A Pentecost Novena

In preparation for the Great Feast of Pentecost, my spiritual father graciously invited my family and I to pray a novena written by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I have found this short and simple prayer to be a rich source for contemplation, and thus am sharing it here-

Pentecost © SalveMaterDei.com, 2017

Come, Holy Spirit! © SalveMaterDei.com 2017

A Pentecost Novena

“Who are you, sweet light, that fills me

And illumines the darkness of my heart?

You lead me like a mother’s hand;

And should you let go of me,

I would not know how to take another step

You are the space

That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.

You, nearer to me than I to myself

And more interior than my most interior:

Holy Spirit — eternal love!

Holy Spirit — eternal life!

Holy Spirit — ray that penetrates everything!

Holy Spirit — victorious power!

Holy Spirit — God’s molding hand!

Holy Spirit — Creator of all!

– St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein)

 

May these days of preparation open our hearts to the love of God, and prepare us to receive the abundant gifts and robust fruits of the Holy Spirit.

My Servant Shall Prosper, He Shall Be Raised High and Greatly Exalted. . .

He Shall be Raised High and Greatly Exalted © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014  EA Photo

He Shall be Raised High and Greatly Exalted © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014 EA Photo

 

See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him- so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of men – so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it (Isaiah 52:13- 15 from the First Reading, Good Friday Liturgy).

The Sacred Paschal Triduum commemorates the holiest days of the Church year. Last night the Triduum commenced with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. At this Holy Mass we celebrated both the institution of the Holy Eucharist and commissioning of the sacred priesthood, while contemplating the night on which our Lord was betrayed.

By Your Own Blood Lord, You Brought Us Back to God © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

By Your Own Blood Lord, You Brought Us Back to God © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

Today, on Good Friday, we gaze upon the suffering face of our Lord as we accompany Him along the, Via Crucis; the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross. Around the world many of us walked (literally and figuratively) with our fellow Christians, and commemorated the Sacred Passion of Our Lord by praying the fourteen Stations of the Cross.

Through the celebration of the Good Friday Liturgy, we recall the most pivotal event in the history of human kind: the day on which Our Lord suffered, was crucified, and died to pay the penalty of our sin. On this day we pause and recall our own sins, and the burden our actions have added to Our Lord’s sacred shoulders. While this is a solemn, somber celebration of our Lord’s passion and death, there is also a glimmer of joy; for in His passion and death is the ultimate expression of merciful love. It is no coincidence that today we also begin to prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy. That preparation begins with the novena of Mercy.

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

For the next nine days, I will post a brief reflection, a reminder to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the novena requested by our Lord, and the link to the novena which our Lord dictated on Good Friday 1937 to St. Maria Faustina for her private use in preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy.

In Her Diary, St. Maria Faustina relates that our Lord Himself requested the Chaplet of Mercy be recited, beginning on Good Friday, for nine days before the Feast of Divine Mercy. He stated: “By this novena I will grant every possible grace to souls (796, p.316 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is to be recited on ordinary Rosary Beads. After making the Sign of the Cross, one then recites an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed.

On the single bead prior to each decade, one prays:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for Our Sins, and for the sins of the whole world (475, p.207 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On the ten beads of the decade, one prays:

“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world (476, p.208 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

After all five decades have been prayed, one prays the concluding Doxology:

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world (476, p.208 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

There is an optional closing prayer:

“Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly on us, and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy Itself (796, p.370 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

While Our Lord requested this novena of Chaplets not only for St. Maria Faustina, but the whole world, He also gave her a private novena. In this novena, Our Lord invites Sr. Faustina to immerse a particular group of souls into the abyss of His mercy each day, so that in turn He may bring these souls to the Heavenly Father. Over the years, I have found this novena tremendously fruitful.

