Marian Devotion since, well, just take a look at how old the blog is.

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August 9, 2020

Craig Lodge Family House of Prayer

Filed under: Audio and Video,Catholic Devotions,Catholic News,Music — Fr. John Larson @ 12:07 am

As we return to normal (or not) during this time, I have to note that livestreaming among Catholics has increased exponentially within this year, and we Marians have found the level of interest rather amazing. We are getting lots of first-time visitors here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy thanks to livestreaming of Masses, chaplets, etc.

One place that has been doing livestreaming, but not getting all that many viewers, is the internationally known Craig Lodge Family House of Prayer. Perhaps part of the reason is that only 2,467 people like their Facebook page. They have a YouTube channel, but once again, not all that many viewers, and only 290 subscribers.

Yet, if you’ve heard of Mary’s Meals, you have indirectly heard of Craig Lodge.

The people that founded it are the parents of Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. He founded Mary’s Meals.

It boggles my mind that it is so obscure, but then again, it’s in the middle of nowhere in Scotland.

I’ve never been there, but fellow Marian Fr. Donald Calloway has.

I include a sample of Praise and Worship from their YouTube channel.

and also a short video of a conversion testimony produced by Craig Lodge:

• • •

January 8, 2015

Year of Consecrated Life

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Catholic News,Divine Mercy — Fr. John Larson @ 6:06 pm

I have to remind myself–it’s the year of consecrated life as designated by Pope Francis from Nov. 30, 2014 to Feb. 2, 2016. So, it’s really about a year and 2 months.

In general, the promotion of such a thing falls upon consecrated individuals and communities.

Pope Francis is asking religious to “wake up the world.”

I have some ideas, but, you know, it’s really all within the realm of divine providence. In the end, God has to provide the means, but we also have to cooperate.

Note that Jesus gave St. Faustina a very tall order: “My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.” (Diary 848)

Speak to the world? What sort of platform did she have? She wrote things in notebooks, and much of her Diary would not be published until the 1980s. Speak to the world?

That call to “speak to the world” is a call that lots of folks have been involved in since St. Faustina received that message. We Marians are involved in that call by publishing her diary in English and Spanish. But it takes helpers to help, intercessors to intercede. We need others to get the message out.

So, the call of Pope Francis to “wake up the world” is a call that Jesus gave St. Faustina. Fortunately, when Jesus gives such a call, He also gives great means, although not necessarily in the timely fashion we would like. But if we are part of the means, we have to do our part. Is Jesus telling you to speak about this message of His Divine Mercy?

• • •

July 6, 2014

The Marian Person by Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Schoenstatt,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 3:03 pm

Purchase info: buy here.

This little book is worth its weight in gold. As a Marian of the Immaculate Conception (which is not related to the Schoenstatt movement, but we can certainly appreciate it), I am just blown away by the profound insights of Fr. Joseph Kentenich.

The book consists in conferences from 1924 and two sermons from 1965. They work together quite well. The key to this book is the definition Fr. Kentenich gives of the “Marian person:”

The Marian person is the person who understands as deeply as possible, in the spirit and light of faith, Mary’s role in the work of redemption, and allows her to permanently impact his practical life even to the last consequence, so as to become a holy apostle (pg. 21).

Anyone devoted to the Blessed Virgin should read this little book.

• • •

June 25, 2014

Mary, Our Mother and Educator

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Schoenstatt,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 1:44 pm

Purchase info: buy here.

I’ve just discovered the writings of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt movement. Wow. He has some incredible insights. And, his Mariology is quite practical, focusing on Our Lady’s intercession today, here and now, with us, including the idea of her educating us.

This book is quite helpful, since it gives an overview of how Fr. Kentenich sees Mary working in our lives:

As a side note… Fr. Kentenich also has some profound thoughts on humility, including the humility of Our Lady in a short book called He Exalts the Lowly.

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April 19, 2014

From “The Life of Our Life”

Filed under: Catholic Devotions — Fr. John Larson @ 3:09 am

A meditation for Holy Saturday…
From Volume II of the book by Rev. Henry Coleridge. London: Burns and Oates, 1876.

