Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
We now come to the sorrows in the Immaculate Heart which She had pondered upon since the prophecy of St. Simeon. We are now here. Her life has been an endless heavenward ascent as She always unites her Will to God’s. She is always increasing in holiness because she is always increasing in love. Stronger sanctity can carry heavier crosses…because we become united to God Who can supply all our needs and make our burdens light.
It is this meeting of Jesus and Mary as He carries His Cross on the Way to Calvary that we meditate upon here. This was a difficult sorrow – different from the previous. She saw Him now in the hands of others who could touch Him and come near Him, while She was kept far off. How She longed to wipe the blood from His face with Her veil, to part His tangled hair, to remove that cruel crown, to lift the Cross off His shoulders and see whether her broken heart would not give her superhuman strength to carry it for Him! Oh how Her motherly Heart was so moved, stirred and broken at this present position.
When we meditate upon these sufferings of our Good Mother and Queen and upon the love that Jesus had in carrying that Cross for our sins, we cannot shrink from the contemplation of those real realities which the Son of God condescended to undergo for us, and into the horrors of which our own sins drove Him. Many saints claim that this type of contemplation is essential for truly penitent love. Think of just the one thought of how Mary was to walk the streets over Her own Son’s Precious Blood. That thought alone could make a two hour meditation of prayers and lamentations. No heart but Hers was touched at seeing this Precious Blood, all over the streets, splashed on the steps, under people’s sandals, even on the legs of the horses. SUCH SACRILEGE – SUCH HORROR! It is written in the City of God by Mother Mary Agreda that the angels, after the Crucifixion, went through the streets and collected all the Precious Blood from the stones, sand, streets and deposited it in a holy place. We can only imagine at the request of Our Lady….but again….Her Will was perfectly united to the Will of God....therefore …it was the Will of the Father for this to be done and rightly so!
As we remember in the Passion movie, the holy woman Mary Magdalene and Our Lady wiped up the blood of Jesus at the pillar after the scourging. This was a great gesture of Mel Gibson to put this in the movie for it had to be so -- it was the most tender moment for me to shed tears....Oh Precious Blood of my Saviour!
Again, we must always remember that the greatest sorrow of Our Lady was not so much that He suffered for our sins in this horrific manner BUT --- THAT MANY SOULS WOULD NEVER CARE---OR WORSE---MOCK HIM OR EVEN HATE HIM. This brought the most intense sorrow and we must remember that because She was united in the most perfect way to God….it WAS THE SORROW OF JESUS AS WELL. His very sufferings were Her sufferings and seeing Her suffer made Him suffer all the more! They were exchanging Hearts always but especially at this dolor…each looked into the other’s eyes and wept! Wept not for this suffering but more for the reason I just mentioned. Can we deny that She is the Co-Remptorix? She did not suffer in the same way but in a different way and neither was less intense. This is what makes this dolor so sorrowful. She had to walk and stand and listen to the jeers side by side with those who are perpetrating this evil upon Her Son. Yet, as hard as that is, She has the love of God in Her soul for these poor wretched sinners and would also say….Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Lesson for us to learn in this dolor….We ourselves are a part of our Mother’s dolors, because we were an actual part of our Savior’s Passion. Yet, we must always know that the Love of the Sacred Heart which burns for each one of us is burning also in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She, as a good Mother, wants us to repent and sin no more. She wants us to contemplate the Passion of Our Lord to appreciate and give thanksgiving to Him for all that He endured for each one of us. If we die without doing that…God have mercy on us!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
The Mother without the Child! This is one of the greatest mysteries of the entire life of Jesus. Five years had passed since the return from Egypt and Jesus was 12 years old. In that year, as the Gospel narrative tells us, He went up to Jerusalem at the Pasch, with Mary and Joseph, and according to the tradition, He went on foot. Even though His Calvary was far off in years, it was keen to the Heart of Mary. Each moment with Jesus was to Her so infinitely more precious than the moment before, which caused Her love for Him to grow and intensify. As a child grows, all the things that become more apparent such as His mannerisms, His character, His gait when He walks, etc., all become noticed and valued by the Mother. Who can doubt that there was a spiritual beauty shining in all that He did; a heavenly beauty over everything which would take place every hour and how daily they would bring new surprises to the Mother’s Heart.
