That’s it, folks!  This is my last post (at least for a while).  May Our Most Holy Mother always shield you under her mantle.
A hui hou!
[Picture:  Painting by James Langley for the FSSP Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary Chapel.]

That’s it, folks!  This is my last post (at least for a while).  May Our Most Holy Mother always shield you under her mantle.

A hui hou!

[Picture:  Painting by James Langley for the FSSP Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary Chapel.]

See the latest (and last) Lady’s Night.

See the latest (and last) Lady’s Night.

LADY’S NIGHT - The Encounter

Happy Easter, everyone!  I apologize for my tardiness in posting this Lady’s Night that was originally intended for Easter Sunday.  I know that I missed my target date (and the entire Octave!), but at least we’re still in the Easter Season.

Recall from my previous posts that in many Catholic countries, Holy Week is marked by processions (as in Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera, Spain) where the faithful bear life-size statues posed in vignettes of Christ’s final moments through the streets of town as a public expression of faith.  It is a sorrowful occasion where Nazarenos dress in the traditional garb of a penitent and the haunting strains of the mournful saeta float through the air. 

These statues, these processions are signs that speak to the human heart in ways that words cannot.  They remind the community that we have sinned and have lost the friendship of God; yet, they also give a most eloquent testimony that He would rather die that spend eternity without us.

As God’s little children, to whom did we turn as we walked the Via Crucis of our own lives, as we walked it in community about a month ago?  We mourned with and were comforted by the Blessed Mother whose Immaculate Heart—as prophesied by Simeon (cf. Luke 2:35)—was pierced by sorrow as with a sword. 

However, Our Lady of Sorrows who stood at the foot of the cross and witness the death of her Child would also witness the empty tomb.  On Good Friday, our Mother embraced the cross and crown, the nails and reed to share in the suffering of her dying Son and, in union with Him, surrender all to the Father’s will.  She truly taught us how to kiss the cross in bearing an agony so incredibly intense and profound. Likewise, who can ever imagine the ecstatic joy that she experienced on Easter Sunday when Life triumphed over death, Light defeated darkness, and when Love conquered all?  The Glorious follows the Sorrowful as dawn proceeds the night.

Joy is one of the marks of a Christian, for we are indeed Easter people.  Who better to give us an example of a joyful life of a Christian than the very first disciple of Christ, Our Lady.  At that first Easter encounter, the words of her Magnificat seem to be fulfilled:  “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

In the Regina Caeli, which replaces the Angelus in the Easter Season, we recall the glorious Resurrection of Jesus and seek to share His Mother’s joy:

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

There is an ancient tradition, popular especially among Franciscans, which holds that, although it is not recorded in the Gospels, Jesus first appeared to His Mother after the Resurrection.  In the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, there is even a Chapel of the Apparition to commemorate this event.

Bl. John Paul the Great spoke of this pious tradition in his address at the General Audience on May 21, 2997.

The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfilment of the divine promises.

The Gospels mention various appearances of the risen Christ, but not a meeting between Jesus and his Mother. This silence must not lead to the conclusion that after the Resurrection Christ did not appear to Mary; rather it invites us to seek the reasons why the Evangelists made such a choice.

On the supposition of an “omission”, this silence could be attributed to the fact that what is necessary for our saving knowledge was entrusted to the word of those “chosen by God as witnesses” (Acts 10:41), that is, the Apostles, who gave their testimony of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection “with great power” (cf. Acts 4:33). Before appearing to them, the Risen One had appeared to several faithful women because of their ecclesial function: “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Mt 28:10).

If the authors of the New Testament do not speak of the Mother’s encounter with her risen Son, this can perhaps be attributed to the fact that such a witness would have been considered too biased by those who denied the Lord’s Resurrection, and therefore not worthy of belief…

It seems reasonable to think that Mary, as the image and model of the Church which waits for the Risen One and meets him in the group of disciples during his Easter appearances, had had a personal contact with her risen Son, so that she too could delight in the fullness of paschal joy.

Present at Calvary on Good Friday (cf. Jn 19:25) and in the Upper Room on Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14), the Blessed Virgin too was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s Resurrection, completing in this way her participation in all the essential moments of the paschal mystery. Welcoming the risen Jesus, Mary is also a sign and an anticipation of humanity, which hopes to achieve its [fulfillment] through the resurrection of the dead.