So Marred Was His Look Beyond Human Semblance © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

So Marred Was His Look Beyond Human Semblance © SalveMaterDei.com, 2014

Our Lord stated to St. Faustina:

“I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the font of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom enough strength and refreshment and whatever graces they need . . . . On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them into this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father (1209, p. 435, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord Jesus loves each of us immeasurably. He came into the world to testify to the truth of that love, and to lay down His life in reparation for our sins. It is for sinners that He came into this world, and for sinners that He died and rose again victorious. Therefore, it is fitting that this first day of the novena be dedicated to sinners.

Jesus requested of St. Faustina on Day 1:

“Today, bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them into the ocean of My Mercy. In this way, you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

“Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.”
“Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.”

( Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

 

In this first day, St. Faustina immerses each of us into the abyss of God’s mercy, an abyss so deep that even death could not fill it. As we journey from the Cross to the Resurrection, let us join St. Maria Faustina in immersing all of humankind, but most especially all sinners, in Christ’s Mercy, with the hope that He will in turn eventually bring them home to His Father’s House.

Blessed Triduum,

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

** Divine Mercy Celebrations will be held at churches world-wide in accordance with Our Lord’s directive to St. Maria Faustina. Confessions, Holy Mass (often at 3 p.m.) and the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy usually occur at these events. There is a true outpouring of grace at these events.

Contact your local Archdiocesan Office for details and locations of hosting churches.

54- Day Rosary Novena for Peace in the Ukraine

Icon of Our Lady of Ostrabrama © GodAloneSufficeth.com, 2014

Rarely do I re-post from another site. However, today my son posted this 54-Day Novena for Peace in the Ukraine on his blog, God Alone Sufficeth. The situation in the Ukraine is complex and heart-wrenching. There are no easy human answers to the conflict. We pray for peace, for safety, for forgiveness and calm. Please consider joining our family as we turn to Our Lady – the Most Holy Theotokos – in supplication, pleading that she intercede with Her Divine Son to bring His Peace to this deep discord.

From- the blog God Alone Sufficeth (at http://GodAloneSufficeth.com):

In light of the present Ukrainian crisis, and realizing that there really are no advantageous “human solutions” to the current disturbing situation, I believe it is imperative that we take advantage of our only effectual means of solving this calamity – prayer. Therefore, I am inviting you all to join me in a 54 Day Rosary Novena for peace in the Ukraine. Magnified by the fasting and coupled with the intense graces associated with the Sacred Season of Lent, these prayers are truly our only hope and they are effective, even if we never see or recognize the results.

In the Roman Rite, we have a tradition of reciting a 54 Day Rosary Novena (also known as the “Irresistible Novena”). This Novena consists of praying 5 decades of the Holy Rosary each day for 27 days in petition; followed immediately by praying 5 decades again for 27 days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted.

Please join me for the next 54 days in praying a rosary each day and the following Novena Prayer for “peace in the Ukraine and that God’s will, whatever it may be, may be accomplished in peace.”

NOVENA PRAYER:

“Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, accept this Holy Rosary which I offer you to show my love for you and my firm confidence in your powerful intercession. I offer it as an act of faith in the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption, as an act of thanksgiving to God for all His love for me and all mankind, as an act of atonement for sins of the world, especially my own, and as an act of petition to God through your intercession for all the needs of God’s people on earth, but especially for this earnest request. (Mention your request – “for peace in the Ukraine and that God’s will, whatever it may be, may be accomplished in peace.”) I beg you, dear Mother of God, present my petition to Jesus, your Son. I know that you want me to seek God’s will in my request. If what I ask for should not be God’s will, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit for my soul. I put all my confidence in you. Amen”

– (Prayer taken from “My Little Prayer Book, p. 35)

Jesus Christ, Sovereign King of the World – have mercy on us and grant us peace!

Most Holy Theotokos – save us!

Our Lady, Queen of Peace – pray for us!

Thank you for joining me in praying this Novena. Please share it with your friends and invite them to unite in prayer.

Just to let everyone know, this is for prayers ONLY – no comments on the politics please!!!!! I know that this topic has the potential to evoke strong emotions. However, for the sake of the peace that we are trying to promote and prayerful attitude we are trying to maintain, just prayers please – any comments of a political nature will be promptly deleted. I am deeply grateful that no such problems have arisen so far. Please continue to pray.

