The Immaculate Heart of Mary

“Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary began as early as the twelfth century. During the seventeenth century in France, St John Eudes popularised this devotion along with that to the Sacred Heart. St Luke’s Gospel twice mentions that Mary ‘kept all these things in her heart’, pondering the word of God. Mary shows us how to listen to the words the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the depths of our hearts, and how to respond in faith.”                                                                                   -from Universalis

“In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the third Saturday after Pentecost.”  -Wikipedia 

 

As Catholics, we look at Mary as the first Christian because she was the first to know her Son.  There are many Marian feasts that are celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church which commemorate various aspects of our Blessed Mother’s life, apparitions, and miracles attributed to her intercession.  No matter what title you use when you pray to our Blessed Mother, they are all heard and responded to by her.  They all refer to the same person.  We do not worship Mary, we venerate her.  She is the closest being to God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Who better to add to our own prayers for our needs?

Immaculate Heart of Mary Novena Prayers

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy, and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for…

(mention your prayer intentions)

I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary…

Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us!

Amen.

Act of Consecration

– by Pope Pius XII

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.

Amen.

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The Month of the Sacred Heart

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“Behold the Heart that has loved men so much that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love. But in return I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude, by reason of the contempt, irreverence, sacrilege, and coldness shown Me in this Sacrament of Love.” – Jesus to St. Margaret Mary 

 

In the Catholic church, we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June. And so the Church dedicates the entire month to the Sacred Heart. This devotion can be traced back to the Apostles.

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantel founded the order of the Daughters of the Visitation in 1671. They promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. St. Margaret Mary entered the order that first year. Between the years of 1673 and 1675, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary and revealed His Divine Heart to her.

During these apparitions, Jesus told St. Margaret Mary how to honor His Sacred Heart. He also made 12 promises to those who follow this devotion. They are:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their homes.

3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.

12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

St. Margaret Mary was a cloistered nun. Our Lord brought St. Claude la Columbiere, a Jesuit priest, to her to be her Spiritual Director. He believed what St. Margaret Mary told him and so did her superior. Widespread propagation of the devotion in the Universal Church began. From that time, the Jesuits became the chief propagators of devotion to the Sacred Heart.

 

On May 8, 1873, the devotion to the Sacred Heart was officially approved by Pope Pius IX. On July 21, 1899, Pope Leo XIII urged that all bishops observe the feast in their dioceses. We celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi.

If you would like to learn more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion go here.

 

A PRAYER OF REPARATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Adorable Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation. O Heart that understands the misery to which our sins have brought us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls, behold me humbly kneeling before You to express the sorrow that fills my heart for the coldness and indifference with which I have so long returned the numberless benefits which You have bestowed upon me.

With a deep sense of the outrages that have been heaped upon You by my sins and the sins of others, I wish to make reparation to Your most Sacred Majesty. It was our sins that filled Your Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our guilt that pressed down Your face to the earth in the Garden of Olives and caused you to die in agony on the Cross. But now, repentant and sorrowful, I implore Your forgiveness.

Adorable Heart of Jesus, Source of true consolation and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance that we may be sincerely sorry for our sins. Pardon them, O Lord, in Your mercy, and let all who have sinned against You in the Sacrament of Your love be converted and return to You. Deliver us from our sins. And in order to repair the sins of ingratitude by which we have grieved Your most tender and loving Heart, may we love and honor You in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where You are present to hear and grant our petitions and to be the food and life of our souls.

Merciful Jesus, be our Mediator with Your heavenly Father, whom we have so grievously offended. Help us to amend our ways. As Your Sacred Heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so let it be the strength and support of our repentance, and nothing in life or death shall ever separate us from You. Amen.

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Division

Daily Prompt:  Retrospective

Looking back over the history of the Catholic church, we see times of poor leadership. Our bishops and cardinals gave in to the pleasures of being human. The seven deadly sins were rampant. Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, and Greed.

Is it any wonder why many of the clergy who were true to their vows became dissentients of the church?  Couple that with the invention of the priniting press and the mood was set for the Reformation.

Martin Luther published his Ninty-Five Thesis on the sale of indulgences in 1517.  John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other Protestant Reformers in 16th-century Europe also contributed. The Reformation lasted until the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648.

Since that time there have been many Protestant Christian religions started. What they have in common is the belief of Jesus Christ. What they disagree about is the interpretation of the Bible. It seems that every other day a new church pops up in a shopping center. I am confused about this. Are people so incapable of following the tenets of their religion that they feel the need to start a new one?  I often wonder what qualifies them to lead followers to Christ.

