Sunday, November 10, 2019

Day 6: God Alone - With, In and through Mary - 33 Days to Total Consecration

 "I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, your most holy Mother" 
(True Devotion, 233).

DAY 6 of 33: Contemplating the Hail Mary. 
Action: Pray one decade of the Rosary contemplating the 5th Joyful Mystery - The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. 

Providentially it is the feast of Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome as I write this meditation on the finding of Jesus in the Temple.
At first glance, it is always a curious thing when a feast day of the Church honors a building, but the readings demonstrate why we give honor to the the oldest Church in Rome and the Pope's Cathedral - for they give insight into the multi-layered meaning of the reality of the Temple of the Lord and its rightful worship. Thus, by our honoring of this magnificent Basilica, we are called to recognize that:
1. Jesus, Himself is the Temple, it is He Who fills this magnificent Cathedral and makes it Holy. 
2. The Temple is also "His Father's House". 
3. And, because we are in Christ, we also are the Temple of the Lord, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading, "You are God’s building." 

In the Gospel, Jesus, with great power and authority cleansed His Temple. Scripture tells us the disciples discerned it was because, "Zeal for God's house will consumed Him." Jesus was and is consumed with us! 
-with defending our honor and with cleansing us from everything that is unfitting to God's Holy Dwelling, to His Father's House!  
In His Power he overturned the "money changers' tables" [the sin and all that we cling to in place of God] in our hearts. 

Again, St. Paul writes: 
 
"But each one must be careful how he builds upon [the Building of God, which you are]...
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy."

Jesus died to free us from the sins that destroy our life and foundation - our dignity and holiness - for:
"Our human dignity lies in the fulfillment of our nature, which is found solely in union with God. Mary is the height and expression of human dignity as she truly attains the highest imaginable union with God in whose image she is made." Fr. Michael Paris

To the extent we give ourselves to Mary is the same extent Mary she is able to give herself back to us; and thus, the more she is able to share the height and glory - the inestimable union with God - that she obtained. It is this union with the Father that Jesus zealously longs for us to obtain as well, and yet:

 
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 
"Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat (truly lies hidden)—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."
-- C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.

I love these quotes!!! 
(I used the second one already in a video teaching, but I couldn't help myself from using it again here).

Today's readings from 33 Days to Morning Glory, Fr. Gaitley echoes these truths - expressed in a slightly different way, as he writes about:
St. Faustina’s vision of the differing degrees of glory in heaven. After seeing this, St. Faustina writes that if we could see the heights that a soul could reach in heaven “we would willingly suffer anything on earth just to move one degree higher.” Diary 605 
God has given Mary everything, even the ability to help us attain these great heights of heaven; for He allows her the grace to fill the empty thrones in heaven that the fallen angels lost with the souls of her consecrated children!
What wondrous love is this!!! 
 
Let us, then, resolve to strive to live for our fulfillment, our union and our glory with God instead of the false pleasures of this world that diminish us. We ask this in Jesus' Name with and in and through Mary's fullness of grace and help. Amen. So be it.

Action:
1. Read through the accompanying pictures and the extraordinary wisdom of St. Louis below if possible.
2. Continue to choose to enter more deeply into the daily prayer program (below) at least in this way: 
Ponder and pray the Hail Mary today and the accompanying Scripture texts as you meditate and pray one decade of the Rosary - the 5th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary- the Finding of Jesus in the Temple - while praying for the grace to listen, to hear and respond to God as Mary does.
Praying also for the grace to surrender whatever is keeping me from responding fully  - in and through and with Mary’s love and help.

Daily Prayer Program for these 33 Days:

It is important to make a commitment to strive to pray more deeply, more intensely and with more of your heart during these days of preparation. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for how to live these days. Pray about how you can grow in each of these areas listed below and while living out this prayer program it is especially important to 
Trust in the Truth and Supernatural Reality of God’s Presence within each of them
1. Sacraments
    •            LIVE Grace and Renew our Baptism - renounce sin and Satan
    •            Mass and the Eucharist the Center of our lives
    •            Confession frequently
2. Scripture - Pray and Internalize it daily
    •           To Jelena: “I’m going to reveal a spiritual secret to you: if you want to be stronger than evil, make yourself a plan of personal prayer. Take a certain time in the morning, read a text from Holy Scripture, anchor the Divine word in your heart, and strive to live it during the day, particularly during the moment of trials. In this way, you will be stronger than evil.” (Our Lady of Medjugorje, April 19, 1984)
    •           Rosary – With and in Mary, contemplating Scripture and the mysteries of God
3. Fill mind with wisdom of Mary and the Saints
    •            God is sending Mary to earth for she is the Crusher of Satan. Listen to her words.
    •            St. John Paul II – example of life given over – Totus Tuus
    •            St. Maximilian Kolbe – Militia Immaculata every soul consecrated to Mary will save the world
    •            St. Louis de Montfort – Mary will form the greatest saints who ever lived – easiest shortest most sure way to sanctity
    •            St. Mother Teresa and many more 

