Mary as Model of #Discernment, Vocation & Mission

The devotion to Mary, Queen of the Apostles, is one of the oldest devotions to Mary in the Church. One of our sisters recently let me know about a youtube video of the song, Queen of Apostles, composed and sung by Nancy Krebs, which beautifully offers reflections and prayers about two key events in Mary’s life associated with this particular title of Mary.

A key in discerning and living our vocation is devotion to Mary. Devotion to Mary as our Queen of Apostles is more than asking Mary to help us discover and carry out the mission God has entrusted to us. It also means entrusting ourselves and our spiritual journey to her. It means imitating Mary in how she shared her Son with the world, taking on her attitudes of humility, of receptivity to God (especially her docility to the Holy Spirit),  her obedience to God’s Word, and her union with her Son in his mission. If we entrust every effort that we make and everyone whom we seek to serve to Mary’s motherly care, all our efforts will be blessed.

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve, on her blog Thomas for Today, posted an introductory reflection on this ancient devotion: Mary and the Holy Spirit.

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#Discerning in Every Day Life: We are in God’s hands as he shapes us

Photo: Sr. Mary Emmanuel Alves, FSP. © Daughters of St. Paul

Photo: Sr. Mary Emmanuel Alves, FSP. © Daughters of St. Paul

Then the word of the Lord came to me:
“O house of Israel,
can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord.
Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

I love this morning’s reading from Jeremiah 18:1-6. It fits so well with the themes of my prayer this week: creativity, being open to the Lord working in me and through me, and allowing the Lord to take the lead in all the aspects of my life: spiritually,  in my relationships, in my efforts to communicate, in the apostolate of sharing the Word.

As the fruit of my recent annual retreat, I’ve been praying for the grace to live in the present moment. It’s so easy for me to get lost in my plans and to forget that it’s God’s plan that I want to be living fully. It’s not really possible for me to discern God’s will, however, if I am not living in the present moment, taking one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Because God speaks to us and works in us in the present moment.

Our Blessed Mother Mary was an expert in living in the present moment. While I was in Rome for the Apostolic Mysticism Seminar, several of the speakers–all Pauline priests–spoke of how Mary was completely docile to the work of the Holy Spirit. We know this simply by her response at the Annunciation.

The conclusion of my every meditation this week has been prayer to Mary, specifically asking her for the grace of this openness and availability to God, not just in the big occasions of my life, but at every moment. So I pray to her with my favorite title, calling on her as my Mother and Queen, the Queen of every apostle, to teach me how to be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and to be receptive to his nudges, his whispers, his inner direction.

Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!

Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!

A final note: Summer has become a bit of a chaotic time for me to fit in regular posts. Responses to the last couple of questions about vocational discernment are almost lined up and ready to post. I also have been reflecting/praying/living some profound moments of discernment in every day life, which I hope to share with you soon. Thank you for your patience with me, as my posting schedule has become a bit irregular.

Day 8 Novena to Mary Queen of Apostles

Queen024Day 8  Novena Prayer

O Mary, Queen of Apostles,

make me an apostle

who bears God in my soul

and radiates him to those around me.

Fill my heart with such an intense love of God

that I cannot keep it within myself

but must communicate it to to others!

– based on the writings of Blessed James Alberione
(excerpt from Live Christ! Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization)

Day 7 Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles

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We approach the final days of our novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles. For those joining us today, you can make a “triduum” of prayer, starting today, in honor of Mary, Queen of Apostles!

Day 7 Novena Prayer

May all generations proclaim you blessed, O Mary!
You believed the words the Archangel Gabriel spoke to you,
and in you were fulfilled all the great things
he had announced to you…
You had faith
in the Incarnation of the Son of God in your virginal womb,
and you became the Mother of God….
O Mary, obtain for us
a lively, firm, and active faith–
a faith that leads to holiness in this life
and the assurance of eternal life in heaven.

– Blessed James Alberione
(excerpt from Live Christ! Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization)

The Novena Continues…and 5 Things I’ve Learned About Holiness

 

Regina apostoli edit col bal - Version 2Day 5 of the Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles

Prayer to Mary for a Listening Heart

Mary, when the Angel gabriel surprised you one day, you listened to his words with an attentive heart. You said “yes” to God’s invitation…

Intercede for us, that we, too, may have listening hearts: hearts that seek to hear the voice of God in every detail of our lives, hearts ready to respond to the needs of those around us…. Pray that we, like you, may treasure God’s word in our hearts and act on it. Amen. – excerpt from Live Christ! Give Christ! Prayers for the New Evangelization edited by Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP.

 

 

 

 

FacebooknovenapicIn addition to the online Novena to Mary Queen of Apostles that I’m running here, our sisters are also running one on our Daughters of St. Paul Facebook Page here.  Now you can choose between two online novenas to our loving Mother and Queen!

I don’t know how I missed this lovely article by Daughter of Saint Paul Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble on her Pursued by Truth Patheos Blog, but here it is for you: Five Things I’ve Learned About Holiness in the Convent.

Day 3 Praying Novena to Mary Queen of Apostles

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Prayer for Day 3 of Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles 

Immaculate Mary, Co-Redemptrix of the human race, look upon humanity redeemed by the blood of your divine Son, yet still immersed in the darkness of error and confusion. 

The harvest is always great, but the laborers are still very few. Have pity, O Mary upon your children whom the dying Jesus entrusted to you from the cross. Increase religious and priestly vocations; give us new apostles full of wisdom and fervor.

Sustain with your maternal care those who consecrate their lives to the good of their neighbor. Recall your care for Jesus and the apostle John; remember your consoling presence on the day of Pentecost. You were the counselor of the first apostles and of the apostles of all times. By your invincible intercession,  obtain a new Pentecost for all those called to the apostolate, that it may sanctify them and inflame them with holy zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity. Guide them in all their efforts; help them with your graces; sustain them in moments of discouragement; crown their zeal with great success.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            – from Prayers of the Pauline Family

Send in Prayer Intentions for Novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles

queenofapostlesToday, 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