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O MARY, you desire so much to see Jesus loved; if you love me, this is the favour which I ask of you, to obtain for me a great personal love of Jesus Christ. You obtain from your Son whatever you please; pray then for me that I may never lose the grace of God and that I may increase in holiness and perfection from day to day. By that grief which you suffered on Calvary, when you beheld Jesus expire on the cross, obtain for me a happy death, that by loving Jesus, and you, my Mother, on earth I may receive the reward of loving and blessing you eternally in heaven.

This Prayer to the Blessed Virgin after Communion, taken from an old prayer book, brings to mind the great help Mary can give us with Jesus as we strive for Eternal Life. It also touches on as the immense sorrow as well that she experienced at Calvary on our behalf.

Theologians and Saints alike have affirmed the power of Mary’s intercession for us with her Divine Son. We see, for example, at the wedding feast at Cana, in which our Lord turns water into wine following her wishes (John 2:3-10), that Mary’s requests to Jesus for us are quite important to Him. Such is the immense love between the two of them!

Keep in mind that in our prayers to Mary we honour, rather than worshipping per. And that’s fine with her! As we read in scripture, Mary tells the angel Gabriel, upon hearing the news that she has been chosen to be the mother of our Savior, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

As she says further, in the prayer we call the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). Her joy comes from loving and serving her Son. And, as such, she is happy to intercede with Him on our behalf and to give us graces we need to do His will.

Don’t think you are somehow “sneaking past Jesus” in praying to Mary or putting her ahead of Him when asking for her assistance on your journey to heaven. The graces Mary gives us come from God, a fact gladly acknowledged by numerous saints. St. Alphonsus Liguori referred to our Blessed Mother in his classic work The Glories of Mary as “the universal dispenser of all divine graces.”

St. Bernard referred to her as the “ladder of sinners, by which they ascend anew to the height of divine grace.” He said as well that, although Jesus is called in one of St. Paul’s letters the “one mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5), “if you ever wish for another advocate with this mediator, invoke Mary, for she will intercede for you with the Son, who will surely graciously listen to her, and the Son will intercede with the Father, who can refuse nothing to this Son.”

Regarding the grief mentioned in this prayer, the Blessed Mother was forewarned years earlier of the immense emotional suffering she would experience seeing her Son dying in His Crucifixion.

Simeon told her during Jesus’ Presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem as a baby (depicted in this picture above) that “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Luke 2:35). As Archbishop Fulton Sheen once put it “from that moment on, every time she would lift infant hands she would see fall across them the shadow of nails.”

Mary herself revealed to St. Bridget that no one could possibly imagine the pain she suffered when she saw our Lord die on the cross. And yet, her suffering, like His need, not have been in vain for any of us. The more we cultivate a relationship with Jesus and Mary, with prayers like this one to her after Communion, the more we can assure our eternal place with them in Heaven!

St. Coemgen

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St. Coemgen, or Kevin, Bishop and Confessor in Ireland

HE 1 was born of parents of the first rank in Ireland, in 498. He was baptized by St. Cronan, a holy priest, and at seven years of age was put under the tuition of St. Petrocus, a Briton, who spent twenty years in Ireland, to improve himself in virtue and sacred learning. After five years spent with him, by his advice he was placed, in 510, under the care of three holy anchorets, Dogain, Lochan, and Enna, or Æneas, in the same cell. Three years he employed with them in the study of the holy scriptures, before he took the monastic habit. Some time after, he founded a great monastery in the lower part of the valley called Glean-da-loch, 2 situated in the east of Leinster, in the territory of Forthuatha. 3 The reputation of St. Keivin and his monastery, drew hither such a conflux of people, that it soon grew up into a famous and holy city. The founder being raised to the episcopal dignity, erected a cathedral church under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul, near the church of his abbey. 4 In 549, St. Keivin took a journey to Clonmacnois, to pay a visit to St. Kiaran; but found him dead three days before his arrival, and assisted at his funeral obsequies. St. Keivin lived to a great age, and having some time before resigned the episcopal charge to confine himself to his abbacy, died on the 3d of June in the year 618, of his age one hundred and twenty. He is patron of Glendaloch, where his festival is celebrated on the 3d of June, on which day, numbers of people resort to the Seven Churches. There is also a parish church in the suburbs of Dublin dedicated to this saint. 1 Continue reading

St. Clotilda

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St. Clotildis or Clotilda, Queen of France

SHE was daughter of Chilperic, younger brother to Gondebald, the tyrannical king of Burgundy, who put him, his wife, and the rest of his brothers, except one, to death in order to usurp their dominions. In this massacre he spared Chilperic’s two fair daughters, then in their infancy. One of them became afterwards a nun; the other named Clotildis was brought up in her uncle’s court, and by a singular providence, was instructed in the Catholic religion, though she was educated in the midst of Arians. It was her happiness in the true faith, to be inspired from the cradle with a contempt and disgust of a treacherous world, which sentiments she cherished and improved by the most fervent exercises of religion. Though she saw herself surrounded with all the charms of the world, and was from her infancy its idol, yet her heart was proof against its seductions. She was adorned with the assemblage of all virtues, and the reputation of her wit, beauty, meekness, modesty, and piety, made her the adoration of all the neighbouring kingdoms, when Clovis I., surnamed the great, the victorious king of the Franks, 1 demanded and obtained her of her uncle in marriage, granting her all the conditions she could desire for the free and secure exercise of her religion. 2 The marriage was solemnized at Soissons, in 493. Clotildis made herself a little oratory in the royal palace, in which she spent much time in fervent prayer, and secret mortifications. Her devotion was tempered with discretion, so that she attended all her business at court, was watchful over her maids, and did every thing with a dignity, order, and piety, which edified and charmed the king and his whole court. Her charity to the poor seemed a sea which could never be drained. She honoured her royal husband, studied to sweeten his warlike temper by Christian meekness, conformed herself to his humour in things that were indifferent; and, the better to gain his affections, made those things the subject of her discourse and praises, in which she saw him to take the greatest delight. When she saw herself mistress of his heart, she did not defer the great work of endeavouring to win him to God, and often spoke to him on the vanity of his idols, and on the excellency of the true religion. The king always heard her with pleasure; but the moment of his conversion was not yet come. It was first to cost her many tears, severe trials, and earnest perseverance. After the baptism of their second son, Clodomir, and the infant’s recovery from a dangerous indisposition, she pressed the king more boldly to renounce his idols. One day especially, when he had given her great assurances of his affection, and augmented her dowry by a gift of several manors, she said she begged only one favour of his majesty, which was the liberty to discourse with him on the sanctity of her religion, and to put him in mind of his promise of forsaking the worship of idols. But the fear of giving offence to his people made him delay the execution. His miraculous victory over the Alemanni, 3 and his entire conversion in 496, were at length the fruit of our saint’s prayers. 1 Continue reading

Saint Francis Caracciolo

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Saint Francis Caracciolo


Saint Francis was born in the kingdom of Naples in 1563, of the princely family of Caracciolo. In childhood he shunned all amusements, recited the Rosary regularly, and loved to visit the Blessed Sacrament and to distribute his food to the poor. To avoid idleness, however, he engaged in hunting, which pastime was not pleasing to God; and Our Lord, to detach him from the world, sent him a terrible trial. When he was 22 years old, he developed leprosy and soon was on the brink of death. Seeing his body in this deplorable condition taught him contempt for the vanity of the world and of youth’s physical strength, and he promised God to serve Him alone if he were cured. The illness disappeared almost at once. He therefore left his parents, sold his portion of the inheritance for the benefit of the poor, and went to study for the priesthood at Naples. He dedicated himself in particular to visiting prisoners and galley-slaves and preparing criminals for death; he spent his leisure hours visiting the Blessed Sacrament in unfrequented churches.

God called him, when only twenty-five, to found the Order of Regular Minor Clerics, with two other priests who had similar aspirations. The Rule they drew up prescribed that each day one of the members fast on bread and water, another take the discipline, a third wear a hair shirt, and each succeed another for perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Thus they hoped to appease the anger of God unceasingly, and draw down His blessings by their penance. They took the usual vows, adding a fourth — not to accept dignities unless required to do so by their sovereign. Continue reading

Mirae Caritatis: On the Holy Eucharist

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Mirae Caritatis
On the Holy Eucharist

Pope Leo XIII – 1902

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries, having Peace and Communion with the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

1. To examine into the nature and to promote the effects of those manifestations of His wondrous love which, like rays of light, stream forth from Jesus Christ-this, as befits Our sacred office, has ever been, and this, with His help, to the last breath of Our life will ever be Our earnest aim and endeavour. For, whereas Our lot has been cast in an age that is bitterly hostile to justice and truth, we have not failed, as you have been reminded by the Apostolic letter which we recently addressed to you, to do what in us lay, by Our instructions and admonitions, and by such practical measures as seemed best suited for their purpose, to dissipate the contagion of error in its many shapes, and to strengthen the sinews of the Christian life. Among these efforts of Ours there are two in particular, of recent memory, closely related to each other, from the recollection whereof we gather some fruit of comfort, the more seasonable by reason of the many causes of sorrow that weigh us down. One of these is the occasion on which We directed, as a thing most desirable, that the entire human race should be consecrated by a special act to the Sacred Heart of Christ our Redeemer; the other that on which We so urgently exhorted all those who bear the name Christian to cling loyally to Him Who, by divine ordinance, is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” not for individuals alone but for every rightly constituted society. And now that same apostolic charity, ever watchful over the vicissitudes of the Church, moves and in a manner compels Us to add one thing more, in order to fill up the measure of what We have already conceived and carried out. This is, to commend to all Christians, more earnestly than heretofore, the all-holy Eucharist, forasmuch as it is a divine gift proceeding from the very Heart of the Redeemer, Who “with desire desireth” this singular mode of union with men, a gift most admirably adapted to be the means whereby the salutary fruits of His redemption may be distributed. Indeed We have not failed in the past, more than once, to use Our authority and to exercise Our zeal in this behalf. It gives Us much pleasure to recall to mind that We have officially approved, and enriched with canonical privileges, not a few institutions and confraternities having for their object the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Host; that We have encouraged the holding of Eucharistic Congresses, the results of which have been as profitable as the attendance at them has been numerous and distinguished; that We have designated as the heavenly patron of these and similar undertakings St. Paschal Baylon, whose devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist was so extraordinary.
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