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Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Rosary. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is on October 7, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined Christian fleet in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, defeating an Ottoman fleet off western Greece. It was formerly sometimes known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis was born in Assisi, Umbria, Italy, in 1182, and was baptized John. His father was Pietro di Bernardone, a wealthy textile merchant, and after returning from a business trip to France, and to mark his esteem for that country, he began calling his son Francis. Francis’s youth was spent in comfort and fine clothes. During Assisi’s war with Perugia, Francis joined his city’s forces. But when Assisi was defeated, Francis was unfortunately taken prisoner and remained such for a year. After his release, he volunteered to fight with the papal army in southern Italy, but while passing through Spoleto, on his way south, he had a dream in which a voice told him “to follow the master and not the man.” Thus he returned to Assisi and began to change his way of life. Then in the fall of 1205, while praying in the Church of San Damiano, a short distance from Assisi, he heard a voice coming from the crucifix telling him: “Francis, go and repair my church, which as you see is in ruins.” To purchase the materials needed to repair that church’s fabric, he sold some of his father’s cloth. Because his father did not agree with his son’s action, Francis left home and spent the following two years praying, repairing churches, and visiting the poor and sick.
Sometime in 1208 or 1209, he heard a passage from Matthew’s Gospel (10:5–14) read in church, in which our Lord sent his apostles out to preach and they were to take nothing with them. In imitation of this, Francis lived a life of simplicity, poverty, and humility, and constantly went about preaching God’s love. His joy in following Christ was so evident and attractive that others soon joined him, and thus he wrote a rule for them, with the gospel as their way of life. He called his group Friars Minor, but they are better known as Franciscans. In 1212, he founded an order of nuns, known today as Poor Clares, after St. Clare of Assisi (see August 11). Others also wanted to follow his manner of life—prayer and penance—and for these he established what is known as the Third Order of St. Francis.
In 1219, Francis traveled to the Middle East with the Fifth Crusade, in a vain attempt to convert Sultan Malik al-Kamil of Egypt. Then, on September 14, 1224, he received the stigmata on Mount Alvernia; he is the first individual known to have received it. Throughout his life, Francis remained a deacon—he felt himself unworthy to be ordained a priest. He died at the Portiuncula (St. Mary of the Angels), the cradle of his order, in Assisi, on October 3, 1226, and was canonized two years later (1228) by Pope Gregory IX. Francis was the most extraordinary saint of the Middle Ages and is one of the most attractive of saints. Today’s opening prayer tells us that St. Francis reflected the image of Christ, through his life of poverty and humility, and asks that we too may imitate his joyful love.
Tylenda, J. N. (2003). Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year (pp. 212–214). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
It is the teaching of the Church, and in accordance with what we read in the Old and New Testaments, that the angels, who are divine messengers, exercise a particular care and protection over individuals on earth, and help them in attaining salvation. In Exodus (20:20), the Lord God told Moses, “I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared,” and after the angel had liberated St. Peter from prison, the latter remarked, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s clutches” (Acts 12:11). The common teaching of theologians is that every human being, not merely the baptized, has a special guardian angel from birth, and this they derive from Christ’s words: “Do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father, who is in Heaven” (Matt. 18:10.) Referring to the same text, St. Basil (see January 2) writes: “Every one of the faithful has an angel standing at his side as educator, and guide, directing his life” (Against Eunomius III, 1). Devotion to the angels began with St. Benedict (see July 11) and then steadily increased from the time of St. Gregory the Great (see September 3) to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (see August 20), who was perhaps the most eloquent exponent of devotion to the Guardian Angels. The final prayer in today’s Mass speaks of the angels keeping us free from danger in this life and bringing us to the joy of eternal life. A feast in honor of the Guardian Angels was celebrated in Valencia, Spain, as early as 1411; it then spread through Spain and into France. Pope Paul V introduced it into the Roman Calendar in 1608, and Pope Clement X later (1670) set its celebration for October 2.
