May 26th.–Instruction 26. The Patronage 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 26th.–Instruction 26. The Patronage of the Blessed Virgin.
“Our salvation is in thy hands.”–Gen. xlvii. 25.
By these words the Egyptians expressed their gratitude to Joseph when he had abundantly provided for them during the frightful famine which afflicted the other nations of the earth. In fact, they were indebted to the son of Jacob, to his wisdom and foresight, for having escaped death. Their preservation and their life were due to his kindness toward them. For a still greater reason we can apply this eulogy to Mary the Mother of God. To her powerful patronage we owe the preservation and the salvation of our souls. While we are truly miserable, deprived of grace and perishing, she opens heaven to all those who have recourse to her with confidence, to all who invoke her powerful protection. Yes, we must say to her, with the liveliest and profoundest sentiments of gratitude: It is in thy hands, O Virgin Mother, we place all our hopes for salvation. We should, therefore, have the greatest esteem for the powerful patronage of Mary; we should constantly ask for it, and we should strive to merit it.
1. Esteem for her patronage.–A patronage or protection is just as great and powerful and efficacious as is the dignity and exaltation of the person who exercises it. God in His merciful solicitude for our eternal salvation has given us the angels and saints as our protectors, to aid us in this great work. Therefore it is we see kingdoms, provinces, cities, dioceses, and parishes especially confided to the guardianship of an angel or a saint. Each and every one of us has his guardian angel and patron saint. But we have also the Virgin Mother as our patron and advocate. In her quality of Mother of God she enjoys near her divine Son in heaven all the prerogatives attached to her sublime dignity. The holy fathers and doctors of the Church are unanimous in proclaiming the omnipotence of Mary. But let it be well understood that this omnipotence is not absolute, as is the power of God. It is an omnipotence of supplication, omnipotentia supplex, in virtue of which she can do all things. Mary is queen, and she commands as a sovereign. Are not men flattered by the protection which the great and powerful bestow upon them? We have still greater reason to rejoice in the patronage of the Queen of heaven and earth, since there is no favor, spiritual or temporal, which we may not reasonably expect from her.
This patronage of Mary is universal and extends to all times and all places. From the very cradle of Christianity we see Mary exalted, praised, and invoked. Everywhere that an altar is reared to the honor of Jesus another is erected and adorned in honor of Mary His Mother. Countless are the sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage to which faithful souls eagerly hasten. These shrines of Mary tell in language which is unmistakable that she is the refuge of sinners, the help of Christians, the consolation of the afflicted, and that her patronage excites in every heart confidence, hope, and love. There have been countless miracles wrought through Mary’s intervention, which attest her mercy and power and love for fallen man.
2. We should ask her for it.–We should permit no day to pass without imploring the glorious patronage of Mary. Are we not in need of her assistance? Unquestionably we are; and the least reflection will serve to convince us of the depth of our weakness and the extent of our miseries. If we are engaged in some temporal affairs which we cannot successfully arrange, then we secure the assistance of skilful and experienced men. If, for example, there is a lawsuit which will imperil our whole estate, at once we have recourse to one who is familiar with the law. If there is question of our health, we ask the advice and care of our physician. But of all our interests there is certainly not one of greater moment for us than the care of our eternal salvation. Now, how shall we successfully treat this important and difficult matter without supernatural assistance? How shall we escape the dangers which surround us, if we do not shield ourselves under the mantle of Mary’s protection? How shall we conquer enemies determined to destroy us, if we have not her arms to defend us? We must therefore ask in fervent and persevering prayer this necessary protection of Mary. Ah, do not allow one day of your life to pass away without invoking this powerful advocate, this sweet mediatrix. Let your prayer be animated with a lively faith and an unshaken confidence. Feel your misery, learn your needs, and recognize your indigence.
Imitate the invalid who sighs under his affliction, the poor man who sees his poverty and nakedness, or the sorrowful who are well-nigh crushed with misfortune. If you are faithful to invoke the protection of your good Mother during life you will be most sure to obtain her assistance in your last hour. At that decisive moment can she fail to assist him who has constantly invoked her? “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death!”
3. We must merit it.–In fine, to merit the protection of Mary we must lead a holy and Christian life. We can readily understand that our petitions will have no value in the eyes of the Blessed Virgin if she sees iniquity in our hearts and an affection to evil and bad habits. How can you be the servants and the children of Mary when by sin you remain the enemies of her divine Son? We can never forget that it was to St. John and to the disciples of Jesus that she was given as Mother, but not to the blasphemers and executioners of the Saviour. Do you wish, then, to experience the protection of Mary? Then endeavor to merit it by imitating the example she has given. As Mary was, be humble in your sentiments, humble in your words, humble in your conduct. Mary concealed herself from the eyes of the world. She loved solitude, silence, and recollection, while she prayed and labored with Jesus in their humble home at Nazareth. Throughout her life she exercised the greatest charity toward her neighbor. Take Mary in all things for your model, and thus you will merit the tenderness of her maternal heart and experience the effects of her powerful patronage. You can then address to her in fullest confidence this beautiful prayer of the Church: “We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all evil, O glorious and ever blessed Virgin!” “Turn upon us thine eyes full of mercy, and after this exile, show unto us thine adorable Son!” Et Jcsum benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende.
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.
Of the Doctrine of Truth.
III. The more a man is united within himself, and interiorly simple, the more and higher things doth he understand without labour, because he receives the light of understanding from above.
A pure, simple, and steady spirit, is not dissipated by a multitude of affairs: because he performs them all to the honour of God, and endeavours to be at rest within himself, and free from all seeking of himself.
Who is a greater hinderance and trouble to thee, than thine own unmortified affection of heart?
A good and devout man first disposes his works inwardly, which he is to do outwardly.
Neither do they draw him to the desires of an inordinate inclination : but he bends them to the rule of right reason.
Who has a stronger conflict than he who strives to overcome himself?
And this must be our business, to strive to overcome ourselves, and daily to gain strength against ourselves, and to grow better and better.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch III pt III.
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).
Our Lady of Fatima.
Our Lady of Fatima we come on bended knee
To beg your intercession for peace and unity.
Dear Mary won’t you show us the right and shining way
We pledge you love and offer you a Rosary each day.
You promised at Fatima each time that you appeared
To help us if we pray to you to banish war and fear
Dear Lady on first Saturdays we ask your guiding hand
For grace and guidance here on earth
And protection for our land.
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