Action: Pray one decade of the Rosary contemplating the 3rd Joyful Mystery – the Nativity.
In addition to the meditations below, I recorded a video Scripture Study on the
Nativity. In the video, I enter
more deeply into the Mystery of Jesus’ birth – pondering not only Mary’s part in God’s plan of salvation, but also St. Joseph’s. I love St. Joseph so dearly and have written about him often.
One of my favorites is a reflection I wrote to honor and ponder him.
You can find it here:
I want to share a brief explanation as to why we are focusing on the Rosary and its mysteries every day in our preparation. It is because countless saints throughout the ages expressed its importance and declare it to be the means to attain the greatest holiness, which is absolutely true. But, mostly we will pray the rosary every day because Our Blessed Mother asks us to do so. We are preparing to surrender our hearts and our wills to her, and so it is fitting that we should begin by doing what she asks. In fact, it is always her first and most urgent request in every authentic apparition since giving the Rosary to St. Dominic in the 15th century. We will address her messages on the rosary more fully as we continue in our preparation, but for now, we will continue to enter into the Rosary and its mysteries because it is Our Mother’s will and she knows what’s best for us.
As we continue today to contemplate the Hail Mary in light of the Mystery of the Nativity, we recognize Mary as the Mother of God and the New Eve.
Jesus is the fruit of Mary's womb as well as the firstborn of all creation, therefore Mary is the Mother of God and the New Eve, for she is an indispensable part in bringing about God's new creation. She was not only the Mother of his physical Body, but also of His Mystical Body- the Church - of whom we are all parts. Thus, also like Eve but far surpassing her, Mary becomes Mother of all of the living - of all those who are alive in Christ.
It is fitting, therefore, for us to reflect on Mary as both the Mother of God and our Mother. Here are some beautiful reflections on Mary as our Mother to console and encourage us:
"As the new Eve, she brought to the world which was lying in the darkness of sin and of death, the light of everlasting life. The Immaculata has received from the Holy Ghost and has borne for us the Savior, Who has taken His Human Nature from her. “Thus the one and same Jesus is, in His essence, the Son of both God and Mary. [….] He who has the power to create everything out of nothing did not want to restore the wounded creation without Mary [....] Because God begot the Son, through Whom everything was created, Mary bore Him, through Whom everything was saved” (St. Anselm of Canterbury, Oratio 52, PL 158, 955 seq.). The Immaculata, as Queen, is thus not far from us, but, rather, as Mother very close to us. The saints give testimony to the ineffable motherly goodness of the most holy Virgin and her “Supplicant Omnipotence“ with God. “The heart of May is so loving and tender with us that, taken the hearts of all the mothers together, would be nothing compared to hers [….] Everything that the Son asks the Father, is being granted to Him. Everything that the Mother asks the Son, is equally being granted to her” (J. Frossard, Ausgewählte Gedanken des heiligen Pfarrers von Ars [A Selection of Thoughts from the Holy Curé of Ars], p. 77).
She deserves our great love and our firm trust. Both lead to the consecration to her Immaculate Heart, because Christianity always knew that a child of Mary never gets lost: “The heart of this good mother does not only consist of love and mercy. Her single wish is to see us happy. One only has to turn to her, in order to be heard” (Ibid., p. 48).
With this background, my personal experience corresponds completely to what St. Pope John Paul II said prophetically forty years ago, on October 6, 1979, in the Cathedral St. Matthew in Washington: “Holy Scripture and the experience of the faithful see in the Mother of God the one who is especially then close to the Church in the most difficult moments in her history when the attacks on the Church are the most threatening.”
Indeed, it shows itself always that those faithful who have consecrated themselves to the Mother of God receive the light and the strength to remain loyal to the Lord. They are the ones who, with ties to the Mother of the Church, live the true faith in the parishes. Those faithful who have a Marian devotion find – led by her – the mercy of God in the confessional, and they adore Him in the Most Holy Eucharist on their knees, receiving Communion on the tongue. The “totus tuus” strengthens them on their path of the Commandments, and the rosary gives them the efficacious help from above. The children of Mary will always let themselves be led by Holy Scripture and by the Catechism and thus remain in the revealed truth. On this path, through the mediation of the Mother of the Redeemer, they reach the longed-for salvation."
