THE FIFTEEN MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY 

This section of a painting produced during the early 16th century is thought to be by Goswijn van der Weyden, son of the famous Flemish painter Rogier. It depicts the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious and is on display at the Met Museum, New York.

JOYFUL MYSTERIES

Annunciation

Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

Nativity of Jesus

Presentation of Jesus

Finding Jesus in the Temple

SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

Agony in the Garden

Scourging at the Pillar

Crowning with Thorns

Carrying of the Cross

Crucifixion of Jesus

GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

Resurrection of Jesus

Ascension of Jesus

Decent of the Holy Spirit

Assumption of Mary

Crowning of Mary in Heaven

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

STARTING A ROSARY PRAYER GROUP 

Can you remember who taught you to pray the Rosary, perhaps your mother or father? In my case, it was my mother, and in her case it was her father. Whoever, it’s a gift to be passed on.

 

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped praying the Rosary, probably in my early teens – and I didn’t pick up the beads and start again until decades later!

 

My return to the Rosary came about after I had listened to a priest preaching at Mass about Medjugorje and prayer groups. I don’t know what exactly prompted me but I remember approaching the priest after Mass and asking if he had any objection to me starting a Rosary prayer group in my home once a week and inviting other parishioners. Of course, he had no objection. In fact he was delighted. So for the next couple of Sundays I began asking people after Mass if they would like to come to the prayer group to pray the Rosary. Around 15 responded.

 

And every Tuesday evening, for the past 24 years a group of us meet at my home to pray the Rosary. When we first started my idea was to encourage the group to go to different homes each week. But that didn’t happen. The people were quite content to stay in one place.

 

Numbers have varied over the years, even diminished, but there is still a solid group of six of us who keep the prayer group alive. The main prayer intention for the group has always been for “Peace in our homes”. But for a few years now we have also been praying for those in need, especially the sick.

 

Why I should have wanted to start a prayer group in the first place, I’m still not sure. I hadn’t even been to Medjugorje at the time. But seven years after staring the group I did make my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and was blessed with many graces.

 

But was it coincidence that this was the message of Our Lady for September 25, 2000, given on the final day of my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje?

 

Dear children! Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. May prayer become joy for you. Renew prayer in your families and form prayer groups. In this way, you will experience joy in prayer and togetherness. All those who pray and are members of prayer groups are open to God’s will in their hearts and joyfully witness God’s love. I am with you, I carry all of you in my heart and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.

 

I’ve looked at and read this message several times in the past and have always tried to see if there was any significance in the words that I could relate to my visit to Medjugorje in September 2000. I never could until now, seventeen years on, after writing this post about Rosary prayer groups! 

Four of the Medjugorje seers, Vicka, Ivanka, Marija and Ivan, join Fr Slavko Barbaric to pray the Rosary in St James’ church.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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THE BOOK OF THE AGED 

“The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged whose eyes close upon the shadow of the world and open on the substance of the next.”

Bishop Fulton Sheen 1953

Thursday, October 26, 2017

ROSARY ON THE COAST FOR LIFE AND FAITH 

Friday, October 27, 2017

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Catholics in Ireland are planning to hold a mass-rosary recital around the country’s coastline as next year’s abortion referendum approaches.

The Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith will take place on Sunday, November 26, the feast of Christ the King. The organisers explain: “Ireland was the first country in the world to be consecrated to Christ the King. This solemn consecration was declared in the 1930s and to date only three countries share this blessing. The feast is extremely important. Acknowledging Christ as King has relevance for the spiritual, social, cultural, legal and political life of Ireland.”

It is hoped to have prayers offered in at least 53 locations, the number of Hail Marys in a five-decade rosary.

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JOSEPH HAYDN AND THE ROSARY 

The great composer Franz Joseph Haydn loved Our Lady and the Rosary. Once, when discussing mental fatigue, he shared his secret. “I always carry a rosary with me. After a few decades I am sure to feel refreshed, both in mind and body.”

 

Joseph Haydn once set out to write a religious oratorio. In order to do so he became practically a hermit. For 13 months the composer remained in seclusion praying, studying and working. Some days were filled with success, others with anguish. Often he went for days without an idea. “Then I would pick up my rosary,” he later said, “and, as the beads slipped through my fingers, I would relax, gather new strength and collect my thoughts. I would return to my piano and once again hammer away!”

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sunday, October 28, 2017

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ON RUNNING AWAY

This morning, I gave some thought to the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary – The Agony in the Garden – when Jesus and his disciples went to pray in Gethsemane.

 

One incident struck me: When Judas and the armed men came to arrest Jesus all the disciples except one deserted him and ran away!

