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´╗┐Title: Mary, the Help of Christians - Novenas in Preparation for the Principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin
Author: Hammer, Bonaventure, 1842-1917
Language: English
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  MARY, THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS

  Novenas in Preparation for the Principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin


  [Illustration: The Sacred Heart of Mary]


  COMPILED BY
  REV. BONAVENTURE HAMMER, O.F.M.

  ---

  NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO
  BENZIGER BROTHERS

  PRINTERS TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC SEE
  PUBLISHERS OF BENZINGER'S MAGAZINE



  Imprimi Permittitur.
               FR. CHRYSOSTOMUS THEOBALD, O.F.M.,
               _Minister Provincialis._
               Cincinnati, Ohio, die 30, Martii, 1908.

  Nihil Obstat.
                REMY LAPORT, S.T.L.,
                     _Censor Librorum._

  Imprimatur.
                JOHN M. FARLEY,
                Archbishop of New York.



  NEW YORK, March 4, 1909.

  COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY BENZIGER BROTHERS.



  Contents

  RULES FOR THE PROPER OBSERVANCE OF NOVENAS
  ON THE MANNER OF READING THE MEDITATIONS AND OBSERVING THE PRACTICES
  INTRODUCTION: MARY, THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS

  I. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED
     VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE PREDESTINATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY'S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
  THIRD DAY.--MARY, THE VICTRIX OF SATAN
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY WITHOUT ACTUAL SIN
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY, FULL OF GRACE
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY, OUR REFUGE
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY, THE MOTHER OF CHASTITY
  EIGHTH DAY.--THE IMAGE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
  NINTH DAY.--THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

  II. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE BIRTH OF MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY, THE ELECT OF GOD
  THIRD DAY.--MARY, THE CHILD OF ROYALTY
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY, THE CHILD OF PIOUS PARENTS
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S SUPERNATURAL PREROGATIVES
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY, THE JOY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
  SEVENTH DAY.--THE ANGELS REJOICE AT MARY'S BIRTH
  EIGHTH DAY.--THE JOY OF THE JUST IN LIMBO AT MARY'S BIRTH
  NINTH DAY.--THE HOLY NAME OF MARY

  III. NOVENA FOR THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
       MARY

  FIRST DAY.--THE ANNUNCIATION
  SECOND DAY.--THE IMPORT OF THE ANGEL'S SALUTATION
  THIRD DAY.--THE EFFECT OF THE ANGEL'S SALUTATION
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY'S QUESTION
  FIFTH DAY.--THE SOLUTION
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY'S CONSENT
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S FORTITUDE IN SUFFERING
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD
  NINTH DAY.--MARY OUR MOTHER

  IV. NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY

  FIRST DAY.--DEVOTION TO THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
  SECOND DAY.--MARY'S FIRST SORROW: SIMEON'S PROPHECY IN THE TEMPLE
  THIRD DAY.--MARY'S SECOND SORROW: THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
  FOURTH DAY.--MARY'S THIRD SORROW: JESUS LOST IN JERUSALEM
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S FOURTH SORROW: SHE MEETS JESUS CARRYING HIS CROSS
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY'S FIFTH SORROW: BENEATH THE CROSS
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S SIXTH SORROW: THE TAKING DOWN OF JESUS' BODY FROM
                THE CROSS
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY'S SEVENTH SORROW: JESUS IS BURIED
  NINTH DAY.--WHY MARY HAD TO SUFFER

  V. NOVENA FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

  FIRST DAY.--MARY'S DEATH WAS WITHOUT PAIN
  SECOND DAY.--AT MARY'S TOMB
  THIRD DAY.--THE EMPTY TOMB
  FOURTH DAY.--REASONS FOR THE BODILY ASSUMPTION OF MARY INTO HEAVEN
  FIFTH DAY.--MARY'S GLORIOUS ENTRANCE INTO HEAVEN
  SIXTH DAY.--MARY CROWNED IN HEAVEN
  SEVENTH DAY.--MARY'S BLISS IN HEAVEN
  EIGHTH DAY.--MARY, THE QUEEN OF MERCY
  NINTH DAY.--MARY IN HEAVEN THE HELP OF CHRISTIANS ON EARTH

  LITANY OF LORETO, IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY



  List of Illustrations

  The Sacred Heart of Mary
  Virgin Most Pure
  The Immaculate Conception
  The Presentation of Mary in the Temple
  The Annunciation
  Mary, the Mother of Sorrows
  Simeon's Prophecy in the Temple
  The Flight into Egypt
  The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
  Jesus' Body, Taken Down from the Cross
  The Assumption
  Mary's Death
  Mary Crowned in Heaven
  Mary, the Help of Christians on Earth



Mary, the Help of Christians

Novenas in Preparation for the Principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin

[Illustration: Virgin Most Pure]

"Holy Mary, aid the miserable, assist the desponding, strengthen the
weak, pray for the people, plead for the clergy, intercede for the
devout female sex. Let all who have recourse to thee experience the
efficacy of thy help!"--HOLY CHURCH.



Rules for the Proper Observance of Novenas

_By St. Alphonsus Liguori_

1. THE soul must be in the state of grace; for the devotion of a sinful
heart pleases neither God nor the saints.

2. We must persevere, that is, the prayers for each day of the novena
must never be omitted.

3. If possible, we should visit a church every day, and there implore
the favor we desire.

4. Every day we ought to perform certain specified acts of exterior
self-denial and interior mortification, in order to prepare us thereby
for the reception of grace.

5. It is most important that we receive holy communion when making a
novena. Therefore prepare yourself well for it.

6. After obtaining the desired grace for which the novena was made, do
not omit to return thanks to God and to the saint through whose
intercession your prayers were heard.



On the Manner of Reading the Meditations and Observing the Practices

HOLY SCRIPTURE says, "Before prayer prepare thy soul; and be not as a
man that tempteth God" (_Eccles._ xviii. 23). Therefore place yourself
in the presence of God, invoke the assistance of the Holy Ghost, and
make a most sincere act of contrition for your sins. Offer up to God
your will, your intellect, and your memory, so that your prayer may be
pleasing to God and serve to promote your spiritual welfare.

Then read the meditation slowly, reflecting on each point of the thought
or mystery treated, and consider what you can learn from it, and for
what grace you ought to implore God. This is the principal object to be
attained by mental prayer.

Never rise from your prayer without having formed some special
resolution for practical observance. The practices at the end of each
consideration in the following novenas will aid you to do so. Finally,
ask for grace to carry out effectively your good purposes, and thank God
for enlightening your mind during the meditation.


Introduction

Mary, the Help of Christians

NO CATHOLIC denies that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator
through whose merits we became reconciled to God. Nevertheless, it is a
doctrine of our faith that God willingly grants us grace if the saints,
and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, the queen of saints, intercede
for us. If the saints, during their life on earth, were so potent with
God that through their prayers the blind obtained sight, the deaf
hearing, and the dumb speech, that the sick of all conditions were
healed, the dead restored to life, and the most obstinate sinners
converted; if thousands of other miracles in the order of nature and of
grace were performed through their intercession; what, then, will not
she obtain for us from God, whose virtue and merits transcend those of
all the saints, and who did more for the greater honor and glory of God
than they all? Mary is the queen of saints not only because she is the
Mother of the Most High, but also because her sanctity is more perfect
than theirs, and she therefore thrones above them all in heaven. Hence
the favor with which God regards her, and consequently the power of her
intercession with Him is so much the greater.

If Mary's sanctity thus impressively illustrates the potency of her
intercession, the contemplation of her dignity as the Mother of God does
still more so. Mary brought forth Him who is the Almighty. She calls Him
her Son, who by the word of His omnipotence created from out of nothing
the whole world with all its beauties, and who can call into being
countless millions of other worlds. She calls Him her Son, whose throne
is heaven and whose footstool is the earth, who governs all nature with
almighty power and reveals His name to mankind through the most
astounding miracles. In a word, Mary calls Him her Son, whose
omnipotence fills heaven and earth; and this great, almighty God, who
honors her as His Mother and has wrought in her such great things, will
He not heed her word of intercession, and hear her pleading for those
who have recourse to her? On earth He was subject to her. Her
intercession moved Him to exercise His omnipotent power at the wedding
feast at Cana; and now, when He has glorified and raised her up so high
He would let her invoke Him in vain? No, it is inconceivable that God
should not hear the prayers of His Mother!

The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church vie with each other in
proclaiming the power of Mary's intercession with the Heart of her
divine Son. Some say that having been subject to her on earth, He
desires to be so in heaven, inasmuch as to refuse her nothing she asks.
Hence St. Bernard calls her the "Intercessory Omnipotence." Indeed, when
all the angels and saints in heaven join in supplication to God, their
prayers are but those of servants; but when Mary prays her intercession
is that of His Mother.

Therefore we can not sufficiently thank God for having given us in Mary
so powerful an advocate. St. Bernard aptly says: "The angel announces,
'thou hast found grace before God.' O supreme happiness! Mary shall
always find grace. And what else could we wish? If we seek grace, let us
seek it through Mary; for what she seeks, she finds. Never can she plead
ineffectually."

God, then, who in His infinite mercy has been pleased to provide for all
our needs, desires through Mary to console us, to comfort us, to remove
all distrust, to strengthen our hope. How consoling to him who calls
upon God in sore distress, or implores His pardon for sins committed, is
the thought that at the throne of divine Mercy he has in Mary an
advocate as mighty as she is gracious, who supplements his great
unworthiness by her sublime dignity, and who makes good the defects of
his prayer by her intercession! Therefore St. Bonaventure exclaims:
"Verily, great is Our Lord's mercy! That we, through fear of our divine
Judge, depart not forever from Him, He gave us His own Mother for our
advocate and mediatrix of grace."



I.

Novena in Honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Illustration: The Immaculate Conception]

INDULGENCES

TO ALL the faithful who by themselves or with others, in church or at
home, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall make this novena:
(1) 300 days indulgence for each of the nine days; (2) a plenary
indulgence on one day of the novena or of the eight days following it.
(Pius IX, January 5, 1849.) Conditions: Confession, communion, and
prayer, according to the intentions of the Holy Father.

_Remark._--Whenever, in the following pages, an indulgence is said to be
granted "under the usual conditions," these conditions are the same as
above.

_Note._--The above indulgences may also be gained for making the novena
at any other time of the year, and are not attached to any prescribed
formula of prayer. The same applies to all other novenas in honor of the
Blessed Virgin.


FIRST DAY

Predestination of the Blessed Virgin Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

IN THY conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to
the Father, whose Son Jesus, conceived in thy womb by the Holy Ghost,
thou didst bring forth.

Indulgence. 200 days, every time. (Pius VI, November 21, 1793.)

MEDITATION

HOLY Church, our Mother, purposely gathered into the season of Advent
everything which might contribute to assist us in preparing for the
coming of the Redeemer. Purity of heart is the most necessary and
helpful requirement for receiving God worthily, and for participating in
the fruits of our Redemption through Christ. To remind us of this, Holy
Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, this primary feast of purity, in Advent.

The Church, moreover, intends to remind us that the coming of Christ,
our promised Redeemer, depended on the consent of the Blessed Virgin.
The Redeemer could not appear before she was born of whom He was to be
born. The aurora must precede the rising sun. Thus also Mary, the
spiritual aurora, had to be conceived and born before the appearance of
the Sun of Justice in this world.

PRACTICE

IN MARY appeared the woman who was to crush the serpent's head, who was
to repair by her willing co-operation with God's designs the damage
wrought by the disobedience of our first parents, and who was to become
our mother and mighty advocate with God.

The designs of God concerning Mary were fully accomplished. God also has
designs concerning us. Our life was planned by Him from all eternity,
and we were destined to co-operate with Him harmoniously and
conscientiously in working out our salvation. Have we corresponded with
God's designs? Did we not oppose them by yielding to our evil
inclinations and passions? What a disparity between God's intentions
concerning us and our own co-operation, between His merciful designs and
our cowardly resistance to them!

