May 6th. – Instruction VI. The Marriage of the Blessed Virgin.

May 6th. – Instruction 6. The Marriage of the Blessed Virgin.

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 6th. – Instruction 6. The Marriage of the Blessed Virgin.

And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary.” – St. Matt. i. 16.

The first time that the evangelist St. Matthew pronounces the name of Mary he shows her to us united in the bonds of marriage with Joseph, the son of Jacob and the descendant of the royal race of David.

According to tradition, Mary remained in the temple, where she had consecrated her virginity to God, until she was fifteen years old. Her pure soul had tasted the charm of this pious retreat. There she enriched herself every day in grace and merits, by prayer, silence, and useful labor. There was, however, a law among the Jews which allowed of no exception. This law imposed on the daughters of Israel the obligation of marrying – each one in her own tribe – under the penalty of falling a victim to the reproach and opprobrium of all. The time having come for Mary to depart from the temple, there were many who aspired to the honor of her hand. But Heaven attested by a miracle that the humble and just Joseph was alone worthy to become the husband of Mary. Then they united their hands and hearts in the presence of the high-priest of the Lord, according to the sacred rites and ceremonies then in use. The holy marriage of the Blessed Virgin will be to-day the subject of our reflections. We will see how this marriage was for her an occasion of merit, of consolation, and of glory.

1. An occasion of merit. – Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary had irrevocably consecrated herself to God by the vow of virginity. Rather than violate her sacred engagements, she would even renounce the eminent dignity of Mother of God. “How can this be,” she said to the angel, “for I know not man?” It was only when the will of God was manifested to her that she consented to unite herself to the husband who was presented to her. Thus her marriage became for her an occasion of greatest merit, viz., the merit of obedience to God. Even then she was not aware of His designs on her. It was impossible for her to comprehend for what purpose He wished her marriage. But long since she had learned how great was the virtue of obedience, and therefore she submits herself entirely to the will of God.

Another merit of the Blessed Virgin was to appear in the eyes of the world as an ordinary woman, while she was indeed whiter than snow and purer than the angels themselves. In fact, men regarded Joseph and Mary as husband and wife like to all the others who lived in their midst. In fine, to all her merits she will add the merit of obedience and perfect submission, which she invariably manifested to St. Joseph. God, wishing to give to men perfect models in every state of life, presents for their imitation the marriage of Mary and Joseph. If, to-day, the married state, instead of being an occasion for merit, too often becomes a state of shame and confusion for those who engage in it, is not the reason to be found in the unworthy dispositions of the contracting parties ?

The will of God in the marriage is rarely taken into consideration. It seems to count for nothing. They consult only passion, caprice, interest, or fortune. Instead of pledging and observing mutual obligations, as did Mary and Joseph, the examples of every virtue, the marriages of modern progress and civilization are only too often the subject of greatest scandals.

2. Consolation. – Mary also found her marriage the occasion of consolation. The first was that her honor was protected and she was shielded against the incredulity and malice of the Pharisees. The synagogue, incapable of understanding the miraculous maternity of Mary, would regard her only as a guilty woman, and, consequently, worthy of punishment as the law prescribed. But God would not permit even a shadow of suspicion to rest on His blessed Mother. This is the reason He had destined her marriage of Joseph to veil the mystery, and that Jesus should pass in the eyes of the world as the son of Joseph. Another consolation for Mary was that she had a faithful guardian – one who would watch over her and her child in all the sorrowful vicissitudes to which she was exposed. Even as the Saviour at the end of His mortal life recommended Mary to the care of St. John, so God now confides her to St. Joseph, to be her protector and support. It is Joseph who conducts Mary to Bethlehem, accompanies her to Egypt, and returns with her to Nazareth. He shares her fears, her sorrows, and her solicitude to save the Divine Child from His enemies. And thus should the Sacrament of Matrimony be for Christian people the source of sweetest consolations. Yet the sad truth remains, that only too often marriage is regarded merely from a civil point of view; and, as a consequence, deception, distaste, and disappointments are sure to follow. Oh, how true it is that where God is there is peace and happiness, and where God is not there is only bitterness and unhappiness! Hence separations are frequent and numerous, and on account of so many badly assorted households men have arrived at the unfortunate conclusion that divorce is a social necessity.

3. Glory. – The marriage of the Blessed Virgin served not only as a safeguard for her honor in the eyes of the people of Israel; it had also the effect of attesting before the world her incomparable virginity and her miraculous maternity. What more reliable witness could be found than Joseph to declare and affirm that Jesus was born of a virgin mother? The very silence of Joseph, says St. Jerome, is a manifest proof of the virginity of Mary. The Church has always confounded the enemies of Mary’s purity by opposing them with the authority of St. Joseph. For all Christians the marriage of Mary and Joseph is an occasion of glory, because they who contract marriage are at once raised to the rank of coworkers with God Himself in the multiplication of the children of the Church and heirs to heaven. Marriage viewed in this light is indeed, as St. Paul declares it, “a great sacrament in Christ.” But without the blessing of Christ and the Church we can well understand how marriage will be the occasion of shame and confusion in the eyes of men, and will open the easy pathway which conducts to eternal reprobation. Happy are they who seek in this holy state principally their own sanctification. Then will they imitate the virtues of Mary and Joseph, and the happiness which they will experience on earth will be only the prelude of what they shall enjoy in heaven.

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.

   IV. Be thou, therefore, ready prepared to fight, if thou desirest to gain the victory.
Without fighting, thou canst not obtain the crown of patience.
If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned; but if thou desirest to be crowned, fight manfully, and endure patiently.
Without labour there is no coming to rest, nor without fighting can the victory be obtained. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt 4.

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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).

O Sanctissima

O Sanctissima O purissima
Dulcis Virgo Maria!
Mater amáta, intemeráta,
Ora, ora pro nobis!

Tota pulchra es, O Maria!
Et mácula non est in te,
Mater amáta, intemeráta,
Ora, ora pro nobis!

Sicut lilium inter spinas
Sic Maria inter filias,
Mater amáta, intemeráta,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

In miseria, in angustia,
Ora Virgo pro nobis.
Pro nobis ora, in mortis hora,
Ora, ora pro nobis

Tu solatium et refugium
Virgo Mater Maria!
Quidquid optamus
per te speramus,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Tua gaudir Et suspiria
Juvent nos, O Maria!
In te speramus
ad te clamamus.
Ora, ora pro nobis.

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