Archbishop Moras calls upon Devotees to go to Jesus through Mary
Bengaluru: Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bengaluru called upon the people to go to Jesus (and God) through Mary as we believe in the perpetual intervention of Mary. Dr Moras was speaking during a concelebrated Mass at Holy Ghost Church near here at the conclusion of the five-day devotion to and veneration of the icon of Mother of Perpetual Succour.
Archbishop posed a question as to why not to go direct to Jesus and God. Jesus is God himself. All are welcome to go to Jesus (God) directly. Mary was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus (God). Archbishop Moras illustrated this aspect by an allegory. When a child wants something, it always goes to its mother first as the child is not grown and not capable of thinking in a mature way. This is applied in our spiritual life, strengthening the faith and in our striving for salvation. St Luke noted the role Mary played in the salvation In 19th century.
Mary always intercedes for us like she had done at the wedding at Cana. We pray to Mother Mary and she being our Mother of perpetual Succour would intercede for us. Mary has only one message given all over – ‘obey my Son’. As Christians, we have to be faithful to God and to His call for humility like Mary who said “Thy will be done.”
The Catholics are often accused of ‘worshipping’ Mary. We worship God alone. Only He deserves our worship. We honour and venerate Mary and her icon. Archbishop urged all to give attention to Jesus and not to ourselves. She is our Mother as she is called ‘Mother of God’. She helps us to go closer to God and Jesus. She is always at our side, in all life situations. She always supports us to go to Jesus and she is for it. One day we will be there to meet her and Archbishop exhorted all to say, “Mary, our Mother, pray for us.”
Sharing a reflection on the day’s reading, Rev. DrMoras asked what mistake the man in the parable (of Pharisee and publican in the gospel) makes. The Pharisee was self-righteous and viewed others with contempt.The attitude was self-righteousness. He compared himself to others and was very condemning of others. The Pharisee made the wrong conclusion in his comparison between himself and the tax collector. The Pharisee was unaware of his own sins, but very aware of other peoples’ sins. This is very characteristic of a self-righteous person.
On the other hand, the Publican was the least respected member of society. He was a Jew who went to work for Rome collecting taxes. He was viewed as a traitor.He stood at a distance. He was afraid to approach God, knowing that he was unworthy. He was unwilling to lift his eyes. This showed his humility.
He asks for mercy from God. He says, “Be merciful to me, the sinner. ”That is genuine humility. He literally says, “Be merciful towards me.” He knew that only God could help him to be righteous. (Rom 3:23-25) Jesus Christ was the answer to this man’s prayer. Justification is that gracious work of God whereby He extends mercy to the repentant sinner who comes to Him in faith.The publican went out in peace, his sins forgiven. The Pharisee did not understand that only God could help him to be righteous.
Elaborating on ‘Mercy’, the Archbishop said, on September 4 this year Mother Teresa was canonized and she is a great Saint. He made a mention of her work of mercy among the poor and the needy. He urged all present to compare our work with hers so as to get a feel of her devotion and commitment towards helping others. This brings God’s blessings. If everyone speaks well of you, it is a sign of the grace of God. Service of others should be utmost in our minds. He encouraged all to be humble like her. Saint Mother Teresa was humble before God. She felt she was no one (before God). Taking into account the day’s parable in the reading, Saint Mother Teresa’s example, and each person’s life, we have no humility. We take credit for ourselves for all that happens. Our ego is so high and that ruins all.
Archbishop cautioned people who could be like the tax collector and the publican in the work area and business field. We could be like a pencil in hand. Learn to be a good example to others particularly in work area and apply righteousness for life to change. Need should be felt to seek God’s grace in this year of Mercy and to establish a good relation with God and fellow beings.
Archbishop Moras who was,earlier, welcomed by the parish priest, Fr. Paul PazhangattuCSsR, on his reaching the church, said “we are here in a special way – to honour the icon of Mother of Perpetual Help. The occasion is the jubilee of 150 years of the icon of Perpetual Help with the Redemptorists. The Pope has blessed 60 pictures and sent to the whole world to show that she deserves the special veneration and honour, and that God bless all (who honour her).
