Monday, December 13, 2010

Optional Day: Mary Hidden in Advent-Jonah

Jonah, Albert Ryder

Day 17:  Jonah
This is an extra lesson you could substitute for any of the OT lessons.

     Read today's story from the Bible or a Bible storybook.  Hang ornament (whale).
     Jonah, trying to flee from God, is swallowed by a great fish.  He repents and obeys God.

     Scripture reference:  Jonah

     Comment:  Jonah was rescued from the churning seas by being swallowed by a great fish.  Inside the fish, he cried out to God, certain he would soon be dead.  After all, he had tried to run away from God!  He surely deserved his punishment!  Sometimes we try to run away from God, too.  We want to do what we know is wrong and we try to ignore the Holy Spirit so that we can do what we want.  Then we find ourselves in real trouble.  Mary is our help and the sure help of the entire Church whenever we find that we are "lost at sea", whenever we need a great intercessor to plead for us and to help us repent of our sins and come at last to the safe harbor of the Father's arms.

Related Title:  Mary, Help of Christians

 “I urge you as best I can – may my words be engraved upon your minds and hearts – to call upon the name of Mary, specifically saying, “Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!” Brief as it is, it has been found to be a most effective prayers. ... We all have our problems, we all need help. When in need of a spiritual favor, make it a habit of repeating this invocation.”-St. John Bosco

Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians by St. John Bosco

Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christian,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children,
how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering.
 Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners.
Grant through your intercessions many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth 
we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.

The Salesian Fathers explain the origin of the image of Our Lady, Help of Christians.
A novena to St. John Bosco might be especially helpful for teachers.
St. John Bosco's dream of the Two Pillars (one of which is Mary, Help of Christians) is recounted here.

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