KJ   JMJ   & M.A.  JMJ

Blessed Feast of St. Andrew: the Christmas Novena

St. Andrew please pray for us! Holy Hill Basilica Mosaic above the Altar © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

St. Andrew please pray for us! Holy Hill Basilica- Mosaic above the Altar © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

Joyous Feast of St. Andrew! As this feast is celebrated in both the Western and Eastern arms of the Church, it is one of my favorites. Intuitively, there seems to be something significant in beginning Advent with the feast of a martyr and an apostle. It is as if we are subtly reminded that this season is meant to be one of penance and evangelization.

Scripture and Sacred Tradition tell us much about St. Andrew. He and St. Peter were the sons of Jonas, and they lived in Bethsaida, which was a town in Galilee on the shores of the Genesareth. As we examine St. Andrew’s life, there are lessons that may translate into a more personally fruitful Advent.

St. Andrew did not journey out to the desert to see St. John the Baptist out of curiosity, nor was he merely following the crowd. No, St. Andrew was ready to leave behind all that mattered and become a true disciple of St. John the Baptist. In penance and prayer this Advent, we too can follow the voice of one crying out, “Prepare the way of Lord!”

Later, when St. John the Baptist identifies Jesus by stating: “Behold the Lamb of God,” St. Andrew is again prepared to forsake his spiritual security in order to embrace a deeper relationship with the Messiah. For St. Andrew to follow Jesus Christ from Capernaum to Jerusalem, he must leave John the Baptist to his mission in the desert. This Advent, we too can grow beyond the comfort and complacency of our spiritual security, by reaching for a closer union with Jesus. Like St. Andrew, Jesus asks us to risk that which matters most in our lives. Similarly, Jesus asks us to place it all- our fears, dreams and lives- in His hands with confidence.

Once St. Andrew finds Jesus, he introduces Him to his brother Peter. This Advent, we can bring Jesus to those around us. Like St. Peter, they too may feel the call to forsake everything and follow Him. Evangelization doesn’t necessarily mean shouting from the roof-tops (not recommended in the slippery, frozen tundra of Wisconsin). Rather, just by quietly living Christmas as Christians, we bear witness, and bid others to do the same. We are called to invite- He will do the rest.

St. Andrew accepted Jesus’ command to: “Go forth to all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… (MT 28:19).” He traveled beyond his comfort zone preaching the Good News along the Baltic, into what are now Russia, Romania and the Ukraine. St. Andrew was later martyred in Patras, Greece, where he was tied to a cross. Tradition holds that St. Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross out humility- not feeling worthy to die as Our Lord. This Advent, if we embrace our crosses with similar humility it can’t help but bear fruit.

Hail and Blessed Be.... Holy Hill Basilica Window © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

Hail and Blessed Be…. Holy Hill Basilica Window © SalveMaterDei.com, 2011. EA photographer

One of my favorite things about this feast is the novena which begins on that day (November 30).  This novena is a poignant reminder of what really matters during this Sacred Season. The repetition of this lovely verse provides a rhythm that gently flows from day to day- reinforcing the true meaning of Christmas. The rhythm is strong enough to offer an oasis for those of us seeking respite from the chaotic noise of the secular season.

It is piously believed that whoever recites the following prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew to Christmas Eve will obtain their request.

The prayer is:

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 desires through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.

Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

One may choose to recite all fifteen prayers at once, or it can be or broken up and prayed throughout the day- perhaps with the meal prayer or the Angelus.

I have been praying this novena annually for fourteen years, and have never been disappointed. One Advent, I was reciting this prayer for the child I was carrying. It was a dangerous pregnancy for the baby and I- there was a real chance that both of our lives were in jeopardy. My beautiful, healthy baby girl was born (one month early) exactly ten days after the novena ended. A year later, I prayed this novena for my Dad and his conversion. He was officially received into the Catholic Church fourteen days after the novena ended, and died of cancer just sixteen days later. Each year I have prayed it, I have truly felt an abundance of grace. This novena is powerful!!! I invite you to join my family as we pray the Christmas Novena this year.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

MA JMJ

A.M.G.D.

