MAY 2024 MEDITATION


“Hail Mary full of Grace.”

The month of May is a special month.  It is the month the Catholic Church dedicates to honor Mary, the mother of God, in a unique way.  In Catholic churches celebrations are held to crown Mary recognizing her as Queen of Heaven and of earth.  Going back in time, to the moment when the angel Gabriel visits Mary to let her know she has been chosen by God to carry the son of God, marks the beginning of her life with Christ.   This moment is known as the annunciation.  The Angel Gabriel’s announcement “Hail full of grace,” acknowledges the grace Mary has received from the three persons of the blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Receiving divine love from God, Mary is chosen from all women to be the Mother of God.  The angel bows down and waits to hear her response.  His message sent from heaven, allows Gabriel to lay at Mary’s feet.  His greeting is of praise and admiration.  He gazes at her and waits for the “yes” that will change the world.  Every time we pray the Hail Mary and say, “the Lord is with Thee,” we too acknowledge God’s presence in Mary.  She surrendered to God and loved Jesus.  She is the perfect disciple of Christ.  Pope John Paul II, said  “From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s Will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God!”   In her “yes” Mary is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceives Jesus.  Even though she carries Jesus, in her womb, Mary remains a humble servant of the Lord.  Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, is known as the Queen of Angels, and although a Queen, she is more known throughout the earth as our spiritual mother.  In her many apparitions Mary reminds us to pray.  She calls for our conversion.  As she said at the wedding in Cana, “do whatever he tells you;” she continues in our present day to plea that we listen to His voice and follow His commandments.  Those who have been blessed to see her, describe her as a beautiful mother.  A radiant light of beauty.  Her physical appearance is beyond words.  Her beauty has been described by saints as “a marvel to behold.”  "My Lady is beautiful, beautiful beyond compare; so beautiful that when one has seen her once, one would wish to die so as to see her again; so beautiful that when one has seen her, one can no longer love anything earthly."  St. Bernadette  Even though Mary is beautiful, she remains humble and lives the virtues.  She is goodness. St. Louis de Montfort said, God the Father gathered all the waters together and called them the seas or maria [Latin, seas]. He gathered all His grace together and called it Mary or Maria . . . This immense treasury is none other than Mary whom the saints call the ‘treasury of the Lord.’ From her fullness all men are made rich.”  The month of May is special.  Flowers are in bloom and give a rich fragrance; and color the landscape with vibrant colors.  The month of May is the perfect month to honor Mary for she too fills our hearts with the beauty of heaven and gives us her love.  As we pray our rosary and say the Hail Mary prayer, she gives us her motherly kiss of love.  As we touch each bead, we are brought closer to Jesus, who is the center of our prayer.  Mary brings us closer to Jesus.  When we ask Mary to intercede for us, she lovingly brings our petitions to God, and our prayers are perfected by her mother’s heart.  She brings us to Jesus and shares the love of Heaven with us.  This May, honor Mary, give her flowers and take the time to thank her for her “yes” to God.  A “yes” that changed the world forever and brought light into darkness.


APRIL 2024 MEDITATION

Luke 1:35
And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
 
The Catholic Church devotes the month of April to the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit and to the Holy Eucharist.  In the Annunciation, in the message of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, the power of the Holy Spirit was at work.  The power of the Holy Spirit would overshadow Mary and she would conceive a son.  Jesus, was anointed with the Holy Spirit and by God.  Jesus, was healer, was teacher and was light to all He touched.  When we receive the Holy Spirit, the effects of the Spirit can be seen.  The effects of the Spirit may bring strength, and gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.  The awareness of the Spirit leading, guiding and transforming causes a positive change in the life of the Christian. The Holy Spirit is often described as the wind.  The wind blows and moves, and although, we do not know where it comes from or where it goes; we know the wind is present because its movement causes the trees to bend and sway.  The wind’s movement causes things to fly.  We know it is present.  Such is our transformation when the Spirit moves us.  In 2024, the Catholic Church celebrated Easter Sunday at the end of March.  Although, the followers of Jesus did not understand Jesus when he said to them, "If I do not leave, the Spirit will not come," (John 16:7) The apostles were saddened when He told them He must leave.  Jesus said He would send the Advocate, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, He kept His promise.  He sent the Holy Spirit.  The same Holy Spirit that has moved and transformed the hearts of all those who believe.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us and is present in the Holy Eucharist.  Both are gifts that Jesus gave us.  In the gift of the Spirit and in receiving communion, we become, as Corinthians 6:19-20 states, Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God's glory.”
 