As a Roman Catholic Christian, I pray for the reunion of all Christians. It is one of the intentions of Pope Francis. I can see small steps toward this happening since the days of Pope St. John Paul II.

Christianity has had its ups and downs for sure. Today belonging to a church is not the popular thing to do. Many have fallen away from the Christian philosophy.  Narcissistic, self indulgent behavior has become the norm.

Whenever I am faced with a difficult situation involving a member of the clergy or religious, I remember what my dad told me.  “Just because a man is a priest doesn’t mean he isn’t human.”  And we all know that humans sin.  Thank God for His son Jesus Christ who has given us redemption.

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The Roadmap

Daily Prompt:  Broken

 

 

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Francis of Assisi

I love this quote from St. Francis.  It makes all things possible when we are willing to work at it.  It is a wonderful model for life.  St. Francis is the patron of animals and the founder of the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church.  I have loved him since I was in elementary school.  My school’s name was St. Francis and I was taught by  Franciscan nuns who taught us about his life.  St. Francis believed that animals were also his brothers and therefore prayed to God to be able to help them too.

These nuns were such wonderful women.  They were kind and loving.  They lived the rule of St. Francis which was a great lesson for us.  The following prayer was written by St. Francis.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
― Francis of Assisi

This is such a beautiful prayer.  A roadmap for living a good life don’t you think?

As humans here on earth, we are broken.  We are born with the propensity to sin a flaw obtained for us by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  We fumble around here on earth looking for direction, for a purpose.  God sent us the answer to our purpose and direction.  God sent us Jesus Christ to institute a church with the answers we seek.

We must work hard to be healed of the flaws of our nature.  Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can obtain eternal life by losing the stain of sin.  It’s not a one time deal though, we have to work at it, keep believing, praying, confessing, and loving as we navigate this ship called earth.

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Old vs Archaic

Daily Prompt:  Archaic

Many people today believe that the tenets of the Catholic faith are archaic.  How sad for them.  Yes, the dogma was given over 2000 years ago, but that does not mean they are archaic.  They are unchangeable too.

Many want the Catholic Church to change their “views” on homosexuality, divorce, abortion, birth control, remarriage, and women becoming priests.  This is not possible.  Jesus Christ gave His church these tenets.

It saddens me that even some of our priests are pushing for change.  Many women have left their orders because of their perceived “discrimination” post-Vatican II.  They were under the impression that women would be given a higher place in the church.

I have had battles over the dogma of the Catholic Church.  I have battled with my kids for years about religion.  One says “I don’t need to go to a church to pray”.  Another says, “I just don’t feel comfortable in church”.  One that says “I don’t think church makes you a better person, look at how so and so acts”.  Another, by the Grace of God, has returned to the church.  I have grandchildren that have not been baptized.  I am concerned for their souls.  What can I do?

My solution is to give it all to the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-27 New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

This has become my mantra.  I know a Hindu reference.  “Give it to the Lord.”  I say it at least ten times a day.  I can tell you it has made such a difference in my life.  Not holding on to things I have no control over.  Instead of worrying, I pray and give it all to the Lord.

The tenets of the Church give us the life-saving roadmap to eternal life in heaven.  They may be old, traditional, and unpopular, but they are far from archaic.

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My Rose

I have been struggling with my faith lately.  I have been in danger of losing my home.  I have doubted that God would take care of me.  The situation has caused me to become paralyzed.

As you can see, I have not posted here for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I failed miserably during Lent.  I failed miserably during Easter.  I have not been able to pray with any sincerity most of the time.  I have in simple terms been a mess.

I have a little story to share.  I am a great “fan” of St. Therese.  I have loved her since I was a child.  Even though I have had a difficult time with my prayers, I have always believed but neglected God.

“O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.*  This is a line from the Novena Prayer to St. Therese.  I hadn’t given it a thought, but a couple of weeks ago while food shopping, I found two miniature rose bushes with the most beautiful blooms on them.  I just had to have them.  My property is all natural woods.  No gardens only the wildflowers that pop up on their own.  I guess they are actually weeds.  🙂  These little bushes were very inexpensive so I treated my self and got both of them.

As the weeks passed I still did not give the roses a second thought.  Two days ago, I received a call from the bank that they were going to work with me so that I could stay in my home.  It was like someone lifted a huge weight off of my back.  Yesterday everything was finalized.  I have more energy than I have had for weeks.