Soon after the Mass, the parish priest presented the Archbishop with a bouquet to greet him for his 75th Birthday celebrated recently. Parish priest Fr Paul also proposed a vote of thanks in which he thanked the Archbishop and all others who contributed towards the celebrations, including the priests from near and far. Among others present included Fr. Jacob Britto, former parish priest and Secretary to Archbishop.
Parish priest invited people with their members of families to spend some time in front of the icon to pray and meditate. Multitudes of devotees thronged to venerate the icon and to pay obeisance to ‘Our Mother’ since October 19 through Sunday – whole day and night and until Monday (Oct 24) 8 am. Several stalls were put up to explain to people the history and all aspects of the icon besides the miracles, favours and the benefits people all over the world received. The icon is expected to be taken to Kerala on Monday, it is learned.
History of the Icon
The history of the original icon, which is now enshrined in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome, can be traced back to the year 1495, when the image, already considered ancient, was enshrined in a church on the island of Crete. When the island was threatened by Turks, the icon was carried off — or stolen — by a merchant who took it with him to Rome. Shortly after arriving there, the man became grievously ill. Before his death, he begged a friend to take the icon to one of the churches in Rome so that it could be publicly venerated.
Upon his death, however, the friend’s wife persuaded her husband to allow her to keep the painting in their home, where it remained for several months. One night the Blessed Virgin appeared to the man in a dream, warning him not to keep the picture. Twice she appeared to him with this message and both times he disregarded her warning. The third time she told him that if he continued to disobey her, he would die a miserable death. This time the man tried to persuade his wife to give up the painting, but she refused. Our Lady appeared to the man again to tell him of his impending death; within a short time, he became sick and died.
Our Lady then appeared to the man’s 6-year-old daughter, telling her to tell her mother, “Holy Mother of Perpetual Help commands you to take her out of your house!” The mother, who had seen a similar vision, was terrified and was about to give the picture to a church when a neighbour woman persuaded her that it was just a dream and that she should pay no attention to it. That night the neighbour became violently ill, and recognizing her fault, made a solemn promise to the Lady of the picture, whereupon she was immediately cured. Again the Blessed Virgin appeared to the young girl, this time commanding her to tell her mother to place her picture in a certain church between St. Mary Major’s and St. John Lateran’s. That very day, March 27, 1499, the picture was taken in solemn procession to the church of St. Matthew the Apostle, where it was placed above the exquisite white-marble altar. The church itself was very small — only about 75 feet long and 35 feet wide. Nevertheless, the shower of miraculous graces began even before the image entered its walls, with a paralyzed man being cured as the procession passed by his house.
The history of the image up to this point was written in both Latin and Italian on a large piece of parchment, which for many years was hung next to the icon in St. Matthew’s Church. Copies of the parchment are now kept in the Vatican Library.
For the next three hundred years, this humble church was one of the most popular pilgrimage places in Rome because of the miraculous picture. Then in 1798, the Church of St. Matthew was levelled to the ground by Napoleon’s forces. The Augustinian monks who were caretakers of the church took the picture with them, but for 64 years it was lost to the rest of the world. Eventually, even the monks forgot that the image had once been regarded as miraculous.
In 1855, the Congregation of Redemptorists came to Rome and were granted possession of the location where St. Mathew’s had once stood to build a church in honour of their founder, St. AlphonsusLiguori. It happened that a young Redemptorist priest remembered that as a young boy he had been told of a miraculous image that had once been enshrined in the previous church. The image had been safely transferred an Augustinian monastery near Rome.
When the Redemptorists heard of this, they petitioned the pope to allow the image to be returned to the spot that the Blessed Virgin had requested. The pope granted their request and further commissioned the Redemptorist Congregation to spread devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help throughout the world. The image was transferred in a solemn procession on April 26, 1866, to the Church of St. Alphonsus. Today, replicas of the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help grace the altars of countless churches throughout the world.
(Fr Paul P, parish priest, helped with the details of history. Also referred other sources)
C V Joseph