The Holy Spirit guides us in our daily prayers, at work and in discerning what we are to do.    He is our guide in our difficult moments. He enlightens our minds and our hearts to do the will of God. 
 
In the Holy Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus, This same eucharist when received at Mass in Holy Communion becomes nourishment for our soul.  Before the priest consecrates the host, he calls upon the Holy Spirit to come down upon the bread and wine and to transform them into the body, blood, soul & divinity of Jesus.  This transformation is a true miracle from Heaven.  The Holy Eucharist and the Holy Spirit work hand in hand to renew us.
 
This month take time to visit Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.  Look at the monstrance and allow the Son of God to heal you.  There is a reason the monstrance looks like the sun.  The sun comforts, warms and nourishes our bodies; the son of God comforts, warms and nourishes our souls.  While at Adoration, thank the Holy Spirit for His power, His gifts and His fruits. 
 
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and life. He who believes in me, even if he dies, will live." (John 11:25)
 
John 6:32-33
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”


MARCH 2024 MEDITATION

The Solemnity of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th.  The Church dedicates the month of March to St. Joseph.  He is the Foster Father of Jesus.  He too like Mary was selected by God, the Father.  Both St. Joseph and Mary were given the mission to care for the child Jesus.  Although, there are no words spoken by St. Joseph in the 4 gospels, he is described as the protector of Jesus.  Messages from God were given to him by the angels.  In each message he was obedient.  St. Joseph showed great virtue.  Obedience, he listened to the angel and married Mary and never left her side.  He was patient and helped raise Jesus and taught Jesus his trade as a carpenter.  St. Joseph showed Jesus the importance of work.  He built things with his hands.  Building requires patience, it takes time to finish constructing a wooden object, yet St. Joseph persevered in seeing his product completed. He loved Jesus.  He escaped Herod and traveled to Egypt to save Jesus as an infant, for Herod gave his soldiers orders to kill every first- born son. All of St. Joseph’s actions required courage.  He was courageous for God and for his family.  People say actions speak louder than words.   St. Joseph is the perfect example of a man of good honor.  He was a true parent to Jesus.  He lived a virtuous life. “The result of humility and fear of the Lord is riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4   It is said by some, that Jesus and Mary were with St. Joseph at his death.  Imagine having these two great and holy lights at your side.  Jesus, the Son of God, and Mary, the mother of God.  The graces flowing near St. Joseph’s death bed must have filled the room and his soul.  Could this be the reason that many pray to St. Joseph for intercession and the grace of a holy death?  Jesus and Mary loved St. Joseph.   In the moment of his death their love accompanied him to heaven.  Grace flowed.  The soul lives on forever.  God is merciful.  His light lives on.   As the morning sun shines and you see the bright rays, imagine the light of Christ filling your soul with His love.


Every morning when the sun rises

My heart fills with love

For looking at the rays of light

As they touch the ground;

I am reminded of a time long ago

When the Son of God rose to give light to my soul.

The Soul is like a flower

It grows in light

Nurtured

The flower is fed sunlight &

The soul is filled with the Son’s light

In both flower and soul

It is love that brings growth

The Father, our Creator, shares His love with 

The Flowers of the field and

Nurtures every open soul to receive His Divine Graces

For when a soul is open to receive

It blooms beyond imagination &

Reaches heavenly heights

Where the Souls of the Faithful

Decorate the Halls of Heaven &

Shine for eternity in the Presence of God. 

