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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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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Our Lady of Lourdes

 

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Yesterday was the anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.  Bernadette, 14 years old, was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend when a lady spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle.

Our Lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times between February 11 and July 16.  It is to Bernadette that Our Lady identified herself as the Immaculate Conception when she was asked who she was by Bernadette.   Just a few years prior to this message on December 8, 1854, Pius IX had raised the teaching about the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady to be dogma of faith with these words:

By the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we declare, pronounce, and define: the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was from the first moment of her conception, by the singular, grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin, is revealed by God and therefore, firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful. (The Christian Faith #709).

Our Lady gave heavenly confirmation of the dogma Pope Pius IX had given to the church.  The virtues of Christian poverty and humility that are seen in Bernadette are a model of how we are to live our lives.  Our Lady also said that the important thing is to be happy in the next life so we must accept our cross in this one.

Initially, the church doubted the young girl, but after the canonical investigation into these apparitions, the church declared them to be valid.  The title of Our Lady of Lourdes was given to these apparitions of the Blessed Mother.

Our Lady appeared with a rosary hanging from Her right arm, which is a significant sign of the importance of praying the rosary.   She asked to have a chapel built at the site of these apparitions which Bernadette reported to her priest.  During her ninth apparition, she told Bernadette to drink and bathe from the fountain.  Bernadette, confused by her request seeing no water anywhere began to scratch at the ground with her hands. As Bernadette uncovered the gravel, she noticed that the ground underneath was moist. She continued to dig, and a little pool began to form. She cupped her hands together, drank, and then washed her face in the muddy water. The following day, the pool was overflowing, and soon the trickle of water became a gushing stream.  As news of this spread through the town, the people began to go to the grotto to drink the water.  Many miracles have been attributed to its healing power both physically and spiritually.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the church Our Lady asked to be built,  is one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.   Almost 5 million pilgrims from all over the world come every year to pray and to drink the miraculous water, believing they obtain from the Lord healing of the body and of the spirit.

How blessed we are to have had Our Lady come to earth to teach us what we need to attain heaven.  Her message of prayer, especially the rosary, penance, humility, mercy for sinners, and compassion for the sick is a roadmap for us.  The road may be bumpy at times.  We may take a wrong turn.  But we have a loving and forgiving God who will accept our repentance and allow us back on the right path.  If we follow Our Lady, she will lead us right to our Lord.

Bernadette Soubirous entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers in 1866.  She contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 35 in 1879.  After miracles attributed to her intercession, she was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI on December 8, 1933, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Let us ask Our Lady of Lourdes to lead us this Lent so that we become closer to her Divine Son.  let us ask her to help us repent our sins which will console Jesus during his Passion.  Let us join together to ask Our Lady’s help for ourselves, our families, our country, and our world.  Her intercession is powerful.    I have always felt very close to Our Lady.  Not really having a patron saint, there is no St. Wanda, I adopted Mary as mine.  My middle name is Marie a form of Mary so it made perfect sense.  I truly believe that Our Lady took me under her mantle as my patron saint and has obtained many graces for me throughout my life.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

God bless!

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