Do you have prayer intentions I can pray for?

Today, the Pauline Family begins our Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles, which this year we celebrate on Saturday, May 19th, the day before Pentecost.

This year, I would like to offer the Novena for all of you! If you have a specific intention, I will pray for you specifically if you send it in to me. You can put it in the comments below, or email me: https://windowstothesoul.wordpress.com/contact-me/

My theme this year is Mary as Communicator. In addition to the traditional novena prayers, I will pray this prayer daily, as well as renewing my Marian Consecration. You can join in the Novena with me simply by praying this prayer for the next 9 days!

Mary, Woman of Communication

O Mother of our Lord Jesus, woman open to the gift of the Spirit, you are the true communicator because you revealed to us the Word of the Father. He sends his Son into the midst of the men and women of every age, so that they might discover his infinite love for them and learn to communicate among themselves as brothers and sisters.

You are the loving Virgin who made herself available to God; the temple of God who silently welcomed and guarded the great mystery of the Word made flesh in your womb, so that our eyes, blinded by sin and by our restless human longings, might contemplate the living Christ and see in him the face of the Father.

You revealed your beloved Son to the poor and the wise in the eloquent poverty of Bethlehem and in the simplicity of the little house in Nazareth. You followed him with total dedication as he carried out his mission, traveling the paths of the world with him up to the moment of his sacrifice on the cross.

In silent adoration, you awaited his glorious resurrection.

After his ascension, you remained in prayer with the apostles in the upper room, so as to welcome the Spirit, who helps us understand and communicate, renew the world, and transform our lives in such a way that Christ, your Son, might always live in us.

O Mary, our Lady and Queen of communication, we pray for all who communicate the Gospel. Help us all to transmit a little of your light, your unshakable faith, and your vigilant, hope-filled love. Help us to work in a concrete way to give birth to a new world by working to establish the Kingdom of God.  – from Live Christ! Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization 

 

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Join in our Novena to Mary Queen of Apostles

I’m re-posting this from my Co-Author Your Life with God Blog, in case you would like to join in the novena and add your prayer intentions!

queenofapostles
Today, we begin the novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles. This feast day is celebrated on May 23rd this year–the Saturday before Pentecost, when Mary gathered the apostles in prayer to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Of course, when the Holy Spirit descended, the Apostles received very special graces to go forth and carry out their mission!  It’s a very special feast day for my community as communicators of the Gospel, because Mary is the ultimate Communicator of the Word of God. 

Our Pauline website has an explanation of what the title means. In the images of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Mary is holding Jesus out–as if to give him away. Blessed James Alberione describes the meaning of this gesture very specifically: “In the ‘Hail, Holy Queen,’ the Church describes her [Mary] to us with very beautiful titles, but the most beautiful is the one we see portrayed in the new painting of the Queen of the Apostles, in which the Madonna does not clasp Jesus to her heart, but holds him out to the Apostles, as her most sweet fruit, in order that they, in turn, will hold him out to humanity.”

For our purpose as discerners, Mary is also known as the “Spouse of the Spirit” because she so closely listened to, treasured, and responded to the invitations of the Spirit.

I invite each of you to send in your prayer intentions–you can email me if you want to remain anonymous, or send me a message on Twitter. (@SisterMPaul) If you add it in as a comment below, I will cut and paste all the prayer intentions (including the initials of those who wish to be anonymous), and we can all pray for each other on our discernment journeys.

I will post up a short prayer each day of the novena, so that if you check in over the next nine days, we can unite not just in intention, but also focus our prayers. The prayer below is an excerpt from our Founder’s prayer of entrusting to Mary–his own version of Consecration to Mary. It’s a beautiful prayer to begin our novena:

Receive me, Mary, Mother, Teacher and Queen,
among those whom you love, nourish, sanctify and guide,
in the school of Jesus Christ, the Divine Master.
You identify in God’s mind those whom he calls,
and for them you have special prayers, grace, light and consolations.
My Master Jesus Christ entrusted himself wholly to you,
from the Incarnation to the Ascension.
For me this is doctrine, example and an ineffable gift.
I too place myself entirely into your hands.
Obtain for me the grace to know, imitate and love always more
the Divine Master, Way and Truth and Life.

                                                                                                                – Blessed James Alberione

Happy Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles

QueenofApostles SmallerHappy Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles!

Today is a beautiful reminder for Catholic artists how Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the best communicator of Jesus. Mary’s few words  in the Gospels are simple and eloquent, leading us directly to Jesus. “Do whatever he tells you,” is a beautiful example of how every word and action of Mary points us to Jesus. But Mary’s example is even more powerful than her words. She is the ultimate model for an evangelizer through her witness of life: Mary’s entire life is a portal to Jesus  for others. Mary “proclaimed” Jesus through her life, actions, words, canticle of praise, silence. And Mary continues to be a portal to Jesus from heaven.

In his meditations on Mary, our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, specifically honors Mary as Queen of Apostles. (Blessed James not only gave the Pauline Family this particular devotion to Mary, he named one of our sister-congregations after her.) In one of these meditations, he describes the “apostolates” that we are all called to, in order of urgency:

1) Interior life–in other words, working for our sanctification

2) Prayer

3) Witness

4) Suffering

5) Word

6) Action (all active apostolates)

Mary lived all of these aspects of being an apostle. She was present not only at the beginning of Jesus’ mission, at the wedding feast of Cana, but she was also present at the beginning of the Church’s mission, gathered in the upper room, praying with the disciples at Pentecost.

