The Lord Himself Will Give You a Sign

King's Stand Silent in your Presence © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Kings Stand Silent in your Presence © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before You. Come let nothing keep you from coming to our aid (O Antiphon, Divine Office).

As Advent draws to its culmination, there is a sense of eager anticipation that builds like a crescendo. Our home is filled with the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. The Nativity stands on the mantle, the Christmas tree is decorated, lights glow, stringed instruments rehearse for Christmas Mass, the children sing and whisper Christmas secrets. . . our busy home is abuzz with festive cheer.

Prepare Ye the Way! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Prepare Ye the Way! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The rhythm of readings from the daily Divine Office and Holy Mass have served as a foundation upon which we have endeavored to construct worthy hearts; prepared to welcome the Infant Christ Child, and His Beloved Mother. The daily recitation of the St. Andrew Novena has helped to reinforce the essential truth and beauty of the season of Advent. With every: “Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem, in piercing cold, in that hour vouchsafe O my God to hear my prayer and grant my desire through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen,” our hearts are one step closer to welcoming the One Who is our heart’s greatest desire.

Yesterday’s blizzard offered a unique opportunity for reflection and Advent preparation. Winds howled and heavy snow blanketed our area. By this morning we had 14 inches of heavy wet snow, encrusted with ice. Trees laden beyond their breaking point littered our yard today.

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Holy Hill in Ice © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA Photo

All week we knew the storm was coming. Modern meteorology with its Doppler radar has tracking approaching storms down to a science. On Wednesday, I regretfully informed the kids it was doubtful that we’d venture to the Basilica for daily Mass. We all hate missing Mass, but missing Mass during these final days of Advent seems a particular blow. My daughter Gemma summed it all up: “The Lord has invited us to His banquet, and we won’t be there!” However, I assured them that as the responsibility of their young lives is mine, I knew Our Lord would understand our absence from His holy Banquet. Still, I prayed, as did they, that if possible, we might get to Mass.

Holy Hill

Before the icy, wet snow truly piled up on Thursday morning, my husband discovered that his clinic was closed in advance of the inclement weather. By Mass time, as anticipated, the roads were beyond my driving capabilities, but he is more proficient behind the wheel than I, and thus we safely ventured to Mass as a family. The beauty of the Basilica, encrusted with pure white snow from the twin spires to the trees below, is breath-taking. Fr. Jude delivered a magnificent homily to the mere handful of us who were privileged to traverse the steep hill. He explained why King Ahaz preferred to enter a disastrous military alliance with the Assyrians rather than trust in God’s providential care (First Reading, Isaiah 7:10-14). Ahaz was a weak king, who sought his own security and prestige through worldly means and was uninterested in invoking God. Ahaz was not about to trust that God would protect his tiny Kingdom, and in fact he preferred to side-step God, rather than risk losing his precious throne. Politics preempted theology. Thus, with mock humility, Ahaz refused to even ask for a sign. Even though Ahaz refuses to cooperate, the prophesy is uttered aloud: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you this sign: the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel.”

A Virgin Shall Conceive and Bear a Son © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

A Virgin Shall Conceive and Bear a Son © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The fulfillment of this prophesy reaches completion through the fiat of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was described in yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 1: 26-38). King Ahaz refused to cooperate with God’s grace, and rejected His loving plan to protect His chosen people. Alternatively, the Blessed Virgin chose to cooperate fully with the Divine Will. King Ahaz principally valued his own temporal and political desires. He was full of himself, and placed his personal security above the good of his people and the will of God. In contrast, the Blessed Virgin was (and is still) full of Grace, she sought the Will of God preeminently without consideration of her personal goals and safety. Unlike Ahaz, she trusted God thoroughly, and thus through her God’s loving plan would reach fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

Trust: it seems so simple, yet it is profoundly challenging. Trust is not something that happens accidentally. No, rather it requires a volitional act of the will. We must summon our courage and rest in faith, realizing the validity of the Angel Gabiel’s promise: “Nothing is impossible with God.” Mighty kings and rulers like Ahaz have proven incapable of such trust. Yet, a lowly, humble, poor, young virgin demonstrates exactly how one must proceed. Emulating her example, we can place our trust in the providential love of God, and receive into our hearts the fruit of this love, which is Jesus Christ Our Savior.