 Maricela Svoboda



FEBRUARY 2024 MEDITATION




As Valentine’s Day draws near and the world focuses on love, let us draw near to Jesus.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are observed on the same day. Throughout February, we see boards and walls marked with the symbol of a heart.  We see the word Love decorated in many colorful ways.  Symbols of love can be seen displayed in many places.  This Lent, allow the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be displayed within your heart.  Allow yourself to recall His passion.  The pain He experienced and wounds He received were taken on by him out of love for us.  Red, the color of the Passion.  Red the color of his blood splattered throughout His body.  Look to the crucifix and remember His sacrifice of love.  We tend to turn away from suffering.  This Lent from February 14th to Holy Thursday, March 28th 2024, do your best to take a good look at Jesus on the cross.  He took on the sins of the world to give us eternal life.  Jesus is a King.  …rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross. Philippians 2:7-8 Look to Jesus then look to self.  Remember, we are never alone.  The Lord is with us in the good and in the bad.  Don’t be afraid to look at the Cross for the cross is the story of love and of human suffering.  Jesus was divine and human in every sense of the word but sin.  He felt pain, he felt abandonment, he felt rejection.  Prior to the crucifixion, a punishment He did not merit, He loved.  How did He love?  He healed all those who were ill.  When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. Matthew 8:16 Luke 4:40 says, While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. This Lent look to Jesus.  Be confident of His Divine Love.  Remember His words and His promise of love.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.  Matthew 11:28-30. This Lent rest in Jesus.  Enter His Sacred Heart and listen to the silence.  Stay in this silence and find the answers of your soul but more than self, find the God who loves, the Creator.  For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16.  The Holy Trinity is love.  They are 3 separate persons in one God who love the human race.  They are together in love.  And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.  Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him.  Acts 10:39. Look to the Cross and find light.


JANUARY 2024 MEDITATION

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (Luke 1:49)

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.  The second commandment of 10 commandment states, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in Vain.”  This commandment demands reverence for God and for all holy things. The 3rd Commandment is a reminder of our oath and vow to God. He is and should be first.  He is above all things.  In Heaven, before the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he was given the word of a powerful, holy name, Jesus. “In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven on earth and under the earth.” Phil 2:10 Mary in the prayer of the Magnificat recognizes all that the Lord has done for her.  In Luke 1:49 above, she is praising the Lord and His magnificence.  She calls Him mighty for she personally sees and experiences His greatness, yet, in His power is holiness.  The Lord is perfect and pure. He is total goodness.  God is love and, in His love, He holds us.  We understand power as being a force used to destroy, but the Lord says about His power, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9.  The name of Jesus carries power and also has the power to heal. Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” We cannot begin to comprehend the powerful name of Jesus.  In our world today, power is often used by corrupt people to destroy, however, to the Lord, power is meant to be used for good.  The power of the Lord, heals us, holds us and restores our brokenness.  His power, removes the stain of sin.  In the name of Jesus, the faithful receive the Sacraments and are reminded of His mission, that He came to save and to give us eternal life. Jesus came to lead us to the Father.  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”  John 14:6. In the Litany to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the final prayer states, “…. Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Your holy name, for You never fail to govern those whom You establish in Your love. You, Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen So powerful is the name of Jesus, that in the Church’s final prayer for souls, we ask the Lord for all our dearly departed, “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May the souls of the faithful departed in the mercy of God, rest in peace.” As you pray for the faithful departed, focus on His perpetual light.  

The light of fire that burns but does not harm.
His perpetual light warms your soul and comforts you.
He gathers every tear drop, and waters the garden where you grow. 
He waters the withered part of you, and His gentle rhythm of compassion heals your wounds. 
His fragrance of love spreads to open hearts; His sweet aroma fills the souls who call to Him. 
Call His Holy name and You feel find peace.



DECEMBER 2023 MEDITATION



Advent in 2023 begins on December 3rd and ends on December 24th.   The word Advent means the coming of Christ into the World.  John 1:14 “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father”. In anticipation of His coming, we prepare spiritually to receive Him.  We prepare by reflecting on God and on the many ways He touches our hearts; and ponder how He speaks to us.  He speaks to us in the silence; some say He speaks in the whisper of the wind.  To hear Him and to see Him, we must be still.  In our loud and noisy, dark and busy world, it can be difficult to experience a moment with God. We can find Him in the silence, but if every day is filled with noise, loud music, loud talking, loud city sounds, how can we hear His whisper? In our dark and busy world, how do we let in a spark of His light in our filled hours of activity, work, and conversation, can we be still and silent long enough to allow Him in?   Try.  Allow yourself to clean up the clutter.  Empty yourself of all that is of this world and fill yourself with Christ.  Have that conversation with Him.  The conversation where you open your heart.  At that time, you may hear Him telling you of His great love for you.  This same moment you will experience, with each word spoken and each breath taken in by you, that Jesus becomes clearer.  The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now becomes real, for as you develop this relationship, you now enter into His very heart.  A heart filled with light, fire, pain and love.  Your heart joins His and you find the love Jesus has been holding for you.  Jesus has been waiting patiently.  You realize, Jesus, the newborn child, celebrated at Christmas, is the needed hope for our dark world.  Looking at Jesus, wisdom fills your soul and you understand He came to Save. His radiance shines in the souls who look to Him.  How can a soul stained with Sin see the purity of love in Jesus and Mary?  It is only when we repent, and see and confess our sin that we can see Mary and Jesus.  This repentance allows us to enter the love within the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This Advent prepare your heart for the Lord, you may receive the greatest gift by Christmas.  The true gift of God.  God is love.  He gave us Jesus.  We separated ourselves from God, but God has never separated himself from us.  Allow His light to enter into the darkest areas of your life. When you do, you may find healing and happiness, but more than that you may find peace.  “And now these three remain; Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