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O GOD, who through the immaculate conception of the Virgin didst prepare
a worthy dwelling-place for Thy divine Son; grant that, as in view of
Thy Son Thou didst preserve her from all taint, so Thou wouldst
vouchsafe unto us that cleansed from all sin by her intercession we too
may arrive at Thine eternal glory. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

BEHOLD, Virgin immaculate, at thy sacred feet I bow, while my heart
overflows with joy in union with thine own, because from eternity thou
wast the Mother-elect of the eternal Word, and was preserved stainless
from the taint of Adam's sin. Forever praised, forever blessed be the
Most Holy Trinity, who in thy conception poured out upon thy soul the
riches of that matchless privilege. I humbly pray thee, most gracious
Mother, obtain for me the grace to overcome the bitter results of
original sin. Make me victorious over them, that I may never cease to
love my God.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, March 25, 1884.)



SECOND DAY

Mary's Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to the definition of Pope Pius IX, the immaculate conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary is that privilege by which she was preserved,
in view of the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, from original sin in
the first moment of her conception.

By solemnly proclaiming the dogma of Mary's immaculate conception, the
Church confirmed anew the fundamental principles of Christianity which
in our times are so frequently attacked, derided, or forgotten. God
reserved the solemn proclamation of this dogma, which seemingly has no
practical bearing on the Christian life, for our age, to recall to our
mind the doctrines resulting from it.

PRACTICE

THE most important of these doctrines is that of original sin, which
to-day is rejected by many as a debasement of human nature, and is
forgotten by others as having no practical influence on our moral state.
By the promulgation of the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church solemnly declares and defines as an
article of faith, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is conceived without the
stain of original sin by a special privilege and grace of God. If, then,
Mary's sinlessness is an exception, the general rule remains in force,
and all other human beings enter this world in the state of original
sin.

Thus, by the proclamation of the dogma of the immaculate conception, the
Church combats human pride and sensuality, the foremost vices of the
age.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY, unsullied lily of heavenly purity, I rejoice with thee, because at
thy conception's earliest dawn thou wast full of grace and endowed with
the perfect use of reason. I thank and adore the ever-blessed Trinity,
who gave thee such high gifts. I am overwhelmed with shame in thy
presence, to see myself so poor in grace. O thou who wast filled with
heavenly grace, impart some portion of it to my soul, and make me share
the treasures of thy immaculate conception.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary, the Victrix of Satan

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

THE immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary inaugurated the
fulfilment of the divine promise made to our first parents in paradise
in the words addressed to the serpent: "I shall put enmities between
thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head"
(_Gen._ iii. 15). Mary is the woman in whom Satan never had a part. Her
intimate connection with God was announced by the angel: "Hail, full of
grace; the Lord is with thee." Now was fulfilled the saying of the
Psalmist, "The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle. God is in
the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the
morning early" (_Ps._ xlv. 5-6). Mary was chosen to be the glorious
tabernacle of the Son of God "in the morning early," that is, in the
first moment of her existence. God called her into being that she might
assume the exalted dignity of the Mother of His Son, and therefore
granted her the singular privilege of exemption from original sin. In
her were fulfilled Solomon's prophetic words of praise, "Thou art all
fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee" (_Cant._ iv. 7). It
was in view of her Son's merits applied to her beforehand that God thus
produced in her the image of the new man regenerated in the Holy Ghost.

PRACTICE

THE spirit of darkness holds mankind enslaved, but one human being
escapes him. A destructive fire lays waste the whole earth, but one tree
remains unscathed. A terrible tyrant conquers the whole world, but one
fortified city repels his assaults. This human being retaining liberty,
this tree escaping destruction, this city repelling the enemy's attack
is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Will the almighty and merciful God, who has accomplished such great
things in Mary, who has selected her for His Mother, not listen to her
prayers when she intercedes for us? St. William of Paris exclaims: "No
other created being can obtain for us so many and so great graces from
God as His Mother. By the all-powerful might of her intercession He
honors her not only as His handmaid, but also as His Mother." Therefore
we ought not be surprised when the holy Fathers maintain that a single
sigh of Mary is more effective with God than the combined intercession
of all the angels and saints. If, then, Mary's power is so great, she
will surely hear us when we invoke her help in our combat with Satan.
Having conquered him herself, she will also help us to conquer him.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY, thou mystical rose of purity, my heart rejoices with thine at the
glorious triumph which thou didst gain over the infernal serpent by thy
immaculate conception, and because thou wast conceived without stain of
original sin. I thank and praise with my whole heart the ever-blessed
Trinity, who granted thee this glorious privilege; and I pray thee to
obtain for me strength to overcome all the wiles of the infernal foe,
and never to stain my soul with sin. Be thou mine aid; make me, by thy
protection, victorious over the common foe of our eternal welfare.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary without Actual Sin

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

MARY conceived without sin is the most blessed daughter of the eternal
Father, the real and true Mother of the divine Son, the elect spouse of
the Holy Ghost. But in the world, in what condition do we behold her?
She dwells not in a splendid palace; she is not surrounded by a retinue
of servants ready at every moment to do her bidding; she is not exempt
from trials and suffering. On the contrary, she is poor; she lives in
obscurity, and suffered so much on earth that, without shedding her
blood, she merits to be styled the queen of martyrs. Her heart was
transfixed with the sword of sorrow. Mary is not exempt from
tribulations and adversity; but one thing God does not permit to touch
her, _i.e.,_ sin. Hence Holy Church applies to her the words, "Thou art
all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee" (_Cant._ iv. 7).

PRACTICE

THOUGH we were not preserved from sin like Mary, yet God in His
ineffable goodness and mercy granted us the grace to be cleansed from
sin and to be clothed with the garment of sanctifying grace in Baptism.
No treasure of the world can be compared with this prerogative. But as
we bear this grace in a fragile vase, we must be most careful to protect
and preserve it in ourselves and others from all danger. Let the Blessed
Virgin Mary be our example. Well knowing the inestimable value of the
grace conferred upon her, she guarded it with the greatest care.
Although exempt from concupiscence and "full of grace," she was so
distrustful of herself as if she were in continual danger. How much
more, then, must we use precaution to preserve in ourselves and in
others this treasure of grace, since we feel in ourselves constantly the
law of the flesh, which resists the law of the spirit, and urges us on
to evil, whilst the world and the devil never weary in placing snares
for us in order to accomplish our ruin. Therefore let us have recourse
to Mary, and invoking her aid bravely resist all temptations.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MIRROR of holy purity, Mary, Virgin immaculate, great is my joy while I
consider that, from thy immaculate conception, the most sublime and
perfect virtues were infused into thy soul, and with them all the gifts
of the Holy Ghost. I thank and praise the Most Holy Trinity, who
bestowed on thee these high privileges. I pray thee, gentle Mother,
obtain for me grace to practise virtue, and to make me worthy to become
partaker of the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary, Full of Grace

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

SATAN'S relation to God as His child was severed by sin. The beautiful
image of God imprinted on man's soul was disfigured by it. But with the
immaculate conception of Mary, a being full of grace, an object of God's
supreme complacency entered this world. After the lapse of four thousand
years God, in His wisdom, power, and love, for the first time again
created a human being in that state in which He had originally created
our first parents. Mary, from the first moment of her existence was, in
virtue of the sanctifying grace infused into her soul, most intimately
united with God, and endowed with the most precious gifts of heaven.
Because she was predestined to become the Mother of the Redeemer of
mankind, it was befitting that she should unite in herself all the gifts
becoming to such an ineffable dignity. Hence she surpassed in grace and
holiness all other created beings, and was consecrated a worthy temple
of the incarnate Word. Therefore she was saluted by the angel as "full
of grace," and the Church, in our behalf, addresses the Almighty: "O
God, who through the immaculate conception of the Virgin didst prepare a
worthy dwelling-place for Thy divine Son; grant, that, as in view of the
death of that Son Thou didst preserve her from all taint, so Thou
wouldst vouchsafe unto us that, cleansed from all sin by her
intercession, we too may arrive at Thine eternal glory."

PRACTICE

THE world considers men according to their rank and station, their
wealth and knowledge. God recognizes in them but one difference, that
caused by the presence or absence of sanctifying grace in their soul. A
soul in the state of sanctifying grace is God's friend; without it, His
enemy. A man dying in the state of sanctifying grace is sure of eternal
bliss. Therefore we ought to prize this grace above all else, and do
everything in our power to preserve it. St. Leo exhorts us, "Recognize,
O man, thy dignity! As thou hast received divine grace, beware of
returning to your former sinful condition by a wicked life."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY, bright moon of purity, I rejoice with thee, because the mystery of
thy immaculate conception was the beginning of salvation for the race of
man and the joy of the whole world. I thank and bless the ever-blessed
Trinity, who thus did magnify and glorify thee; and I beg of thee to
obtain for me the grace so to profit by thy dear Son's death and
passion, that His precious blood may not have been shed in vain for me
upon the cross, but that, after a holy life, I may reach heaven in
safety.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary, Our Refuge

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

WE CARRY the precious treasure of sanctifying grace in a frail vessel.
Our inclination to evil remains with us, and continues to impel us to
that which is forbidden. On whom shall we call for aid? Call on Mary!
She is conceived without sin. She, the lily among thorns, who never lost
God's friendship, is our advocate. Let her, who was found worthy to
become the Mother of our Redeemer, inspire you with trust and
confidence. The Church invokes her as the refuge of sinners, and under
no other title does she show her love for us more convincingly and her
power with God more efficiently.

PRACTICE

WE MAY trust confidently in Mary's intercession and aid in all
temptations and trials, if we but have recourse to her. Therefore St.
John Damascene writes: "Come to my aid, O Mother of my Redeemer! Thou
art my help, my consolation in life. Come to my aid, and I shall escape
unscorched from the fire of temptation; amongst a thousand I shall
remain unharmed; I shall brave the storms of assault unwrecked. Thy name
is my shield, thy help my armor, thy protection my defense. With thee I
boldly attack the enemy and drive him off in confusion; through thee I
shall achieve a triumphant victory." In all temptations, therefore, let
us have recourse to Mary and through her intercession we shall overcome
them.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY immaculate, most brilliant star of purity, I rejoice with thee
because thy immaculate conception has bestowed upon the angels in
paradise the greatest joy. I thank and bless the ever-blessed Trinity,
who enriched thee with this high privilege. O let me, too, one day enter
into this heavenly joy, in the company of angels, that I may praise and
bless thee, world without end.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary, the Mother of Chastity

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

HOLY Scripture and the Fathers agree in the statement that the Blessed
Virgin Mary made the vow of perpetual virginity. For when the Archangel
Gabriel brought God's message to the immaculate spouse of St. Joseph,
that she was to become the Mother of the Most High, she asked, "How
shall this be done, because I know not man?" (_Luke_ i. 34.) Indeed,
Mary would not have been, in the full and most excellent sense of the
word, the "Virgin of virgins," had she not from her own free choice
vowed her virginity to God.

During the whole Christian era there have been heroic souls who made the
vow of perpetual chastity, consecrating themselves to God. Trusting in
the powerful protection of the immaculate Virgin, they persevered in
their resolve to bear this priceless treasure before God's throne
despite the dangers of the world, the temptations of concupiscence, and
the assaults of hell, and with the help of the queen of virgins they
achieved a triumphant victory.

PRACTICE

SINCE the fall of Adam our senses are in rebellion against the law of
God. "I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my
mind, and captivating me in the law of sin" (_Rom._ vii. 23). Chastity
is the virtue which causes us the greatest struggles. St. Augustine
says: "The fiercest of all combats is the one for the preservation of
chastity, and we must engage in it every day." Fierce as this combat is,
the aid which Mary gives her children to achieve victory is
all-powerful. She sustains them by her maternal love and protection.
Those who lead a chaste life receive the Divine Spirit, are happy in
this life, and will receive a special crown in heaven.

