Saturday, 30 November 2013

Prayer to Our Lady of the New Advent
O Lady and Mother of the One who was and is and is to come,
dawn of the New Jerusalem, we earnestly beseech you,
bring us by your intercession so to live in love that the Church, the Body of Christ,
may stand in this world’s dark as fiery icon of the New Jerusalem.
O Jesus living in Mary, come and live in Thy servants,
In the spirit of Thy holiness, in the fullness of Thy might,
In the truth of Thy virtues, in the perfection of Thy ways,
In the communion of Thy mysteries.
Subdue every hostile power in Thy Spirit,
For the glory of the Father. Amen

Today begins the Novena to Mary Immaculate.

Novena Prayer for the Immaculate Conception
O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.
I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.
I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.
Hail Mary, full of Grace,.......
Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…
(Mention your intentions)
My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.
As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!
Hail Mary, full of Grace,.......

Friday, 29 November 2013

“It has always been the habit of Catholic in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in Her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God. And truly the Immaculate Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation, has a favour and power with Her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain…” Pope Leo XIII

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

"Devotion to Mary will make possible in you a better understanding of Christ and a more intense union with his mysteries. You will receive Christ from his mother's arms and she will allow you to love him and imitate him." (Pope Pius XII)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Today Dominicans celebrate the Feast of our Co-Protectress, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyr. Saint Dominic received many heavenly visions of her and chose her with Mary Magdalene to be Protectress of the Dominican Order. Catherine is the patron of philosophers because of the wisdom and reasoning with which she spoke in defence of the faith.
Tradition has it that she appeared twice in visions during the early days of the Order, plus again in the 16th century. She was one of the Virgins along with St. Cecilia who accompanied the Blessed Virgin Mary when she gave Bl. Reginald the scapular. She also accompanied the Blessed Virgin in the vision in which St. Dominic saw the Virgin Mary sprinkling the brethren while they slept. Lastly, she again accompanied the Blessed Virgin, along with St. Mary Magdalene (co-patroness of the Order), in preparation for the painting of the miraculous image of St. Dominic in Soriano.

From the ''Vitae Fratrum''
“Once when St Dominic was passing the night in the church in prayer, about midnight he went out and entered the dormitory. After looking at his brethren he resumed his prayer at the entrance of the dormitory. While standing erect as he prayed, he chanced to glance to the other end of the dormitory and saw three very comely ladies advancing towards him, of whom the central figure seemed to be a lady more dignified and of higher rank than the others. One of the two attendants (St. Catherine of Alexandria) carried a beautiful and resplendent vessel of holy water, and the other (St. Cecilia) a sprinkler, which she presented to the third who walked between them. This one sprinkled the brethren and blessed them, but as she passed along doing so there was one friar whom she neither blessed nor sprinkled. St Dominic observed this attentively, and noting whom it was, followed the lady as far as the lamp which hung in the middle of the dormitory: there he threw himself at her feet and began earnestly to beg her to say who she was, although he knew very well all the while.
Now at that time the beautiful and devout anthem, the Salve Regina, was not sung in the convents of our brethren and sisters in Rome, but merely said kneeling. Then the lady addressed St Dominic and said: ‘I am she whom you greet every evening, and when you say “Turn then our Advocate,” I prostrate myself before my Son for the preservation of this Order.’ St Dominic then inquired who her companions might be, where unto she made answer: ‘One of them is Cecilia and the other Catherine.’ Upon this St Dominic made further inquiry touching the brother whom she had passed by, and why she had neither sprinkled nor blest him with the rest: at this she answered: ‘Simply because he was unworthy of it.’ Then she resumed sprinkling and blessing the remaining friars, and went away.”

Let us pray.
O God, you gave the law to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai, and through your holy angels, wonderfully put in that same place the body of the blessed Catherine, your virgin and martyr; grant, we beseech you, that by her merits and intercession, we may reach that mountain which is Christ. Through Christ our Lord.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

"The greater the charity of the Saints in their heavenly home,
 the more they intercede for those who are still on their journey
 and the more they can help them by their prayers;
 the more they are united with God, the more effective those prayers are.
 This is in accordance with Divine order, which makes higher things react upon lower things,
 like the brightness of the sun filling the atmosphere."
St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbour"
 (Homily by St. Germanus on the Presentation of the Mother of God).

