Her Little Gifts

Her Little Gifts

“O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven – especially those in most need.”

– Our Lady of Fatima

Like all good mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary cares very deeply for Her children. She is concerned for our welfare – in the physical realm, certainly; but particularly in the spiritual realm, as this is where our welfare is most important.

And like all good mothers, She wants to give us little treats and gifts which are pleasing to the eyes and the hearts of us, Her children.

All the while, She knows that we are poor and fickle, forgetful and inconstant, even despite our very best intentions. And so, She makes Her little gifts as pleasing to us as possible, so that we might more earnestly embrace them and so that they might do us the most good.

One such gift is the little prayer She taught the children at Fatima in July 1917 –

“When you pray the Rosary, say after each Mystery – ‘O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need’.”

Our Blessed Lady knows that we are supposed to pray, as this ‘connects’ us directly to the divine; and She knows that we would like to pray – but She knows, too, that very often, for one reason or another, we simply do not pray.

There are a great many prayers which we could choose in order to pray – the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Gloria, spring immediately to mind, along with numerous other short prayers.

There are also the ‘official’ prayers of the Church such as the Liturgy of the Hours – often seen as being only for the clergy, this prayer is actually for all the faithful. But it takes time, practice, dedication, perseverance – and how often we lack those!

Seeing our weakness, the Blessed Virgin suggests something very short, very beautiful and very simple – this little prayer which She gave us through three very young children. She asked us to pray it after each decade of the Rosary, so it must be an important prayer – otherwise, once for each full Rosary might have been sufficient.

In this little prayer, we acknowledge that we are sinners and deserving of Hell. We might not like to acknowledge this, but that is the reality – we are all sinners, who can rely on nothing except the mercy of God. And having acknowledged it, we can then ask for that forgiveness of which we are so desperately in need – and which is always poured out upon us so very liberally by the Almighy, time after time after time.

But this little prayer adds one further dimension.

It asks for the mercy of God not only for ourselves, but for all other sinners, too. And in asking this of God, we are performing a spiritual act of charity by praying for others. Our Blessed Lady has, then, not only encouraged us to be a little bit more prayerful, but also a little bit more charitable.

Mother are very well practised at being able to get their wayward children to do what they should have been doing already – and this is particularly the case when the mother in question is none other than the Mother of God.

Let us do as She asks.

 

 

 

Appeal To The Heart

Appeal To The Heart

“Almost at the same time, there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden coloured cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful, exceedingly beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen before, came and placed Herself at the entrance of the opening, above the rose bush. She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance, as if She had been my Mother.”

– Saint Bernadette Soubirous

There is something very disarming about the Mother of God, something which appeals directly to the heart of the child within each one of us.

From the days which are recounted in the Gospels, the Blessed Virgin is presented as a Woman of humility (choosing to visit and help Elizabeth); of determination and strength of character (asking the help of Her Son even though it was not His time); and of simplicity of words (‘Do whatever He tells you’) and enormous courage – remaining faithfully beneath the Cross upon which Her Son was nailed, whilst almost all of His disciples had scattered in fear.

She is also presented as a Woman of deep and intense prayer, that prayer showing Her sublime relationship with – and trust in – God; Her complate surrender at the moment of the Annunciation is evidence of this. Her beautiful ‘Magnificat’ in St Luke’s Gospel shows us Her deep familiarity with the Scriptures, which it references and reflects so often. Mary is a Woman who is steeped in the very presence of God; Her spirit dwells in His presence, Her Heart is constantly lifted up to Him. And as the Angel Gabriel notes, the Lord is with Her.

It is not real surprise, then, that we are so very fond of Our Lady and that we approach Her in all our needs.

This has also been the experience of those Saints who were blessed to see the Mother of God during their lives.