Among the means for the preservation of chastity, the following are
specially recommended: The assiduous and constant practice of
self-denial; the frequentation of the sacraments; the daily invocation
of Mary for her aid and protection; scrupulous avoidance of the
occasions of sin. St. Chrysostom writes: "He errs who believes that he
can overcome his sensual propensities and preserve chastity by his own
efforts. God's mercy must extinguish nature's ardor." Have recourse to
the intercession of the immaculate Virgin and rest assured that you will
obtain this mercy.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY immaculate, rising morn of purity, I rejoice with thee, gazing in
wonder upon thy soul confirmed in grace from the very first moment of
thy conception, and rendered inaccessible to sin. I thank and magnify
the ever-blessed Trinity, who chose thee from all our race for this
special privilege. Holy Virgin, obtain for me utter and constant hatred
of all sin above every other evil, and let me rather die than ever again
fall into sin.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



EIGHTH DAY

The Image of the Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

CHRISTIAN art represents the Immaculate Conception as follows: The
Blessed Virgin appears standing on a globe, about which is coiled a
serpent holding an apple in its mouth. One of Mary's feet rests upon the
serpent, the other is placed on the moon. Her eyes are raised toward
heaven; her hands are either joined in prayer, or she holds a lily in
her right, and places the left on her breast. Her dress is white; her
ample mantle is of blue color. A crown of twelve stars encircles her
head. These emblems typify in a most striking manner Mary's power and
glory. "And a great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve
stars" (_Apoc._ xii. 1).

PRACTICE

THE representation of the Immaculate Conception is very instructive. (1)
Mary appears standing on the globe. This signifies that being human, she
belongs to the earth, and yet is exalted above the world and sin; also,
that she trampled under foot earthly possessions, vanities, and joys.
(2) A serpent is coiled about the globe, bearing an apple in its mouth.
This reminds us of the fall of our first parents, and of the
consequences of their sin. (3) Mary's foot rests on the serpent,
indicating that she never was under Satan's dominion, but was preserved
from sin in the first moment of her existence. (4) Mary stands on the
moon. The moon, on account of its changes, is an emblem of inconstancy.
We see it at Mary's feet, to be reminded that we ought to be constant in
faith and virtue. (5) Mary wears a crown, to indicate that she is a
queen. The crown is composed of twelve stars: she is the queen of
heaven. (6) Mary's dress is white, to denote her spotless purity and
innocence. (7) She folds her hands in prayer, reminding us to imitate
her example. (8) Or she holds a lily in her right hand, to indicate her
virginity and chastity, and the sweet odor of her virtues. (9) Mary's
mantle is blue, which color is emblematic of humility. Its folds are
ample, to remind us that all who have recourse to her find a secure
refuge in all dangers and necessities.

Therefore let us invoke her intercession in the words of Holy Church:
"We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God. Despise not our
petitions, and deliver us from all danger, O ever glorious and blessed
Virgin!"

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O SPOTLESS sun! O Virgin Mary! I congratulate thee. I rejoice with thee
because in thy conception God gave thee grace greater and more boundless
than He ever shed on all His angels and all the saints, together with
all their merits. I am thankful and I marvel at the surpassing
beneficence of the ever-blessed Trinity, who conferred on thee this
privilege. O make me correspond with the grace of God and never abuse
it. Change this heart of mine; make me now begin to amend my life.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



NINTH DAY

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

EARLY in the Christian era the feast of Mary's immaculate conception was
observed in several countries. St. Anselm, Bishop of Canterbury,
introduced it in England. A great number of Popes favored the doctrine
of Mary's absolute sinlessness, and the adversaries of the Immaculate
Conception were bidden to be silent and not publicly assert or defend
their view. In 1477, Pope Sixtus IV prescribed the feast of the
Immaculate Conception to be observed in the whole Church, and made it
obligatory on priests to recite the special canonical office and to use
the Mass formula published for the purpose. In 1846, the bishops of the
United States assembled in plenary council in Baltimore elected the
Blessed Virgin under the title of her immaculate conception Patroness of
the Church in their country.

Finally, Pope Pius IX, after consulting with the bishops throughout the
world, and having implored the Holy Ghost for His guidance in prayer and
fasting, promulgated, on December 8, 1854, the dogma which teaches that
the Blessed Virgin Mary was in her conception, by a special grace and
through the merits of her divine Son, preserved from the stain of
original sin. This doctrine was received throughout the world with
ineffable joy; and, indeed, no one who loves the Blessed Virgin can help
rejoicing at this her most glorious privilege.

The invocation, "Queen conceived without the stain of original sin," was
added to the Litany of Loreto. In 1866, at the Second Plenary Council in
Baltimore, the feast of the Immaculate Conception was raised to the rank
of a holyday of obligation for the Church of the United States.

PRACTICE

IN THE inscrutable designs of His providence God ordained that the
mystery of the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary should
be proclaimed an article of faith as late as the middle of the
nineteenth century. But, then, its proclamation was attended by
circumstances that undeniably proved that the Holy Father in pronouncing
the dogma had been inspired and guided by the Holy Ghost.

Let us praise God and thank Him for bestowing this glorious privilege on
our beloved Mother, and let us often invoke her under her favorite
title, the Immaculate Conception. St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that
the devotion to this mystery is especially efficacious in overcoming the
temptations of impurity. Therefore he was accustomed to recommend to his
penitents thus tempted to recite three times every day the Hail Mary in
honor of Mary immaculate. And the Venerable John of Avila assures us
that he never found any one who practised a true devotion to the
Immaculate Conception of Mary, who did not in a short time obtain the
gift of that virtue which renders us so dear to her immaculate heart.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O LIVING light of holiness, model of purity, Mary immaculate, virgin and
mother! As soon as thou wast conceived thou didst profoundly adore thy
God, giving Him thanks that in thee the ancient curse was revoked, and
blessing came again upon the sinful sons of Adam. O make this blessing
kindle in my heart love for God; and do thou fan this flame of love
within me, that I may love Him constantly and one day in heaven
eternally enjoy Him, there to thank Him more and more fervently for all
the wondrous privileges conferred on thee, and to rejoice with thee for
thy high crown of glory.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



II

Novena in Honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Illustration: The Presentation of Mary in the Temple]

FIRST DAY

The Birth of Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

WE FLY to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions
in our necessities, and deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and
blessed Virgin!

MEDITATION

MARY is born! The dawn announcing the coming salvation of mankind is at
hand. The deep significance of Mary's birth is expressed in the words of
the Church: "Thy birth, O virgin Mother of God, has brought joy to the
world; for from thee is to come forth the Sun of Justice, Christ our
Lord, to dispel the curse and bring the blessing, to conquer death and
bring us everlasting life. On this day a light broke forth to brighten
the paths of men through all time. Let us, then, rejoice in Mary's
coming."

Equally expressive and touching are the reflections of that great Doctor
of the Church, St. Augustine: "The day has dawned, the long-wished-for
day of the blessed and venerable Virgin Mary. Well may this earth of
ours rejoice and be glad for having been honored and sanctified by the
birth of such a virgin."

PRACTICE

LET us, then, rejoice in Mary's coming. Let us hail the birth of her who
attained the dignity of mother without losing the high privilege of a
virgin. Let us imitate her holy life, that she may become our
intercessor before the throne of her Son, our judge and redeemer. By
becoming the Mother of God she became also our Mother. As Mother of the
Redeemer she is also the Mother of the redeemed. Richard of St. Lawrence
writes: "If we desire grace and help, let us have recourse to Mary and
we shall obtain what we desire." For, as St. Alphonsus remarks: "All
graces and gifts which God has resolved to bestow upon us He gives us
through the hands of Mary."

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

GRANT to us, Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of heavenly
grace; that to those for whom the delivery of the Blessed Virgin was the
commencement of salvation, the commemoration of her nativity may give
increasing peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MOST lovely child, who by thy birth hast comforted the world, made glad
the heavens, struck terror into hell, brought help to the fallen,
consolation to the sad, health to the sick, joy to all; we pray thee
with all fervent love, be thou born again in spirit in our souls through
thy most holy love. Renew our fervor in thy service, rekindle in our
hearts the fire of thy love, and bid all virtues blossom there, which
may cause us to find more and more fervor in thy gracious eyes. O Mary,
may we feel the saving power of thy sweetest name! Let it ever be our
comfort to call on that great name in all our troubles; let it be our
hope in dangers, our shield in temptation, and in death our last
aspiration.

_Ejaculation_

O Mary, who didst come into the world free from stain: obtain of God for
me that I may leave it without sin!

Indulgence. 100 days, once a day. (Pius IX, March 27, 1863.)



SECOND DAY

Mary, the Elect of God

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

WE FIND the explanation of the great prerogatives and privileges which
God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary by reflecting on her singular
and glorious predestination. From all eternity she was predestined to
become the Mother of His divine Son; therefore, says Pope Pius IX, God
loved her above all created beings, and in His special predilection made
her the object of His divine complacency. With singular appropriateness
we may apply to her the words of Holy Scripture, "I have loved thee with
an everlasting love" (_Jer._ xxxi. 3). The eternal Father regarded Mary
as His beloved Daughter; the divine Son honored her as His dearest
Mother; the Holy Ghost loved her as His spotless Spouse. "And," says St.
Anselm, "they loved each other with an affection unsurpassed by any
other."

PRACTICE

INSPIRED by the contemplation of Mary's extraordinary privileges, St.
Anselm exclaims: "Thou, O Mary, art more exalted than the patriarchs,
greater than the martyrs, more glorious than the confessors, purer than
the virgins, and therefore thou, alone, canst achieve more than they can
without thee." Let us, then, rejoice that we possess such a powerful
advocate in heaven, and let us place implicit trust in her. But let us
also co-operate with the graces and favors which she obtains for us.
Moreover, let us remember that we grievously offend God and Mary if we
abuse what we obtain through her intercession to gratify our evil
inclinations, and that the graces she obtains for us for our salvation
will redound to our ruin if we do not use them for the glory of God and
the promotion of our soul's welfare.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, Mary, who, sprung from the royal line of David, didst come
forth to the light of heaven with high honor from the womb of holy Anna,
thy most happy mother.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary, the Child of Royalty

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to her lineage, as traced in two Gospels, Mary numbers among
her paternal and maternal ancestors the holiest and most renowned
personages of the Old Testament. We find amongst them Abraham, the
friend of God, the father of Israel and of all the faithful; then David,
the man after God's own heart, the inspired Royal Prophet; and Solomon,
the wise and mighty king, and the whole line of the kings of Juda. On
her mother's side she belonged to the tribe of Levi, and was descended
from its noblest and most prominent family, that of Aaron the High
Priest, and was therefore a relative of the High Priests of the Old
Testament. Thus royal and sacerdotal prestige distinguished Mary's
lineage.

PRACTICE

THE Blessed Virgin was not proud of her illustrious ancestry, and not
depressed because of the downfall of her family, but applied herself
diligently to adhere to the faith and follow the example of her
ancestors. Remembering the wicked members of her family, she learned
from them that temporal greatness, success, wealth, and glory are more
dangerous to virtue than poverty, retirement, and work. Let us imitate
Mary's example. Even possessed of the most excellent prestiges of the
natural order, of ourselves we are nothing. "What hast thou that thou
hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory as if
thou hadst not received?" (1 _Cor._ iv. 7.) Therefore do not
overestimate yourself; do not be conceited; do not strive for praise,
honors, and high station; be not boastful or arrogant; do not presume on
your merits; rather be distrustful of yourself and patiently bear
affronts, neglect, and humiliations. However poor you may be, be content
with your lot, remembering the words of the Apostle: "They that will
become rich fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and
into many unprofitable and hurtful desires which draw men into
destruction and perdition. For the desire of money is the root of all
evils: which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled
themselves in many sorrows" (1 _Tim._ vi. 9, 10).

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, O Mary, heavenly babe, white dove of purity, who, despite
the infernal serpent, was conceived free from the taint of Adam's sin.
With all our hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to come
down again and be born in spirit in our souls, that, led captive by thy
loveliness and sweetness, they may ever live united to thy most sweet
and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary, the Child of Pious Parents

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

TRADITION tells us that Mary's parents were called Joachim and Anna. The
holy Fathers rival each other in praising the virtue of this holy
couple. St. Epiphanius writes: "Joachim and Anna were pleasing in the
sight of God because of the holiness of their lives." St. Andrew of
Crete remarks: "Joachim was eminent for the mildness and fortitude of
his character. The law of God was his rule of life. He was just, and
never relaxed in the fervor of his love of God. Anna was no less noted
for her meekness, continence, and chastity." St. Jerome relates: "The
life of this holy couple was simple and just before the Lord, edifying
and virtuous before men." St. John Damascene exclaims: "O happy, chaste,
and immaculate couple, Joachim and Ann! You are known, according to the
Lord's word, by your fruit. Your life was pleasing in the sight of God,
and worthy of her who was born of you."