With Mary in mind, Alberione goes on to describe what a real apostle is:

  An apostle is one who bears God within and radiates him everywhere. An apostle is a holy person who stores up treasures and bestows the surplus on others. An apostle has a heart filled with love for God and for people; she cannot restrain or repress what she feels and thinks. An apostle is a vessel of election that overflows, and to whom people rush to slake their thirst. An apostle is a temple of the Blessed Trinity, which is at work in her at full power. An apostle is a person who exudes God from all her pores: through her words, works, prayers, gestures, attitude…  Inhale God! Exhale God!
 

This “inhaling and exhaling” of God–that our relationship with God is our very life’s breath–is what it means to be an apostle. And Mary can show us how. I love how St. John Paul II called Mary the Star of the New Evangelization. We certainly need a  model for all our communication…but often, we need a reminder of where our “apostleship” begins–where all our communication starts: in our hearts.

To Mary, Queen of Apostles
by Blessed James Alberione

I thank you, merciful Jesus, for having given us Mary as our Mother. And I thank you, Mary for having given to the world the Divine Master, Jesus, Way and Truth and Life, and for having accepted us all as your children on Calvary. Your mission is united to that of Jesus, who “came to seek those who were lost.” Therefore, oppressed by my sins, faults, and negligence, I take refuge in you, Mother, as my supreme hope. Turn your eyes of mercy toward me. Bestow your most maternal care on this, your most needy child.I place all my trust in you for pardon, conversion and sanctity. Form a new class among your children, that of the most needy: those in whom sin has taken root, where formerly there abounded grace. This will be the class that will most move you to pity. Receive my poor soul into this class. Work a great wonder by changing a great sinner into an apostle. It will be an unheard-of-wonder, and a new glory for your Son, Jesus, and for you, his and my Mother. I hope to receive everything from your heart, Mother, Teacher and Queen of the Apostles. Amen.

* * *

A last note: I was unable to preview the film, The Fault in Our Stars, opening this weekend. But for those who are interested, I would like encourage you to check out Sr. Rose Pacatte’s reflective, well-balanced review here.

 

Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles

Mary, Queen of Apostles

Today we Pauline sisters celebrate the Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles, appropriately placed the Saturday before Pentecost, when Mary gathered in prayer with the apostles. It’s a very special feastday for us as communicators of the Gospel, because Mary is the ultimate Communicator of the Word of God.

Our Pauline website has an explanation of what the title means. In the images of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Mary is holding Jesus out–as if to give him away. Blessed James Alberione describes the meaning of this gesture very specifically: “In the ‘Hail, Holy Queen,’ the Church describes her [Mary] to us with very beautiful titles, but the most beautiful is the one we see portrayed in the new painting of the Queen of the Apostles, in which the Madonna does not clasp Jesus to her heart, but holds him out to the Apostles, as her most sweet fruit, in order that they, in turn, will hold him out to humanity.”

What a richly symbolic gesture–holding Jesus out for others to receive! What a great image for all baptized Christians who are called to “communicate Christ” in our lives. And what a profoundly meaningful image for those whose life work is dedicated to communicating the Gospel…always holding out Jesus Christ.

As I was praying the Novena to the Queen of Apostles this week, I was also preparing to start writing a new project. And I started to connect Mary’s motherly journey (once a mother, always a mother) with the creative journey of a new project. A conceiving, nurturing, giving birth, teaching, preparing, accompanying, and letting go (or entrusting to God) are all stages of being a mother and stages of being an artist. I am still pondering how to describe the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this–the Spirit who descends so powerfully on Mary at the Annunciation and again at Pentecost.

Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for all artists who seek to present God in our creative works and in the most important masterpiece of all–our own lives.

Introduction to Mary as Communicator of Christ

Queen of Apostles

This lovely photograph of Mary, Queen of Apostles, was taken by Sr. Mary Emmanuel of the Daughters of St. Paul. Sr. Emmanuel has a tremendous gift of “incarnating” the Gospel in images. As today is the first day of the Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles, which the entire Pauline Family will celebrate this year on Saturday, May 22nd, I thought it’d be interesting to examine more closely the role of Mary as a communicator of Christ.

Mary doesn’t necessarily spring to mind as a “mentor” for writers or communicators because she seems to be a woman of few words. Yet, how profound her “few words” are! (I wish I could speak as succintly and deeply.) But Mary didn’t communicate just with her words. Her entire life was a portal for Jesus, beginning with her physical motherhood. Father Alberione used to say that whenever you find Mary in the Gospels, you find Jesus. From the three wisemen who searched for Jesus and found him in Mary’s arms, to the wedding at Cana, to the foot of the cross, Mary is always there–pointing to Jesus.

If Mary had not said “yes” at the moment of the Annunciation (“I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word”), we would not have Jesus Christ. Our Founder put it this way: “Mary, you gave the world The Book to read: the Eternal Word.”

Here is a link that further describes Mary as the Queen of Apostles, and also shares a simple version of the novena that Daughters of St. Paul around the world begin today: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/Queennovena.html