Skip to main content

OUR LADY QUEEN OF APOSTLES

Tanzanian Icon of the Cenacle commissioned by the late Fr. Noel O'Connor SAC


“Wherever I shall be, I intend to imagine myself to be together with all the creatures in the Cenacle in Jerusalem where the Apostles received the Holy Spirit. I shall remind myself to renew this desire often. As the Apostles were there with Mary, so will I be in spirit with the most beloved Mother and Jesus. As they are my special intercessors, I am confident that they will help me and all other creatures to receive the abundance of the Holy Spirit” (St. Vincent Pallotti) 

I take this prayer of St. Vincent Pallotti and place myself before the image of the Cenacle – Mary in prayer in the Upper Room, surrounded by the apostles and disciples of Jesus after His Ascension into heaven. There’s an empty space in front of Mary and I think of myself going in there to kneel at her feet, my hands resting on her lap in prayer. It reminds me of Mary Ann McDonagh who was, as I thought then, an old woman, though probably not yet fifty. When I was a boy in Aran where she lived, I loved her, the home maker. The warmth of her and the deep tone of her voice that sounded like freshly baked brown bread. Mornings when I played alone on the beach near the pier, Mary Ann would call to me from the door of the pub to come up and have tea with her in the kitchen. And when I got there, in the presence of the old black range with its huge and ever-boiling black kettle, we prayed. She seated on a chair and I kneeling at her feet with my hands resting on her lap. It was very tender. The prayer I remember us saying was the prayer to the Guardian Angel. Then there was the tea and Kimberley biscuits - a whole packet for myself. Prayer and Kimberley biscuits! My encounter with Mary in the Upper Room is not much different to that, no grander, no more complicated. We pray and she lavishes me with the abundance of Divine Tenderness that is in her, feeds me with the abundance of Divine Love that is in her heart, the oil of her kindness. And, without asking anything in particular, I am quietly changed for the better.  

(The Pallottines feadtday of Our Lady Queen of Apostles is celebrated on the Saturday after the Ascension)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NOTES FROM THE SAHARA DESERT: The Victory of Love

“Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves!” (Mark 6:31) https://youtu.be/_KtGOvcExCw Dawn I sit on a dune in the cold dark before dawn, facing east where the sun will rise, contemplating the beauty of God to the restful rhythm of ruminating camels. God is in this place to be adored, honoured and praised. And when I pray “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” – a prayer without me in it - it seems as if all of heaven responds “Amen!” and the sands of this desert respond “Amen! Glory be!” The rising of the sun will be beautiful, awe-inspiring, but it is not the sun that I am waiting for. I wait for Jesus who comes once more from east and west, north and south. He comes anew each day to tell us of the Father’s Love. The sun is a reminder of this reality and even as we wait, He is already present in our waiting. This is the most silent, still and solitary part of the day – precious as water in this Sahara. I drink about four litres

WILD HEART: A Brooding Beauty

'Wild at Heart' is the book I came upon in the sitting room at home. Wild is the unmanaged beauty of Ballyloughán, the beach where we swam and played as children, getting roasted by the sun. A brooding beauty. The sombre grey of the sea beneath a vibrant Western sky.  Dark and pale blue, brown and orange with a blazing white setting sun at its centre. The song of curlews echoing. I have gone there every day of my quarantine. Mostly in the early morning. 

SAMUEL: By Whom God Is Heard

  He used to live in the shelter at the end of the seafront near the old bathing pool, the shelter in which the Name of Jesus is inscribed. You could see him cycling in that direction, looking happy with himself and he might glance in your direction as he did with me a few days ago. He smiled, I smiled and something within me said, “this man is going to come into your life!” And I wasn’t sure that I wanted him in my life at all. This beautiful Saturday morning, awake early I decide to open the church in case anyone might want to come in for a candle and a prayer, as Maria sometimes does on her way down to the shop. Today she doesn’t arrive but as I am pottering around the sanctuary getting ready for Advent and listening to Advent music, I notice a man come in. He kneels to pray in the half light and I leave him to it for a while. Then I decide to go to the church door in case he needs something and, sure enough he follows me out into the sunshine. The first thing I notice is that s