May 3rd. – Instruction III. The Nativity of Mary.

May 3rd. – Instruction 3. The Nativity of Mary.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

May 3rd. – Instruction 3. The Nativity of Mary.

Hail, full of grace.” – St Luke i. 28

This is the salutation addressed to Mary by the angel when he came to announce to her the mystery of the Incarnation. To-day, while we celebrate her nativity, these words naturally come to our lips, and we repeat with Gabriel his words of praise, Hail, Mary, thou art full of grace.” The figures which symbolize her are at an end, the promises of her coming are fulfilled. She who had been the object of patriarchs’ prayers and the expectation of the past ages has now appeared.

It is Joachim, whose name signifies “the preparation for the Saviour,” and Anne, “full of grace and mercy,” both just and faithful souls, whom God has chosen to give to the world the future Mother of the divine Redeemer.

According to the learned Baronius, on Saturday, the 8th day of September, St. Anne gave birth to the most perfect and the most holy of God’s creatures. Let us celebrate with the whole Church this glorious birth of Mary, who, according to the words of sacred liturgy, has been the joy of the entire world. “Thy nativity, Virgin Mother of God, announced joy to the world.”

To-day we will consider the motives of this joy, for heaven, for earth, and for hell – not, indeed, a joy for the place of eternal punishments, but for limbo, the place in which just and pure souls were detained previous to the coming of Christ.

1. For heaven. – The birth of Mary was the occasion of greatest joy for heaven. If God, as we read in the first chapter of Genesis, was pleased at each of His creative works, with what satisfaction did He contemplate this immaculate infant, the masterpiece of His omnipotence! On Mount Thabor God the Father gave testimony to His Son Jesus in these words: “This is My own beloved Son, in. Whom I am well pleased.” May we not conclude that He had spoken these words before, when He beheld her who by so many titles was His daughter of predilection? What joy also for the Divine Word, when He looked on that blessed child whom He should one day call by the sweet name of mother! If the Eternal Wisdom finds “His delights in dwelling with the children of men,” what was His joy at the first pulsations of her heart, which will be henceforth His brightest throne? Seat of wisdom. Yes, the Holy Spirit had already sung her praises in transports of love. In the inspired books He calls her His Own, His Chosen One, His Spouse.

The birth of Mary was also the joy of the angels. The song of glory which those happy spirits sang when they announced to the shepherds the birth of Christ in Bethlehem they also sang with heavenly joy near the cradle of Mary. They bade the world rejoice, and saluted her as queen of angels and of men. If, as our blessed Saviour declares, the conversion of a single sinner is for the angels a greater subject of joy than the perseverance of ninety-nine just souls, what must have been the joy of the angels at the first smile of her whom the Church calls the salvation and refuge of sinners and the depositary of graces for their conversion!

2. For earth. – Not only was the birth of Mary a sign for joy in heaven, but the occasion also for greatest joy on earth. During four thousand years the world anxiously looked for the coming of the promised Redeemer. The prophets called Him the Just One, and raised their sublime accents to heaven. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just” (Isaias xlv. 8). At length Mary appears. She is the refreshing cloud which will shower on weary souls that refreshing dew of heaven, and pour out the torrents of grace so long desired. Darkness had obscured the earth, and the nations were buried under the shadow of death. Mary was the radiant Morning Star which announced the coming of the Sun of Justice. Through her the darkness has been dissipated, while on earth men of good-will are established in grace and truth.

Near the lowly crib of Bethlehem the angels sang, “I bring to you great joy, which shall be for all people” (St. Luke ii. 10). Their words are applicable to all men to-day. Yes, greatest joy for all, but for the poor and the lowly and the miserable especially. These see in Mary’s birth the prelude of their exaltation. Very soon they will hear her canticle, “He has cast down the powerful and exalted the humble.” There will be joy for poor sinners, whom she will snatch from the power of Satan, and whose refuge she will always be. Joy for all Christian people, who will find in her a sure assistance in all their necessities. “Help of Christians, pray for us!” Joy, in fine, for the whole world, because she, the merciful Mother, will deliver men from eternal death – Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!

3. For hell. – The birth of Mary brings joy even to the dread abyss. There is no question here of those who weep eternally, the demons, the reprobates; we refer to that place called limbo, in which the souls of the just were detained, shut out from the joy and gladness of heaven, previous to the coming of Our Saviour. There the patriarchs were who preserved for posterity faith in the Messias promised from the beginning of the world. There the prophets were who, inspired by God, had announced His coming. There the just were who died in the hope of one day seeing Him face to face. Oh, what joy for these holy souls when the echoes of heaven and earth brought, even to them, the glad tidings of Mary’s birth! The ages of their captivity were ended. But a few years more, and they will sing in the train of their risen Saviour the triumphant hymn of their deliverance. Heaven will be at last opened, and they will take possession of their inheritance forever.

Yes, O Mary, thy nativity has been for the whole world a message of joy and gladness! To-day we prostrate ourselves before thee to offer thee our homage, our veneration, our love, and our thanks! With the archangel Gabriel we salute thee, Hail, full of grace! Make us participants of thy merits, that we may be worthy to contemplate thee one day in glory!

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of supporting Injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

  (Christ.] I. WHAT is it thou sayest, My son? Cease to complain, considering My passion, and the sufferings of the saints.
Thou hast not yet resisted unto blood.
What thou sufferest is but little, in comparison to them who have suffered so much, who have been so strongly tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and exercised.

Thou must then call to mind the heavy sufferings of others, that thou mayest the easier bear the little things thou sufferest.
And if to thee they seem not little, take heed lest this also proceed from thy impatience.
But whether they be little or great, strive to bear them all with patience. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt I.

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May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

Hail Virgin, dearest Mary

Hail Virgin, dearest Mary!
Our lovely Queen of May!
O spotless, blessed Lady,
Our lovely Queen of May.
Thy children, humbly bending,
Surround thy shrine so dear;
With heart and voice ascending,
Sweet Mary, hear our pray’r.

Behold earth’s blossoms springing
In beauteous form and hue.
All nature gladly bringing
Her sweetest charms to you.
We’ll gather fresh, bright flowers,
To bind our fair Queen’s brow;
From pure and verdant bowers,
We haste to crown thee now

Hail Virgin, dearest Mary!
Our lovely Queen of May!
O spotless, blessed Lady,
Our lovely Queen of May.
And now, our blessed Mother,
Smile on our festal day;
Accept our wreath of flowers,
And be our Queen of May.

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