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Alongside Our Lady during Advent.

image@http://youngandcatholic.net/2013/11

image@http://youngandcatholic.net/2013/11

I have included the two Christmas Novenas I will be praying during Advent 2013.

The’ St. Andrew’ Novena has nothing to do with the Saint, but for the fact  that the novena is started on the 30th of November (St. Andrew’s feast day) and said 15 times per day  until Christmas Eve.

(I like this one as I’m going to be praying for a personal intention .)

I want to pray the Christmas Novena, as it will serve to prepare me for the Feast of Christmas, and keep me focussed on the Truth about this Festive Season.

Are there any prayers you take comfort in praying during Advent?

Preparatory Novena for Christmas

PRAYERS FOR A NOVENA FROM THE 16TH TO THE 24TH OF DECEMBER

Opening Prayer:                                                                                                                                   

Icon@http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/sj_nov2.html

Icon@http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/sj_nov2.html

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father…

Our Father…

Day 1

The Incarnation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who descended from the bosom of the eternal Father into the womb of the Virgin Mary, where, conceived by the Holy Ghost, you took upon yourself, O Incarnate Word, the form of a servant for our salvation. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 2

The Visitation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who by means of your Virgin Mother, visited St. Elizabeth, and filled your servant, St. John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit, sanctifying him from his mother’s womb. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord.  Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 3

The Expectation of Birth.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who waited for nine months enclosed in the womb, and inflamed the heart of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph with the most powerful love and expectation, all for the salvation of the world. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 4

The Holy Nativity.

O most sweet infant Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, wrapped in poor swaddling clothes, laid in the manger, glorified by angels, and visited by shepherds. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

O Jesus born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to thee; Praise to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.

Christ is at hand. O come, let us worship him.

Our Father…

Day 5

The Circumcision.

O most sweet infant Jesus, circumcised when eight days old, and called by the glorious name of Jesus, and proclaimed both by your name and by your blood, to be the Savior of the world. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 6

The Adoration of the Kings.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who was made known to the three kings, who worshipped you as you lie on Mary’s breast, and offered you the mystical presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 7

The Presentation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, presented in the temple by the Virgin Mary, embraced by Simeon, and revealed to the Jews by Anna the prophetess. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

Day 8

The Flight into Egypt.

O most sweet infant Jesus, whom Herod tried to slay, carried by St. Joseph with your Mother into Egypt, saved from death by flight, and glorified by the blood of the holy innocents. Have mercy on. us.

Have mercy on us. O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary…

O Jesu! born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to thee Praise to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.

Christ is at hand. 0 come, let us worship him.

Our Father…

Day 9

The Journey in Egypt.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who dwelled as an exile in Egypt for seven years, where spoke your first words, and, first begin to walk upon this earth. Have mercy upon us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary

 Closing

LET US PRAY

0 almighty and everliving God, Lord of heaven and earth, who revealed yourself to little ones, grant, we beg you, that while we celebrate and honor the most holy mysteries of your Son, the infant Jesus, and strive to imitate them, we may arrive at that heavenly kingdom which you have promised to little children, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

A new pathway to peace.

imagesKNLJXOBG

For many years have I used the Rosary to meditate on the life of Our Lord, particularly during Lent and during the months of November- The month of the Rosary, and in May – The month of Our Lady.

Until ten days ago I hadn’t experienced the intense consolation one receives from meditating on the different parts of Christ’s life. I’d always listened to those who have only praise for this method of prayer, feeling at a loose end because I didn’t feel the same way. Ten days ago we received a call from South Africa to say that my mother was on her deathbed. I had been praying the Rosary during November, so when I thought immediately of praying the Rosary  I assumed it was just a knee-jerk reaction to pick up the beads again. I could not have been more wrong.

I lit a candle and earnestly prayed the Joyful Mystery: -

1. The Annunciation of the Lord to Mary

2. The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

3. The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

4. The Presentation of our Lord

5. Finding Jesus in the Temple at age 12

I prayed the Creed with an intensity I had never known before. I prayed about my Faith. About what I believe from the depths of my being. It took on a new meaning for me. While in prayer I began to feel a deep sense of hope, as I grasped the enormity of what God has done for me, and more importantly, for my mother at this critical juncture of her life on earth. God sent His only Son for our Salvation, in order for us to have Life after death.

And so  each day since then have I prayed the Rosary and received much consolation and reassurance in return. Read here to learn how to pray the Rosary if you haven’t done so before.

Mens-bookmarkT1

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared– whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima — she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ.

Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ “not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done.”
The great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: “The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love.

Picturing Pentecost.

Today is Pentecost Sunday. I found this beautiful picture of  Pentecost on the Magnificat page on Facebook.

This illustration of the Pentecost is a detail from “The Seven Joys of Mary,” an oil on wood created around 1480 by Hans Memling (c. 1430 – 1494). Copyright by La Collection / Artothek.

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All of the illustrations in Magnificat’s  book “The Seven Joys of Mary” are taken from Hans Memling’s painting. The book features meditations on our Blessed Mother’s seven joys by Magnificat senior editor, Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P. The foreword was penned by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.

  • A profound and lively reflection on the Seven Joys of Mary: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Epiphany, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost, and the Assumption.
  • A contemplation of the mysteries of Christ’s life, the Church, and the Sacraments, through Mary’s joys, superbly accompanied through the lens of sacred art.
  • An ideal gift for Catholics and for those who wish to understand the mystery of our own salvation. Well suited for adult catechetical instruction and RCIA.
Already on my wishlist.
CELPentecost[1]

Mary, Mother of Good Counsel: a feast day today.

tumblr_m50kd1XC9d1qa2fuyo1_500

Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel

Lord, in this passing world our hearts are fearful
and our judgements uncertain.
Through Mary, the dwelling place of your Wisdom,
guide us in all we do and set our footsteps
on your way of peace.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen

(The history of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is available on several websites.)
The image of Our Lady of Good Counsel has been displayed at a shrine in Genazzano, near Rome, since 1467.  It is reported to have travelled there miraculously from Scutari, Albania.  Pope Leo XIII invoked Mary under this title and during his pontificate included the invocation of Mother of Good Counsel in the Litany of Loreto.   Devotion to Our Lady under this title continues to draw pilgrims to Genazzano seeking Mary’s help in their needs.
In 1467, on the 25 of April, during celebrations for the feast of San Marco in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud was seen covering a 5th century church dedicated to Our Lady. Shortly after the cloud lifted, the townsfolk, summoned by the church bells, discovered a delicate fresco of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, it was painted upon a very thin piece of unsupported plaster, and floated in a small niche of the church. Later it was revealed the image had been transported by angels from Scutari, Albania, because the region was coming under Islamic control.
Today the image still survives, after 500 years, undamaged by earthquakes and war, and it is said a fine thread can be passed on all sides, demonstrating the image remains miraculously suspended.

mbc

Litany of Loreto

Lord, have mercy on us. (Christ have mercy on us.) 
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. (Christ graciously hear us.) 
God, the Father of heaven, (have mercy on us.)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have mercy on us.)
God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Trinity, one God, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renouned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary.
Queen of the family,
Queen of Peace,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who takes  away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who takes  away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.) Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. (That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.)

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto us Thy servants, that we may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness, and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. (Amen.)

Francisco’s teaching: feeding us food for thought, the heart the mind and soul.

 

(The Pope’s homily is copied from Vatican News. Emphasis mine)

download (1)

1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk 19:38).

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City! This is Jesus.This is the heart that looks on all of us, watching our illnesses, our sins. The love of Jesus is great. He enters Jerusalem with this love and watches all of us. It is a beautiful scene, the light of the love of Jesus, that light of his heart, joy, celebration.

At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he humbled himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. Here, he enlightens us on the journey. And so today we welcome Him And here the first word that comes to mind is “joy!” Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! It is at this time that the enemy comes, the devil comes, often disguised as an angel who insidiously tells us his word. Do not listen to him! We follow Jesus! download (3)

We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone! Let us not be robbed of hope! Let us not be robbed of hope! The hope that Jesus gives us!

2. A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, “This is the Savior.” Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross!

I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: “You are princes but of a Crucified King”that is Christ’s throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him.

My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – each of us knows well – our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death.

3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: youth!

Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love.

You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. download (2)

Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, from today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christ’s Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. Young people need to tell the world: “It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!”

Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives.

Amen.

The Catholic Herald comments on the Holy Father’s first Palm Sunday  Mass.

 

A fitting Feast Day for the inauguration of Francis I

Image@cybermissionaryfacebook

Image@cybermissionaryfacebook

This is how St. Joseph is revered in the prayer of the Litany of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph,
Renowned offspring of David,
Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most strong,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of artisans,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the wretched,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,

Read more:http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/litanies/joseph.htm#ixzz2Nxq5yN4S

 

from Wikipedia

Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, “Yosef”; Greek: Ἰωσήφ) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus and the guardian of Jesus. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Christian traditions he is regarded as Saint Joseph.

