Success Story: Sister Martha Victoria

Sister Martha Victoria After Professing her First Vows, June 20, 2020

 

 

Many blessings for your support of vocations and the Labouré Society.

Crowned with the Love of Christ’s Passion

Joy of Mary: The Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven
“…a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” ~ Revelation 12:1
By Patrick Kelly

Coronation of the Virgin, Fra Angelico

Queen of Heaven

Since Our Lady was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul, God chooses her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. The Son of God receives a human nature through her acceptance of and cooperation with God’s will. Of course, her role as the Mother of God does not end with giving birth or even raising the Son of God. Her role as His mother is a much deeper and intimate role as she completely adheres to the Son’s redemptive work (CCC, 966), remaining with Him throughout the pain and agony of His Passion until his last breath. (Lumen Gentium, 58). Furthermore, since she was detached from all sin, she did not suffer the effects of sin, namely death and decay. For this reason, she was assumed body and soul into heaven. What we see in Mary’s glorious Assumption is our own potential for holiness

Mary is without a doubt the perfect model of faith and charity. She was never separated from God and was never resistant to His grace. It is easy to say that we should all be like Mary because she does what God wants, but if we put ourselves in Mary’s place, we see that God was asking a lot of her. Enduring pregnancy, giving birth and raising a child is no small feat; the fact that the child is the Son of God undoubtedly increases the pressure. Furthermore, Mary had to see her Son scourged, taunted, beaten, humiliated, made to carry His cross and die while standing by. Only Mary’s incredible faith and trust in God sustained her through those moments.

When Our Lady was Assumed into Heaven and crowned the Queen of Heaven, she became “more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death” (CCC, 966). When we place our trust in God, when we rely on His grace to free us from the burden of our sins. When we live charitably, when we accept and follow God’s will, we too become more conformed to Christ. If we persevere in pursuing God and His will in this life, by not allowing ourselves to become separated from Him through sin, we too will be more fully conformed to Him in heaven in the communion of saints in the next life.

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Piercing of Jesus’ Side with a Spear
& Descent from the Cross
“…one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may believe.” ~ John 19: 34-35
By Gretchen Erlichman

Descent from the Cross, Fra Angelico

‘Mercy and Love Flowed Out’ 

The Blessed Mother, exhausted and her eyes swollen with tears, looks upon the crucified, bloodied, lifeless body of her Son. How has it happened that her beautiful child, Who once sat upon her lap and laid His little head upon her breast, now hangs limply upon a wooden cross, covered in blood and dirt?  Thirty-three years earlier, on the day of Jesus’ presentation in the temple, an old man had told her: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) And now, kneeling at the foot of the Cross, she gazes upon the cruciform figure of Him, Who hangs as a sign of the unfathomable mercy and love of God. Behind her, she hears heavy footfalls crunching upon the dry dirt. She doesn’t take her eyes off Jesus’ pitiful body but, as the footsteps get closer, she realizes that a soldier is approaching the Cross. As she watches, a young Roman draws his lance and drives it into Jesus’ already bloodied body: “..one soldier thrust his lance into His side.” (John 19:34) As soon as this wound in His side is opened, Mary winces and cries out in pain; it is the dead body of her Son that has been pierced with the soldier’s lance, but it is her immaculate heart that acutely feels the pain of this wound. Yet, as she struggles to open her eyes and again look upon her crucified Lord, she realizes that a stream of blood and water is flowing from the wound in His side: “…and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34). Despite the pain of the ‘sword that has pierced her heart,’ a flood of consolation washes over her; it is love and mercy that flows from the side of her Son – it is life that pours forth from the side of Christ.

Blood and water poured forth from the wound in Christ’s side so that ‘we also may believe’ and so that we may have life. (cf. John 19:35) Both blood and water are sources of life – blood circulates throughout the body of a living creature to keep it alive, and water nourishes the body of that creature so that the blood may continue to circulate. The blood and water that flows from the crucified Christ are the love and mercy of God. Gushing forth from His open side, Christ’s blood is “poured out” (Matt. 26:28) so that we may have life; in becoming human and dying on the Cross, He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) to show us His mercy. Through the blood of Christ’s Passion, we are  invited into a sharing in the divine life and love of the Trinity. Through the mercy poured out upon us in the waters of baptism, we are nourished in this new life of grace. Just as the physical body requires blood and water to remain alive, so too does the spiritual life require the blood and water of Christ’s wounded side to remain in the life of Love. Let us then abandon ourselves and dwell in Christ’s wounded side so that we may unite ourselves ever more intimately to Him.

