Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mary Wants us to Carry her Image So that We Might be Conformed to Christ

Today is the 178th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Laboure' in which Mary herself gave the design for the Miraculous Medal and asked that it be struck and distributed in Mary's own words "to the whole world and to every person". By wearing this medal, thus carrying her image, it is Mary's plan that we be totally conformed to Christ by her motherly hand.

The Miraculous Medal Story
and Its Meaning

The Medal of the Immaculate Conception — popularly known as the Miraculous Medal — was designed by the Blessed Virgin herself! No wonder, then that it wins such extraordinary graces for those who wear it and pray for Mary's intercession and help.
The First Apparition

The story begins on the night of July 18-19, 1830. A child (perhaps her guardian angel) awakened Sister (now Saint) Catherine LabourĂ©, a novice in the community of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, and summoned her to the chapel. There she met with the Virgin Mary and spoke with her for several hours. During the conversation Mary said to her, “My child, I am going to give you a mission.”

The Second Apparition

Mary gave her this mission in a vision during evening meditation on November 27, 1830. She saw Mary standing on what seemed to be half a globe and holding a golden globe in her hands as if offering it to heaven. On the globe was the word “France,” and our Lady explained that the globe represented the whole world, but especially France. The times were difficult in France then, especially for the poor who were unemployed and often refugees from the many wars of the time. France was first to experience many of those troubles which ultimately reached many other parts of the world and are even present today. Streaming from rings Mary's fingers as she held the globe were many rays of light. Mary explained that the rays symbolize the graces she obtains for those who ask for them. However, some of the gems on the rings were dark, and Mary explained that the rays and graces were available but did not come because no one had asked for them.

The Third Apparition and the Miraculous Medal

The vision then changed to show our Lady standing on a globe with her arms now outstretched and with the dazzling rays of light still streaming from her fingers. Framing the figure was an inscription: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

The Meaning of the Front Side
of the Miraculous Medal

Mary is standing upon a globe, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her foot. She stands upon the globe, as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her feet crush the serpent to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Gn 3:15). The year of 1830 on the Miraculous Medal is the year the Blessed Mother gave the design of the Miraculous Medal to Saint Catherine LabourĂ©. The reference to Mary conceived without sin supports the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary—not to be confused with the virgin birth of Jesus, and referring to Mary's sinlessness, “full of grace” and “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28)—that was proclaimed 24 years later in 1854.

The vision turned and showed the design of the reverse side of the medal. Twelve stars encircled a large "M" from which arose a cross. Below are two hearts with flames arising from them. One heart is encircled in thorns and the other is pierced by a sword.

The Meaning of the Back
Side of the Miraculous Medal

The twelve stars can refer to the Apostles, who represent the entire Church as it surrounds Mary. They also recall the vision of Saint John, writer of the Book of Revelation (12:1), in which “a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” The cross can symbolize Christ and our redemption, with the bar under the cross a sign of the earth. The “M” stands for Mary, and the interleaving of her initial and the cross shows Mary’s close involvement with Jesus and our world. In this we see Mary’s part in our salvation and her role as mother of the Church. The two hearts represent the love of Jesus and Mary for us. (See also Lk 2:35).

Then Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.” Catherine explained the entire series of apparitions to her confessor, and she worked through him to carry out Mary’s instructions. She did not reveal that she received the Medal until soon before her death 47 years later.

With approval of the Church, the first Medals were made in 1832 and were distributed in Paris. Almost immediately the blessings that Mary had promised began to shower down on those who wore her Medal. The devotion spread like wildfire. Marvels of grace and health, peace and prosperity, following in its wake. Before long people were calling it the “Miraculous” Medal. And in 1836, a Canonical inquiry undertaken at Paris declared the apparitions to be genuine.

There is no superstition, nothing of magic, connected with the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal is not a “good-luck charm”. Rather, it is a great testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith. God uses a Medal, not as a sacrament, but as an agent, an instrument, in bringing to pass certain marvelous results. “The weak things of this earth hath God chosen to confound the strong.”

When our Blessed Mother gave the design of the medal to Saint Catherine LabourĂ© she said, “Now it must be given to the whole world and to every person.” The Association of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, Missouri carries out our Lady’s request in many ways, including offering you a free Miraculous Medal.