Saint Catherine Labouré recounted that when the Blessed Virgin visited her for the first time, on the night of 18th July 1830, She sat in the chair used by the Priest, at the front of the sanctuary of the Chapel. Catherine knelt at Her feet, her hands in the lap of the Mother of God – a natural thing for a child to do before her Mother, but also an enormous privilege, for no other soul has been granted this honour of such warm familiarity.

And when appearing to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, the Blessed Virigin ensured She had the appearance of a small and young girl, so as not to frighten Bernadette, who was aged only fourteen at the time.

Similarly, appearing to the three chilldren at Fatima, the first thing She said to them was ‘Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm’.

Our Blessed Lady is always concerned for us and for our needs – material, certainly, but spiritual first and foremost. Her appearances upon the earth are always with this in mind – to call us back to God.

Catholics are greatly fortunate in having always known and loved the Blessed Virgin, even from our childhoods – and this is a great grace we have been given. Many others come to know Her only much later on in life, and often by quite circuitous means. The Blessed Virgin draws souls to Her, for She is illuminated by the very light of Heaven – and in drawing us to Herself, She then fulfils Her primary intention, which is to lead us closer to the Lord.

Not every soul – indeed, not even every Catholic – has a close and warm relationship with the Mother of God. For such souls, we can do two things – live a life in close union with the Blessed Virgin, in the hope of leading by example; and we can pray – because a relationship with the Mother of God is a grace, and it can be obtained through prayer, which obtains so very many graces. We need to pray that those hearts are opened to the possibility of letting that relationship develop, because not every heart is so opened and there are many who misunderstand the role of the Mother of God and the purpose of devotion to Her. And those prayers must always be offered with the greatest charity and the deepest humility, reminding ourselves that if we have been granted this grace, it is through no merit on our part, but purely because the Lord desires it.

This day, may we all give thanks to God for the great grace we have been given in knowing and loving the Blessed Virgin Mary; and by our way of life, may we encourage others to live in union with Her so that She might lead every one of us closer to the Lord.

 

Rosary Resources

Rosary Resources

“I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.”

– Pope Francis 

As an aid to the prayerful recitation of the holy Rosary throughout the month of May – and preferably well beyond then – I have included below some of the articles I have written previously on the Rosary. I hope you might find them useful.

Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.

Her Little Gifts

Her Little Gifts

"O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven - especially those in most need." - Our Lady of Fatima Like all good mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary cares very deeply for Her children. She is concerned for our welfare - in...

Appeal To The Heart

Appeal To The Heart

"Almost at the same time, there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden coloured cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful, exceedingly beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen before, came and placed Herself at the entrance of the opening, above...

Rosary Resources

Rosary Resources

“I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.” – Pope Francis  As an aid to the prayerful recitation of the holy Rosary throughout the month of May - and preferably well beyond then - I have included below...

A Scriptural Rosary

A Scriptural Rosary

“.. a Gospel prayer ..” - Pope St Paul VI, ‘Marialis Cultus’ The Rosary is a deeply Scriptural prayer and it has been referred to as ‘theologically rich in Biblical content’ (Pope St John Paul II) – indeed, it is the Gospel in bead form. The prayers of the Rosary come...

Mysteries of Light

Mysteries of Light

"This addition of these new mysteries.. is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ" - Pope St John Paul IIWriting his Apostolic Letter on...

Papal Rosary Prayers

Papal Rosary Prayers

"I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May." - Pope Francis  Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the faithful for the month of May 2020   Dear Brothers and Sisters, The month of May is approaching, a...

Meditations on Mary

Meditations on Mary

"I myself have often encouraged the frequent recitation of the Rosary. From my youthful years, this prayer has held an important place in my spiritual life.. The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it, I have entrusted any...

Model of the Church

Model of the Church

"Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from Her union with Christ and flows directly from it.. After Her Son's Ascension, Mary 'aided the beginnings of the Church by Her prayers'. In Her association with the Apostles and several women, 'we also see Mary by Her...