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Bury Doubt and Rise in the Truth

Joy of Mary: Resurrection of Jesus
“I found him whom my soul loves.” ~ Song of Songs 3:4
By Victoria Clarizio

Noli Me Tangere, Fra Angelico

Although it is not recorded in Scripture, Tradition has assumed that Christ must have appeared first to His mother after His resurrection. How could He not? We find this in the writings of some of the earliest Church Fathers.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, Mary was praised for being His mother. While this was a great honor, He quickly praised her for an even greater attribute: her faith.

‘While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”’ (Luke 11:27-28)

It makes sense that the one who had the greatest faith would be the first to witness Christ’s resurrection. Mary alone did not doubt or despair at the cross.

Mary’s faith, as it is for us, must have been a great example for Jesus’s first followers. They had seen Him raise others from the dead, such as Lazarus. Perhaps Martha echoed Mary’s faith when she expressed complete trust by saying to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” (John 11:21-22) At the cross, Mary would have remembered and believed the promise that her Son would reign forever. At the Annunciation, Mary was not afraid to wonder how God’s plan would come about even as she believed with complete certainty that it would. Perhaps Mary also wondered at the cross how God’s promises would be fulfilled – the promise of her Son that He would rise from the dead.

Imagine the joy when they were reunited! It must have surpassed the joy of the nativity, their first meeting. Perhaps this moment was so sacred, so intimate, that the Gospel writers did not dare to attempt to describe it.

In his Wednesday audience on May 21, 1997, Saint John Paul II, spoke of this meeting between Christ and His mother. John Paul II shed light on what this encounter teaches us:

“Present at Calvary on Good Friday (cf. Jn 19:25) and in the Upper Room on Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14), the Blessed Virgin too was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s Resurrection, completing in this way her participation in all the essential moments of the paschal mystery. Welcoming the risen Jesus, Mary is also a sign and an anticipation of humanity, which hopes to achieve its fulfillment through the resurrection of the dead.”

Mary was present with Jesus throughout His life, but especially in His suffering, death, and resurrection. Mary is also with us in every moment of our lives, in every joy and sorrow, to teach us how to trust and to press on towards that joy which awaits us in heaven, where we will finally be reunited with her Son.

 

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea
“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also where my servant be” ~ John 12:26
By Thomas Conroy

The Burial of Christ, Fra Angelico

The Victor, whose body was dead and broken, was laid in the tomb. The bonds of sin are broken, and Satan trembles on his infernal throne, but on Earth all is still. His story seems to be finished, and the final acts were a kind burial by His disciples, and a last terrible thorn in the heart of His Mother.

First, to say a word about the disciples. The body of our Lord, who had just undergone horrible torture and agony, was thought cursed and abandoned by God “God’s curse rests on him who hangs on a tree.” (Deut 21:23) Their hopes for a worldly Savior had died, and any association with Him would have made their lives difficult, bringing down the ire of those who had crucified the Lord of Glory. Yet they had the courage to give what they thought was one last gift to their teacher, a proper burial. The smallest respect paid to His sacred Body will not go unrewarded.

The second is the sorrow of the Blessed Virgin Mary on seeing her Son laid in a tomb. “Where has your lover gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your lover gone that we may seek him with you?” (Song 6:1) He has passed through the door, beyond the waking world. And her heart, so full of love, is now filled with sorrow and sadness for her Son whose life was spent, whose blood had been poured out for us.

In this earthly life love, true love, involves a type of union with the one we love. Their joys become our joys, their sorrows become our sorrows. This is seen among family relations, where a mother feels very deeply the pain of her child. With Christ and His Mother there was a perfect union with His suffering heart on the Cross, and now when Christ died, there seemed to be an empty abyss. It was as if the light of the sun and all the stars had been blotted out from the sky.

