[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Tuesday, January 10th, 2006|
Hey Everyone! How are you? I am great! Over the weekend I went to Des Moines, Iowa to Chaperone a Youth 2000 retreat. www.y2kiowa.com This weekend was truely a miracle and a blessing! I actually witnessed and experienced more than one miracle.
1. The mass, recieving Jesus's body and blood.
2. Confession: I had the best confession ever! I feel so much happier and lighter!
3. I went to get supper on Saturday night, the sauce and noodles. I guess I didn't have a good balance with my plate and when I went to turn the plate tilted and the sauce went onto my left hand and burnt it pretty bad. My hand was pretty much covered in blisters, all over my palm and the bottom of my fingers. I could barely move my fingers with out if hurting. A friend of mine who is a Youth Minister, Kelly O'Brien told me to go to the first aid room. I did so they wrapped my fingers and hand in gauze and held ice on it, all your could see was the tips of my fingers and thumb.
Well that night they walked around with Jesus in the humeral veil *sp?* and I reached out and touched it with that hand when it was in front of me, then before I left a cfr priest put his hands over it and prayed, then I got to where I was staying and we were praying over eachother, and Kelly put blessed salt on top of my gauzed up hand, and put blessed oil on hand where there was a little skin showing and I have a sacred heart medal that was touched to a piece of the cross that Jesus died on so I slid that carefully a little bit into the gauze, they prayed over me and late late that night I went to bed. I woke up and there were now only three small blisters on my palm all the other ones have completely dissapeared. Not to mention the 3 small ones that left barely even hurt now!
4. I saw the power and proctection of the rosary. We were praying at the place we were staying and evedently this girl had a lot of junk in her. She was arching her back, her eyes were rolling back, she was moving her arms alot, we were prayin and praying and saying prayers against evil and we had placed a sacred heart badge of mine on her (this badge was touched to a piece of the True Cross that Jesus died on,) and she was really arching her back and such then, so we got to a point where Kelly , one of my friends was like does anyone have a rosary, we should say a rosary for her, so I directed half of the people to come over by me and the other people stayed with her and we did a rosary. RIGHT when we started the rosary, she layed flat, became peaceful, opened her eyes and cried, then sat up and finished the rosary with us. She was arching her back ect, for over an hour last night before she stopped.
5. I learned so many new things!
6. God is good, all the time!
|Monday, December 12th, 2005|
too busy to pray a rosary?
The rosary is like us it has a body and a soul. Once you start praying the rosary the Mother has got you. Then Mary brings you to Jesus. You got to not only have devotion but you have to have a relationship with Mary. Jesus gave Mary to us at the most solemn moment of history. Do you have enought common sense to accept the gift. We need a mother. We have been given Mary. We just have to allow Mary to be our mother, to intercede for us, to protect us. " Fr. Corapi
" Father I don't have time to pray the rosary."
"Are you busier than the pope?" - Fr. Corapi S.O.L.T. Society
|Thursday, May 20th, 2004|
Understanding Catholic Devotion to Mary
By: Thomas Merton
This is often forgotten by Catholics themselves, and therefore it is not surprising that those who are not Catholic often have a completely wrong conception of Catholic devotion to the Mother of God. They imagine, and sometimes we can understand their reasons for doing so, that Catholics treat the Blessed Virgin as an almost divine being in her own right, as if she had some glory, some power, some majesty of her own that placed her on a level with Christ Himself. They regard the Assumption of Mary into heaven as a kind of apotheosis placed in the Redemption would seem to be equal to that of her Son. +++ But this is all completely contrary to the true mind of the Catholic Church.+++ It forgets that Mary's chief glory is in her nothingness, in the fact of being the "Handmaid of the Lord," as one who in becoming the Mother of God acted simply in loving submission to His command, in the pure obedience of faith. She is blessed not because of some mythical pseudo-divine prerogative, but in all her human and womanly limitations as one who has believed. It is the faith and the fidelity of this humble handmaid, "full of grace" that enables her to be the perfect instrument of God, and nothing else but His instrument. The work that was done in her purely the work of God. "He that is mighty hath done great things in me." The glory of Mary is purely and simply the glory of God in her. and she, like anyone else, can say that she has nothing that she has not received from Him through Christ.
As a matter of fact, this is precisely her greatest glory: that having nothing of her own, retaining nothing of a "self" that could glory in any- thing for her own sake, she placed no obstacle to the mercy of God and in no way resisted His love and His will. Hence she received more from Him than any other saint. he was able to accomplish His will perfectly in her, and His liberty was in no way hindered or turned from its purpose by the presence of an egotistical self in Mary. She was and is in the highest sense a person precisely because, being "immaculate," she was free from every taint of selfishness that might obscure God's light in her being. She was then a freedom that obeyed Him perfectly and in this obedience found the fulfill- ment of perfect love.
The genuine significance of Catholic devotion to Mary is to be seen in the light of the Incarnation itself. The Church cannot separate the Son and the Mother. Because the Church conceived of the Incarnation as God's descent into flesh and into time, and His great gift of Himself to His creatures, she also believes that the one who was closest to Him in this great mystery was the one who participated most perfectly in the gift. When a room is heated by an open flame, surely there is nothing strange in the fact that those who stand closest to the fireplace are the ones who are warmest. And when God comes into the world through the instrumentality of one of His servants, then there is nothing surprising about the fact that His chosen instrument should have the greatest and most intimate share in the divine gift.
Mary, who was empty of all egotism, free from all sin, was as pure as the glass of a very clean window that has no other function than to admit the light of the sun (Son). If we rejoice in that light, we implicitly praise the cleanness of the window. And of course it might be argued that in such a case we might well forget the window altogether. This is true. And yet the Son of God, in emptying Himself of His majestic power, having become a child, abandoning Himself in complete dependence to the loving care of a human Mother, in a certain sense draws our attention once again to her. The Light has wished to remind us of the window, because He is grateful to her and because He has an infinitely tender love, it is certainly a great grace and a privilege, and one of the most important aspects of this privilege is that it enables us to some extent to appreciate the mystery of God's great love and respect for His creatures.