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom

Mary, Seat of Wisdom (also known as Our Lady of the Chair or the Latin name Sedes Sapientiae), is a very old title for Mary.  As with all of Mary’s titles, it highlights one specific aspect of her life and experience – specifically, her role as the one who gave birth to Christ.
Artistic representations of Mary, Seat of Wisdom often show her seated on a throne, holding the Christ child on her lap and offering him for adoration.  Many early Christians saw Christ as Wisdom incarnate; therefore, by holding him on her lap, Mary becomes the “seat” of wisdom.  On another, deeper level, the title also refers to the fact that Mary “held” wisdom inside her by carrying Christ in her womb.

“All-holy Father, eternal God, in your goodness you prepared a royal throne for your Wisdom in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; bathe your Church in the radiance of your life-giving Word, that, pressing forward on its pilgrim way in the light of your truth, it may come to the joy of a perfect knowledge of your love.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”  Amen.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Today the Order of Preachers celebrates its heavenly members, All Saints and Blesseds of the Dominican Order, even though Dominicans only take profession of vows until death.
Fixed in God by love, the Dominican lives for this alone: united with Christ in each of its acts, through Him, with Him and in Him, it thinks only of glorifying the Father by continual adoration and of saving souls who will glorify Him eternally. It lives in the Church, through the Church, for the Church, in a spirit of brotherhood with all men, eager to communicate to them the Truth which is achieved in Love.
You might like to pray the Litany for the Friars, Nuns, and Lay Dominicans throughout the world. Happy Feast Day and through the intercession of the Saints may the Order fulfill its mission to Praise, Bless and Preach the Truth.
Happy Feast Day!

Litany of The Dominican Saints and Blesseds
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. ...Lord, have mercy.
...Christ, have mercy.
...Lord, have mercy.
...Christ Graciously Hear Us
God, the heavenly Father... have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world........have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit...... have mercy on us
Holy Mary.............pray for us
Holy Mother of God
Holy Virgin of Virgins
All you holy angels and archangels
All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists
All you holy martyrs
All you holy virgins and widows
All you holy men and women

Saint Michael.....pray for us
Saint Gabriel
Saint Raphael
Saint Joseph
Saint John the Baptist
Saint Mary Magdalen
Holy Father Augustine
Holy Father Francis
Blessed Jane of Aza
Blessed Reginald ...pray for us.