 

I began to recall some of the occasions when I had run away from Jesus, not necessarily out of fear of anything, but simply because I wanted to exercise my ‘freedom’ to do so. When put to the test, I failed. 

 

There is always the temptation to run, to move away from the closeness of Jesus, to seek out false lights and flee from the true light. And then how can we be a light for others in darkness?

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Monday, October 23, 2017

STEPPING STONES

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me , Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

 

This passage from Matthew’s Gospel (16 : 23-24) invites me to consider some of the stumbling blocks in my life that present a danger to faith. Some are of my own making, some put there by others. There are also the occasions I become a stumbling block for anyone else seeking the love of God.

 

The Rosary is a series of stepping stones that follow the path Jesus walked on this earth. His journey is one he invites all to follow. Mary makes a wonderful guide and companion for this pilgrimage through life. She has already travelled the same road with Jesus.

 

She reminds me that some obstacles are necessary to test and strengthen faith. She says: “It has to be this way.” But there are also those stumbling blocks in my life which she invites me to remove (with her offer of help) and so clear a way for the Lord to enter my heart by a straight path. That’s a daily demand accomplished more easily by praying the Rosary. 

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

SWEET BLESSED BEADS

Sweet blessed beads! I would not part

With one of you for richest diadem;

Ye know the history of my heart.

For I have told you every grief

In all the days of seventy years,

And in your decades found relief.

Ah! time has fled and friends have failed

And joys have died; but in my needs

Ye were my friends; my blessed beads!

And ye consoled me when I wailed.

For many and many a time, in grief,

My weary fingers wandered round

Thy circled chain, and always found

In some Hail Mary, sweet relief.

How many a story you might tell

Of inner life, to all unknown;

I trusted you and you alone,

But ah! ye kept my secret well.

Ye are the only chain I wear,

A sign that I am but the slave,

In life, in death, beyond the grave,

Of Jesus and His Mother fair.

by Fr Abram J. Ryan, adapted from the book: The Riches of the Rosary, by Fr Gabriel Harty

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

SCRIPTURE ON A STRING

“My favourite idea about the Rosary is that it is ‘Scripture on a string’. It is here that the weapon finds its power. When Jesus was tempted by the Devil in Matthew’s Gospel. it was his use of Scripture which allowed him to fight and win the spiritual battle. St Paul goes on to instruct the Church in Ephesus to put on ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’. The Rosary provides a good instruction to many of the events in the Gospels and it is a good starting place to load our spiritual arsenal. For me it was certainly a springboard into greater immersion in the Word of God.”

• Adapted from Fr Matthew Pittam’s article published at the Catholic Herald website.  

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Friday, October 20, 2017

LIVES OF DEDICATION

Meditating recently on the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary – Jesus is presented in the Temple – I became aware that the Mystery focuses on lives dedicated to God.

 

The infant Jesus is brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph to fulfil the Law of consecrating every first-born male to the Lord.

 

Then we meet Simeon, a devout and upright man dedicated to God and waiting with expectant faith for the promise made to him by the Holy Spirit to be fulfilled. 

 

There is also mention of the prophetess Anna, 84 years old and, like Simeon, reaching the end of her life. She never leaves the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. 

 

Anna’s dedication is a beautiful witness of remaining in God’s heart, the Temple, through prayer and fasting.

 

All the people mentioned in this passage are examples of faithful dedication to the Lord as they journey through life. Even the Temple building is testimony of the people’s dedication to God – so also the sacrifice of the two turtle doves.

 

Pope Francis speaks about the need to “pray always, without growing weary”, that we must “cry out to the Lord day and night” because the daily struggle against evil requires “patience and resistance”. 

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

ENCOUNTERING JESUS

Sometimes no words are necessary when we encounter love in our life. For many, these occasions can be life-changing, none more so than an encounter with Jesus.

 

We can encounter Jesus in the many ways his mother did on earth when we pray and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.

 

In a message given to the Medjugorje seer Marija Pavlovic on August 14, 1986, Our Lady said: “Dear children, my call to you is that your prayer be the joy of an encounter with the Lord.” 

 

The fourth station of the cross depicts Jesus meeting his sorrowful mother on his way to Calvary and crucifixion. It is difficult to imagine any joy in this encounter, but those who have experienced being close to a loved one during their time of dying will know that it can be a most special time of peace and joy, despite any feeling of loss and separation that may follow.

 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now, and at the hour of our death. 

 

In sorrow and suffering, go straight to God with confidence, and you will be strengthened, enlightened and instructed.. St John of the Cross

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

FEAST OF ST LUKE, EVANGELIST

Today is the feast day of St Luke, the evangelist, Without Luke’s Gospel we would not have been blessed with the first part of the Rosary, the Joyful Mysteries – or even the Hail Mary prayer.