Through Mary, may we have the grace to say: “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Advent blessings,

M.A. J.M.J.

Happy Anniversary Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill!

Adore the Lord in His holy court. Let all the earth be moved at his presence (Psalm 95: 6, 9). © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 KJ photo

“Them I will bring to my holy mountain, and make joyful in my house of prayer; their holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples (Isaiah 56:7).”

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians is one of my most cherished places. Years ago I stated that if God were to bestow a kiss on the people of Southeastern Wisconsin, it would look like Holy Hill.

Sanctuary of the Upper Church, Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Among my earliest memories, Holy Hill features prominently. I recall journeying with my family from our home in Michigan to visit this National Shrine of Mary, at Holy Hill. I was about 3 years old at the time and had never seen such a glorious church! The beauty and magnitude of this magnificent structure dedicated to the Mother of God, impressed me deeply. I recall climbing (and climbing) what seemed like a gazillion steps, from the lower parking lot to the upper church, and later that day climbing all 173 steps to the top of the tower. My father did not like heights, and part way up the tower, he turned around and headed down to the landing. Grasping my mother’s hand, I headed up the narrow winding stairs, to the top of the tower. I remember peering out the round window near the summit of the climb. I felt like I was on top of the world and could see forever! (Little did I know that three decades later, both the neighborhood in which I would raise my children and the cemetery where my parents’ mortal remains rest could be seen from that very window.)

173 steps to the top © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

In the 1980’s, I would visit Holy Hill with my fiancé and my parents. About a half hour before Mass, my betrothed and I decided to climb to 173 steps up to the tower. Mom and Dad opted to wait for us in the main church, while we quickly buzzed up the stairs. As I confidently sprinted up the first few flights, I remarked to my husband-to-be: “I can’t imagine why this bothered Dad, it’s just a bunch of stairs.” Well, pride goes before the fall, or in my case the sudden fear of falling. As soon as those words of hubris were out of my mouth, I looked down the center of the stairwell, and gasped. In an instant, I discovered a fear of heights I never knew I possessed. Like my Dad, I turned around and headed down the stairs. Now, twenty-plus years later, I still haven’t managed to make it to the top of the tower I had climbed in my youth.

Under the scaffold during the renovations © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Yet those towers feature prominently in so many memories- my children have literally grown up in the shadow of the Holy Hill towers. We have been blessed to attend near-daily Mass at Holy Hill for years. My sons enjoy the privilege of serving Mass frequently, and my older children sing in the choir. We have developed deep and lasting friendships with the wonderful Carmelite friars who dedicate their lives to the care of the Shrine and its pilgrims.

The Discalced Carmelite Friars are Stewards of this Sacred Site © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

It is impossible to express with mere words what this sacred space means to my family and I. Through the years, Holy Hill has captured a cherished place in our hearts. The tapestry of memories includes threads of joy, laughter, tears, and friendship. First Communions, First Reconciliations, graduations, May Crownings, Corpus Christi Processions, and the funerals of dear friends – our family has celebrated sacraments and milestones within these hallowed walls. Mom and Dad’s wakes were celebrated in the Old Monastery Inn. Truly, from my parent’s gravesite the view of Holy Hill is magnificent. I could never have imagined in 1968 that our bond to this sacred site would be so great.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the April 28, 2012 Mass of Thanksgiving © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Today, Holy Hill celebrates a milestone of its own. On July 16, 2006, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, then Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the elevation of Holy Hill to the status of a minor Basilica. The occasion of the announcement was not only the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but also the 100 anniversary of the arrival of the Discalced Carmelite Order. Four months later, on November 19, 2006, Archbishop Dolan celebrated the Mass officially dedicating The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians as a minor Basilica. Today, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of this dedication.

Cardinal Dolan’s Mass of Thanksgiving, April 28, 2012 © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Holy Hill is a treasure. On April 28 of this year, Cardinal Dolan returned to this beloved Shrine to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving following his elevation to Cardinal. Over the years I have often heard Cardinal Dolan describe Holy Hill as “Mary’s House.” Perhaps this is why Holy Hill bears such significance for many of us. Our lives unfold here, and we sense that the Blessed Mother is truly a heart-beat away. Through Holy Hill, we are linked to Our Lady and her Beloved Son.