For some 300 years now, the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels has been celebrated in the Catholic Church on October 2. Few things, however, have become as alien to the contemporary Christian as the concept of guardian angels. The Old Testament says of the angel that guards the people of Israel: “Heed him and hearken to his voice”—that means that I should become open to this image of a God who is everywhere around me and that I should not stubbornly oppose to him my own fleeting wishes and whims. It is based on the fact that we ourselves have become manipulatable and believe in no other design for our life than that which we have made for ourselves. In consequence, we end by becoming the movable scenery of a technical world that we try to maneuver this way and that. We no longer speak, then, of guardian angels, except perhaps in a few idiomatic expressions that even we ourselves do not take too literally. Granted, we speak all the more frequently about security and about how we can protect ourselves against the negative aspects of modern life. The flight of humanity from humanity as from its own work is on the increase, and we come to recognize the inadequacy of our protective devices—however sophisticated they may be—only when new refinements reveal that they have already been superseded. It would, of course, be foolish and unrealistic on our part to place our trust in guardian angels rather than in technology; the divine protection is not so easily commandeered and is not intended to be thrown into bold relief. Speaking of angels means being convinced that the world is everywhere filled with the divine presence of God and that his presence is bestowed on each and every one of us as a power that summons and protects us.
Ratzinger, J. (1992).
Novena to your Guardian Angel:
[A novena is made by saying a prayer for nine days in succession.]
O HOLY ANGEL, whom God, by the effect of His goodness and His tender regard for my welfare, has charged with the care of my conduct, and who assists me in all my wants and comforts me in all my afflictions, who supports me when I am discouraged and continually obtains for me new favors, I return thee profound thanks, and I earnestly beseech thee, O most amiable protector, to continue thy charitable care and defense of me against the malignant attacks of all my enemies. Keep me away from all occasions of sin. Obtain for me the grace of listening attentively to thy holy inspirations and of faithfully putting them into practice. In particular, I implore thee to obtain for me the favor which I ask for by this novena. [Here mention your petition.] Protect me in all the temptations and trials of this life, but more especially at the hour of my death, and do not leave me until thou hast conducted me into the presence of my Creator in the mansions of everlasting happiness. Amen.
Padre Pio and Luisa Piccarreta – Taken from Padre Bucci’s Book
…Luisa Piccarreta and Blessed Padre Pio of Pietrelcina knew one another for some time without ever having met, for Luisa was always confined to the bed where she sat, while Padre Pio was enclosed in the friary of the Capuchin Fathers of San Giovanni Rotondo. One question naturally arises, how did they come to know one another? This is difficult to discover, yet one thing is certain, that the two did know and esteem one another.
“Rosa’, va nanz, va nanz ca Luisa iè gran e u munn sarà chin di Luisa” (Rosaria, go ahead, go ahead for Luisa is great and the world will be full of Luisa). My aunt often recounted this episode, but things were not going well:
everything indicated that Luisa would soon be forgotten.
“No! During my confession Padre Pio told me that Luisa is not a human factor, she is a work of God and he himself will make her emerge. The world will be astounded at her greatness; not many years will pass before this happens. The new millennium will see Luisa’s light”.
Novena to St Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His People. I/we turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my/our prayer. You know the value of my/our souls in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me/us to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me/us. I/We desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God’s messenger for the care of His people, I/we entrust to you these special intentions: …specific intentions need only be recited on the 1st day….Mention your requests… Lord, hear and grant my/our special intentions for this Novena that I/we bring before You.
Pray for me/us, St. Michael, and also for those I/we love. Protect me/us in all dangers of body and soul. Help me/us in my/our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may I/we live a holy life, die a happy death and reach Heaven where I/we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory be …
December 17, 1903 Volume 6
The adoration that the Most Holy Virgin did when She encountered Jesus carrying the Cross.
Continuing in my usual state, for a few instants a saw blessed Jesus with the Cross on His shoulders, in the act of encountering His Most Holy Mother; and I said to Him: ‘Lord, what did your Mother do in this most sorrowful encounter?’
And He: “My daughter, She did nothing but a most profound and simple act of adoration. And since the simpler the act, the more easily it unites with God, Most Simple Spirit, in this act She infused Herself in Me and continued what I Myself was doing in my interior. This was immensely pleasing to Me, more than if She had done any other greater thing. In fact, the true spirit of adoration consists of this: the creature dissolves herself and finds herself in the divine sphere; she adores all that God does, and she unites with Him. Do you think that when the mouth adores but the mind is somewhere else, it is true adoration? That is, the mind adores but the will is far away from Me? Or, one power adores Me, and the others are all disordered? No, I want everything for Me, and everything I have given her, in Me. This is the greatest act of cult, of adoration, that the creature can do for Me.”
December 21, 1903 Volume 6
Effects of the sorrows of the Celestial Mama.