 

The Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Nativity, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple are accounts of Jesus’ early life that only appear in Luke’s Gospel.

 

Matthew’s Gospel does mention that Mary was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit and describes the visit of the Magi after Jesus was born in Jerusalem, but that’s it. Neither the gospels of Mark or John provide an account of the early life of Jesus.

 

So how did Luke acquire this detailed knowledge recorded in his Gospel? I suspect it can only have come from Mary herself.

 

Another person Our Lady is said to have spoken with about her life on earth with Jesus is Vicka. The Medjugorje seer has written down all that the Gospa has revealed to her and says that the account will be published when Our Lady gives permission.

 

Luke is the patron saint of doctors and artists. It is said that he was the first person to have painted an image of Mary and the Child Jesus.

Above: Dieric Bouts the Elder, St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child c1470-1474, © Bowes Museum

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ROSARY INSPIRES CHANGE OF HEART

Michael had heard of the various ‘miracles’ happening at Medjugorje. But when he was there he neither expected nor saw any such ‘signs and wonders’. However, on the journey back home one of the pilgrims found that the silver chain of his rosary had become a light gold colour. This caused excitement amongst the pilgrims and Michael wasn’t alone in looking at his rosary to find out whether his had changed – but it hadn’t. 

 

The plane carrying the pilgrims landed in England and after driving home from the airport Michael took another look at his rosary. He was surprised to find that the silver chain had now changed into a light gold colour. 

 

Nothing happens without a reason and over the next few weeks Michael was to discover just why the change had happened.

 

Michael is a Eucharist Minister and takes Holy Communion to residential and nursing homes for the elderly. In one of the homes resided husband and wife, Philip and Nellie. On his next visit Michael told them about his Rosary and showed it to them. Philip is an exemplary Catholic, very devoted to Our Lady and to the Rosary. He is also blind; so Nellie explained to her husband about the light gold colour of the chain. When Michael made another visit the following week, Nellie was excited to show him Philip’s rosary. The silver had become bright gold, as bright as brass! 

 

Nothing happens without a reason and there is a happy sequel to this story. Philip and Nellie preferred not to receive Holy Communion from a lay person; so week after week they missed the chance of receiving the Eucharist. But following the change to Philip’s rosary, he and Nellie had second thoughts and decided that they would receive communion from Michael. 

 

Five weeks later Philip died, fortified by the Rites of the Church. But on his death-bed he was to ill to receive Holy Communion. The last time he received was a few days earlier when Michael had come to see him. It was not too difficult to understand the change in rosaries belonging to Michael and Philip was Our Lady’s way of ensuring Philip would receive the Eucharist before he died!

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Monday, October 16, 2017

ROSARY REFLECTIONS

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES

The formative years of Jesus with his mother Mary.

 

THE MYSTERIES OF LIGHT

The formative years of the disciples with Jesus.

 

THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

A period of suffering and separation from Jesus.

 

THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

Time of promised togetherness with his disciples and mother Mary.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

A SOLDIER’S ROSARY

A soldier who stood on a landmine and was shot in the chest in Afghanistan is convinced a rosary saved his life in exactly the same way as his great-grandfather towards the end of the Second World War.

 

Glenn Hockton was on patrol with the Coldstream Guards in Helmand Province,  when his rosary suddenly fell from his neck.

 

His mother Sheri Jones said: “He felt like he had a slap on the back. He bent down to pick up his rosary to see if it was broken. As he bent down he realised he was on a landmine.”

 

Glenn had to stand there for 45 terrifying minutes while his colleagues successfully managed to get to him.

 

Mrs Jones, from Essex, said she was physically sick when her son rang to tell her of his ordeal.

 

His great-grandfather Joseph 'Sunny' Truman also credited a rosary with saving his life in a World War II blast that killed six members of his platoon.

 

He was with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and after being captured towards the end of the war, he and other prisoners were forced to march away from the advancing Allied armies.

 

Mrs Jones, 41, recalled: “He was walking across a field with half a dozen of his platoon. He bent down to pick something up and was the only one to survive a sudden bomb blast. He had picked up a rosary.”

 

Before Glenn was deployed to Afghanistan, she said he asked for a rosary to take with him.

 

His mother and stepfather Danyal Jones have also kept a bullet which embedded itself in Glenn's body armour when he was shot on a separate occasion. He was winded, but otherwise he was unhurt.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

AN OLD MAN’S ROSARY

In the 19th century there was much hope placed in science and much faith in material progress. During that time, in the compartment of a train in France, an old man was one day praying his Rosary.