PRACTICE

IT is a great blessing, and one to be esteemed more highly than wealth
and high station, to have God-fearing, pious parents. For their sake God
is gracious to the children and lavishes His gifts on them. It is
certainly a great privilege to be offered up to God immediately after
birth by the hands of a pious mother. To have, from childhood up, the
example and guidance of virtuous parents is certainly of the greatest
importance. St. Chrysostom writes: "The parents' example is the book
from which the child learns." A pious bishop was wont to say: "The good
example of the parents is the best catechism and the truest mirror that
a family can have." If Christian parents imitate the example of Joachim
and Ann the blessing of God will rest on them and on their children; for
because her parents were so dear to Mary, she will not refuse to join
them in their prayers for us.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, brightest morn, forerunner of the heavenly Sun of Justice,
who didst first bring light to earth. Humbly prostrate, with all our
hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in
spirit in our souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness,
they may ever live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Supernatural Prerogatives

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

MARY was the masterpiece of God's creation; her soul was the most
perfect ever dwelling in a human body. A pious tradition tells us that
she possessed the use of reason much earlier than other children. Her
intellect was illuminated by supernatural light; her will was exempt
from concupiscence. Being preserved from original sin, she surpassed in
holiness, from the first moment of her existence, all angels and men.
She possessed all virtues in the highest degree, because of her faithful
co-operation with sanctifying grace and with the countless actual graces
granted to her. She lived in constant communion with God, undisturbed by
evil inclinations from within or temptations from without.

PRACTICE

THROUGH the effects of original sin we have lost the supernatural
prerogative of original justice, and even after receiving sanctifying
grace in holy Baptism we are exposed to many temptations. Our life is a
constant warfare. We must, however, not despair in this struggle, for if
we are true children of Mary she will come to our aid. In all
temptations Mary is the "Help of Christians" if we have recourse to her.
But if we wish her to help us, we must not expose ourselves
unnecessarily to temptation. "He that loveth danger shall perish in it"
(_Ecclus._ iii. 27). This sad experience has come to many. Let us,
therefore, avoid the danger and occasion of sin; and whenever evil
approaches us in any shape, let us call upon Mary, and we may rest
assured that she will assist us. "I shall certainly triumph over my
enemies," exclaims St. Alphonsus, "if I place my trust in thee, O Mary,
and if thou art my shield and protection against them."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, O chosen one! who like the untarnished sun didst burst
forth into being in the dark night of sin. Humbly prostrate at thy feet,
O Mary, we give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we pray thee to
vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in our souls, that, led
captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever live united to
thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary, the Joy of the Most Holy Trinity

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

IN THE child Mary the eternal Father beheld His unsullied glorious
image, which image had been defaced in all other human beings by
original and actual sin. What a joy to Him to behold this stainless,
immaculate child! And how great must have been the joy of the Son of God
at the birth of her who was to be His Mother! From her He was to take
that sacred body in which He was to dwell on earth, the blood of which
He was to shed on the cross for our redemption, and in which He was to
return to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. He will call
her Mother, and regard her with all the filial tenderness of a child for
his mother. She will love Him in return with a true mother's affection
and devotion. As the Mother of Sorrows she will weep over His inanimate
body taken down from the cross. But like Himself, she will leave the
tomb, and reign at His side as the queen of heaven. How great, then,
must have been His joy at the birth of this child!

The Holy Ghost, too, rejoiced at Mary's birth. He infused into her the
plenitude of His holy love, for she was destined to become the Mother of
God. And how Mary will love God, from whom she received so many and so
great graces, and whom she is to bear in her arms as her real and true
Son! This, her divine Son's love for mankind, will be imparted also to
her. Therefore the Holy Ghost rejoices at this child, who received into
her heart the fulness of His grace, and shall be the helper of those who
have recourse to her.

PRACTICE

RAISE your spirit above time and space; try to contemplate well the
mystery of Mary's predestination. To make us realize the great
privileges conferred upon her, the Church applies to her the words of
Holy Scripture, "He that shall find me, shall find life, and have
salvation from the Lord" (_Prov._ viii. 35). Only when we consider Mary
as the Mother of God, do we arrive at a right conception of her great
dignity. Hence St. Bonaventure exclaims, "God might have created a more
beautiful world; He might have made heaven more glorious; but it was
impossible for Him to exalt a creature higher than Mary in making her
His Mother."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, beauteous moon, O Mary most holy, who didst shed light
upon a world wrapped in the densest darkness of sin. Humbly prostrate at
thy feet, we give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we pray thee
to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in our souls,
that led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness they may ever live
united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



SEVENTH DAY

The Angels Rejoice at Mary's Birth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

DESCRIBING God's power and wisdom as shown in creation, Holy Scripture,
according to the explanation of the Fathers, introduces Him as saying,
"When the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God
made a joyful melody" (_Job_ xxxviii. 7), and by these words intends to
convey with what joy the angels praised God's omnipotence on beholding
the wonders of creation. What, then, must have been their joy on
beholding this new wonder of divine power and wisdom, the child Mary,
destined to be their queen. Filled with admiration they exclaimed, "Who
is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright
as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?" (_Cant._ vi. 9.) And
moreover, if, as Our Lord declares, the angels rejoice at the conversion
of a sinner, how great must have been their joy at the birth of her who
was to be the refuge of sinners and the mother of Him who was to be the
Redeemer of sinners? Again, the angels rejoiced at Mary's birth, because
she would fill, through the salvation of mankind by her divine Son, the
places made vacant in heaven by the apostate angels.

PRACTICE

GOOD children rejoice on the birthday of their parents and gratefully
remember all the benefits they have received from them. Thus should we,
also, celebrate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin by a grateful
remembrance of the innumerable graces, individual and general, we
received through her intercession. In acknowledging Mary's co-operation
with our salvation, Holy Church calls her our mediatrix, and greets her
as the "Cause of our joy," because, though we receive grace from Christ,
it comes to us through her mediation. What cause, then, have we not for
rejoicing at her birth! Again, greeting Mary as the cause of our joy,
let us remember the protection she extended to the Church in times of
adversity and persecution; let us, furthermore, remember all the graces
which, according to the holy Fathers, are dispensed to us by Mary's
hands. "Of her plenitude," says St. Bonaventure, "we have all received;
the captive liberty, the sick health, the sad consolation, the sinner
pardon, the just grace." Therefore the Church invokes Mary as the mother
of mercy, the health of the sick, the comforter of the afflicted, the
refuge of sinners, the help of Christians, in a word, as the cause of
our joy.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, fair soul of Mary, who from all eternity wast God's, and
God's alone; sanctuary and living temple of the Holy Ghost; sun without
blemish, because free from original sin. With all our hearts we pray to
thee, O Mary, to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in
our souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may
ever live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



EIGHTH DAY

The Joy of the Just in Limbo at Mary's Birth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

FOR four thousand years the just in limbo sighed for redemption, and
sent up to Heaven the plaintive cry, "O that Thou wouldst rend the
heavens, and wouldst come down!" (_Is._ xiv. 1.) "Drop down dew, ye
heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just; let the earth be
opened and bud forth a Saviour" (_Is._ xlv. 8). What joy must have
filled the souls of the just when they heard the welcome tidings of the
birth of Mary, the virgin Mother of the promised Messias; how great
their consolation at the rising of that dawn which preceded the Sun of
Justice, whose splendor was to illuminate the darkness of them that sat
in the shadow of death!

PRACTICE

A JOY similar to that which filled the captive souls in limbo at Mary's
birth now fills the souls in purgatory when we implore her to come to
their relief. Contemplating the immense love of the Most Holy Trinity
for Mary, we may not doubt but that, by her intercession, she might at
once deliver all the suffering souls from their prison, if such were in
accordance with God's will. But God's wisdom and providence have decreed
otherwise. Therefore Mary does not pray for the release of all souls in
purgatory, but recommends them, in conformity with God's will, to His
mercy. St. Bernardine of Sienna applies to Mary the words of Holy
Scripture, "I have penetrated into the bottom of the deep and have
walked in the waves of the sea" (_Ecclus._ xxiv. 8), and says: "She
descends into that sea of suffering and soothes the pains of the poor
souls." St. Denis the Carthusian remarks, that when the name of Mary is
mentioned in purgatory, the souls there imprisoned experience the same
relief as when a sick person hears words of consolation on his bed of
pain.

Therefore let us entrust our prayers for the souls in purgatory to Mary.
She will present our petitions to God, and thus presented, He will
speedily hear and graciously grant them.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, strong child, who didst put to flight all hell and the
powers of darkness. We give thee our homage, and with all our hearts we
pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in spirit in our
souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever
live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



NINTH DAY

The Holy Name of Mary

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the Novena).

MEDITATION

ST. ALPHONSUS writes of the name of Mary: "This name was neither
invented on earth, nor imposed by human agency. It came from heaven and
was given to the Mother of God by divine command." Just as it is a
peculiar glory of our Saviour's name, that "God hath given Him a name
which is above all names, that in the name of Jesus every knee should
bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth"
(_Philipp._ ii. 9), thus it also behooves that Mary, the most perfect,
the most pure, and most exalted of all created beings, should receive a
most holy, lovely, and powerful name. St. Methodius declares that the
name of Mary is so rich in grace and blessing, that no one can pronounce
it devoutly without at the same time receiving a spiritual favor. Bl.
Jordan exclaims: "Let a heart be ever so obdurate, let a man even
despair of God's mercy, if he have recourse to thee, O Mary, virgin most
clement, he can not fail to be softened and filled with confidence if he
invokes thy name; for thou wilt inspire him with hope in God's mercy,
pardon, and grace."

PRACTICE

IT IS, then, meet and just that we should devoutly honor and praise the
name of Mary. Let us never mention it except in reverence and devotion.
Let us invoke Mary by it in all dangers of body and soul, mindful of the
words of St. Bernard: "O sinner, when the floods and tempests of this
earthly life overwhelm thee so that thou canst not firmly set thy foot,
turn not away thy gaze from the light of this guiding star. When the
storms of temptation assail thee, and the rocks and quicksands of
vexation and trial threaten to shatter thy bark of hope, look up to that
bright star in the heavens, and call on the name of Mary. When the
billows of pride and of ambition, when the floods of calumny are about
to submerge thee, look up to this star and call on the name of Mary.
When anger, avarice, and concupiscence convulse the peace of thy soul,
look up to this star and call on Mary. When thy sins rise up like
hideous monsters before thy troubled vision, when thy conscience stings
thee, when the terrors of future judgment fill thee with deadly anguish,
when gloom and sadness overpower thee, when thou findest thyself on the
brink of hellish despair, take courage; think of Mary, and thou wilt
find from thy own inward experience how true are the sayings of those
who tell thee that the name of the Blessed Virgin is 'Star of the Sea,'
the name of the Virgin is Mary."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the Novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WE HAIL thee, beloved child Mary, adorned with every virtue,
immeasurably above all the saints, and therefore worthy Mother of the
Saviour of the world, who by the operation of the Holy Ghost didst bring
forth the incarnate Word. We give thee our homage, and with all our
hearts we pray thee to vouchsafe in thy goodness to be born again in our
souls, that, led captive by thy loveliness and sweetness, they may ever
live united to thy most sweet and loving heart.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the Novena).



III

Novena for the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Illustration: The Annunciation]

FIRST DAY

The Annunciation

PREPARATORY PRAYER

MY QUEEN, my Mother, remember I am thine own. Keep me, guard me, as thy
property and possession!

Indulgence. 40 days, every time. (Pius IX, August 5, 1851.)

