The sun of righteousness appeared in the east and gave light to those who were in the darkness and in the shadow of death (Lk. 1:79) ...The powerful lion sprang up out of the wood; all the wild beasts hid in their dens…This, if you like, is the way of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when he saw the real enemy of the whole human race, who is the devil. For the devil invaded the whole earth, and afflicted everyone with many kinds of sins, which he spreads with these great scourges, namely, idolatry, robbery, vanity, fornication, theft, murder, slander, licentiousness, envy, hatred, contempt, anger, sorcery, pollution, fraud, arrogance, perjury, falsehood, corruption, prostitution, deceit and whatever is similar in them. These are the traps which the devil set for humanity, until he brought it to perdition and dispersed it. Well now. Let us consider in what way Christ the king made war against the devil until he released our souls from him and set them free. Let us begin, then, to penetrate the great treasure house full of the fruits of life.
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.”
So my soul longs for you, O God…
When shall I come and behold the face of God?”
and rebelled, turning aside
from your commandments and ordinances;
we have not listened to your servants the prophets….”
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.”
FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY
He was prepared to seek God as long as Zechariah lived, who taught him to FEAR God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
As long as you seek the Lord you will prosper. This verse is about the reign of King Uzziah.
· King Uzziah reigns for 52 years and does a whole bunch of awesome stuff. He wins wars, he makes allies, he builds up cities, he develops agricultural systems, and he creates a mighty army.
· But pride comes before a fall. King Uzziah gets so powerful that he starts to get over-confident.
· One day, he decides that he'd like to step into the Temple to make some offerings.
· Only the high priests can make offerings in the Temple and they warn him to get out.
· While Uzziah's reading the riot act to the priests, he breaks out in a huge rash all over his face right there in the Temple.
· After that, he's considered "leprous" so he can't enter the Temple ever again.
· He's so sick that his son Jotham has to take over his kingly duties until he dies.
Humble yourselves therefor under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
Learn about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the graces that come from observing First Fridays
It is no wonder, therefore, that our predecessors have constantly defended this most approved form of devotion — the pious devotion of the faithful toward the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus [and] the custom of receiving Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month at the desire of Christ Jesus, a custom which now prevails everywhere.—Pope Pius XI Miserentissimus Redemptor
What’s so special about First Fridays?
Our parents grew up going to church every First Friday of the month and taking part in Sacred Heart devotions, but in recent decades the pious practice has fallen out of practice, and is dismissed by some as an “old-fashioned” anachronism.
A main reason for the decline in interest in this devotion is probably rooted in simple ignorance: people don’t know what First Fridays all are about; families and parishes may not have adequately passed down their importance to the next generation. Here are five things to know.
1. How did the First Friday Devotion begin?
While some saints referenced the Heart of Jesus in their writings even centuries earlier, in 1673, a French Visitandine (Visitation) nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque had visions of Jesus, wherein he asked the Church to honor His Most Sacred Heart. In particular, Jesus asked the faithful to “receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months.” The request was connected to a specific promise made to all who venerated and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. After Margaret Mary’s death, the First Friday practice steadily spread in the Church — endorsed by popes and promoted by saints — but it greatly increased in popularity when Margaret Mary was canonized a saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
2. Why nine consecutive months?
The number nine is traditionally associated with a novena and finds its origin in the nine days that the apostles spent in prayer before Pentecost. A novena provides an extended amount of time for preparation and interior renewal.
3. What am I supposed to do on First Fridays?
Go to Mass and receive Holy Communion with the intention of honoring Christ’s Sacred Heart. If you are not in a state of grace, and thus unable to receive, you will also need to go to confession.
4. What are the “promises” connected to this devotion?
Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary, “In the excess of the mercy of my heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.” This means that if a person faithfully receives communion for nine consecutive months on First Fridays, Jesus will grant that person extra graces at the time of their death, making it possible to repent of their sins and receive the last rites (if needed).
