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Litany of Our Lady of Pro Sanctity
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
God, our Father in heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Divine Redeemer, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Mary, all Beautiful, Pray for us.
Mary, all Immaculate, Pray for us.
Mary, all holy, Pray for us.
Mary, full of grace, Pray for us.
Mary, contemplated by the Archangel Gabriel, Pray for us.
Mary, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, Pray for us.
Mary, who bore Christ, Pray for us.
Mary, who followed Christ, Pray for us.
Mary, who learned from Christ, Pray for us.
Mary, who stayed with Christ, Pray for us.
Mary, proclaimed mother of John, Pray for us.
Mary, who waited with the apostles, Pray for us.
Mary, crowned Queen of Saints, Pray for us.
Mother Mary, Pray for us.
Mother of God, Pray for us.
Mother of holiness, Pray for us.
Mother of Christ, Pray for us.
Mother of the Church, Pray for us.
Mother of priests, Pray for us.
Mother of us all who are not yet holy, Pray for us.
Loving Mother, Pray for us.
Sorrowful Mother, Pray for us.
Mother of trust, Pray for us.
Immaculate Heart, Pray for us.
Immaculate Virgin, Pray for us.
Virgin of Nazareth, Pray for us.
Virgin of Trust, Pray for us.
Lady of Trust, Pray for us.
Model of holiness, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.
Let us pray:
O God of love, You love us infinitely and have revealed Yourself to us through the face of Jesus. Through the Spirit You give us the strength to respond to Your love. Look upon Your many children who have gone astray or who are immersed in mediocrity. Create in all the faithful a burning desire to become holy and be animators and apostles of Your love to all people. With the help of Mary, Your mother, give them trust to create a world of saints, a world of brothers and sisters. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, true model of every holiness, give us trust to become saints.
Week of 2003-10-17 ... Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa 2003
By Teresa Monaghen, AO
I have the joy and privilege to write a few words about Mother Teresa. I intend to write a “few” words because it would be so easy to write volumes, in fact volumes have already been written on her, and still there is so much more to say! In all honesty, I cannot add any new fact about her either because I am by no means a scholar of Mother Teresa and her work. No, I am just a fellow “Teresa” who for one reason or another, find myself following her tracks, seeing her shadow and admiring her from a distance over the years. I follow in her tracks because she, before me, took St. Therese of Lisieux as her model, mentor and for her religious name. I, too, took Therese as model and mentor, not because Teresa of Calcutta did it, but for the same reason she did: because of St. Therese’ s attractiveness and inspiration to me. Mother Teresa’ s shadow literally passed in front of me for years. It would be so frustrating to find out that I was in a place just a moment too late and missed meeting her or seeing her! This happened many times! I have had spiritual directors and friends who knew her well and told me many stories, but I never once saw her live and in person. I have admired her, too, from a distance as millions of others have, and her example, her love and joy, her dedication and drive, her straightforwardness and her “Christ-centeredness” have long been a source of inspiration to me. It is in this spirit, I now wish to share a few notes about her, that you too may reflect on your relationship with her and grow in love and appreciation of the Church that now lifts her up officially as a “blessed person” of our times.
First, I would like to look at Blessed Teresa’ s life in light of her family. She was born into a loving family on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia (Albanian heritage). Her mother’s name was Rose and her father Nicola. Their first child was Lazar, then Agnes (Teresa is her religious name) and finally the youngest was Agatha. Unexpectedly in Mother Teresa’ s eighth year her father died. Teresa never said much about his death but some, including her brother, think that he was poisoned by those who did not like his political ideas. His death threw the family into great poverty until her mother got back on her feet by starting a little embroidery and cloth business. (Amazing is the similarity with St. Therese whose mother died when she was 4 years old and she was a lace maker by profession). Her mother did very well in her new business and the family prospered. Teresa had a great love for Jesus and spoke lovingly of her First Communion. It was from that time that she knew the particular love Jesus had for her and she for him. Going to India was a dream she had even as a young person and the desire to help the poor was ingrained in her, too, through her mother who was always out helping others.