To paraphrase St. Alphonsus Liguori (Of the Dolours of Mary), Mary’s intense suffering is one of the reasons why she is called Queen of Martyrs. Other martyrs suffered on account of their love of Christ, Mary suffered because of her love. If she had not loved, she would not have suffered as she did because Christ himself was the indirect instrument of her suffering. What struck His flesh struck her soul, revilements flung on Him fell on her. Her suffering is not in vain, however. To take her as an example, to look at the bottom of the chalice of suffering is not to find nothing as the nihilists would have us believe, but to find a crucified God. At the bottom of her immeasurable pain, she found her Son. Our wounds and sorrows can be used to ascend to Him.

O Most Blessed Queen, when faced with such love and sorrow, all speech fails. Please, unite us with your Son. “Let me share with you his pain, who for all our sins was slain, who for me in torments died.” (Stabat Mater Dolorosa)

 

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

What Was Lost Now is Found

Joy of Mary: Finding of Jesus in the Temple
“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
By Patrick Kelly

Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, Duccio di Buoninsegna

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions.” ~ Luke 2:46

In Saint Luke’s Gospel, we hear the story of finding the boy Jesus in the temple and we are given a glimpse of Jesus’s upbringing. We learn that Jesus has been separated from Mary and Joseph while they were traveling from Jerusalem after Passover. Eventually, the child Jesus is found still in the temple. Mary understandably seems distressed as she asks Jesus “why have you done this to us?” Jesus replies “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”(Luke 2: 48-49) Mary surely was relieved when she and Joseph found Jesus, but probably were not comforted by Jesus’ reply to her question. This response reveals for us that Jesus is sent by the Father and is totally consecrated to his mission (CCC 534). Saint Luke continues by saying that Mary and Joseph were confused by Jesus’ response; however, Mary, ever the perfect example of fidelity to God’s will, accepts this response and “kept all these things in her heart.”(Luke 2: 51) With Mary, we see how sorrow and joy often comingle or coexist in a situation. When we imitate Mary and submit ourselves to God’s will and unite our suffering to that of Christ’s on the cross, we are met with the hope of the resurrection.

 

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
“Why were you looking for me?”
By Gretchen Erlichman

“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” ~ Luke 2:49

Jesus and Mary are traveling in a caravan with their friends and relatives. They are headed back to Nazareth after celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem. It was such a joyous and solemn feast, not to mention that it was wonderful to see family and acquaintances that they hadn’t seen since their last visit to Jerusalem. Their hearts are so full of thanksgiving to God for His goodness. Yet, Mary has begun to feel an indescribable heaviness in her heart. She and her husband have been traveling for the past day and they figured that Jesus was playing with His cousins at the back of the caravan, but He is nowhere to be found. They must go back; they must go back and look for Jesus in Jerusalem.

It is a day’s journey back to the city, and Mary can feel the absence of her Son in her heart; her little Child, her Son, all alone in the vast city of Jerusalem. Where could He be? Is He hungry? Did He find somewhere to sleep last night? Is He safe? …All of these thoughts and anxieties are the sentiments of a mother’s heart. It is these human feelings that may have caused Mary’s heart to be anxious and troubled, but it was the supernatural life of grace within her soul that led her to trust in the Lord, despite the circumstances. Free from sin from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Mother never faltered in her trust of the Almighty.

These anxieties that Mary felt in her heart may be similar to the troubles we sense in our own hearts when we feel that God is far from us or that He has abandoned us. Yet, when Mary felt sadness in her heart because of losing Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem, He calms her motherly fears by saying: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) It is just that; in the moments when we feel that we have lost the presence of  the Lord in our souls, it is often the case that He is closest to us, dwelling within us as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, doing His Father’s work in our hearts. When Mary realized that Jesus was nowhere to be found, she went searching for Him with trust that she would find Him. And upon seeing Him teaching in the temple, she realized that He wasn’t lost at all, He was exactly where He needed to be to do His work of saving souls. Likewise, Christ is never lost to us; maybe we just need to search deeper in our souls to see the work that He is doing within us to bring our souls to salvation. When He seems distant, He may be working within us to prepare our place at the heavenly banquet. At the Last Supper Christ tells us: “…if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. (John 14:3) Indeed, He wants to be with us and He wants us to be with Him! He remains with us always, present in the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles and on altars throughout the world, and He dwells within us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He speaks to our hearts: “…behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)

 

 

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Flee to Adore Him

Joy of Mary: Adoration of the Magi
By Thomas Conroy

The Adoration of the Magi, Fra Angelico

“Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
Colossians 3:2

“After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Mattew  2:9-11

Blessed be God!

