Friday, July 6, 2007

Feast of St Maria Goretti in the month of the Precious Blood

This painting of Maria Goretti was painted by a nun and it was said by Maria’s mother, to be the best likeness of her daughter. It now hangs in the hospital room in which Maria died, now a chapel, in the city of Nettuno.

Today is the feast of St Maria Goretti. Martyr for Purity. She was born on the 16th of October, I am pleased to say that I share her birthday. It wasn’t until a year ago that I discovered that there IS a Marian title celebrated on this day, a lesser known one but it belongs to this day - Purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Whilst I was delighted for myself to have been born on such a beautiful title of Our Lady, I immediately pondered on St Maria Goretti – “It is HER birthday! There is no coincidences in the spiritual life.” (Just lots of God-incidences...)

Maria is also intimately connected to the Precious Blood of Jesus. She had a great love, beyond her years – for Jesus in the Eucharist, where she would receive Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Then we look to the significance of the day she died.

In the time that she lived she was stabbed in defence of her purity on the afternoon of the Vigil of the Precious Blood and died on the Feast Day. Her own blood was spilled in defence of the commands of God. She knew the value of Jesus’own words, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matt 5:8.

There is a beautiful documentary which I highly recommend called, The Fourteen Flowers of Pardon 30mins into the documentary there is a tremendously moving scene (and I am crying even in recalling it) and I will quote this movie:

"At 3 o'clock out over the city the bells were ringing the vespers hour. In the nearby church the Passionist priests were chanting the feast day's antiphon from the 63rd chapter of Isaiah:

"Who is this who comes into heaven? This beautiful one in garments all red, with clothing stained like one who has tread the winepress."

As the antiphon was being recited, Maria Goretti died. It was July 6th 1902, the Feast of the Precious Blood."

We live in a very impure world. It is destroying many souls. Bl Jacinta of Fatima said that more souls fall into hell for sins of the flesh than any other. We must pray for the purity of our families, of our children, for the world, for it is a real threat that must be combated pro-actively.

I am reading to the children today a chapter out of Forty Dreams of St John Bosco. The chapter or story is called, “Innocence preserved by Penance.” Here I will quote that Don Bosco recalls from his dream, a part of a conversation between two heavenly maidens:

“A great mistake which boys make is that of thinking that penance must be practiced by sinners only. Penance is necessary also in order to preserve innocence. If St. Aloysius had not done penance, he would certainly have fallen into mortal sin. This should be continually preached, inculcated and taught to children. How many more would preserve their innocence, while at present there are so few!”

“The Apostle says that we must carry everywhere with us the mortification of Jesus Christ in our bodies, that also the life of Jesus may be manifest in us.”

They go on to give the two pillars to strengthen our souls in trials, temptations and sacrifices: Holy Communion and Devotion to Mary.

“The way of the innocent has its trials and sacrifices, but it has its strength in Holy Communion, because he who communicates frequently has eternal life: he is in Jesus, and Jesus is in him. He who lives of the same life as Jesus will be raised up by Him at the last day. This is the wheat of the elect, and the wine which produces virgins.”

“And the Virgin most sweet, beloved by him, is a Mother to him”

A modern day champion in the virtue of purity is Steve Wood. His website is a wealth of information in training up and protecting the purity of families. He has a Pure Mind Scripture Computer Program free to download.

Steve Wood tells us that his holy protestant father trained him at an early age in scripture passages about purity and the consequences of impurity. He says that it was fundamental to him whenever temptation presented itself. These scripture verses automatically come to mind in these moments of crisis and are a barrier that you first must push away deliberately if one wishes to choose sin.

He also recommends two children’s picture books which I second with great shouts, The Squire and the Scroll which re-enforces the importance of what Steve Wood says about the importance of remembering scripture to support purity of heart. The other book, The Princess and the Kiss is one of my all time favourite picture books which powerfully molds a young girl’s heart and mind to the importance of purity.

Lastly I want to mention an excellent book put out by TAN, Parents, Children and the Facts of Life by Fr Henry V Sattler, that enables parents to correctly impart to the children, knowledge and understanding of the facts of life at the right age, in the right manner. Steve Woods says about this book on his site:

“One of the most frequent requests we receive from parents is for a recommendation on a reliable resource for education in sexuality. Parents, be warned: there are many more bad books on this subject than there are good ones. Even some popular Catholic media personalities have written some bad advice on this subject. I searched long and hard to find a reliable, practical, and wisdom-filled book like this. It is the only one I recommend on the subject.”

I would like to finish with a little prayer from The Precious Blood & Mother manual, pg 62:

"May all the words that I speak be dipped in the Blood of Thy Sacred Heart, O Jesus, that they may be so many arrows to pierce the hearts of all who hear them with love for Thee. Amen.”

And this prayer on pg 151, “Blood of Jesus, Help Me!

"In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust saying.

Blood of Jesus, help me!

In all my doubts, perplexities, and temptations,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

In the failure of my plans and hopes; in disappointments, troubles and sorrows,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

When my heart is cast down by failure, at seeing no good come from my efforts,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

When others fail me, and Thy grace alone can assist me,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

When I throw myself on Thy tender love as my Father and Saviour,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

When I feel impatient, and my cross irritates me,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

When I am ill, and my head and hands cannot work and I am lonely,

Blood of Jesus, help me!

Always, always in spite of weakness, falls and short-comings, of every kind,

Blood of Jesus, help me and never forsake me."

Happy Feast Day!


Micki said...

Your post about St. Maria Goretti is just beautiful. It will stay with me a long time. I had not remembered that yesterday was her feast day until I went to First Friday Mass. I firs learned of Maria in the seventh grade and her story is one for all young people to know. Thank you for making it more known in the blog world.

Enbrethiliel said...


This post is wonderful! I'm so glad you've linked to it again. =)