Thus, it is fitting that there should be one more procession following the somber pasos of Holy Week. This time, instead of recalling to mind the 4th Station of the Cross, the people announce the Risen Christ by enacting this first Easter encounter between Mother and Son.  In fact, you might remember this video and this teaser pic.

On Easter morning, two processions the leave church and follow different routes:  one carries an image of our Risen Savior, the other bears a statue of Our Lady, still wearing the black mantle of sorrow.  At a designated time and location (usually the main street or plaza), the two processions meet.  Sometimes an image of St. John or St. Peter is carried back and forth between the two processions as they make their way towards each other, expressing our anticipation for this reunion after the tomb.

Then in some communities, especially in Italy, as Our Lady rounds the corner and first spots her living Son, she does as any mother would do:  she runs to Him, casting off her cloak of sadness.  Depending on the local custom, Jesus may also run towards His Mother as well. 

The streets that only days before witnessed the faithful carry an image of their crucified Savior in a slow and mournful procession as in a funeral march, now tremble beneath the running feet of those overflowing with Pascal joy in encountering the Risen Lord.

There are some who treat such examples of popular piety as mere quaint, folksy customs for old women and simple people, but I think there is some deep spiritual significance in these outward expressions of faith.

Such beautiful processions depicting the Easter encounter of Mary and Jesus communicate more than just a natural, familial response between a mother and her son.  They signify the relationship of the Church and her Risen Bridegroom.  Such processions speak of our desire to encounter and embrace our God and to continue living with Him forever even after the grave has swallowed our mortal bodies. 

Like our Blessed Mother, the Resurrection has filled us with great joy.  For as the psalmist joyfully sings, “You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:12).  What else could be our response but to imitate her reaction in seeing her glorified Son?  Easter is a time to cast off our sluggish spirits and sinful habits which weigh our feet down.  Now, is the time to fly towards Jesus with wings of faith, as St. Paul says, like runners in a marathon who run, not aimlessly, but so as to win the race (cf 1 Cor 9:24, 26).

Although as I’ve said before, this post-Resurrection meeting between Jesus and His Mother is not mentioned in scripture, the Gospels do record other people’s reaction to the news of the empty tomb. 

In his homily for Easter Sunday, His Excellency, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, points out that everyone in John’s Resurrection narrative seems to be running.  When Mary Magdalene discovers the stone of the tomb rolled away and Jesus’ body gone, she runs to tell the other disciples (cf. John 20:2).  At this astonishing news, St. John and St. Peter literally race to the tomb to see for themselves (cf. John 20:4). 

Why do they run?

First, their sprinting feet communicate their excitement and astonishment, as Archbishop Gomez states in his homily.  As St. Mary Magdalene’s wondrous news reaches the ears of St. John and St. Peter, I like to imagine that their hearts literally lift them to their feet and draw them to the tomb that they may see and believe (cf John 20:8).

They run because they have the first glimpses of the reality of the Resurrection.  They run because they can taste the victory won by Christ and are eager to experience first hand the glory of His triumph over sin and even over death itself.  They run because they are filled with hope that their Friend, their Lord and Savior, is truly alive again.

Psalm 42 very poetically speaks of our desire for God and the disciple’s desire to encounter the Risen Christ:  “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God” (Psalm 42:2).  Water is a basic necessity for life; without it, we die.  If you were in a desert without water, and you saw an oasis in the distance, what would be your response?  Probably you would muster all the energy you had left and run to the life-giving spring.  Psalm 18 also says that God has given us “feet like a deer’s” (Psalm 18:34); that is, He gives us the means and motivation to run to Him who is the Living Water, our Refreshment, our Salvation, and our Hope. 

Therefore, like St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter, St. John, and Our Lady, let us run to encounter the Risen Lord.  Apathy and complacency may attempt to slow us down, and Satan will try to steal our joy, but keep running; set your gaze on the empty tomb and the glorious cross, and run with all your strength.  However, if by chance you should stumble or fall, know that our Victorious Savior is running towards us as the father of the Prodigal Son ran towards his repentant child the moment he caught sight of him walking towards home (cf. Luke 15:20). 

[Photos:  not mine]

Queen of the May
[Photo:  not mine]

Queen of the May

[Photo:  not mine]

For all my fellow Catholic school kids, it’s May Crowning time again!
O Virgin most tender,Our homage we render,Thy love and protection,Sweet Mother, to win;In danger defend us,In sorrow befriend us,And shield our heartsFrom contagion and sin.O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

For all my fellow Catholic school kids, it’s May Crowning time again!