Mary Help of Christian, Pray for Us! (Shrine Chapel) © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

During this Year of Faith, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, in accord with the Apostolic Penitentiary, has declared that the Christian faithful of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who, having fulfilled the required conditions of Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, prayers for the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions, “and in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin may benefit from a Plenary Indulgence” by visiting the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in the form of a Pilgrimage. “Pilgrims must participate in a liturgy, or at least pause for an appropriate time in prayer and meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, Invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and where appropriate of the Holy Apostles or patron saints.” The full text of the official decree can be found at: http://www.archmil.org/Year-of-Faith/Plenary-Indulgence.htm.

“Blessed are they who dwell in Your House, O Lord.” © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA Photo

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill is a uniquely cherished site. Please join me in praying for continued blessings to flow from this sacred Shrine. Please pray for the pilgrims who visit and for the dedicated Carmelite Friars who are stewards of Mary’s House. All for the Greatest Honor and Glory of God!

Happy Anniversary! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

Happy Anniversary Holy Hill!

Blessings,
Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

A.M.D.G.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Please Pray for Us! (Novena)

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

“In order that Love may be fully satisfied it must needs

stoop to very nothingness and transform that nothingness into fire (Story of a Soul, Chapter XI).”

St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, remains one of the most beloved of all the saints. In 1888, this young sister entered the Carmelite Cloister (with the special permission of the Holy Father himself) at the tender age of 15; she died a mere 9 years later. Therese longed to be a missionary, an apostle, and a prophet,- to travel to each of the continents spreading the Gospel of Christ, yet her plans were not God’s plans. She would indeed travel to the five continents, and spread the love of Christ, but it would be after her death, in the hearts of those who sought Christ through her “Little Way.” I was present in October of 1999 when her relics arrived at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill, as they continued in pilgrimage around the world. Hundreds of thousands of faithful were introduced to her unique path to sanctity during this world-wide tour, and the shower of grace continues.

Young Therese petitioning the Pope Leo XIII for entrance to Carmel at the age of 15. This beautiful stained glass window is one of a series on the life of the saint that will soon grace the St. Therese Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

As her life in the Carmel of Lisieux unfolded, St. Therese soon realized that her ultimate vocation was a call to love within the heart of the Church. In her short time in Carmel, she perfected her “Little Way,”- a path of love which leads right to the Door of Heaven. St. Therese found that offering her weakness and littleness to God was as mighty and heroic as magnificent deeds beyond her call.

In Chapter 4 of her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, St. Therese states:

“Jesus made me understand that the true, the only glory is that which will last forever; that to attain it we need not perform wonderful deeds, but rather those hidden from the eyes of others and self, so that the ‘left hand knoweth not what the right hand doth (Matthew 6:3).’”

St. Therese states, “I am a very little soul who can offer only very little things to the Good God. . . (The Story of a Soul, Ch. X).” The Little Flower realized that mighty heroic deeds as a missionary were not what had been planned for her from all eternity. No, her daily sacrifice of the mundane, her authentic humility, and unwavering love brought the Little Flower into full communion with her beloved spouse. “Love alone have I ever given to the good God, and with love He will repay me (Story of a Soul,Chapter XIII).”

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Stained Glass Window from the Chapel in the Carmelite Monastery in Denmark, WI. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Therese discovered the intense mystery of Love in the simplicity of daily duty. As St. Therese made an “Act of Oblation to Merciful Love,” she completely abandoned herself to the merciful love of Christ. She lived, suffered, and died, united to her beloved spouse. She became little so that the Almighty might reveal His glory through her humility.

Pope Pius X called St. Therese: “the greatest saint of modern times.” In 1927, Pope Pius XI named St. Therese the patroness of the missions, and in 1944 Pope Pius XII placed her beside her beloved St. Joan of Arc, in naming her co-patroness of France. On October 19, 1997, Blessed Pope John Paul the Great declared St. Therese to be one of the thirty-four doctors of the Universal Church, in his Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia(The Science of Divine Love).