Treasure of the Heart

Treasure of the Heart

"His Mother treasured all these things, pondering them in Her Heart." (Luke 2:19)In Saint Matthew's Gospel, the Lord tells us clearly - "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.. but store up treasures in Heaven.." (cf.Mt.6:19-20). Our treasures, then,...

Entrusting It All To Mary

Entrusting It All To Mary

"In times of darkness, holding the Rosary is like holding your Blessed Mother’s hand. Pray the Rosary every day. Abandon yourself in the hands of Mary. She will take care of you.. love Our Lady and make Her loved; always recite the Rosary and recite it as often as...

The Daily Rosary

The Daily Rosary

"But the most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery .. it is more urgent than ever that our...

In Prayer With Mary

In Prayer With Mary

"The Rosary of the Virgin Mary.. is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It...

A Eucharistic Rosary

A Eucharistic Rosary

"The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium." -  'Rosarium Virginis Mariae', St John Paul...

The Power Of This Prayer

The Power Of This Prayer

"The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to it's choral recitation and to it's constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, it's deliverance was attributed...

A Beautiful Monotony

A Beautiful Monotony

Anyone who has ever been in love will have experienced that moment when the heart feels the urge to say ‘I love you’ over and over again. In many senses, it is exactly the same with the Rosary.

Walk With Mary

Walk With Mary

Ever faithful to Her task, the Blessed Virgin offers us ways of vanquishing the three great enemies which pursue us in life – greatest amongst Her Sacramentals is the holy Rosary.

A Lenten Rosary

A Lenten Rosary

Praying a daily Rosary is an excellent way of coming to know and serve the Lord better, following the example of His Mother. Lent is the perfect time to begin this practice.

The Secret Of The Rosary

The Secret Of The Rosary

"Say the Rosary often with faith, humility, confidence and perseverance." - St Louis Marie de Montfort “A prayer so easy and yet so rich..” – Pope St John Paul IIAlthough it may be the most popular of all Catholic devotions and even the one most associated with being...

Men And The Rosary

Men And The Rosary

"Get a Rosary, have it blessed by a Catholic Priest, carry it with you always and - above all - pray the Rosary, every single day."In January of this year, I wrote about The Rosary Revival and in that post, I said this – “In ‘Marialis Cultus’, Pope Paul gives a hint...

The Rosary Revival

The Rosary Revival

"A prayer so easy and yet so rich.." - Pope St John Paul II At the present time, it seems there is something of a resurgence in the praying of the holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are new books on the subject, renewed calls to it's prayerful recitation,...

Learning Christ From Mary

Learning Christ From Mary

"They will have the two-edged sword of the Word of God in their mouths and the bloodstained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, and the holy Names of Jesus and Mary on their heart." -...

Merciful Reparation – the five first Saturdays

Merciful Reparation – the five first Saturdays

"Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation." - Our Lord to Sister Lucia The theme of reparation as a means of obtaining...

The Gift Of The Rosary

The Gift Of The Rosary

Thank You, heavenly Mother, for the precious gift of Your most holy Rosary. You know, dear Mother, that these beads are always in my pocket. From my earliest days, there they have been, a constant reminder of You, a tangible sign of Your motherly protection and love;...

A Scriptural Rosary

A Scriptural Rosary

“.. a Gospel prayer ..”

– Pope St Paul VI, ‘Marialis Cultus’

The Rosary is a deeply Scriptural prayer and it has been referred to as ‘theologically rich in Biblical content’ (Pope St John Paul II) – indeed, it is the Gospel in bead form.

