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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for February

«It was not enough for God to give us his Son on a Cross, but he also gave Mary to us. When we honor the Virgin Mary, we will love Jesus more. When we place ourselves under her mantle we will better understand divine mercy. How great is God, how sweet is Mary!» (St. Rafael Arnáiz)

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

Blessed Bartolo Longo

bartolo

"Just as two friends, frequently in each other's company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar convsersation with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living a life of communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection" (Blessed Bartolo Longo).

Bartolo Longo was born in Latiano, a province of Brindisi, Italy, on February 10, 1841. He went to Naples in 1863 to finish his education and got involved in spiritism because of professors and bad company. He completely abandoned the Catholic Faith in which he had been educated. Discontent, assaults from the devil and deep sadness led him to search for help, which he found in a Catholic professor. The words of the professor were a shock for Bartolo: "You're going to die in a lunatic asylum and be condemned for eternity!" Later he went to a Dominican, Fr. Alberto Radente. On the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1865, he went to Confession and returned to the Church. This caused great joy in his family, which had not ceased to beg God for his conversion since he had gone astray. After Bartolo's conversion, a thought tormeneted him: "How could he be saved after the life he lived in the past? He felt a voice inside of him say, "If you spread the Rosary you will be saved." He understood that his vocation was to spread the Rosary and devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. In his lifetime he saw several works in favor of this mission and its extension throughout the world. A large church would be erected in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. He did not limit himself to this mission alone, but also helped in different works of Christian charity directed especially toward orphans and the poor. He died on October 5, 1926, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 26, 1980.

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