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.
Year 2: Day 249 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Consolation; Lives free from anxiety, certain in the love of Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).