Still there was no provision made for the solemn entombment of our Lord. The disciples were still scattered and in hiding. St. John alone was there, with our Blessed Lady, St. Mary Magdalene, and some others of the holy women. They had no influence to obtain the sacred Body, no strength or means for taking it down from the Cross. But now the power of the Cross, which had worked so wonderfully in the conversion of the penitent thief, began to show itself among the very classes which had been prominent in the plots against our Lord. Joseph of Arimathea, a man of noble birth and high position, who had taken no part in the condemnation of our Lord, though he had kept his faith in Him hidden for fear of excommunication, went courageously to Pilate and asked for the Body of our Lord. Pilate ascertained from the centurion that He was already dead, and then gave Joseph full leave. Another hidden disciple, Nicodemus, came forward with a large quantity of myrrh and aloes for the embalming. The sacred Body was reverently lowered from the Cross and
carefully washed. It rested first in the arms of His Blessed Mother, and then was wrapped in a long clean linen sheet with the aromatic herbs. This was not a regular embalmment, for which there was no time, but it was as much as could be done then, and our Lord had already said that [Mary of Bethany] had anointed His Body for His burial. Joseph had a small garden close at hand, in which he had made a new sepulchre for himself. No one had yet lain in it. It was an excavation in the rock, with a slab inside, on which the sacred Body was now laid. Joseph with the others rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the sepulchre, and then, as the sun was setting and the Sabbath beginning, he went home with the rest. The women lingered the last. Our Blessed Lady was conducted by St. John to the house of the Cenacle, which became, as it seems, the first home of the Church. Some of the other women went into the city and prepared some aromatic spices and unguents before the Sabbath began. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph sat down over against the sepulchre and watched it as night fell. They came back again on the following evening, after the Sabbath was over, and saw that all was as it had been left. But in the meanwhile, the priests, who were still full of alarm, begged of Pilate that a guard might be stationed around the spot until the third day came. They had heard of our Lord s prophecy that He would rise again the third day, and so, by the Providence of God, they set to work to secure the truth of the fulfillment of that prophecy against all possible cavil, thinking at the time that they were only preventing the possibility of the Body being removed by His disciples.

My commentary: When Jesus dies, there is no definite place to put the body. Just as there is no definite place that He will be born, there is no definite place that He will be buried, but Providence is at work in each case, and in each cave. He was born in a cave He “did not own” and was buried in a cave He “did not own,” although He really owned the whole universe.

• • •

September 24, 2013

Mary Foreshadowed

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 2:25 am

Book: Mary Foreshadowed; or, Considerations on the Types and Figures of Our Blessed Lady in the Old Testament
Author: Rev. F. Thaddeus, O.S.F. (Francis Hermans)
R. Washbourne
London, 1885.

This has some great examples and great quotes, including a number from Raymond Jordan (Idiota).

Here is an example in the comparison of Our Lady to Esther:

There are many points of resemblance between Esther and the Blessed Virgin Mary; but we will confine ourselves to the most conspicuous among them.

Esther pleased Assuerus so much that he loved her more than all other women; he took her for his spouse, and made her queen. Similarly, our Blessed Lady was so pleasing to God, that He blessed her above all other women; He chose her to be the Mother of His Beloved Son, and consequently made her Queen of the whole universe. St. Bernardine expresses this thought in the following terms: ‘Mary is the true Esther, whom the King, that is, God, loved above all other women, above all other creatures. He placed the royal crown upon her head, and made her Queen.’ Oh! what an advantage, what a privilege it is for us to have so great, so excellent a Queen! Let us with all our heart dedicate ourselves to the service of this Queen; let us honour her, and love her to the utmost of our power; for, as Richard of St. Lawrence says, she is not like other sovereigns who oppress their subjects with burdens and taxes; our Queen, on the contrary, enriches her servants with graces, merits, and rewards. (pages 216-7)

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September 17, 2013

The Holy Ways of the Cross

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Catholic Doctrine — Fr. John Larson @ 9:00 pm

Full Title:
The Holy Ways of the Cross; or A Short Treatise on the Various Trials and Afflictions, Interior and Exterior, to which the Spiritual Life is Subject, and the Means of Making a Good Use Thereof.
Author:
Henri-Marie Boudon
Year Published:
1875
Link to complete book: Holy Ways of the Cross
Link to PDF

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August 11, 2013

Idiota: Contemplations on the Virgin Mary

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 5:27 pm

This is from a work by Idiota (Raymundus Jordanus)

Now… an improved translation!

This is actually the beginning of a longer tract on Our Lady. The text that is traditionally called the “contemplations of the Virgin Mary” is much shorter. A complete translation of it exists in English, and I hope to “bring out” this text at some point.

