November 21st, Mary Mother of mercy and offering

You are truly beautiful, o Mary.  In you is found the perfect joy of the blessed life with God.  This day of your offering marks the dawn of a new time.  You are the Church offering itself, the Church of mercy. You are humanity whose hands and heart are open to the action of the Holy Spirit.  Today, we bless you.


Office of the Presentation of Mary

Word of God:  Mt 12, 46-50

Commentary:

Mary was consecrated to God since the beginning, since she is the Immaculate Conception, full of grace, a work of art and of grace.  One can apply to Mary, the Mother of the Church what Saint Paul said of the Church:  Christ so loved the Church… He wanted to present it to Himself totally radiant, without blemish,   holy and immaculate.  

It is when she comes, with Joseph, to present her child that she hears, from Simeon, the first announcement of the Passion.  He will be a sign of contradiction.  And Simeon adds: And you, yourself, shall have your soul pierced by a sword!  At Golgotha, the lance of the centurion, pierced the side of the Lord, also pierced the heart of His mother.  Mary, offering her Son in the House of the Father prefigured the Church, presenting, in the Eucharist, the very offering of Christ.  She is total offering.  

Did Mary hear the words of Jesus who declared: Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up?  At the time of his trial, these words, deformed, will serve to accuse Him.  As if Jesus would have thought to destroy the Temple, the house of his Father!  The disciples learned later, after the Resurrection, that He had been speaking about his body.  This body, which suffered the Passion, had been conceived in Mary’s womb, and had begun to grow there.  She is the one who gave him this humanity in which God was pleased to have all plenitude live … by making peace through the blood of His cross.  She is total offering!

Just before his Passion, Jesus praised a poor widow who was bringing her offering in the Temple treasury:  two coins, like the two doves offered at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple… the offering of the poor.  This widow reminds us of Mary:  surely, her Son will resurrect and, on the cross, he will have given her a son to take in his home; the beloved disciple.  However, as welcoming this adopted son could be, he could never totally replace the fruit of her womb.  For Mary, this was another letting go, another offering!

Through many aspects, the feast of the Presentation brings us back to the Cross.  But the Cross opens on the Resurrection and the heavenly Jerusalem in which Mary entered first.  There, the temples exist no more: It is the Lord, the God, Master of all who is her temple, as is the Lamb.

Mary is the model of the Church, which, like her, is consecrated to the service of her God by a total gift of her whole being.    The Virgin is also the true Temple.  On this day, we remember that Mary was the first Temple in which God resided personally since, for some time the incarnate Verb lived in her womb. 

Let us prolong our meditation in the light of the teaching of Saint Paul: You are the temples of God; it seems just and good that we take Mary into our home, so that she may continue, in the temple of our heart, the service to the Living God. (Mgr. Jacques Perrier) 


Gospel Canticle:  Rejoice, Mary, full of grace.

 

Intercession

Mary, daughter of Israel, you proclaimed the mercy offered to all humanity by the benevolent love of the Father.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

Mary, holy Virgin, servant of the Lord, you carried in your womb the precious fruit of divine mercy, pray for us.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

Mary, you who kept in your heart the words of salvation, you witness to the whole world the absolute faithfulness of God to his Love.  Pray for us.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

Mary, you who followed Jesus to the foot of the cross, in the fiat of your motherly heart, you communed without any reservation to the redemptive sacrifice. Pray for us.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

Mary, mother of mercy, show to all your children the heart of Jesus which you saw opened to be for all times a source of life.  Pray for us.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

Mary, our mother attentive to all the trials of our brothers and sisters in humanity, lead us on the way to salvation.  Pray for us.

R/ Mary, our Mother, pray for us.


Our Father

Let us pray:  God, almighty Father, grant that all your children may understand that on the way that leads to you, they are accompanied with kindness, by Mary, the icon of pure love, of all offerings, chosen by you, to be the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.  We ask you this through Christ Our Lord….  

 

November 20th:  Mary, Mother of the Church

At the Cenacle, Mary engendered the Church.  By her presence in the midst of the disciples, by the fervor of her prayer, she was the very heart of the first Christian community.  Because she inspired faith and hope, she educated the Apostles by her silence and her availability to God’s expectations.


Hymn:  your own choice

Antiphon: Blessed are those who dwell in your house, for they can sing your praise.

