"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: Go home to your family and pray together the Holy Rosary! (DAY 11)

"Education of the Virgin" c. 1650
by Georges de La Tour

Today is Day 11 of the 30-day whole community retreat journey in light of the lockdown.
Three Points Of Departure: First point, we already used previously for meditation on Day 9 "Joseph The Carpenter." Today, we have a counterpart for Mary"Education of The Virgin" c. 1650. Both were painted by Georges de La Tour. Within two years after he finished painting this masterpiece, in 1652, the La Tour family perished in an epidemic in LunĂ©ville.

Second point, in the guided meditation below I will guide you to make a conversation with Mary like in the form of a colloquy (casual conversation). Greet her on her feast day of the Annunciation. Thank her for saying yes to God for you. Ask for her special intercession especially now that we need her most. Pope Francis has a deep devotion as well to Mary and he calls on all to pray the rosary daily and storm heaven asking for a miracle. Muslims and Christians alike are united in accepting her pivotal role in God's plan of salvation. No wonder, in many phases of human history, she has always intervened either through an apparition, miracle, etc.

Third point, like me you might wonder what the pinky and ring fingers of Mary are trying to communicate. On this part of the retreat, St. Ignatius gives a meditation on the Divine Trinity gazing downwards upon humanity. The Divine Trinity, God, decides to send the Second Person bearing two natures: Divine and Human. In my reflection, Mary seems to be giving me a hint. The two fingers point to Jesus. Mary is a human being also like you and me. She does not call attention to herself other than to serve as God' handmaid. This image of a young, self-effacing woman asks you to go to her Son.

Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire... a deep awareness of what the Lord has done for me... through my family and friends... how God has shown mercy on me.

Word Of God: (See full texts below from universalis.com)

1Luke 1:26–38 (The Annunciation)

2. Isaiah 7:10–14; 8:10 (Emmanuel: God with us)

Guided Meditation: (Allot 15 minutes for this exercise. It is important to enlarge the painting above to full screen on your device. Imagine you are at an art gallery and a painting catches your attention and speaks to you. "Stop. Look. Listen.")

Introduction: If Lectio Divina is listening with heart's ears Visio Divina is seeing with heart's eyes. I suggest another image of the "Education of the Virgin" c. 1650 by Georges de La Tour. In my experience of La Tour's paintings, it is always a moving experience to behold a La Tour. The experience is like looking at the sunset; your eyes are glued to the dimming sun. Take a seat and quietly gaze and marvel at this masterpiece by someone who went through what we are experiencing now. Within two years after he finished this masterpiece, in 1652, the La Tour family perished in an epidemic.

Guided Meditation Proper:

Imagine the darkness around the light. Does it evoke any feeling about the darkness that currently surrounds our common home? Focus as well on your breathing and feel the reverential quiet. Feel in your body the sacred silence entering through your eyes in the manner this image evokes. It is God's work. He gave you your sense of sight, the window into your soul, to be able to participate in this moment happening now before your eyes. Give thanks to God briefly.

Move your attention towards the candle light which is partly covered by Mary's right hand. Imagine a glowing fire behind the palm. Feel in your eyes the warm-white light emanating. Try to feel it too in your own palm. Did you notice the fingernails of Mary? Young Mary has dirty fingernails. Look closely... that is expected from an obedient daughter who was helping her parents with their work.

Notice the straight flame from the candle light. Feel that it is evoking deep peace and serenity. It only means that this is a moment of peace as St. Anne educates her beloved daughter. Mary is breathing in and out, like a girl with 
genteel upbringing.  Notice the genteel light.

At this point, imagine yourself coming close to the light source. Make a gesture of moving as if you would like to have a closer look; notice a movement away from the darkness and cast shadows that you find in your surroundings towards the glowing lighted face of Mary. Just go back to the candle light any moment when you become distracted. The candle light leads you where to look. The nearest surface that absorbs most of the light is Mary's face. Look at that beautiful face, and her humble, downward looking eyes. Notice and relish with great awe and wonder at this blessed little girl.

At this point, you converse with Mary like in the form of a colloquy (casual conversation). Greet her on her feast day of the Annunciation. Thank her for saying yes. Ask for her special intercession during this difficult time. Now i
magine Mary turning her gaze towards you and her eyes conveying to you, "Go to my Son." Converse with Jesus in the form of a colloquy like what you just did with Mary.

Listen to Jesus to what he might say to you. Use the Psalmist words as Jesus' message, "Be still and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10) End your meditation with an Our Father.

(Bring with you this painting by using it as a wallpaper on your mobile or tablet.)

Questions Or Considerations To Ponder:

Look up in the web for online Masses and call for family praying of the Holy Rosary today.

The Sorrowful Mysteries (Meditated on Tuesdays, Fridays, and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.)

1. Agony in the Garden
2. Scourging at the Pillar
3. Crowning with Thorns
4. Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
(Meredith Gould: The Catholic Home, Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day, Doubleday, March 2004, USA.)

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen
1st Mystery
Let us pray: For the medical workers, volunteer responders, for the scientists and researchers that God grant them strength and wisdom... ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Brief pause using the breath type of prayer) Our Father...

2nd Mystery
Let us pray: For all patients including people who have already pre-existing medical conditions that God grant them healing and inner peace... ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Brief pause using the breath type of prayer) Our Father...

3rd Mystery
Let us pray: For all those who have already died during outbreak and for their grieving family members that God grant them consolation... ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Brief pause using the breath type of prayer) Our Father...

4th Mystery
Let us pray: For all those at risk and vulnerable individuals like the elderly that God grant them courage and strong physical and spiritual health... ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Brief pause using the breath type of prayer) Our Father...

5th Mystery
Let us pray: For the successful result of the community quarantine that God grant us the healing and restoration of our community back to the normality of living... ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Brief pause using the breath type of prayer) Our Father...

Prayer Requests:
You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIPusing 8thworkermercy@bloggercom—there is a DOT between 8thworker and mercy. It is restricted so that only me as blog author can read it. Others will NOT be able to read any email; instead they will get a message stating that this is private. We will offer your intentions during our regular 6:30AM Masses in our community of Jesuit priests and novices.

P.S. Feel free also to include the names of all who are sick (Name—Get well soon).

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ


March 25, 2020 General Audience (Pope Francis)

Twenty-five years ago today, on this very date, 25 March, when the Church marks the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Saint John Paul ii promulgated the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, on the value and inviolability of human life.

Luke 1:26–38

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son.

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Isaiah 7:10–14; 8:10 ·

Behold, the virgin shall conceive.

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!”


  1. Mary.. mother of the church... Pray for us...


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