Feast of St. Andrew Novena (reprise)

St. Andrew in Tryptich above main altar, Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA photographer

Happy Feast of St. Andrew! As this feast is celebrated in both the Western and Eastern arms of the Church, it is one of my favorites. Intuitively, there seems to be something significant in beginning Advent with the feast of a martyr and an apostle. It is as if we are subtly reminded that this season is meant to be one of penance and evangelization.

Scripture and Sacred Tradition tell us much about St. Andrew. He and St. Peter were the sons of Jonas, and they lived in Bethsaida, which was a town in Galilee on the shores of the Genesareth. As we examine St. Andrew’s life, there are lessons that may translate into a more personally fruitful Advent.

St. Andrew did not journey out to the desert to see St. John the Baptist out of curiosity, nor was he merely following the crowd. No, St. Andrew was ready to leave behind all that mattered and become a true disciple of St. John the Baptist. In penance and prayer this Advent, we too can follow the voice of one crying out, “Prepare the way of Lord!”

Later, when St. John the Baptist identifies Jesus by stating: “Behold the Lamb of God,” St. Andrew is again prepared to forsake his spiritual security in order to embrace a deeper relationship with the Messiah. For St. Andrew to follow Jesus Christ from Capernaum to Jerusalem, he must leave John the Baptist to his mission in the desert. This Advent, we too can grow beyond the comfort and complacency of our spiritual security, by reaching for a closer union with Jesus. Like St. Andrew, Jesus asks us to risk that which matters most in our lives. Similarly, Jesus asks us to place it all- our fears, dreams and lives- in His hands with confidence.

Once St. Andrew finds Jesus, he introduces Him to his brother Peter. This Advent, we can bring Jesus to those around us. Like St. Peter, they too may feel the call to forsake everything and follow Him. Evangelization doesn’t necessarily mean shouting from the roof-tops (not recommended in the slippery, frozen tundra of Wisconsin). Rather, just by quietly living Christmas as Christians, we bear witness, and bid others to do the same. We are called to invite- He will do the rest.

The Holy Apostles and the Blessed Virgin at Pentecost (Basilica at Holy Hill) © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA photographer

St. Andrew accepted Jesus’ command to: “Go forth to all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… (MT 28:19).” He traveled beyond his comfort zone preaching the Good News along the Baltic, into what are now Russia, Romania and the Ukraine. St. Andrew was later martyred in Patras, Greece, where he was tied to a cross. Tradition holds that St. Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross out humility- not feeling worthy to die as Our Lord. This Advent, if we embrace our crosses with similar humility it can’t help but bear fruit.

One of my favorite things about this feast is the novena which begins today. This novena is a poignant reminder of what really matters during this Sacred Season. The repetition of this lovely verse provides a rhythm that gently flows from day to day- reinforcing the true meaning of Christmas. The rhythm is strong enough to offer an oasis for those of us seeking respite from the chaotic noise of the secular season.

Hail and Blessed Be the Hour and the Moment in Which the Son of God was born of the Most Pure Virgin Mary. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA Photographer

It is piously believed that whoever recites the following prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew to Christmas Eve will obtain their request.

The prayer is:

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 desires through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.

Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

One may choose to recite all fifteen prayers at once, or it can be or broken up and prayed throughout the day- perhaps with the meal prayer or the Angelus.

I have been praying this novena annually for fourteen years, and have never been disappointed. One Advent, I was reciting this prayer for the child I was carrying. It was a dangerous pregnancy for the baby and I – there was a real chance that both of our lives were in jeopardy. My beautiful, healthy baby girl was born (one month early) exactly ten days after the novena ended. A year later, I prayed this novena for my Dad and his conversion. He was officially received into the Catholic Church fourteen days after the novena ended, and died of cancer just sixteen days later. Each year I have prayed it, I have truly felt an abundance of grace. This novena is powerful!!! I invite you to join my family as we pray the Christmas Novena this year.