Now they reached Jerusalem before the beginning of the seven days of unleavened bread; and during that time, they made their devotions in the temple, visited the poor and the sick, and performed the other customary works of mercy. When Mary and Joseph knelt together in the temple, all created sanctity, such as had shone in the angels and saints, was pale in comparison to the prayers of Mary and Joseph. How the mystery deepens when we think of the Child Jesus at the age of twelve kneeling in their midst. A Son of David, “greater than Solomon” older than the day of Abraham, was among the crowds, One who could destroy the temple and build it up again in three days --- a Boy of twelve.
When it finally came time to leave, the women to whose caravan Mary belonged were mustered at their proper gate, Jesus was not there. But children might go either with the father or the mother. Jesus was not with Her but it filled her Heart with joy to think that He was filling Joseph’s heart with love and joy. Two evenings had gone before the bands of men and women had met at the accustomed halting-place. Joseph was waiting for Mary but Jesus was not with him and Mary’s Heart sank within Her. They felt suddenly alone, alone amidst the crowd. What could it mean? Jesus was gone. There were many sorrows on earth that night, but there were none like Hers. In the silent dark night, Mary and Joseph were treading the road again to the Holy City. Their feet were sore and wary. Their hearts were sorer and more weary. The darkness in Mary’s spirit was deeper than the darkness on the hills.
It had been a weary day and neither Joseph nor Mary had broken their fast all day. They were hungry to find Jesus. A broken heart does not think of sleep or food. They finally came to the eastern gate of the Temple and went in. Close to this gate was a spacious room, a sort of Academy, in which the interpreters of the law sat, and answered questions, and resolved doubts, and moderated in disputations. Mary’s ear caught the sound of Jesus' voice in which it was impossible to be mistaken. She came forward and said to Him, "Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee, sorrowing". …He saw Her sorrow but He had never been away from Her. He had been lying in Her Heart the whole while giving Her the strength and graces She needed. He said to them, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? Poor Mother! Could She have done otherwise? His look and tone would always be in Her Heart to ponder. Yet, “They understood not the word that He had spoken unto them.” “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them; and His Mother kept all these words in Her Heart.”
In this third dolor, She had lost Jesus, and She knew not why, nor where He was, nor what He might be suffering. She was plunged into a dense spiritual darkness, and God seemed altogether to have abandoned Her. Hence, the torture of Her Heart never was worse, not even at the burial because at the burial – He was to suffer no more. We must have Mary’s Heart to feel Mary’s sorrow.
The lesson learned in this dolor is: The greatest joy we can experience on this earth is to find Jesus. If anything else should console us outside of Jesus it would be the saddest of things for He is our Lord and Saviour.
Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
There are many lessons to learn from the Second Dolor…The biggest lesson is that whatever and wherever we are, we always have Jesus with us.
I had a full article on this Dolor and as I went to insert my picture for it…in the computer’s circular thinking stage…it all disappeared. Poof….gone.
Therefore now, this will be brief….Father Faber in his book, "At the Foot of the Cross" presents to us three different objects of devotion: The Flight, with all its fears, its hardships, and fatigues, The Sojourn, with its sense of exile and its companionship with the idolaters, and Mary's desire for the salvation of these people. Then The Return with those peculiarities which followed from the increased age and size of Jesus and the sorrows in Her Immaculate Heart now from two dolors. All of these thoughts bring fresh thoughts for our meditation on this dolor.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph had many sufferings in the flight, their stay and their return to Nazareth. I will not rewrite what I had written a few minutes ago but the most important part for me is the return home. As they traveled for so long, it had to be in the mind of Mary, the message of the first dolor. She had just suffered the grief of the Innocents in Her Immaculate Heart. Pondering the sorrow of those mothers and the loss of their sons and the shedding of their blood ….Mary with each step taken in the direction of Calvary would now ponder the one day She would see Her own Son Jesus sacrificed for the souls of the entire world in the most cruel death. Each step was a surrender to the perfect Will of God. (How can I be upset that my original article being lost...maybe this was all God wanted me to say! )
Mother of Sorrows, pray for us!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
Sorry this is a bit late in the day.. We had a couple of power outages with storms today. I hope we are finally up now!
First, we need to honor Our Blessed Mother's birthday and thank Her for all that She has given to us! She wants us to thank the Eternal Father first and foremost...It is because of Him that we even have this amazing Mother and Her Divine Son Jesus! Blessed be the Eternal Father...now and forever!