In the adoration of the Magi we see the splendor of faith, three kings, princes of their people, bowing down before a plain child in a manger. Their view was not of earthly goods and power, but those of above. As St. Thomas says in his commentary on the gospel of St. Matthew: “seeing worthless things, and considering the things most high, they were moved to admiration, and adored him.”(Commentary on Matthew)

It was not earthly riches that they sought, not looking for an ostentatious display of wealth and luxury. They found not the lavishness of Herod’s palace or the splendor of Caesar’s abode but a humble dwelling and a poor woman tending her child. The treasure they were seeking was infinitely more precious than anything this poor earth could offer. “Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand.” (Wis 7:9)

It was not worldly show or honor that they sought, for they found that in Jerusalem, with Herod the Great and all his counselors, and all the pomp and circumstances that befits royal dignity. For what this King desired was not titles but humility, not worldly esteem but rather true love. And it was this glory, the glory of God Incarnate, that they sought.

It was not earthly wisdom that they sought, there was no Solomon the Wise with his majesty and splendor, whose regal wisdom people from lands far away came to hear. They may have heard of the wisdom of the Greeks, of Athens and the Areopagus where truly wise men come to hear words of erudition from silver tongued philosophers. Instead, they found their wisdom on the lips of a stammering babe.

It was, perhaps, the greatest deference and respect any worldly authority or figure of importance showed Him over the course of his entire written life. All the other great kings and rulers either dismiss Him or let Him be killed. But it was these pilgrims who saw and recognized the true King, coming in humble form.

His first coming was in poverty, ignored and hated by the world and recognized by only a few who were given true knowledge. His next coming will be in glory and seen by all, and He will be surrounded by angels and the powers of heaven.“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev 22:1) Come, Lord Jesus!

 

The Flight into Egypt, Fra Angelico

Sorrow of Mary: The Flight into Egypt
By Victoria Clarizio

“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”
Habakkuk 2:3

 

Our faith is full of paradoxes. The ways of God are so mysterious and our vision is so limited. How often are we baffled by the way He allows things to unfold, only to discover why months or years later? The irony of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt could not have been lost on Mary, whose faith was greater than ours. She must have had a clearer sense of the way God had been working, putting everything into place throughout the history of her people, to be fulfilled by the birth of her Son.

When in a dream, Joseph was told to take his family into Egypt, how could they not think of the significance of this command? Their people had fought so hard, suffered so much at the hands of the Egyptians, and had finally escaped. Yet, God was telling them to go back.

Even how the Israelites had ended up in Egypt in the first place is significant. In the story of the first Joseph we see how God allows certain things to take place to fulfill His plan. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. But when a famine struck Egypt and the surrounding lands, Joseph was given supernatural wisdom to know how to preserve grain so that the people would not starve. When Joseph reveals to his brothers that he is alive and well, he tells them not to regret what they did. God worked a greater good out of their sinful actions. As the first Joseph preserved the earthly grain, so Joseph, the husband of Mary, preserved the heavenly grain which would become the Eucharist, the bread of life.

The first Joseph brought his people to Egypt but many years later the Pharaoh became afraid that the Israelites would rebel, so he killed all of their first born sons. Out of fear of Jesus, Herod made the same decree as the Egyptian Pharaoh – that all male Israelite infants in Bethlehem should be murdered.

In Matthew’s gospel the phrase is often repeated, “so that the scriptures would be fulfilled.” This phrase points to the fact that God allows certain things in His wisdom to fulfill His plan of salvation. Mary pondered all of this and must have wondered at the strange and mysterious ways that God chooses to save us. She is the only one who can perfectly balance immense sorrow for the death of these innocent babies with complete trust that God brings good out of every tragedy and uses them to bring about the fulfillment of His plans.

