with glorious wonders,
while he proved the human nature with his sufferings.
Therefore, although he was one
in one godly-human hypostasis,
he dies in the flesh as man,
yet he rises from the dead as God.
Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
as one who has boldness
Entreat that he may be compassionate
and save from the condemnation
those who praise you unceasingly.
Prayer translated by Nikolaos S. Hatzinikolaou; read more prayers by St. Nektarios here
‘The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the Incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, His associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented Him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with Him in His suffering as He died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she cooperated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’ (Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, 61).
From the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, except the following:
Office of Readings
THE SECOND READING
From the homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria preached at the Council of Ephesus
Our access to the fountainhead of grace is through Mary
Hail Mary, Mother of God, august treasury of the whole world, unquenchable torch, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, temple indestructible, and place of the uncontainable, mother and virgin. Through you is named blessed in the holy gospel He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail Mary! You contained the uncontainable in your holy virginal womb. Through you the Trinity is glorified; through you is the cross named precious, and adored throughout the whole world; through you heaven exults; through you angels and archangels rejoice; through you demons are put to flight; through you the devil, the tempter, fell from heaven; through you the fallen creature is taken up to heaven; through you the whole created world, gripped in the madness of idolatry, come to a recognition of the truth; through you comes about holy baptism for believers; through you the oil of gladness; through you churches have been founded through the whole world; through you nations are led to repentance.
What need is there to speak at length? Through you the only Son of God shone His light for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; through you prophets foretold what was to come; through you apostles preach salvation to the nations; through you the dead are raised to life; through you kings reign, through the Holy Trinity.
What man can sing adequately the praise of Mary? She is both virgin and mother! The wonder astounds me. Shall the Builder be forbidden to inhabit the temple He has built? Shall He be despised who chose His handmaid for His mother?
See then, all things rejoice. May it be ours to fear and bow before the unity of the Trinity, to worship and tremble in awe before the indivisible Trinity, as we sing praises of the ever-virgin Mary, that is the holy Church, and of her Son and immaculate spouse; for to Him is glory for ever and ever. Amen.
R/. With confidence let us draw near to the throne of grace, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help. V/. To you do we cry, blessed Virgin, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. It is I who give birth to all noble loving and the holy gift of hope. From me comes every grace of faithful observance; from me all promise of life and vigor.
God of eternal wisdom,
in your providence, you willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary
should bring forth the Author of Grace,
and take part with him
in the mystery of man’s redemption.
May she obtain for us grace in abundance
and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
CANTICLE OF MARY
Ant. Our salvation is in your hands, O Mother; smile upon us, and we shall be happy in our service of the Lord our King.
Take courage, the order of the Blessed Virgin will flourish
One day the Lord told me: “You always desire trials, and on the other hand you refuse them. I dispose things in conformity with what I know is your will and not in conformity with your sensual nature and weakness. Take courage, since you see how I help you. I have desired that you win this crown. In your days you will see the order of the Blessed Virgin flourish.”
I heard this from the Lord in the middle of February, 1571.