That God should assume Mary into heaven is not just a glorification of a "Mother Goddess." Quite the contrary, it is the expression of the divine love for humanity, and a very special manifestation of God's respect for His creatures, His desire to do honor to the beings He has made in His own image, and most particularly His respect for the body which was destined to be the temple of His glory. If Mary is believed to be assumed into heaven, it is because we too are one day, by the grace of God, to dwell where she is. If human nature is glorified in her, it is because God desires it to be glorified in us too, and it is for this reason that His Son, taking flesh, came into the world.
In all the great mystery of Mary, then, one thing remains most clear: that of herself she is nothing, and that God has for our sakes delighted to manifest His glory and His love in her.
It is because she is, of all the saints, the most perfectly poor and the most perfectly hidden, the one who has absolutely nothing whatever that she attempts to possess as her own, that she can most fully communicate to the rest of us the grace of the infinitely selfless God. And we will most truly possess Him when we have emptied ourselves and become poor and hidden as she is, resembling Him by resembling her.
And all our sanctity depends on her maternal love. The ones she desires to share the joy of her own poverty and simplicity, the ones whom she wills to be hidden as she is hidden, are the ones who share her closeness to God.
|Friday, April 16th, 2004|
|Wednesday, April 7th, 2004|
Mary: Virgin and Ever Virgin
The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
In the sixth month, 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.
Nicene Creed (325), Constantinopolitan Creed (381)
... Who for us men and because of our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became human.
Roman Catholic Christians and many other Christians also believe that Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life.
Constant faith of the Church
Great teachers of the Church from at least the fourth century spoke of Mary as having remained a virgin throughout her life:
Athanasius (Alexandria, 293 - 373)
Epiphanius (Palestine, 315? - 403)
Jerome (Stridon, present day Yugoslavia, 345? - 419)
Augustine (Numidia, now Algeria, 354 - 430)
Cyril (Alexandria, 376 - 444)
Magisterium of the Church
Council of Constantinople II (553 - 554) twice referred to Mary as "ever-virgin."
The protestant reformers affirmed their belief in Mary's perpetual virginity:
German reformer Martin Luther's (1483-1546) writings often address the subject of Mary: On the Divine Motherhood of Mary, he wrote
In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such great good things were given her that no one can grasp them. ... Not only was Mary the mother of him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 7, p. 572.)
Luther wrote on the Virginity of Mary:
It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. ... Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v.11, pp. 319-320; v. 6. p. 510.)
The French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) also held that Mary was the Mother of God
It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. ... Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God. (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)
On the perpetual virginity of Mary, "Calvin routinely brushes aside the difficulties sometimes raised from "first born" and "brothers of the Lord."" (O'Carroll, M., 1983, Theotokos, M Glazier, Inc.: Wilmington, DE, p. 94.)
The Swiss reformer, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), wrote, on the divine motherhood of Mary:
It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 6, I, p. 639.)
On the perpetual virginity of Mary, Zwingli wrote,
I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424.)
In another place Zwingli professed
I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary ...; Christ ... was born of a most undefiled Virgin. (Stakemeier, E. in De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, Balic, K., ed., Rome, 1962, p. 456.)
The more the honor and love for Christ grows among men, the more esteem and honor for Mary grows, for she brought forth for us so great, but so compassionate a Lord and Redeemer. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, pp. 427-428.)
|Wednesday, March 31st, 2004|
Jesus Meets His Mother
Jesus Meets His Mother
We pray for the young people who are preparing themselves to follow Christ by a "yes" for their entire lifetime.
Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38)
The Virgin Mary enables us to understand the meaning of a definitive "yes". A woman from Puerto Rico, whose only son was preparing to make a commitment for his entire life, wrote to him these words: "Discovering your total live for God, I thought of the Virgin Mary. As a mother, Mary consented to what God had prepared." Then that mother continued: "My son, what can I do when God id acting? I cannot refuse God what belongs to Him."
Christ Jesus, you tell us, why worry? We cannot add a single day to our lives by worrying about it. And so, enable us to respond to your call by taking the risk of a yes for our entire lifetime.
|Tuesday, March 30th, 2004|
From True Devotion to Mary (De Montford)
91. It is therefore very important, first, to recognise false devotions to our Blessed Lady so as to avoid them, and to recognise true devotion in order to practise it. Second, among so many different forms of true devotion to our Blessed Lady we should choose the one most perfect and the most pleasing to her, the one that gives greater glory to God and is most sanctifying for us.
1. False devotion to our Lady
92. There are, I find, seven kinds of false devotion to Mary, namely, the devotion of (1) the critical, (2) the scrupulous, (3) the superficial, (4) the presumptuous, (5) the inconstant, (6) the hypocritical, (7) the self-interested.
93. Critical devotees are for the most part proud scholars, people of independent and self-satisfied minds, who deep down in their hearts have a vague sort of devotion to Mary. However, they criticise nearly all those forms of devotion to her which simple and pious people use to honour their good Mother just because such practices do not appeal to them. They question all miracles and stories which testify to the mercy and power of the Blessed Virgin, even those recorded by trustworthy authors or taken from the chronicles of religious orders. They cannot bear to see simple and humble people on their knees before an altar or statue of our Lady, or at prayer before some outdoor shrine. They even accuse them of idolatry as if they were adoring the wood or the stone. They say that as far as they are concerned they do not care for such outward display of devotion and that they are not so gullible as to believe all the fairy tales and stories told of our Blessed Lady. When you tell them how admirably the Fathers of the Church praised our Lady, they reply that the Fathers were exaggerating as orators do, or that their words are misrepresented. These false devotees, these proud worldly people are greatly to be feared. They do untold harm to devotion to our Lady. While pretending to correct abuses, they succeed only too well in turning people away from this devotion.
94. Scrupulous devotees are those who imagine they are slighting the Son by honouring the Mother. They fear that by exalting Mary they are belittling Jesus. They cannot bear to see people giving to our Lady the praises due to her and which the Fathers of the Church have lavished upon her. It annoys them to see more people kneeling before Mary's altar than before the Blessed Sacrament, as if these acts were at variance with each other, or as if those who were praying to our Lady were not praying through her to Jesus. They do not want us to speak too often of her or to pray so often to her.