PART 2: Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary

12 Days of Preparation renouncing the spirit of the world
Praying over and reading Teachings of Christ
Praying with the Heart
Examining our conscience 
Learning about Mary's place in God's plan 

Day 6 of 33:  
Meditate on 
Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 1, Chapter 18 
On the examples of the Holy Fathers.
Look upon the lively examples of the holy Fathers in whom shone real perfection and the religious life, and you will see how little it is, and almost nothing that we do. Alas, what is our life when we compare it with theirs? Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and in thirst, in cold, in nakedness, in labor and in weariness, in watching, in fasting, prayers and holy meditations, and in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh, how many grievous tribulations did the Apostles suffer and the Martyrs and Confessors and Virgins, and all the rest who resolved to follow the steps of Christ! For they hated their lives in this world, that they might keep them in life everlasting. Oh what a strict and self-renouncing life the holy Fathers of the desert led! What long and grievous temptations did they bear! How often were they harassed by the enemy, what frequent and fervent prayers did they offer up to God, what rigorous abstinence did they practice!
What a valiant contest waged they to subdue their imperfections! What purity and straightforwardness of purpose kept they towards God! By day they labored, and much of the night they spent in prayer; though while they labored, they were far from leaving off mental prayer. They spent all their time profitably. Every hour seemed short to spend with God; and even their necessary bodily refreshment was forgotten in the great sweetness of contemplation. They renounced all riches, dignities, honors and kindred; they hardly took what was necessary for life. It grieved them to serve the body even in its necessity. Accordingly, they were poor in earthly things, but very rich in grace and virtues. 


Veni Creator
Come, O Creator Spirit blest!
And in our souls take up thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Great Paraclete!  To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O font of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known,
The finger of God's hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses 'from above,
And make our hearts o'erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high
The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Thy true peace instead;
So shall we not, with Thee for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know,
And Thee through endless times confessed
Of both the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally.  Amen.

Ave Maris Stella
Hail, bright star of ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.
Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.
Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.
Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.
Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.
Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus
Joy forevermore.
Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be.  Amen.



The Prayer of Mary - The Magnificat 
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever. 
(Lk 1:46-55)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Examine your conscience, pray, practice renouncement of your own will; mortification, purity of heart. This purity is the indispensable condition for contemplating God in heaven, to see Him on earth and to know Him by the light of faith. The first part of the preparation should be employed in casting off the spirit of the world which is contrary to that of Jesus Christ. 

The spirit of the world consists essentially in the denial of the supreme dominion of God; a denial which is manifested in practice by sin and disobedience; thus it is principally opposed to the spirit of Christ, which is also that of Mary. 


It manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life, and by disobedience to God's laws and the abuse of created things. Its works are: sin in all forms, then all else by which the devil leads to sin; works which bring error and darkness to the mind, and seduction and corruption to the will. Its pomps are the splendor and the charms employed by the devil to render sin alluring in persons, places and things. 


Read: 

St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary paragraphs 42-50.

42. I could tell many stories in evidence of what I have just said. 6
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True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
(1) One is recorded in the chronicles of St. Francis. The saint saw in ecstasy an immense ladder reaching to heaven, at the top of which stood the Blessed Virgin. This is the ladder, he was told, by which we must all go to heaven.
(2) There is another related in the Chronicles of St. Dominic. Near Carcassonne, where St. Dominic was preaching the Rosary, there was an unfortunate heretic who was possessed by a multitude of devils. These evil spirits to their confusion were compelled at the command of our Lady to confess many great and consoling truths concerning devotion to her. They did this so clearly and forcibly that, however weak our devotion to our Lady may be, we cannot read this authentic story containing such an unwilling tribute paid by the devils to devotion to our Lady without shedding tears of joy.
43. If devotion to the Blessed Virgin is necessary for all men simply to work out their salvation, it is even more necessary for those who are called to a special perfection. I do not believe that anyone can acquire intimate union with our Lord and perfect fidelity to the Holy Spirit without a very close union with the most Blessed Virgin and an absolute dependence on her support.