I will hopefully write each day on the seven dolors of our Lady during this Novena. I have been reading from Father Frederick Faber's book...At The Foot of the Cross. This is one of my favorite saints...even though he was never canonized. He certainly should be. I fell in love with his writings a number of years ago and sought his books online through various used book stores and have a collection of his first prints from England. I treat them somewhat like relics. He is such a blessing to the world. He died at 49 years of age and wrote so much that it puts us all to shame as to how he utilized his years so well.
Well - I will begin and all that I will write will be paraphrased from his book..."At the Foot of the Cross".
He begins the 33 page chapter on the First Dolor by explaining the holiness of St. Simeon and the faithfulness of God in allowing him to see the Messiah before he left this earth. He also describes Anna as being careful that the least things which the law ordained should be obediently fulfilled. His description of how Our Lady gained so much more grace and wisdom from the prophecy of this saint is eye opening. He talks of an inexplicable change over Mary when this prophecy was told to her: "Behold, this Child is set for the fall, and the resurrection of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed."
He states: "Suddenly out of the sunshine of Bethlehem, She found herself in the heart of the eclipse on Calvary; and she was calm as before, with unastonished dignity, with the tranquility of unutterable love, with the strength of divinest union, and with the sword right through her broken heart, which should remain there until Jesus should draw it out of the wound and she would bleed to death with love." (Father Faber was a poet and wrote poetry as well as hymns)
He talks about how Joseph and Mary just offered to God a gift equal to Himself. There never had been such an offering made to Him since creation began! Mysterious fruit of the greatness of a mother's love! Mary knew that giving Jesus back to God was giving Him away from herself. Her reward was immediate: it was an unutterable lifelong sorrow. One of God's mysteries....earthly sorrows are the roots of heavenly joys. A cross is a crown begun. Suffering has always been dear to the saints and She is the Queen of these saints. Beginning with Her...they have His tastes, His inclinations, they thirst for suffering because there is something in it which is favorable to union with God for the good of souls. Fr. Faber says that suffering puts out the deceitful lights of the world; and darkness is the light by which we can most spiritually discern God. (Also found in St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul)
God proportioned Her cross to Her powers of bearing it. Now there would be no hiding place in Her soul...it was penetrated with the bitterness of this prophecy. Every look at Jesus, every movement that He made, every word that He uttered....all quickened the sorrow within in. The Passion became an inevitable vision to Her. It was always before Her eyes. She belonged to sorrow. The beauty of Jesus was hourly driving Simeon's sword in. But She was so full of grace that She bore this grief interiorly and could perform Her daily duties and be cheerful to all around Her.
Our good Mother and Queen was heart broken almost from the start! Mary was created perfect and therefore She would never have abandoned this sorrow as we all have done to our crosses. She knew that He belonged to sinners. What an office for a mother to hold. Simeon had spoken of contradictions. What are these contradictions? The whole world would not be at His feet...even after witnessing His death on the cross...they would not follow Him. Many sinners would not be converted and choose to be lost rather than Love Him. Who could be rude to Him Who was Truth, Beauty, Wisdom and Love? Who could contradict His Truth? All this was known to the Heart of Mary which was now pierced with this knowledge. Is He to drive them from Himself by the very brightness of His Light, by the very heavenliness of His Beauty? She became the Mother of the sinners because She was the Mother of the Savior and She thirsted for their souls to please Her Divine Son. Is it no wonder that anyone who comes to Her assistance is never left unaided? The countless multitudes of those who were to be saved were the nearest approach to an alleviation of Her inconsolable sorrow.
We will conclude with Father Faber's thoughts on Mary's three graces that She exercised in a heroic degree in this first dolor which we can meditate on for ourselves:
The first was Her practical acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God which is the fundamental idea of all worship. God is Master.
Second, Mary entered perfectly into all the disposition of God about Jesus, Herself and us. (We must turn from ourselves and focus on God and His point of view ... we can not do things according to our point of view)
The Third disposition is Her generosity in the acceptance of this dolor.
Our lesson is to learn from Mary to accept sufferings, keep close to God in prayer to discern our sufferings and offer them to God for the sins of the world. God allows them...seek Him, embrace Him and unite yourself to Him through your crosses.