MEDITATION

AT NAZARETH, a mountain village in Judea, lived poor and in obscurity
Mary, the virgin selected by God to become the Mother of His Son. On
March 25th she was in prayer in her chamber, and perhaps sent up to
heaven the yearning petition, "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain the just; let the earth be opened and bud a
Saviour" (_Is._ xlv. 8). Behold, suddenly the chamber is suffused by a
heavenly light. The archangel Gabriel stands reverently before her and
says, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou
among women. And when Mary heard the angel's words, she was troubled at
his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this
should be" (_Luke_ i. 28, 29).

PRACTICE

THE angel's salutation comprises two titles of ineffable greatness. Mary
is called "full of grace," because of her innocence and purity; she is
called "blessed among women," because she is the elect Mother of God.
Never before was a human being thus greeted. It was God Himself who sent
the message to Mary. A good angel now repaired the harm once done by a
bad angel. For Lucifer, the fallen angel, seduced Eve to sin and thereby
caused the ruin of the whole human race; now another angel, Gabriel, was
sent to announce the glad tidings to Mary, that she was to conceive the
Redeemer from sin, who was to accomplish the salvation of mankind.

Mary was troubled at the angel's words, and reflected on the meaning of
the message. St. Ambrose writes: "Mary was troubled, not because the
angel was a heavenly spirit, but because he appeared to her in the form
of a youth. Still more was she troubled at the praises spoken to her.
She was innocent and humble, and therefore reflected on the meaning of
the message. She had always considered herself as a poor and unknown
virgin; she deemed herself unworthy of God's grace; therefore she was
troubled at the salutation. In that decisive moment she was and remained
our model."

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

POUR forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we
unto whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the
message of an angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the
glory of the resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

WITH wonder I revere thee, holiest Virgin Mary; for of all God's
creatures thou wast the humblest on the very day of thy annunciation,
when God Himself exalted Thee to the sublime dignity of His own Mother.
O mightiest Virgin, make me, wretched sinner that I am, know the depths
of my own nothingness, and make me humble myself at last with all my
heart, beneath the feet of all men.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me!

Indulgence. 50 days, once a day. (Leo XIII, March 20, 1894.)



SECOND DAY

The Import of the Angel's Salutation

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

"HAIL, full of grace!" Mary was greeted as full of grace by the Giver of
grace Himself. The angel's salutation meant: "The grace of God has
preserved thee from all sin. Neither the stain of original sin, nor the
guilt of actual sin, ever obscured the mirror of thy soul. By the
special favor of God the most sublime virtues were infused into thy
soul."

"The Lord is with thee." From all eternity the Lord was with Mary. He
was with her not only as He is with His whole creation, but He was with
her in a special manner. The eternal Father was with her from all
eternity as with His beloved Daughter. The divine Son was with her from
all eternity as with His chosen Mother. The Holy Ghost was with her from
all eternity as with His beloved Spouse. This intimate union never was
disrupted. Therefore Mary is "Blessed among women," and ever was, and
ever shall be the beloved of the Lord.

PRACTICE

CONSIDER how Mary receives the angel's message. She is troubled, she is
disturbed at the praise, at the reverence of the angel. What an example
of humility! Let us imitate her in this virtue by the acknowledgment
before God of our weakness, our unworthiness, our nothingness, and by
ordering our whole being accordingly. Humility renders us pleasing in
the sight of God and makes us susceptible of His grace. Hence St.
Augustine writes: "God resists the proud and gives His grace to the
humble. What a terrible punishment for the proud, what a splendid reward
for the humble! The proud man resembles a rock, the humble man a
beautiful valley. The grace of God descends from heaven like a gentle
rain. It can not penetrate the rock of pride, and hence the proud man
loses God's grace and love. But in the valley of humility the waters of
divine grace can diffuse themselves and fructify the soul of the humble
man, so that it may bring forth fruit unto eternal life."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O MARY, holiest Virgin, who, when the archangel Gabriel hailed thee in
thy annunciation, and thou wast raised by God above all choirs of the
angels, didst confess thyself "the handmaid of the Lord"; do thou obtain
for me true humility and a truly angelic purity, and so to live on earth
as ever to be worthy of the blessings of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

The Effect of the Angel's Salutation

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE effect of the angel's salutation on Mary was striking. Imbued with
sentiments quite different from ours, she was troubled at the praise
addressed to her. Meanwhile she is silent and considers within herself
what might be the meaning of these words. And now the angel calls her by
name, saying, "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and
thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called
the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the
throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for
ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (_Luke_ i. 30-33).

PRACTICE

LET us admire the prudence shining forth in Mary. After hearing the
angel's words of praise she was silent and thought within herself what
kind of a salutation this was. She is very careful and prudent. On this
her conduct St. Thomas Aquinas remarks: "Mary did not refuse to believe,
nor did she receive the message with credulity. She avoided Eve's
gullibility and the distrust of Zachary the high priest." And St.
Bernard writes: "Mary preferred to remain silent in humility, rather
than to speak inconsiderately." Let us strive always to speak and act
with deliberation. Our conversation ought always to be judicious; for
often a word spoken inconsiderately causes bitter regret. St. Thomas
Aquinas observes: "Song was given to a number of creatures, but human
beings alone were endowed with the faculty of speech, to indicate that
in speaking we should use our reason." And St. Chrysostom says: "Let us
always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that
it should speak at the proper time."

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I REJOICE with thee, O Virgin ever blessed, because by thy humble word
of consent thou didst draw down from the bosom of the eternal Father the
divine Word into thy own pure bosom. O draw, then, ever my heart to God;
and with God bring grace into my heart that I may ever sincerely bless
thy word of consent, so mighty and so efficacious.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary's Question

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WELL versed as Mary was in Holy Scripture, she fully understood the
words she had heard and knew their great import. She was destined to
become the Mother of the Most High, the Son of God. But there is an
obstacle which prevents her from giving immediate assent. She has
solemnly vowed her virginity to God. Not knowing how the mystery
announced to her was to be accomplished, and intent above all on keeping
inviolate her vow, she interrupts her silence by the short but
comprehensive question, "How shall this be done, because I know not
man?" (_Luke_ i. 34.) This is the first word of Mary recorded in the
Gospel.

PRACTICE

"HOW shall this be done, because I know not man?" Truly a momentous
question, proceeding from her knowledge of the great excellence and
value before God of virginity, which, before Mary, was unknown to the
world.

Let us follow Mary's example and esteem holy purity and chastity above
all things. Let us remember how highly Holy Scripture extols this
virtue. "O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory; for the
memory thereof is immortal, because it is known both with God and with
men" (_Wis._ iv. 1). St. Athanasius writes: "O chastity, thou precious
pearl, found by few, even hated by some, and sought only by those who
are worthy of thee! Thou art the joy of the prophets, the ornament of
the apostles, the life of the angels, the crown of the saints." Let us
therefore carefully guard this inestimable treasure.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY, mighty Virgin, thou who on the day of thy annunciation wast found
by the archangel so prompt and ready to do God's will, and to correspond
with the desires of the august Trinity, who wished for thy consent in
order to redeem the world; obtain for me that, whatever happens, good or
ill, I may turn to my God, and with resignation say, "Be it done unto me
according to thy word."

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

The Solution

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE angel explains to Mary how, without detriment to her virginity, she
will become a mother. He says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and
the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the
Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (_Luke_
i. 35). St. Bernard remarks: "Let him who can, comprehend it. Who, but
that most happy Virgin who was worthy to experience the influence and
effect of the power of the Most High and to penetrate this sublime
mystery, can understand how the divine Light was poured into the
Virgin's womb? The Most Holy Trinity alone co-operated in the sacred
act, and it remains an impenetrable mystery to all, except to her who
was called to so sublime a destiny."

PRACTICE

MARY did not entertain a single doubt concerning the wonders which the
angel announced to her about the coming Messias and His kingdom. She
believed with simple faith the words of the heavenly messenger. Only
about that which concerned her personally she asked a question. When the
wonderful mystery was explained to her, she did not ask how this _can_
be done, but only how it _shall_ be done. And after the angel had
declared to her that she shall conceive by the Holy Ghost, she was fully
resigned and announced her implicit belief in these humble words:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy
word" (_Luke_ i. 38). Therefore the Holy Ghost Himself praised her by
the mouth of Elizabeth: "Blessed art thou that hast believed" (_Luke_ i.
45).

Let us remain steadfast in the profession of all articles of faith, and
let us oppose, like a strong shield, the words, "Nothing is impossible
with God," to all attacks of unbelievers, and to all doubts that may
arise in our own minds.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

MARY most holy, I see that thy obedience united thee so closely to God,
that all creation never shall know again union so fair and so perfect. I
am overwhelmed with confusion in seeing how my sins have separated me
from God. Help me, then, gentle Mother, to repent sincerely of my sins,
that I may be reunited to thy loving Jesus.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary's Consent

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WE ADMIRE the creative word of God, by which heaven and earth were
called into existence. But Mary's word, "Be it done to me according to
thy word," is even mightier and more efficacious; for it commands the
obedience even of the almighty Creator. Without this word of humility
and obedience the incarnation of our divine Saviour would not have been
accomplished. Mary does not say, "I accept the proposal, I agree to the
proposition," nor does she use other words of similar import. She simply
says, "Be it done to me according to thy word." It was not her own
choice, nor her own decision, but a voluntary, full, and complete
surrender to the will of God that the message found in Mary's soul,
which was expressed in these words. What a source of consolation to her
in the subsequent sorrowful and afflicted stages of her life was this
complete surrender to God's will! It comprised the tranquilizing
assurance that He to whose designs she submitted, would endow her with
the fortitude and strength necessary to co-operate with them.

PRACTICE

JUST as our divine Lord Himself became obedient unto death, thus also
His incarnation and the motherhood of Mary were the result of obedience.
Again, in contemplating the works that in the course of time were
undertaken in the Church for the glory of God and the salvation of man,
we find that only those were really great, effective, and enduring,
which had their beginning, continuation, and consummation in obedience.

Rejoice, then, if it is your happy lot to walk in the safe path of
obedience. Avail yourself of every opportunity to submit your will to
the will of your Superiors. They are the representatives of God. By
obeying them we fulfil His will, not the will of men. St. Bonaventure
calls obedience the key of heaven.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

HOLIEST Mary, if through thy modesty thou wert troubled at the
appearance of the archangel Gabriel in thy dwelling, I am terrified at
the sight of my monstrous pride. By thy incomparable humility, which
brought forth God for men, reopened paradise and let the captive souls
go free from their prison, draw me, I pray thee, out of the deep pit
into which my sins have cast me, and make me save my soul.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Fortitude in Suffering

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ALTHOUGH Mary's consent was free, and freely given, she was clearly
convinced and perfectly conscious of the responsibility, the
obligations, and the duties involved by that consent, and which she now
assumed. Great are the duties and tearful the days of a mother who has
to raise her Son, who is also God, to be sacrificed on the cross. Mary
assumes with the dignity this responsibility. She consents to conceive
the Son of God, to give birth to Him, to nourish Him, to educate Him for
the ignominious death of the cross. When she pronounced the words, "Be
it done," her eyes were fixed on the distant tragedy of Golgotha, on the
cross towering upon its height. Yet she accepts it, together with the
dignity of Mother of God.

PRACTICE

MARY, in consenting to become the Mother of Jesus, became not only His
Mother, but the Mother of all mankind. She became, for all time, the
refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, the intercessor with God for
man; she consented to exercise a mother's love for suffering and sinful
humanity. But alas, how many of those adopted by Mary as her children
under the cross of her dying Son are unworthy of her mother love! How
many are rebellious children, who fill her heart with sorrow and
anguish! Others, faithless and obdurate, become a reproach to her. Have
you, during your past life, always been a good child of this loving
Mother? Are you to her an honor or a disgrace, a joy or a sorrow?