Here are some of the things they say: "What is the good of all these rosaries, confraternities and exterior devotions to our Lady? There is a great deal of ignorance in all this. It is making a mockery of religion. Tell us about those who are devoted to Jesus (and they often pronounce his name without uncovering their heads). We should go directly to Jesus, since he is our sole Mediator. We must preach Jesus; that is sound devotion." There is some truth in what they say, but the inference they draw to prevent devotion to our Lady is very insidious. It is a subtle snare of the evil one under the pretext of promoting a greater good. For we never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son.
95. The Church, with the Holy Spirit, blesses our Lady first, then Jesus, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Not that Mary is greater than Jesus, or even equal to him - that would be an intolerable heresy. But in order to bless Jesus more perfectly we should first bless Mary. Let us say with all those truly devoted to her, despite these false and scrupulous devotees: "O Mary, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."
96. Superficial devotees are people whose entire devotion to our Lady consists in exterior practices. Only the externals of devotion appeal to them because they have no interior spirit. They say many rosaries with great haste and assist at many Masses distractedly. They take part in processions of our Lady without inner fervour. They join her confraternities without reforming their lives or restraining their passions or imitating Mary's virtues. All that appeals to them is the emotional aspect of this devotion, but the substance of it has no appeal at all. If they do not feel a warmth in their devotions, they think they are doing nothing; they become upset, and give up everything, or else do things only when they feel like it. The world is full of these shallow devotees, and there are none more critical of men of prayer who regard the interior devotion as the essential aspect and strive to acquire it without, however, neglecting a reasonable external expression which always accompanies true devotion.
97. Presumptuous devotees are sinners who give full rein to their passions or their love of the world, and who, under the fair name of Christian and servant of our Lady, conceal pride, avarice, lust, drunkenness, anger, swearing, slandering, injustice and other vices. They sleep peacefully in their wicked habits, without making any great effort to correct them, believing that their devotion to our Lady gives them this sort of liberty. They convince themselves that God will forgive them, that they will not die without confession, that they will not be lost for all eternity. They take all this for granted because they say the Rosary, fast on Saturdays, are enrolled in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary or the Scapular, or a sodality of our Lady, wear the medal or the little chain of our Lady.
When you tell them that such a devotion is only an illusion of the devil and a dangerous presumption which may well ruin them, they refuse to believe you. God is good and merciful, they reply, and he has not made us to damn us. No man is without sin. We will not die without confession, and a good act of contrition at death is all that is needed. Moreover, they say they have devotion to our Lady; that they wear the scapular; that they recite faithfully and humbly every day the seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys in her honour; that sometimes they even say the Rosary and the Office of our Lady, as well as fasting and performing other good works.
Blinding themselves still more, they quote stories they have heard or read - whether true or false does not bother them - which relate how people who had died in mortal sin were brought back to life again to go to confession, or how their soul was miraculously retained in their bodies until confession, because in their lifetime they said a few prayers or performed a few pious acts, in honour of our Lady. Others are supposed to have obtained from God at the moment of death, through the merciful intercession of the Blessed Virgin, sorrow and pardon for their sins, and so were saved. Accordingly, these people expect the same thing to happen to them.
98. Nothing in our Christian religion is so deserving of condemnation as this diabolical presumption. How can we truthfully claim to love and honour the Blessed Virgin when by our sins we pitilessly wound, pierce, crucify and outrage her Son? If Mary made it a rule to save by her mercy this sort of person, she would be condoning wickedness and helping to outrage and crucify her Son. Who would even dare to think of such a thing?
99. I declare that such an abuse of devotion to her is a horrible sacrilege and, next to an unworthy Communion, is the greatest and the least pardonable sin, because devotion to our Lady is the holiest and best after devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
I admit that to be truly devoted to our Lady, it is not absolutely necessary to be so holy as to avoid all sin, although this is desirable. But at least it is necessary (note what I am going to say), (1) to be genuinely determined to avoid at least all mortal sin, which outrages the Mother as well as the Son; (2) to practise self-restraint in order to avoid sin; (3) to join her confraternities, say the Rosary and other prayers, fast on Saturdays, and so on.
100. Such means are surprisingly effective in converting even the hardened sinner. Should you be such a sinner, with one foot in the abyss, I advise you to do as I have said. But there is an essential condition. You must perform these good works solely to obtain from God, through the intercession of our Lady, the grace to regret your sins, obtain pardon for them and overcome your evil habits, and not to live complacently in the state of sin, disregarding the warning voice of conscience, the example of our Lord and the saints, and the teaching of the holy gospel.
101. Inconstant devotees are those whose devotion to our Lady is practised in fits and starts. Sometimes they are fervent and sometimes they are lukewarm. Sometimes they appear ready to do anything to please our Lady, and then shortly afterwards they have completely changed. They start by embracing every devotion to our Lady. They join her confraternities, but they do not faithfully observe the rules. They are as changeable as the moon, and like the moon Mary puts them under her feet. Because of their fickleness they are unworthy to be included among the servants of the Virgin most faithful, because faithfulness and constancy are the hallmarks of Mary's servants. It is better not to burden ourselves with a multitude of prayers and pious practices but rather adopt only a few and perform them with love and perseverance in spite of opposition from the devil the world and the flesh.
102. There is another category of false devotees of our Lady, - hypocritical ones. These hide their sins and evil habits under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin so as to appear to their fellow-men different from what they are.
103. Then there are the self-interested devotees who turn to her only to win a court-case, to escape some danger, to be cured of some ailment, or have some similar need satisfied. Except when in need they never think of her. Such people are acceptable neither to God not to his Mother.
104. We must, then, carefully avoid joining the critical devotees, who believe nothing and find fault with everything; the scrupulous ones who, out of respect for our Lord, are afraid of having too much devotion to his Mother; the exterior devotees whose devotion consists entirely in outward practices; the presumptuous devotees who under cover of a fictitious devotion to our Lady wallow in their sins; the inconstant devotees who, being unstable, change their devotional practices or abandon them altogether at the slightest temptation; the hypocritical ones who join confraternities and wear emblems of our Lady only to be thought of as good people; finally, the self-interested devotees who pray to our Lady only to be rid of bodily ills or to obtain material benefits.
2. Marks of authentic devotion to our Lady
105. After having explained and condemned false devotions to the Blessed Virgin we shall now briefly describe what true devotion is. It is interior, trustful, holy, constant and disinterested.
106. First, true devotion to our Lady is interior, that is, it comes from within the mind and the heart and follows from the esteem in which we hold her, the high regard we have for her greatness, and the love we bear her.
