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

[9/9] Novena of Grace: "I beg for the grace of closeness to Mary and to Jesus"

Peter Paul Rubens: The injured Ignatius prays to Mary


s we come to the end of this novena allow me to use Don Moen's lyrics, "When it's all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters." Of course, for Ignatius, as for most of us, that one thing can only be our Almighty God, who is the highest and ultimate good, Summum Bonum. Wait! That is not complete. Don Moen pushes it further. "Did I do my best to live for truth [God]? Did I live my life for you?" Let this first stanza alone sink deep in your heart and take a pause.

But where Don Moen stops St Ignatius would continue to tread the path with "one foot raised," so to speak. To where and to whom do you think he would guide us? Towards the Blessed Virgin Mary, no less! "De Maria numquam satis" it means, "Of Mary there is never enough." It's a line from the writings of St Bernard of Clairvaux, who, like St Ignatius, had an insatiable love and devotion for Mary.

This may still come as a big surprise to some but, indeed, Mary played a very strong pivotal role before, during and after the conversion of Ignatius of Loyola from soldier, to founder of the Jesuits and to saint. There is a long list which you may find in the Autobiography (see link below) but what I would like to highlight are the two encounters that Ignatius had specifically during his pilgrimage in Jerusalem, September of 1523.

First, on 5 September, Saturday, the pilgrims had their first mass at the Upper Room or Cenacle, which has always been the most important holy site for the Franciscans, starting from their founder, St Francis of Assisi. He specifically instructed them in 1217 that once they reach the Holy Land they need to build a church at the Cenacle because this was the place of the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. The following day, Sunday, 6 September, the pilgrims had their mass inside the aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre while it was still dark very early in the morning. What is common during these two occasions was the Resurrection event that took place both at the Cenacle and at the Holy Sepulcher. In both places, Mary was there! Ignatius did not invent the meditation about the first apparition of the Risen Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary that we find in the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius first experienced it there on that early morning. In fact the name Holy Sepulcher appears four times in his book during the fourth week of the Exercises. It can only mean one thing, i.e., it had a life-changing and far-reaching effect in his life.

The metaphor of Jerusalem as “Daughter Zion” (bat tzion in Hebrew) was used as a title for a 1983 book by then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). By the way, the Cenacle is situated at Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Mary is being referred to as Daughter Zion, individually, and as the "people of God" collectively. All of that is encompassed in the term "Zion." Benedict XVI begins with the following description at the beginning: "the image of Mary in the New Testament is woven entirely of Old Testament threads" (Loc 52).

Today is the ninth day of our Novena of Grace in honor of St Ignatius of Loyola. This is not the end but a new beginning. Let us continue retracing the footsteps of the pilgrim where the Blessed Virgin Mary brought him, i.e., close to the heart of her Son Our Lord. Let us heed St Maximillian Kolbe, a Franciscan, who said, "Do not be afraid of loving Mary too much, you will not be able to love her as Jesus did."

Grace to beg for: "I beg for the grace of closeness to Mary and to Jesus"

Suggested Scripture passages to ponder: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12—"Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong"; Romans 8:28-30—"God predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son;" Matthew 13:44-46—"He sells all that he has and buys the field"

Mary's Canticle

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

When you enter the chapel of the Franciscans beside the aedicule of the Holy Sepulcher, in the Old City you will not miss this huge image depicting the meeting of the Blessed Mother and the Risen Christ.

TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS'—EVER IN SCRIPTURE, IT IS THE HEART THAT PRAYS. In today's featured reading, what word or phrase from God speaks to me?—PONDER—LISTEN—THANK—SURRENDER. I contemplate God's word and then end with the OUR FATHER...

Repeat this prayer for nine successive days.

Suscipe (Prayer by St Ignatius)

ake, O Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding and my entire will. All I have and call my own. Thou hast given all to me, to Thee, O Lord, I return it. Everything belongs to Thee; do with it as Thou wilt. Give me only the love of Thee and with it Thy grace, that is enough for me. Amen.

With St Ignatius we pray:

oul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.


St Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.

Further Reading:

Mary, the Hidden Catalyst: Reflections from an Ignatian Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome


  1. Thank you very much po, Fr. Jom for this novena... I am deeply touched by the journey of St. Ignatius especially his conversion and humility that is very rooted on his love for Christ and Mary...

    I will never be afraid to love Mary so much... For she is the best way to the Heart of Jesus...

    Grazie di cuore...


    1. Thank you for your appreciation of the journey of St Ignatius. A person who loves Mary can love anybody including those who have done good or bad. That is how Mary loved which was drawn from how Jesus loved. GBU!๐Ÿ˜‡

  2. Happy and Blessed Priest Day po Fr. JM! Entrusting you to Jesus and Mary.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜‡

  3. Happy Birthday po, Fr. Jom!

    May the Blessed Mother carry you always in her arms as she carries our little Jesus... Cling to her... never let go... don't mind fixing even a snapped strap of your sandal... She's a mother, surely she sees what is needed to be fixed, needed to be repaired... Trust in her... as you have said, being near to her is as well as being near to His Son...

    Have a blissful celebration!
    May God bless you po Fr. Jom!
    Happy Birthday! ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฅ‚ ๐ŸŽ

  4. Thank you very much for all the prayers and for the blessed birthday greeting! "When the most holy Virgin was born, the whole world was made radiant; blessed is the branch and blessed is the stem which bore such holy fruit. All you servants of the Lord, sing praise to him" (Revelation 19:5). GBU!


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