Mary, Our Queen, Our Mother

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Mary, Our Queen, Our Mother

Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae!

St. Alphonsus Di Liguori from The Glories of Mary
(1696 – 1787)

How great should be our Confidence in Mary, who is the Queen of Mercy. As the glorious Virgin Mary has been raised to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings, it is not without reason that the Church honors her, and wishes her to be honored by all, with the glorious title of Queen.

“If the Son is a king,” says St. Athanasius, “the Mother who begot him is rightly and truly considered a Queen and Sovereign” (“Si ipse Rex est, qui natus est de Virgine, Mater quae eum genuit, Regina et Domina proprie ac vere censetur.”–Serm. de Deip). “No sooner had Mary,” says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “consented to be Mother of the Eternal Word, than she merited by this consent to be made Queen of the world and of all creatures.” (“Haec autem Virgo, in illo consensus, meruit primatum orbis dominium mundi, sceptrum regni super omnes creaturas.”–Pro fest. V.M. s. 5 c. 3.) “Since the flesh of Mary,” remarks the Abbot Arnold of Chartres, “was not different from that of Jesus, how can the royal dignity of the Son be denied to the Mother?” (Nec a dominatione et potestate filii Mater potest esse sejuncta: una est Mariae et Christi caro.”–De Laud. B. Virg.) “Hence we must consider the glory of the Son, not only as being common to his Mother, but as one with her” (Filii gloriam cum Matre non tam communem judico, quam eamdem.”–Ibid.). Continue reading

Bolsena Eucharistic Miracle 

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Bolsena Eucharistic Miracle

Images of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena-Orvieto, Italy
The first image is a fresco painted by Raphael in the Vatican Palace depicting the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena. The second image shows the Sacred Blood stained corporal being carried in procession at Orvieto. The third image shows the altar today where the miracle occurred. The fourth image shows the enshrined altar stone stained with the Precious Blood. The fifth image depicts Pope Urban IV meeting the stained Host and corporal in Orvieto.

In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal.

The priest was immediately confused. At first, he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the neighbouring city of Orvieto, the city where Pope Urban IV was then residing.

The pope listened to the priest’s account and absolved him. He then sent emissaries for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the bishop of the diocese to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood. With archbishops, cardinals and other ecclesiastical dignitaries in attendance, the pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the cathedral of Orvieto.

It is said that Pope Urban IV was prompted by this miracle to commission St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the propers for a Mass and an Office honouring the Holy Eucharist as the Body of Christ. One year after the miracle, in August 1264, Pope Urban IV introduced the saint’s composition, and by means of a papal bull instituted the feast of Corpus Christi.

After visiting the Orvieto cathedral, many pilgrims and tourists journey to St. Christina’s Church in Bolsena to see for themselves the place where the miracle occurred. From the north aisle of the church, one can enter the Chapel of the Miracle, where the stains on the paved floor are said to have been made by the blood from the miraculous Host. The altar of the miracle, which is surmounted by a 9th-century canopy, is now situated in the grotto of St. Christina. A reclining statue of the saint is nearby.

The Festival of Corpus Christi

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The Festival of Corpus Christi

The same reason which caused the Festival of the Holy Trinity, induced the Catholic Church to institute the festival of Corpus Christi, which we celebrate today. She requires that we shall confess and renew today the faith which we have in the Blessed Eucharist, and that we bestow all possible honors upon the Most Holy Sacrament and give due thanks to our Saviour for its institution. In order that this just requirement of the Church may be more fully complied with, we shall here give some explanation of the above reasons. In regard to the first reason, the following are the facts, which the church especially desires to call to our memory by this joyous festival. Our dear Saviour, on the same evening when His bitter suffering for the redemption of man began, instituted the Blessed Eucharist, out of His immeasurable love for us. In it He is truly and substantially present with body and soul, with flesh and blood, as God and Man, under the form of bread and wine. Under the form of bread, not only His holy body, but also His holy blood is present; because a living body cannot exist without blood. Hence he receives it, who partakes of holy communion only in the form of bread, not less than he who receives it in two forms, as the priests, when they say holy Mass. The latter partake of holy communion under two forms, in order that the passion and death of our Saviour, during which His blood flowed from His wounds, might be more vividly represented.  Continue reading