107. Second, it is trustful, that is to say, it fills us with confidence in the Blessed Virgin, the confidence that a child has for its loving Mother. It prompts us to go to her in every need of body and soul with great simplicity, trust and affection. We implore our Mother's help always, everywhere, and for everything. We pray to her to be enlightened in our doubts, to be put back on the right path when we go astray, to be protected when we are tempted, to be strengthened when we are weakening, to be lifted up when we fall into sin, to be encouraged when we are losing heart, to be rid of our scruples, to be consoled in the trials, crosses and disappointments of life. Finally, in all our afflictions of body and soul, we naturally turn to Mary for help, with never a fear of importuning her or displeasing our Lord.
108. Third, true devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.
109. Fourth, true devotion to our Lady is constant. It strengthens us in our desire to do good and prevents us from giving up our devotional practices too easily. It gives us the courage to oppose the fashions and maxims of the world, the vexations and unruly inclinations of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. Thus a person truly devoted to our Blessed Lady is not changeable, fretful, scrupulous or timid. We do not say however that such a person never sins or that his sensible feelings of devotion never change. When he has fallen, he stretches out his hand to his Blessed Mother and rises again. If he loses all taste and feeling for devotion, he is not at all upset because a good and faithful servant of Mary is guided in his life by faith in Jesus and Mary, and not by feelings.
110. Fifth, true devotion to Mary is disinterested. It inspires us to seek God alone in his Blessed Mother and not ourselves. The true subject of Mary does not serve his illustrious Queen for selfish gain. He does not serve her for temporal or eternal well-being but simply and solely because she has the right to be served and God alone in her. He loves her not so much because she is good to him or because he expects something from her, but simply because she is loveable. That is why he loves and serves her just as faithfully in weariness and dryness of soul as in sweet and sensible fervour. He loves her as much on Calvary as at Cana. How pleasing and precious in the sight of God and his holy Mother must these servants of Mary be, who serve her without any self-seeking. How rare they are nowadays! It is to increase their number that I have taken up my pen to write down what I have been teaching with success both publicly and in private in my missions for many years.
111. I have already said many things about the Blessed Virgin and, as I am trying to fashion a true servant of Mary and a true disciple of Jesus, I have still a great deal to say, although through ignorance, inability, and lack of time, I shall leave infinitely more unsaid.
112. But my labour will be well rewarded if this little book falls into the hands of a noble soul, a child of God and of Mary, born not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man. My time will be well spent if, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, after having read this book he is convinced of the supreme value of the solid devotion to Mary I am about to describe. If I thought that my guilty blood could help the reader to accept in his heart the truths that I set down in honour of my dear Mother and Queen, I, her most unworthy child and slave, would use it instead of ink to write these words. I would hope to find faithful souls who, by their perseverance in the devotion I teach, will repay her for the loss she has suffered through my ingratitude and infidelity.
113. I feel more than ever inspired to believe and expect the complete fulfilment of the desire that is deeply engraved on my heart and what I have prayed to God for over many years, namely, that in the near or distant future the Blessed Virgin will have more children, servants and slaves of love than ever before, and that through them Jesus, my dear Lord, will reign more than ever in the hearts of men.
114. I clearly foresee that raging beasts will come in fury to tear to pieces with their diabolical teeth this little book and the one the Holy Spirit made use of to write it, or they will cause it at least to lie hidden in the darkness and silence of a chest and so prevent it from seeing the light of day. They will even attack and persecute those who read it and put into practice what it contains. But no matter! So much the better! It even gives me encouragement to hope for great success at the prospect of a mighty legion of brave and valiant soldiers of Jesus and Mary, both men and women, who will fight the devil, the world, and corrupt nature in the perilous times that are sure to come.
"Let the reader understand. Let him accept this teaching who can."
|Monday, March 29th, 2004|
The Legion of Mary
WHAT IS IT?
The Legion of Mary is the largest apostolic organization of lay people in the Catholic Church, with well over 3 million active members in almost every country of the world. It has been active in the United States since 1931, has been approved by the last 6 Popes, and was endorsed by the Second Vatican Council. The main purpose of the Legion of Mary is to give glory to God through the sanctification of its members.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Members become instruments of the Holy Spirit through a balanced program of prayer and service. Works include door-to-door evangelization, parishioner visitation, prison ministry, visitation of the sick or aged, crowd contact, religious education, visiting the newly baptized, Pilgrim Virgin Statue rotations, and meeting the other spiritual needs of the parish community. Legionaries are under the guidance of a spiritual director named by the pastor. The Legion is, in essence, an extension of the heart and hands of the pastor.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Members meet once a week for prayer, planning and discussion in a family setting. Then they do two hours of definite work each week in pairs and under the guidance of their spiritual director (usually the parish priest).
WHO CAN BELONG?
The Legion of Mary is open to all Catholics who:
Faithfully practice their religion;
Are animated by the desire to participate in the Church's apostolate through membership in the Legion;
Are prepared to fulfill each and every duty which active membership in the Legion involves
HOW DO I START?
The first step is to be a guest at a meeting of the Legion of Mary. Guests are always welcome and can go on one of the work assignments with an experienced member if they choose. If there is no Legion of Mary in your parish, you can participate in a group in another parish until you can start one of your own with the assistance of other Legionaries and in cooperation with the pastor.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFO?
For more information, ask any member of the Legion of Mary or contact the parish office to obtain the name and telephone number of a point of contact for the nearest Legion of Mary Praesidium. You can also complete our REQUEST FOR INFORMATION form and http://www.legionofmary.org/lom_info.html
|Sunday, March 28th, 2004|
How To Pray the Rosary
1. Make the Sign of the Cross - The simplest way to do this is to extend your thumb above your palm, and then extend your middle and index fingers so they touch your tumb on its tip. Then take your two other fingers and press them against your palm. (your thumb and two fingers reprsent the Trinity, and your other two fingers represent the two natures of Christ). Now while saying "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," touch your three fingers to your head, then to your lower chest, then to your left brest and then to your right brest. Thus, making a cross.
2. Say the The Apostles' Creed, which goes:
I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
3. Say the Our Father, which goes:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. Amen.
4. Say 3 Hail Marys (The first asking for Faith, the second asking for Hope, the third asking for Charity). The Hail Mary goes:
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
5. Say the Glory Be, which goes:
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. Amen.