 

At one stop a young intellectual entered the compartment and sat down. After a while, not able to stand it any more, this student of modern science said to the old man, “Why do you pray the Rosary? Why do you pray? There is no God. Only science. Yes, science is the answer.”

 

The old man remained silent. The youth not wanting to hurt him said, “Well, my friend, you mean no harm. You must lack education. Give me your address. I’ll send you some books to enlighten you. Yes, they will teach you that science and not prayer is the answer.”

 

Just at that moment it was the old man’s stop. Before leaving the compartment he reached into his coat pocket and took out his business card. He gave it to the intellectual who bid him, “Good day.” When the train started again the young man looked at the card. It read:

 

Louis Pasteur

Institute of Scientific Research

Paris

THE LAMP OF THE BODY IS THE EYE.
IT FOLLOWS THAT IF YOUR EYE IS SOUND,
YOUR WHOLE BODY WILL BE FILLED WITH LIGHT.
Matthew 6 : 22

Friday, October 13, 2017

100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FATIMA MIRACLE OF THE SUN

In Fatima, on October 13, 1917, up to 70,000 people gathered in expectation of a special sign that Our Lady would provide as proof of her apparitions there:

“The Lady appeared... as the blessed mother was leaving she opened her hands, and from them rays of light extended in the direction of the sun. Gradually the sun grew pale, appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly, without shielding their eyes. Rays of multicolored light shot out from the sun in every direction; red, blue, pink, green, and every colour of the spectrum. Then the sun began to spin madly on its axis and appeared like a giant wheel of fire. The sun began to dance wildly. Suddenly the sun seemed to be torn loose from its orbit. It hurtled closer and closer to earth, and looked like it was going to plummet to the earth. The people were terrified and there arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. Many thought it was the end of the world. Then, just as suddenly, the sun stopped plummeting downwards, and in the same swirling motion it began to climb upward until it resumed its place in the sky. The rain-soaked clothes of the people were immediately dry. This was an event reported by several newspapers of the day...”

HE LET HIS GLORY BE SEEN, AND HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED IN HIM. John 2 : 11

Witnessing the ‘miracle of the sun’ at Fatima and at Medjugorje.

‘DANCING SUN’ ALSO WITNESSED AT MEDJUGORJE

I experienced a similar spectacle on my second trip to Medjugorje in May 2001, when the sun seemed to come falling towards the earth. It also moved in a way, from right to left and towards me, as if making a sign of the cross, before settling in its original place and then pulsating many colours. I cannot find words to express my feelings at the time. 

‘SPINNING SUN’, TOO

But in many visits to Medjugorje I had never encountered the more prevalent spinning sun, until my pilgrimage in May 2005. Of course, there was wonder and some excitement on my part – not so much at seeing the sun spin, but because I slowly began to understand and realise that God communicates to individual hearts through this phenomenon.

 

I was taking photographs near to where the Risen Christ sculpture stands when the excitement of three women gazing into the sun, prompted me to turn and look upwards. The light was dazzling and I was forced to look away and focus on the faces of the women instead – one in particular, who was wide-eyed and continued staring towards the evening sun. I moved and stood beside her, and still I could not look up and face the sun with my eyes open. And I wondered how she could see and I could not when we were standing right next to each other!

I began to take close-up pictures of her face and witnessed a range of emotions through the lens of the camera, from wonderful surprise to tears of joy, and then questioning amazement. And I turned my head again, and still could not look towards the blinding sun. What kind of God can do these things – give such a gift to one and not another?

A little later I started to walk back along the footpath towards St James’ church, and almost casually, turned to give God another chance to let me in on the spectacle. He did! And like many before me, I thought I could record it all on camera. How wrong I was. Although I could view the spinning sun through the lens, I wasn’t able to capture what I was seeing on the digital camera. It was puzzling, but then I realised a valuable lesson. God wasn’t communicating to my camera. It wasn’t a gift for some man-made, carefully-crafted equipment, but a gift for what God had created and valued more than anything – my heart.

 

He was revealing himself, as he always does, in a knowing way – just as he had with the woman earlier. Heart was speaking to heart and for many pilgrims in Medjugorje this experience is a major first step to conversion, confession and heartfelt peace. Someone once wrote: “You know very well when the Lord speaks, he touches.” How true this is!

Pilgrims claim the sun phenomena at Medjugorje reminds them of the Blessed Sacrament.

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Three days later they found Jesus in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” “Why were you looking for me?” replied Jesus, “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” But they did not understand what he meant.  Luke 2 : 46-50

Thursday, October 12, 2017

THE FINDING IN THE TEMPLE

Is your prayer life on the wane? Maybe can’t even say a prayer to save your life, complete a rosary or even begin to start one? Calling out to Jesus and he just doesn’t seem to be around? It happens!

