Mary our Mother.

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We need to give special honor to Mary who is not only the Mother of our Lord, but our Mother as well.

In the Gospel of John, we listen to Jesus’ words as He hung upon the Cross: “Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother’” (Jn 19:27).  Jesus was speaking to John at that point, but it is commonly understood that John stands in proxy for us.  That is to say, in speaking to John, Jesus was speaking to all disciples when He pointed to His Mother and said, “Behold, your mother.”  And so, Mary is our Mother.  The Mother of the Head (Jesus) is also the Mother of the Body (us), and as John took Mary into her home, we must take her into our hearts.

Like all mothers, Mary gives us life.  By the sin of Eve, death was brought into the world.  By her obedience, Mary brought life into the world making it possible for life to be restored to our souls.  That’s why we say that Mary is our Mother in the order of grace (Lumen Gentium, 61).  Mary gave the world not just life, but Him who is Life itself.

Like all mothers, Mary is a teacher.  When she said “yes” to the angel Gabriel’s message, she taught us how to have faith.  She taught us the importance of obedience to the will of God.  She taught us that we must always be willing to say “yes” to God even when we might not understand what He is asking of us.  She taught us that being humble doesn’t mean that you are weak.  In fact, it takes great strength to live a humble life.

Like all mothers, Mary guides us along the right path.  At the wedding in Cana (John 2), when they ran out of wine, it was Mary who brought this problem to Jesus.  Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Mary’s whole purpose is to guide us to Jesus.  This is why we draw close to Mary – she will always bring us to Jesus.

In 2006, Pope Benedict explained to the world Mary’s role as mother and teacher:

In the days that followed the Lord’s Resurrection, the Apostles stayed together, comforted by Mary’s presence, and after the Ascension they persevered with her in prayerful expectation of Pentecost.  Our Lady was a mother and teacher to them, a role that she continues to play for Christians of all times.

Every year, at Eastertide, we relive this experience more intensely and perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has dedicated to Mary the month of May that normally falls between Easter and Pentecost.  Consequently, this month…helps us to rediscover the maternal role that she plays in our lives so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the Risen Lord.

May we allow Mary to be our Mother so that she can nurture, teach, and guide us on the way to Salvation.

Humanae Vitae: Day 28 Priests

To Priests

28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell outclearly and completely the Church’s teaching on marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth (Lumen Gentium, n. 25).  And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if men’s peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice. Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor 1. 10).

A priest is a servant of the Truth, and Jesus Himself is the Truth.  And so, “whether in season or out of season, convenient or inconvenient”, priests are called to preach the Truth.  We are also called to be compassionate just as Jesus is compassionate toward us.

The mistake that some make is in thinking that preaching about abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage” is somehow not compassionate (or not “pastoral”).  But truth and compassion are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, to fail to preach the truth is to fail in compassion.  Why?  Because we are convinced by our Lord’s words to us when He says that the truth will set you free (cf. Jn 8:32).  If truth is what sets people free, then we priests must preach the truth whether it makes us popular or unpopular, liked or hated.  We priests have an obligation to preach the truth so that our culture may be free from the Culture of Death.  Nothing will change if we priests do not do our job.

There are, of course, certain obstacles that priests run into when trying to be faithful to their call.  So please pray for bishops and priests that we may all have the courage and the grace to persevere no matter the consequences.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

Humanae Vitae: Day 26 The family Apostolate

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Family Apostolate

26. Among the fruits that ripen if the law of God be resolutely obeyed, the most precious is certainly this, that married couples themselves will often desire to communicate their own experience to others. Thus it comes about that in the fullness of the lay vocation will be included a novel and outstanding form of the apostolate by which, like ministering to like, married couples themselves by the leadership they offer will become apostles to other married couples. And surely among all the forms of the Christian apostolate it is hard to think of one more opportune for the present time (cf. Lumen Gentium 35, 41 and others).

In my own experience, I have seen this happen in parishes. Married couples who are faithful to the marital laws of the Church are happy couples with happy families. Yes, there are challenges, but they know that the grace of God is with them. Other couples see their joy and want to know what makes them so happy.

This builds up happy parishes with a solid Catholic culture. The Catechism calls the family “the original cell of social life” (2207) and says that the well-being of a society depends on families (cf. 2210). This is true of the parish as well. Strong Catholic families build up strong Catholic parishes. And it all begins with fidelity.

(Posted with permission from Fr. Lee Acervo at http://fatheracervo.wordpress.com)

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