June 2002 Issue
long years our Lady lived on earth after Jesus had ascended
into heaven, the counselor and guide of those who were to
spread the Faith and to establish among Jews and Gentiles
the Church that He had founded. Lonely years they must have
been; for, while her will lay quiet in the will of her God,
her Mother's heart was yearning to see once more her Son.
Disease had no power over her sinless body, the hand of man
might not destroy it-love for God alone could bring death
to her whose life it had ever been.
had dwelt at Ephesus with John, tradition tells us, but she
expressed a wish to see again before she left this earth the
scenes of Christ's Passion and death. Only too glad to gratify
the desire of her whom he loved so tenderly both for Jesus'
sake and for her own, John came with her to Jerusalem that
she might visit the places sanctified by the sufferings of
her Son. The apostles, with the exception of Thomas, gathered
around her and witnessed the death that meant for her new
life with her Beloved. "Be ye lifted up, O eternal
gates," (Ps. 23.7) that
the Queen of Heaven may enter in. She hears the voice of Christ:
"Behold, my beloved speaks to me: Arise, make haste,
my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is
now past: the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared
in our land; ... Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come:
...show me thy face; let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy
voice is sweet and thy face comely" -Cant.
is indeed past for our Blessed Mother, the winter of trial
and suffering and loneliness. The rain of her tears is over
and gone, and a heavenly smile lights up her face as she beholds
her Son. The fairest flower Christ had left on earth is about
to appear in our true land, the home of our Heavenly Father.
Ah, well may Jesus bid her show Him her face, the first He
had seen on earth; well may He ask her to let her voice sound
in His ears, the voice that made His sweetest music at Bethlehem
and Nazareth. And now "a great sign appeared in heaven:
A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars." -Apoc.
12: 1. Earth has lost a Mother; heaven has gained a
Queen. Nay, earth has not lost her; for, although she reigns
in heaven, she is still the Mother of those who dwell on earth.
of the Angels, she sends these heavenly spirits to the assistance
of her earthly children. Queen of the Apostles, she bids these
followers of Jesus give something of their zeal to those who
now seek to spread His kingdom. Queen of Martyrs, she asks
them to share with us their courage and their fortitude. Queen
of Confessors, she would have them keep us true to the Faith
they so loyally confessed. Queen of Virgins, she entreats
them to shield us in the hour of temptation that we may keep
intact our purity of soul and body. Queen of All Saints, she
bespeaks for us their intercession that we may obtain the
virtues they so faithfully practiced. Queen Conceived without
Original Sin, she offers her fervent supplications to God
that we may be preserved from actual guilt. Queen of the Most
Holy Rosary, she would bind us to her Son with this golden
chain of prayer. Queen of Peace, she seeks to win for us,
not the peace that the world gives, but the peace of Christ,
so that our hearts may be neither troubled nor afraid.
is the Cause of our Joy, for she gave to Christ the human
nature in which He suffered and died for our redemption. She
is our Tower of David, in which we may take refuge from the
attacks of the enemy. She is our Gate of Heaven, for her heart
is, as it were, the entrance to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
She is the Morning Star, whose beauty prepares us for the
shining of the Sun of Justice. She is the Health of the Weak,
at whose prayer God cures our ills of soul, and, if it be
best for us, our bodily ills as well. She is the Refuge of
Sinners, shielding us from the anger of her Son until her
pleading has won for us repentance and forgiveness. She is
the Comforter of the Afflicted, soothing us in sorrow, strengthening
us in trial. She is the Help of Christians, sustaining us
in our combats against the world, the flesh and the devil
and leading us to victory in the name of Christ her Son. Above
all, she is the Mother of that Divine Grace which is the very
life of our souls; the Mother of Christ, who has willed her
to be the Mother of us all.
satisfied with making intercession for us in heaven, our Blessed
Mother, since her glorious assumption, has appeared many times
on earth, now in one country now in another, as if to show
that her maternal love embraces the entire universe. The Church
has evinced its belief in the reality of a number of these
apparitions by permitting feasts to be kept in commemoration
of them. Miracles, too, have borne witness to the supernatural
character, and costly shrines and votive offerings render
testimony of the gratitude of Mary's clients for the favors
she has obtained for them in these the places that she has
chosen for keeping tryst with the "banished children
would require many volumes to give an account of those apparitions
of our Blessed Mother of which we have some slight knowledge,
and undoubtedly there have been numerous other apparitions
of which we have never heard.... And what does our Lady seek
to prove by these pledges of her love? That she is the Mother
of men, now that she reigns in heaven, even as she was their
Mother while she lived on earth. God is immutable; His word
endures forever. "Heaven and earth shall pass away,"
He tells us, "but My word shall not pass away"
-Mk. 13. 31. The word that the dying
Jesus spoke on Calvary, "Woman, behold thy son,"
(Jn. 19: 27) will hold for all eternity,
and one of our greatest joys in heaven will be the knowledge
that we may call its Queen our Mother. But even as this word
of the dying Jesus gives us a claim on Mary's love and care
and intercession, on all that a mother owes her children,
so does His other word, "Behold thy Mother,"
(Jn. 19. 27) give her a right
to demand from us all that children owe their mother. We rarely
forget our claims on her; are we equally mindful of her claims
on us? We are always ready to make profession of our love
for her; do we remember that the strongest proof of love is
imitation of the one beloved? To imitate her life on earth
is none too easy; to imitate her life in heaven is surely
quite beyond us. Is it? Let us see. It seems to us that our
Lady's heavenly life may be summed up in the one word - love.
