FEAST OF THE DIVINE MATERNITY OF OUR LADY
This feast, observed throughout the Western Church on October 11, honor Mary as Mother of God, and bears the same sort of relation to the Annunciation and to Christmas as does the Synaxis of Our Lady in the Byzantine rite. It was long known in Portugal and elsewhere, but was finally instituted in 1931 by Pope Pius XI in view of the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus.
At the same time the Pope ordered at his own cost the restoration of the Marian mosaics in Saint Mary Major, much decayed through age. He issued an encyclical letter, “Lux veritatis.” In this, among the objects of the new festival, is named one truth that was particularly close to the heart of Pius XI, “…that Mary, who is loved and revered so warmly by the separated Christians of the East, would not suffer them to wander and be unhappily led further away from the unity of the Church, and therefore from her Son, whose vicar on earth we are.”
“On this occasion the heavenly Lady was full of the Holy Ghost and moreover bore within Her, as His Mother, the Divine Word, who proceeds from the Father and the Holy Ghost. Saint Joseph received special enlightenment and the plenitude of divine graces, and altogether renewed in fervor of spirit he said:
“Blessed art Thou, Lady, among all women, fortunate and preferred before all nations and generations. May the Creator of heaven and earth be extolled with eternal praise, since from his exalted kingly throne He has looked upon Thee and chosen Thee for his dwelling place and in Thee alone has fulfilled the ancient promises made to the Patriarchs and Prophets. Let all generations bless Him: for in no one has He magnified his name as He has done in thy humility; and me, the most insignificant of the living, He has in his divine condescension selected for thy servant.”
In these words of praise and benediction Saint Joseph was enlightened by the Holy Ghost, in the same manner as Saint Elizabeth, when she responded to the salutation of Our Queen and Mistress. The light and inspiration, received by the most holy spouse was wonderfully adapted to his dignity and office. The heavenly Lady, upon hearing the words of the holy man, answered in the words of the Magnificat, as She had done on her visit to Saint Elizabeth, and She added other canticles. She was all aflame in ecstasy and was raised from the earth in a globe of light, which surrounded Her and transfigured Her with the gifts of glory.
At this heavenly vision Saint Joseph was filled with admiration and unspeakable delight; for never had he seen his most blessed Spouse in such eminence of glory and perfection. Now he beheld Her with a full and clear understanding, since all the integrity and purity of the Princess of heaven and mystery of her dignity manifested themselves to him. He saw and recognized in her virginal womb the humanity of the infant God and the union of the two natures of the Word. With profound humility and reverence he adored Him and recognized Him as his Redeemer, offering himself to his majesty. The Lord looked upon him in benevolence and kindness as upon no other man, for He accepted him as his foster-father and conferred upon him that title. In accordance with this dignity, He gifted him with that plenitude of science and heavenly gifts which Christian piety can and must acknowledge.
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “In the year 723, in the night following the day when the prince of the Saracens had unjustly ordered the hand of Saint John Damascen to be cut off, Our Lady reunited it miraculously to his wrist, after this faithful servant had prayed to her for it with the design of continuing to write in defense of holy images.”
Saint John of Damascus (645-749), also known as Saint John Damascene, was a priest and Doctor of the Church, who is sometimes also referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption, as he wrote on the Assumption of Mary into heaven. During the time of the iconoclasm in the east, Saint John Damascene also wrote in defense of holy images.
According to tradition, a Muslim caliph unjustly ordered that Saint John’s right hand should be cut off and hung up for public display. Some days after this despicable act took place, Saint John prayed for the restoration of his hand. Saint John had an icon of the Blessed Virgin before which he fervently prayed, and soon his hand is said to have been miraculously restored. To recognize the miracle, and in appreciation for the return of his right hand, Saint John had a replica of his restored hand produced in silver, which he then placed at the bottom of the icon. Those who came after him, and saw the third hand on the icon, subsequently named it “Three-handed,” or Tricheirousa.
The Bogorodica Trojerucica is considered the most important icon of the Serbian Orthodox Church. It is currently located in a monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece. The portrait is of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Divine Child in her right arm. It is thought to have possibly been painted by Saint John Damascene himself, but however that may be, it is the very same image before which he prayed for the restoration of his severed hand.