THE BEGINNING OF THE CONTEMPLATIONS OF IDIOTA ON THE BLESSED VIRGIN

1. Draw me after you, Virgin Mary, draw me after you, so that I might run in the odor of your ointments. (Song of Songs, 1:3) Draw me after you, because the weight of my sins detains me. Draw me after you, because the pleasures of carnal concupiscence bind me. Draw me after you, because the malignant cunning of the perverse enemy ensnares me. Draw me after you, so that I might more quickly come to you; for just as no one comes to your blessed Son, unless the Father draws him; so in a certain way it could be said that no one comes to your glorious Son, unless you draw him by your most sacred prayers. Therefore, draw me who am petrified, so that you might render me a runner; draw me, a sinner, so that you may render me a penitent; draw me, who am ignorant, so that you might render me full of knowledge.

2. So that I might run in the odor of your ointments, that is, in the fragrance of your virtues, which, just as they smell of ointment and are fragrant, they soothe anguish and heal wounds; your most fragrant ointments are, for example, heavenly wisdom, spiritual grace and unfading glory; for by your words and example, you teach true wisdom, because you are the teacher of the wisdom of God; you obtain grace for sinners and you promise glory for those who honor you. Hence, obtain by your assiduous intercession, that I might praise you, glorify you, bless you, recount your virtues, announce your wonders, and preach your holy and exemplary life, elucidate what is written about you, so that I might have eternal life: for, it is written about you, those who explain me, will have eternal life. (Cf. Sir 24:22)

First Part – Contemplation I – On the Head of the Virgin Mary

1. Your head is like Carmel, most merciful Virgin Mary, because Carmel is a high and fruitful mountain: whence, your head, that is, your intellect, which resides within the head, was high on account of the eminence of [your] contemplation; since your intellect was always elevated toward God on account of your continual contemplation, and you were more clearly contemplating God, because you reached into the heavens while stills standing upon earth: and (as it is piously believed by many) and while still a pilgrim, your blessed soul more frequently comprehended and enjoyed things heavenly and eternal than all the other Saints. And although you displayed all the works of the active life to your blessed Son: nevertheless, interiorly, you never departed from divine contemplation, for you possess in this matter the perfection of the Angels. For the Angels, since they are sent unto us, as they minister exteriorly, nevertheless interiorly do not depart from their contemplation of God.

2. Your blessed Head you humbled before God; your Head is Carmel, that is, on account of the most generous fertility of singular graces, you excelled the dominion of your members; just as through the head, the entire body is ruled. From this follows the manifold fruit of good works; for from your virginal substance, the Supreme Pontifex [High Priest] assumed, as a victim, you flesh, which, upon the altar of the Cross for the salvation of the world, was elevated upon the Cross and with his hands offered the evening sacrifice; whose most sweet odor consoled the wrath of God the Father: and from you he drew, not the heat (fervor) of the wounds, but the matter for healing.

3. Truly, I am the most miserable sinner; and full of all misery, and worth of all punishment, by not contemplating what was said above, and by not responding to the graces to any extant I have not united to the head of my most kind Lord Jesus Christ, my own head, by humbling itself, through devout contrition, confession, and true and meritorious satisfaction; but my sinful head I have dared to raise through pride, by not knowing you nor your blessed Son, spurning the graces given to me, by committing so many sins, harming my neighbor or having the will to harm. Oh, most clement Virgin Mary, deign to have compassion upon me, a miser, incline your head toward your blessed Son and pray that my proud and ungrateful head might be worthy to become humble; so that I might know how to love Him and you, amend my sins, not harm but love my neighbor, persevere in good works, and having finished the course of this present life, I might rest with my head, the most glorious Jesus Christ, for all eternity. Amen.

Anybody want more translated from this?

• • •

Some translation from Cardinal Berulle’s “Life of Jesus”

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 5:02 pm

The powerful thoughts of Cardinal Berulle (founder of the French School of Spirituality, which included St. John Eudes and St. Louis Marie de Montfort) are, for the most part, not translated into English. I’ve put together a rough translation from an Italian text concerning a reflection on the Annunciation:

In Nazareth is a small house that contains the treasure of heaven and earth, and the secret love of the Father towards the world. In this small place there is a Virgin greater than heaven and earth, chosen by God to comprehend the incomprehensible. In her is a greatness and light that exists neither in Rome, nor Athens, nor among men nor among the angels. A virgin named Mary, as her name says, is an abyss of grace, an ocean of grandeur, a universe of wonders. This is the Virgin that God looks upon. She also looks at God, staying with Him. To this Virgin God sends his angel.

God is everywhere. He works in all things in a way so worthy, powerful, sweet. There is a correspondence between His being and His works, so as He is in heaven, so on earth is, how He acts up there, so here for us. As He acts in the angel, He acts in Virgin, and indeed acts more in Our Lady than in the angel.