The seeds of her vocation were planted early in her family and Teresa said that she did not choose her vocation, because God had made the choice! At 18 years of age, she decided to join the Sisters of Loreto of Dublin, Ireland, because she knew that they worked with the poor in India. She had two months of training in Ireland and then in 1929 off she went to Calcutta, India, where she spent 17 years serving in St. Mary’s girls’ school. It should be noted that she never saw her family again! She was a geography teacher for many of those years and eventually in 1937 she became Principal of the school. The custom there was to call the principal “Mother” and from that time on was called, “Mother Teresa”. She was known by her fellow sisters and co-workers as a very good teacher, a good sister and a woman of great concern for people, but never would she have been described as heroic! Besides anything else, she was rather frail and was sometimes teased by the others abouthow she almost dropped the brass candlesticks in a procession once. God did not seem to care how strong or weak she was because on September 10, 1946 she was traveling on a train to the location of her annual retreat and she received what she coined her “inspiration day”, her call within the call to quench the love of Jesus for souls and to labor for the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor. What a crazy inspiration for someone so inexperienced and inept in this field! When she told her Spiritual Directors, Superiors and eventually her Bishop about her crazy dream they told her to pray about it. She always submitted immediately to any advice they gave her. If the Bishop had said one word about her not going out to help the poorest of the poor, she would have ceased all planning. She assured him that his word would be obeyed immediately and that she would never bring up the idea again. But her Bishop, along with her Spiritual Directors, did agree and she was given permission to go out and try it. The story tells itself now, because we all know that she left her beloved Loreto Sisters and all the consolation and security that they represented to her into the unknown world of the poor and destitute of India. Maybe some people do not know how much she argued and tried to reason with the Lord about why she should NOT go, but the Lord kept asking her, “Would you deny me this?” She would not. She had promised to do for him ANYTHING He asked her and even though she felt so weak and had so little in the way of resources she let go and trusted in His providence. After a short period of medical training she went out into the streets and one by one, she reached out to the dying, sick, leprous, poverty stricken persons and one by one she strove to see Jesus in them and be Jesus for them. Soon others followed, homes where establishedcountries were conquered. On October 7, 1950, the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, the Missionaries of Charity were officially founded.
Today, this little geography teacher has members and followers in every geographic region of the world. Today, it is a rare person who does not know who the face of the tiny wrinkled lady was, and as I write today on the eve of her beatification by Pope John Paul II everyone will know even her secrets of her interior life. Mother Teresa was and is a saint for others and as our Holy Fathers says, “She was filled with Christ and thus looked at everyone with the eyes and heart of Christ…In Mother Teresa’ s smile, words and deeds, Jesus again walked the streets of the world as the Good Samaritan.”
Thank you, Mother Teresa!
You no longer are just a good witness, a fascinating story or a wonderful role model; you are now my personal friend. In the communion of saints, I can go to you personally. You speak to my heart today of your love for Jesus and you inspire me to love Him with all my being as you did. You tell me not to count the cost, to refuse Him nothing and in the spirit of Mary, do whatever He tells me. The Church is calling you “Blessed” and this assures me that our friendship is real and alive. Dear Mother Teresa, along with St. Therese of Lisieux, I ask you to guide my journey and help me to be as holy as I know I am called to be, and with you, win all souls to Jesus! Instruct me in how to let go of my self-absorption and put on your Christ-centeredness. I am so pleased to have finally met you! I thank the Lord for this opportunity and I pray that in these next days many may come to know you, love you and follow the Lord as unconditionally as you did. Amen!
The Church will formally declare Mother Teresa among the "blessed" on October 19, 2003.
Week of 2003-09-19 ... Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548)
A saint chosen by Mary!