Finally...a quote from Bishop Sheen's book..."Light Your Lamps"...
"There yet remains to inscribe in our hearts a perpetual love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that will express itself daily in such tokens of virtue and love, that on the last day...we shall hear Him say the most consoling words of all, and the pledge of our eternal salvation: "I've heard My Mother speak of you."
Greetings in Jesus and Mary:
Today starts the Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows. This is a critical Novena to pray and meditate on as we enter into some of the most darkest days of history. I pray we will see the Reign of the Immaculate Heart and an era of peace but at the moment it looks pretty dark in the world. She told us in Quito Ecuador as Our Lady of Good Success that when it looks totally hopeless in the world... know that this is when I step forward. I would say we are getting close!
The devil is having a hayday with his cohorts. I know sin was always with us and to a great degree most of it hidden; but today, it is flowing in the streets and is very much being done right before our eyes with no justice in sight.
There is so much to pray for in this Novena, for Church leaders, for the strength of our priests, for the holiness in our families, for justice in our countries with crimes against all of humanity. What we are seeing unfolding is so much worse that WWII. They are planning (and already have) concentration camps. Are we ready? Are we ready to be separated from family members not knowing where they are going or what is being done to them? (link below from the CDC - the same CDC that is issuing all of these draconian mandates that are causing more death than life)
Let us meditate on the Sorrows of Our Lady and beg Her for the graces we need to endure what is to come our way very soon. It will only be by God's grace that we get through this. I will post daily a meditation on each of Her dolors for each day of this Novena. We will try to come to understand, know and love God through His Will of allowing these dolors to be for Our Blessed Mother. We find that the more we know, the more we love, and therefore we inquire into many things. Why did God permit the dolors of His Mother, whom He loved so unspeakably, who was sinless and had nothing in herself to expiate by penance, and whose tears were in no way needful to the Precious Blood which was of its sole self the redemption of the world? We find that it was because of His love for Her. What can love give which is better than self? The same law which lies round Jesus must also lie round her (and us). The law is a law of suffering, of sacrifice, of expiation, of abjection almost touching on annihilation, Was Mary to be uncrowned? This is a reality of our Catholic Faith that we have run away from...we want Jesus without a cross. We must get back to the fact that the mystery of suffering brings life, love and redemption. BUT IT MUST BE DONE IN UNION WITH THE LOVE THAT JESUS HAS FOR SOULS. Suffering on its own is nothing. This is why it is critical that we study her dolors these nine days to discover the mystery of suffering and how when it is given to us by the Father (as it will be very soon) we must embrace it and help others to see that this is fruitful to repair for the endless crimes and bring people back to God. The augmentation of Mary's merits is another reason of her dolors; suffering mingled with the love for God... gains merit. They were permitted by God so that He might receive from Her more glory than from any other creature whatsoever----also excepting the created nature of our Blessed Lord! Through of Her Immaculate Conception, She supplied for all that the saints owed Him for His Passion but could never pay!
Now we think of Her as OUR OWN MOTHER! What suffering is She suffering now with each and every child that God has given to Her as their spiritual Mother. It is beyond our understanding all that Our Good Mother and Queen endures for the love of God and the love of souls! It was His Will that Her Compassion should lie close by His Passion and without it - would be different.
One of the greatest sorrows of our Mother expressed by the saints and written in the City of God by Mother Mary Agreda is this: IT IS THE FORESEEN INGRATITUTE OF THE FAITHFUL FOR THE PASSION OF OUR DEAREST LORD! There was St. John, St. Mary Magdalen and Herself at the Foot of the Cross....where were the rest? Are we at the Foot of the Cross?
May we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary for safety knowing that whatever we are to endure....we can offer in reparation and in expiation ...with the hope of a life eternal in Heaven with Jesus and Mary.
Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
Today starts the Novena for the Nativity of Our Lady. May we honor Her and thank the Eternal Father for the gift of our great Mother and Queen. Below is a link to follow for each of the nine days of this Novena.
May we honor Her and beg Her to lead us far from the evil that is so present in our day. May we pray that She crush the head of the serpent who is seeking to devour so many souls today.
Take care and God bless!!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
August 7th starts the first day of the Novena to Our Lady before Her Glorious Feast day of the Assumption.
May we find time during this busy summer to pray these prayers before this great feast.