NOVEMBER 2023 MEDITATION




To pray for loved ones who have died is important and is tradition for members of the Catholic Church.  On November 2nd the Church celebrates All Souls Day.  November is also the month the Catholic Church designates to remember the dead and to pray for them in a special way.   All those who have gone before us are honored by the Church.  The Church teaches of the Communion of Saints  and about the promise of eternal life for those who believe and follow Jesus.  The importance of prayer for all who have died is a practice of the Church.  When a loved one dies, we do not know the state of their soul.  It is this not knowing that brings us to pray for the repose of their soul. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030-1031 states, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.  The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned….”  Purgatory is a gift of love from God.  The souls in Purgatory will receive Heaven, it is a matter of time.  Our prayers for the dead are very important.  Catholics believe this to be true, so much so, that at every Mass we pray for the souls of the faithful departed.  Short prayers such as, “Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, “help to bring comfort to the families of the deceased.  Families have Masses said for the deceased, Gregorian Masses are also requested by the family and friends of those who have died.  Our prayers for the dead are an act of love.  We pray and we grieve them, and miss our loved ones who are no longer with us, yet prayers and Masses keep their memory alive in our hearts.  As Catholic Christians, we believe in the hope of everlasting life, and believe that when it is our time to die that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.  We also believe Father God will be with us in Heaven.  Revelation 21:1-4 “He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; [4] he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” May November be a special time of prayer and remembrance for our loved ones.  “As we enter Heaven, we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us.  We will ask who they are, and they will say, a poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory.” Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen


OCTOBER 2023 MEDITATION

Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the most Holy Rosary.” Pope Pius IX 

The Church dedicates the month of October to the Most Holy Rosary.  The rosary is a beautiful form of prayer.  Although to some, its prayers may appear to be repetitive, it is so much more than repetition.  The rosary is our prayer of love to Our Lady and most importantly, a prayer of love and thanksgiving to Jesus.  The mysteries of the rosary focus on the life of Jesus.  In our hand, we hold the rosary, the instrument that unites us with the Angels and Saints in Heaven. The rosary holds four mysteries, the Joyful, the Luminous, the Sorrowful and the Glorious.  The Joyful Mysteries tell the story of how God sent St. Gabriel, the Archangel, to tell Mary she had been chosen to be the Mother of God.  This is known as the Annunciation.  Her “yes” begins the rest of the mystery and tells the story of Jesus as an infant and as a child.  When we place our focus on the mysteries, we enter into the heart of Mary.  We join with her in contemplating our love for Jesus. We also grow closer to Mary as we picture ourselves in the scene of the mystery.  Each Our Father prayed is like a love song to Father God.  Each Hail Mary said, is a reminder to us that the Lord is with us as He is with Mary. The Luminous Mysteries tell the story of Jesus’ baptism and enlighten us on our own baptism.  From Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana, turning water into wine; to Jesus spreading the good news about the Kingdom; to Peter, James and John witnessing the Divinity of Jesus on Mount Tabor, to the Passover  where Jesus shares bread with his apostles saying, “This is my body given for you….”  Then shares the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, poured out for you,” all of these events are in the Luminous mysteries.  The Luminous mysteries are about the ministry of Jesus and about the many miracles He performed.  The Sorrowful Mysteries, tell of the many wounds Jesus suffered for us.  Each wound Jesus endured are a reminder of our sins, and the pain sins cause Jesus.  The mysteries are called Sorrowful, for indeed they are.  As we pray each sorrowful mystery, we place ourselves with Jesus.  In our love for Him, we see what He endured causing us deep sorrow.  The Glorious Mysteries take us to the Resurrection of Jesus,  and to His Ascension into Heaven.  We experience the power of the Holy Spirit and feel great hope in the promise of the Kingdom.  Our hope becomes strengthened when we contemplate Mary being assumed into Heaven.  Each touch of our fingers on every bead, and every prayer of the rosary takes us closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our prayers of the rosary are not repetitive but are our loving response to Jesus, when He asks Peter, “Do you love me.” Yes, Lord, we love you, with each prayer of the rosary, we love you more and more.