Ht fills the spirit, guided her contemplation, prepared and disposed this soul to what He wants to accomplish in her, to that mystery which the angel will soon announce. He gives her thoughts, motions, as the provisions for the work that must be accomplished.

Mary yearned for the presence of the Messiah on earth Her feelings are conquered by the powerful desire to see him and to serve him during his days. She hope to see him, to worship him and serve him on earth. God pours out in her a new grace, a divine quality, a heavenly gift. This grace is the last measure before the perfect form, the divine being, I mean to say the eternal Word, is introduced into the world.

A further text:
The Virgin being so occupied, the angel comes in a heavenly state and surprises her. He comes into this small room as a sanctuary, more holy and venerable than the place called the Holy of Holies in the temple. He comes full of respect and light, and he appears in the form of man, for he takes to her what he announces, and he announces a God-Man. He greets her in very deep humility, because he is dealing with the highest mystery and the most humble that will ever be, and we had read in his face and his comportment, the impression of the dignity, the purity of the humility of this divine mystery of which he must speak. He said great words to the Virgin, because she will go into such a great state, there is nothing like it. This mystery, this conference, they are divinely represented by the Paintbrush of the Holy Spirit in the tableau of the Gospel. (from Chapter 8)

More from chapter 8
This angel, sent for this great and extraordinary commission, is called Gabriel, this one St. Luke mentions (and this is the third time in these few words), his name translates to Strength of God because he announces the mystery that God has set his strength and his power to save men, to vanquish the demons, and establish his grace in the earth, his glory in heaven and the terror of his name in the underworld. There are even some great and ancient doctors, who say in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, that name Gabriel means, God and Man, as if to say the name of this angel corresponded to the great weight of his embassy, and that portended in this name the perpetual sign of the greatest diplomatic representation he will ever have.

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July 27, 2013

Quotes from “Idiota”

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Texts in Mariology — Fr. John Larson @ 2:05 am

Raymundus Jordanus, or Raymund Jordan, styled himself “The Idiot,” or in Latin “Idiota.” He lived in the 14th century. Yet this author had some profound reflections. Let’s look at a few:

Here’s one about the Blessed Virgin as a Spring.
Thou, O most pious Virgin, art properly called “a Spring”; for as a spring issues cool water at all times, so by thy kindness the fire of our passions is cooled, and the cold hearts of the sinners are warmed. From thee, O blessed fountain, flow abundant streams of grace, refreshing all those who draw water with humility.

O fountain of love and mercy, fountain of sweetness and clemency, water the dry and sterile soil of my heart! May thy stream of grace flow towards me, a most guilty sinner! May it wash out the stains of my sins, that, being made pure, I may for ever rejoice in the happy fruition of the inexhaustible Source of Life!

Here is another about honoring Mary:
It is the will of thy Most Blessed Son, O Mary, that we should bless thee, His Mother and our Lady, at all times; and that thy praise should be in our mouth and heart day and night in prosperity and adversity; that we should constantly meditate upon thee, invoke thee, work in thy honour, give thee thanks, relate thy life, and proclaim thy greatness!

Another profound thought from Idiota:
Amongst all the works of the Great Creator, after the wonderful operation whereby the Son of the Eternal Father was united to our nature, thou, O Blessed Virgin, wast the special work of God, Who made thee in order that what had become deformed of His first production might be reformed through thee.

• • •

January 1, 2013

Nativitie

Filed under: Catholic Devotions — Fr. John Larson @ 1:09 am

From a 1633 printing of a book of the poems of John Donne. The original can be found here.

• • •

December 23, 2012

The Infant Ieſus whoe was borne for our good, make you partaker of the bleſſings which he brings…

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Saints and Blesseds — Fr. John Larson @ 3:39 pm

This is from a letter of St. John of Avila, a new Doctor of the Church. The original book from 1631 is found here.

• • •

September 12, 2012

Quotes from St. Maximilian Kolbe

Filed under: Catholic Devotions,Saints and Blesseds — Fr. John Larson @ 1:32 am

I’ve got a book filled with great quotes from St. Maximilian Kolbe (Maria Was His Middle Name). Here’s an example:

“[Mary’s] will does not differ from the will of God. Calling upon Her without reserve, you manifest a love for the will of God, for Her will is so perfect that in nothing does it differ from His. Thus you give glory to God that He created so perfect a creature and took Her for His Mother.”
–Letter to a religious brother, 18.IV.1934

“The Immaculate One left this earth, but Her life is deep in the hearts of men and has spread wide and far. If all the souls that have made this earthly pilgrimage could speak, there would be countless ponderous tomes to witness the activity of the Immaculate One, that sensitive mother of souls, purchased by the Precious Blood of her Divine Son…” (From Material for a Book on the Immaculate: Throughout the Ages) (pg. 70)

• • •

July 16, 2012

A Rare Mariological Classic in English

Filed under: Catholic Devotions — Fr. John Larson @ 1:25 am

The Devout Client of Mary by Paul Segneri, a translation of Il Devoto della Vergine (Original Edition) published in 1677.

