Garments Of Grace: Spiritual Exercise 07/20/20

Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)

  1. Call Uber Conference at 720-735-7025 or
  2. Online at uberconference.com/facingourimmortality

Opening Prayer:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Garments of Grace   

In the classic fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” a vain ruler is tricked by two weavers into believing he has a set of new clothes.  He parades before the people for their admiration.  The people are afraid to say anything until a child blurts out: “But he’s naked!”

There is a similar deceptive force at work that tries to reclothe believers, and therefore the Church, in unbecoming ways.  Here is one example:

Some circles hold that the Church has become feminized and that is the reason more men don’t participate.  Pope St. John Paul II would surely be surprised by that assessment.  He spent a great part of his pontificate trying to bring the authentic gifts of women more fully into the Church and the world.  His call for the “feminine genius” was as much a call to women to wake up and recognize their real gifts, as it was to men to accept them.  In a word, live the Marian dimension in the Church more deeply and it will go a long way toward sanctifying her.  The call to men is similar.  Live the Christ life heroically and the Church will flourish in a powerful and beautiful way.

The Church is neither patriarchal nor feminized in the negative sense of those words. What we struggle with today is secularism. Secularism wants to tell us who we are by clothing us in its own garments and dividing us from each other. It would reclothe the Church in rags before the masses who are dying for even a glimpse of the stunningly beautiful Garments of Grace that are her incomparable treasures.

“All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:26-28.  

Our authentic shared identity is as brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved children of the Father!  We cannot let the world “clothe” us in any other way.  If we live out our identity in Christ our relationships become familial, not based in race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic levels, education, etc., but rather in “graced friendships” which should form the basis of all our interactions with each other.

There will always be attempts to refashion the Church. But the garb of Christ who is poor and glorious at the same time is our true raiment.  We must remember that so we do not end up exchanging our eternal beauty for the glitter of false gold!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are the treasures, riches, jewels the Church offers that the world cannot give?
  1. One example is given in the reflection.  What are some other ways the world tries to “reclothe” the Church, or believers?  
  1. What is the meaning of worldly and what is the motivating vision of those who are worldly?  And what is the motivating vision of those who follow Christ?  How does one move in this world without becoming worldly?
  1. We are called to see every person in the goodness of the Father.  This will ultimately heal the divisions we have between ourselves, between peoples and nations, and between generations.  How do we concretely live that?



Source: iBreviary

The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospel itself invited this attention with exquisite discretion and delicacy. What was first excited was compassion for the Virgin Mother. It was, so to speak, at the foot of the Cross that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the Heart of Mary. Simeon’s prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion with one of its favourite formulae and most popular representations: the heart pierced with a sword. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the Cross; “she cooperated through charity”, as St. Augustine says, “in the work of our redemption”.

It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De duodecim stellis).

Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent.

In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1302) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of St. Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget’s Book of Revelations.

St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his Theotimus.

In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to St. Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses.

In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were first of all the revelation of the “miraculous medal” in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.