by Rev. Francis Hoffman "Father Rocky"
Day 34 Reflection:
Gate of Heaven
I had a Jewish professor of medieval history when I was an undergraduate at Northwestern University. He claimed to be agnostic, but I’m not so sure. He enjoyed pointing out the “hypocrisy” of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, though he did so without malice, more – I think – out of a sense of obligation as a professor in the liberal arts in a liberal university. Still, I admired the man for his attention to detail, his wit, and dedication: students’ essays were routinely returned with more red ink from his pen than the black ink of the typewriter. One day, he lectured on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Marian piety. “The Catholics of the middle ages believed that if they wore the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, that the Blessed Mother would be waiting for them right at the Gate of Heaven, to bring them in, no matter how sinful they were, and she’d say ‘Never mind, this one belongs to me.”
Catholics of the middle ages believed that? Catholics of the 21st century believe that too!
54 Day Rosary Novena based on the titles of the Blessed Mother as found in the Litany of Loreto.
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About these reflections
This Novena was prayed from October 22, 2010 to December 14, 2010 for the specific intention of completing the purchase of a major radio station in Chicago. Every day I would send these little meditations by email to a group of about thirty friends who know the power of the rosary, as well as to all Associates of Relevant Radio and members of our Board of Directors. I also posted these thoughts on my Facebook “Father Rocky” page, and sometimes with a photo of an image of the Blessed Mother. Interest in this little prayer campaign increased daily.
The date of October 22 seemed to be the right day to start this because on that date, one year before, a Jewish man died at 12:05pm while we were praying a Hail Mary for him at the beginning of our noon hour show, “Go Ask Your Father™.” The day before he died, I gave him as much of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick that a Catholic priest can give to a non-baptized person: I laid my hands on his head, I prayed for him, I prayed an Act of Contrition out loud, and then prayed the Psalms from that ritual which are the same Psalms that Jews pray, and then I offered him conditional absolution. When I left his bedside, his soul was at peace.
The day we started this 54 Day Rosary Novena, I received an unexpected phone call from a woman who listens to Relevant Radio. She informed me that she had decided to give Relevant Radio a gift that would pay off half of our debt on our station in the Twin Cities. Can you imagine that? Three and a half million dollars.
Every day is a good day, but that was a very good day.
There is no such thing as coincidence, and that’s why I was delighted and amused with the title that fell on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Without advance planning or coordination, the title for that day was “Queen conceived without original sin.” And that’s the very definition of Immaculate Conception. But this coincidence, ironically, happened because I mistakenly offered a reflection on the title “Virgin Most Venerable” on both day 17 and day 20, proving once again how God makes use of our mistakes to accomplish his purpose.
On that very day, December 8, 2010, Bishop Ricken of Green Bay formally approved the apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.
As of this writing, we have not completed the lease to purchase of WNTD 950AM in Chicago. But I am confident, with God’s grace and Our Lady’s intercession, we will do so. And that station will broadcast truth, beauty, goodness, life, and Jesus Christ.
These reflections are meant to explain a bit of the meaning behind each title of Our Lady. This is only one man’s efforts; others could do better. I am indebted to the website from the University of Dayton for historical information about some of these titles.