The Pauline epistles, generally considered the earliest extant Christian records, make no reference to Jesus’ father; nor does the Gospel of Mark, generally considered the first of the gospels.[2] The first appearance of Joseph is therefore in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each contains a genealogy of Jesus tracing his ancestry back to King David, but the two are from different sons of David; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke follows a minor line from Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew “Jacob was the father of Joseph,” while according to Luke, Joseph, or possibly Jesus, is said to be “of Heli.” Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph’s major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary’s minor line.[3][4]

Matthew and Luke are also the only gospels to include the infancy narratives, and again they differ. In Luke, Joseph lives in Nazareth and travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the requirements of a Roman census. Subsequently, Jesus was born there. In Matthew, Joseph was in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Jesus is born, and then moves to Nazareth with his family after the death of Herod. Matthew is the only Gospel to include the narrative of the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt: following the nativity, Joseph stays in Bethlehem for an unspecified period (perhaps two years) until forced by Herod to take refuge in Egypt; on the death of Herod he brings his family back to Judea, and settles in Nazareth. After this point there is no further mention of Joseph by name, although the story of Jesus in the Temple, in Jesus’ 12th year, includes a reference to “both his parents”. Christian tradition represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son. The gospels describe Joseph as a “tekton” (τέκτων); traditionally the word has been taken to mean “carpenter”,[5] though the Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone.[6] Very little other information on Joseph is given in the gospels. He is never quoted. Matthew records four dreams in which Joseph is supernaturally instructed before, and after, the birth and early years of Jesus. In the first dream, an angel confirms to Joseph that Mary is with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, that she will bear a son to be named Jesus, Who will save His people from their sins; and Joseph should, therefore, not be reluctant to marry her. In the second dream, an angel tells Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt (from Bethlehem) and remain until the angel instructs further, because Herod is seeking to kill Jesus. In Joseph’s third dream, an angel instructs Joseph to return his family to Israel, implying that Herod is dead. However, Joseph hears that Herod’s son Archelaus reigns over Judea, and he is afraid to continue the journey. In the fourth dream, God Himself warns Joseph to avoid returning to Judea (Bethlehem). Joseph then settles Mary and Jesus in the region of Galilee in Nazareth.

Joseph is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran faiths[citation needed]. In Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days. He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. With the growth ofMariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centres for studying it have been formed.[7][8]

 

 

 

 

A simple coat of arms for a man of simplicity.

Pope Francis I's Coat of arms.

Pope Francis I’s Coat of arms.

VATICAN CITY, March 18, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Pope Francis has chosen to remain with his episcopal seal and motto. Added to the original papal seal are a blue background along with a miter with cross keys of gold and silver along with a red cord, symbol of his pontifical office.

The emblem of the Society of Jesus, the order which Pope Francis belongs to, is placed above on the shield. The emblem is an image of a radiant sun with the letters “IHS” the monogram of the name of Christ. A cross is placed above the letter H of the monogram while three nails are placed below it.

On the bottom left hand side of the shield is an image of a star, which according to heraldic tradition, symbolizes the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ and of the Church. To the right of the star is the image of the spikenard, an aromatic plant, meant to symbolize St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. According to spanish iconographic tradition, St. Joseph is depicted holding a branch of spikenard in his hand.

By placing these two symbols on his coat of arms, Pope Francis wished to express his particular devotion to the Virgin Mary and Saint. Joseph.

The Holy Father’s motto, “Miserando Atque Eligendo”, (Because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him) is taken from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable regarding the calling of St. Matthew by Jesus.

Saint Bede’s homily, which is read on the feast of St. Matthew, is a homage to the divine mercy of Christ, and is of significance to the Holy Father in his spiritual itinerary. According to a communique explaining the Papal coat of arms, at the age of 17, the young Jorge Bergoglio experienced in a particular way, the loving presence of God in his life.

“Following confession, his heart was touched but the descent of the mercy of God, who with tender love called him to the religious life, following the example of Saint Ignatius of Loyola,” the communique stated.

“Upon being chosen as bishop, Bishop Bergoglio, in remembrance of that event that began his total consecration to God in the Church, decides to choose as motto and program of his life, the phrase by Saint Bede miserando atque eligendo which he has chosen to reproduce on his own pontifical coat of arms.”

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!

The Roman Catholic National Shrine, Walsingham.

The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061. For detailed information look here.

image@http://www.walsingham.org.uk

image@http://www.walsingham.org.uk

Pray for England.