Father Frank Unterhalt
In the invitation to these 33 days, I shared with you that Dr. Brant Pitre's study would be an excellent resource for you to access. I share it here again if you haven't accessed it yet.
(If you're inundated right now, we'll address Mary again as the New Eve as we contemplate her at the foot of the Cross, so you can choose to wait to learn more at that time):
1. Read through the accompanying pictures and the extraordinary wisdom of St. Louis below if possible.
2. Continue to choose to enter more deeply into the daily prayer program (below) at least in this way:
Ponder and pray the Hail Mary today and the accompanying Scripture texts as you meditate and pray one decade of the Rosary - the 3rd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary- the Nativity - while praying for the grace to listen, to hear and respond to God as Mary does.
also for the grace to surrender whatever is keeping me from responding
fully - in and through and with Mary’s love and help.
Daily Prayer Program for these 33 Days:
PART 2: Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary
Day 4 of 33:
Meditate on Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis: Book 3, Chapters 7, 40
But I who am more inclined to go back, than to go forward, continue not always in one state, for I am changed, seven different times. But it quickly becomes better when it pleases Thee, and Thou stretchest out Thy helping hand: for Thou alone, without man's aid can assist me and so strengthen me, that my countenance shall be more diversely changed: but my heart be converted and find its rest in Thee alone.
He who would be too secure in time of peace will often be found too much dejected in time of war. If you could always continue to be humble and little in your own eyes, and keep your spirit in due order and subjection, you would not fall so easily into danger and offense. It is good counsel that, when you have conceived the spirit of fervor, you should meditate how it will be when that light shall be withdrawn.
And in our souls take up thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O font of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known,
The finger of God's hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses 'from above,
And make our hearts o'erflow with love;
With patience firm and virtue high
The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
And grant us Thy true peace instead;
So shall we not, with Thee for guide,
Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
The Father and the Son to know,
And Thee through endless times confessed
Of both the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.
Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus
Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
Examine your conscience, pray, practice renouncement of your own will; mortification, purity of heart. This purity is the indispensable condition for contemplating God in heaven, to see Him on earth and to know Him by the light of faith. The first part of the preparation should be employed in casting off the spirit of the world which is contrary to that of Jesus Christ.
The spirit of the world consists essentially in the denial of the supreme dominion of God; a denial which is manifested in practice by sin and disobedience; thus it is principally opposed to the spirit of Christ, which is also that of Mary. It manifests itself by the concupiscence of the flesh, by the concupiscence of the eyes and by the pride of life, and by disobedience to God's laws and the abuse of created things. Its works are: sin in all forms, then all else by which the devil leads to sin; works which bring error and darkness to the mind, and seduction and corruption to the will. Its pomps are the splendor and the charms employed by the devil to render sin alluring in persons, places and things.
Read: St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary paragraphs 25-33
2. Mary's part in the sanctification of souls
26. Were I speaking to the so-called intellectuals of today, I would prove at great length by quoting Latin texts taken from Scripture and the Fathers of the Church all that I am now stating so simply. I could also instance solid proofs which can be read in full in Fr. Poiré’s book "The Triple Crown of the Blessed Virgin". But I am speaking mainly for the poor and simple who have more good will and faith than the common run of scholars. As they believe more simply and more meritoriously, let me merely state the truth to them quite plainly without bothering to quote Latin passages which they would not understand. Nevertheless, I shall quote some texts as they occur to my mind as I go along.
27. Since grace enhances our human nature and glory adds a still greater perfection to grace, it is certain that our Lord remains in heaven just as much the Son of Mary as he was on earth. Consequently he has retained the submissiveness and obedience of the most perfect of all children towards the best of all mothers.