This morning I found myself outside of myself, and looking into the vault of the heavens I saw seven most refulgent suns – but their shape was different from the sun which we see. It started with the shape of a cross and it ended with a point, and this point was placed inside a heart. At the beginning it could not be seen clearly, because the light of these suns was so great as to not allow one to see who was inside of them, but the nearer I drew, the more clearly it appeared that the Queen Mama was within them. In my interior I kept saying: ‘How I would like to ask Her whether She wants me try to go out of this sta
te without waiting for the priest.’ In the meantime, I found myself near Her and I told Her; and She answered a curt “No”. I was left mortified by this answer, and the Most Holy Virgin turned to a multitude of people who surrounded Her, and said: “Listen to what she wants to do…” And everyone said: “No, no, she cannot…”
Then, drawing near me, all goodness, She told me: “My daughter, courage along the way of sorrow. See, these seven suns which come out from within my Heart are my seven sorrows which produced much glory and splendor for Me. These suns, the fruits of my sorrows, dart continuously through the throne of the Most Holy Trinity which, feeling wounded, sends Me seven channels of grace continuously, making Me the owner; and I dispense them for the glory of all Heaven, for the relief of purging souls, and for the benefit of pilgrim souls.” While saying this, She disappeared, and I found myself inside myself.
September 17, 1905 Volume 6
How one can participate in the sorrows of the Queen Mama.
Having been in great suffering because of the privation of my most sweet Jesus, this morning, the day of the Sorrows of Mary Most Holy, after I struggled in some way, He came and told me: “My daughter, what do you want that you so much yearn for Me?”
And I: ‘Lord, I yearn to have for myself that which You have for Yourself.’ And He: “My daughter, for Myself I have thorns, nails and cross.” And I: ‘Well then, that is what I want for myself.’ So He gave me His crown of thorns and let me share in the pains of the cross.
Then He added: “Everyone can share in the merits and in the goods produced by the sorrows of my Mother. One who, in advance, places herself in the hands of Providence, offering herself to suffer any kind of pains, miseries, illnesses, calumnies, and everything which the Lord will dispose upon her, comes to share in the first sorrow of the prophecy of Simeon. One who actually finds herself in a state of suffering, and is resigned, clings more tightly to Me, and does not offend Me, it is as if she were saving Me from the hands of Herod, and she keeps Me, safe and sound, within the Egypt of her heart. So she participates in the second sorrow. One who feels gloomy, dry, and deprived of my presence, and remains yet firm and faithful to her usual practices; even more, she takes the opportunity to love Me and to search for Me more, without tiring – comes to share in the merits and goods which my Mother acquired when I was lost. One who, in any circumstance, feels sorry in seeing Me gravely offended, despised, trampled upon, and tries to repair Me, to compassionate Me, and to pray for the very ones who offend Me – it is as if I encountered in that soul my own Mother, who would have freed Me from my enemies, had She been able to do so. So she shares in the fourth sorrow. One who crucifies her senses for love of my Crucifixion, and tries to copy the virtues of my Crucifixion within herself, participates in the fifth one. One who is in a continuous attitude of adoring, of kissing my wounds, of repairing, of thanking etc., in the name of all mankind, it is as if she were holding Me in her arms, just as my Mother held Me when I was deposed from the Cross – and she shares in Her sixth sorrow. One who remains in my grace and corresponds to it, giving a place to no one else but Me within her heart, it is as if she buried Me in the center of her heart – and she shares in the seventh one.”
The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Here sounds the Hour of Sorrow. The Passion.
The Crying of all Nature.
The soul to her Sorrowful Mother:
My dear Sorrowful Mother, today, more than ever, I feel the irresistible need to be close to You. No, I will not move from your side, to be spectator of your bitter sorrows and to ask You, as your child, for the grace to place in me your sorrows and those of your Son Jesus, and also His very death; so that His death and your sorrows may give me the grace to make my will die continually, and make rise again, upon it, the life of the Divine Will.
Lesson of the Queen of Sorrows:
Dearest child, do not deny Me your company in so much bitterness. The Divinity has already decreed the last day of my Son down here. An Apostle has already betrayed Him, giving Him up into the hands of the Jews, to make Him die. My dear Son, taken by excess of love and not wanting to leave His children, whom He came to search for upon earth with so much love, has already left Himself in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, so that whoever wants Him, may possess Him. So, the life of my Son is about to end, and He is about to take flight to His Celestial Fatherland.
