Sanctification in Daily Work
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Pray For Us Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of GuadalupeYears ago I went on a business trip to South/Central America with the agreement that when we were in Mexico City I got time out to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On her feast day today I pulled out the photos from my trip there (pre-digital) to relive the great memories.

I had a very kind cab driver not only take me to the Basilica but he attended Mass with me, got me into the museum and up the hill to the old chapel. I’ll never forget it. She is the Patroness of the Americas and of my heart.

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession for holy Church,
protect the sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke you in their necessities,
and since you are the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from your most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life
of burning charity, and the precious gift
of final perseverance.


Marian Year in Opus Dei

Opus DeiThe latest in an ongoing series from Opus Dei about the life of Mary was just published on their website.

Life of Mary (V): The Annunciation

The fifth reflection on our Lady’s life during this Marian Year in Opus Dei. This month we consider the Archangel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary, and Christ’s entry into the world.

Marian Year in Opus Dei

Opus DeiThe Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarría, has announce a Marian year in Opus Dei to give thanks to God for showing Saint Josemaría, 80 years ago, that this path towards sanctity is also meant for women. St. Josemaría was very devoted to our Blessed Mother which is one of many things that has drawn me to him and The Work. Here are excerpts from his announcement letter:

My dear children: may Jesus watch over my daughters and sons for me!

This month we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the moment when St. Josemaría saw that Opus Dei was also intended for women. We know that on October 2, 1928, when he received the foundational light, our Father thought that the Work was only for men. Thus we can imagine his surprise and joy when a few months later, on February 14, 1930, our Lord made him understand that he was also counting on women to carry everywhere—through their example and word—the message of sanctification in professional work and in all the circumstances of ordinary life. Years later, with deep gratitude to divine Providence, he said that “truly the Work, without that express wish of our Lord and without your sisters, would have been left crippled.”[1] He often made reference to this, my daughters, to show what a great responsibility each one of you has. Although it’s a small digression, I ask you to commend to heaven an intention that will make you very happy.

As in 2008, when we commemorated the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Work, it has seemed to me that the best way to channel our thanksgiving is to stay very close to our Lady during these months. Therefore it gives me great joy to convoke a new Marian year in Opus Dei, from the upcoming 14th of February to the same date in 2011. During these months, let us strive to honor our Mother more and better, above all by putting great care into the prayer and contemplation of the Holy Rosary, and spreading this devotion among our families and friends. And let us give express thanks to God for the work of the women who look after the material care of the centers of the Prelature, which contributes so decisively to maintaining and improving the environment of a home that God infused into the Work, when he inspired it in our Father in 1928.

We Have a Mother in Heaven!

A reflection for the feast of the Assumption from the Apostleship of Prayer:

I Am All Thine, My Queen and My Mother, and All That I Have is Thine!

Blessed VirginHappy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into Heaven! What a glorious feast – a reminder of our ultimate destiny! Today is also the day of consecration for those, like me, who have been following the 33 day Preparation for Total Consecration. Words of consecration, from St. Louis de Montfort

O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.

I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.

I, N_____, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.

Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.

O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

Total Consecration is based on de Montfort’s True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, about which John Paul II said:

“St. Louis de Montfort! I have long studied his doctrine and I like it. Besides, it’s from Montfort that I have taken my motto, “Totus Tuus” (I am all thine). Some day I’ll have to tell you Monfortians how I discovered de Montfort’s treatise on TRUE DEVOTION to Mary and how often I had to reread it to understand it.”

Indeed, rereading it has helped me to gain greater insight into the richness of this devotion and how to live it out in my daily life. The next (suggested) Total Consecration preparation begins on Nov. 5 and ends on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Order the Total Consecration book, or use this website which offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed and includes links to all readings and prayers so that ordering books is not necessary.

Grotto of Our Sorrowful Mother

portland grottoSomething I never expected to find on my first visit to the Pacific Northwest was a beautiful grotto dedicated to the Blessed Mother.

My friend Pat Morrow promised me a “surprise” when I joined her at the agriculture-related event in Portland, Oregon. The surprise was an afternoon at “The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother” – better known as just “The Grotto.”

Portland grottoThis beautiful 62 acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden was established in 1924 and is administered by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. The central attraction, Our Lady’s Grotto, was carved from solid basalt in the cliff wall in 1925. Above its natural rock altar is the white marble replica of Michelangelo’s famed masterpiece, the Pieta. High above the grotto’s cliff stands the bronze statue of Our Sorrowful Mother, designed especially for the Sanctuary and blessed in the Vatican by Pope Pius XI in 1934 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Servite Order.

There is much more to the Grotto and to see it all requires an elevator ride up to the top of the cliff (for a nominal fee) and we spent about four hours on a lovely day exploring the grounds. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Portland.