Advent Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

MA JMJ

A.M.G.D.

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

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.

Treasure of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Day 8

Blessed Pope John Paul the Great once stated:

Mary is the sure path to our meeting with Christ. Devotion to the Mother of the Lord, when it is genuine, is always an impetus to a life guided by the spirit and values of the Gospel.”

Photo of Bl.Pope John Paul II Statue © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photographer Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, Please Pray for Us!

 

From a tender age, Karol Wojtyla nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. As a youth, the boy who would one day become Pope John Paul II learned about Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and embraced the Carmelite Scapular. The Holy Father stated that he had worn the Brown Scapular since his childhood, and often requested the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in matters of importance.

When Pope John Paul II was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981, the Holy Father was wearing his Brown Scapular. As he was rushed into surgery at the Gemelli Hospital, the Holy Father clearly instructed his treating physicians to leave the scapular on during surgery. The surgeons complied with Pope John Paul’s request, and refrained from removing his beloved sacramental.

To the amazement of all, the Holy Father made an astounding recovery from the assassination attempt. It was as if a loving hand had spared his life by gently guiding the bullet, which was a mere millimeters from vital organs and vessels. The Holy Father attributed his miraculous recovery to the intercession Our Lady of Fatima, and on a subsequent visit to Fatima, he placed within her crown, the bullet that had come so close to ending his life. It is interesting to note that in her final apparitions at both Fatima and Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular within her maternal hands.

“I have worn on my heart for a long time, the Brown Scapular,” Blessed Pope John Paul II © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

2001 was the 750th anniversary of the Carmelite Order. In September of that year, while addressing a large group of Carmelite pilgrims, Pope John Paul stated:

“Dearly beloved, this happy event involves not only those devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but the whole Church, because the rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become in time, thanks to the spread of devotion connected with the Scapular, a treasure for the entire people of God. Draw constantly from this wonderful spiritual patrimony in order to become credible witnesses to Christ and His Gospel in Daily Life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

In appreciation for this “treasure for the entire people of God,” please join me in showing our affection for the Mother of God, and requesting her unparalleled intercession, by praying the eighth day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Eighth Day
You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.
Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(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.

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Garment of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Day 7

Garment of Grace © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Throughout the centuries many of the successors of St. Peter have worn the Brown Scapular and highly recommended commending one’s self to the Blessed Virgin’s maternal care through this powerful sacramental. In the late 19thcentury, Pope Leo XIII stated:

“The nobility of the origin of the Carmelite Scapular, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it, render the Scapular of Mount Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 32).”

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

For centuries, people have been turning to Our Lady, through a tradition of Carmelite Spirituality and prayer, invoking her powerful intercession and providential care. One who wears the Brown Scapular with devotion shares in the spiritual benefits imparted to faithful Carmelites; a gift from our Lord bestowed through His Beloved Mother. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, bearing the gift of the Carmelite Scapular, and promised:

 

 

 

 

“Receive beloved son, this scapular of thy order, as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all the Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment shall not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 12).”

The Brown Scapular is a powerful sacramental; richly blessed and highly indulgenced. It is NOT a magical talisman. It is a sign, a visible symbol of one’s commitment to Christ through Mary. The Brown Scapular is an outward manifestation of a covenant relationship with Almighty God, a pledge of obedience to His Holy Will. One who wears the Brown Scapular promises fidelity to Christ, and chastity in accord with their state of life (either married or single).

The ability to wear the “Garment of Grace” and partake in the promise of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to St. Simon Stock, and all Carmelites, is an immense privilege. As with any privilege, there is a corollary responsibility. Were one to merely wear the Scapular without practicing the faith that goes along with it, it would be equivalent of reducing this beautiful sacramental to the status of a “good-luck” charm. The Brown Scapular is most certainly NOT a good luck charm. Thus, to receive the graces associated with it, one needs not only to wear the scapular continuously, but also to live their faith, practice chastity consistent with their state, and pray.