O Blessed Virgin Mary,

Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother,

look down in mercy upon England thy “Dowry” and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.

By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world;

and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.

Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross.

O sorrowful Mother! intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.

Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

statue_our_lady2

Image@http://www.walsingham.org.uk

 

Our Lady, Mary, the Mother of God.

Mary (1)

Called in the Gospels ‘the Mother of Jesus’, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her Son, as “the mother of my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 495)

The mother of the Messiah has been called many things in the last 2000 years – the Virgin Mary, Our Lady, the Blessed Mother, the  Mother of God, ‘Theotokos’ meaning God-bearer or mother of God. The latter name being used by the early Church Fathers.

In 431, the Council of Ephesus met, under Cyril’s leadership, and solemnly proclaimed that Mary is indeed rightly to be honoured as the Theotokos, the Mother of God.  It proclaimed that from the moment of His conception, God truly became man.  Of course Mary is a creature and could never be the origin of the eternal Trinity, God without beginning or end.  But the second person of the blessed Trinity chose to truly become man.  He did not just come and borrow a human body and drive it around for a while, ascend back to heaven, and discard it like an old car.  No, at the moment of His conception in the womb of Mary, an amazing thing happened.  God the Son united Himself with a human nature forever.

Mother of God icon.

Mother of God icon
Photo by: Klášter Pražského Jezulátka

The Council of Ephesus, once confirmed by the Pope, became the third ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, and its teaching in this matter is dogma, truth revealed by God which all are bound to accept.

So why does the Roman liturgy celebrate the Octave of Christmas as the Feast of Mary the Mother of God?  Because this paradoxical phrase strikes at the very heart of Christmas.  The songs we sing and the cards we write extol the babe of Bethlehem as Emmanuel, God-with-us.  He is so with us that after Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin of Nazareth, the Divine Word can never again be divided from our humanity.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the perfect woman — hand-picked and created by God to be His mother. She is the ‘highly favoured one’. She knows the fullness of God’s love and passes this beautiful blessing onto to us. For, she is not only God’s mother, but our mother, too. She is the gentle, concerned mother who watches over us day and night, and cares for our every need. Every pain, every worry, every joy we feel she wants us to share it all with her. The love that God manifests toward her, she shares abundantly with us. The Holy Spirit dwells within her heart, and she is a conduit of love, grace, and tender mercy for us. She also serves as a wonderful model of love to emulate.

Just as Christmas honours Jesus as the Prince of Peace, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honours Mary as the Queen of Peace. Like the holy Infant, we are forever safe within her arms.

Mary is worth honouring and emulating because she is the ideal example of perfect obedience to God. Knowing that she could be stoned to death for carrying a baby conceived out of wedlock, she still said ‘yes’ to God: ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38). When she said ‘yes’ to God she demonstrated perfect courage, perfect obedience and perfect faith.

Mary is a pillar of strength. She stands, not faints, at the base of the cross as her son’s life is taken from her. Mary understands human suffering. Her own life was full of suffering: a problem pregnancy, a difficult delivery in a faraway land. Mary bore her suffering with strength, dignity and perfect faith.

Prayer for the month of December: be prepared.

By the 16th December we’ll be well into Advent and I think this Novena will serve to enhance our Advent sentimentality,  our prayer-life and praise to God.

Novena For Advent

week-3-after-5

By the 16th December, we will have lit our third Advent candle!

O Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake descended from the throne of glory to this world of pain and sorrow; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; Make our hearts a fit habitation for you. Beautify and fill us with all spiritual graces, and possess us wholly by your power. Give us grace to prepare for your coming with deep humility, to receive you with burning love, and to hold fast to you with a firm faith; that we may never leave nor forsake you. Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen

Here say one of the antiphons below, according to the day.

Then say:

OUR FATHER

HAIL MARY

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Daily Antiphons

(note: these are also to be used as antiphons for the Magnificat at Evening Prayer.)

December 16

O SHEPHERD of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock: Come to guide and comfort us.

December 17

O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

December 18

O ADONAI, ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

December 19

O ROOT OF JESSE, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

December 20

O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 21

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of light eternal, and Sun of righteousness: Come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death

December 22

O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes all one: Come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

December 23

O EMMANUEL, God with us, Our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Saviour: Come to save us, O Lord our God.

December 24

O THOU whose dominion is great, and whose kingdom shall have no end; the mighty God, the Governor, the Prince of Peace: Come show thy face, and we shall be saved.

(I found this Novena here.)

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