By Msgr. Andrew Vaccari
Juan Diego was born "Cuauhtlatoztzin" (the name means "talking eagle" in his native language) in 1474, about 12 miles from what now is Mexico City, Mexico. He belonged to the Chichimeca people, and was an educated man, a farmer, landowner and a weaver. He was married but he and his wife, Maria Lucia, who died in 1529, had no children. He was already 50 years old when he was baptized by a Franciscan missionary priest. He would leave before dawn and walk barefoot for three hours to go to church and to religious instruction.
On December 9, 1531, while on his way to morning Mass, he heard birds singing on the hill and his name being called. There, on Tepeyac Hill, the Blessed Mother appeared to him. She called to him, “Juanito, Juan Dieguito,” a term of endearment. She had a request: go to the Bishop and ask that a shrine be built to her in her name at Tepeyac. She promised many graces to those who prayed to her there. He hesitated and told her that he was a nobody, "a small rope." Still, he did as she asked.
The Bishop did not believe him. Instead, he asked for some sign to show that the apparition was real. A few days later, on December 12, our Blessed Mother appeared again to Juan Diego and said that he should pick the flowers that were in bloom on the hill. Although it was winter, again he obeyed and looked for the flowers. Much to his surprise, he found roses in bloom. He took them to her and then, upon arriving at the house of the Bishop, he showed the flowers which fell out of his cloak. On the cloak there remained the miraculous image of the Blessed Mother as she appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac.
The Bishop was finally convinced and arranged for a chapel to be built. In the next seven years, 8 million native Mexicans were baptized. Juan Diego lived the remaining 17 years of his life as a hermit near the chapel where the image of the Blessed Mother remained, open for people to come to pray before it. From then on, he was dedicated to prayer and caring for others. By special permission of the Bishop he was able to receive Holy Communion three times a week, which was most unusual in those days. And, he also took care of the image of our Lady, which some have likened to St. Joseph taking care of Mary herself. When he died on May 30, 1548, he was 74 years of age. He was beatified on May 6, 1990, when Pope John Paul II visited Mexico City. On July 31, 2002, on another trip to Mexico, Pope John Paul II declared Juan Diego to be a saint.
Our Lady appeared to him looking like one of the native women of the area, in both facial features and her dress. On her waist is a black band, which symbolizes that she is pregnant. He was a poor widower, at 57 considered an old man for his time, who was chosen to be the instrument and the bearer of the message. She did not appear to the Bishop directly but to this lay man who had such a great love for God and our Lady. She appeared to someone who was poor, and she has always been close to the poor. Let us pray to our Blessed Mother, especially under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. She is our spiritual mother who brings together people of many nations and languages.
A Reflective Rosary
Being born within the hard rock walls of a grotto certainly was a difficulty for Mary and for Jesus. Just think of his hidden life in Nazareth, of those thirty years of obscurity for a personality like Christ! Our “micro-personalities” want at some point to be expressed at any cost, and suffer if they meet uncertainties or difficulties.
O poverty source of riches, Jesus, Son of God, born in Bethlehem.
1 John 4:9
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.
Reflection: God became poor for us that we might gain the richness of eternal life. We are children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and heirs of the Kingdom. We lack nothing. We are not poor; we are rich!
Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?
Reflection: Christ was hidden for thirty years. He lived poverty through the consummation of his public life: Christ carried on ministry by paying with his very life, not simply with words, but with poverty and sacrifice.
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity. Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.
Reflection: When Christ spoke to us of poverty, He did not allude to the eternal world nor did He propose it as an impossible reality, but as an aim toward which we must strive. G. Giaquinta
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Reflection: The vow of poverty works within us a total transformation into Jesus and particularly into the crucified Jesus. It might be said that the vow of poverty is to us what the nails were to the crucified Jesus; they detach us from the world and firmly unite us to him. Based on P.O.S.L.
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. A man's riches serve as ransom for his life, but the poor man heeds no rebuke.
Reflection: If Christ has made us sharers in His divine nature, members of the Church, sons and daughters of the Father, his brothers and sisters, friends to one another, how can we not place Him at the core of our own life? With Christ we have everything!