 

It happened to me sometime ago. Everything just dried up! And then one day I made the effort to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour and the ball was back in play again. I talked, he listened; he talked and I listened. And then there were the silences and a sense of peace and quiet all around before the conversation got going again. It’s not so strange to sit in silence and enjoy each other’s company. My wife and I do a lot of the time!

 

And then it was time to go, with a promise from me saying, “We must do this again sometime!”

 

Later that day I picked up my Bible, started to read Luke’s Gospel and began to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. It was when I got to the fifth mystery, The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, that I experienced one of those ‘moments’ – an insight, a revelation, a realisation that Jesus was still carrying on the conversation from that afternoon.

 

It was when the caravan was returning to Nazareth after the Passover in Jerusalem that Mary and Joseph woke up to the fact that Jesus had gone ‘missing’. For the first day they hadn’t noted his absence and then suddenly his disappearance caused worry and concern. They went to look for him among their relatives and friends but he wasn’t with them, so Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem to continue their search there. It took another two days before they discovered Jesus – in the temple, in the church!

 

And just like my time earlier that day, Jesus was sitting there, listening and asking questions, in conversation with those in the temple, and coming up with some amazing answers.

 

So even in Our Lady’s life, Jesus went ‘missing’, and it took a visit to the Temple to find him! Mary and Joseph didn’t understand at the time when Jesus said they shouldn’t be surprised to find him in the Temple going about his Father’s business. But I know and understand now that if I am to discover Jesus I must seek and discover him in the church, as well as in the temple of my own heart and the hearts of others.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ENTERING INTO THE MYSTERY

Pope Francis said in his 2015 Easter Vigil homily that it was a time to enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life. The phrase “to enter into the mystery” brings to mind the prayer of the Rosary and its Mysteries, the contemplation of the life of Jesus, culminating in the Glorious Mysteries and the Resurrection.

 

Imagine the disciples gathered in the Upper Room after the Crucifixion, praying and recalling the life of Jesus, and sharing memories with Mary and each other. Living the Rosary, so to speak. For the tired and mournful disciples, perhaps not understanding what had happened or why, this mystery would soon progress to a joyful and miraculous meeting with the Saviour after his Resurrection.

 

Pope Francis emphasised five times the words, ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY. A rosary is composed of five decades of prayer focused on five mysteries. The Pope’s words provide a powerful aid to contemplating and mediating on the Mysteries of the Rosary.

 

“To ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).

 

“To ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions… 

 

“To ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love.  It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence. 

 

“To ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY, we need humility, the lowliness to abase ourselves, to come down from the pedestal of our “I” which is so proud, of our presumption; the humility not to take ourselves so seriously, recognising who we really are: creatures with strengths and weaknesses, sinners in need of forgiveness.  

 

“To ENTER INTO THE MYSTERY we need the lowliness that is powerlessness, the renunciation of our idols… in a word, we need to adore.  Without adoration, we cannot enter into the mystery. The women who were Jesus’ disciples teach us all of this. They kept watch that night, together with Mary. And she, the Virgin Mother, helped them not to lose faith and hope. As a result, they did not remain prisoners of fear and sadness, but at the first light of dawn they went out carrying their ointments, their hearts anointed with love. They went forth and found the tomb open. And they went in. They had kept watch, they went forth and they entered into the Mystery. May we learn from them to keep watch with God and with Mary our Mother, so that we too may enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life.”

 

Praying the Rosary is a beautiful way to enter into the Mystery which leads from life to death. The full text of the Pope’s Easter Vigil homily is available HERE.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE PARISH OF MARTHA AND MARY

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© FotoĐANI

We find that thousands of people come here to Medjugorje to be renewed inwardly and to be strengthened in their faith. Everyone of them needs somewhere to live and someone who will cook and care for them.

 

Thus our parish has become Martha so that the pilgrims may totally assume the role of Mary and enjoy time and quiet to which to listen to the Lord.

 

Compared with the preceding years, this now means that the Medjugorje people often have to cut down on their own prayer and attendance at the evening liturgy. However, we have to accept this, if not as something positive, then as “shadows” that cannot be avoided. Things would be different if the pilgrims could do without accommodation and food!

 

So in all this one must rightly recognise the spirit of service in which the local people continue to receive the pilgrim multitudes.