Among her ardent admirers have included such souls as: Pope John Paul I (Cardinal Albino Luciano), Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Guiseppe Moscati, and St. Maximillian Kolbe. This remarkable young woman, and her “Little Way” have greatly influenced a myriad of souls. As St. Therese predicted, a shower of roses, a plentitude of grace, is often granted to those who earnestly seek her intercession with the God whom she loved and served so well while on Earth.

St. Therese statue at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

In preparation for her Feast Day, celebrated on October 1, please consider joining me in the following novena, which begins today:

Eternal Father, I thank you for the graces you have bestowed upon St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. I offer you the Precious Blood of Jesus in gratitude for the beauty of her soul. Thank you for preserving her baptismal innocence and instilling in her a burning love for You. Thank You for calling St. Therese to the sweet sacrificial life of Carmel. Thank You for giving her the grace to live as a beloved and faithful spouse of Christ, and a spiritual mother to many souls.

Please fill my heart with the grace of a humble child-like love, so that like the Little Flower, I may live in Your friendship and enjoy the gift of everlasting bliss in Your Heavenly presence. Please grant me the spiritual and temporal graces that I need to live in imitation of this saint whom I so deeply admire, especially the grace which I request in this novena, if it be for the good of my soul and in accord with Your Divine Will (mention your request here). I place my petition in the hands of the Little Flower, and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin. Amen. (One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be).

May St. Therese of Lisieux, intercede for us and send a shower of roses upon all those who invoke her intercession.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. JMJ

Flower of Carmel, Purest of Lilies

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

For the past two days we have celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Immaculate Heart Province at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. Yesterday during the vigil celebration, scapulars were distributed to a standing-room-only crowd in the St. Therese Chapel, and dozens of people showed their affection for Our Lady by leaving flowers near her statue while praying for her patronage.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Bestowing the Brown Scapular Upon St. Simon Stock © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The enthusiasm of yesterday’s vigil was visibly echoed today. This morning’s Mass was concelebrated by the members of the Carmelite Community. It was a glorious Mass! Each year I look forward to hearing the Flos Carmeli chanted as the Sequence before the Gospel. This exquisite hymn was composed in the 12thcentury by St. Simon Stock, to whom Our Lady appeared on this date, presenting the Brown Scapular to the Carmelite Order.

                                           Flos Caremeli

Flos Carmeli,                                        Flower of Carmel

Vitis florigena,                                   Tall vine blossom laden;

Splendor caeli,                                        Splendor of Heaven

Virgo puerperal                                 Childbearing yet maiden.

Singularis                                                 None equals thee.

Flower of Carmel © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Mater mitis                                           Mother so tender,

Sed viri nescia                                  Who no man didst know,

Carmelitis                                          On Carmel’s children

Esto propitia                                       Thy favors bestow.

Stella Maris                                              Star of the Sea

Bestow Your Blessing on Carmel’s Children © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Radix Iesse                                 Strong Stem of Jesse,

Germinans flosculum                   Who bore one bright flower

Nos ad esse                                           Be ever near us

Tecum in saeculum                        and guard us each hour

Patiaris.                                           Who serve thee here.

Purest of Lilies © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Inter spinas                                       Purest of Lilies

Quae crescis lilium                      That flowers among thorns,

Serva puras                                Bring help to the true heart

Mentes fragilium                           That in weakness turns

Tutelaris                                           and trusts in thee.

Under Thy Mantle © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Armatura                                           Strongest of Armor

Fortis pugnatium                              We trust in thy might:

Furunt bella                                       Under thy Mantle

Tende praesidium                        Hard pressed in the fight,

Scapularis.                                           We call to thee.

We Turn to Thee © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Per incerta                                          Our way uncertain

Prudens consilium                             Surrounded by foes,

Per adversa                                       Unfailing counsel

Iuge solatium                                     You give to those

Largiaris.                                            Who turn to thee.

Gentle Mother © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Mater dulcis                                        O Gentle Mother,

Carmeli domina                              Who in Carmel reigns,

Plebem tuam                                 Share with your servants

Reple laetitia                               That gladness you gained

Qua bearis.                                           And now enjoy.