God bless all of you through the prayers and intercession of our good Queen and Mother!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary:
Today is the Feast day of St. Elijah and I am reposting an old article today which I wrote last year for this feast day because it addresses the current day. This image is the crest of the Carmelite Order. It has the quote of St. Elijah and the image of Mount Carmel with the three stars representing Elijah on the Mount and the two others representing Jesus and Mary . This post is about the relationship of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Her Scapular and the times of St. Elijah....
Since we focus on the message of Fatima on this website, we will remember that on October 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared during the Miracle of the Sun to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding forth a Brown Scapular. Whenever Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three shepherd children, She always had a star on the hem of Her gown.
We have already talked about Our Lady as the ‘Star of the Sea’ who helps Christians who wear Her Scapular from drowning in sin. Our Lady of Mount Carmel can be seen as representing the Star of the Sea that first appeared to Saint Elijah the Prophet as a “small foot shaped cloud” (3 Kings 18: 44). She appeared to symbolize not only the end of the drought which afflicted the Israelites, but also to signify the end of their doctrinal confusion.
Fatima is a great message of traditional Catholic Church teaching and a reaffirmation of the Gospel. The star of Our Lady of Fatima is our special Star of the Sea in this age of darkness for the Church polluted by the murky doctrinal waters of Modernism.
We are in perhaps the greatest period of doctrinal uncertainty among the people and clergy that the Church has ever known. This is an indication that we need the Star of Our Lady of Fatima - the Star of the Sea - Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to guide us through these troubled waters. (Wear a Scapular!)
At the time of the Prophet Elijah, Israel was plagued by false prophets leading the chosen people astray with false doctrine and the worship of false gods. This is familiar to us, as false prophets and teachers are shamelessly leading Christ’s flock to spiritual ruin. King Achab , “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” (3 Kings 16: 30). We too are in a time of unprecedented evil brought on by wolves in shepherd’s clothing - to say the least!
King Achab led Israel, away from the true God because it was the politically correct thing to do for peace and for economic reasons. In our age, it seems that politically correct leaders of the Church, in an effort to get along with non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian sects, have modified Church teaching and worship to conform to the ways of the world in a very big way!
Like the time of Ahab, we too have seen new ‘altars/tables’ and configurations set up in our Catholic sanctuaries; many of which seem to be offering worship to the ‘cult of man,’ as opposed to the worship of Almighty God. Elijah the Prophet was sent to Israel by God and declared to Achab that because of their sinful ways there would be a drought for years of neither dew nor rain (3 Kings 17:1). The Catholic Church has been experiencing a drought of vocations for the past sixty years of priests and religious as well as numerous church and school closings. Do we too need rain?
On Mount Carmel, Elijah against the false prophets, had two altars set up: one for the Prophet Elijah and one for the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal. Offerings would be prepared by each side on their respective altars. The offering that was accepted by Almighty God, would be the one which was consumed by fire from Heaven.
The sacrifice of Elijah, prefiguring the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was acceptable to Almighty God, Who sent fire down from Heaven to consume it. The people who had been led into apostasy at the time of Elijah by their evil leaders, repented as the light of truth came upon them, as they cried out: “The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God!” (3 Kings 18: 39).
After this victory, Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel and directed his servants to look toward the sea. They saw nothing. He told them to return seven times. At the seventh time, a small foot shaped cloud arose out of the sea and torrents of rain came ending the great drought caused by the peoples’ apostasy from the faith.
The small foot-shaped cloud, representing the Immaculate Virgin Mary, conceived without the stain of Original Sin, arose from what can be described as ‘the sea of sinful humanity.’ Tradition says that after this encounter with the “type” of Our Blessed Mother, Elijah made his abode on Mount Carmel awaiting the birth of the Mother of the Messiah (Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ). Devotion then began to Our Lady of Mount Carmel before the time of Christ. The Prophet Elijah is thus considered to be the Founder of the Carmelite Order devoted to the Mother of God.
We as Carmelites must pray to God through Our Lady of Fatima/Our Lady of Mount Carmel that the time of accounting soon comes for the false priests and prophets of our time leading souls astray. May they repent of their scandalous sins and return to the One True Faith founded by Christ before Divine judgment is visited upon them.
When Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave the Brown Scapular to the Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock, on July 16, 1251, She said: “Whoever dies in this garment will not suffer everlasting fire. It is a token of salvation. It safeguards in danger." Pope Pius XII said that the Brown Scapular was a “Sign of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Sister Lucia of Fatima said that the Rosary and the Brown Scapular are inseparable therefore let us wear our Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart and get others to do the same during this time of great apostasy!
Wearing the Brown Scapular with devotion every day, frequenting the Sacraments of the Church, living the Fatima Message, and praying the Reparation prayers will help usher in this time of peace. Our Lady's Scapular will bring us comfort, protection and great joy!
Let us walk with great joy and with the words of Elijah from the First Book of Kings, 19:10 in our hearts: “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts.” These words perfectly express the life of the Prophet Elijah, yet for those of us who wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, this motto also perfectly conveys the mission to which we are each called.
Our Lady of Mt Carmel - pray for us!
St. Elijah - pray for us!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary!
The novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel started yesterday. We can start it today - July 9th. We have so much to ask our Good Mother for during this Novena. I bring to you the ailing Church and the suffering priests for our intentions to pray for. May we pray for strength to fight the good fight. Persecutions are coming! The mandated vaxx is now on its way FOR EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD as promised by Bill Gates whether you had COVID or not. My daughter is an RN - her hospital and many others are MANDATING the experimental gene therapy as a "vaccine" on ALL of its staff. If one does not comply - one is terminated by September. We see that Fr. Altman is now taken out. We see cancel culture everywhere and no leaders or justice system to be seen. Amerika is here and I am afraid that if America loses its freedoms - the world is to follow. MUCH TO PRAY FOR!!
The enemy is seeking to cause scandal and destruction in the Church as well as the world. Communist Canada has been pushing the propaganda that their schools which existed at a time of great war, famine and pestilence were guilty of present day crimes of murder and abuse - with no proof other than mass graves - of course there are mass graves with young children who were cared for at these schools and who happened to die from these calamities. Even apart from private revelations on the subject, there are numerous signs in government and society that Catholic/Christian persecution is coming. Now is our final opportunity to resist this trend as fervent Catholics and concerned citizens. It’s time we started pushing back, in a peaceful and loving but unyielding way. Do not be afraid to speak out or to act lawfully in defense of God’s divine law when the opportunity presents itself. (I will be writing today to the leaders of the "Catholic" hospital where my daughter works!)
Please pray and make sacrifices for the Church. Please pray for Fr. Altman and all priests who are suffering. (Write to his bishop and state your Catholic mind!) Pray, fast, make sacrifices and frequent the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. Make holy hours, or at least visit the Blessed Sacrament whenever possible. This is our armor that will protect us in the coming battles. Prayers offered in reparation for the sins of the world, and our fasting and other acts of penance, can unleash great spiritual power, not only benefiting ourselves and our loved ones, but also resulting in the conversion of many sinners and the delaying, lessening, or even averting of many predicted chastisements. Prayer is extremely powerful, especially the two greatest prayers of all: the Mass and the Rosary.
God bless and may Our Lady of Mt. Carmel pray for us and all priests!
Greetings in Jesus and Mary;
Below is an article taken from the site "Tradition in Action" written by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Her feast day was yesterday, but since it fell on a Sunday, today would be proper to celebrate it!
"Devotion to Our Lady of the Perpetual Help was born on the Island of Crete. This explains the Byzantine influence one notices in the picture. The persons represented in this picture may shock the modern sensibility accustomed to saints depicted with the faces of dolls. This picture was made in different times and is very expressive.
The devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was spread in the Church by the Redemptorist priests. It is a very beautiful invocation since it expresses Our Lady’s unflagging mercy toward us. Perpetual help means an assistance, an act of mercy, an act of uninterrupted piety that never ceases toward us. The word never means that this assistance will not cease anywhere, any time or for any reason. That is, even if a person is in the worst possible situation, Our Lady always will help one who prays to her.
The picture, as you see, has a gold background. These unadorned gold backgrounds were characteristically used in paintings of the old Eastern Roman Empire and during part of the Middle Ages. The Angel Musicians of Fra Angelico, for example, have golden backgrounds. The gold background was used when very important personages were painted. Western art normally places a great dignitary on an ornate chair in an elegant room, standing next to a gracefully draped window or in a beautiful outdoor scene. The Eastern mentality prefers to set them out of the time, immersed in full glory, that is, with a golden background.