 

Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM, writing in 1989.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

FILL THE JARS WITH WATER

I always find the account from John’s Gospel of the Cana Wedding interesting in the way it relates in a sense to the events at Medjugorje, where new wine flows into the hearts of those who accept the invitation to the wedding – to arrive, experience and give witness to a new relationship – and respond to the call of the mother of Jesus when she says: “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

At Medjugorje, through the intercession of the mother of Jesus, hearts become vessels filled with prayer, purified with the waters of repentance, and when filled allow miracles to take place and new wine – the best of wine – to flow and be enjoyed.

 

To many, the glory seen and witnessed at Medjugorje is wonderful confirmation of God’s love for his people; it is clearly visible and makes pilgrims into new disciples, renewed in faith and belief in Jesus, ready to follow him alongside his mother and the brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

There is a wedding at Medjugorje in Herzegovina. The mother of Jesus is there; and Jesus and his disciples are also in attendance…

 

Taste and see. All are invited.

WHEN THE WINE RUNS OUT... There are times in all of our lives when the wine can run out, especially in relationships. Meditating on this passage from John’s Gospel (2 : 1-12) and praying the second Mystery of Light is a most powerful prayer for improving and healing relationships, be it with friends, family, marriage, enemies – or even with Jesus himself. Pray the rosary decade and meditate on the mystery every day and see the new wine begin to flow in relationships – be it for yourself or for others!

MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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MYSTERIES OF LIGHT

THE PILLAR OF THE CLOUD

 

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, 

Lead thou me on; 

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead thou me on. 

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

 

I was not for ever thus, nor prayed that thou

Shouldst lead me on; 

I loved to choose and see my path; but now

Lead thou me on, 

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still

Will lead me on, 

O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone; 

And with the morn those angel faces smile, 

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Cardinal John Henry Newman

by Sir John Everett Millais

BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

FOUR SIMPLE DAILY QUESTIONS

Most days, I ask myself four simple questions. 

 

1. In what way have I experienced or shared a joy today, be it only briefly?

2. Have I experienced or shared a moment of clarity and understanding?

3. Have I experienced or shared a sorrow or regret in my heart?

4. In what way have I marvelled at something special, seen or heard? 

 

Asking these four questions of myself leads to understanding and accepting that every day is an opportunity to share and experience the wonderful graces of life’s mysteries associated with the Rosary… Joy, Light, Sorrow, and Glory. 

 

Try asking these four questions for the next seven days and experience the difference this simple meditation makes in your life.

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MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, October 16, 2002

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MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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Friday, October 6, 2017

THE FIRST PARISH ROSARY AT MEDJUGORJE

Fr Jozo Zovko, parish priest of Medjugorje at the start of the apparitions, recalls the first time the parish prayed the rosary together…

 

The area was blocked by the police and by the army. The visionaries, controlled by the home guards, could not leave their houses. Jakov (pictured above) had the apparition in his home. The Gospa gave a message to him to bring to me that evening at the church for Mass.

 

He was like a prisoner in his home, for the armed guard was in front of his door. Jakov, so small, felt he should obey the Gospa. He looked through the keyhole. When he saw that the guard had fallen asleep (for here in July it is very warm), quietly he opened the window and jumped out. The guard awakened, entered the house, and saw that Jakov was no longer there. By radio, he informed all the stations of the blockade in the direction of the church. Jakov changed cars six times in order to escape the stations of the blockade.

 

He arrived at the church as I was finishing Mass. I felt someone pulling on my sleeve. I looked down and saw him. He told me very quietly, “The Gospa has given me a message for the people.” I lifted him up and stood him on the altar before the microphone. He said: “ The Gospa told me to come to tell you to pray the Rosary this evening.” The people immediately felt that the Gospa was near them. Many began to weep because it was a period of great repression on the part of the police. They looked for the rosary in their pockets.

 

It was the first parish Rosary which was said in the church at Medjugorje. I put Jakov back on the floor. He was barefooted, dirty and dusty. On the altar cloth remained the imprint of his two little feet. Then the Gospa came in the middle of the church and thanked me, and added the same words: “You must say the Rosary every evening.” And since then, in Medjugorje, we always say the Rosary.

 

• This recollection by Fr Jozo was recorded by Pietro Zorza, and appears in the book: Ten Years of Apparitions, by Fr René Laurentin.

Friday, October 6, 2017

POPE FRANCIS RECITES ROSARY EVERY DAY

In a tribute to Pope John Paul II written after the Pontiff’s death in 2005, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, and now Pope Francis, recounted how the Polish Pope’s example inspired him to “recite the 15 mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

 

“If I remember well it was 1985,” Cardinal Bergoglio wrote. “One evening I went to recite the Holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father. He was in front of everybody, on his knees. The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our Pastor.”