6. Pick Which 5 Mysteries to Meditate on, your choices are:
The Five Joyful Mysteries
Suggested for Mondays & Saturdays; Sundays of Advent and after Epiphany until Lent
The Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, announcing She is to be the Mother of God.
The Visitation. Elizabeth greets Mary: "Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb!"
The Nativity. The Virgin Mary gives birth to the Redeemer of the World.
The Presentation. The Blessed Mother presents the Child Jesus in the Temple.
The Finding in the Temple. The Blessed Mother finds Jesus in the Temple.
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries
Suggested for Tuesdays & Friday; Sundays in Lent (some people say them for all days in Lent)
The Agony in the Garden. At Gethsemane Jesus prays as He contemplates the sins of the World.
The Scourging at the Pillar. Jesus is cruelly scourged until His mortified body could bear no more.
The Crowning with Thorns. A crown of thorns is placed on the head of Jesus.
The Carrying of the Cross. Jesus carries the heavy cross upon His shoulders to Calvary.
The Crucifixion. Jesus is nailed to the Cross and dies after three hours of Agony.
The Five Glorious Mysteries
Wednesdays & Sundays after Easter until Advent
The Resurrection. Jesus rises glorious and immortal, three days after His death.
The Ascension. Jesus ascends into Heaven forty days after His Resurrection.
The Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The Holy Spirit descends upon Mary and the Apostles.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The Blessed Mother is united with her Divine Son in heaven.
The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin. Mary is Gloriously crowned Queen of Heaven and earth
The Five Luminous Mysteries (Added by Pope John Paul II in 2003)
The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River.
Christ's Self-Manifestation at the Wedding Feast at Cana.
Christ's Proclamation of the Kingdom of God with His Call to Conversion
Christ's Transfiguration .
Christ's Institution of the Eucharist.
7. Once you have selected which set of 5 mysteries to pray (you pick the whole set, not which individual mysteries you like.) You say an Our Father, while meditating on the first mystery.
8. Say 10 Hail Marys while Meditating on the first mystery
9. Say a Glory Be, while meditating on the first mystery
10. Start Meditating on the Second Mystery, while praying an Our Father.
11. Continue meditation with 10 Hail Marys.
12. Continue with your Glory Be.
13. For Next 3 Mysteries follow the same pattern. Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, GLory Be.
14. Pray The The Hail, Holy Queen, which goes:
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
15. Make the Sign of the Cross.
[Aquinas] On The Annunciation
Whether it was necessary to announce to the Blessed Virgin that which was to be done in her?
Objection 1. It would seem that it was unnecessary to announce to the Blessed Virgin that which was to be done in her. For there seems to have been no need of the Annunciation except for the purpose of receiving the Virgin's consent. But her consent seems to have been unnecessary: because the Virginal Conception was foretold by a prophecy of "predestination," which is "fulfilled without our consent," as a gloss says on Mt. 1:22. There was no need, therefore, for this Annunciation.
Objection 2. Further, the Blessed Virgin believed in Incarnation, for to disbelieve therein excludes man from the way of salvation; because, as the Apostle says (Rm. 3:22): "The justice of God (is) by faith of Jesus Christ." But one needs no further instruction concerning what one believes without doubt. Therefore the Blessed Virgin had no need for the Incarnation of her Son to be announced to her.
Objection 3. Further, just as the Blessed Virgin conceived Christ in her body, so every pious soul conceives Him spiritually. Thus the Apostle says (Gal. 4:19): "My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you." But to those who conceive Him spiritually no announcement is made of this conception. Therefore neither should it have been announced to the Blessed Virgin that she was to conceive the Son of God in her womb.
On the contrary, It is related (Lk. 1:31) that the angel said to her: "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son."
I answer that, It was reasonable that it should be announced to the Blessed Virgin that she was to conceive Christ. First, in order to maintain a becoming order in the union of the Son of God with the Virgin--namely, that she should be informed in mind concerning Him, before conceiving Him in the flesh. Thus Augustine says (De Sancta Virgin. iii): "Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ, than in conceiving the flesh of Christ"; and further on he adds: "Her nearness as a Mother would have been of no profit to Mary, had she not borne Christ in her heart after a more blessed manner than in her flesh."
Secondly, that she might be a more certain witness of this mystery, being instructed therein by God.
Thirdly, that she might offer to God the free gift of her obedience: which she proved herself right ready to do, saying: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."
Fourthly, in order to show that there is a certain spiritual wedlock between the Son of God and human nature. Wherefore in the Annunciation the Virgin's consent was besought in lieu of that of the entire human nature.
Reply to Objection 1. The prophecy of predestination is fulfilled without the causality of our will; not without its consent.
Reply to Objection 2. The Blessed Virgin did indeed believe explicitly in the future Incarnation; but, being humble, she did not think such high things of herself. Consequently she required instruction in this matter.
Reply to Objection 3. The spiritual conception of Christ through faith is preceded by the preaching of the faith, for as much as "faith is by hearing" (Rm. 10:17). Yet man does not know for certain thereby that he has grace; but he does know that the faith, which he has received, is true.
Whether the annunciation should have been made by an angel to the Blessed Virgin?
Objection 1. It would seem that the Annunciation should not have been made by an angel to our Blessed Lady. For revelations to the highest angels are made immediately by God, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii). But the Mother of God is exalted above all the angels. Therefore it seems that the mystery of Incarnation should have been announced to her by God immediately, and not by an angel.
Objection 2. Further, if in this matter it behooved the common order to be observed, by which Divine things are announced to men by angels; in like manner Divine things are announced to a woman by a man: wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor. 14:34,35): "Let women keep silence in the churches . . . but if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home." Therefore it seems that the mystery of Incarnation should have been announced to the Blessed Virgin by some man: especially seeing that Joseph, her husband, was instructed thereupon by an angel, as is related (Mt. 1:20,21)
Objection 3. Further, none can becomingly announce what he knows not. But the highest angels did not fully know the mystery of Incarnation: wherefore Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vii) that the question, "Who is this that cometh from Edom?" (Is. 63:1) is to be understood as made by them. Therefore it seems that the announcement of Incarnation could not be made becomingly by any angel.