Post update: Here is a video on YouTube that I put together with photos from our visit.

August 15 Total Consecration Prep Starts Today!

Total ConsecrationFor those who wish to make/renew their Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary on a Marian feast day, the next one coming up is the feast of the Assumption on August 15, which means the 33-day preparation begins today! This is the date of my own first Total Consecration (11 years ago) and when I try to renew it every year.

Total Consecration to Our Lady is, as St. Louis de Montfort says in his book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the “easy, short, perfect and secure way of attaining union with our Lord.” This is the devotion consists in making oneself a slave of Mary, doing all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary. We offer to the Blessed Mother every thought, word, deed and desire so that she might purify them and present them to our Lord to be distributed where they are most needed. It is a total abandonment to the Blessed Virgin Mary who will in turn lead us into a perfect union with Christ, her Son.

By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbor a fragrance of eternal life.

If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. (True Devotion, n. 60-61)

If you don’t have the Preparation for Total Consecration book, this website offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed. It includes links to all readings and prayers for every day so that ordering books is not necessary.

I Pray the Rosary!!

Do you?

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate HeartFrom Fr. Ben Nwosu’s homily this morning at Immaculate Conception church in Jeff City, MO

“Mary’s blessedness as Mother of God came from the willingness of her heart to submit to the will of God.”

Happy Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!!

Solemn Act of Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.


–Venerable Pope Pius XII

“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
~promise of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima

Rosary Stars

Rosary Stars is a DVD from Family Theater Productions featuring famous Catholics leading each of the decades. Find out more about who’s in it or . The trailer:

The Month of the Rosary

October is the Month of the Holy Rosary. Bishop Finn had an excellent homily on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 6.) The Mass was broadcast live on EWTN (video covers the procession through Bishop Finn’s homily):

Or read the homily online. And excerpt:

Hail Mary! We cry out again and again at her invitation. We persevere in trusting prayer – through the rhythms of the rosary – because she is Mother of God and our Mother. She who through the merciful plan of the Eternal Father gave the world its Redeemer wants us to know and love her Son. The mysteries of her life, of Jesus’ life, and of our lives are all intertwined. In the mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus Christ, God made man, unites Himself in some way to every man, and reveals to us who we are, and what is our high calling. (Gaudium et Spes, no. 22)

Mary’s rosary is our picture book of faith, hope, and love. Here in the unfolding images of Christ life: In His joys, through His luminous love, in His sorrows, in His glories; he prepares us for everything that will take place. The will of God is being realized in each event of Christ’s life, in Mary’s life, and in our life. And Mary will help us say “Yes,” and give our free and full assent to His divine plan.

October is also Respect Life Month. Be sure to especially pray the rosary for life this month – and for the election of good pro-life politicians in two weeks!! From Bishop’s homily:

Every day human life is under attack. If it were not enough that our elected leaders and judges too often have failed to stand up for vulnerable pre-born babies, or the disabled or the dying, every election campaign seems to be a referendum on the dignity and value of human life. Candidates who would stand with us valiantly against abortion or assisted suicide are labeled “extreme” and fanatical. Mary, we will not abandon your dear children, but we know that the proponents of these evils will not give up without a fight. Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Life: Win among us the battle we cannot win without your help. Turn back the culture of death in our nation. Save us from the tyranny and deceit of Choice. Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Pray for us sinners.

You are Not Alone

Our LadyThis was a great source of comfort to me during my adoration earlier this week:

You’re not alone. Suffer tribulation cheerfully. It’s true, poor child that you don’t feel our Mother’s hand in yours. But have you never seen the mothers of this earth, with their arms out-stretched, following their little ones when, without anyone’s help, they venture to take their first shaky stems? Your not alone: Mary is beside you. The Way ~900

And Christ, our Lord, is with us, even to the end of time (Mt. 28:20):

What we cannot do, our Lord is able to do. Jesus Christ, perfect god and perfect man, leaves us , not a symbol, but a reality. He Himself stays with us . He will go to the Father, but he will also remain among men. He will leave us, not simply a gift that will make us remember him, not an image that becomes blurred with time, like a photograph that soon fades and yellows, and has no meaning except for those who were contemporaries. Under the appearances of bread and wine, He is really present, with His body and blood, with His soul and divinity. Christ is Passing By, essay on the Eucharist

I Pitty the Fool Who Don’t Treat His Momma Right

An interesting music video set to a song from Mr. T – yes, I said a song from Mr. T (h/t: Saint School):

Paul, at Alive and Young, also has a great “Word Made Fresh” satire of Mr. T on Mary and the Rosary.

Speaking of your Mother, today starts the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Novena:

O.L. Mt. CarmelFirst Day

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions)

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.