We must take care, however, not to consider this dependence as an abasement or imperfection in Jesus Christ. For Mary, infinitely inferior to her Son, who is God, does not command him in the same way as an earthly mother would command her child who is beneath her. Since she is completely transformed in God by that grace and glory which transforms all the saints in him, she does not ask or wish or do anything which is contrary to the eternal and changeless will of God. When therefore we read in the writings of Saint Bernard, Saint Bernardine, Saint Bonaventure, and others that all in heaven and on earth, even God himself, is subject to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority which God was pleased to give her is so great that she seems to have the same power as God. Her prayers and requests are so powerful with him that he accepts them as commands in the sense that he never resists his dear mother's prayer because it is always humble and conformed to his will.
Moses by the power of his prayer curbed God's anger against the Israelites so effectively that the infinitely great and merciful Lord was unable to withstand him and asked Moses to let him be angry and punish that rebellious people. How much greater, then, will be the prayer of the humble Virgin Mary, worthy Mother of God, which is more powerful with the King of heaven than the prayers and intercession of all the angels and saints in heaven and on earth.
28. Mary has authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and the mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride.
Such is the will of almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasures, dispenser of his graces, worker of his wonders, restorer of the human race, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs.
30. Just as in natural and bodily generation there is a father and a mother, so in the supernatural and spiritual generation there is a father who is God and a mother who is Mary. All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father. This is why the reprobate, such as heretics and schismatics, who hate, despise or ignore the Blessed Virgin, do not have God for their father though they arrogantly claim they have, because they do not have Mary for their mother. Indeed if they had her for their mother they would love and honour her as good and true children naturally love and honour the mother who gave them life.
An infallible and unmistakable sign by which we can distinguish a heretic, a man of false doctrine, an enemy of God, from one of God's true friends is that the heretic and the hardened sinner show nothing but contempt and indifference for our Lady. He endeavours by word and example, openly or insidiously - sometimes under specious pretexts - to belittle the love and veneration shown to her. God the Father has not told Mary to dwell in them because they are, alas, other Esaus.
31. God the Son wishes to form himself, and, in a manner of speaking, become incarnate every day in his members through his dear Mother. To her he said: "Take Israel for your inheritance." It is as if he said, God the Father has given me as heritage all the nations of the earth, all men good and evil, predestinate and reprobate. To the good I shall be father and advocate, to the bad a just avenger, but to all I shall be a judge. But you, my dear Mother, will have for your heritage and possession only the predestinate represented by Israel. As their loving mother, you will give them birth, feed them and rear them. As their queen, you will lead, govern and defend them.
32. "This one and that one were born in her." According to the explanation of some of the Fathers, the first man born of Mary is the God-man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ, the head of mankind, is born of her, the predestinate, who are members of this head, must also as a necessary consequence be born of her. One and the same mother does not give birth to the head without the members nor to the members without the head, for these would be monsters in the order of nature. In the order of grace likewise the head and the members are born of the same mother. If a member of the mystical body of Christ, that is, one of the predestinate, were born of a mother other than Mary who gave birth to the head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but a monster in the order of grace. 33. Moreover, Jesus is still as much as ever the fruit of Mary, as heaven and earth repeat thousands of times a day: "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." It is therefore certain that Jesus is the fruit and gift of Mary for every single man who possesses him, just as truly as he is for all mankind. Consequently, if any of the faithful have Jesus formed in their heart they can boldly say, "It is thanks to Mary that what I possess is Jesus her fruit, and without her I would not have him." We can attribute more truly to her what Saint Paul said of himself, "I am in labour again with all the children of God until Jesus Christ, my Son, is formed in them to the fullness of his age." Saint Augustine, surpassing himself as well as all that I have said so far, affirms that in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God all the predestinate, while in the world, are hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin where they are protected, nourished, cared for and developed by this good Mother, until the day she brings them forth to a life of glory after death, which the Church calls the birthday of the just. This is indeed a mystery of grace unknown to the reprobate and little known even to the predestinate!
Father Gaitley speaks today about the St. Louis de Montfort's Consecration prayer itself, noting that it is a prayer to: