Our Lady of Consolation. Celebrated on the Saturday following the feast of Saint Augustine, this Augustinian tradition of devotion to Mary under the title of Mother of Consolation appears to have sprung from two different sources—both originating from a mother’s distress over a son in danger.
Saint Augustine. It tells of Saint Monica in the fourth century, distraught with grief and anxiety for her wayward son, Augustine, confiding her distress to the Mother of God, who appeared to her dressed in mourning clothes but wearing a shining cincture around her waist. As a pledge of her support and compassion, Our Lady removed the cincture and, giving it to Monica, directed her to wear it and to encourage others to do the same. Monica gave it to her son, who in turn gave it to his community, and so the Augustinian devotion to the wearing of a cincture as a token of fidelity to our Mother of Consolation came into being.
The tradition of praying to the Mother of God for the gift of consolation dates back to the early centuries. The first written evidence of prayer to the Mother of God, Mary, the Theotokos, is written in Greek on a scrap of Egyptian papyrus dating from between 300-540. In that prayer, she is invoked as the compassionate one:
Beneath the shelter of your tender compassion we fly for refuge, Mother of God. Do not overlook our supplications in adversity but deliver us out of danger.
This prayer makes clear a vivid faith in Mary's consoling role. Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to pray to Our Lady of Consolation, stating "From Her We Can Always Learn How to Look Upon Jesus:”
“As we come to the conclusion of this solemn celebration, we offer a prayer to Mary Most Holy, who in Turin is venerated as the principal patroness with the title Blessed Virgin of Consolation. To her I entrust this city and all those who live here. O Mary, watch over the families and the workers; watch over those who have lost faith and hope; comfort the sick, those in prison and all who suffer. O Help of Christians, sustain the young people, the elderly and persons in difficulty. O Mother of the Church, watch over her pastors and the whole community of believers, that they may be “salt and light” in the midst of the world.
The Virgin Mary is she who more than any other contemplated God in the human face of Jesus. She saw him as a newborn when, wrapped in swaddling clothes, he was placed in a manger; she saw him when, just after his death, they took him down from the cross, wrapped him in linen and placed him in the sepulcher. Inside her was impressed the image of her martyred Son; but this image was then transfigured in the light of the Resurrection. Thus in Mary’s heart was carried the mystery of the face of Christ, a mystery of death and of glory. From her we can always learn how to look upon Jesus with a gaze of love and of faith, to recognize in that human countenance, the Countenance of God.”
To Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Consolation, we lift our prayers for patience, for support, and for comfort in our times of confusion, fear, and anxiety. Pray for us, Our Lady of Consolation!
A Prayer for Patience
Blessed Mary, Mother of Consolation, pray with me for the virtue of patience. There are so many times when my lack of patience keeps me from becoming the kind of person God wants me to be.Guide my thoughts to you and the example we have in your own life. Help me to become patient, as you were patient. Through your guidance, may I become more accepting of others around me. Assist me to welcome difficult times with a patient heart.May I be patient, Mary, as was your beloved husband, Joseph. His quiet acceptance of the will of Our Loving Father should be an example for me always. His patience was most wonderful in the eyes of God.Pray for me, dear Mother of God, that I will allow the Father to come into my heart and help me grow in patience. Amen.
Mary, Loving Mother of Consolation, I turn to you now in this time of need. I come to you confused and fearful, anxious as a little child.
I know you really are my Mother. You see me with eyes filled with love and understanding. Touch me through your prayers and hold me in your love, that I might continue strong and unafraid in these days of difficulty and hurt.
Gentle Mother, I now confide to you my greatest need (pause and reflect). Please pray that the loving will of Our Father may always come first in my heart and in my mind.
Help me to reflect on the needs in your own life, Mary, the days when you, too, knew concern, fear, loneliness and grief. You always turned to Our Father and gave yourself to Him completely. You knew His love and showed us how to live in it.
When I remember the love of your Blessed Son for me, I am less afraid. When I think of you I can smile. Pray for me, Mary. Guide me always in your love, and lead me to your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Psalm: Psalm 134: Exhortation to the Night Watch to Bless the Lord
1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.
Day 249 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Consolation; Lives free from anxiety, certain in the love of Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 134: Exhortation to the Night Watch to Bless the Lord
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."