When we are faced with trials and wonder why God is allowing a certain suffering in our lives, let us have the faith of Mary, who “believed that what was spoken to [her] by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Born in Love

Joy of Mary: Nativity of Jesus

The Nativity of Our Lord
By Patrick Kelly

“You will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and he will be named Jesus” ~ Luke 1:31

The Nativity, Fra Angelico

When we contemplate the Blessed Mother’s role in the Nativity of Our Lord, we witness the joy that it is to be found when we cooperate and surrender to the will of God as opposed to being forced arbiters of our own will.

Mary, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, possessed all the grace necessary to bring God’s Son into the world. This of course is revealed by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and he will be named Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Surely there were things Mary was concerned about: When will the baby be born? Where will the baby be born? Where will the baby sleep? What will the baby wear? All of these concerns are all practical and understandable. Surely the angel sensed this when he told her: “Do not be afraid.” (Luke 1:30). Like any mother, Mary wants to make sure that her child is well cared for throughout her pregnancy and after His birth.

Mary’s love and cooperation with God’s will, brought forth Jesus into the world: “and the word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Because of Mary’s hope in God’s will, Jesus was born and brought forth the world’s redemption. If we are like Mary and surrender ourselves to God’s will, what can Our Lord accomplish through us?

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary

The Crucifixion, Fra Angelico

The Hill
By Gretchen Erlichman

“And when they came to a place called Golgotha, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.” ~ Matthew 27:33

At the Nativity, Christ was born into the world to save it: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17) Christ came into the world to save it by the Cross and, through His Death and Resurrection, He merited salvation for all mankind. He came into a broken and sinful world to save it and it was the world that condemned Him to death on the Cross. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 ) It was by Love that we have been saved. Let us unite our hearts to that of the Blessed Mother and reflect on this Love:

The Hill
By Gretchen Erlichman

He walked the hill with the weight of a cross;
The hill that felt more like a mountain,
Under the weight of my sin.

Here I lay, crumpled at the foot of Him who is the Godhead,
I can smell the loam,
As my salty tears mingle with the freshly dug clay.

Salt and earth;
The Salt of the Earth,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

I look upward and He gazes downward.
The space so great between the Creator and His creature,
Diminished by the emptying of Himself into humanity.

Creator become human;
Creator of all Humanity,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

Both of our faces are stained with droplets,
Sparkling tears upon my cheek,
Crimson blood upon His brow.

Water and blood;
Blood and Water which flows from the side,
Of Him who hangs on the wood of the Cross.

Our eyes meet,
I cannot bear His piercing gaze;
His eyes so full of mercy,
My eyes so full of shame.

Shame and mercy;
He who is Mercy for the shameful,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

And in that gaze so full of light,
My darkened soul,
To day from night.

Darkness and light;
He who turns all darkness to light,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

And as my heart cries out in silence,
And as my God cries out in pain,
I cannot bear the love He bore,
For love of me.

“It is finished.”

 

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Announcements of Joy & Prophecies of Sorrow; Declarations of Love

Joy of Mary: The Annunciation

An Announcement of Renouncement; Sanctity, Surrender, and a Little Bit of Skepticism
By Gretchen Erlichman

“’Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” ~ Luke 1:38

Annunciation, Fra Angelico

The Annunciation is one of the most profound mysteries of our faith. Yet, as we ponder in awe at this beautiful doctrine, we may consider that even the Blessed Mother was filled with wonderment at the mystery of her virginal motherhood. Mary was chosen by God to be His mother; she was immaculately conceived and was sanctified by the gift of grace bestowed on her by the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel greeted her with respect for her sanctified predilection and announced her miraculous maternity: “‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you’…you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:28-32) Upon hearing these words, even the Blessed Mother herself could not help but humbly question this mysterious truth: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34) This is not a question of doubt, like that of Zechariah, but a question of understanding the power of God, a clarifying inquiry into her already strong belief in His almighty power. She was concerned, confused, and probably frightened at the thought of bearing a child with seemingly no explanation. In response, Gabriel simply replied: “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you…for nothing is impossible with God.’” (Luke 1:35-37) And at this, Mary replied with total and utter surrender: “‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)

