Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying? Leave the care of your affairs to me and everything will be peaceful.
I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations… A thousand prayers do not equal one act of abandonment; don’t ever forget it. There is no better novena than this:
O Jesus, I abandon myself to you. Jesus, you take over.
Bible does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphalProtoevangelium of Jamesfills in the gap. It reflects the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.
Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”(1)
This July 16 is the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It is well known as the Lady of the brown scapular with Virgin Mary’s apparition to St. Simon Stock. I will be writing a pithy story of this apparition in my future post. For now, I’m sharing with you all the prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It is said to be derived from an antiphon, “Flos Carmeli” (the Flower of Mt. Carmel) and written by St. Simon Stock himself after she appeared to him last July 16 year 1251. This prayer is recited as a novena before the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel but can uttered in times of great need…
A prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this… my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show herein that you are my Mother.
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this… my necessity. There is none that can withstand your power. O show me herein that you are my Mother.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (pray 3 times)
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands (pray 3 times)
The icon of Our Mother Perpetual Help is one of the most well known and loved images of Mama Mary. The original icon is enshrined in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome which I was fortunate to visit last 2009. This June 27, 2016 will be it’s 150th Jubilee.
History can be traced back to year 1495, when this ancient image was enshrined in a church on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean sea. When the island was threatened by invaders, the icon was carried off, perhaps stolen, by a merchant who took it with him to Rome. This man upon arriving in Rome became severely ill. Before his death, he begged his friend to bring it to one of the churches in Rome so it can be publicly venerated. Upon his death however, the friend’s wife kept the painting in their home for several months. One night, the Lady appeared to the man in a dream & warned him not to keep the picture. Twice she appeared to him, and twice he disregarded the warning. The third time, She warned her that if he still disobeys he would die a miserable death. So the man tried to convince his wife to give up the painting, but she refused. Our Lady appeared to him for the last time and told him of his impending death, within a short time, he became sick and died.
Our Lady appeared to the man’s 6 year old daughter, telling her to tell her mother, “Holy Mother of Perpetual Help commands you to take her out of the house.” The mother, who saw the same vision, was terrified and was about to give the icon but her neighbor convinced her that she should not pay attention to just a dream. That night the neighbor became ill, realizing her fault, she made a solemn promise to the Lady and then was immediately cured. Again, the Lady manifested herself to the young girl, asked her to tell her mother to place her image in a church between St. Mary Major’s and St. John Lateran’s. That same day, March 27, 1499, the icon was delivered with a solemn procession to the church of St. Matthew the apostle. It was a quaint church and even before the image entered it’s walls, a paralyzed man was healed after the icon passed by his house.
For 300 years, this humble church where the miraculous icon was placed became a famous pilgrimage in Rome. But came the Napoleonic armies and overrun Italy, General Massena ordered the destruction of St. Matthew’s and other churches in Rome. The icon was saved by the Augustinian Order who was taking care of that church and hid it for the next 68 years.
The church of St. Alphonsus was built near the site of St. Matthew’s by the Redemptorist Order. In 1866, Pope Pius IX ordered that the icon be given to Redemptorists and place it where the Lady has chosen it to be, in St. Alphonsus’ church. He also encouraged – Mary under the title of – Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) make known to the world. They have successfully done this, that’s why there are many shrines of Our Mother of Perpetual Help throughout the world, and became shrines of great devotion and prayers.
One of the icons is located in Redemptorist church in Baclaran, where my devotion to Mama Mary has started. Every Wednesday there’s novena masses hourly, and prayers of devotees like myself has been heard many times and even to this day I continue to trust on the Perpetual Help from Our Mother…
Weeks before Mother’s Day (May 8, 2016), I began reading articles about Our Lady of Fatima. It’s the kind of pursuit that gives me hope, deeper sense of faith and rekindled adoration for Mama Mary. Growing up with nanay (grandmother), I was introduced to hearing weekly mass at Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, where the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Succor) is housed. And for a devotee like me, this is my chance to write something for her which is also timely for her feast day on May 13. Our Lady of Fatima is another title of Mama Mary, here’s the summary of its beautiful tale which I dedicate to Our Lady. She is the best mother after all, She is the Mother of Jesus, our Savior…
Our Lady appeared six times to three shepherd children namely; Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta between May 13, 1917 to October 13, 1917 at Fatima, Portugal.
On 13th of May (month of Our Lady) 1917, a beautiful woman in all white, more brilliant than the sun shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun, appeared to the 3 children saying; “Please don’t be afraid of me, I came from heaven.” She wore a white mantle edged with gold and holding a rosary in her hand. She asked them to pray and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity, and pray the rosary daily to bring peace to the world and end war.
The last apparition on the 13th of October 1917 around 70,000 gathered and witnessed the “miracle of the sun” or “dancing sun”. It was a miracle promised by the Woman to show that these apparitions were true. This is quoted from the book – “A Woman clothed with the Sun” – gradually the sun grew pale, lost it’s normal color and appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly. Then, to the astonishment of all present, rays of multi-colored shot out in every direction; red, blue, yellow, every color of the spectrum. Meanwhile, the very heavens seemed to be revolving as the sun spun madly on its axis like a gigantic wheel of fire, painting the rocks, the trees, the faces of people with sunshine human eyes has never seen before. Three times it stopped and three times the mad dance resumed. Then, while the crowd went to its knees in abject terror, the sun suddenly seemed to be torn loose from its place in the heavens. Down it hurtled, closer and closer to the earth, staggering, “drunkenly” as it zigzagged through the skies while from all parts of the now terrified multitude arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. “Its the end of the world,” Shrieked one woman hysterically.” “Dear God, don’t let me die in my sins,” cried another.” “Holy Virgin, protect us,” implored a third.” Suddenly, as if arrested in its downward plunge by an invisible Heavenly hand, it poised from a moment and then, in the same series of swirling motions it began to climb upward till it resumed its accustomed place in the heavens. Gone was the silver disk with the brilliant rays. It was once more a ball of fire at which nobody could look directly with unshaded eyes.
There were visions that only the three children was able to see, they were given messages of warning and hope. Messages of the best mother in the world – Our Mother, Mary.
“Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne.”
“No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
“They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.”
“If men knew what eternity is, they would do everything to change their lives.”
Our Lady of Fatima is a title of Our Lady. Year 1917, Mama Mary appeared to 3 shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal. Today, this sanctuary is visited by 4 million devotees every year and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated on May 13th. And in preparation for this special day, here’s the 9 day novena that you can recite starting today (May 5) till May 13 the actual feast day.
Most Holy Virgin,
who deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds
the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the rosary,
inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion,
so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it,
we may gather the fruits and obtain the conversion of sinners,
and this favor which I earnestly seek,
(mention your request)
which I ask of thee in this novena, for the greater glory of God,
for thine own honor, and for the good of all people.
Dear Mama Mary, today we celebrate the feast of your appearances to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes, France. We give honor to you and to the grace of your Immaculate Conception. The waters of Lourdes are blessed with the healing mercy of your Son, Jesus, our Lord. I, Among the many believers and pilgrim-goers who went to your grotto, was very blessed to be healed. Months after I bathed in that miraculous waters, diagnostic tests revealed the disappearance of cysts/formations in my system. You truly are our source of healing both spiritual and corporal. My gratitude is forever yours my Dearest Mother. Please continue to pray for us. Amen