Tag Archive for: Mary

Five First Saturdays
In Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC
Spiritual Director of the Thirteenth of the Month Club

Are you sick of turning on the news and seeing nothing but violence and mayhem? Well, there’s something we can do to bring about peace.

‘War is your fault’
My fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a story that a priest ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest was at an international gathering of Christians from across the world, attended by foreign dignitaries. The ambassador from Japan approached the priest, verified that the priest served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and then said, “War is your fault.”

The priest was surprised and asked what the ambassador meant. The ambassador said, “You Catholics, all of you — we do not have peace in the world. It is your fault.”

The priest said, “Ambassador, why do you blame us?”

The ambassador said, “I’ve read about this. The Lady came to you at Fatima, right? That’s what you believe? She told you what to do to secure peace in the world. Well, there’s no peace in the world, so obviously you Catholics haven’t done it.”

The priest had to acknowledge that the ambassador was correct, but still tried to protest, saying, “Isn’t peace everyone’s responsibility?”

The ambassador was vehement. “No, she came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists. Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it is your responsibility.”

That ambassador had more faith than a lot of Catholics! But he’s right – Our Lady came and asked for specific things at Fatima. If we listened to her and did what she asked, there would be peace in the world. Among her requests:

•pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world;

•the consecration of Russia and each of us individually to Mary’s Immaculate Heart;

•do our daily duties out of love, dedicating everything to God; and

•make reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary by observing the “Five First Saturdays of Reparation.”

What are the Five First Saturdays?
Our Lady explained those Five First Saturdays to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, on Dec. 10, 1925, in the following way:

See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the … mysteries of the Rosary.

Why five First Saturdays in particular? Jesus explained this to Sr. Lucia on May 29-30, 1930, saying:

Daughter, the motive is simple: There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

First: blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception

Second: against her Virginity

Third: against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of mankind

Fourth: those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother

Fifth: those who revile her directly in her sacred images

Here, dear daughter, is the motive that led the Immaculate Heart of Mary to petition Me to ask for this small act of reparation. And, out of regard for her, to move My mercy to pardon those souls who have had the misfortune to offend her. As for you, seek endlessly, with your prayers and sacrifices, to move Me to mercy in regard to these poor souls.

Do they still matter?
Now, a lot of people have forgotten about the Five First Saturdays devotion, but it’s still relevant today – wars are still going on! We still haven’t seen the fulfillment of Our Lady’s promise that “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” According to Sr. Lucia, St. John Paul II consecrated Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart on March 25, 1984. The USSR fell shortly afterwards. And yet there’s still not peace in the world. Why? Ask yourself: Have most of us been faithful to her requests, especially the First Saturdays of Reparation?

So I call on everyone who loves Mary to start making the Five First Saturdays a regular part of their prayer life. For anyone who visits the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the First Saturday of each month, it’s easy! Pilgrims can go to Confession, pray the Rosary for Life, and attend Mass with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady – as she requested. To fulfill the requirement to meditate for 15 minutes on the Mysteries of the Rosary, you can prayerfully walk the Stations of the Cross on Eden Hill for at least 15 minutes, remaining aware of keeping Our Lady company in spirit throughout her Son’s Passion and Death.

One and done?
If we’ve made the Five First Saturdays once, are we done for life? No! You can and should make the Five First Saturdays more than once. In fact, I highly recommend it as a great spiritual practice! Get a monthly tune-up with Confession, Mass, Communion, and immersing yourself in the Mysteries of the Rosary, all offered in reparation for the many serious offenses committed against Our Lady. Make the First Saturdays throughout your life for love of Our Lady and reap huge spiritual rewards.

Let’s make reparation together to the Immaculate Heart by being faithful to the Five First Saturdays, and help Our Lady spread grace, peace, and healing throughout all the world.

Father Donald Calloway,  MIC, is the spiritual director of the Marian Fathers’ Thirteenth of the Month Club, a group of Marian Helpers committed to answering the call of Our Lady of Fatima. For membership information on the Thirteenth of the Month Club, email [email protected], visit the club webpage; or call 1-800-462-7426.

