Easter greetings to one and all, as I return from a bit of a hiatus. My uncle’s death and a very heavy workload have pre-empted my writing. I pray that God will bless me the time I need to continue to write.
As my workload has increased over the past several months, I have cut back on my daily Mass attendance, and I really feel it. In the last couple of weeks, my need for wisdom and counsel has been great, and my stress level has been high. I decided that I just need to get back to daily Mass and trust that God will give me what I need in terms of time and brain power to meet my deadlines.
I attended Mass this morning as I usually do at St. Augustine Church, which as you might suspect, is run by the Augustinian order. Consequently, it is not uncommon that we celebrate feast days which are not common the Roman calendar, but are specific to the Augustinian calendar.
Entering the church just a few moments late, I heard the congregation singing Hail Mary: Gentle Woman. Hearing this familiar tune dedicated to Our Lady being sung in the middle of the Easter season puzzled me. As a close follower of the Liturgical Year, I knew there were no Marian feast days coming up. Well, I found out that today is one of those Augustinian feast days: the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel.
The opening prayer touched my heart and mind and called me to the deep:
God of wisdom,
in this world our hearts are fearful
and our judgments uncertain.
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
who gave birth to your Son,
send us the gift of counsel
to teach us to know your will
and to guide us in all we do.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
What a confirmation and a wonderful reminder of where to seek the wisdom I desire!
This feast dates back to April 25, 1467. The picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel appeared in the church of Santa Maria in a town named Genazzano, which lies about twenty-five miles southeast of Rome. The icon is fresco style painting a little less than 16 x 18”, painted on a thin piece of plaster about the thickness of a postcard. It was found suspended in mid-air without any form of support, and from what I can tell, the painting remains as such to this day with about an inch of space between it and the wall behind it. Miracles associate with the image began immediately, and within two days of the image’s appearance a register was opened to track the miracles – 171 of which occurred between April and August of that same year. At once devotion to Our Lady sprang up and pilgrims started to visit the small town. In 1692, Pope Innocent XI visited Genazzano and had the picture crowned with gold reflecting the common way we see the image today.
If you, too, seek wisdom and discernment, I encourage you to pray with me to Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel for guidance. She’ll never let us down.
Alleluia, He is Risen! Anne
Prayer to Our Mother of Good Counsel
We turn to you Our Mother of Good Counsel as we seek to imitate your faith – filled life. May we be led by the same Wisdom which God sent forth from heaven to guide you along unfamiliar paths and through challenging decisions. Keep us united in mind and heart as we go forward in joyful hope toward the grace-filled freedom that Augustine recommends. ‘O Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, hear our prayer as we look to you for guidance. Pray for us to our loving and merciful Father, to you Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, giver of all wisdom one God, for ever and ever.