Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three New CEAG Treasuries - Tributes to Our Lady

I wanted to make a tribute to Our Lady. But with all the wonderful art done by the Catholic Etsy Artists Guild, aka CEAG aka teamcatholic, I was able to make three.

1. A Tribute to Our Lady, I - Virtues focuses on Our Lady of Grace, Charity, Good Counsel (apparition), Hope , The Immaculate Heart, the Mystic Rose, Perpetual Help, the Rosary, Sevens Sorrows, Snows, and the Star of the Sea. There are other examples of Our Ladies Virtues, but these are the one for which I found beautiful items from the CEAG.
2. A Tribute to Our Lady, II - Apparitions focuses on the Visitations of Our Lady, including, the Burgundy region of France, Lourdes, Guadalupe, Mt. Carmel, and Fatima. A number of miracles have been associated with these regions following her visitations. In other regions of the world, several miracles have been attributed to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary.
3. A Tribute to Our Lady, III - St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal is my favorite visitation. Our Lady Mary visited the nun, Sister Catherine Laboure, at least three times. On the first visit, Mary allowed Sister Catherine, to lay her head in Mary's lap and spoke with her regarding, largely, the political situation in France in 1830. During the conversation, Mary said to her, “My child, I am going to give you a mission.”

Later that year, in the Second Apparition, streaming from rings on Mary's fingers, as she held the small globe representing the world, were many rays of light. Mary explained that the rays symbolize the graces she obtains for those who ask for them. Mary explained that the rays symbolize the graces she obtains for those who ask for them. The globe represented the whole world, but especially France, which was having political and social problems, specifically the death of the King and the French Revolution. France would be the first to experience these problems.
The vision then changed for the Third Apparition. Our Lady standing on a globe with her arms now outstretched and with the dazzling rays of light still streaming from her fingers. Framing the figure was an inscription in French but translated here to English: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
The Third Apparition - St. Catherine and Mary

Mary is standing upon a globe, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her foot. She stands upon the globe, as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her feet crush the serpent to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Genesis 3:15). The vision turned and showed the design of the reverse side of the medal. Twelve stars encircled a large "M" from which arose a cross. Below are two hearts with flames arising from them. One heart is encircled in thorns and the other is pierced by a sword.

The twelve stars can refer to the Apostles, who represent the entire Church as it surrounds Mary. They also recall the vision of Saint John, writer of the Book of Revelation (12:1), in which “a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” The cross can symbolize Christ and our redemption, with the bar under the cross a sign of the earth. The “M” stands for Mary, and the interleaving of her initial and the cross shows Mary’s close involvement with Jesus and our world. In this we see Mary’s part in our salvation and her role as mother of the Church. The two hearts represent the love of Jesus and Mary for us. (See also Luke 2:35).

Miraculous Medal, in French, front and back
Then Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal minted according to what you see. All those who have this medal blessed and wear it, especially around their neck, and who recite the short invocation, will enjoy the special protection of the Mother of God and receive special graces. These graces will be in abundance for those who wear it faithfully.” 

Catherine explained the entire series of apparitions to her confessor (see References), and she worked through him to carry out Mary’s instructions. She did not reveal that she received the Medal until soon before her death 47 years later.

With approval of the Church, the first Medals were made in 1832 and were distributed in Paris. Almost immediately the blessings that Mary had promised began to shower down on those who wore her Medal. The devotion spread like wildfire. Marvels of grace and health, peace and prosperity, followed in its wake. Before long people were calling it the “Miraculous” Medal. And in 1836, a Canonical inquiry undertaken at Paris declared the apparitions to be genuine.

There is no superstition, nothing of magic, connected with the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal is not a “good-luck charm”. Rather, it is a great testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith. God uses a Medal, not as a sacrament, but as an agent, an instrument, in bringing to pass certain marvelous results.

When our Blessed Mother gave the design of the medal to Saint Catherine LabourĂ© she said, “Now it must be given to the whole world and to every person.”


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