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

THOUGH my tongue is unhallowed, yet, purest Virgin, I presume to hail
thee every day with the angel's salutation, "Hail Mary, full of grace!"
From my heart, I pray thee, pour into my soul a little of that mighty
grace wherewith the Holy Spirit, overshadowing thee, filled thee to the
full.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Mary, the Mother of God

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S true greatness consists in her having been chosen the Mother of
God. This sublime dignity, pre-eminently her own and shared by no other
creature, elevates her to a station inconceivably exalted. Mother of
God! St. Peter Damian thus gives expression to his conception of this
dignity: "In what words may mortal man be permitted to pronounce the
praises of her who brought forth that divine Word who lives for all
eternity? Where can a tongue be found holy and pure enough to eulogize
her who bore the author of all created things, whom the elements praise
and obey in fear and trembling? When we essay to extol a martyr's
constancy, to recount his heroic acts of virtue, to describe his
devotion to his Saviour's cause and honor, we are supplied with words by
facts and occurrences that belong to the province of human experience.
But when we undertake to describe the glories of the Blessed Virgin, we
are on unknown ground, on a subject transcending all human effort. We
fail to find words suitable to portray her sublime prerogatives,
privileges, and mysteries."

PRACTICE

ST. ANSELM, writing on the motherhood of Mary, says: "It was eminently
just and proper that the creature chosen to be the Mother of God should
shine with a luster of purity far beyond anything conceivable in any
other creature under heaven. For it was to her that the eternal Father
decreed to give His only-begotten Son, whom He loves as Himself; and to
give Him in such a mysterious manner that He should be at the same time
the Son of God and the Son of the Virgin Mary. She must indeed be purity
itself, whom the Son of God elected as His Mother, and who was the
chosen Spouse of the Holy Ghost, to be overshadowed by Him to bring
forth the Second Person of that Most Blessed Trinity from whom He
Himself proceeds."

Let us honor the virgin Mother with filial devotion, gratefully greeting
her often in the words of the angel, "Hail Mary, full of grace!" Let us
remember that God alone is above Mary, and beneath her is all that is
not God.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I BELIEVE, holiest Mary, that almighty God was ever with thee from thy
conception, and is, by His incarnation, still more closely united to
thee. Make it thy care, I pray thee, that I may be with that same Lord
Jesus ever one heart and soul by means of sanctifying grace.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Mary, Our Mother

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY could not consent to become the Mother of the Redeemer without
including in her consent those to be redeemed. "She bore one man," says
St. Antonine, "and thereby has borne all men again. Beneath the cross
of her divine Son she has reborne us to life with great pain, just as
Eve our first mother, has borne us under the tree of forbidden fruit
unto death. That there be no doubt concerning it, her divine Son made
this declaration in His last will." "When therefore Jesus had seen His
Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother,
Woman, behold thy son. After that He saith to the disciple, Behold thy
Mother" (_John_ xix. 26 27). She gave up her Son for the redemption of
mankind, and He gave us, in the person of His beloved disciple St. John,
to her as her children, declaring her our Mother. From that moment we
belong to Mary, and Mary belongs to us: "Behold thy Mother!"

PRACTICE

MARY loves us because she loves God, and because God loves us. She loves
us as her brethren who share human nature with her. She loves us as her
children, whom she has borne to eternal life. She loves us because we
are miserable and helpless. True, we offended her divine Son, but she
knows our frailty, our blindness, the assaults of the flesh and the
devil to which we are exposed; and by all this she is moved to come to
our aid.

Do not, however, imagine that this good and amiable Mother will hear
your call for assistance if you continue to offend her divine Son with
malice prepense. To obtain her aid you must make yourself in a manner
worthy of it. This you do by striving to imitate her virtues. Or is
there anything in her example that we are unable to imitate? True, we
can not attain to her perfection in virtue, but we can copy it to a
certain degree. To follow Mary's example there is no need of performing
miracles, of having ecstasies, or of doing any other extraordinary
deeds. All that is necessary is to persevere faithfully in the ordinary
duties of life, and to perform them to the best of our ability.

"Behold thy Mother!" These words of our dying Lord were addressed to the
beloved disciple St. John, but were intended for all mankind. Even as
Mary never ceases to be the Mother of God, she never will cease to be
our Mother.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O HOLIEST Mary, bless me, my heart and my soul, as thou thyself wast
ever blessed of God among all women; for I have this sure hope, dear
Mother, that if thou bless me while I live, then, when I die, I shall be
blessed of God in the everlasting glory of heaven.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



IV

Novena in Honor of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

[Illustration: Mary, the Mother of Sorrows]

NOTE.--Besides the indulgences granted for every novena in honor of the
Blessed Virgin Mary by Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, January 27, 1888, granted
that all the faithful may gain, on the _third Sunday in September_,
being the second feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (the other is
observed on the Friday before Palm Sunday), a plenary indulgence _as
often_ as they visit, after confession and communion, a church where the
Archconfraternity of the Seven Sorrows is canonically established, and
pray there for the intentions of the Holy Father. This indulgence is
applicable to the souls in purgatory.



FIRST DAY

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

PREPARATORY PRAYER

  BID me bear, O Mother blessed,
  On my heart the wounds impressed
  Suffered by the Crucified!

Indulgence. 300 days, once a day. A plenary indulgence, on any one day,
in each month, to those who shall have practised this devotion for a
month, saying besides seven Hail Marys, followed each time by the above
invocation. Conditions: Confession, communion, and prayer for the
intentions of the Pope. (Pius IX, June 18, 1876.)

MEDITATION

FROM the dolorous way of Our Lord's passion Holy Church selected
fourteen incidents to place before us for consideration, which are
called the Stations of the Cross. In the same manner the pious devotion
of the faithful selected seven events in the life of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, and gives itself to their religious contemplation. They are: (1)
Simeon's prophecy in the Temple; (2) the flight into Egypt with the
divine Child; (3) the loss of the divine Child at Jerusalem; (4) Mary's
meeting with her Son bearing the cross; (5) Mary beneath the cross; (6)
Mary receives the body of her Son from the cross; (7) the placing of
Jesus' body in the tomb.

PRACTICE

"FORGET not the sorrows of thy mother" (_Ecclus._ vii. 29). According to
this exhortation of Holy Scripture it is our duty to remember and
meditate often on the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We ought never
to forget that our sins were the cause of the sufferings and death of
Jesus, and therefore also of the sorrows of Mary.

Holy Church celebrates two feasts in honor of the sorrows of Mary; she
approved of the Rosary and of many other devotions in honor of the Seven
Dolors, and enriched them with numerous indulgences. Let us practise
these devotions to enkindle in our hearts a true and ardent love for our
sorrowful Mother.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

GRANT, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed
Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy
mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul,
in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through
Thee, Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, who livest and reignest with
the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

EVER glorious Blessed Virgin Mary, queen of martyrs, mother of mercy,
hope, and comfort of dejected and desolate souls, through the sorrows
that pierced thy tender heart I beseech thee take pity on my poverty and
necessities, have compassion on my anxieties and miseries. I ask it
through the mercy of thy divine Son; I ask it through His immaculate
life, bitter passion, and ignominious death on the cross. As I am
persuaded that He honors thee as His beloved Mother, to whom He refuses
nothing, let me experience the efficacy of thy powerful intercession,
according to the tenderness of thy maternal affection, now and at the
hour of my death. Amen.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!



SECOND DAY

Mary's First Sorrow: Simeon's Prophecy in the Temple

[Illustration: Simeon's Prophecy in the Temple]

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

FORTY days after the birth of our divine Saviour, Mary His Mother
fulfilled the law of Moses by offering Him to His divine Father in the
Temple. "And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this
man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the
Holy Ghost was in Him. And he received an answer from the Holy Ghost,
that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought
in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he
also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now dost Thou
dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace; because my
eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face
of all peoples. A light to the revelation of the gentiles and the glory
of Thy people Israel. And His father and mother were wondering at these
things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them, and
said to Mary His Mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for
the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be
contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many
hearts thoughts may be revealed" (_Luke_ ii. 25-35).

PRACTICE

MARY was familiar with the predictions of the prophets and knew that
ignominy, sorrow, and suffering would be her divine Son's portion
throughout His earthly career. But to have this secret of her anxious
soul thus publicly and solemnly declared by Simeon, was a sharp thrust
of that seven-edged sword which was to pierce her loving heart. In
spirit she viewed that boundless, surging sea of trials, pain, and death
on which her Son was to be tossed about, and was willing to be engulfed
in its bitter waters. Her affliction would have scarcely been greater
had the death sentence of her divine Son been pronounced then and there
and put into execution. What a sorrow, what an affliction, what a trial
for such a tender Mother! Well might she exclaim with the Royal Prophet:
"My life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs" (_Ps._ xxx. 11).
Let us often contemplate this sorrow, and excite our hearts to a tender
compassion with the Mother of Sorrows.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, in the grief thy tender heart
underwent when the holy old man Simeon prophesied to thee. Dear Mother,
by thy heart then so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and
the gift of the holy fear of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

Mary's Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt

[Illustration: The Flight into Egypt]

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

FOR the second time the sword of sorrow pierced Mary's heart when she
was commanded to fly into Egypt with her divine Child. Without
manifesting undue perplexity or discontent, she hastily gathered a few
necessaries for the journey, while St. Joseph saddled the beast of
burden. Then taking the infant Jesus into her arms and pressing Him to
her throbbing heart, the holy pilgrims set forth into the cold, starry
night, away to a foreign land, through the trackless desert, and into a
heathen country. Arrived in Egypt, the experience of Bethlehem was
renewed; no one gave them shelter.

PRACTICE

DURING this second great sorrow, what was Mary's behavior? She was
content to fulfil the will of God; she did not ask for reasons, or
complain of the fatigues of the journey, but preserved her peace of
heart amid all the trials of this severe probation. She is poor, but her
poverty does not render her unhappy or querulous. If God sends us
trials, we ought not murmur or complain. Following the example of Mary,
let us bear them submissively. If we suffer patiently with Mary on
earth, we shall enjoy eternal bliss with her in heaven.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the anxiety which thy most
tender heart underwent during thy flight into Egypt and thy sojourn
there. Dear Mother, by thy heart then so sorrowful, obtain for me the
virtue of liberality, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Mary's Third Sorrow: Jesus Lost in Jerusalem

[Illustration: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple]

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WHO can describe Mary's sorrow when, returning from Jerusalem, she
missed her divine Son? With St. Joseph she retraced her steps in anxious
search of Him whom her soul loved. She went to all her relatives and
acquaintances in Jerusalem, but heard no tidings of her lost Child. She
passed three long days of anxiety in her search, and this constitutes
her third sorrow. Of it, Origen writes: "On account of the ineffable
love of Mary for her divine Son, she suffered more by His loss than the
martyrs suffered amid the most cruel tortures."

PRACTICE

IN MEDITATING on this sorrow of Mary, we ought to remember how
indifferent so many Christians are after having lost God by sin. They
feel no compunction, no sorrow at having offended Him, and yet they can
weep at the loss of a trifle; they shed copious tears when their will is
crossed, or when they receive a deserved reprimand; but for the loss of
their God they have not a tear. They have lost Him, perhaps years ago,
and never make the least effort to find Him. Pray to the sorrowful
Mother that she preserve you from such a deplorable fate!

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the terrors felt by thy
anxious heart when thou didst lose thy dear Son, Jesus. Dear Mother, by
thy heart, then so agitated, obtain for me the virtue of chastity, and
with it the gift of knowledge.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Fourth Sorrow: She Meets Jesus Carrying His Cross

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE time was at hand when mankind's redemption was to be accomplished.
Already the divine Victim of our sins is bearing the instrument of our
salvation. Torn by the cruel scourging, crowned with thorns, and covered
with blood He proceeds on His way to Calvary, and in this pitiful
condition meets His blessed Mother. What a spectacle, what a sight for a
Mother such as Mary! Anxious to look upon her, and with one fond glance
to thank her for her heroic, unselfish love, He made an effort to change
His bowed position beneath the cross, feebly raised His head, and
directed toward her one loving glance of ineffable anguish, mingled with
grateful recognition and humble resignation. Then the sad procession
moves on, Mary following her divine Son on His way to death.