How was Mary able to respond with such swift sincerity and joyful submission? How did she so meekly conform her intentions and calmly avert her skeptical fears? Yes, she had received immeasurable graces from God to be His mother, but she also surrendered her will to the workings of the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which she committed a beautiful and selfless act of faith. It was by this faith that she entered into the mystery of her divine motherhood. So too, it is by an act of faith that each of us can enter into the mysteries of our faith. St. John Chrysostom speaks to this necessity of faith: “We know this is a mystery through faith, not one that can be studied in various ways. We venerate the mystery, not a joining together. We theologize a mystery, not a study. We confess a mystery, we do not count it.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on the Annunciation) Therefore, in our efforts to be ever more like the Blessed Mother in our conformity to God’s will, let us pray to the Holy Spirit that He may grant us the gift of faith. Let us implore the Lord for the faith necessary to renounce our own will and open our hearts to the announcement of His love; for in setting aside our skepticism and self-interest, we may receive the grace to enter into a sanctified life of surrender and, in joyful submission, our souls will sing and our ‘spirits will rejoice in God, our Savior.’ (cf. Luke 1:47)

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Prophesy of Simeon

“And You Yourself a Sword Will Pierce”
By Patrick Kelly

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” ~John 3:16

The Presentation in the Temple, Fra Angelico

Our Lady’s first sorrow comes from the Prophecy of Simeon which occurred forty days after Our Lord’s birth. Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus to be presented to the Lord in the temple, as was the custom. Saint Luke’s Gospel tells us that while the Holy Family was in the temple, Simeon identifies Jesus as the Messiah. Simeon then says to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)

Nobody likes to see or experience suffering. Moreover, nobody likes to be told that they are going to suffer. However, we as Christians know all too well that suffering goes hand in hand with love. This comes directly from God the Father, who sent His only begotten Son into the world in order to redeem the world: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) In order to redeem the world, the Son suffered the intense physical agony and pain of dying on the Cross. The anguish of Our Lord’s Passion, precedes His triumph over death.

When we are faced with any kind of suffering, how are we to respond? Let us look to Our Lady, who listens and trusts in the Lord while uniting her sufferings to those of her Son, who renews all things.

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Institution of The Eucharist: In the Presence of Christ

Satiated By Love
By Gretchen Erlichman

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

The Eucharist is the gift of Christ Himself to the Church. Ah, and what a gift He is! The God of all creation, condescended to humanity, suffered, died, and was buried, before gloriously rising, all for the purpose of our salvation. Yet, this act of love did not cease in Christ’s  great sacrifice on Calvary, but has eternal union with the re-presentation of His Passion in Sacrifice of the Mass, in which bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord  Jesus Christ.  The Catechism of Catholic Church states that, “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” (CCC 124) Indeed, it is through this gift of Himself in the Eucharist that Christ satiates our hunger and thirst for Him. As human beings created in the image and likeness of God, our very essence was created in such a way that we are inclined toward Him in love. Yet, by the consequence of our concupiscence, we often blindly stray from that which will satisfy us. In doing so, we become lacking in the fullness of our humanity and become numb to our spiritual needs. In John’s Gospel, Christ tells us: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35) Yet, if we deny our desire for Him we become as those who St. Augustine describes as refusing this invitation to life: “They had the jaws of their heart languid; with open ears they were deaf, they saw and stood blind. This bread, indeed, requires the hunger of the inner man…” (St. Augustine, Tractate 26 on the Gospel of John). Let us then respond to our hunger and thirst by taking part in the Paschal Banquet, by which we eat Christ’s Flesh, which is true food, and drink Christ’s Blood, which is true drink. (cf. John 6:55)

The Last Supper, The Church of St. Mary and St. Lambert – Stonham Aspal, Suffolk

For in this sacrament of the Eucharist, we partake in Christ’s great act of love, which is His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. The institution of the Eucharist is intricately inseparable from this act of love in that it occurs in harmony with the trajectory of our salvation. St. Thomas states: “The Eucharist is the perfect sacrament of our Lord’s Passion, as containing Christ crucified; consequently it could not be instituted before the Incarnation; but then there was room for only such sacraments as were prefigurative of the Lord’s Passion.” (ST III, Q.73, A.5) It is through this Sacrament of Love, it is through the Eucharist, that we participate in the love of the Trinity, extended to us by the reception of Christ in Holy Communion. The sacrifice of the Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice on the Cross, in which there takes place an offering of the Son, to the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In receiving the Eucharist, we receive this Love, in which “the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC 1374); we receive into our human bodies the gift of God Himself. He is truly present to us in this Sacrament and He joins us to Himself by our reception of Him. Let us pray for the grace to receive Him in faith and realize that our hunger and thirst will be satisfied; that, in receiving and adoring the Eucharist, we will be satiated by Love.