Objection 4. Further, greater things should be announced by messengers of greater dignity. But the mystery of Incarnation is the greatest of all things announced by angels to men. It seems, therefore, if it behooved to be announced by an angel at all, that this should have been done by an angel of the highest order. But Gabriel is not of the highest order, but of the order of archangels, which is the last but one: wherefore the Church sings: "We know that the archangel Gabriel brought thee a message from God" [Feast of Purification B.V.M. ix Resp. Brev. O.P.]. Therefore this announcement was not becomingly made by the archangel Gabriel.
On the contrary, It is written (Lk. 1:26): "The angel Gabriel was sent by God," etc.
I answer that, It was fitting for the mystery of Incarnation to be announced to the Mother of God by an angel, for three reasons. First, that in this also might be maintained the order established by God, by which Divine things are brought to men by means of the angels. Wherefore Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv) that "the angels were the first to be taught the Divine mystery of the loving kindness of Jesus: afterwards the grace of knowledge was imparted to us through them. Thus, then, the most god-like Gabriel made known to Zachary that a prophet son would be born to him; and, to Mary, how the Divine mystery of the ineffable conception of God would be realized in her."
Secondly, this was becoming to the restoration of human nature which was to be effected by Christ. Wherefore Bede says in a homily (in Annunt.): "It was an apt beginning of man's restoration that an angel should be sent by God to the Virgin who was to be hallowed by the Divine Birth: since the first cause of man's ruin was through the serpent being sent by the devil to cajole the woman by the spirit of pride."
Thirdly, because this was becoming to the virginity of the Mother of God. Wherefore Jerome says in a sermon on the Assumption [Ascribed to St. Jerome but not his work]: "It is well that an angel be sent to the Virgin; because virginity is ever akin to the angelic nature. Surely to live in the flesh and not according to the flesh is not an earthly but a heavenly life."
Reply to Objection 1. The Mother of God was above the angels as regards the dignity to which she was chosen by God. But as regards the present state of life, she was beneath the angels. For even Christ Himself, by reason of His passible life, "was made a little lower than the angels," according to Heb. 2:9. But because Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor, He did not need to be instructed by angels, as regards knowledge of Divine things. The Mother of God, however, was not yet in the state of comprehension: and therefore she had to be instructed by angels concerning the Divine Conception.
Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says in a sermon on the Assumption (De Assump. B.V.M. [Work of another author: among the works of St. Augustine) a true estimation of the Blessed Virgin excludes her from certain general rules. For "neither did she 'multiply her conceptions' nor was she 'under man's, i.e. her husband's,' power (Gn. 3:16), who in her spotless womb conceived Christ of the Holy Ghost." Therefore it was fitting that she should be informed of the mystery of Incarnation by means not of a man, but of an angel. For this reason it was made known to her before Joseph: since the message was brought to her before she conceived, but to Joseph after she had conceived.
Reply to Objection 3. As may be gathered from the passage quoted from Dionysius, the angels were acquainted with the mystery of Incarnation: and yet they put this question, being desirous that Christ should give them more perfect knowledge of the details of this mystery, which are incomprehensible to any created intellect. Thus Maximus [Maximus of Constantinople] says that "there can be no question that the angels knew that Incarnation was to take place. But it was not given to them to trace the manner of our Lord's conception, nor how it was that He remained whole in the Father, whole throughout the universe, and was whole in the narrow abode of the Virgin."
Reply to Objection 4. Some say that Gabriel was of the highest order; because Gregory says (Hom. de Centum Ovibus [34 in Evang.): "It was right that one of the highest angels should come, since his message was most sublime." But this does nat imply that he was of the highest order of all, but in regard to the angels: since he was an archangel. Thus the Church calls him an archangel, and Gregory himself in a homily (De Centum Ovibus 34) says that "those are called archangels who announce sublime things." It is therefore sufficiently credible that he was the highest of the archangels. And, as Gregory says (De Centum Ovibus 34), this name agrees with his office: for "Gabriel means 'Power of God.' This message therefore was fittingly brought by the 'Power of God,' because the Lord of hosts and mighty in battle was coming to overcome the powers of the air."
Whether the angel of annunciation should have appeared to the Virgin in a bodily vision?
Objection 1. It would seem that the angel of the Annunciation should not have appeared to the Virgin in a bodily vision. For "intellectual vision is more excellent than bodily vision," as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii), and especially more becoming to an angel: since by intellectual vision an angel is seen in his substance; whereas in a bodily vision he is seen in the bodily shape which he assumes. Now since it behooved a sublime messenger to come to announce the Divine Conception, so, seemingly, he should have appeared in the most excellent kind of vision. Therefore it seems that the angel of the Annunciation appeared to the Virgin in an intellectual vision.
Objection 2. Further, imaginary vision also seems to excel bodily vision: just as the imagination is a higher power than the senses. But "the angel . . . appeared to Joseph in his sleep" (Mt. 1:20), which was clearly an imaginary vision. Therefore it seems that he should have appeared to the Blessed Virgin also in an imaginary vision.
Objection 3. Further, the bodily vision of a spiritual substance stupefies the beholder; thus we sing of the Virgin herself: "And the Virgin seeing the light was filled with fear" [Feast of Annunciation, B.V.M. ii Resp. Brev. O.P.]. But it was better that her mind should be preserved from being thus troubled. Therefore it was not fitting that this announcement should be made in a bodily vision.
On the contrary, Augustine in a sermon (De Annunt. iii) pictures the Blessed Virgin as speaking thus: "To me came the archangel Gabriel with glowing countenance, gleaming robe, and wondrous step." But these cannot pertain to other than bodily vision. Therefore the angel of the Annunciation appeared in a bodily vision to the Blessed Virgin.
I answer that, The angel of the Annunciation appeared in a bodily vision to the Blessed Virgin. And this indeed was fitting, first in regard to that which was announced. For the angel came to announce Incarnation of the invisible God. Wherefore it was becoming that, in order to make this known, an invisible creature should assume a form in which to appear visibly: forasmuch as all the apparitions of the Old Testament are ordered to that apparition in which the Son of God appeared in the flesh.
Secondly, it was fitting as regards the dignity of the Mother of God, who was to receive the Son of God not only in her mind, but in her bodily womb. Therefore it behooved not only her mind, but also her bodily senses to be refreshed by the angelic vision.