PRACTICE

WE, BY our sins, placed into the hands of the Jews and executioners the
weapons by which Jesus suffered, and thus we thrust the sword of sorrow
into Mary's heart. We repeat this, in a certain sense, as often as we
commit a grievous sin, because we thereby number ourselves among those
whom the Apostle describes as "crucifying again to themselves the Son of
God, and making Him a mockery" (_Heb._ vi. 6). Cardinal Hugo writes:
"Sinners crucify, as far as is in them, Christ our Lord, because they
repeat the cause of His crucifixion." Doing this, we thrust anew the
sword of sorrow into Mary's heart. Let this consideration fill us with
hatred for and fear of sin.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the shock thy mother heart
experienced when Jesus met thee as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by
that heart of thine, then so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of
patience and the gift of fortitude.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary's Fifth Sorrow: Beneath the Cross

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

AT THE crucifixion of Jesus the soul of Mary was plunged into a sea of
sorrow when she stood three hours under the cross. Writhing in
excruciating pain, the Son of God hung upon the tree of disgrace and
infamy, yet Mary continued to stand at its foot, tearful, grieving, yet
persevering, filled with anguish because she could do nothing to help
Him. Another great sorrow befell the heart of Mary when she slowly
withdrew her tearful gaze from the face of Jesus, and cast her weeping
eyes upon the cold and indifferent world that lay in darkness around and
about Calvary. And yet, "When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and
the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother, Woman,
behold Thy son. After that He saith to the disciple, Behold thy Mother"
(_John_ xix. 26, 27).

PRACTICE

THESE words, "Behold thy son, behold thy Mother," contain and express
the mystery of unbounded love, which Jesus has for all mankind, but more
especially for the Church which is appointed and authorized to lead men
to salvation. O blessed, O happy bequest! It was not enough for the love
of Jesus to have restored heaven to us by His atoning death; He wished
also to give us His dearest Mother. And she has always shown herself as
such. To each of us individually she was and is a kind and loving
Mother. Give thanks to her, bless and praise her for having adopted you
as her child, and strive to become worthy of so great a privilege.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the martyrdom thy generous
heart bore so nobly whilst thou didst stand by Jesus agonizing. Dear
Mother, by thy heart then so cruelly martyred, obtain for me the virtue
of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Sixth Sorrow: The Taking Down of Jesus' Body from the Cross

[Illustration: Jesus' Body, Taken Down from the Cross]

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

WHO can describe the sorrow and anguish of Mary's heart when the body of
Jesus was taken from the cross, when her tearful eyes fell upon His
disfigured features! The pure and holy and beauteous form of her Son was
a mass of clotted blood and unsightly wounds; and yet, disfigured as it
was, there shone in His countenance a clear, calm expression of divine
majesty. Now Mary views the wounds of that sacred body; she looks at the
gap made in His side by the cruel spear, and can almost see the Sacred
Heart of Jesus, all bruised and broken for love of man. Before her
vision passes in detail His life and her own. Memory presents to her
mind every day and hour of their quiet, happy life at Nazareth. Is it to
be wondered, then, that at this bitter moment her sorrow was so great
that, as St. Anselm observes, she should have died had she not been
sustained by a miracle of divine omnipotence?

PRACTICE

OUGHT not the contemplation of the sorrows of our blessed Mother confirm
us in patience, in resignation to the will of God in our trials and
sufferings? If the Son of God said of Himself: "Ought not Christ to have
suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?" (_Luke_ xxiv.
26); if the most pure and holy Mother of God, despite her great
prerogatives and merits, had to suffer a sorrow so ineffable, do not
murmur if the word of Christ is addressed also to you: "And he that
taketh not up his cross and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me" (_Matt._
x. 38).

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the pain thou didst suffer
when the body of thy divine Son, taken down all torn and bloody from the
cross, was placed in thy arms. Dear Mother, by thy heart pierced
through, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of
understanding.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Mary's Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is Buried

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE sacrifice for the redemption of the world was accomplished. "And
Joseph, taking the body, wrapt it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it
in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled
a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way" (_Matt._
xxvii. 59). Mary also took part in the burial of her beloved Son, though
the evangelists do not mention her name amongst those who were present
on that mournful occasion. Never, most assuredly, was human soul visited
by such woe and desolation, as that which overwhelmed hers as she cast a
last glance on the precious remains of her dead Son.

PRACTICE

LET us learn of the sorrowful Mother at the tomb of her divine Son
submission to God's holy will in all things, but especially when He
takes from us one of our dear ones. Again, the contemplation of the
sufferings of Mary should fortify us in patience, whenever God is
pleased to visit us with a light and small cross of affliction, or even
with a sorrow that causes our heart to bleed. It should inspire us with
a filial confidence in Mary, who thus suffered for us and gave her
divine Son for our salvation. We can and ought to prove our love for
her, not by sentimental feelings of affection, but by a sincere hatred
of sin and great fervor in the service of her divine Son.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for the anguish felt by thy loving
heart when Jesus' body was laid in the sepulcher. Dear Mother, by all
the bitterness of desolation thou didst know, obtain for me the virtue
of diligence and the gift of wisdom.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Reasons Why Mary Had to Suffer

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

THE reasons why God permitted Mary to suffer so much may be briefly
stated as follows: He did so from His love for Mary and from His love
for us. He did so from His love for Mary, because by suffering she
merited greater glory in heaven. As Mother of the Crucified she
persevered beneath the cross, and now she thrones in heaven as the
glorious Mother of the risen Redeemer. Because she shared in His
suffering, she now shares His glory. Again, God permitted Mary to suffer
because He loved us. If she had not experienced such bitter sorrow, we
would not have recourse to her, for whosoever has not suffered himself
can not have sympathy with the sufferings of others. Mary knows the
pangs of sorrow by experience, and therefore knows also how to console
and help us.

PRACTICE

BECAUSE she herself drained the most bitter cup of sorrow, Mary is
always willing to help those who invoke her aid. But above all she is
inclined to help repentant sinners, because she knows how great the
price of their redemption was, paid by the blood of her divine Son. She
is able to help us, because, after God, she is most powerful; she is
most willing to help us, because she loves us, whom God so has loved "as
to give His only-begotten Son" (_John_ iii. 16). Let us, therefore, have
recourse to her in all our needs, and we shall experience the power of
her help in life and death.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

I COMPASSIONATE thee, sorrowing Mary, for all thy sorrows. I beseech
thee, dear Mother, by thy heart pierced through by them, obtain for me
full abandonment to the will of God in everything and perseverance to
the end.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



V

Novena for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[Illustration: The Assumption]

FIRST DAY

Mary's Death was without Pain

[Illustration: Mary's Death]

PREPARATORY PRAYER

O MARY, Virgin most blessed and Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus
Christ, through thy mercy I beseech thee to come to my aid, and to
inspire me with such confidence in thy power, that I may have recourse
to thee, pray to thee, and implore thy aid in all needs of soul and
body.

MEDITATION

MARY, the virgin Mother of God, was conceived without original sin. She
never dimmed the luster of sanctifying grace which beautified her soul
by actual sin. Nevertheless she had to pass through the dark portal of
death before she was assumed, body and soul, into heaven. She had not
been endowed with the privilege of immortality with which God had
invested our first parents in paradise. It was meet that she should be
like unto her divine Son in everything, even in death. But as she had
drained the bitter cup of suffering during her whole life, and
especially when standing beneath the cross, her death was to be free
from pain and suffering. She quietly passed away yielding up her spirit
in a yearning desire to be united forever with her divine Son in heaven.

PRACTICE

IF YOU have dispossessed your heart of all unruly attachment to the
goods and enjoyments of this earth, you, too, may hope for a happy and
tranquil transition from this land of exile to your home in heaven.
Therefore, if you are still attached to the transitory things of this
life, disengage your heart from them now. The voluntary renouncement of
earthly goods alone is meritorious before God. The separation from them
enforced by the strong hand of death is of no supernatural value.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, pardon the shortcomings of Thy servants; that
we who, by our own works, are not able to please Thee, may be saved by
the intercession of the Mother of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O MOST benign Mother Mary! I rejoice that by thy happy and tranquil
death the yearning of thy heart was appeased, and thy life, so rich in
merit and sacrifice, received its crown. I rejoice that after passing
from this life, thou, O most loving Mother, wast made the glorious and
powerful queen of heaven and dost exercise thy influence as such for the
benefit of thy frail, exiled children on earth. Obtain for me, I beseech
thee, a happy death, that I may praise and glorify thy might and
kindness forever in heaven.

Hail Mary, etc.

_Ejaculation_

Sweet heart of Mary be my salvation!

Indulgence. (1) 100 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence, once a
month, on any day, to all who shall have said it every day for a month,
under the usual conditions.



SECOND DAY

At Mary's Tomb

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

AN ANCIENT legend relates that, led by Heaven, all the Apostles, except
St. Thomas, assembled at the Blessed Virgin's death-bed. After she had
breathed forth her pure spirit, her sacred remains were prepared for the
grave by wrapping the body in new white linen and decking it with
flowers. Meanwhile the apostles, assembled in another room, sang psalms
and hymns in praise of their departed Mother. The apostles, all the
disciples, and the faithful dwelling in Jerusalem followed the blessed
remains to the grave chanting psalms and hymns. Arrived in the valley of
Josaphat, the body was gently placed in a sepulcher of stone not far
from the Garden of Olives. After the entombment the apostles and crowds
of the faithful lingered near the sacred spot in prayer, meditation, and
chanting of psalms in which angels' voices were heard to mingle.

PRACTICE

JOIN in spirit with the apostles and faithful in their prayer and
meditation at the grave of our blessed Mother. Contemplate and review
her whole life. Could a course like hers have terminated more
appropriately than with so beautiful, painless, and tranquil a passing
away? Prepare yourself even now for your departure from this life. Do
not postpone the settlement of your affairs, spiritual and temporal,
until the last uncertain hours. Above all, remove now, or as soon as
possible, all doubts, anxieties, and irregularities of conscience,
because delay is dangerous and leads to impenitence, and because in the
last hours the powers of hell usually assail the departing soul with all
their might.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

GLORIOUS Virgin, who for thy consolation didst deserve to die comforted
by the sight of thy dear Son Jesus, and in the company of the apostles
and angels; pray for us, that at that awful moment we, too, may be
comforted by receiving Jesus in the most holy Eucharist, and may feel
thee nigh when we breathe forth our soul.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



THIRD DAY

The Empty Tomb

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ST. JOHN DAMASCENE writes: "St. Thomas was not with the other apostles
when the Blessed Virgin died, but arrived in Jerusalem on the third day
after that event. Ardently desiring to see once more and to venerate the
sacred body which had given flesh and blood to his beloved Master, the
grave was opened for this purpose. The body could nowhere be seen, and a
delicious perfume filled the empty tomb. The apostles then became
convinced that as God had preserved the body of Mary free from sin
before, in, and after the birth of His Son, He was pleased likewise,
after her death, to preserve that same body from corruption, and to
glorify it in heaven."

A council held in Jerusalem in the year 1672 declared: "It is beyond all
doubt that the Blessed Virgin is not only a great and miraculous sign on
earth, because she bore God in the flesh and yet remained a virgin, but
she is also a great and miraculous sign in heaven, because she was taken
up thither with soul and body. For although her sinless body was
enclosed in the tomb, yet, like the body of Our Lord, it arose on the
third day and was carried up to heaven."

Although the doctrine of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven was
not defined by the Church as an article of faith in the strict sense,
yet the learned Pope Benedict XIV remarks, "It would be presumptuous and
blameworthy in any one to call into doubt or to question this beautiful
and consoling belief of ages."

PRACTICE

LET us rejoice at the thought of the glorious resurrection of our dear
Mother. Let us unite ourselves in spirit with the apostles in heaven and
with Holy Church to congratulate her on this extraordinary privilege.
But let us also rejoice at the thought of our own resurrection. True, it
shall not take place immediately after death, but it is therefore not
the less certain, and it depends on us to make it glorious and blessed.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! As thy sacred body after
death was preserved from corruption, and united with thy sinless soul
was borne to heaven by the angels; obtain for me the grace that my life
and death be holy, so that on the Day of Judgment I may arise to glory
everlasting.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FOURTH DAY

Reasons for the Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

1. THE wages of sin is death. Now, as the Blessed Virgin from the first
moment of her existence was preserved from all sin, and even from
original sin, it necessarily follows that death could have no permanent
dominion over her, and that her body would not be permitted to see
corruption.