“Gratitude for the benefits received at the hands of the Lord is a virtue so noble, that by means of it we may preserve our intercourse and correspondence with God Himself: He, as rich, generous and powerful conferring upon us his gifts; we, as poor, humble and aware of our needs, returning for them our thanks. He desires to give us plentifully, but at the same time He wishes us to be grateful, rendering Him the glory, honor and praise contained in gratitude” (The Mystical City of God, by Ven. Mary of Agreda).
CTOBER 8 : OUR LADY OF OUR LADY OF GIFTS, AVIGNON (FRANCE)
OUR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY (EUROPE AND LATIN AMERICA)
Church of Our Lady of Gifts, Avignon France (1st Century) founded by St. Martha
Saint Martha of Bethany was the sister of Lazarus and Mary. She it was who is mentioned in the New Testament waiting on Jesus “troubled about many things.” According to the Golden Legend, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, she left Judea with her brother and sister “in a ship without sail, oars, or rudder.” This occurred in about the year 48 AD.
Their boat was conducted on its way by Our Lord from heaven. Martha went first to the territory of Aquenese or Aix, a region now known as Provence, France. After converting the people to the True Faith, she and her siblings then travelled on to settle in Avignon.
There is a tradition that attributes the foundation of the church of Our Lady of Gifts, or “Our Lady of Doms,” at Avignon, to Saint Martha, and this while Our Lady was still alive! This church was built over what remained of a pagan temple atop a hill called “Le Rocher des Doms.” It is reported that this church was visibly consecrated by Our Lord Himself. Later in history the church was demolished by the Saracens, and was repaired by the Emperor Charlemagne.
The Golden Legend also details another event involving Martha.
“There was at that time upon the river of Rhone, in a certain wood between Arles and Avignon, a great dragon, half beast and half fish, greater than an ox, longer than a horse, having teeth sharp as a sword, and horned on either side; head like a lion, tail like a serpent, and defended him with two wings on either side, and could not be beaten with cast of stones nor with other armor, and was as strong as twelve lions or bears; which dragon lay hiding and lurking in the river, and perished them that passed by and drowned ships. He came thither by sea from Galicia, and was engendered of Leviathan, which is a serpent of the water and is much wood, and of a beast called Bonacho, that is engendered in Galicia. To him Martha, at the prayer of the people, came into the wood, and found him eating a man. And she cast on him holy water, and showed to him the cross, which anon was overcome, and standing still as a sheep, she bound him with her own girdle, and then was slain with spears and glaives of the people.”
Also known as Avignon Cathedral, and the Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon in French, the church at the present location was constructed in the 12th century in the Romanesque style. The seat of the Archbishop of Avignon, it is also a national monument in France. Atop the western tower is the large gilded statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary shown above.
Our Lady of Good Remedy
800 years ago Christians were being captured and sold into slavery by the thousands, and nobody knew what to do about it. Then, in the year 1198, a man had an idea. St. John of Matha founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the patronage of Mary. They were so successful at that, over the centuries, the Trinitarians were able to free thousands and thousands of people and to return them safely home. In gratitude for her miraculous assistance, St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of “Our Lady of Good Remedy.” Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on October 8. Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha. When in need – for whatever reason, but especially where you have had difficulty obtaining help – invoke the aid of Our Lady of Good Remedy, and you will surely experience the power of her intercession.
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
OUR LADY OF VICTORY (LEPANTO)
OUR LADY OF BANDEL (ROSARY) (CALCUTTA, INDIA)
The feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by St. Pius V in commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 against the Turks who were threatening Europe. In 1716, the feast was extended to the entire Church in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Muslim Crescent in Hungary.
Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret, in 1213, which has been attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has, on many occasions, rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto, gained by Don John of Austria, over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571, responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity.
We know that the victory of the Battle of Lepanto was achieved when St. Pius V interrupted a meeting with Cardinals at the Vatican and went to a window and started to pray the Rosary. He was deeply concerned about the future of the Church and Christendom that was being decided in those Mediterranean waters. After the Pontiff finished praying the Rosary, he returned to the meeting and told the Cardinals that the Catholic fleet had been victorious. That is, he had a revelation while he was praying the Rosary. It was the way Our Lady showed him that she linked that victory to his praying of the Rosary. Understanding this, St. Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was extended to the whole Church in commemoration for another great victory over the Mohammedans in 1716.