O Virgin most tender,
Our homage we render,
Thy love and protection,
Sweet Mother, to win;
In danger defend us,
In sorrow befriend us,
And shield our hearts
From contagion and sin.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

A Trampled Rose

I don’t normally watch videos like this (or post them for that matter) because

a)  there are just too many out there, and I don’t have the time; and

b)  I’ve already got enough stress in my life without having heart palpitations due to such outrageous scenes.

Here, we have Pastor Gino Jennings of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ preaching for the Truth of God series.

He takes word and hammer to strike at Catholicism, especially to Our Lady.  His lack of understanding of the faith as well as Catholic imagery is quite clear (especially since he mistakes St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face for the the Blessed Mother).

I wanted to share this video with you not to give you palpitations (and make your butt cheeks clench), but rather so that you can offer prayer and sacrifices for this misinformed pastor and for all those who watch the “Truth” of God.

Here is part 7 of his sermon which leads up to the loss of St. Therese’s face.

Virgin Mother of God, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, thou, who hast chosen to raise thy throne of mercy in Manaoag, to be the beloved protectress and Patron of the Province of Pangasinan, and therefrom to bestow thy graces on us, thy children, banished in this valley of tears, look down with thine eyes of mercy upon me, who am beset with so many dangers of body and soul. Despise not my petition, O dearest Mother, but intercede for me before thy divine Son now and at the hour of my death. Amen.
Apo Baket, Virgin of Manaoag, pray for us!

[Photo:  by khurram at travelermania.com]

Virgin Mother of God, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, thou, who hast chosen to raise thy throne of mercy in Manaoag, to be the beloved protectress and Patron of the Province of Pangasinan, and therefrom to bestow thy graces on us, thy children, banished in this valley of tears, look down with thine eyes of mercy upon me, who am beset with so many dangers of body and soul. Despise not my petition, O dearest Mother, but intercede for me before thy divine Son now and at the hour of my death. Amen.

Apo Baket, Virgin of Manaoag, pray for us!



[Photo:  by khurram at travelermania.com]

Here is a nice video of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, whose fiesta we celebrate today.  This video, which is mostly in English with some parts in Tagalog, tells of the cultural history and spiritual significance of Our Lady of Manaoag; the relationship that she has with the Filipino people; and the architectural design of her shrine in the province of Pangasinan.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

kellierae:

Swag. (Taken with instagram)

kellierae:

Swag. (Taken with instagram)

Sorry it’s taking me a long time for my Lady’s Night post of the week.  Here is a pic to give you a little taste.
[Photo:  from Mediapolitika]

Sorry it’s taking me a long time for my Lady’s Night post of the week.  Here is a pic to give you a little taste.

[Photo:  from Mediapolitika]

REGINA CAELI
(This Marian Antiphon replaces the Angelus during the Easter Season; click here to listen to what it sounds like being sung in Latin)
Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.  Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.  Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.  Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
V/. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R/. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Oremus.
Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es:  praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae.  Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.  For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.  Has risen, as He said, alleluia.  Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V/. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R/. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray.
O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Photo:  (not mine) Virgen de la Alegria]

REGINA CAELI

(This Marian Antiphon replaces the Angelus during the Easter Season; click here to listen to what it sounds like being sung in Latin)

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.  Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.  Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.  Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V/. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.

R/. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es:  praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae.  Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.  For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.  Has risen, as He said, alleluia.  Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V/. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R/. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.

O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Photo:  (not mine) Virgen de la Alegria]

WEEP, MOTHER MARY by Lee Dengler
Weep, O weep, Mother MaryHow great a mother’s loss!They took your Son, Mother MaryTo die upon the cross.
Weep, O weep, Mother MaryThey led your Child awayDown the Via DolorosaTo Calvary that day
Weep, O weep, Mother MaryThey hung your Jesus highNails through His hands and feetAnd He was left to die
Weep, O weep, Mother MarySo deep your agonyTo see your wounded, dying SonImpaled upon that tree
Weep, O weep, Mother MaryYou heard Him pray, “Forgive”At the bidding of His FatherHe died that we might live
Weep, O weep, Mother MaryBehold your martyred SonBy His Blood and broken BodyRedemption’s deed is done
[Photo:  not mine]

WEEP, MOTHER MARY by Lee Dengler

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
How great a mother’s loss!
They took your Son, Mother Mary
To die upon the cross.