For more about Our Lady’’s apparitions at Fatima, Fr.  Donald recommends Fatima for Today (Product Code: FATIM2) by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, as well as Fr. Donald’s books Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon and Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, all available through ShopMercy.org or by calling 1-800-462-7426.

First Saturdays
in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary include the following elements, performed with the intention of reparation for blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart, for at least five consecutive months:

•Confession (shortly before or after the First Saturday — so long as the person receives Holy Communion in a state of grace);

•Holy Communion received on the First Saturday of each month;

•the Holy Rosary, five decades recited sometime during the day; and

•meditating for 15 minutes on the Mysteries of the Rosary (one or more).

With Ecclesiastical Approval
© 2016 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.

by Edward Sri, Franciscan Media

Many great popes, saints, and Christian leaders have exhorted us to pray the rosary. It’s a powerful prayer, they say, one that can change your life, strengthen the family, bring peace to the world, convert entire nations, and win the salvation of souls.

But does the average person experience the rosary this way?

Many Catholics, unfortunately, have the impression that the rosary is not relevant for them. It might be a sacred prayer for very religious people—priests, religious sisters, and exceptional Catholics—but not for “an ordinary lay person like me.” Even some devout Catholics admit that they are a bit intimidated by this prayer. They have tremendous respect for the rosary, know it’s important, but feel bad that they don’t love it more. Many view it as the marathon of Catholic devotions. “I know it’s an important prayer, but it takes fifteen to twenty minutes. I’m too busy. I don’t have time for that.” “It’s too hard to stay focused for that much time. I prefer shorter prayers.”

Some have questions about the rosary: Does all this attention to Mary distract us from a relationship with God? Why do we repeat the same prayers over and over? Are we supposed to concentrate on the prayers, the mysteries, or both? Still others think the rosary is just plain boring—a monotonous, dry, mechanical way of talking to God, not as personal and meaningful as other forms of prayer. “It’s like taking the garbage out for your wife. You know you should do it, but date night is more exciting.” “Sure, the rosary might be good for you—like flossing your teeth—but it’s not as interesting and meaningful to me as spiritual reading or adoration.”

Others wonder if all the repetition has any meaning. “I know the rosary is important, but it just seems like rote prayer,” one young adult said. “It’s like saying magical words and something good is supposed to happen. What’s the point? Is simply saying these words actually doing anything for me spiritually?”

But what if I were to show you that there is a lot more going on in the rosary than simply saying these words and counting them with beads? What if I were to tell you that the rosary is not beyond you—that you, wherever you may be in your relationship with God, can actually experience a profound, intimate, personal encounter with Jesus through this devotion? And what if you were to discover that there are many different ways to pray the rosary—indeed, some that can easily fit within your schedule and help you with whatever challenges you face right now in your life.

Think of the rosary as being like the ocean: There’s something in it for everyone, whether you consider yourself a veteran mystic longing to go deeper in prayer with our Lord, a novice struggling to learn how to pray, or someone seeking the Lord’s help, right now, with something going on in your life. The deep-sea explorer and the child making sand castles on the beach can fully enjoy the same ocean while playing at different levels. And this is true with the rosary.

Getting Your Feet Wet

If the rosary is not a part of your regular prayer life right now, it’s easy to get your feet wet with this devotion. Here are five key things you need to know to get started.

First, we don’t have to pray the rosary all at once. Sure, some people might sit down and quietly pray a whole rosary in one sitting. But we can also choose to divide it up, saying just a decade or two at a time at different points throughout the day: on the way to work, in between errands, in between meetings, while folding laundry or doing dishes. Many holy men and women and even popes have prayed the rosary this way and have found it manageable and fruitful for their busy lives.

Second, we can pray it anywhere! The rosary is like a portable chapel we can keep in our pocket and pull out anytime, anyplace. Whether we have a sudden, urgent situation to present to God in prayer or we just want to fill some of our day with thoughts of God, all we need to do is pull out our beads and turn to the Lord in this prayer. Indeed, the rosary is always accessible.

