Author Archives: frjflader

Mary, Mother of the Church

Mary on Pentecost with the apostles

Pope Francis has given us the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost. In this meditation we pray about the background of the feast, considering:

  • Passages of Scripture on Mary, Mother of the Church
  • Texts of Fathers of the Church and Popes on this teaching
  • Proclamation of the truth by Pope St Paul VI in 1964
  • The image of Mary, Mother of the Church, in St Peter’s Square
  • Prayer entrusting all the faithful to Our Lady

 

Mary, model of charity

The Second Vatican Council called Our Lady “model of the virtues”. In this meditation we use texts from the New Testament to consider how Mary teaches us various aspects of the virtue of charity:

  • In the Annunciation, her love for God moves her to say yes and to bring the God who is Love into the world
  • In the Visitation to Elizabeth, Mary forgets herself and spends three months helping her aging relative prepare for the birth of John the Baptist
  • In Bethlehem, she contemplates Love in human form
  • At Cana, she is sensitive to the wedding couple and asks Jesus to help them
  • At Calvary, she sacrifices herself to accompany Jesus on the Cross
  • In the Upper Room, she prays with and for the apostles as they await the coming of the Holy Spirit

Behold your Mother

 

 

 

When we go through difficult times, as the whole world is at present with the coronavirus crisis, we find great comfort in entrusting ourselves and our loved ones into the hands of our loving mother Mary. In this meditation we use texts of St Josemaria, St John Paul II and St Bernard to consider how:

  • In giving birth to Jesus in Bethlehem Mary became the mother of the whole Mystical Body of the Church
  • At Calvary, Jesus gave us his mother to be our own mother. She suffered unspeakably there and this makes her love us all the more 
  • Mary exercised her motherly role at Cana, with the apostles and with all of us
  • Mary intercedes for us before Jesus as “supplicating omnipotence”
  • We should take Mary into our own keeping, as St John did, through the various Marian devotions and customs, especially the rosary

Communion with Christ

 

In the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Eucharist and gave the apostles his Body and Blood as Holy Communion for the first time. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture, the Catechism, St Josemaria Escriva and St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, to consider how:

  • In Holy Communion we receive the living Jesus himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
  • Since Christ is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we receive the whole Blessed Trinity
  • Communion fills us with grace, forgives venial sins, helps us avoid mortal sins and is a promise of heaven, an anticipation of heaven and the means to reach heaven
  • We should receive Communion as often as we can and prepare well to receive this truly  Blessed Sacrament

 

 

Eucharistic souls

Christ holding Communion host

On Holy Thursday we celebrated the institution of the Eucharist by Christ in the Last Supper, in what was his last celebration of the Passover. Even though In these extraordinary times of a pandemic most of us are unable to attend Mass, we can still be very united to the Masses being celebrated and so be, in the words of St Josemaria, “Eucharistic souls”. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The Jewish Passover was a figure of the Eucharist and it has many aspects that were fulfilled and made a reality in the Eucharist
  • The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist flowed from Christ’s open side as he hung on the Cross
  • We can be personally united with the four ends of the Mass
  • We can make the Eucharist the “centre and root” of the interior life, as St Josemaria suggested, and so be “Eucharistic souls”

Holy Week

 

 

 

As we celebrate the important events of this most holy week of the year, we pray in this meditation about the significance of the events and how we can use them to grow in holiness ourselves. We consider:

  • Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
  • The institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday to make Christ’s death on the Cross present through the Mass
  • The agony of Christ in his prayer in the garden where he suffered so much for us
  • The passion and death of Christ on Good Friday which brought about our redemption
  • The joy of the Resurrection

With Christ in the storm

 

On 27 March 2020 at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome Pope Francis conducted an hour of prayer broadcast around the world to pray for God’s help in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. He based his homily on that occasion on the Gospel passage of Christ calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee when the apostles begged him for help. In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ homily to consider how:

  • We should trust more in God in all our problems
  • Christ is always with us and he truly cares for us even when we may wonder where he is
  • We can use the present crisis to examine our priorities and to choose what is of lasting value
  • We should draw closer to God through an increased life of prayer
  • In our difficulties Christ is sharing his Cross with us
  • We should reach out more to others to help them in these special times