“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ of defense and salvation.” -Saint Padre Pio



SEPTEMBER 2023 MEDITATION


Psalm 34:7. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Throughout the bible, are stories about God’s Holy Angels.  They are best known as messengers, protectors and guardians.  The holy angels act on behalf of God to bring Him glory. It is not surprising to learn that Angels are honored in the Catholic Church on September 29th on the Feast Day of the Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael.  The holy angels are honored again on October 2nd with the Feast of the Guardian Angels.  Guardian angels are also recognized and given special devotion every week on Tuesdays. Such is the importance of their role that the Church honors them with Feast Days and Devotions. 

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?  Hebrews 1:14 This scripture indicates that God created angels to help His people.  In our world today, there are many beautiful stories about angels helping people when they are in danger.  These angel testimonies are given by people who experienced their heavenly help; even to the point where the angel saved their life. Psalms 91:11-12 For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.  On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.  The Guardian angels have a mission.  They are constantly at work to help us.  Their mission is to get us to heaven.  Jesus said in Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  Angels are Superior to humans, yet they serve God and are assigned to us as Guardian angels. St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, confirms the angel’s superiority in his work Angelic Beings; when he wrote, “For him, in the Order of Nature, angels are higher than men.”

Even though many artists depict angels as cute, they are powerful spirits that are obedient to God.  Their force and power described in the book of Revelation is eye opening.  After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree (Revelation 7:1). Imagine the amount of strength they possess if they can hold back the four winds throughout the entire earth and there are only four of them.

At Mass the angels are remembered right before the Priest consecrates the Host, he and the Congregation all say the important song of the angels. Just like in the Book of Revelation 4:8  when the angels give honor and glory to God as they sing“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, who was and who is and who is to come.” At Mass we pray, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory, Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.  All eyes are on the altar, giving God reverence for the great sacrifice of love, where He gave up His only Son, so that we may have eternal life.  

Although, the Holy angels are not visible to most of us, they are present in our world.  In scripture, they were busy doing God’s work and were busy communicating God’s message to people.  Theologians say, we are surrounded by the holy angels.  The Angel of the Lord is mentioned throughout the bible.  He too, was bringing God’s message to the chosen people of God.  This September 29th and October 2nd please take time to honor the angels.  There are many beautiful prayers and Novenas asking for their intercession.  

The angels are servants of God and play an important role in God’s work.  Remember their importance and try to read Scripture verses on angels. The gospel of Matthew describes the light of honor the angels give to God, Matthew 25:31  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.



AUGUST 2023 MEDITATION

The Feast Day of the Queenship of Mary was established by Pope Pius XII in 1954.  This Feast Day in 2023 will be celebrated by the Catholic Church on August 22.  Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam states that “Mary’s divine maternity is the main principle on which Mary’s queenship rests.” In a Vatican II document called the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Genitum, it states that “Mary is exalted above all angels, and men to place a second only to her Son, as the most holy Mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ….” Mary served Jesus. She was there to support Him.  As the Queen Mother to Jesus Christ the King, she also served as an advocate for the people.  Yet, with this title of Queen, Mary has always been the handmaid of the Lord.  She is that special servant that magnifies the Lord.  Her title of Queen does not take away from Jesus.  Instead, she points us toward her son.  Mary, thrice blessed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is full of grace and yet she continues to hold a mother’s heart.  In Fatima, our lady told Lucia, “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”  The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a perfect heart of virtue and love.  She is and has always been an advocate for all her children.  She intercedes for us.  She is loved and honored in the Catholic Church for her “yes” to God.  Mary is a perfect example of virtue.  St. Therese of the Child Jesus said of Mary, “She is more mother than queen.”  She is such a spiritual mother to us, that she continues to be seen on earth by visionaries and seers.  She comes lovingly asking us to change our ways.  She reminds us to pray and reminds us to follow the way of Christ.  She even cries for us.  St. Alphonsus Liguori, said, “So Mary is a Queen.  And, for our consolation, we ought to remember that she is a most tender and kind Queen, eager to help us in our miseries. So much so that the Church wants us to call her in this prayer Queen of Mercy. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.”  For those who have been graced to see her, all speak of her indescribable beauty. The many statues and paintings of Mary are limited when it comes to portraying her beauty.  She is called Queen of Angels because as the Little Daughter of the Divine Will, Luisa Picarreta wrote in the Book of Heaven, “We can call our Lady Queen of the Angels, because she was more favored by God than all the Angels, and she can and really does do more for our souls than the heavenly spirits could ever do.”  We honor Mary with the ultimate gift of love.  We honor her because she gave Jesus life. Every time we pray a rosary or recite the Hail Mary, we honor her through prayer when we say, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Yes, Catholics celebrate the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd, but she continues to fill hearts as the Mother of God and as our Mother.  St. Father Pio loved Blessed Mother, and would say, “Give yourself up into the arms of your heavenly Mother.  She will take good care of your soul.” Although, she is more recognized as mother, in recognizing her as Queen, we honor her with the words of the Salve Regina, Hail Holy Queen enthroned above O Maria. Hail Queen of mercy and of love, O Maria.  Triumph, all ye Cherubim; Sing with us ye Seraphim, Heaven and Earth resound the hymn:  Salve, Salve, Salve Regina.


JULY 2023 MEDITATION

The Catholic Church devotes the month of July to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.   The Precious Blood of Jesus is of immense value.  The gift of the consecrated bread and wine changing into the body and blood of Christ is called transubstantiation.  The teaching of the Catholic Church is in the belief of the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  This belief is the difference between Christian Catholics and Protestant Christians.  Even though the change cannot be seen by the naked eye, the Church teaches that at the moment of consecration, the bread and wine become the substance of the body and blood of Christ.  Jesus is truly present and  the consecration is not simply symbolic.  When believers are present at Mass and they receive the Eucharist in Faith, all the while believing that it is Christ whom they are receiving, then all forms of healing may take place.  In the bible, Jesus admired the people of great Faith.  The Centurion believed that Jesus would heal his servant.  His faith In Christ was so powerful; he believed Jesus did not have to touch the sick servant, but that Jesus had only to say the word and his servant would be healed.  The centurion said to Jesus, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed” (Luke 7: 6-7).  This faith in the power of Jesus, came from a centurion who was a Roman solider in charge of 100 men. Although Centurions were not Jewish, the Centurion believed in the authority of Jesus. Centurions were experienced soldiers and were considered to be the best soldiers in the army.  Centurions were pagan, yet God used two Centurions to demonstrate the strength of God and the power of faith. Longinus is the centurion who pierced the side of Jesus while Jesus was nailed to the cross.  He witnessed blood and water gush from the pierced side of Jesus.  The side he personally pierced with his sword.  The Precious blood of Jesus flowed into his mind and into his heart.  When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” —Mark 15:39. The precious blood of Jesus can transform souls.  Even though it was Longinus who pierced the side of Jesus, a miracle and a transformation occurred in his heart, when he witnessed the blood and water pouring out.  He was at the foot of the cross, when he saw the Lord’s precious blood pour out of the wound he inflicted.  His heart and soul were transformed at that moment, so much so, Longinus died as a martyr for his belief in the power of Christ.  The Lord is merciful, he shares his love for us.  The blood of Christ in the chalice is the cup of life.  Jesus’ body was lifted on the cross and his blood was poured for us.  His blood is a reminder of eternal life.  Life everlasting. His blood cleanses us from our sin.  “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.”  Hebrews 9:14   Let us give thanks and honor to God for the sacrifice of His only son so that “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Ephesians 1:7 
“Almighty Father, I place the Precious Blood of Jesus before my lips before I pray, that my prayers may be purified before they ascend to your divine altar.”  St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi



JUNE 2023 MEDITATION