This promise is the last of 12 promises connected to the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, particularly attached to the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in one’s home:
(1) I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
(2) I will establish peace in their homes.
(3) I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
(4) I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
(5) I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
(6) Sinners will find in my heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
(7) Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
(8) Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
(9) I will bless every place in which an image of my heart is exposed and honored.
10) I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
(11) Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
(12) I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
5. Are the First Fridays a “ticket” to heaven?
It is not as simple as going to Mass for nine months and then clocking out, never going to Mass again and leading a sinful life! The entire purpose of this devotion is to draw a person closer to the heart of Christ. If a person fulfills these obligations with sincere faith, it is natural for he or she to be closer to God and better prepared for death. The moment that this devotion is observed in a superstitious manner, neglecting the need to live a virtuous life, all bets are off and Jesus’ promise is null and void.
Jesus wants us to rest on his heart, like St. John, and the First Friday devotion is an opportunity for us to encounter him more than just on Sundays and to deepen our love of him.
Coming to know, love and trust that we may take rest in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and place our anxieties within, is what the First Fridays are all about.
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
THIS day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because on it Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age.
In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: “Hail, holy parent, who didst bring forth the King Who rules heaven and earth forever. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak of my works for the King.”
Prayer. Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her visitation we may obtain an increase of peace. Amen.
EPISTLE. Cant. ii. 8-14.
Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; be hold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land: the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come: my dove in the cliffs of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, show me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.
GOSPEL. Luke i. 39-47.
At that time: Mary rising up went into the hill-country with haste, into a city of Juda: and she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she cried out with a loud voice and said : Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
1. As soon as Mary heard that Elizabeth was with child, she hastened to her. The alacrity of the Blessed Virgin teaches us that we should take part with gladness in the happiness of our fellowmen, and quickly make ourselves ready to discharge our duties, sacrificing for that object, if necessary, even our own much-loved retirement, our devotions and other exercises of piety.
2. Mary visited her cousin out of real love, not out of unmeaning ceremony. Would that her example was followed in our visits!
3. By the visit of the Blessed Virgin John was sanctified in his mother’s womb, and Elizabeth, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, knew, by the miraculous movements of her child, that Mary was the Mother of the Lord. Such effects did this visit produce. What would Jesus effect in us if we received Him with due preparation!
EXPLANATION OF THE CANTICLE “MAGNIFICATE” or “MY SOUL DOST MAGNIFY THE LORD.”
In this hymn Mary with joy praises God, the Lord, that He has regarded her humility, and made her to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son, wherefore she should be called blessed by all generations; and she declares the truths and mysteries which the incarnation brought to light. The mercy of God, namely, reaches from generation to generation to them that fear Him. He scatters the thoughts of the proud, and puts down from their seats the mighty; but He exalts the humble. He fills those who hunger for justice with good things, but those who think themselves rich He sends away empty. He receives all true Israelites, and performs in them the promises which He gave to the fathers. This hymn is repeated by the Church every day at Vespers, in praise of the work of redemption, begun by the incarnation of the Son of God in Mary. Would that every Christian, since he becomes one only by Christ being, as it were, born in him, might share those feelings which the Blessed Virgin and Mother has expressed in this hymn of praise, and, with the Church, daily praise God for the mystery of the incarnation!
Aspiration. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who didst descend from the highest heavens to the womb of the Virgin Mary, didst therein rest for nine months, and with her didst condescend to visit and sanctify St. John, grant that we, by the practice of good works, particularly of humility, may become partakers of the fruits of Thy incarnation.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visitation_(Christianity) (note: In Christianity, the Visitation is the visit of St. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, to St. Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56. It is also the name of a Christian feast day commemorating this visit, celebrated on 31 May in Western Christianity (2 July in calendars of the 1263–1969 period, and in the modern regional calendar of some countries whose bishops' conferences wanted to retain the original date, notably Germany and Slovakia) and 30 March in Eastern Christianity.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.