Thirdly, it is in keeping with the certainty of that which was announced. For we apprehend with greater certainty that which is before our eyes, than what is in our imagination. Thus Chrysostom says (Hom. iv in Matth.) that the angel "came to the Virgin not in her sleep, but visibly. For since she was receiving from the angel a message exceeding great, before such an event she needed a vision of great solemnity."
Reply to Objection 1. Intellectual vision excels merely imaginary and merely bodily vision. But Augustine himself says (De Annunt. iii) that prophecy is more excellent if accompanied by intellectual and imaginary vision, than if accompanied by only one of them. Now the Blessed Virgin perceived not only the bodily vision, but also the intellectual illumination. Wherefore this was a more excellent vision. Yet it would have been more excellent if she had perceived the angel himself in his substance by her intellectual vision. But it was incompatible with her state of wayfarer that she should see an angel in his essence.
Reply to Objection 2. The imagination is indeed a higher power than the exterior sense: but because the senses are the principle of human knowledge, the greatest certainty is in them, for the principles of knowledge must needs always be most certain. Consequently Joseph, to whom the angel appeared in his sleep, did not have so excellent a vision as the Blessed Virgin.
Reply to Objection 3. As Ambrose says on Lk. 1:11: "We are disturbed, and lose our presence of mind, when we are confronted by the presence of a superior power." And this happens not only in bodily, but also in imaginary vision. Wherefore it is written (Gn. 15:12) that "when the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a great and darksome horror seized upon him." But by being thus disturbed man is not harmed to such an extent that therefore he ought to forego the vision of an angel. First because from the very fact that man is raised above himself, in which matter his dignity is concerned, his inferior powers are weakened; and from this results the aforesaid disturbance: thus, also, when the natural heat is drawn within a body, the exterior parts tremble. Secondly, because, as Origen says (Hom. iv in Luc.): "The angel who appeared, knowing hers was a human nature, first sought to remedy the disturbance of mind to which a man is subject." Wherefore both to Zachary and to Mary, as soon as they were disturbed, he said: "Fear not." For this reason, as we read in the life of Anthony, "it is difficult to discern good from evil spirits. For if joy succeed fear, we should know that the help is from the Lord: because security of soul is a sign of present majesty. But if the fear with which we are stricken persevere, it is an enemy that we see."
Moreover it was becoming to virginal modesty that the Virgin should be troubled. Because, as Ambrose says on Lk. 1:20: "It is the part of a virgin to be timid, to fear the advances of men, and to shrink from men's addresses."
But others says that as the Blessed Virgin was accustomed to angelic visions, she was not troubled at seeing this angel, but with wonder at hearing what the angel said to her, for she did not think so highly of herself. Wherefore the evangelist does not say that she was troubled at seeing the angel, but "at his saying."
Whether the Annunciation took place in becoming order?
Objection 1. It would seem that the Annunciation did not take place in becoming order. For the dignity of the Mother of God results from the child she conceived. But the cause should be made known before the effect. Therefore the angel should have announced to the Virgin the conception of her child before acknowledging her dignity in greeting her.
Objection 2. Further, proof should be omitted in things which admit of no doubt; and premised where doubt is possible. But the angel seems first to have announced what the virgin might doubt, and which, because of her doubt, would make her ask: "How shall this be done?" and afterwards to have given the proof, alleging both the instance of Elizabeth and the omnipotence of God. Therefore the Annunciation was made by the angel in unbecoming order.
Objection 3. Further, the greater cannot be adequately proved by the less. But it was a greater wonder for a virgin than for an old woman to be with child. Therefore the angel's proof was insufficient to demonstrate the conception of a virgin from that of an old woman.
On the contrary, it is written (Rm. 13:1): "Those that are of God, are well ordered [Vulg.: 'Those that are, are ordained of God']." Now the angel was "sent by God" to announce unto the Virgin, as is related Lk. 1:26. Therefore the Annunciation was made by the angel in the most perfect order.
I answer that, The Annunciation was made by the angel in a becoming manner. For the angel had a threefold purpose in regard to the Virgin. First, to draw her attention to the consideration of a matter of such moment. This he did by greeting her by a new and unwonted salutation. Wherefore Origen says, commenting on Luke (Hom. vi), that if "she had known that similar words had been addressed to anyone else, she, who had knowledge of the Law, would never have been astonished at the seeming strangeness of the salutation." In which salutation he began by asserting her worthiness of the conception, by saying, "Full of grace"; then he announced the conception in the words, "The Lord is with thee"; and then foretold the honor which would result to her therefrom, by saying, "Blessed art thou among women."
Secondly, he purposed to instruct her about the mystery of the Incarnation, which was to be fulfilled in her. This he did by foretelling the conception and birth, saying: "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb," etc.; and by declaring the dignity of the child conceived, saying: "He shall be great"; and further, by making known the mode of conception, when he said: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee."
Thirdly, he purposed to lead her mind to consent. This he did by the instance of Elizabeth, and by the argument from Divine omnipotence.
Reply to Objection 1. To a humble mind nothing is more astonishing than to hear its own excellence. Now, wonder is most effective in drawing the mind's attention. Therefore the angel, desirous of drawing the Virgin's attention to the hearing of so great a mystery, began by praising her.
Reply to Objection 2. Ambrose says explicitly on Lk. 1:34, that the Blessed Virgin did not doubt the angel's words. For he says: "Mary's answer is more temperate than the words of the priest. She says: How shall this be? He replies: Whereby shall I know this? He denies that he believes, since he denies that he knows this. She does not doubt fulfilment when she asks how it shall be done."
Augustine, however, seems to assert that she doubted. For he says (De Qq. Vet. et Nov. Test. qu. li): "To Mary, in doubt about the conception, the angel declares the possibility thereof." But such a doubt is one of wonder rather than of unbelief. And so the angel adduces a proof, not as a cure for unbelief, but in order to remove her astonishment.
Reply to Objection 3. As Ambrose says (Hexaemeron v): "For this reason had many barren women borne children, that the virginal birth might be credible."
The conception of the sterile Elizabeth is therefore adduced, not as a sufficient argument, but as a kind of figurative example.: consequently in support of this instance, the convincing argument is added taken from the Divine omnipotence.
|Wednesday, March 24th, 2004|
"I am yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours."
|Sunday, March 21st, 2004|
The Only Way to Jesus?