 

 

The Bread of Life
By Phillip Baker

“I am the bread of life… whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:48, 51)

At every moment of the day on altars throughout the world, Our Lord becomes Incarnate in the Eucharistic offering. As once of old He stood on earth and was Incarnate in the womb of the Virgin, so He is Incarnate in the hands of His priests now.

We rightly call the Eucharist the Bread of Life and the offering of our salvation, but it is these things because it is the Body and Blood of Christ. “For unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you,” and it is “the blood as life that makes atonement” (Jn 6:53, Lv 17:11). And surely the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of God because Jesus Himself took bread and wine and said “this is my body which will be given for you… this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you” (Lk 22:19-20). As no covenant is established without blood, so the Eucharistic cup must be the Blood of Christ – “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (cf. Heb 9:18, 1 Cor 11:26). What does it mean to “proclaim the death of the Lord” but that His one sacrifice is made present again on the altar?

Truly His Body and Blood, Jesus intended for us not just to reverence Him, present in the Eucharist, but to eat Him, too. “For my flesh is true food,” He says, and food is meant to be eaten (Jn 6:55). Our Lord does not give us mere food, mere manna, though, but His very life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood;” therefore Christ is alive in the Eucharist because it is His flesh and blood (Lv 17:11). And because we consume the Body and Blood of Christ, we consume Him, fully alive, and He thereby gives us to share in His life.

This truth – that Jesus Christ, God and man – is present in the Eucharist, is not something available to our senses. “Seeing, touching, tasting are in Thee deceived,” St. Thomas prays, for we cannot sense our Lord present in the Eucharist (“Adoro Te Devote”). While some people are given the grace to sensibly know the presence of God in the Eucharist, most are not. Therefore, when our senses are scandalized that we worship what appears to be a piece of bread, Our Lord opens our soul to see that what many wrongly say is just a symbol and mere bread and wine is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus and therefore the Real Presence of God among us. It is in this way that Jesus is “with [us] always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). The Eucharist itself is an open invitation to have faith in God, for when our senses misconstrue that what we see is bread and wine, we can, instead, devoutly fall to our knees before our Eucharistic God and proclaim from the depths of our soul “my Lord, and my God!”

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Transfiguration: Transfigured By Light of Love

The Mountain of God
By Phillip Baker

“When Christ appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (cf. 1 Jn 3:2).

Mountains, in Scripture, are places of encounter with God. Moses went up Sinai and saw the Glory of the Lord, and the Glory of the Lord passed by Elijah, hid in a cleft on Mount Horeb (cf. Ex 24:12-18, 1 Kgs 19:9-18). When Jesus goes up Mount Tabor, there is a theophany, or a self-revealing of God. The Luminous mysteries reflect on, to some extent, revelations of Who Jesus is – He is God’s Beloved Son, the Bridegroom Who provides new wine in abundance, the long-awaited King of Israel, and here, in the Transfiguration, He shows us that He is God Himself. On Tabor, Jesus reveals that He possesses the glory proper to God – this is what Luke means when he says the Apostles “saw His glory” (Lk 9:32).

Jesus is God, “the fountain of life” in Whose light “we see light” (Ps 38:10). That light changes and transfigures us, fixes and transforms us in God; that light is Jesus, “the true light, which enlightens everyone,” for “what came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race” (Jn 1:9, 3-4). Jesus reveals Himself as God, sharing in the fullness of glory proper to God alone. He exudes light and life, and in His light He shows us the pathways of His commandments and changes us to be like Him.