Love for God consumes while it sustains her, and this love
reaches out, as far as finite love may reach, to embrace all
whom the Infinite Love enfolds. Even as God created so that
He might share with creatures the happiness that was perfect
in Himself, so does Mary travail for souls that they may secure
the happiness destined for them and share eternally with her
the Beatific Vision. To put the matter simply, Mary is continuing
in heaven the life she led on earth inasmuch as she is fulfilling
the will of God. Is this beyond our imitation? What does life
mean for any one of us, whether living in the world, seeking
to enter the cloister or professed in a Religious Order, but
the doing of God's will? And how can we accomplish this will
save by loving and serving Him ourselves and striving to draw
others to His love and service? It may not be ours to catch
big fish, to save sinners already on the brink of the abyss
(although even this we may do by prayer), but at least we
can keep the little fish, the souls of those who come to us
for guidance, safe in the net of God's friendship, free from
all stain of grievous sin.
have said that by our prayer we can obtain the conversion
of the most hardened sinners; but prayer, to be efficacious,
requires certain conditions. There is a very striking passage
in one of the gospel narratives that it might be well for
us to read and ponder. "And when He was come to the
multitude, there came to Him a man falling down on his knees
before Him, saying: Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a
lunatic, and suffers much: for he falls often into the fire,
and often into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples,
and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said:
O unbelieving and perverse generation, ho w long shall I be
with you? How long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to
Me. And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him,
and the child was cured from that hour. Then came the disciples
to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out?
Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I
say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed,
you shall say to this mountain. Remove from hence hither,
and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting. "-Mt.
17.14 - 20. Faith and fasting,
these must accompany our prayer if we would have it answered.
Faith in God's power and goodness will engender hope in His
mercy and increase our love for Him; and if we believe in
Him and hope in Him and love Him, how can He fail to hear
us? Fasting, that is, the mortification that labors to overcome
our evil inclinations and our self-indulgence and to make
us bear willingly and cheerfully whatever cross God sends
us, will render us pleasing in His sight, for it will give
us some slight resemblance to His Son; and, seeing this resemblance,
He will treat us as Isaac treated Jacob when clothed in the
garments of Esau and give us of the riches of our Elder Brother.
our Lady's prayer in heaven is not merely one of intercession;
it is also one of adoration and thanksgiving. Humbly and reverently
she cries with the seraphim whom Isaias beheld in vision:
"Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the
earth is full of His glory''-Is. 6. 3;
and with the four and twenty ancients who were shown to St.
John as they "fell down before Him that sits on the
throne, and adored Him that lives forever and ever, and cast
their crowns before the throne," she exclaims: "Thou
art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honor, and
power"'-Apoc. 4.10, 11. Then,
as she reflects on all that God has done for her, on the privilege
of her immaculate conception and the dignity of her divine
maternity, she repeats with the Royal Psalmist: "The
mercies of the Lord I will sing forever" -Ps.
is a story told of a pilgrim who visited each place where
Christ had dwelt from the Nativity to the Ascension; now,
when he had reached Mount Olivet, he prayed to our dear Lord
that, as he had walked in His footsteps on earth, so he might
follow Him to heaven; and Jesus heard his prayer. We, too,
have traveled with our Lady from the time of the Annunciation
until the day of her Assumption; nay, we have even ventured
to gaze into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where she sits enthroned
as Queen. We have studied the lessons she has given us as
our Teacher; it only remains for us to imitate her as our
Model and to go to her in joy or sorrow, in success or failure,
as to our tender, loving Mother.
may be long before we see her face; the sufferings of earth
and the fires of purgatory may be required to purify our souls
from sins and imperfections; but always there will be one
thought to console us and to give us strength to persevere:
we have for our own dear Mother the Blessed Mother of God.
God's Mother and Ours, by Sr. Marie Paula.
It is a mistake to picture souls as existing in
heaven completely isolated from the events of the
world.... In the vision of God, they see all that
pertains to them of the events of this earth; indeed,
they see much more than ever they could in this
life, for they are seeing with the eyes of God,
which do not stop at the face of man. It is with
very good reason that we ask our Lady and the saints
to intercede for us, even though their time of strict
merit is over at death; they are tried and true
friends of God, living in an eternal intimacy with
Him, and fully conversant with our condition. They
can and they do help us immensely.
Companion to the Summa, V. 4, P. 425.
in mind the eternal goal. We are destined to enjoy an unending
happiness with God and His friends forever. Let us prepare
now for that coming day of glory, so that we may merit to
partake of that glory.
is a journey; Jesus is the Way (and the Truth, and the Life).
We will not reach heaven by any natural means; however great,
strong or rich we may be in this world, it is not enough.
We require help from above.
have a Father in Heaven, whom we invoke in the Lord's Prayer.
He is a good father, concerned about His children's true
needs, and providently arranging all things in His power
to aid us in our lifelong struggle. We have an older Brother
in Heaven. He loves us so much that He came down from Heaven
to live with us in this valley of tears, sharing our frail
nature, and He has gone back, ahead of us to the place of
perfect happiness. He has opened the pearly gates; there
He awaits our arrival. We have, also, a Mother in Heaven.
She is as dear and caring as a mother could be. With gentle
solicitude, she guides us towards our eternal home.
let us long with all our hearts to reach this home and family
to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,