Week of 2003-08-25 ... Blessed Bartolo Longo
Pope John Paul II in his October 2002 Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, called Blessed Bartolo Longo a true apostle of the Rosary. Pope John Paul II cites him more then seven times in this document, more than any other saint by the Pontiff. As often as he came up, you would think that the Holy Father’s veneration of this blessed lover of Mary and the Rosary would have been my inspiration. It was not. I just happened to stumble upon him among the stories of one of my favorite hagiographers, Ann Ball. His ruddy handsome face and his startling background of being a “satanist priest” before his conversion fascinated me. How did he change from worshipping Satin to his incredible influence in spreading devotion to the Rosary, and eventually beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980? Here is his story.
Bartolo was born February 11, 1841, in Laziano, near Brindisi in southern Italy. He was well educated and raised in a very devout catholic family. They often said the rosary together, but when he went off to college he fell into a climate that was extremely anti-clerical and unchristian. Bad friends and evil atmosphere led him to the worship of Satin and to his becoming something like a priest to his followers. What saved Bartolo was that he had not cut himself off completely from his former friends and one professor friend, Vincenzo Pepe, intervened, drew him out and found him help. The experience had left Bartolo physically as well as psychologically broken, but Fr. Alberto Radente, who was helping him, encouraged him to recite the rosary again. Bartolo attributes the daily rosary to his recovery. He returned to his family and began to discern his vocation, “Was it priesthood or marriage?” He did not know, but what he did know was that he wanted to give himself to our Lord and to our Lady. Jean Frisk, a friend of mine from the International Marian Research Institute writes this,
“When Bartolo was baptized, he chose the second name Maria, to be his baptismal name. He saw Mary as a “Refuge of Sinners,” and attributed his miraculous conversion to her. She was the “Refuge” who would lead him to Christ. After his conversation, Bartolo Maria Longo wanted to do penance for his past life and serve the Church he had so viciously slandered. He made a promise to work for the poor ad the destitute” (from www.udayton.edu/mary/meditations/pompei.html).
Bartolo began to promote and teach the Rosary to anyone he could and he also committed himself to helping the poor and destitute. One day, he had some business to take care of do in the great Roman city of Pompeii that had been destroyed by a volcano in 79 AD. Right outside of town there had been a Catholic church that in Bartolo’s day and been abandoned and left to ruin. The people were as bad off as the church. They were poor and completely lacking in any religion. Bartolo saw these conditions and took up the challenge! He began to promote the rosary and tried to teach it to the people. They were not interested, he was not a success, even though he knocked on every door and gave away rosary after rosary. It took over three years before the hearts of the people were changed. He persevered, and in fact, at the end it was suggested to him to build a large Church, so that the Rosary could be honored there. He undertook the challenge. He had the help of a very good and kind widow, whom he eventually married. They worked together to build the Church and promote the rosary. When the Church was almost completed he knew that they needed a particular image of Mary to enshrine there, and begin looking for a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary. In those days only sacred images on oils, canvas or wood could be allowed in a Church. Eventually he found one, but it was as is reported by Jean Frisk “worm-eaten, the face of the Madonna was that of a course, rough country woman…a piece of canvas was missing…. It was in ugly shape but he took it, had it cleaned and placed it in the Church.” The people came and many conversions immediately took place and healings began to happen. Pope Paul VI commented on this picture during a homily in 1965, “Just as the image of the Virgin has been repaired and decorated.., so may the image of Mary that all Christians must have within themselves be restored, renovated, and enriched.”
The story goes on about Bartolo. It was not easy after his conversion or after he began so many good works. He did everything he could to promote the Rosary and charity and charitable organizations sprung up along side his spiritual works, but he often encountered hardships, rejections and even in the end misunderstandings. He had to resign from his post in the beautiful Basilica of Pompeii that he had built and lived his last years as a simple custodian of the place. Nothing, however took away his peace. He had the confidence of our Lady. Before he died at age 85 he said, “Reawaken your trust in the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary…You must have the faith of Job!…Adored Holy Mother, I place in you every affliction of mine, all hope and all confidence” (Holbock, page 57)!