Ideally, one should be enrolled in the scapular by a priest or deacon. A devotion to Carmelite Spirituality is also encouraged, including:

(1) Regular participation in Holy Mass and the Eucharist

(2) Regular reading and meditation on Sacred Scripture

(3) Regular prayer of at least some part of the Liturgy of the Hours

(4) Devotion to and imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(5) A commitment to live the virtues of faith, hope, charity, and chastity in accordance with God’s Holy Will and one’s vocation in life (married, single, religious, etc.)

Mother of Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Among the long line of devoted clients of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, who on the occasion of the 750 anniversary year of the Carmelite Scapular wrote:

“The Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory. The Scapular also reminds us that the devotion to her must become a ‘uniform,’ that is, a Christian life-style, woven of prayer and interior life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

Our Brown Scapular is a tremendous treasure, the gift of a “Garment of Grace” from Our Lady. With gratitude, let us pray together the novena prayer for the seventh day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.

Seventh Day
O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. May all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(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.

Defend Us Dear Mother: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena, Day 6

 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel PRay for Us!

 

Around 1916, while addressing a group of seminarians, Pope Benedict XV stated: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”

Over the past week, we’ve contemplated the beauty of the gift of the Brown Scapular as we prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16. Throughout these few days we reviewed the history of the Brown Scapular, considered the Blessed Mother’s promise of protection and discussed the unfathomable grace that accompanies Our Lady’s “Garment of Grace.” We have considered the manner in which Our Lady perpetually directs us toward her Divine Son, Jesus Christ; Who is our ultimate source of joy.

Devotion to Our Lady Always Directs Us to Jesus. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

One of the most salient aspects of the devotion to the Brown Scapular is the protection against evil imparted to those who faithfully express their love of Christ by entrusting themselves to His beloved Mother through this powerful sacramental. Heaven has offered a myriad of signs and miracles attesting to the veracity of Our Lady’s promise and the validity of the hopes of those who entrust themselves to Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s providential care.

Among the many miraculous stories regarding the Brown Scapular, there are two that seem relevant tonight. First, two great founders of religious orders, Saint John Bosco of the Salesians and St. Alphonsus Liguori of the Redemptorists each nurtured a deep devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and faithfully wore the Brown Scapular. Both St. John Bosco and St. Alphonsus Liguori were buried wearing their priestly vestments and the Brown Scapular. Many years later when their bodies were exhumed and their graves opened, the vestments they were wearing at the time of burial and their bodies had completely turned to dust. However, for each man, the Brown Scapular they had been wearing was discovered completely intact. Today, St. Alphonsus Liguori’s scapular is on exhibit in his monastery in Rome. As Pope Benedict XV admonished his seminarians: the Brown Scapular carries with it grace that is evident even after death.

St. John of the Cross Mosaic from the Basilica at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Venerable Francis de Yepes was the brother of the great Carmelite reformer St. John of the Cross. Venerable Francis was himself a Carmelite tertiary, and deeply dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her Brown Scapular. He worked diligently to spread devotion to this vital channel of grace. One day as he was praying for the conversion of souls, Venerable Francis was assailed by angry, howling demons, who bemoaned the success of the scapular and ordered him to remove it. They said: “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us. All those clothed in it die piously and escape us.” However, Venerable Francis ignored them and continued his prayers.

Later, as he was performing an act of penance, his scapular slipped off. The demons again ordered him to keep the scapular off. He immediately put it back around his neck. As Francis replaced the Brown Scapular around his neck, the demons howled that three things particularly torment them: (1) the Holy Name of Jesus, (2) the blessed name of Mary, and lastly (3) the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lord has bestowed tremendous grace upon those who show their devotion to Him, and honor His beloved Mother, through the Brown Scapular of Carmel. Countless documented miracles have been associated with devotion to the Scapular: houses spared fire, lives saved, incredible conversions, and abiding faith restored, just to name a few.

Our Brown Scapular is a tremendous treasure, the gift of a “Garment of Grace” from Our Lady. With gratitude, let us pray together the novena prayer for the sixth day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.

Sixth Day
With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.
Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(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.