St. Pius V thereupon ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made upon that day, and at the request of the Dominican Order Gregory XIII in 1573 allowed this feast to be kept in all churches which possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671 the observance of this festival was extended by Clement X to the whole of Spain, and somewhat later Clement XI after the important victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene on 6 August, 1716 (the feast of our Lady of the Snows), at Peterwardein in Hungary, commanded the feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church.
A set of “proper” lessons in the second nocturn were conceded by Benedict XIII. Leo XIII later raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class and has added to the Litany of Loreto the invocation “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary”. On this feast, in every church in which the Rosary confraternity has been duly erected, a plenary indulgence toties quoties is granted upon certain conditions to all who visit therein the Rosary chapel or statue of Our Lady. This has been called the “Portiuncula” of the Rosary. Today, it is a feast of the second class.
The devotion of the Rosary was revealed to St. Dominic by Our Lady. It was born, therefore, in a private revelation. And we know that such revelations are abhorred by the enemies of the Church – internal and external. Although it came from a private revelation, the praying of the Rosary was extended to the entire Catholic Church, and was considered by St. Louis Grignion de Montfort as the characteristic devotion of predestined souls.
Before Vatican II, the habits of many religious Orders had Rosaries that hung on their cinctures, and good Catholics used to carry the Rosary with them all day. It was considered not only an item for counting the Hail Mary’s, but a blessed object, the seal of a special liaison of the person with Our Lady. Many times, the mere physical presence of the Rosary would repel the Devil and attract special graces. It became the classic religious object to fight against the Devil.
What is the Rosary? The Rosary is a series of mediations on the mysteries from the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. These mysteries are simultaneously prayers that one says vocally and meditations that one makes mentally. This mixture of vocal prayer and meditation is a splendid thing, because while the lips pronounce a plea, the mind concentrates on a point of the mystery. It is a dual activity that intimately unites one with God.
The practice of praying the Rosary to beg a grace from God supposes the theological truth that Our Lady is the Universal Mediatrix of all graces. It is, therefore, a small masterpiece of spirituality and Catholic doctrine as they should be understood. The Rosary is not a religious custom relying on emotions, but rather a serious, solid, and meditative pious practice, which explains why the Rosary has obtained so many graces.
It is very beautiful and valuable to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, because for each decade, one contemplates a different thing with its special graces: There are particular graces for the mystery of the Annunciation, others for the Agony in the Garden, yet others associated with the Ascension of Our Lord. Each one of the decades has its special graces, and the person who meditates on all of them attracts to his soul the ensemble of graces from the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. It is a complete circumnavigation that brings a supernatural plenitude to the soul of the person, which helps us to better understand the salutary influence of the Rosary.
A Catholic, thinking and reflecting on things of the Faith, should draw conclusions that build upon each other and constitute a kind of architectural construct. This should be the spiritual life of a Catholic. It follows in accordance with the way God governs the universe. He wisely judges the weight and measure of everything. This is another reason why the Rosary is an excellent devotion.
The fact that this devotion is specially linked to victories over the enemies of the Church and Christendom induces us to think that it will protect all those who fight against the enemies of the Catholic cause. It is a devotion that most probably will endure until the end time, when the enemies of the Church will be more dangerous than ever.
Therefore, also during the chastisement predicted at Fatima, the assiduous recitation of the holy Rosary should be a decisive factor of victory for those who would be defending the Catholic cause. The historical antecedents of the value of the Rosary are a pledge of analogous future victories.
When St. Alphonsus of Liguori was already old, sick, and in a wheelchair, a lay brother used to wheel him around the cloister of his monastery in the evening so he could take some fresh air. Engaging the brother in conversation, St. Alphonsus asked him:
“Did you pray your Rosary today?”
“I don’t remember,” the brother answered,
“Then, let us pray it now,” the Saint said.
“But you are already so tired. What difference does it make if we don’t pray the Rosary for one day?” protested the brother.
St. Alphonsus answered: “If I did not pray my Rosary for even one day, I would fear for my eternal salvation.”
This is what a Saint said. This episode teaches us that we should do precisely the same. The daily Rosary is a great guarantee of final perseverance and fidelity for the times ahead when the prophecies of Fatima will be fulfilled. The victory in our everyday Lepanto is linked to the recitation of the Rosary.
