Pray Always

"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." -Matthew 7:7-8

“We ought always to pray.” –Luke 18:1

“Pray always” –Romans 12:12

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes - Day 8

Day 8 – February 9 – Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria and Saint Apollonia


O Immaculate Mother of God, from heaven itself you came to appear to the little Bernadette in the rough Grotto of Lourdes! And as Bernadette knelt at your feet and the miraculous  spring burst forth and as multitudes have knelt ever since before your shrine, O Mother of God, we kneel before you today to ask that in your mercy you plead with your Divine Son to grant the special favor we seek in this novena.  (make your request)  O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O Mary; for He that is mighty hath done great things unto thee. (The Roman Missal) Ave Maria…

O God, Who made Cyril, Your Confessor and Bishop, an unconquerable champion of the most blessed Virgin Mary’s divine motherhood, grant that we who believe that she is truly the Mother of God may be saved by her motherly protection.  Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

O God, Who among the other miracles of Your power have bestowed the victory of martyrdom even upon the weaker sex, graciously grant that we who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Apollonia, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by the path of her example. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.


Excerpted and compiled from,  Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Marian Teachings of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, Fr. H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, O.P. 

"I Am the Immaculate Conception." 

A few hours before his second and final arrest, on February 17, 1941, Fr. Kolbe had time to put on paper his thoughts about her, who for a quarter of a century, day after day, had never ceased to occupy his priestly and apostolic mind and heart. This text, is therefore, of the highest importance. He could not have written it during his captivity at Pawiak near Warsaw, nor during his detention in the death camp at Auschwitz, even though he delivered many spiritual sermons on the Immaculata.  In these lines we find the gist of his Marian doctrine ----  based on several sketches of text from a projected book of his, dating back mostly to the years 1939--41.

This last writing of Saint Maximilian Kolbe constitutes his spiritual testament. Let us follow the line of his reasoning, taking care to be faithful to his thought:

Immaculate Conception. These words fell from the lips of the Immaculata herself. Hence, they must tells us in the most precise and essential manner who she really is. 

Since human words are incapable of expressing Divine realities it follows that these words: "Immaculate," and "Conception" must be understood in a much more profound, much more beautiful and sublime meaning than usual: a meaning beyond that which human reason at its most penetrating, commonly gives to them . . . However, we can and should reverently inquire into the mystery of the Immaculata and try to express it words provided by our intelligence using its own proper powers. 

Who then are you, O Immaculate Conception? 

Not God, of course, because He has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth. Not Eve, molded from Adam's rib. Not the Incarnate Word, Who exists before all ages, and of Whom we should use the word "conceived" rather than "conception." 

Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created "conceptions." But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by Original Sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate Conception. 

Everything which exists, outside of God Himself, since it is from God and depends on Him in every way, bears within itself some semblance to its Creator; there is nothing in any creature which does not betray this resemblance, because every created thing is an effect of the Primal Cause.

It is true that the words we use to speak of created realities express the Divine perfections only in a halting, limited and analogical manner. They are only a more or less distant echo----as are the created realities that they signify ---- of the properties of God himself. Would not "conception" be an exception to this rule? No, there is never any such exception. The Father begets the Son; the Son proceeds from the Father and the Son. Theses few words sum up the mystery of the life of the Most Blessed trinity and of all the perfections in creatures which are nothing else but echoes, a hymn of praise of this primary and most wondrous of all mysteries. 

We must perforce use our vocabulary, since it is all we have; but we must never forget that our vocabulary is very inadequate. 

Who is the Father? What is His personal life like? It consists in begetting, eternally because He begets His Son from the beginning and forever. 

Who is the Son? He is the Begotten-One, because from the beginning and for all eternity He is begotten by the Father. 

And Who is the Holy Spirit? The flowering of the love of the Father and the Son. If the fruit of created is a created conception, then the fruit of Divine love, that prototype of all created love, is necessarily a Divine "conception." The Holy Spirit is, therefore, the "uncreated, eternal conception," the prototype of all the  conceptions that multiply life throughout the whole universe. 

The Father begets; the Son is begotten; the Spirit is the "conception" that springs from their love; there we have the intimate life of the Three Persons by which They can be distinguished from one another. But They are united in the Oneness of  Their Nature, of Their Divine existence. The Spirit is, then, this thrice holy "conception," this infinitely holy Immaculate Conception . . . 

The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God Himself, was the Immaculata, who never contacted the slightest stain of sin, who never departed in the least from God's will. United to the Holy Spirit as His spouse, she is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature.

What sort of Union is this? It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the "essence" of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in her; lives in her. This was true from the first instance of her existence. It was always true and it will always be true. 

And in what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He Himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves Himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. he is a fruitful Love, a "Conception." Among creatures made in God's image, the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all. In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instance of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity. 

This eternal "Immaculate Conception" [which is the Holy Spirit] produces in an immaculate manner Divine life itself in the womb or depths of Mary's soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary's body is kept sacred for Him; there He conceives in time the human life of the Man-God. 

And so the return to God [which is love], that is to say the equal and contrary reaction, follows a different path from that found in creation. The path of creation goes from the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit; this return trail goes from the Spirit through the Son back to the Father; in other words, by the Spirit the Son becomes incarnate in the womb of the Immaculata; and through this Son love returns to the Father. 

And she the Immaculata, grafted into the Love of the Blessed trinity, becomes from the first moment of her existence and forever after the "complement of the Blessed Trinity." In the Holy Spirit's union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in there is is all the love of the Blessed trinity; in the other, all of creation's love. So it is that in this union Heaven and earth are joined; all of Heaven with the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love. At Lourdes, she did not say that she was conceived immaculately, but as St. Bernadette repeated it, "Que soy era immaculata councepiou:" "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Prayers for each day

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