2. This sinless body had been the medium by which the body of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, who was the conqueror of death, had been formed. How,
then, could such a highly privileged body, a pure and virginal body, be
permitted to pass through corruption and decay?

3. As Mary had yielded up her sacred person to be a dwelling-place for
the Lord of heaven, it seems fitting that this same Lord, in His turn,
should give the kingdom of heaven to her as her resting-place. St.
Bernard expresses this sentiment as follows: "When Our Lord came into
this world, Mary furnished Him with the noblest dwelling on earth, the
temple of her virginal womb. In return, the Lord on this day raises her
up to the highest throne in heaven."

PRACTICE

IF YOU desire to look forward to death without fear, and to expect your
dissolution with confidence, follow the Apostle's injunction,
"Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good" (_Gal._ vi. 10).
Avoid sin, perform good works, be patient in affliction, and strive to
expiate the punishment due to your sins by voluntary acts of penance,
thus reducing your inclination to sin. Therefore offer up to God every
morning, in a spirit of penitence, all your labors, trials, and
sufferings.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
ineffable glory thou didst make for thy departure from this world by a
life of retirement, full of merits and virtue, dedicated to God alone;
obtain for me the grace that, following thy example, I may detach my
heart from this world, and patiently bear affliction and adversity,
carefully avoid sin, and always strive to advance in the love of God.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



FIFTH DAY

Mary's Glorious Entrance into Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

A JOY greater than human heart can conceive fills the heavenly spirits
when a soul enters heaven to receive her reward. What jubilant
transports, then, must those have been with which they hailed the
entrance into heavenly bliss of the most pure and holy Virgin, the
Mother of the Son of God, body and soul, transfigured in glory! And she
is, and shall be, for all eternity, their mistress and queen! What an
ineffable joy, too, for the Blessed Virgin, to behold the countless
numbers of angels, to admire their beauty, their purity, their intense
love of God! But as the feeble light of a candle disappears before the
splendor of the sun's rays, thus are these choirs of angels obscured by
the ineffable glory of her divine Son coming to welcome His Mother. Who
can describe this affecting meeting? What a superabundant reward for
affliction and suffering! What an ocean of joy and bliss, when the Son
of God presented His Mother before the throne of His heavenly Father,
who greeted her as His beloved Daughter! What a joy to behold the Holy
Ghost, whose pure Spouse she had been even on earth! These transports of
bliss baffle all attempts at description.

PRACTICE

THOUGH we are unable to have an adequate perception of Mary's glory in
heaven, by which she is raised above all angels and saints, yet it is in
our power to do one thing; we can rejoice at the glory of our blessed
Mother, and join the heavenly spirits and the saints in paying homage to
her. Let us resolve to do this, and never to forget that Mary attained
to the largest share of her divine Son's glory because she was foremost
in sharing His sufferings. Let this encourage us to bear our cross, to
bear it with our Saviour even to the height of Calvary, there to die
with Him.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
preparation with which thou wast glorified by God--by the Father as His
most beloved Daughter, by the Son as His immaculate Mother, and by the
Holy Ghost as His most pure Spouse--in heaven; obtain for me the grace
to share to some extent this thy glory, and therefore to live so that I
may deserve it.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SIXTH DAY

Mary Crowned in Heaven

[Illustration: Mary Crowned in Heaven]

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S glory received its culmination by her coronation as queen of
heaven and earth. It was meet that in her should be fulfilled the words
of Holy Scripture: "Come from Libanus, my Spouse, come, thou shalt be
crowned" (_Cant._ iv. 8), and that her own prophetic words, "He hath put
down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble" (_Luke_ i.
52), should be exemplified in her. For it was reasonable and becoming
that she, who once with Jesus wore the crown of shame and contempt,
should now share with Him the crown of immortal glory. It was but fair
and just that the immaculate being who was chosen, above all inhabitants
of heaven and earth, to be the true and worthy Mother of God, should now
be solemnly installed over all creatures in heaven and on earth as the
queen of angels and men, and that to her should be offered homage,
praise, and honor by the blessed spirits and by the souls of the saints.
But the crown which she received is not one made of gold and precious
stones; it is composed of the virtues with which Mary, in faithful
co-operation with divine grace, embellished herself; it consists, too,
of all the homage and glory which she receives as queen of heaven. The
most precious gem in this crown is the filial love and gratitude Jesus
shows toward His Mother in heaven.

PRACTICE

INDEED, "eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither has it entered
into the heart of man," what the heavenly Father has prepared in the
mansions of eternal bliss for His beloved Daughter, the Son for His
Blessed Mother, and the Holy Ghost for His chosen Spouse. She is now
queen of heaven and earth; of heaven, for she is the queen of all angels
and saints; of earth, for as Mother of God she is the Mother of all
mankind, the mediatrix between the Redeemer and the redeemed.

You, too, may contribute a gem toward the crown of your heavenly Mother
by paying her filial homage, imitating her virtues, and preserving, for
the love of her, your innocence and purity of heart.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! I beseech thee through the
everlasting crown of glory with which God has crowned thee queen of
heaven and earth; obtain for me through thy mighty intercession the
grace to persevere in virtue to the end, so that finally I may attain
the crown of bliss prepared by God for those that love Him.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



SEVENTH DAY

Mary's Bliss in Heaven

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

ACCORDING to Holy Scripture and the doctrine of the Church, there are in
heaven various grades of glory and bliss, according to the rank and
merit of the saints. They probably attain this higher grade of glory and
bliss by the increase of their ability to enjoy the happiness of heaven.
Their intellect is enabled to contemplate more profoundly the
incomprehensible essence of God; their power of perception is augmented
so that they may more readily recognize and admire the splendor of the
angels, saints, and heavenly mansions; their will is enabled to be
united, in a higher degree, with God. From this we may conclude that
Mary's bliss in heaven transcends all human conception. Her heavenly
glory and reward consists in the perfect adaptation of her whole being
to the enjoyment of God and of eternal bliss.

PRACTICE

LOOK up, Christian soul, to this great and brilliant queen of heaven.
She is your gentle Mother and assures you of her help, and the diadem
she wears upon her brow is a proof that she has the power to help you.
Do not, therefore, refuse the hand of this mighty friend in heaven, for
she will lift you from the depths of your misery, from the rocky shoals
of temptation, and lead you strong and victorious into the presence of
her divine Son. Thus you will enter into a new and supernatural life in
Christ, to share in the grace-laden mysteries of His life, passion, and
triumph.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GREAT and glorious queen of heaven, Mary! I beseech thee by that
exalted throne upon which God has raised thee above all angels and
saints; let me one day appear amongst them to join them in their praise
of thee. Obtain for me the grace that I may never cease to honor thee as
thou dost deserve to be honored, and thereby to become worthy of thy
mighty protection in life and death.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



EIGHTH DAY

Mary, the Queen of Mercy

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY is, then, a queen, but--what a consolation to know it!--a queen
always mild and gentle, always willing to confer benefits upon us. Hence
the Church teaches us to call her the Mother of mercy. The pious and
learned author Gerson says: "God's dominion comprises justice and mercy.
He divided it, retaining the administration of justice for Himself, and
relinquishing, in a certain sense, the dispensation of mercy to Mary, by
conferring through her hands all graces He grants to mankind." How
consoling, then, the assurance that our merciful Mother is so mighty and
so loving a queen!

PRACTICE

SO GREAT is the tenderness of Mary's maternal heart "that never was it
heard that any one who fled to her protection, implored her help, and
sought her intercession was left unaided." How many prayers, petitions,
and thanksgivings ascend daily to the throne of this our exalted and
merciful protectress! There is not a cry of an afflicted, struggling,
and suffering soul that she does not graciously hear. Join, therefore,
confidently in the prayer of Holy Church, "Hail, holy queen, Mother of
mercy!" Approach her with filial trust. Neglect not to honor her
yourself, and do all in your power to lead others to do her honor.

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary! Holy Church teaches me that
despite the glory to which thou wast exalted, thou didst not forget thy
miserable clients, and that in heaven thy mercy is still greater than it
was during thy life on earth. Therefore I come to thee and trustingly
lay at thy feet all my needs, miseries, and petitions. My queen, my
Mother, turn not thy gracious eyes from me. Remember me with thy divine
Son; cease not to pray for me and take me under thy protection, so that
I may finally have the happiness to see and praise thee in thy glory for
ever and ever.

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



NINTH DAY

Mary in Heaven, the Help of Christians on Earth

Preparatory Prayer (located on the first day of the novena).

MEDITATION

MARY'S help as Mother of mercy is not confined to individuals. She is
the protectress and helper of the whole Church. All over the earth,
wherever we cast our glance, in the records of the history of times long
past and those of recent occurrence, we find testimony of the graces and
benefits obtained through her intercession. The feasts celebrated by the
Church throughout the year, what are they but evidences of gratitude
offered to the queen of heaven for the oftentimes miraculous delivery
from war, pestilence, and other great afflictions? Hence she is rightly
invoked as the "Help of Christians."

PRACTICE

IN OUR days, too, storms and dangers threaten the Church. Let us,
therefore, by calling on Mary for help, do our part toward shortening
the days of visitation and trial. Let us not confine our petitions to
her within the narrow limits of our own personal needs, but let us join
in the cry for help ascending to the Mother of mercy throughout all
Christendom. Let us daily, for Holy Church, send up our petition to
Mary's heavenly throne: "Help of Christians, pray for us!"

Prayer of the Church (located on the first day of the novena).

Litany of Loreto (located in the final section of the book).

_Prayer_

O GLORIOUS Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, queen of heaven! Forget us
not. Thou art the help of Christians; lighten our tribulations, and help
us with motherly intercession at the throne of thy divine Son. With Holy
Church I join in the petition to thee: "Holy Mary, aid the miserable,
assist the desponding, strengthen the weak, pray for the people, plead
for the clergy, intercede for the devout female sex. Let all who have
recourse to thee experience the efficacy of thy help!"

Hail Mary, etc.

Ejaculation (located on the first day of the novena).



The Litany of Loreto

_In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary_

[Illustration: Mary, the Help of Christians on Earth]

  LORD, have mercy on us,
  Christ, have mercy on us.
  Lord, have mercy on us,
  Christ, hear us.
  Christ, graciously hear us.
  God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
  God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
  God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
  Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
  Holy Mary, pray for us.
  Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
  Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
  Mother of Christ, pray for us.
  Mother of divine grace, pray for us.
  Mother most pure, pray for us.
  Mother most chaste, pray for us.
  Mother inviolate, pray for us.
  Mother undefiled, pray for us.
  Mother most amiable, pray for us.
  Mother most admirable, pray for us.
  Mother of good counsel, pray for us.
  Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
  Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us.
  Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
  Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
  Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
  Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
  Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
  Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
  Mirror of justice, pray for us.
  Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
  Cause of our joy, pray for us.
  Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
  Vessel of honor, pray for us.
  Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
  Mystical rose, pray for us.
  Tower of David, pray for us.
  Tower of ivory, pray for us.
  House of gold, pray for us.
  Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
  Gate of heaven, pray for us.
  Morning star, pray for us.
  Health of the sick, pray for us.
  Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
  Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
  Help of Christians, pray for us.
  Queen of angels, pray for us.
  Queen of patriarchs, pray for us.
  Queen of prophets, pray for us.
  Queen of apostles, pray for us.
  Queen of martyrs, pray for us.
  Queen of confessors, pray for us.
  Queen of virgins, pray for us.
  Queen of all saints, pray for us.
  Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
  Queen of the most holy rosary, pray for us.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
    us, O Lord.
  Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us,
    O Lord.
  V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God:
  R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

_Let us pray_

POUR forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we,
to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message
of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His
resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

  V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
  R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

_Let us pray_

VOUCHSAFE, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy
Mother's spouse; that what of ourselves we can not obtain may be given
us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end.
Amen.

Indulgence. (1) 300 days, every time. (2) A plenary indulgence on the
following five feasts of the Blessed Virgin: Immaculate Conception,
Nativity, Purification, Annunciation, and Assumption; under the usual
conditions, to all who shall have said it daily during the year. (Pius
VII, September 30, 1817.) These indulgences are granted for the litany
alone; hence the prayers following it may be omitted.





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