We might pray it in a church, in our room, in our office. Or we might pray it in the car, on the exercise machine, in the grocery store line, or while cutting the grass or going for a walk. Bringing our hearts into the rhythm of the rosary is something we can do intermittently throughout the day.

Third, we can pray the rosary in different ways, customizing it to fit the needs of the moment. Sometimes we might focus on the words of the prayers, thinking, for example, of Gabriel’s greeting to Our Lady as we slowly say with great devotion, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” At other times, we might reflect on the mysteries of Christ’s life, prayerfully contemplating scenes such as his birth in Bethlehem, his transfiguration, or his death on the cross, etching the Gospel on our hearts. At still other times, we might focus on the holy name of Jesus at the center of each Hail Mary, speaking his name tenderly with love as the pulse of our rosary.

Two and-a-Half Minutes That Can Change Your Day

Fourth, it’s easy to fit the rosary into your schedule. Do you have two and-a-half minutes in your day that you can give to God? is is the beauty of the rosary.

If I need a quick pause in my busy life—just a two-and-a-half-minute break—I can pull out my beads and pray a decade in order to regroup with the Lord and be nourished spiritually. That’s all a decade takes: one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be. I can do that easily, pausing for a moment in between emails, in the car, in my office, in between meetings, in between errands. I don’t even have to stop some things I’m doing: I can pray a decade while cooking dinner, sweeping the floor, holding a baby, or walking to my next appointment.

If an urgent need comes up in the day—someone is in an accident, I’m about to begin a big project, my spouse is having a rough day, I have an important decision to make, I need to have a difficult conversation with someone, my child is taking an exam—I can say a quick decade right on the spot. In just two and-a-half minutes, I can offer a special gift to God—one decade of the rosary—for that particular intention.

Fifth, even if I’m not able to give the rosary my full attention, it’s still worth praying. I might not always be able to completely unplug mentally from the concerns of the day. I might be exhausted, too tired to pray well. I might be distracted and unable to reach the heights of contemplation. But still, the words themselves are biblical and holy. Offering God a decade or two in the midst of my daily life gives him something beautiful, even if I give it without my full, relaxed, undivided attention. I’m giving God some space in my day and filling it with words of praise for him.

Going Deeper

But the rosary can take us deeper—a lot deeper. When we pray the rosary in its ideal setting, doing a whole set of mysteries, the prayer can slow us down, calm our hearts, and enable us to rest in God’s presence. It draws out the deepest desires in our souls, desires for God and God alone.

The rhythm of the repetitious prayers can have a profound spiritual effect. In this, it is much like the traditional “Jesus Prayer” many early Christians recited: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” They would slowly repeat these words over and over again throughout the day, such that the rhythm of this prayer was linked to the rhythm of their breathing.

As John Paul II explained, this loving repetition “embodies the desire for
 Christ to become the breath, soul and all of one’s life” (RVM, 27). In the same way, the repeated prayers in the rosary help us get more in touch with the deepest desires in our souls for God.

We as human persons are made with infinite desires that only God can fulfill. But because we’re fallen, we tend to live at the level of our superficial desires—desires for comfort, fun, fame, wealth, pleasure, success. These desires are not bad, but the rosary helps us be more aware of the soul’s deepest desires, which are for God. As St. Catherine of Siena taught, the greatest gift we can give to God in prayer is not the finite work of saying the words but our “infinitely desirous love” for God that is expressed in those words and that is being drawn out of our souls in prayer.

How might this happen in the rosary? As we’ll see more in my book, when we pray the rosary, we can focus on the name of Jesus at the center of every Hail Mary. We can simply speak Jesus’s name with fervent, heartfelt love. We can gather all our desires into that one word, his beautiful, holy name. And with each Hail Mary, we can call out to him, like a lover speaking to the beloved: “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…Jesus…Jesus.”

Aletia: Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

According to tradition, Mary’s parents were barren until God answered their prayers.

Little is known authoritatively about the Virgin Mary’s early childhood and family. However, an ancient text from the year 145, called The Protoevangelium of Jamesprovides a narrative that many saints have turned to when wanting to learn more about the Virgin Mary.