The gold, therefore, represents the glory of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven. She has a halo around her head, which is also gold, as does the Divine Infant. Over the halo is a gold crown inlaid with precious stones. The crowns of Our Lady and the Christ Child have a similar shape. The base of each sits close to the head, has a thin rim, and is topped with fabulous ornate designs. On the rim are inlaid rubies, on ornate arches in the middle layer are sapphires, and on the highest level is a row of emeralds or diamonds - I can't distinguish precisely which it is on this particular reproduction. The crown of the Child follows the exact same pattern.
Our Lady is wearing a deep blue mantle that covers her shoulders and head. Below the crown and over her forehead is a refulgent star made of precious stones; to its left is a golden design that looks like either a star or a cross.
If you note carefully, you see that Our Lady is wearing a red tunic under her blue mantle. The red appears at her neck and the ends of her sleeves. This red tunic closes at her neck with an exquisite band of diamonds.
The Child Jesus is seated on Our Lady's left arm. He rests easily in her arms, like a child who is very used to being near his mother and enjoys being there. He is, however, distracted by something else to which he turns his gaze. In my opinion the artist made a mistake in his representation of the Child. He appears more like a seven- or eight-year-old boy rather than a baby who should be carried in the arms of his mother. By the way, this picture is not considered a work of art. It is regarded as an excellent work of piety with some very good artistic points and some defects.
The Child has a rose belt with a greenish tunic. He also has a mantle that falls naturally near the left hand of Our Lady making numerous beautifully folded pleats. Almost all the pleats in the picture seem to me very well placed and natural.
There are two Angels presenting the Infant with the instruments of the Passion; at left an Angel with a red tunic and a green mantle shows Him the lance and the gall-sop, at right an Angel wearing a red tunic shows him a three-armed cross and the nails.
What can be said about all this?
The features of Our Lady are very expressive. The picture shows her in a very maternal attitude. She is a mother who holds her Son with an extraordinary intimacy and a remarkable affection. It shows the familiarity of Our Lady with the God-Man. At the same time, she has a profoundly recollected gaze that transmits the respect and veneration she has for Him. She is praying to Him while she holds Him. She is certain that she is holding God Incarnate Himself in her arms.
Parts of the face of Our Lady are not well painted. Her neck appears somewhat too rigid. The mouth is delicate but the nose is perhaps a bit too long. These are several points that do not allow the picture to be considered a perfect work of art. But they are secondary defects, because an authentic art is present in the recollected expression of her physiognomy, in her noble pose, and in the affection the pose reveals.
The picture is rich in symbolism. The dark blue mantle represents mothernood, while the red tunic symbolizes virginity. Therefore, depicting her wearing both red and blue shows that she is both Mother and Virgin. It is a delicate way to insinuate the miracle of her virginity before, during and after the parturition.
For me, the most touching symbolism is the gesture of the Child holding Our Lady's hand. His right hand is behind her thumb and his left hand inside her hand in a way that gives Our Lady's hand control over the hands of the Divine Infant. Symbolically, one who holds the hands of another holds him entirely. So, this way of presenting the Infant's hands expresses that she can do everything she wants with Him; everything she asks He agrees to; it expresses the power of her prayer. With great facility the artist represents the dependence of the Child-God upon Our Lady.
One characteristic of this Byzantine icon is that while the symbolism is very rich, it does not say the same to everyone. The symbols are there to be discovered by those who spend time analyzing them and contemplating them.
The two Angels represent the Passion that the Child will have to face. They are prophesizing the Passion to Him. That is, we are invited to see in Him the Redeemer of mankind, the One who was awaited by the Prophets to save mankind.
There is also a very picturesque detail: It is the sandal hanging from the Child's right foot by only one string. It symbolizes the sinner who is still linked to Our Lord by one last string: devotion to Our Lady.
The Greek initials at the top on either side of the crown stand for “Mother of God.” The initials over the angel at top left reads “St. Michael the Archangel,” at right, “St. Gabriel the Archangel.” Under the angel at right are the Greek initials for “Jesus Christ.”
The star on the veil of Our Lady indicates that she is the Star of the Sea, the guide in this life to lead all who desire to the port of Heaven.
Let us always ask Our Lady to protect us with her perpetual help and mercy."
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!