Psalms: Monday 3rd week

Word of God:  Acts 1, 8-14


Commentary:

Mary is so linked to the great mystery of the Church that she and the Church are inseparable.  Mary reflects the Church. She anticipates it in her person and in all the tribulations that affect the Church, she remains the star of salvation.  She is the one who is its true center in whom we trust, even if often the more negative moments can weigh on our soul… In Mary, the Immaculate One, we meet the true essence of the Church in a way that is not deformed.  We must learn from her to become ourselves ecclesial souls, so that we can also, according to the words of Saint Paul, present ourselves immaculate before the Lord, as He wanted us to be since the beginning (Benedict XVI).

The Church is a mother, like Mary.  We have a model in her.  We must welcome her like Mary who never dominated, never appropriated the Word of God, but rather welcomed it, bore it in her womb and gave it generously.

The commitment, the true commitment emerges from love of men and women, children and old people, entire populations and communities … the faces and names which fill the heart.  From those seeds of hope planted patiently in the forgotten peripheries of the planet, from these buds of tenderness that struggle to live in obscurity of exclusion, great trees will grow, forests dense with hope will rise up to aerate the world.

Let us invoke the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, who herself suffered the exclusion because of calumny and exile, so that she may obtain for us to be faithful servants of God.  May she teach us, she who is Mother, not to be afraid to welcome the marginalized; not to be afraid of tenderness and compassion. How often are we afraid of tenderness!  May she clothe us with patience to accompany them on their journey, without seeking results of a worldly success. May she show us Jesus and how to walk like Him.

In Mary, the true Sion is present, she who is pure, the living dwelling of God.  In her, the Lord dwells; in her, the Lord finds the place of rest.  She is the living home of God, who does not live in stone buildings, but in the heart of living persons.  Mary is the holy Israel; she says yes to the Lord, places herself totally at his disposal and thus becomes the living temple of God.


Gospel Canticle:  You are the temple of God, the house He has built.

Intercession:

On this day of the closing of the Holy Year of Mercy, we beg the Lord through the mediation of Mary.

R/ May she intercede with God for us.

Mary, Mother of the Church, you have remained all your life in intimate communion with your people, sharing in a unique way in the work of our redemption.  We take refuge in your mercy.  Through your prayer, our hope remains alive.

R/ May she intercede with God for us.

Blessed Virgin Mary, support the Church through your prayer so that it may advance with a great surge of faith and continue to transmit to the world the message of the Gospel and the mercy that your Son confided to her.

R/ May she intercede with God for us.

Blessed Virgin Mary, may this Jubilee year lived in mercy bring a new birth to the Church so that all peoples may experience the mercy of God.  Through your prayer, may our hope remain alive.

R/ May she intercede with God for us.


Our Father

 

Let us pray:  Mary, in you is found the perfect joy of life with God.  Throughout this year of grace, you accompanied your children on the path of mercy and forgiveness.  May the beauty of the merciful love of God in Jesus live in us.  Grant that through us, His love may spread in our world that thirsts for mercy, peace, tenderness and compassion.  We ask this …

 

November 19th:  Mary, Mother listening to the poor

The Holy Spirit guides our steps: He is Love, he is the mercy that speaks to our heart, and he is the one who strengthens our faith.  “Place your hand in my side »:  Let us welcome the words of Christ, conqueror of all evil, and let us go forth on the ways of faith, on the paths which he indicates.  Let us keep an open heart, so that the Spirit may transform it; and then, being forgiven and reconciled, let us become witnesses of the joy that springs forth from having met the resurrected Lord living among us.


Hymn:  your choice

Antiphon:  I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one goes to the Father but by me.

Psalms:  33(34); 15(16)

Word of God:  John 20, 19-20; 24-29

 

Commentary:

Thomas did not believe, but found his faith in touching his hands in the wounds of Jesus.  A faith that is not able to touch the wounds of Christ is not Faith!  A Faith which is not able to be merciful is not Faith!  Our Faith is incarnated!  God became flesh for us, suffered for us! If we really want to believe, we have to come close to the wounds of the Lord, caress them, bow our head and leave others caress our wounds.  Each infirmity may find effective help in the mercy of God.  In fact, His mercy does not stop at a distance: it seeks to come to meet all our poverties and to free the numerous forms of slavery that afflict our world.  He wants to reach everyone’s wounds, in order to heal them.     

To be an apostle of mercy means to touch and caress his wounds, present today in the body and soul of so many brothers and sisters.  By treating these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others to touch the hand of mercy, to recognize the Lord and God, as did the Apostle Thomas.