Gate of Heaven © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Paradisi                                           Hail Gate of Heaven,

Clavis et ianua                               With Glory now crowned,

Fac nos duci                                        Bring us to safety

Quo, Mater, Gloria                              Where they Son is found,

Coronaris. Amen                                    True Joy to see.

As the Gospel was proclaimed, I thanked Our Lord for the vocations of the faithful Carmelites world-wide. The line from today’s Gospel: “Woman behold your Son; Son behold your Mother (John 19:26-27),” really seemed to transcend this celebration. From her throne of grace in Paradise, Our Lady was surely beholding the sanctuary full of her faithful sons; and likewise, their attention was magnificently directed in admiration to their beloved Mother.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericoriae, Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

As the Mass drew to a close, and the Salve Regina was chanted by the Carmelite Community (along with pews full of devoted pilgrims), a quiet joy enveloped the church. The beauty of the moment hung in the air, mingling with the sweet-scented incense. After the Mass, the homeschoolers had a little procession of their own, singing beautiful Marian hymns and glorifying Our Lord by honoring His beloved Mother.

Later, my children and I walked down to the 7thoutdoor station, behind which the Carmelite cemetery rests under the shadow of the basilica towers. We were there to pay our respects to those beloved Carmelite friends who were celebrating this feast in Eternity, and to request their intercession for our temporal and spiritual needs. The Communion of Saints is such an awesome expression of God’s love for humanity!

As today’s intercessions from the Divine Office state:

“With ultimate generosity and love, You gave Mary as a mother to Your beloved disciple. Help us to live as worthy sons of so noble a Mother.”

As Mary’s adopted children, may we seek her providential care, and find shelter amid the folds of scapular. May we indeed be worthy children of so noble a Mother.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena, Day Nine

Queen of Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is drawing to a close. This evening we will celebrate the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and tomorrow we will rejoice in the glorious feast itself.

For the past several years, my family has joined a candle-lit procession to the Lourdes Grotto at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. I love watching the Carmelite Friars process from the monastery to the grotto, their voices blending in chorus to the ancient hymn Flos Carmeli as they honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I have sweet memories of rosaries prayed, and scapulars distributed in that candle-lit grotto as the sunset bathed Holy Hill with splendor. My kids and I look forward to this Vigil and the subsequent Feast Day Mass each and every year.

Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (2011) © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

As the Vigil happens to fall on a Sunday this year, the procession will be a little different, taking place after the 12:30 Mass instead of at dusk. We are eagerly anticipating this beautiful event. (I’ll post photos in the afternoon). Our Lady is so very gracious! I know that the filial praise we offer to her will be magnified in her Immaculate Heart and reflected toward her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing too that Our Beloved Mother is never out-done in gratitude, I am confident that Our Lady will abundantly bless all those who honor her by seeking Mary’s maternal help to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son.

As we anticipate the joy of today’s vigil and the grace of tomorrow’s feast, please join me in praying the ninth day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Ninth Day
O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son.
Behold us, your children.

We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death!
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Send Forth Your Spirit!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of those who believers, and set them on fire with Your love!

Send Forth Your Spirit © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

Today is the final day of the Holy Spirit Novena in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost, which we will celebrate tomorrow.

This novena to the Holy Spirit is has been prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

Day Nine

O Lord, Holy Spirit, grant me sight to see the wondrous promise of Divine Love; insight to see my own weakness; delight in Your Divine Presence in my soul which You have made Your temple by Your sanctifying Grace. I pray, O Holy Spirit, that I may be not doubting, that I be spared the pain of being alone without trust or hope in Christ; that my prayer will always be “My Lord and my God.”

I pray that I may acquire a sense of retreat to prayer and recollection at various times in my daily life; for prayer is the bond that joins us to Christ. I pray that I may be aware of the physical needs of the poor and that I may share what I can with them in the charitable works of the Church. I pray, O Holy Spirit, that You will in Your mercy grant me the favor I have sought in this novena. . . .(state your request here) . . .Amen

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

May the Holy Spirit fill you with His many gifts!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Make My Heart Unto Thine, O Lord

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).”