The prayers of the Rosary come from the Gospels – the ‘Our Father’ is the prayer of Christ Himself, taken from the Gospel of St Matthew; and the ‘Hail Mary’ is comprised of the message of the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation and the salutation of Elizabeth at the Visitation, from the Gospel of St Luke. The ‘Glory Be’ comes from the command of the Lord prior to His Ascension, recounted in Matthew 28:19, and gives glory to the Most Holy Trinity. We always begin the Rosary with the Apostles Creed, reminding ourselves of what we actually believe as Catholics, and we conclude each decade of the Rosary with the little prayer, ‘O Jesus’, given us by Our Lady at Fatima, who asked that we ‘pray the Rosary every day’. We end the Rosary with the beautiful ‘Hail Holy Queen’ or ‘Salve Regina’, one of the four great antiphons in honour of the Blessed Virgin, and one which links us to the official prayer of the Church, as it is always prayed at the end of Night Prayer of the Divine Office.

The late Archbishop Fulton J Sheen spoke beautifully on the value of the Rosary when he said –

“The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description.”

St John Paul spoke about the Rosary as a spiritual journey we make in the company of the Mother of God and through which, we become true friends with her Son –

“In the spiritual journey of the Rosary, based on the constant contemplation – in Mary’s company – of the Face of Christ, this demanding ideal of being conformed to Him is pursued through an association which could be described in terms of friendship. We are thereby enabled to enter naturally into Christ’s life and, as it were, to share His deepest feelings.”

The Catechism echoes this sentiment when it reminds us that ‘Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the Rosary’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.2708).

In his wonderful book ‘The Secret Of The Rosary’, the great Marian Saint, Louis Marie de Montfort, reminded us that ‘Rosary’ means ‘crown of roses’ – a spiritual bouquet which we lay at the feet of the Mother of God every time we pray it devoutly.

But it is more than this. The Rosary, when prayed well, is also a spiritual garden of roses; each time we pray the Rosary, we walk through this heavenly garden in the company of Mary, who gently leads us ever closer to Her Son – and as we do so, we are covered in something of the fragrance of this exquisite garden, a fragrance which clings to us and remains with us after the last echoes of the vocal prayers have died away. The more we walk in this garden, the stronger the fragrance becomes.

There are many ways in which to pray the Rosary; what matters most of all, of course, is that we do actually pray it – the precise manner of doing so matters a little less. I gave some broad suggestions in a recent post called The Secret Of The Rosary. In that post, I said –

‘Above all, I would heartily recommend reading – and becoming deeply familiar with – the Gospel passages relevant to each of the Mysteries. The Rosary is a Gospel prayer and so it is important that we become familiar with the source material.. You will never reach the bottom of this well – there is always something new to be found there.’

There are various forms of praying the Rosary along with Scripture; but for the sake of this post, I would like merely to suggest a very simple one, perhaps the most simple way.

When you go to your quiet place to pray the Rosary, first ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you with His divine grace, and ask the Blessed Virgin to pray with you and help you, for She is the exemplar in Christian prayer. And then, as you begin each decade, start by reading the passage of Scripture to which it relates. The Joyful Mysteries, for example, are all recounted within the first few chapters of the Gospel of St Luke.

Now, as you pray, don’t concentrate on the vocal prayers you are praying with your lips; instead, focus on the Scriptural passages, and pray these with your heart. You know the vocal prayers intimately well and do not need to focus on them consciously to pray them, so let them sink into your soul as you continue to pray them. Your mind and memory will take care of these and free you to do the next step. Focus your conscious attention on the passage from Scripture. As your lips repeat the vocal prayers, let your mind engage with the Scriptures as you silently read the passage. Read it slowly as you pray, then read it again. Meditate on it, become part of it, even if only for those couple of minutes.

Although this may sound like an odd way to do things, and perhaps even impossible – as I am asking you to do two things at once – trust me, it is perfectly possible to do so. It is not beyond your ability to keep going with the recitation of the vocal prayer, while your eyes and mind focus on the Scriptures and contemplate these.

Try it, even once. You may be surprised.