This book could be called “True Devotion before De Montfort’s True Devotion.” It actually has a section called “The Motives Which May Help Us To Obtain True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

A brief example: If then I can shew, that the love, with which Almighty God regards the Blessed Virgin Mary, is inconceivably great, I shall prove, at the same time, that she deserves to be loved by us beyond all that can be expressed.

• • •

January 3, 2011

The Trends in the Church in the USA

Filed under: Catholic Devotions — Fr. John Larson @ 3:07 am

I was born in 1970, so my understanding of the Catholic Church before that comes from various media and talking with people from that time. However, I think it can be said that the average Catholic in the U.S. in the early and mid-20th century followed the basic precepts laid down by the Church authority and dutifully attended church on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. The Baltimore Catechism provided a simple and straightforward teaching that explained the basic dogmatic and moral teachings. Vocations tended to be strong and plentiful

At some point, however, it seems these basic structures collapsed. It seems to me that the most serious collapse involved the first generation to grow up with television. If Bobbie was born in 1945 and his family got at TV in 1950, then Bobbie grew up with TV for all intents and purposes. He was 20 in 1965 – the beginnings of rebellion as more of a norm than an exception among youth. There were many older people who were also spurring on such a collapse, but I think they were in the minority overall.

What kept the Church going? As the collapse seemed to engulf many during the days of mass rejection of the teaching of Humanae Vitae, something new was occurring – the Catholic Charismatic Movement. In the 1970s, it spread like wildfire, growing from 10s to 100s attending meetings in a short time. The tremendous zeal it spawned fell on good soil, but also plenty of rocky soil. By the 1980s the results were mixed, but they had produced such good fruits as Franciscan University of Steubenville and (to some degree) EWTN. It should be remembered that Mother Angelica was very pro-Medjugorje and pro-Charismatic Movement in the 1980s and the early 1990s.

As the tremendous spread and zeal of the Charismatic movement began to cool in the 1980s, a new trend was building – alleged apparitions in Medjugorje. As a priest, I make no official official declaration for or against these but instead look to the day when there is an official position, but I cannot help notice the tremendous effects (which includes effects on yours truly) that these events had. We cannot ignore Medjugorje as a major “trend” in the Catholic Church in the U.S. in the 1980s, and a trend that had many positive effects. As mentioned previously, EWTN had many pro-Medjugorje programs on for a number of years. Pope John Paul II gained some ground in stabilizing the Church and ending (or at least trying to end) times of “experimentation.” He was supportive of the Charismatic movement and other young movements and started to hold the now famous World Youth Days which would have tremendous impact in the 1990s.

In the 1990s, there is a glut of alleged apparitions, and devotions such as Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary start to make a comeback in part due to focus on the alleged apparitions. Such organizations as the “Marian Movement of Priests” become, in some cases, meetings made up entirely of lay people, but powerful places of prayer and solidarity. Charismatic Catholics and more traditional Catholics find greater solidarity in such groups and team up in ministries. The pro-life movement has been building, but it starts to take on new and more focused approaches in part due to Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae. Vocations that had been declining so badly for years now start to see some increase, particularly among dioceses and religious communities that are faithful to the Magisterium.

The first decade of this century showed something of a decline in the Charismatic movement, or at least in the form it had in the 1970s and 1980s. Now the term “Praise and Worship” seems to include a wide variety of youth gatherings which may include traditional devotions and the latest praise and worship songs from both Catholic and Protestant sources, but less raising of hands and speaking in tongues. The “energy” in the Church is among the devout young, and they include a larger “traditional” element but also a larger “modern worship” element, which is now bridged by some young people who like both. They are very pro-life and pro-family, even if the culture around them is very pro-neither. Vocations are taking off, but not enough to replace the tremendous numbers of priests and religious that are no longer in active ministry or have died. Still, vocations in some countries are so plentiful that we will see more priests and religious coming to help out with the shortages.

These are some reflections I’ve had recently.

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