 

“In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his pity, his devotion was a witness,” he continued. “And the time drifted away, and I began to imagine the young priest, the seminarian, the poet, the worker, the child from Wadowice… in the same position in which knelt at that moment, reciting Ave Maria after Ave Maria. His witness struck me.”

 

Cardinal Bergoglio added, in words translated by 30 Days magazine:

 

“I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path up to his Mother in the sky, a path set out on from his childhood. And I became aware of the density of the words of the Mother of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego: ‘Don’t be afraid, am I not perhaps your mother?’ I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the Pope.”

 

“That testimony did not get forgotten in an instant. From that time on I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

MONTH OF THE ROSARY
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One of my young grandsons (20 months) is never without a Thomas the Tank dvd case in his hand. He walks around with it all day, eats his meals holding it, even sleeps with it.

 

At first, I thought it a strange habit, until a voice reminded me there was a time I always had a cigarette in my hand – and sometimes a glass of alcohol in the other. These days I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, or even own a mobile phone to put in my hand; but I do walk around clutching rosary beads (not an uncommon sight for those who visit Medjugorje).

 

Praying the Joyful Mysteries on my morning walk recently, the words came to me: “Keep me close at hand... I keep you in mine...”

 

There is no better way of keeping Jesus close at hand than praying the Rosary and keeping the beads in hand. It’s a constant reminder of his presence.

 

And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Matthew 10 : 7

 

For I, the Lord, your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you “Do not be afraid, I will help you.” Isaiah 41 : 13

KEEPING JESUS CLOSE AT HAND

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI

“He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”  

St Francis of Assisi

OF SMOKE AND SEAGULLS

Perhaps it really was a ‘heavenly’ sign when a seagull was seen perched on the chimney as the world watched and waited for white smoke to billow out – a signal to the world that the cardinal electors had decided on a new Pope.

 

The seagull remained for a considerable time before flying off a short time before the white smoke came through.

 

Then it was announced that the appointed cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had taken the name of Francis for his pontificate, after Francis of Assisi – the saint who enjoyed the company of feathered friends.

Such was his embracement of nature and creation, the humble Italian saint would refer to all of God’s creatures as “bothers and sisters”.

 

And what were the first words of the new Pope when he addressed the crowd from the Vatican balcony shortly after his election? “Brothers and sisters, good evening”. He continued: “Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.” The brotherhood of St Francis included all of God’s creation.

When the sky is cloudy, it is a blessing for those who know the sun... Pope Francis

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

JOYFUL MYSTERIES OF UNCERTAINTY

There has been much uncertainty and comment in Medjugorje circles and the media in recent months over the personal comments Pope Francis made about the outcome of the International Commission report evaluating the Medjuguorje phenomenon. Should we surprised? The life of the Mother of Jesus teaches that there is joy to be found in uncertainty.

 

Donald Rumsfeld, a former United States Secretary of Defence, once said: “As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

 

None of us, it seems, have all the answers – not even Donald Rumsfeld. But for all the unknowns and uncertainties in life, we can also be assured of, through God’s goodness, the certitudes of joy. Sometimes the two feelings go hand in hand. Uncertainties can raise questions, even when we experience joy in our heart. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary illustrate this truth. Each occasion of joy, each bead, is threaded and tied with a question of uncertainty.

 

In the mystery of the Annunciation, the news that she is chosen to be the Mother of God prompts Mary to ask with uncertainty: “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?”

 

Her cousin Elizabeth, overjoyed and excited by Mary’s visitation also raises a question: “Why should I be so honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?”

 

And surely there is uncertainty for Mary and Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem to register for the census, aware that the birth of Jesus is imminent. No hospitals in those days, not even room in a warm guest-house.

 

Then the time arrives for Joseph and Mary to fulfil the law and present Jesus in the Temple – a joyful occasion, notably for Simeon who has waited so long to set eyes on the Saviour of the world. But for Mary and Joseph, they can only stand and wonder at the things Simeon is saying about Jesus, especially when he speaks to Mary of a sword that will pierce her heart.

 

Life’s unknowns for Mary and Joseph manifest again in the final joyful mystery when Jesus goes missing. It’s a joy to discover that he is safe in the Temple. But this joy is mixed with uncertainty when Mary asks her Son, “My child, why have you done this to us?” And even when Jesus explains, his parents fail to understand his answer. The question of uncertainty remains.

 

Each joyful mystery is a journey, each bead a stop on the journey, a station, an incident – an episode in our life. And we know there is a degree of uncertainty with any journey we undertake.