Holy Father Dominic
Holy Father Dominic ...pray for us.
Blessed Bertrand.........pray for us
Blessed Mannes
Blessed Diana
Blessed Jordan of Saxony
Blessed John of Salerno
Blessed William and Companions
Blessed Ceslaus
Blessed Isnard
Blessed Guala
Blessed Peter Gonzalez
Saint Zdislava
Saint Peter of Verona
Blessed Nicholas
Saint Hyacinth
Blessed Gonsalvo
Blessed Sadoc and Companions
Blessed Giles
Saint Margaret of Hungary
Blessed Batholomew of Vincenza
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saint Raymond of Penyafort
Blessed Innocent V
Blessed Albert of Bergamo
Saint Albert the Great
Blessed John of Vercelli
Blessed Ambrose
Blessed Cecilia
Blessed Benvenuta
Blessed James of Varazze
Blessed James of Bevagna
Blessed Benedict XI
Blessed Jane of Orvieto
Blessed Jordan of Pisa
Saint Emily
Blessed James Salomonio
Saint Agnes of Montepulciano
Blessed Simon
Blessed Margaret of Castello
Blessed Augustine Kazotic
Blessed James Benefatti
Blessed Imelda
Blessed Dalmatius
Blessed Margaret Ebner
Blessed Villana
Blessed Peter Ruffia
Blessed Henry
Blessed Sibyllina
Blessed Anthony of Pavonio
Saint Catherine of Siena
Blessed Marcolino
Blessed Raymond of Capua
Blessed Andrew Franchi
Saint Vincent Ferrer
Blessed Clara
Blessed John Dominic
Blessed Alvarez
Blessed Maria
Blessed Peter of Castello
Blessed Andrew Abellon
Blessed Stephen
Blessed Peter Geremia
Blessed John of Fiesole
Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta
Blessed Anthony della Chiesa
Saint Antoninus
Blessed Anthony Neyrot
Blessed Margaret of Savoy
Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio
Blessed Matthew
Blessed Constantius
Blessed Christopher
Blessed Damian
Blessed Andrew of Peschiera
Blessed Bernard
Blessed Jane of Portugal
Blessed James of Ulm
Blessed Augustine of Biella
Blessed Aimo
Blessed Sebastian
Blessed Mark
Blessed Columba
Blessed Magdalen
Blessed Osanna of Mantua
Blessed John Liccio
Blessed Dominic Spadafora
Blessed Stephana
Saint Adrian
Blessed Lucy
Blessed Catherine Racconigi
Blessed Osanna of Kotor
Saint Pius V
Saint John of Cologne
Blessed Maria Bartholomew
Saint Louis Bertrand
Saint Catherine de Ricci
Blessed Robert
Blessed Alphonsus and Companions
Saint Rose
Saint Dominic Ibanez and Companions
Blessed Agnes of Jesus
Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions
Saint Martin de Porres
Blessed Peter Higgins
Blessed Francis de Capillas
Saint Juan Macias
Blessed Terence
Blessed Ann of the Angels
Blessed Francis de Posadas
Saint Louis de Montfort
Blessed Francis Gil
Saint Matteo
Blessed Peter Sanz and Companions
Saint Vicent Liem
Saint Hyacinth Castaneda
Blessed Marie
Blessed George
Blessed Catherine Jarrige
Saint Ignatius and Companions
Saint Dominic An-Kham and Companions
Saint Joseph Khang and Companions
Blessed Francis Coll
Blessed Hyacinthe Cormier
Blessed Pier Giorgio
Blessed Bartolo
Blessed Michael Czartoryski
Blessed Julia Rodzinska
All holy Dominican brothers and sisters ...pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world ...spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world ...graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world ...have mercy on us.
Let us pray...
God, source of all holiness, you have enriched your Church
with many gifts in the saints of the Order of Preachers.
By following the example of our brothers and sisters,
may we come to enjoy their company
for ever in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your Son, who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

“Again and again in recent Marian apparitions the rosary has played a part; it has happened that Mary has fingered the beads along with those praying the rosary. Why should this be? So that we should prefer to pray to her and not to Christ or to the Father? On the contrary, so that it is from her point of view, from her memory, that we should look at the mysteries of Jesus’s life, and thereby at those of the Trinitarian embodiment of salvation. Our eyes are bleary and dull: if you will forgive the metaphor, we must put on Mary’s spectacles in order to see exactly."
Hans Urs Van Balthasar.

In this month of November, Dominicans have a special patron for the Holy Souls St. Juan (John) Macias, O.P. St John was a Dominican Lay brother and a close friend of St. Martin De Porres and St. Rose of Lima. He devoted his life like St. Martin caring for the poor and suffering who came to the priory door of St. Mary Magdalene in Lima, and to keeping the Virgin Mary company while praying the Rosary many times a day.

Our Lady taught this holy doorkeeper the sublime mysteries of the Rosary. It was through the most powerful Marian prayer on earth, the Rosary, that he would release great numbers of souls from purgatory. The Holy Souls often appeared to St. John begging his powerful intercession, asking him to offer his labours and prayers for their suffrage, "Give us prayers", they cried with one voice. "Oh brother John, you are the friend of the poor and sick! Be our friend too! Help make us worthy to be with God and His Blessed ones." Several times daily, St. Macias also sprinkled Holy Water on the ground, a practice he insisted was a great help to these unseen sufferers.

