1 January 2015 Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 by Kathy McMerty

Dear Friends of St. Alphonsus,

I trust your Christmas celebrations have been a blessing for you. As we begin the new year the Church invites us to celebrate Mary as Mother of God. As you know, St. Alphonsus developed a deep and abiding friendship with Mary. He wanted everyone to share in that with him. He painted pictures of Mary, exhorted the Redemptorists to always include something in their preaching about Mary, and did many other things to make known, her great love for us. I therefore, include here a devotion to Mary based on one of his meditations. As you know he wrote a whole book called The Glories of Mary, from which this prayer is taken. However St. Alphonsus also wrote many small pamphlets of prayers to Mary and encouraged people to use them regularly. As we celebrate this special feast of Mary, I pray that her friendship with you may grow stronger throughout this year.

The Greatness of Mary’s Love for Us (Excerpted and edited from Grimm: The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori, nos.56-70)

OPEN TO A SPIRIT OF PRAYER

O God, we believe that you are with us. We adore you with our whole being. Inflame our hearts with Your Love. You are the Source of all Light. Shine your Light way down into the secret places of our hearts.

     Hail Mary…                               St. Joseph. Pray for us.                                                              St. Teresa   Pray for us.             St. Alphonsus. Pray for us.

Opening Song: (choose a favourite Marian song or meditative song)

CONSIDERATION

Saint Alphonsus asks us to call to mind a story – a memory of when we experienced deep care and love. In meditating on this story be alive to smells…sounds…pictures…sensations…that may come to you.

Now, St. Alphonsus invites us to join these memories to words from Sacred Scripture (1 John 4.7-21)… everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them…those who love God also love their brothers and sisters.”

Now we also bring to mind some stories of saints. St. Gerard Majella walked through very steep mountains to reach remote and tiny villages over and over. He would visit and pray with people. Especially to those who were sick he brought comfort and healing in their distress. Eventually he got infected with a sickness of the people with whom he visited and he died at a very young age. Still to this day, over two hundred years later, people stream to the small town where he is buried. They come for healing and comfort and the love revealed through St. Gerard. St. Catherine of Sienna, much like people today who are caring for those who suffer from Ebola, Catherine put herself in danger to be close to the sick, and to stay close to those who were unemployed. Both Catherine and Gerard loved God and because of this love they became heroic in their love for the poor and most abandoned. How much more than this, will Mary sacrifice, how much greater is Mary’s love for God, and how much more than anyone in the world is she able to reach out to all of us who are in need.

We know how much a mother can love her child, a child of her own flesh. Yet, each of us have experienced the impatience and limits of our own mothers. Mary reaches out to us through the Spirit of Love. Mary carries a pure love for us that never fades, is never irritable, but is always patient and always kind, and endures forever.

We spend so much of our lives looking for love; from our family, from pleasing others, from doing things to gain approval or to get ahead in life. But here is love beyond all of these. Here is a love that is freely given with no strings attached. In the Book of Wisdom it says about wisdom, “She is easily found by those who seek her.” (Wisdom 6.13) We say this of Mary, how easy it is for us to find Mary, find her reaching out to us, find her full of compassion and love, find her leading us to God.

AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS

O Mary, you ravish my heart.
I want a tender and constant love toward you.
I want to be with you and share my life, all my days,
and to share each moment of the day with you.

You O Mary, who have loved me with so much tenderness,
even when I have paid little attention to you.
How much more will your love take hold of me,
now that I speak out my love for you.

Show me how to love, as you love.
Lead me into the depths of your love and compassion.

Come and grab my heart, mould it and shape it.

ACTION

IS THERE SOME ACTION OF LOVE TO WHICH I FEEL CALLED? (LEAVE SOME QUIET TIME TO NOTICE WHAT COME TO MIND)

CLOSING

Make me an example to all,
of what you can do for those who want to love God
and to love your Son Jesus.

Come and make me into a loving child of yours,
come and clothe me with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness and patience,
so that I may be a true child of Light.

Most Holy Mother Mary, my hope, please help me.
Ask your son, Jesus, to make me, by his grace,
all that he wants me to be. Amen.

Closing Song: (choose a favourite Marian hymn)