 

Mysteries of Light

Mysteries of Light

“This addition of these new mysteries.. is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ”

– Pope St John Paul II

Writing his Apostolic Letter on the Holy Rosary, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’, back in October 2002, the Holy Father Pope John Paul offered us a new set of Mysteries to contemplate in the praying of the ancient devotion of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

While this might, on the face of it, seem an astonishing move – to change the Rosary – it is, in fact, not at all new.

The Rosary is a prayer that gradually developed over centuries, before slowly taking on the form in which we recognise it today. There were a number of significant changes over those centuries.

It took a long time for the actual Mysteries themselves to become formalised – initally there was much variation regarding precisely what the Mysteries were.

Equally, the structure of the prayer changed, too. For example, Saint Louis de Montfort added the ‘Glory Be’ at the end of each decade – and this was only three hundred years ago.

And one hundred years ago, the Blessed Virgin Herself asked for a further addition – the little ‘O Jesus’ prayer we are now accustomed to say after evey decade. So changes to the Rosary are nothing new.

Pope John Paul saw the Rosary very much as ‘a compendium of the Gospel’ and ‘a way of contemplating Christ with Mary’. But he noted this –

“I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which.. could broaden it to include the Mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between His Baptism and Passion.. it is during the years of His public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light.. each of these Mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very Person of Christ.”

Bearing all this in mind, and notwithstanding the meditations offered by the Holy Father himself on these Mysteries, it may be worth taking a few moments to think a little about each of the Mysteries of Light, or Luminous Mysteries.

The Baptism of Christ – a mystery of revelation

Light reveals to us what is true. In this first Mystery, divine light is thrown on the very Person of Christ, Who is affirmed by the Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit as the true Son of God – “this is My Son, the Beloved” (Mt.4:17). And so with this divine seal of approval, the Lord will begin His earthly mission, to establish the Kingdom of God in the world and in the hearts of men. Into those hearts, He will pour His own divine light.

The Wedding Feast at Cana – a mystery of supplication

Although He is the Christ, He desires that we who follow Him take an active part in His mission. In a sense, we will become ‘co-redeemers’ with Him. Mary, His Mother, is the ‘co-redeemer’ without compare and She is the example for us and for the Church herself, pleading with the Lord – “they have no wine” (Jn.2:3). In simplicity, She reminds us of what our task consists, and it is this – that we “do whatever He tells you” (Jn.2:5).

The Proclamation of the Kingdom – a mystery of acclamation

The Gospel is a proclamation of the establishing of the Kingdom of God. The Lord tells us – “the time has come, and the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk.1:15). And if we do believe this, our very lives will likewise proclaim this truth and our joy will witness to what we believe. Jesus, “the Light of the World” (Jn.8:12) promises we will never walk in darkness but “will have the Light of life”.

The Transfiguration – a mystery of illumination

Alone with some of the Apostles, the Lord is transfigured “and His face shone like the sun” (Mt.17:2); the Apostles are reminded that “this is My Son, the Beloved.. listen to Him”. He is truly the Son of God. In every moment of darkness in our lives, He is with us and His divine light will shine, to the glory of God the Father. We just need to listen to Him.

The Institution of the Eucharist – a mystery of presence

Jesus is the Word and “through Him all things came to be” (Jn.1:3). His own words have great power – of revelation, and also of bringing about what they describe. Such is the case here – in saying “This is My Body.. this is My Blood” (Mt.26:26-28), the Lord brings into existence what His words describe. And in this Sacrament, the Lord remains ever present “so that I may be in them” (Jn.17:26).

 

 

Papal Rosary Prayers

Papal Rosary Prayers

“I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.”

– Pope Francis 

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis
to the faithful for the month of May 2020  

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of May is approaching, a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family. The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this “family” aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.

For this reason, I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.

I am also providing two prayers to Our Lady that you can recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you. I include them with this letter so that they are available to everyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial. I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection I send you my blessing.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 April 2020
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist

Pope Francis


First Prayer

 

O Mary,
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
Amen.

We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.


Second Prayer

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.