According to the unknown author, a man named Joachim was saddened at not being able to conceive a child with his wife, Anne. It’s recorded, “Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.”

Similarly, Anne “mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness.” Then Anne “saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac.”

The Angel Appears

In the midst of her prayers an angel appeared and said, “the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.” At the same time an angel appeared to Joachim, saying, “Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, your wife Anne shall conceive.”

The two conceived a child shortly thereafter and then according to the story “her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anne brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anne: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anne was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.”

The account echoes many of the stories in the Old Testament, where couples were barren until they cried out to God. Angels are often the bearers of good news to them, proclaiming that they will bear a child. Yet in this case, instead of a boy, the announcement is a girl who “shall be spoken of in all of the world.”

The Catholic Church’s Beliefs

While the story is not known to be a factual account, the Church does refer to the parents of the Virgin Mary as Joachim and Anne.

Whatever happened, it would have been fitting for her birth to be miraculous, as the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin in the womb of her mother. The Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated annually on December 8, nine months before the Feast of the Birth of Mary on September 8.

 

Mary’s Peace Plan from Heaven

When our Blessed Mother appeared to the children at Fatima, she gave them the Peace Plan from Heaven. The requests of the Peace Plan include:

  1. penance and reparation
  2. the daily recitation of the Rosary
  3. the five First Saturday Devotions
  4. consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Putting the Peace Plan into action is our only hope for our future. So how do we put it into action? Let’s break it down…

Penance and Reparation

By penance, our Lady explains that men must amend their lives. How? Give up their easy lives of sin, ask pardon for their sins and make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Why? Because both are so grievously offended by the sins of men.

By reparation, Our Lady means 4 steps. 1) Offering sacrifice to atone for our sins. 2) Fulfilling our daily duties to the best of our abilities. 3) Accepting the responsibilities of our state in life. 4) Obeying the Commandments of God.

Especially relevant is the sacrifice Our Lord requires of each of us, most notably is that sacrifice necessary to avoid sin and the occasion of sin as well as to accept with submission all the suffering sent to us. Everything we do, we can offer it as a sacrifice, and in offering it to God, we should say this prayer:

O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Daily Rosary

Our Lady pleaded and insisted that men must say the daily Rosary. Reparation holds back the had of God from striking the world Pray a Rosary a Dayin just punishment for its many crimes. The Rosary is like a sword or weapon the Mother of God can use to cut down heresy and the forces of evil. It is most powerful. And many times it has saved the world from situations as bad as, if not worse than, the ones facing us today.

In addition, the Blessed Mother encourages and recommends The Family Rosary. “The family that prays together stays together”. Threats continually bombard families with breakup on all sides.

The Five First Saturday Devotions

This devotion consists of 4 parts. 1) Going to Confession. 2) Receiving Holy Communion. 3) Reciting 5 decades of the Rosary. 4) Spending 15 minutes with Our Lady meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. Complete all with the intention of making reparation to her.

Why? Because the Mediatrix of All Graces promises, at the hour of death, all graces necessary for salvation to those who faithfully practice this devotion for the First Saturday of any five consecutive months. (NOTE: The Confession may be made under the usual condition of 8 days before or after Holy Communion, provided the person is not in the state of mortal sin when he receives Holy Communion.) Due to the graces we receive, it seems like all people will make this devotion an especially relevant part of their lives!

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This consecration is the least understood but one of the most important parts of the message of Fatima. Our Lady is looking for people willing to become cells of prayer and sacrifice through consecration to her.

Our Lady

The Rosary & the Scapular

Personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take many forms. It can be done simply by reciting with sincerity the Act of Consecration. This consecration can be renewed each day merely by saying the morning offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, the act itself should be repeated on all important feast days of the Blessed Mother. More important than reciting the act is to live up to the conditions which it sets forth. Most noteworthy by fulfilling Our Lady’s requests at Fatima. In consecrating oneself to Mary, a Christian fulfills four goals. Christians pay her homage. You place yourself in her service. One places himself under her protection. And you strive to imitate her virtues.