 

The journey for Mary begins with the arrival of the Angel Gabriel. Pregnant, she sets out on a long journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, some 70 miles away. Three months later Mary returns to Nazareth. Almost six months pass before Joseph and Mary are on the move again, this time to Bethlehem. From Bethlehem it’s just a short passage to Jerusalem for the Presentation; and then follows the long journey into Egypt before the Holy Family eventually move back to Nazareth.

 

St Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph would journey to Jerusalem every year for the Passover. On one occasion on their way back to Nazareth, they discover that Jesus is missing from the caravan. And so yet another journey, another step of uncertainty, is undertaken to search for the twelve-year-old.

 

The journeys for Jesus and Mary continue with the Mysteries of Light, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries.

 

It is impossible to share in this journey and its joys and illuminations, its sorrows and glories, without confronting uncertainty and the unknown. There is no easy by-pass to Heaven, just the certainty of faith knowing that Jesus has prepared a place for each of us that desire to make the journey and follow him.

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FEAST OF THE GUARDIAN ANGELS, October 2, 2017

I shouldn’t, but I do – count the number of penitents in line when I go to confession. It could be a handful, it could be dozens, but I take delight in knowing that for every person who confesses their sins it prompts much rejoicing in heaven!

 

Jesus says so in Luke’s gospel (15 : 1-10)… “I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.”

 

Mostly we are conditioned to petition heaven to send joy into the world, so it comes as a surprising truth that here on earth each of one of us is capable of generating joy in heaven and among the angels of God.

 

If just one different person repents each minute of the day, that gives the angels 1,440 repentant souls to rejoice over daily. Not a lot, is it? But enough for the angels in heaven to receive perpetual joy! 

 

And imagine how that joy intensifies as the number of repenting souls on earth increases. 

So for the angels in heaven, what a wonderful source of joy Medjugorje must be – the confessional of the world!

 

I am here, dear children, to help you and to lead you to heaven, and in heaven is the joy through which you can already live heaven now. Medjugorje message, May 25, 1991

THE LITTLE FLOWER

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”  

Thérèse de Lisieux

OCTOBER IS THE MONTH OF THE ROSARY

The rosary, little children, is especially dear to me. Through the rosary open your heart to me and I am able to help you.  

part of the Medjugorje message given to Marija Pavlovic, August 25, 1997

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I have two sons and one of them also has two sons. I have a daughter who has two sons. My father had two sons. So today’s Gospel (Matt 21 : 28-32) comparing two sons rings bells with me. 

 

In his question put to the chief priests and elders, Jesus makes clear he identifies them as the son who says he will go and work in the vineyard but then feels he has no need to. 

 

The other son, in the guise of tax collectors and prostitutes, refuses at first to work in the vineyard but then experiences a change of heart and does so. 

 

Does the father of the two sons love them any more or less because of their response to his request? No. The lack of love is shown in the response by the son who refuses to do his father’s will after saying he would. 

 

I suppose it could be said that the different attitudes of the two sons exists in many of us at times. We make promises that we fail to keep, or sometimes refuse a request but later think better of it. Wanting to right oneself, or putting things right, is really what matters most – making our peace with the Father. 

 

Jesus criticises ‘righteousness’ in the form displayed by the chief priests and elders who didn‘t feel the necessity to receive the baptism of repentance offered by John. He makes the point that because the tax collectors and prostitutes repent and accept John’s baptism, they are making their way into the kingdom of God ahead of the self-righteous. 

 

I remember once going to confession in Medjugorje at the start of a pilgrimage. I had only been to confession a few days earlier and felt I had nothing really to confess. I explained this to the priest. His response was: “Let’s start with pride!” 

 

Perhaps this is also the point Jesus is making to the chief priests and elders when he asks them: “Which of the two sons did the father’s will?” 

 

The two sons passage also reminds me of two family tragedies that happened many years ago. Two brothers, aged 19 and 17 and distant cousins of mine, drowned in the Delaware River on Christmas Day while hunting duck for dinner. Nine months later my father-in-law lost his only brother when he drowned in a canal at the age of 10. 

 

In her messages from Medjugorje, Our Lady comments on the mixed response to the will of God in our lives when she invites us to work in the vineyard.

 

Dear children! Today I am grateful to you for your presence in this place, where I am giving you special graces. I call each one of you to begin to live as of today that life which God wishes of you and to begin to perform good works of love and mercy. I do not want you, dear children, to live the message and be committing sin which is displeasing to me. Therefore, dear children, I want each of you to live a new life without destroying all that God produces in you and is giving you. I give you my special blessing and I am remaining with you on your way of conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call.  Medjugorje message, March 25, 1987

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A MAN HAD TWO SONS

Saturday, September 30, 2017

ST JEROME, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scriptures – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Second letter of Paul to Timothy 3:14-17