My Ways are Not Your Ways. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. KJ photo

We are made in God’s likeness and image; He is not made in ours. He made us; we belong to Him. How often do we attempt to remake God in our own image? How often do we attempt to limit His Perfections by squeezing them through the mold of our inadequacies?

He is God; We are Not! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

We like to see God as our BFF, our best friend forever. In some ways, He is. However, to limit our conception of God to this quality alone is to commit a grave injustice. God is supreme, transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent- Love Divine. We are not! By His Grace, we are His adopted sons. Yet, our status as adopted children of God is a miraculous gift of God’s grace. We are not His equals, His buddies, His colleagues and compatriots. When we seek to conform God to ourselves, rather than ourselves to God, we twist and mutilate the intrinsic beauty of the relationship He desires from us. We are dependent upon God for every breath and heartbeat, as well every movement of our immortal soul. Thus, we are properly His creation, redeemed by Christ’s blood, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and sealed with His grace.

Sacred Scripture directs us:

In humility and love. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who though He was in the form of God did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave . . . (Philippians 2:6-7).”

It is through the Holy Spirit that we see ourselves are we truly are. In humility we recognize His greatness, and our weakness. Thus, in this posture of truth and meekness we may approach God in prayer. As we continue to prepare for Pentecost, let us pray for the gift to see ourselves as we truly are, and to be given the grace to transcend our fallen nature.

This novena to the Holy Spirit is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

Set Our Hearts Aflame . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA photo

Day Eight

O Holy spirit, life and light of the Church, give us thoughts higher than our own thoughts, and prayers better than our own prayers, and powers beyond our own, that we may love and live, imitating Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Come to us, Holy Spirit, come with the Father and the Son and grant me the favor I so earnestly request in this novena .(state your request here). Vouchsafe to dwell within our souls and quickly make our hearts Your own. Quench in us the fires of hate and strife, the wasting fever of the heart. Let voice, mind, heart, and strength confess and glorify Your Name and let the fire of charity burn bright and other hearts inflame. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

May the Holy Spirit give you His peace!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Holy Spirit Novena Day Seven

As we continue to anticipate the outpouring of the Holy spirit on Pentecost let us together prepare our hearts with Day Seven of the Novena to the Holy Spirit. This novena is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Come Holy Spirit! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

Day Seven

Come, Holy Spirit, creator of all things: come and visit our hearts with Your power. Fill with grace, friendly guest, the hearts which You have created. You are called the Consoler, the Gift from the Hand of God, the Source of Life, Light, Love, and Flame; the Highest Good. You are the pledge of the sevenfold grace, finger of the Father’s hand, promised us by Him, and You make our tongues speak the truth. Cast light upon our senses, pour love into our hearts. Grant our weak bodies strength that they may never grow weary of doing good holy and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . .(state your request here). .

Keep the enemy far from us, give us peace always, let us willingly follow in Your footsteps that we may be far removed from sin. Grant that through You we may grow in knowledge if the Father and of the Son, and that we may ever strongly believe in You, the Spirit of both. Praise and honor be forever to the Father on the highest throne and to the Son of God, in the Consoler. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

May the Holy Spirit give you His peace!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Spirit of God, Intercede for Us!

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech. He Who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God Himself wills (Romans 8: 26-27).”

I Would Lavish Great Graces Uopn Them. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. Photographer

I love this verse! How often do I feel that I do not know how to pray as I ought! It is not for lack of trying. My day is in essence one long prayer, beginning with the morning offering and Divine Office and closing with the Divine Office, an examination of Conscience, Act of Contrition and closing prayers. Throughout the day there are rosaries, chaplets, and of course the highest form of worship: Holy Mass. There are prayers at meals, and prayers for patience, and night-night prayers with the little ones. I try to follow Brother Lawrence’s practice of the presence of God (as mentioned in an earlier blog post https://salvematerdei.com/2012/03/11/serenity-amid-chaos-practicing-the-presence-of-god-with-brother-lawrence/). I love sitting in Adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and allowing Christ’s love to fill me. Prayer is my life, yet after all of these years, I still feel I do it so poorly.

