The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin,a few years ago visited the Pope and asked Francis to fulfill the request of Our Lady of Fatima that Russia be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Mary.
“We are free to choose our slave-master”, says St. Louis De Montfort, a great thinker who explains the dynamics of a life devoted to Jesus and Mary. He explains that devotion to Mary is devotion to Jesus, because Jesus wants it that way. Jesus was giving us an example of a society in which holy women and good mothers are respected. Mary gave us an example of a deeply humble and perfect woman, whose power is hidden and mysterious. Free audio book, 5 parts. Very nice to listen to, I think, and worth downloading.
When I was growing up, I kept Mary close to my heart. She grew up with me, being young with me when I was young, and now she is at middle age with me, where I am now. All the women around me venerated the Blessed Virgin Mary in many ways. Mary is our Advocate, our lawyer, our pleader before Jesus the Judge and his father, the Almighty God. Mary is our merciful mother with the power to tell her son what to do. Jesus must obey his Holy Mother, that’s just how it works and St. Simon explains it well, but here is a shorter version.
I spent a great deal of time in church when I was a child, helping my grandmother prepare the altar, her job as a member of the Altar Society of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Loreauville, La.. My other grandmother had as a regular visitor Father LaRoche, a Canadian LaSallette Priest who became practically a member of our family. This old-school Catholic priest played a very, very important role in my life, imprinting on me the idea of a great Catholic Priest, an ideal mold for a reverent man. He was a needed good influence on us all, in those final days of our freedom to practice Catholicism openly as a natural part of a society that openly professed faith and practiced it as well.
Today, Father Carota published an interesting warning that I had been unaware of before: Fr. Carota writes:
If we were to obey the warning of St. Peter Damian, we should consider it a blameable and needless curiosity to inquire about those things that the Evangelists did not deem it advisable to relate, and, in particular, about the parents of the Blessed Virgin (Serm. iii de Nativ. B.M.V.).
Tradition nevertheless, grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God. True, this tradition seems to rest ultimately on the so-called “Gospel of James”, the “Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary”, and the Pseudo-Matthew, or “Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Childhood of the Saviour”; and this origin is likely to rouse well-founded suspicions.
It should be borne in mind, however, that the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole. Some commentators, who believe that the genealogy given by St. Luke is that of the Blessed Virgin, find the mention of Joachim in Heli (Luke, iii, 23;Eliachim, i.e. Jeho-achim), and explain that Joseph had, in the eyes of the law, become by his marriage the son of Joachim. That such is the purpose and the meaning of the Evangelist is very doubtful, and so is the identification proposed between the two names Heli andJoachim. Neither can it be asserted with certainty, in spite of the authority of the Bollandists, that Joachim was Heli’s son and Joseph’s brother; nor, as is sometimes affirmed, from sources of very doubtful value, that he had large possessions in herds and flocks.
Much more interesting are the beautiful lines in which the “Gospel of James” describes how, in their old age, Joachim and Anne received the reward of their prayers to obtain issue. Tradition has it that the parents of the Blessed Virgin, who, apparently, first lived in Galilee, came later on to settle in Jerusalem; there the Blessed Virgin was born and reared; there also they died and were buried. A church, known at various epochs as St. Mary, St. Mary ubi nata est, St. Mary in Probatica, Holy Probatica, St. Anne, was built during the fourth century, possibly by St. Helena, on the site of the house of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and their tombs were there honoured until the close of the ninth century, when the church was converted into a Moslem school. The crypt which formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered on 18 March, 1889.
St. Joachim was honoured very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin’s birthday; the Latins were slow to admit it to their calendar, where it found place sometimes on 16 Sept. and sometimes on 9 Dec. Assigned by Julius II to 20 March, the solemnity was suppressed some fifty years later, restored by Gregory XV (1622), fixed by Clement XII (1738) on the Sunday after the Assumption, and finally raised to the rank of double of the second class by Leo XIII (1 Aug., 1879).
When I look at the words of the Hail Mary in Latin, I realize that it has layers of meaning in Latin that are literally lost in other languages. The song, Ave Maria has the words of the Hail Mary in a most sublime tune written by Shubert.
The Ave Maria with lyrics can be heard here, sorry about the ad. I’ve taken to singing it constantly. To hear the Ave Maria without the advertisement or the lyrics, click here, though this is not Maria Callas.
The more attention I pay to the subject of Mary and the words of St. Louis, the more I wonder if the depopulation agenda and the promotion of abortion might have something to do with the possibility or the fact that we are all, or mostly, physical descendants of this great woman. St. Louis tells us that we can become her true children simply by devoting our lives to her, voluntarily forsaking earthly merits for her sake, for the sake of her son, and all her children.