For Jesus is not just another Moses, nor is He just another prophet. Rather, He Who is transfigured in a cloud on the mountaintop is the same One Who gave Moses the Law from a cloud on Sinai. He Who is speaking to Elijah is the One Who passed Elijah by on Horeb. He is God and God with us, God become Man. Therefore, He is not a distant and unsympathetic God. The god who makes the world and abandons it to run on its own is a definitively non-Christian misconception, for this God of ours is one Who touches His frightened disciples and says “Rise, and do not be afraid” before leading them down into the plain (Mt 17:7). Jesus is God, and He is our Lover, Who stays with us, even as He leads us unto the Cross. Jesus prepares His apostles for “His exodus,” wherein He will free us from slavery to sin. By showing them His glory in this moment, He reassures them that His Passion will end with His glorification (Lk 9:31).

That message is the same for us. Our Lord, our Love, gives us a message of hope in this mystery: the journey up the mountain is hard, but, if we ascend the mount of Calvary with Him – if we “deny [ourselves] and take up [our] crosses daily” – we will see His glory (Lk 9:23). Not only that, but we will see that glory He revealed to His apostles on Tabor and share in it ourselves. For the Lamb is the light of the City of God, and His people “will look upon His face… night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light,” the light of the Son (Rev 22:4-5).

 

 

Transfigured in Trinitarian Love
By Gretchen Erlichman

“About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” ~Luke 9:28-29

The Transfiguration, though veiled in mystery, sheds great light on our sharing in Christ’s glory. By Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection – which all coalesce in the greatest act of love – we are invited to partake in the transformative grace of Baptism, by which we come to dwell within the love of the Trinity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church brings to our attention the way in which Christ’s own life reflects this mingling of mystery and love: “On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus’ baptism proclaimed “the mystery of the first regeneration”, namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration “is the sacrament of the second regeneration”: our own Resurrection. From now on we share in the Lord’s Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he ‘will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body.’” (CCC 556 ) St. Thomas beautifully details how the Holy Trinity was made wonderfully manifest in this mystery: “The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud.” (ST III, 45, 4, ad 2.) Christ “went up the mountain to pray,” taking Peter, James, and John, and His glory as the Second Person of the Trinity was sensibly made known to them; they were given a foretaste of the sweetness of this love of the Trinity. So too, in our faithful witness to the truth of this mystery, we can begin to taste the sweetness of the spiritual life by uniting our hearts to this Trinitarian love through prayer.

At the Transfiguration, Christ ascended the mountain, away from the chaos of the crowds and the exhaustion of preaching, and entered into the silence and solitude of prayer in manifest union with the whole of the Trinity. We are also invited into this union of Love and are given the opportunity to be transformed, if we but only retreat from our frenzied existence and rest in the simplicity of the Lord. In a homily on the mystery of the Transfiguration, St. Augustine reflects on how Peter must have reacted to the sweetness of this restful love in comparison to the bitter-sweet activity of his apostolate: “He had been wearied with the multitude, he had found now the mountain’s solitude; there he had Christ the Bread of the soul.” (St. Augustine, Homily on the Transfiguration) In prayer, when we seclude ourselves from the diversions of the  world and enter into the contemplation of spiritual goods, we begin to taste the love of God, which is true food for our souls; we become satiated by the love of the Trinity. Let us then pray for the grace and the strength to go “up the mountain to pray.” Let us follow in the footsteps of Christ so that, when, by His grace,  we reach the precipice, we may be transformed by the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Support future Dominicans!

Prostration during solemn professions.

Greetings in Christ Jesus!

I hope you are well and staying healthy during this pandemic. Despite the upheaval in our daily routines, the flow of prayer and work in the cloister has continued for the salvation of souls. Know that you have remained in my prayers during this difficult time!

I am writing to ask for your support again. The current Labouré Class can use a final push in these last weeks of their campaign, which ends in only 2 weeks on June 30. Four of the candidates are aspiring to be future Dominicans in the Eastern Province! Below you will find videos and links that will introduce you to a few of these hopeful Dominican aspirants.

Just as you supported me in my vocation, would you consider supporting these men with a monetary gift? 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Know of mine for you as we continue to offer the praise of the Church to God in the liturgy and in our study.

In St. Dominic,
Br. Vincent


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