44. Mary alone found grace before God without the help of any other creature. All those who have since found grace before God have found it only through her. She was full of grace when she was greeted by the Archangel Gabriel and was filled with grace to overflowing by the Holy Spirit when he so mysteriously overshadowed her. From day to day, from moment to moment, she increased so much this twofold plenitude that she attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much so, that the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can now ennoble, exalt and enrich all she chooses. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life. She can give a royal throne, sceptre and crown to whom she wishes. Jesus is always and everywhere the fruit and Son of Mary and Mary is everywhere the genuine tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother who bears that Son.
45. To Mary alone God gave the keys of the cellars of divine love and the ability to enter the most sublime and secret ways of perfection, and lead others along them. Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance. As she is herself the earthly paradise, that virgin and blessed land from which sinful Adam and Eve were expelled she lets only those whom she chooses enter her domain in order to make them saints.
46. All the rich among the people, to use an expression of the Holy Spirit as explained by St. Bernard, all the rich among the people will look pleadingly upon her countenance throughout all ages and particularly as the world draws to its end. This means that the greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.
47. I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. This has been revealed to a holy soul whose life has been written by M. de Renty.
48. These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God. By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone. This is what God revealed to St. Vincent Ferrer, that outstanding apostle of his day, as he has amply shown in one of his works.
This seems to have been foretold by the Holy Spirit in Psalm 58: "The Lord will reign in Jacob and all the ends of the earth. They will be converted towards evening and they will be as hungry as dogs and they will go around the city to find something to eat." This city around which men will roam at the end of the world seeking conversion and the appeasement of the hunger they have for justice is the most Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Holy Spirit the City of God.
4. Mary's part in the latter times
49. The salvation of the world began through Mary and through her it must be accomplished. Mary scarcely appeared in the first coming of Jesus Christ so that men, as yet insufficiently instructed and enlightened concerning the person of her Son, might not wander from the truth by becoming too strongly attached to her. This would apparently have happened if she had been known, on account of the wondrous charms with which Almighty God had endowed even her outward appearance. So true is this that St. Denis the Areopagite tells us in his writings that when he saw her he would have taken her for a goddess, because of her incomparable beauty, had not his well-grounded faith taught him otherwise. But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be known and openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known, loved and served through her. The reasons which moved the Holy Spirit to hide his spouse during her life and to reveal but very little of her since the first preaching of the gospel exist no longer.

1) God wishes to make Mary better known in the latter times.
50. God wishes therefore to reveal Mary, his masterpiece, and make her more known in these latter times:
(1) Because she kept herself hidden in this world and in her great humility considered herself lower than dust, having obtained from God, his apostles and evangelists the favour of being made known.
(2) Because, as Mary is not only God's masterpiece of glory in heaven, but also his masterpiece of grace on earth, he wishes to be glorified and praised because of her by those living upon earth.
(3) Since she is the dawn which precedes and discloses the Sun of Justice Jesus Christ, she must be known and acknowledged so that Jesus may be known and acknowledged.
(4) As she was the way by which Jesus first came to us, she will again be the way by which he will come to us the second time though not in the same manner.
(5) Since she is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him. He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life. But no one can find Mary who does not look for her. No one can look for her who does not know her, for no one seeks or desires something unknown. Mary then must be better known than ever for the deeper understanding and the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity.
(6) In these latter times Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, power and grace; in mercy, to bring back and welcome lovingly the poor sinners and wanderers who are to be converted and return to the Catholic Church; in power, to combat the enemies of God who will rise up menacingly to seduce and crush by promises and threats all those who oppose them; finally, she must shine forth in grace to inspire and support the valiant soldiers and loyal servants of Jesus Christ who are fighting for his cause.
(7) Lastly, Mary must become as terrible as an army in battle array to the devil and his followers, especially in these latter times. For Satan, knowing that he has little time - even less now than ever - to destroy souls, intensifies his efforts and his onslaughts every day. He will not hesitate to stir up savage persecutions and set treacherous snares for Mary's faithful servants and children whom he finds more difficult to overcome than others. 


PART 3: A taste of Fr. Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning Glory if you have time:
Help me to give great glory to God by giving all I am and have to Mary.” 

© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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