In conclusion, this simple, humble man who changed history with his desire to make the Rosary known and loved gives to us the incentive and the imperative to pick up the rosary and pray it again like we have never prayed it before! Pope John Paul II says in his Letter that Bartolo Longo saw the very beads of the rosary as a “chain” which links us to God. “A chain yes, but a sweet chain; for sweet indeed is the bond to God who is also our Father.” Bartolo lived in a difficult time where God and Church were offended and distrusted, not much different from our own. In addressing a group of criminologists about his schools he exclaimed, “You, what have you done by taking Christ out of the schools? You have produced enemies of social order, subversives….” Yes, society was not that much different from our own. Bartolo’s last will and testament was this - he today says this to us too - “Awaken your confidence in the Most Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. Venerable Holy Mother, in You I rest all my troubles, all my trust and all my hope!” (Quoted by Pope John Paul II in his homily during the beatification ceremony for Blessed Bartolo).
Pope John Paul II, concluded his Apostolic Letter with Blessed Bartolo’s Prayer (Supplication) to the Queen of the Holy Rosary, and so we will conclude with these prayers also ...
“O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love which unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You will be our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away. And the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompei, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven”.
Reflection by Msgr. Andrew Vaccari
One of the scenes in the life of Blessed Bartolo Longo that speak loudly of hope is the cleansing of the image of the Madonna that was placed in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompei. So often we come to our Lady feeling worn out, our spirits eroded by the worries and problems of life. We may feel faded and washed out. The power of the Rosary and the power of prayer shine in these moments. The Rosary is a beautiful instrument of healing and of grace. As we stay near our Lady and our Lord in the mysteries and scenes of their lives, we come close to their love and mercy. The repetition of the prayers and the contemplation of our Savior and his Mother renew us and lift our spirits. Jesus has overcome all of the sorrows and sufferings of this world, and Mary was near him as he suffered on the cross. Christ is our hope and Mary is our mother. When we place ourselves in their presence, especially in the Rosary, we have new hope to face our struggles with uplifted hearts.
Week of 2003-08-01 ... St. Luke
How blessed we are that St Luke has painted such a revealing portrait of Jesus' mother.
We might not think of St. Luke as being a Marian saint, but in fact, there is more about the Blessed Mother in his writings than in all the other books of the New Testament combined!
We don't know very much about St. Luke as an individual person. From what we know of him from Scripture and tradition, he was from the city of Antioch, in Syria, which was the third largest city of the Roman Empire at the time. He was a physician and was associated with St. Paul. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, which tell us a great deal about the activities of the early Church in the first generations after the Ascension of Jesus. St. Luke teaches us much about prayer and love for the poor. He also held women in a very high place.
When we study and pray with his Gospel, we see the Blessed Mother has a very important role, particularly in the first two chapters. It is from St. Luke that we learn about the Annunciation (1:26-38) and the Visitation (1:39-56). St. Luke describes for us the Presentation (2:22-38) in the Temple where Simeon predicted that Mary would be close to Jesus in his sufferings. He told her that a sword would pierce her heart. From St. Luke we also receive the magnificent and lovely prayer in the mouth of Mary, the Magnificat (1:46-55). When the Church prays Mary's song of prayer each evening, we join a choir of two thousand years of voices echoing the beautiful thanksgiving of our Blessed Mother for all the wonders God has done.
St. Luke was a poet who did not shy away from the sorrows of life. He shows us Mary who wished for nothing more than to do the Father's will. "May it be done to me according to your word!" (1:39) She brought Jesus to our world, and St. Luke, and the rest of us, have never been the same!
Let us take the time to read slowly and prayerfully all that St. Luke has to say about her.
The Rosary is a treasure to be re-discovered. St. Luke has given us tremendous insight into its mysteries!