Let us ask Our Lady of the Rosary to bless this intention of saying the Rosary daily and give us the grace to carry it out.
XVIII 7 October 1997 : The Message given (AT kANJIKODE MINISTRY) by Our Lady on the Feast of the Queen of the Rosary.
My dear daughter, the angels of our Lord help you against the fierce army of sin. But this is the era when you are most in need of this weapon of the Rosary. You should hold fast to this weapon of prayer. But my daughter, do not be weakened because many disbelieve this mission entrusted to you. This mother, who is the Queen of the Rosary, will be with you throughout your life. I will strengthen those in your home. But situations are many in which you have to experience humiliations. My daughter, when the proud and the conceited ridicule this prayer, in faith do my little children, the poor and those who are going through pain and tribulations, recite this prayer. So my daughter, I remind you one thing. Through this prayer you can save innumerable souls that are in the desert
of sin and evil and in the clutches of Satan. Creating a chain reaction of goodness and through powerful action this will bear fruits of goodness. This prayer is tenfold stronger than nuclear power. This is the prayer I love most. Satan will be scared of you when you follow your heavenly mother along the path of this simple prayer. So children recite this prayer with a child- like heart. Satanic pride will be defeated. When he realizes that I bind him not with chains but with the seemingly feeble but powerful Holy Rosary, he will undoubtedly understand that he will be subdued. Children, this is the prayer that the children of this world recite with me. At the time of this prayer, I pray for you. When you invite me for this prayer, I accept the invitation and offer my prayer with yours to God the Father through the Son. Thus it bears fruit, because Jesus cannot say ‘No’ to this Heavenly Mother’s pleading. Children when you meditate over the mysteries of the Rosary, you comprehend the life of Jesus from His Incarnation to His Resurrection and ponder deeper into the mission of Redemption. Thus, you realize the mystery of love shown through this Heavenly Mother. In this way through the Blessed Mother you attain the Holy Light from the Sacred Heart of Jesus – the great wealth of love. In the Rosary by the recitation of the Creed and by the repetition of the Our Father, you are transformed for the complete glory of God. When you say, Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you worship the Most Holy Trinity. Uttering the sacred words, and through the prayers, Hail Mary full of Grace, and, Holy Mary, along with this Mother, your life gains courage to act against Satan and finds divine happiness. So, children, instruct all children to use this weapon of the Rosary to put up a fierce struggle against Satan, under my leadership –the woman adorned by the sun. Do not be afraid, God is with us.
Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. He studied at the Cathedral school at Rheims, and on his return to Cologne about 1055, was ordained and became a Canon at St. Cunibert’s. He returned to Rheims in 1056 as professor of theology, became head of the school the following year, and remained there until 1074, when he was appointed chancellor of Rheims by its archbishop, Manasses. Bruno was forced to flee Rheims when he and several other priests denounced Manasses in 1076 as unfit for the office of Papal Legate. Bruno later returned to Cologne but went back to Rheims in 1080 when Manasses was deposed, and though the people of Rheims wanted to make Bruno archbishop, he decided to pursue an eremitical life. He became a hermit under Abbot St. Robert of Molesmes (who later founded Citeaux) but then moved on to Grenoble with six companions in 1084. They were assigned a place for their hermitages in a desolate, mountainous, alpine area called La Grande Chartreuse, by Bishop St. Hugh of Grenoble, whose confessor Bruno became. They built an oratory and individual cells, roughly followed the rule of St. Benedict, and thus began the Carthusian Order. They embraced a life of poverty, manual work, prayer, and transcribing manuscripts, though as yet they had no written rule. The fame of the group and their founder spread, and in 1090, Bruno was brought to Rome, against his wishes, by Pope Urban II (whom he had taught at Rheims) as Papal Adviser in the reformation of the clergy. Bruno persuaded Urban to allow him to resume his eremitical state, founded St. Mary’s at La Torre in Calabria, declined the Pope’s offer of the archbishopric of Reggio, became a close friend of Count Robert of Sicily, and remained there until his death on October 6. He wrote several commentaries on the psalms and on St. Paul’s epistles. He was never formally canonized because of the Carthusians’ aversion to public honors but Pope Leo X granted the Carthusians permission to celebrate his feast in 1514, and his name was placed on the Roman calendar in 1623. His feast day is October 6.