Ah! dear child, the Divine Fiat gave Him to Me, and in the Divine Fiat I received Him; and now, in the same Fiat, I give Him back. My Heart is torn; imm
ense seas of sorrows inundate Me; I feel life leaving Me because of the atrocious spasm. But nothing could I deny to the Divine Fiat; on the contrary, I felt disposed to sacrifice Him with my own hands, had It wanted it so. The strength of the Divine Will is omnipotent, and I felt such strength by virtue of It, that I would have contented Myself with dying rather than deny anything to the Divine Will.
Now, my child, listen to Me: my maternal Heart is drowned with pains; just thinking that my Son, my God, my Life, must die, is more than death for your Mama. Yet, I know I must live. What torment, what deep gashes form in my Heart, piercing It all the way through with sharp swords. Yet, dear child, I grieve in saying this, but I must say this to you: in these pains and deep gashes, and in the pains of my beloved Son, there was your soul – your human will. Since it would not let itself be dominated by the Will of God, We covered it with pains, We embalmed it, We fortified it with our pains, so that it would dispose itself to receive the life of the Divine Will.
Ah! if the Divine Fiat had noMy child, what a blow to my pierced Heart. Yet, I had to say it, because there were no forced pains in Us, but all voluntary. So We blessed each other, and exchanging that gaze which is not able to detach any more from the beloved, my dear Son, my sweet Life, departed; and I, your sorrowful Mama, stayed. But the eye of my soul never lost sight of Him. I followed Him into the Garden, in His terrible agony, and – oh! how my Heart bled in seeing Him abandoned by all, even by His most faithful and dear Apostles.
Dear child, the abandonment of dear ones is one of the greatest sorrows for a human heart in the stormy hours of life; especially for my Son, who had loved them so much and done so much good to them, and who was in the act of giving His life for the very ones who had just abandoned Him in the extreme hours of His life – even more, they had run away. What sorrow! What sorrow! And I, in seeing Him agonize and sweat Blood, agonized together with Him and sustained Him in my maternal arms. I was inseparable from my Son; His pains were reflected in my Heart, liquefied by sorrow and by love, and I felt them more than if they were my own. So I followed Him the whole night; there was not one pain or accusation they gave Him, which did not resound in my Heart. But, at the dawn of the morning, unable to endure any longer, accompanied by the disciple John, by Magdalene and other pious women, I wanted to follow Him step by step, also corporally, from one tribunal to another.
My dearest child, I heard the roaring of the lashes that fell upon the naked body of my Son; I heard the mockeries, the satanic laughter, and the blows they gave Him on His head when they crowned Him with thorns. I saw Him when Pilate showed Him to the people – disfigured and unrecognizable. I felt deafened by the “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” I saw Him take the Cross upon His shoulders, exhausted, panting. And I, unable to refrain, hastened my step to give Him my last embrace and to dry His face, all wet with Blood. But – no! there was no pity for Us. The cruel soldiers pulled Him by the ropes and made Him fall. Dear child, what harrowing pain, not being able to help my dear Jesus in so many pains. Every pain opened a sea of sorrow in my pierced Heart. Finally, I followed Him to Calvary, where, amid unheard-of pains and horrible contortions, He was crucified and lifted up on the Cross. Only then was it conceded to Me to be at the foot of the Cross, to receive from His dying lips the gift of all my children, and the right and seal of my Maternity over all creatures. Shortly after, amid unheard-of spasms, He breathed His last.
All nature wore mourning, and cried over the death of its Creator. The sun cried, obscuring itself and withdrawing, horrified, from the face of the earth. The earth cried with a strong tremor, ripping open in various places, for the sorrow of the death of its Creator. All cried: the sepulchers by opening, the dead by rising; and even the veil of the Temple cried with sorrow by ripping open. All lost joy, and felt terror and fright. My child, your Mama remained petrified with sorrow, waiting to receive Him into my arms, to close Him in the sepulcher.
Now, listen to Me in my intense sorrow; with the pains of my Son I want to speak to you of the great evils of your human will. Look at Him in my sorrowful arms, how disfigured He is. He is the true portrait of the evils that the human will does to the poor creatures. My dear Son wanted to suffer so many pains in order to raise this will again – fallen into the abyss of all miseries; each pain of Jesus and each one of my sorrows called it to rise again in the Divine Will. Our love was so great that in order to place this human will in safety, We filled it with our pains, up to the point of drowning it and enclosing it inside the immense seas of my sorrows, and of those of my beloved Son.
Therefore, on this day of sorrows for your sorrowful Mother – and all for you – in return give Me your will, into my hands, that I may enclose it in the bleeding wounds of Jesus, as the most beautiful victory of His Passion and death, and as the triumph of my most bitter sorrows.
Sorrowful Mama, your words wound my heart, and I feel myself dying in hearing that it was my rebellious will that made You suffer so much. Therefore I pray You to enclose it in the wounds of Jesus, that I may live of His pains and of your bitter sorrows.
Today, to honor Me, you will kiss the wounds of Jesus, speaking five acts of love, and praying to Me that my sorrows may seal your will in the opening of His sacred side.
May the wounds of Jesus and the sorrows of my Mama give me the grace to make my will rise again in the Will of God.
Jesus embraces the Cross
The Hours of the Passion
My tortured Good, with You I repair, with You I suffer. But I see that Your enemies hurl You down the stairs; the people await You with fury and eagerness; they make You find the Cross ready, which You long for with many sighs. And You—with Love You gaze on It, and with firm step You approach It and embrace It. But first You kiss It, and as a shiver of Joy runs through Your Most Holy Humanity, with highest contentment You gaze on It again, measuring Its length and breadth. In It, already, You establish the portion for each creature. You dower them all, enough to bind them to the Divinity with a bond of Marriage, and make them heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, unable to contain the Love with which You Love them, You kiss the Cross again, and say, “Adored Cross, finally I embrace you. You were the longing of My Heart, the martyrdom of My Love. But you, O Cross, have delayed until now, while My steps were always toward you. Holy Cross, you were the goal of My desires, the purpose of My Existence down here. In you I concentrate My whole Being, in you I place all My children, and you will be their Life, their Light, defense, custody and strength. You will assist them in everything, and will bring them gloriously to Me in Heaven. O Cross, Pulpit of Wisdom, you alone will teach True Sanctity; you alone will form the heroes, the athletes, the martyrs, the Saints. Beautiful Cross, you are My Throne, and since I have to leave the earth, you will remain in My place. To you I give all souls as dowry—keep them, save them; I entrust them to you!”
In saying this, eager, You let It be placed upon Your Most Holy Shoulders. Ah, my Jesus, the Cross is too light for Your Love, but the weight of our sins unites to that of the Cross—enormous and immense, as the expanse of the Heavens. And You, my wearied Good, You feel crushed under the weight of so many sins. Your soul is horrified at their sight, and feels the pain of each sin. Your Sanctity remains shaken before so much ugliness, and as the Cross weighs upon Your shoulders, You stagger, You pant, and a mortal sweat creeps through Your Most Holy Humanity. Oh please, I pray you, my Love—I don’t have the heart to leave You alone—I want to share the weight of the Cross with You; and to relieve You from the weight of sins, I cling to Your Feet. I want to give You, in the name of all creatures, love for those who do not love You, praises for those who despise You, blessings, thanksgivings, obedience on behalf of all. I promise that in any offense You receive, I intend to offer You all of myself in reparation, to do the acts opposite to the offenses the creatures give You, and to console You with my kisses and continuous acts of love. But I see that I am too miserable; I need You to be able to really Repair You. Therefore I unite myself to Your Most Holy Humanity, and together with You I unite my thoughts to Yours in order to Repair for the evil thoughts—mine, and of all; my eyes to Yours, to Repair for the evil glances; my mouth to Yours, to repair for the blasphemies and the evil discourses; my heart to Yours, to repair for the evil tendencies, desires and affections. In a word, I want to Repair everything that Your Most Holy Humanity Repairs, uniting myself to the Immensity of Your Love for all, and to the Immense Good You do to all. But I am not yet content. I want to unite myself to Your Divinity, and I dissolve my nothingness in It, and in this way I give You Everything. I give You Your Love to quench Your bitternesses; I give You Your Heart to relieve You from our coldness, lack of correspondence, ingratitude, and the little love of the creatures. I give You Your Harmonies to cheer Your hearing from the deafening blasphemies It receives. I give You Your Beauty to relieve You from the ugliness of our souls, when we muddy ourselves in sin. I give You Your Purity to relieve You from the lack of righteous intention, and from the mud and rot You see in many souls. I give You Your Immensity to relieve You from the voluntary constraints into which souls put themselves. I give You Your Ardor to burn all sins and all hearts, so that all may Love You, and no one may offend You, ever again. In sum, I give You all that You are, to give You Infinite Satisfaction, Eternal, Immense and Infinite Love.