Association of the Miraculous Medal
1811 West Saint Joseph Street * Perryville, MO 63775

Pope Benedict XVI Teaches Us the Love of Christ

Christian love is so demanding because it springs from the total love of Christ for us: this love that demands from us, welcomes us, embraces us, sustains us, even torments us, because it obliges us to live no longer for ourselves, closed in on our egotism, but for "him who has died and risen for us" (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15). The love of Christ makes us be in him this new creature (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17), who enters to form part of his mystical body that is the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI
Weekly Audience from St. Peter's in Rome
November 26, 2008

In this year dedicated to St. Paul Pope Benedict XVI each Wednesday gives a teaching on the letters of St. Paul in the New Testament. His teaching yesterday was especially moving to me. Some day soon may all the world be filled with the knowledge of the love of Christ!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Shine the Light of Thy Countenance Upon Us O Lord

Psalm 4:6
"There are many who say 'O that we might see some good!' Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, Lord!"

Psalm 24:5-6
"He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob"

Psalm 27:7-9
"Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Thou hast said, 'Seek ye my face.' My heart says to thee, 'Thy face, Lord, do I seek!' Hide not thy face from me."

Psalm 31:16
"Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love."

Psalm 44:3
"for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm give them victory, but thy right hand and thy arm, and the light of thy countenance; for thou didst delight in them."

Psalm 67:1
"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us."

Psalm 80:3
"Restore us O God; let thy face shine, that we may be saved!."

Numbers 6:24-26
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

Daniel 9:17
"Now therefore, O our God, hearken to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplications and for thy own sake, O Lord, cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary, which is desolate."

St. Camillus de Lellis
"May the face of Jesus Christ shine gloriously upon you"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI, the Rosary and the Holy Face

Photo of Pope Benedict in Manoppello Sept. 1, 2006

Last month Pope Benedict made a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of New Pompeii founded by the great apostle of the rosary Blessed Bartolo Longo. Here is some of what he said to encourage those who work at the Shrine which can also be of help to all of us in this difficult time.

In order to be apostles of the rosary, it is necessary to experience first hand the beauty and depth of this prayer (the rosary) that is simple and accessible to all. It is, above all, necessary to contemplate the Face of Christ: His joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious Face. One who, like Mary and together with her, assiduously keeps and meditates the mysteries of Jesus, assimilates His sentiments more and more, and is conformed to him... The rosary is a school of contemplation and of silence...The rosary is entirely woven of Sacred Scripture.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gaude, Dei Genitrix

Rejoice, Mother of God, Virgin Immaculate.
Rejoice, you who received joy from the Angel.
Rejoice, you who conceived the brightness of eternal Light.
Rejoice, Mother.
Rejoice, Holy Mother of God and Virgin.
All creation extols you.
Mother of Light, pray for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prayer on Election Day

From the Liturgy of the Hours, Morning Prayer

Antiphon: Lord, let the light of your face shine upon us

Psalm 67
People of all nations will worship the Lord

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and exult
for your rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its fruit
for God, our God, has blessed us.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in
the beginning, is now and ever shall be
forever and ever. Amen.


Be gracious and bless us, Lord, and let your face shed its light on us, so that we can make you known with reverence and bring forth a harvest of justice.

Antiphon: Lord, let the light of your face shine upon us.

Today, throughout the day, in many churches of the USA there is Eucharistic Adoration. At St. Anne of the Sunset Church at 850 Judah St. in San Francisco this Adoration is taking place in conjunction with a Parish Mission conducted by two members of the Fathers of Mercy, Fr. Christopher Crotty and Fr. Louis Guardiola. This Mission will continue each night at 7PM through Thursday November 6. Come Holy Spirit by the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary! Make Jesus known!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lord, This is the People that Longs to See Your Face

"We would like to see Jesus" John 12:21

"Then turning to the disciples he said privately 'Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!" Luke 10:23

"I never cease to implore blessings for you from Jesus, and to beg the Lord to transform you totally in Him. How beautiful is His face, how sweet His eyes and what a good thing it is to stay close to Him." St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

O my Jesus inspire all to seek your Face!