Best Form of Consecration

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The Brown Scapular

For the average layman, it’s best to wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Therefore, Sister Lucia states that all Catholics need to hear the call to wear the Brown Scapular as part of the Fatima message. She says, “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable.” A person who wears this Scapular declares that he or she belongs to Mary. In return, the Mother of God promises eternal life to those who die wearing this mantle. In 1251, when she gave the Scapular to St. Simon Stock and thereby to the world, the Queen of Heaven stated, “Whoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.” Consequently, wearing the Scapular serves as a constant reminder of one’s personal consecration to Mary and of the necessity of imitating her virtues and heeding her requests.

Her Immaculate Heart Will Triumph

At Fatima, Our Lady’s promises reveal that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted and God will grant some time of peace to the world. That final triumph can come soon if enough people will still grant Her requests from Fatima. It depends upon how many of us are willing to follow Our Lady’s “peace plan from Heaven.” Are you willing?

 

 

The Holy Family

St. Joseph’s Feast Day – March 19th

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Families, is the silent man of the New Testament. He plays a vital role in the first chapters of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. However, neither evangelist records anything St. Joseph said. But if he does not speak, he certainly does act.

St. Joseph’s Ancestry

Joseph was born in Bethlehem, the hometown of David. In fact, Joseph could trace his ancestry back to the shepherd boy who became king of Israel.

Joseph’s Early Life

Joseph the Carpenter

When we first meet Joseph in the gospels, he has moved north to the town of Nazareth in Galilee. He works as a carpenter. In Nazareth, Joseph became engaged to Mary. Sometime before their wedding, the Archangel Gabriel made the announcement to the Blessed Virgin that she was going to be the Mother of the Savior.

The gospels do not say when Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant. What we do know is that Joseph assumed Mary was unfaithful to him and that she was to bear some other man’s child. Feeling hurt and shame, Joseph, being a righteous man, made plans to break off their engagement quietly. Before Joseph could act, however, an angel visited him saying, “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take Mary as your wife, for the child within her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.”

This is how the Holy Family began, with an angel assuring Mary and Joseph that what was out of the ordinary to them was in fact all part of God’s plan to redeem the world.

Joseph’s Role as Step-Father

Joseph & Mary on their way to Bethlehem

Every time we see Joseph thereafter, we see him taking loving are of Jesus and Mary. In Bethlehem on that first Christmas night, he wanders the streets looking for a decent place where Mary can give birth. When King Herod schemes to murder the Christ Child, it is Joseph, warned by an angel, who gets Jesus and Mary safely to Egypt. And when Herod is dead and it is safe to come home, Joseph brings his family to Nazareth.

Finally, the last time Joseph appears in the gospels is when he and Mary search Jerusalem for three anxious days, looking for the Child Jesus.

The evangelists never mention Joseph again. Biblical scholars always assume that he must have died before Christ began His public ministry. If he had been alive, there would have been no need for Jesus, as He hung from the cross, to ask St. John to look after Mary.

Joseph – Our Heavenly Protector

Families have always found comfort in having St. Joseph as their heavenly protector. Blessed Pope Pius IX probably had that in mind in 1870 when he named Saint Joseph the Patron Saint of our extended family, the Catholic Church.

 

The 13th Day – A Film About the True Story of Fatima

Witness the greatest miracle of the 20th Century, and experience the incredible, emotionally-charged and often harrowing world of three young children whose choice to remain loyal to their beliefs, even in the face of death, would inspire thousands.
Running time:  85 minutes
WATCH THE TRAILER

What’s Been Said About This Film:

“The 13th Day is the best film ever made about Fatima”

Steve Greydanus, National Catholic Register

“A timely message of Fatima has been retold for a new generation”

Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Media Review

“A remarkable re-telling of the Story of Fatima”

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

“…having reminded us of a very important message for the World, contained in God’s proclamation transmitted to the children of Fatima.”

The Jury, International Catholic Festival of Film and Multimedia

“This is a triumph of a film”

Sr. Helena Burns, FSP

Where Can You See This Film?

You can purchase the dvd from Ignatius Press or watch it for FREE on FORMED.org here using Assumption’s code.