That is the mission confided to us.  So many persons ask to be listened to and understood!  The Gospel of mercy is to be announced and written in our life. It seeks persons with patient and open hearts, good Samaritans who know compassion and silence facing the mystery of their brother or sister. This asks for generous and joyous servants who love freely without exacting anything in return.

It is good then, that it be the Holy Spirit that guides our steps. It is He who is Love, who is mercy that speaks to our hearts.  Let us keep our hearts open, so that the Spirit may transform them. Thus, forgiven and reconciled, let us become witnesses to the joy that springs forth from having met the risen Lord, living among us.


 Gospel Canticle: Because you saw me, you believed.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing.

Intercession:

Let us invoke the Virgin Mary.  May she help us to let ourselves be surprised by God, without trying to resist Him, to be faithful every day, to praise Him and thank Him, because He is our strength.

R/ Lord hear us, Lord grant us what we ask of you.

Lord, forgive all those who are deaf to the cries of humankind, who seek to harm others.  Give them your sensitivity and mercy towards all human beings.  We pray, R/

Lord, may your word fill the heart of each baptized person. May it increase their faith and make them receptive to serve their neighbor.  We pray R/

Lord, your Son came to save sinners.  Free those who are riddled with guilt for faults they committed, for those filled with hatred; remove the darkness that fills their heart and prevents them from seeing the truth that will set them free.  We pray R/

Lord, you are always ready to give back to those who run to you, the full dignity of the children of God.  Increase our faith in Jesus who died and rose again, we pray. R/


Our Father

 

Let us pray: May our thoughts turn to the Mother of all Mercy.  May the sweetness of her gaze accompany us so that we may discover once more the joy and the tenderness of God and live by faith in the resurrected Christ.  We ask you this, Father, through Jesus, your Son…..   

November 18th:  Mary, Mother of tenderness and beauty

Mary, Mother of tenderness and beauty, has nothing to say or to show.  Mercy is beauty.  Mary is there, a presence of beauty, of kindness and love.  The depth of her gaze reveals the splendor of the One who is Goodness and speaks to the heart.  To contemplate Mary is to let ourselves be adorned by her with the beauty of Jesus Christ.

Hymn:  your choice

Antiphon: How beautiful you are, O Mary; your smile enlightens our face.

Psalm:  44 (45)

Word of God:  Wisdom 7, 25 - 8, 2


Commentary:

In his gaze of mercy for his wounded creatures, God is totally creator of their restored goodness, integrity and beauty.  St. Augustine reminded us that God does not love us because we are good, but that we are good because God loves us.

God saw that it was good, not because he needed to see to know that it was good; it is because he was good that he saw.  He honored, sealed and accomplished the goodness of his works by the favor he granted by his gaze. (Tertullien)

An act of mercy, just like the beauty of a work of art, opens to transcendence, to the beyond where the believer may discover the presence of God.

The proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God is a pathway of beauty.  To announce Christ means to show that to believe in Him and to follow Him is not only something true and just, but also something beautiful, able to fulfill life with a new splendor and deep joy, even in times of trial.  All expressions of authentic beauty can be seen as pathways that lead to Jesus by Mary.

In fact, it isn’t beauty that will save the world, but mercy which is true beauty.  This appealing beauty of Christ in His Passion: When I will be lifted up, I will attract all to me.  This beauty shines in the dead and resurrected Christ and in the life of countless profoundly good saints, witnesses of mercy in the world.

Late have I loved you, beauty both ancient and new, late have I loved you. (Saint Augustin) And he continues: We have seen it, he had no appearance, no beauty; but there is great beauty if we consider the mercy which brought him to this state.  For those who understand it, there is a supreme beauty in the Word made flesh.  He is as beautiful as God since the Word is God.  He is beautiful in the Virgin’s womb where he puts on human nature without divesting himself of his divine nature.  He is beautiful in his birth; he is beautiful in his miracles and in his scourging, beautiful on the cross, beautiful in the tomb, beautiful in heaven.  May the infirmity of the flesh never distract your eyes from the splendor and the beauty of this spouse.

To believe in Jesus means offering him our flesh, with the humility and the courage of Mary, so that he may continue to live among people; to believe in Jesus means offering him our hands to caress the meek and the poor; our feet to go out to meet our brothers and sisters; our arms to uphold the weak; our spirit to think and plan projects in the light of the Gospel; but especially our heart to love and make decisions according to the will of God.  All this is realized thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit.  Let us be guided by Him!

Beauty, like mercy, heals wounds, consoles the sorrowful, calms rivalries.  The one and the other have nothing to prove.

Beauty of nature which we respect, beauty of works of art and beauty of those who do good, who show mercy in action.


Gospel Canticle:  The love of God is not spent.  Each morning, His compassion is renewed.

 

Intercessions:

With the Virgin Mary, we are called to radiate the beauty of humanity and of creation.

R/ Lord, hear the prayer which arises from our heart.

For those who devote themselves to announcing the Gospel, who work mercifully with the wounded and the disadvantaged of life that they may be surrounded with a sober and peaceful beauty, like a thirst-quenching fountain.  Let us pray to the Lord. R/

That Christians may proclaim to the world the Gospel which is a journey toward the fullness of life.  May they witness to the beauty of God in their respect of every person who is a reflection of God’s beauty, let us pray to the Lord. R/

Let us pray that all people may recognize the beauty of creation received as a free gift, and respect nature, a reflection of the goodness of God.  May they care for it, by cultivating it and protecting it for future generations, let us pray to the Lord. R/


Our Father

 

Let us pray:  Lord Jesus, God of all tenderness and all mercy, we pray for our world.  Grant that it may see you in all creation and recognize your presence in it.  We ask this through the intercession of Mary, the perfect image of your beauty, to you who lives for ever and ever.

November 17th:  Heart of Mary, Heart of God

God’s mercy is continually growing.  God never tires of expressing it and we should never get used to receiving it, seeking it and desiring it.  Mary espouses the heart of Jesus.  She brings what is most precious to her:  Jesus and his Word.

Hymn: your choice

Antiphon:  Blessed be God, the Father of all tenderness, the God from whom comes all reassurance.

Psalms: 85 (86), 96 (97),

Word of God: James 2, 14-18 and I Corinthians 13, 2

Commentary:

Mercy is above all the proximity of God with His people.  It is a proximity that shows itself principally as help and protection.  It is the proximity of a father and mother that is reflected in the beautiful image of the prophet Hosea: I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; I stooped to feed my child.

With patience and tenderness, Mary leads us to God and God leads us to Mary because He does not want us to walk without our Mother.  As a true mother, she walks with us, struggles with us and continually spreads the proximity of God’s love.  Woman of faith, she leads us by the hand towards the tenderness of the Father of mercy.

In Jesus, not only can we touch God’s hand of mercy, but we are moved to become ourselves instruments of mercy.  It might be easy to speak of mercy, but it is more engaging to become its concrete witness.  It is a pathway that lasts a whole lifetime and should never pause.  Mercy should never leave us alone!

It is the love of Christ which challenges us as long as we do not reach our goal: it pushes us to embrace closely all those who need mercy, to allow everyone to be reconciled with the Father.  We need not be afraid. It is a love that reaches us and involves us to the point of going beyond ourselves, allowing us to recognize his face in the face of our brothers and sisters.  Let us allow this gentle love to lead us and we will become merciful like the Father.

To have a merciful heart does not mean to have a weak heart.  Whoever wants to be merciful needs a strong, solid heart, closed to the Tempter, but open to God, a heart which lets itself be invaded by the Spirit and guided on the pathways of love which lead to our brothers and sisters.  In fact, a poor heart, which knows its own poverty and yet consumes itself for others.


Gospel Canticle:  It is mercy and not sacrifices that I want.

Intercessions:

What you have done to the least of mine, is what you have done to me.

R/ O Lord, on this day, hear our prayers.

I was sick and you came to visit me; hungry and you fed me; naked and you clothed me.

Lord, give us eyes of faith that we might see you in all poor persons and open our hearts to all distress. R/

He bore our illnesses; he took upon himself our wounds.  By his suffering we are healed.

Jesus Christ came to heal and save those who were lost.  May we be attentive to the real needs of our world and listen to those who are seeking a word of consolation. R/

God made Himself poor to enrich us with His poverty.

The poor have a special place in the heart of God.  Open our eyes, Lord, that we might see the misery of our world, of those who are near to us. May we offer them love and tenderness. R/


Our Father

 

Let us pray:  Heart of Jesus, engrave in our heart an image of your great mercy so that we may accomplish the commandment of love.  Send us your Spirit so that we may become hearts of mercy.  We ask this through Mary, Mother of Mercy, to you, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit for ever and ever.  Amen