If it is true that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8), and it is true that Jesus is God and came into the world as a man(Philippians 2:7), and if it was true that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:43, then it is true that:
1. Love came into the world through Mary.
2. Love came into the world through Mary's consent. (luke 1:38)
3. God came into the world through Mary's "yes."
4. If it is true that Jesus is salvation (Titus 2:13), then salvation was born into the world through Mary's "yes."
5. If Jesus is the light of the world(John 8:12), than the light entered the world through the womb of Mary.
6. If Jesus is Truth (John 14:6), then Truth entered the world through Mary.
Mary, as the mother of God --- as the person through whom God entered the world, is our mother in the order of Grace(John 19:26). Just as Eve said no to God and said yes to sin, by eating the apple, Mary said yes to God and no to sin by welcoming Christ into the world. Just as Eve is our physical mother, Mary is our spirital mother.
Just as Eve (along with Adam) brought sin into the world, so did Mary participate with God to bring Love into the world.
Truely, as surely as Jesus entered the world as a man, through Mary, Mary can be called our Mother, and the Mother of the Church. For just as Christ is the principle member of the Church, so is Mary His mother.
Martin Luther on Mary
In his commentary on the Magnificat, Martin Luther wrote:
"Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase, 'the Mother of God'. No one can say anything greater of her or to her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees . . ."
To many Christians the role of Mary as Mother of God and also their Mother finds no support in the New Testament. But Martin Luther from his study of the scriptures could write in 1529:
"Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of us all.
If Christ be ours . . . all that he has must be ours,
and His Mother also must be ours."
The simple gospel fact is that Jesus had a mother and that that mother had a mission in the plan of Salvation. In our human history there would have been no Fatherhood of God without the Motherhood of Mary, for God became man in the normal way of men through a mother. Had He been only a man who lived and died and was forgotten then she too could be ignored and forgotten.
But the Jesus who was born of Mary expanded into mankind, making Mary the mother of mankind. Jesus is Christianity - Mary, the mother of Christianity.
Anyone who honestly considers this basic Christian truth can never say Mary is irrelevant, for nothing that mattered to Jesus can be irrelevant.
And Mary mattered to Jesus. The person who sets his life on being one with Jesus, of following His teaching and imitating Him oftentimes overlooks the very first act of Jesus in the plan of Redemption: He first gave Himself to Mary.
And in the end, from the cross, He gave her to us.
The great goal of the Christian is to be identified with Jesus, to be one with Him. In this sense Mary was the first Christian and her purpose, now, is to bring that same Jesus to His fullness as He lives on in us. "For we," says St. Paul, "are the Body of Christ."
The role of Mary as Mother of God is in fact found in the Bible. In Luke 1:41-45 we find the following:
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
In John 19:26-27 we read that Jesus gave Mary to us (represented by John the Beloved Apostle) as our mother also:
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Contrary to an often-heard criticism of the Catholic Church based on a lack of understanding, Catholics do not worship Mary; we worship God alone! Veneration of Mary and the other saints and prayer to them are quite different. What many non-Catholics mistake for adoration is a very profound love and veneration, nothing more. Traditional theology has sharply distinguished the reverence accorded to Mary and the saints ("dulia") from the worship and adoration that are due to God alone ("latria"). Mary is not adored, first because God forbids it, and secondly because the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, which is based on Divine Law, forbids it.
|Friday, March 19th, 2004|
From Vatican II
From LUMEN GENTIUM of Vatican II
The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation
55. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin.(284) Likewise she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel.(285) She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.
56. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.(5*) Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God's command, by an angel messenger as "full of grace",(286) and to the heavenly messenger she replies: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word".(287) Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God's salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she "being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race."(6*) Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith."(7*) Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her "the Mother of the living,"(8*) and still more often they say: "death through Eve, life through Mary."(9*)
57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother.(288) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi. When she presented Him to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed.(289) When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things that were His Father's business; and they did not understand the word of their Son. His Mother indeed kept these things to be pondered over in her heart.(290)
58. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning, when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah.(291) In the course of her Son's preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed(292) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing.(293) After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,(294) grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: "Woman, behold thy son".(295) (11*)
59. But since it has pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery cf the salvation of the human race before He would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the apostles before the day of Pentecost "persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren",(296) and Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation. Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin,(12*) on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory,(13*) and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully confimed to her Son, the Lord of lords(297) and the conqueror of sin and death.(l4*)
III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church
60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, "for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all".(298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.
61. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was in this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. she presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.
62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until The eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.(15*) By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.(16*) This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.(17*)
For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.
The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.
63. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God's messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren,(299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.
64. The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.(20*)
65. But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. Hence the Church, in her apostolic work also, justly looks to her, who, conceived of the Holy Spirit, brought forth Christ, who was born of the Virgin that through the Church He may be born and may increase in the hearts of the faithful also. The Virgin in her own life lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.
IV. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church
66. Placed by the grace of God, as God's Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honored by a special cult in the Church. Clearly from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities.(21*) Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: "All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me".(301) This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place, and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful has approved, bring it about that while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell,(303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed.
From Chapter 1 of Luke
In the sixth month, 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, favored one! 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.
|Sunday, March 28th, 2004|
This is a new community focused on sharing our love of God, and his most perfect bride Mary, our mother and queen. Please post your favority prayers, you thoughts on Mary, your prayer requests, your stories, and whatever else you may wish.
This community is open to everyone who loves Mary as her/his mother, and as the all-sinless mother of God.
Membership is open, and posts are welcome. A personal suggestion, is to pray a Hail Mary before, after, or while posting. Hail Mary is prayed as follows:
"Hail Mary full of grace, the lord is with you, blessed are you amoung 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."
A more traditional version is:
"Hail Mary full of grace, the lord is with thee, blessed art thou amoung women, and blssed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
An even more traditional version is:
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
From Vatican II
The blessed Virgin in the Church
"The predestination of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God was associated with the incarnation of the divine word: in the designs of divine Providence she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, shared her Son's sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.
This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.
No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.
The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary, which it constantly experiences and recommends to the heartfelt attention of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer."
From the Council Vatican II (Dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, 61-62)
Hair, holy Queen, mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this exile
show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.
Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department
of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross