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September 15th, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, September 15, we have the feast of our lady of sorrows.

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady has its roots in Sacred Scripture and in Christian piety, which always associates the Blessed Mother with her suffering Son. Today’s feast was introduced by the Servites in order to intensify devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows.

History of the feast of our lady of sorrows

This feast dates back to the 12th century. It was especially promoted by the Cistercians and the Servites, so much so that in the 14th and 15th centuries it was widely celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. In 1482 the feast was added to the Missal under the title of “Our Lady of Compassion.” Pope Benedict XIII added it to the Roman Calendar in 1727 on the Friday before Palm Sunday. In 1913, Pope Pius X fixed the date on September 15. The title “Our Lady of Sorrows” focuses on Mary’s intense suffering during the passion and death of Christ. “The Seven Dolors,” the title by which it was celebrated in the 17th century, referred to the seven swords that pierced the Heart of Mary. The feast is like an octave for the birthday of Our Lady on September 8th. — Excerpted from Our Lady of Sorrows by Fr. Paul Haffner (Inside the Vatican, September 2004)

About the feast

This feast is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance. May the numerous tears of the Mother of God be conducive to our salvation; with which tears Thou, O God, art able to wash away the sins of the whole world.

Seven sorrows of Mary

As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow Simeon had foretold pierced her soul. Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:

1. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
2. The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
6. The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
7. The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)

Symbols

heart pierced with a sword;
heart pierced by seven swords;
winged heart pierced with a sword;
flowers: red rose, iris (meaning: “sword-lily”), cyclamen.

The Virgin Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord, did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, abused and crucified. Rather she remained beside Jesus, suffering and praying, until the end. And she saw the radiant dawn of His Resurrection. Let us learn from her to witness to our faith with a life of humble service, ready to personally pay the price of staying faithful to the Gospel of love and truth, certain that nothing that we do will be lost. — Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus – September 13, 2009

August 15th, 2011

Virgin Mary’s Assumption Into Heaven

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in body and soul to Heaven. Today —St. Bernard says—“the Virgin, full of glory, is taken up to heaven, showering the celestial beings with joy”. And he will add these precious words: “What a beautiful present the earth is today sending to heaven! With this wonderful gesture of friendship —such as giving and receiving— the human and the divine, the earthly and the heavenly, the humble and the sublime, merge into one. It is there, the most precious earthly fruit, where the best presents and the most valuable gifts come from. Taken up to heaven, the Virgin Mary will lavish her gifts on all men”.

For pictures, goto Virgin Mary Assumption Pictures

The first gift she lavishes on us is the Word, that She knew how to keep so faithfully in her heart, by making it bear fruit from the very profound and warm silence. With this Word in her interior space, while begetting in her womb the Life for all men, “Mary set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk 1:39-40). Mary’s presence exults in joy, and Elizabeth says: “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy” (Lk 1:44).

She, mostly, presents us with the gift of her commendation, her same joy made music, her Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior!…” (Lk 1:46-47). What a beautiful gift the heaven sends back to us with Mary’s song, made word of God.

In this song we find the signs to learn how the human and the divine, the earthly and the celestial blend together, while being able to react, as She does, to the gift God presents us with, in the person of his Son, through his Saint Mother: to become a gift from God to the world, and tomorrow, a gift from mankind to God, by following Mary’s example, who precedes us in this glorification which we are bound to.

Read more on Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

– – – reflection by Fr. Josep ALEGRE Abbot of Santa Maria de Poblet

June 12th, 2011

Happy Birthday To The Church

Happy Birthday To The Church

You are cordially invited to a birthday party.

When: Pentecost
Where: Your Parish
Why: To Celebrate the Church’s Birthday

Are you confused by this invitation? Did you know that the feast of Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church? It is called that because Pentecost is when the apostles went out among the people and began spreading Jesus’ message, thus establishing the beginning of the Church.

Pentecost (Greek for “50th day”) is celebrated by Christians 50 days after Easter, and marks the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles while they were cowering and hiding behind locked doors following Jesus’ resurrection. After receiving the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostles immediately went out and preached Jesus’ message to everyone—even those who spoke other languages.

Actually, Pentecost was originally a Jewish feast that concluded the 50 days of Passover and celebrated the end of the barley harvest, plus the beginning of the wheat harvest. The Jewish people at Pentecost also celebrate the gift of the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai.

Symbols of Pentecost

The symbols of Pentecost are wind, fire and a dove.

The first symbol—wind—is taken from the noise the apostles heard as the Spirit descended upon them (Acts 2:2). After the wind, flames appeared and rested upon the heads of each of the apostles (Acts 2:3).

A dove serves as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. There is no mention of a dove in Acts, but we associate a dove with the Holy Spirit because of the story about Jesus’ baptism: “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him” (Matthew 3:16).

Celebrating Pentecost

Pentecost is probably one of the most important days on the Church calendar, but it often gets overlooked. Here are some ways that your family can help celebrate this very important day:

a) Because Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, celebrate it just as you would any other birthday in your home—break out the cake and ice cream. Rather than singing “Happy Birthday,” recite a prayer for Pentecost. Most prayer books contain special prayers for this special day.

b) Wear something red. The color of the vestments worn by priests on Pentecost is red, to symbolize the love of the Holy Spirit, or the tongues of fire that appeared over the heads of the apostles on Pentecost. And don’t just stop at wearing red. Use a red tablecloth for dinner, eat off red paper plates, eat red foods, etc. See how many ways you can incorporate the color red in your celebration.

c)Read aloud the story of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts.

So come, let us wish the Church a happy birthday on this Pentecost.

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