The thing is, someone did lift that huge weight from my back.  It was God.  And I let my faith that He would take care of me falter.   St. Therese even sent me a sign.  Because of my wavering faith, I didn’t realize it.

I have been abundantly blessed.  God is indeed awesome.  I have learned that no matter how bleak things look, God always takes care of His children according to His plan for us.  All we have to do is trust.

Here is the prayer I quoted from.

My Novena Rose Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence in your hands…

(mention in silence here)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did in
God’s great love for me, so that I might imitate your “Little Way” each day.

Amen.

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First Week Of Lent

John-Paul and Annie of Pray More Novena Ministry’s Lenten retreat has begun.  I am very impressed with the speakers this year.  I like to download the talks onto my phone and listen to them in the car and again in bed at night.

I am always amazed how much I learn from the speakers during these digital retreats.  And I don’t even have to get dressed and leave the house!  I hope that some of you have taken advantage of this very worthwhile retreat.

I am so blessed that I found John-Paul and Annie and their ministry, Pray More Novenas.  These novenas and retreats have helped me so much in my life.  As a matter of fact, the St. Michael the Archangel Novena started yesterday.  St. Michael is also a favorite of mine.  I think it’s because when I was little, I lived in St. Michael’s parish and attended the school.  Because he was our patron, we learned about him.  I was so impressed that he led the fight against Lucifer and drove him and the other fallen angels out of heaven.

The nice thing about signing up for the novenas is that you get an email each day with the prayers to be said.  It’s pretty much foolproof.  I no longer start novenas that I don’t finish.

I wish you a holy, happy Lent.

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Happy Lent

This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday.  A day that is fraught with symbolism and the promise of redemption.  I always look forward to Ash Wednesday.  It always causes me to become centered on Our Lord’s Passion, His ultimate sacrifice to save all of us from damnation.

I am so disappointed that I was unable to attend mass on Wednesday, as I spent Tuesday night in the hospital with a kidney stone.  I have never felt such pain.  I woke up with the feeling that someone was pushing a knife through my flank very slowly.  But, as I think about that now, it brings to mind the pain Jesus suffered.

Jesus was insulted, humiliated, betrayed, beaten, flogged, crowned with thorns, and crucified.  My kidney stone pain pales in comparison.  Knowing that Jesus in His human form suffered such pain is imaginable to me.  How can we doubt the love He has for us?  How can we turn out backs on Jesus?

Lent gives us the opportunity to get right with the Lord.  To offer to a loving and forgiving God our prayers, sacrifices and works in reparation for sin not only committed by us personally, but by all humankind.  We can re-establish  our relationship with God and strengthen this relationship.

Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our salvation, but we still must live a life in Him.  When Jesus died for us, He opened the door for our forgiveness, but without living the way we are meant to live, we throw that forgiveness away.  Let us not be fooled by forgiveness without works, or sacrifice or penance, or adherence to the Ten Commandments.

I wish for all of you to enjoy a happy, prayerful lent with willing sacrifices for the Lord.

God bless!

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Fasnacht

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Image from  Wikipedia

I remember when my Mom was alive she used to make these wonderfully delicious fried doughnuts called Fasnacht on Fasnacht Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday.  Fasnachts were made as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat, and butter, which were traditionally fasted from during Lent.

I haven’t had them in many years.  After Mom died, I did make them once or twice.  My husband didn’t particularly care for them and I certainly didn’t need to eat the whole bunch so I gave up making them.  When we travelled to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania around right before Lent, I would treat myself to Fasnachts as they are served on most of the menus in the  PA Dutch restaurants up there.

Today, my little splurge before Lent begins is chocolate ice cream.  I stopped by the local Dairy Queen for a quart of chocolate ice cream that I will indulge until I have my fill.  What I don’t finish before bedtime will go into the trash tonight.

Although the main purpose of Lent is not to give up goodies, I have always tried to give up something I really do enjoy in the food department.

To be very serious though, tomorrow begins our preparation for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.  We have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with God.  We are blessed to have a loving, forgiving, comforting Christ who thirsts for each one of us.

Lent is a time of atonement, penance, prayer, and sacrifice.  But it is also a time of reawakening to the love and desire of our God to be in union with us, to strengthen our friendship with Him, and to rest comfortably in His loving arms.  I wish you a blessed and happy Lent.

I would like to share a beautiful meditation written by St. Teresa of Calcutta and read by Father John Riccardo.  It is just beautiful.

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