St. Therese Window at St. Mary’s Matrnity of the Blessed Virgin Chapel in Richfield © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

I’ve read the great spiritual treatises by the doctors of the Church. I love St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of Cross, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas. Other patron saints guide my prayer life as well, including St. Therese, St. Maria Faustina, St. John Bosco, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Theresa of the Andes, St. Pio, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, and St. Gemma Galgani. Yet, the deeper I delve into the mystery of God, the more struck I am at the feebleness of my attempts to know, love and serve Him. I stand in awe at His greatness, and the abundance of His boundless love, and feel acutely my own littleness, and failings.

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2011-2012

It is thus that I find consolation in Romans 8: 26-27. I realize that God smiles at my measly attempts at prayer. He sees my tiny hand grasp out of the darkness, and clasps it close to His heart. With His Holy Spirit, He searches my heart, and sounds the depths of my being. His love fills me to brim, making up for all that I lack. My poor attempts at prayer are not my shame, but my glory, for it is He who views them through Divine Eyes.

As we approach the great Solemnity of Pentecost, please join me in praying a novena to the Holy Spirit. This novena to the Holy Spirit is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

© SalveMaterDei.com, -2012

Day Six

O Father in Heaven I beg You to send the Holy Spirit. May Your Holy Spirit remind me when I am apt to forget Your law, Your love, Your promises. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen my memory to recall frequently Your omniscience, wisdom, goodness, faithfulness and love. May Your Holy Spirit encourage me when I am slothful; strengthen me when I am weak; enlighten me when I can no longer help myself. Breathe into me, O Holy Spirit, that I may do what is holy. Stir me, that I may love what is holy. Strengthen me, that I may preserve what is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may never lose what is holy and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . .(state your request here). .Amen.

May the Holy Spirit intercede for you and give you His peace!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Come Holy Spirit: Novena Day 5

For the Spirit of God scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God…. no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).”

Send Forth Your Spirit, Lord! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 (photo by Ken)

Like our ancient counter-parts in waiting for Pentecost in the Cenacle of the Upper Room in Jerusalem, we are on a spiritual quest to prepare our hearts to receive fully the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. We are cognizant that our true happiness lies in in our ability to know, love and serve God in this life and the next. We are powerless to achieve this goal alone: we need His grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

God Is Love. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The Holy Spirit is the Love of God in action- One, perpetual movement of Being, emanating from the Father and the Son Eternally in Love. We are called to Love and by this Love we shall be saved. The gift of the Holy Spirit is essential in our lives. Jesus said: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God John 3:5).” If we desire Eternal happiness, then seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit is a requisite place to begin.

It is to this end that we continue with the fifth day of our novena to the Holy Spirit in preparation for the Solemnity of Pentecost. This novena is currently prayed each day after Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill.

Each day the Preparatory prayer is:

Enlighten the Hearts of Your Faithful! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 (EA photo)

O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!

I adore You as my Triune God.

I bless You by uniting myself to the praises You receive from the angels and saints.

I offer You my whole heart, and I render You heartfelt thanks for all the benefits You have bestowed and unceasingly bestow upon the world. You are the author of all supernatural gifts and Who did enrich with immense favors the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, I beseech You to visit me by Your Grace and Your Love, and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . . .(state your request here). O Holy Spirit, Spirit of all Truth, come into our hearts: shed the brightness of your light on all nations, that they may be of one faith and pleasing to You. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

(Recite the prayer of the appropriate day)

Day Five

Send Forth the Radiance of Your Light! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 (EA photo)

Come, O Spirit of sanctity, from the glory of heaven and send forth the radiance of Your Light. Father of all the poor, light and peace of all hearts, come with Your countless gifts. Consoler in desolation; refreshment full of loveliness, come dear friend of my soul. In weariness send repose; breathe gently cool refreshing breeze; console the desolate who weep alone. Light of Beatitude, make our hearts ready; come enter our souls. Without Your grace, man stands alone; he cannot be good or sure. Cleanse what is soiled; heal what is wounded; moisten what is arid. Bend the stubborn will; warm the cold heart; guide the wandering footstep. O Holy Spirit, we beg You to give us grace through Your sevenfold power and grant me the favor I so earnestly seek in this novena. . .(state your request here). . Give us merit for the present, and one day beatitude when we have finished our earthly journey. Amen.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Love.

May the Holy Spirit give you His Light and His peace!

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.