On his deathbed, St. John confessed to his Dominican brethren that prayers and penances offered for the faithful departed and most especially the Rosary are most pleasing and acceptable to God. St. John the Evangelist whom John Macias had great devotion, revealed to him in a vision that his prayers had liberated more than 1.4 million souls from their confinement. On his deathbed, it was said, the heavens opened and those souls rushed down to escort him to heaven.
May we never forget to pray and remember the Holy Souls in this Month of November as we make our rounds of the beads, for we too one day will be holy souls relying on the mercy of God and the prayers of others.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Rosary - our Dominican heritage

As October draws to a close it seems fitting to call to mind once again the powerful gift entrusted to us in the Holy Rosary, this extraordinary Gospel prayer in which is so beautifully intertwined our Contemplative gaze on God and our Apostolic outreach to the world and its needs.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Rosary is its versatility. It is truly a prayer for all seasons of life, all stages of growth, all moods and humours.

Through it we can be brought into wrapt attention, lost in God, as the rhythmic cadence of the repetitive Hail Mary stills our bodies, quietens our minds and brings us into the depths of our own being where God simply is and we are simply present with Him.

There are other times when the mysteries themselves hold our attention, coming alive for us. These are times of great reflective fruitfulness when new insights into God and his ways light up our path and renew our enthusiasm for God and the things of God, making it possible for the Word to become flesh in us.

Then there are the days when we feel lost and lonely, anguished and confused and the Rosary becomes our lifeline. We don’t know how to pray .We are too agitated and distressed to quieten down but by picking up the beads and just vocally repeating the prayers we are expressing with our bodies our desire to be one with Jesus in His Sufferings. At these times we are perhaps most truly Mary’s children, sick wounded hurting, fearful for ourselves or for others, but holding on to mammy’s hand and leaving it to her to explain to Jesus the Divine Physician  of our bodies minds and spirits what ails us and what grace we need from each mystery. In each hail Mary we pray ‘pray for us sinners’ but at times like this Mary not only intercedes for us but we leave her to pray for us, do our praying for us. I learnt to pray like this when I was very ill and was too weak to concentrate. Like all loving mothers except much more so, Mary knows us better than we know ourselves and if we just somehow remain there, she will untangle all the knots and the very chains that bind us will be the same ones that draw us with her into Heaven.

At all times the Rosary can be a powerful prayer of intercession but especially in times of suffering and neediness it can move us out of our preoccupation with our selves. We may begin off focusing on the mysteries longing for them to bring us relief but gradually something inside us changes. As we unite our suffering with those of Jesus He gives us his awareness of the needs of all for whom He suffered. He expands our hearts to care for others, to desire their salvation, to want relief for them in their pain, to want them to know as we ourselves know the compassion and comfort of our loving Saviour. In our anguish we can look around us and ask that by his wounds someone else in anguish may have the peace our hearts long for. Our pain becomes a gift when it opens us to the pain of others. It becomes something to be grateful for, something we can even choose to accept if our suffering united to those of Jesus can be of help to someone else. This is the transforming power of the Rosary, this is the mysteries being active in us.

When we have been hurt or when we have hurt others lingering with the sorrowful mysteries can bring healing and penitence. They can teach us how to love, how to forgive, how to understand.

There are times when we are aware of receiving great grace and insight as we pray our Rosary but there are too the long days of simply being faithful to our recitation, allowing the mysteries to unconsciously create the atmosphere in which we live, the very familiarity of the prayer almost imperceptibly making God present, as it were. I always think of my grand parents in this context. At night they would sit together watching TV and as bedtime approached they would turn off the TV and take out their beads. Still sitting together on the sofa they would begin their prayer. By that simply act of taking up the beads, an act as routine as brushing their teeth, a ritual done daily without fail, they changed a place of recreation into a place of deep prayer. To be with them at that time was to be in the presence of God.

As the years begin to creep up on us and old age manifests itself in numerous little ways, making us a little fearful if not of death then perhaps at least of the process of dying, the Glorious mysteries may become specially precious. It is good to reflect on the home coming that awaits us. It helps to look forward in certain hope to the joys of the Resurrection. The Glorious Mysteries remind us that our life is the story of our return to the Father’s house. Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us and at the right time He will come to take us to Himself. The assurance that Jesus is coming closer, reaching out to draw us into his embrace where we will be with Him forever provides comfort and brings peace.

Queen of the most Holy Rosary, in life and in death, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus

Contemplative Dominican Sisters, Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena, Drogheda, Co. Louth.