Novena – Day 3

MARIAN DEVOTION

INTRODUCTION

Spanish Civil War of 1936 is a horrible memory especially for the church and the religion. So many religious or priests, nuns and lay people who gave shelter to the priests were mercilessly killed only because they were priests and nuns. They destroyed churches,  convents, burnt all the holy articles and books, desecrated holy places, etc. They said we must put an end to this race of people. In Vic one of the armed man said “How many times have I wanted to put an end to this bad weed, and haven’t been able!  But this time, we will make sure.”

The martyrs who will be beatified in October come from the communities of Barcelona (8), Castro Urdiales (3), Cervera-Mas Claret (60), Lérida (11), Sabadell (8), Vic-Sallent (15) and Valencia (4). Heading this numerous group of martyrs appear three names: Mateu Casals (Priest), Teófilo Casajús (Student) and Fernando Saperas (Brother). They symbolise the diversity of vocations in our Congregation (cf. CC7). In the group there are 49 priests, 31 brothers and 29 students, with an average age of 39. Catalans, Navarros, Aragoneses, Castillians, all sharing a common religious profession and a great love of our Congregation. Except for two, who died in 1937, all were martyred in the latter months of 1936.

There are so many aspects of martyrs life which are not included here, for example the life of virtues, obedience, poverty, fidelity to their vocation,  precaution and prudence applied in their life, Spirit of humility, different ministries, lay people who died just because they gave shelter to our martyrs etc. It is not possible to include all these aspects in 9 days of novena prayers. Only some important aspects of their life are taken for our reflection.

PREPARATORY PRAYER

Lord our God in the designs of your adorable kindness you predestined 109 Claretians to be martyrs for your sake and bestowed them with special gifts of graces, so that they may become the model of sanctity in those different states of the Christian life. We praise you and we give you thanks mainly for the treasures of virtues that you deposited in their souls, above all with a strong faith to give up their life for your sake. Grant us the grace to follow their examples and to imitate their virtues, and especially we (I) request you during this Novena meditation to grant us your protection through the powerful intercession of those 109 Claretian martyrs.  We (I) also pray through the Immaculate Heart Mary of whose glory and mercy made them strong in their faith. Amen.

BIBLICAL TEXT FOR REFLECTION

Luke 1:46-56

Mary’s Song of Praise

 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

 

MEDITATION

The Marian character of the life of Fr. Cyril Montaner Fabre (39) was manifested since his infancy, initiated by his mother in the devotions and love for the Virgin. So, he became a member of the Marian Congregation. This increased as he entered the Congregation of Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was fond of  reading Marian books especially written by San Luis Mª Grignon de Montfort. His books were a great inspiration to him

When the militants were taking away things of the congregation, churches and trying to destroy and desecrate all holy things Fr.Manuel Jove Bonet (41) was asking everyone to intercede to Mother Mary telling: “…. Let us ask God Our Lord and to the Divine Mother to confuse our enemies.”

The committee of Lérida detained fourteen students together with Father Jove. One of the student of Fr. Manuel Jove Bonet (41) was praying the Rosary. They asked him, what’s that? He replied: The Holy Rosary. They threw it to the ground and forced him to step on it. He said that he preferred to die than to step on it and he was slapped.

Fr. Manuel Torres Nicolau (61) he and his companions were reciting the Rosary publicly. Among the prisoners they picked up Frs. Torres, Miguel Baixeras and Arturo Tamarit to be shot just because they were the leaders of the Rosary.

Fr. Juan Bautista Torrents Figueras (48) He was very pious, and  particular in praying rosary. He always carried the rosary. As he was going one house to another hiding, he spent many hours in praying the Rosary. It became his source of comfort.

Fr. Luis Francés Toledano (26) during the time of persecution, he emphasized the devotion to the Way of the Cross and the Rosary, which he quietly prayed as he was walking down the street. He also used to visit the stations of the Way of the Cross installed outside the village on the slope of a hill and prayed the three parts of the Rosary as well as the Breviary in the company of an old lady called Isabel.

For Fr. Casto Navarro Martínez (31) rosary was his weapon against all evils. He was asked if he had hidden weapons to which he replied showing his rosary and scapular: I don’t have more weapons than these. The militants became enraged, seized and destroyed the rosary in his presence.

As we know St. Anthony Mary Claret had a true filial piety towards the Blessed Virgin; he loved her and always honored her as a tender Mother. He preached tirelessly her glories and he spread the practice of Marian devotion, especially the sacred Rosary and the devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Undoubtedly this devotion was carried on by all the Claretian martyrs. Always they carried the rosary in their hand or in the pocket. Devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary through praying rosary became part of their life. Their devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary edified the people. After they were shot dead either the militant or the good lay people always found rosary, the medal of St. Anthony Mary Claret either in their hands, in their pockets  or around the neck. Some were so careful when they were taken to prison they gave the rosary to someone so that the militants don’t desecrate them. During the persecution when they were taking shelter in someone’s house they always led the rosary in their houses, taught the children how to pray rosary etc. She was the source of comfort and strength to them.

Do I give importance to this filial piety towards the Blessed Virgin and spread her devotion through praying rosary, carrying rosary always with me, reading books on Mary and preaching about her?

 

INVOCATIONS FOR EVERY DAY

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs, faithful servants of the church: help us to come closer, to the holy Catholic Church and to an unshakable fidelity to all its teachings and precepts.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs, Apostles of the Holy Virgin: help us to come closer to the devotion of Immaculate Heart, and by means of her the salvation of our souls.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs who were faithful to St. Anthony Mary Claret and the charism of Claretian Congregation: help us to have a burning love towards Jesus, to follow his steps until the summit of the Christian perfection.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

 

FINAL PRAYER

  1. Pray for us, Claretian martyrs.
  2. So that we may become worthy of those promises of Jesus Christ.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your 109 Claretian holy martyrs triumphed over suffering and were faithful unto death: strengthen us with your grace, that we may endure reproach and persecution and faithfully bear witness to the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.