26th May - Asking the prayers of Mary
The Regina Coeli seems to be reminding Mary of her Son'€™s Resurrection and to rejoice in it, but in fact it is really helping us to recall and appreciate more fully this wonderful and world changing event.

It also asks Mary to pray for us so that we will experience the joy of the Risen Lord now - as well as the unending joy of being with him in heaven.

Never underestimate the power of Mary'€™s prayer. She is closest to Jesus her Son.

St Ignatius of Loyola always believed, though not written in the Gospels, that Jesus after his Resurrection, first appeared to his mother Mary.

Whatever about that, Mary is certainly the closest to Jesus and means the most to him. Therefore she is perfectly positioned to pray to her Son for our needs.

Some Christians of other Churches have a problem with Catholics '€˜praying to Mary and the Saints'€™. They don'€™t have a problem though with asking others to pray for them. That is exactly what we do with Mary and the Saints. We are asking their very special prayers. Mary'€™s prayers, of all human beings, are the most powerful and loving.

19th May Joy and sharing the Gospel
Joy is not only a sign of Jesus'€™ Risen life within us - it is necessary for the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis is always telling us that the Gospel is spread and the Church grows by attraction and not by proselytising.

No one is attracted by Christians who are, as he puts it, '€œSour pusses or who are like bats - preferring sadness and staying in the shadows'€. In fact to be like that is a contradiction to the name Christian.

The Pope spoke of the joy of the disciples encountering the Risen Lord - and the joy of the paralytic who later on was healed by Peter at the Temple Door.

Each had the joy of an encounter with Jesus Christ - and Pope Francis says that it is infectious because they want to share and cry out the message. He said:-

'€œIt is a witness born of joy, accepted and then transformed into proclamation. It is the foundational joy without this joy, a Church cannot be founded! A Christian community cannot be established! It is an apostolic joy that irradiates and expands'€. (Homily April 25th)

Pope Francis in his person is a true example of this. He inspires us to embrace our Risen Lord and, through the joy, bring him to others.


12 May - Regina Coeli - Joy
Apart from the many Alleluia'€™s in the Regina Coeli, words of joy are used four times in that short prayer. The whole prayer, we could say, is full of joy.

Pope Francis is a man of '€˜Joy'€™ and he speaks of it often. He says that it is essential for Christians. It is the joy of the Gospel. It is, as he said in Evangelii Gaudium (his Apostolic Exhortation on Evangelisation) '€œA joy derived from knowing the presence of God'€. No.4

At this time of Easter we know how God is present with us in Jesus our Risen Lord. This Risen Lord, who brings joy, underpins our lives and everything we do.

As Pope Francis stated in a homily on April 24th, "So often, we are either upset by this joy or fearful or we think we have seen a ghost or believe that Jesus is just a way of behaving. '€˜We are Christians and so we must behave like this.' But where is Jesus? 'No, Jesus is in Heaven.' Do you talk with Jesus? Do you say to Jesus: 'I believe that You are alive, that You are risen, that You're near me. That You will never abandon me'? A Christian life should be this: a dialogue with Jesus, because - this is true - Jesus is always with us, always there alongside us with our problems and our difficulties, with our good works."

Joy, being a fruit of the Holy Spirit is a sign both of the presence of the Risen Lord and of that same Spirit.

5 May - Eastertide - The Lord Has Risen Indeed!
Yes he has risen as he said. The Church has proclaimed this for centuries. People, as individuals, proclaim it often.

How can we be sure? Especially when we haven'€™t the same personal experiences as the Apostles and early Disciples had of the Risen Lord. A few of these experiences are documented for us in the Gospels.

Well those experiences of the Apostles do really affect our Faith because they truly are a guarantee for us that Jesus is truly risen. From people that had given up and were downcast, Jesus gave hope and courage as he appeared to them. He inspired them to go out and spread the good news of this New Life - at great cost to themselves.

Likewise it is true for untold millions of Christians throughout the centuries. They were affected by the Risen Lord who changed their lives also. As a result they were able to so much good for others, some of them even suffering Martyrdom.

This for us is strong evidence of the presence and action of the Risen Lord in their lives.

It is also true of the good people today filled with Faith and Love - many of whom are known to us. They are living evidence of Christ risen and living within them.

Whenever I see evidence of goodness in others and myself I can truly whisper '€œThe Lord has Risen Indeed'€.