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
They led your Child away
Down the Via Dolorosa
To Calvary that day

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
They hung your Jesus high
Nails through His hands and feet
And He was left to die

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
So deep your agony
To see your wounded, dying Son
Impaled upon that tree

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
You heard Him pray, “Forgive”
At the bidding of His Father
He died that we might live

Weep, O weep, Mother Mary
Behold your martyred Son
By His Blood and broken Body
Redemption’s deed is done


[Photo:  not mine]

The 4th Dolor of Mary

At length they looked at each other. The Son wiped from His eyes the clotted blood, which, as it was revealed to Saint Bridget, prevented Him from seeing, and looked at His Mother, and the Mother looked at her Son. Ah, looks of bitter grief, which, as so many arrows, pierced through and through those two beautiful and loving souls…The Mother would have embraced Him, as Saint Anselm says, but the guards thrust her aside with insults, and urged forward the suffering Lord; and Mary followed Him. Ah, holy Virgin, whither goest thou? To Calvary. And canst thou trust thyself to behold Him, who is thy life, hanging on a cross?” And thy life shall be, as it were, hanging before thee.” “Ah, stop, my Mother” (says Saint Lawrence Justinian, in the name of the Son), “where goest thou? Where wouldst thou come? If thou comest whither I go, thou wilt be tortured with my sufferings, and I with thine.” But although the sight of her dying Jesus was to cost her such bitter sorrow, the loving Mary will not leave Him: the Son advanced, and the Mother followed, to be also crucified with her Son, as the Abbot William says: “the Mother also took up her cross and followed, to be crucified with Him.” “We even pity wild beasts,” as Saint John Chrysostom writes; and did we see a lioness following her cub to death, the sight would move us to compassion. And shall we not also be moved to compassion on seeing Mary follow her immaculate Lamb to death? Let us, then, pity her, and let us also accompany her Son and herself, by bearing with patience the cross which our Lord imposes on us.

-St. Alphonsus Liguori

I visited her this past summer.  Ah, she is beautiful.  Que viva la Virgen!
allaboutmary:

It is La Macarena, the most popular Virgin in the Land of Mary Most Holy. A multitude of lighted wax tapers are placed on the platform before Our Lady so that their glare will keep Our Lady from seeing the torments of her Divine Son. They also shed incandescent light on the magnificently arrayed life-sized image of the Virgin. The crystal tears shine on her face, tender and sorrowful. From midnight to noon, La Macarena processes through the streets of Seville.‘Viva la Macarena!’ the people shout. The enthusiastic crowd greets her. Women weep. Men beat their breast with their fists. Even the most phlegmatic cannot help but be caught up in the wave of fervour. Some of the more daring try to touch her garment or take a petal from the flowers that adorn the platform as a sacred memento of their beloved Mother.From midnight to noon, she walks the streets of Seville. At times the processions halts to the refrains of a saeta, a wailing song of sorrow and repentance that pierces the night air. These songs are composed extemporaneously by the people to console Our Lord and Our Lady who suffer for our sins.
Source

I visited her this past summer.  Ah, she is beautiful.  Que viva la Virgen!

allaboutmary:

It is La Macarena, the most popular Virgin in the Land of Mary Most Holy. A multitude of lighted wax tapers are placed on the platform before Our Lady so that their glare will keep Our Lady from seeing the torments of her Divine Son. They also shed incandescent light on the magnificently arrayed life-sized image of the Virgin. The crystal tears shine on her face, tender and sorrowful.

From midnight to noon, La Macarena processes through the streets of Seville.
‘Viva la Macarena!’ the people shout. The enthusiastic crowd greets her. Women weep. Men beat their breast with their fists. Even the most phlegmatic cannot help but be caught up in the wave of fervour. Some of the more daring try to touch her garment or take a petal from the flowers that adorn the platform as a sacred memento of their beloved Mother.

From midnight to noon, she walks the streets of Seville. At times the processions halts to the refrains of a saeta, a wailing song of sorrow and repentance that pierces the night air. These songs are composed extemporaneously by the people to console Our Lord and Our Lady who suffer for our sins.

Source