Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on August 15 has been a part of Christian faith-tradition from the earliest centuries. This feast emphasizes the universal dimensions of Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation. We do not celebrate her exaltation in the sense of a removal from us, but as the fulfillment of what we all are called to be.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary's Assumption into heaven as a dogma of Roman Catholicism: "the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." The proclamation of this dogma was made in the encyclical: Munificentissimus Deus. After entering heaven, Mary has remained active in the life of the Church.

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother. The Assumption means that she entered into the glory of heaven not only with her soul, but also with her body. The Son of God took His Body from Mary's pure womb. It was fitting, then, that her body should be glorified as soon as her life here on earth was ended.

Now Mary is in heaven. She is Queen of heaven and earth. She is the Mother of Jesus' Church and Queen of apostles. Every time Mary asks Jesus to give us graces, He listens to her request.

After the resurrection from the dead, we, too, can go to heaven with our bodies. If we use our bodies now to do good, those  bodies will share in our heavenly reward.

After the resurrection, our bodies will be perfect. They will not be subject to illness anymore. They will not need any more food and drink to keep alive. They will be able to go every place without time or effort. They will be beautiful and splendid!


Let us not forget our dear Mother!
And still go to Mass or at least watch it on TV or Internet for those that are house bound .... and PLEASE don't forget to pray your ROSARY!



"Thank you Most Pure Mother for soiling your feet on the earth again and again to bring us Jesus and to lead us to Jesus. I praise your love and mercy that flows to us through your Flame of Love directly from the Source of Divine Mercy. I thank you for never giving up on us. Lead all souls to heaven, Beloved Mother, especially those God has given us to pray for, and especially those most in need of God's mercy. Amen." ~Janet Klasson


DAILY ROSARIES PLEASE!!!!
(Along with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy & the Chaplet of Unity)
The door of MERCY  has already closed! But we can still pray for our friends and relatives that have turned lukewarm or left the Faith! Mercy will soon be over and then comes JUDGEMENT. Do you think that the centennial of Fatima, the locution that Pope Leo had, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and all the signs in the sky are  coincidental? God put us in this place in history for a REASON. We BEST get crackin' on the main objective which is still the same as it has been always ..... " LEAD ALL SOULS TO HEAVEN"!!!!
PLEASE! Pray for the martyrs in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, India, the Ukraine and all Muslim and Communist countries! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2nd: Our Lady of the Angels (of the Portiuncula)

From the Franciscan supplement to the Divine Office:
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS OF THE PORTIUNCULA Feast
portiuncula

Our Seraphic Father Francis in keeping with his special love for the Blessed Virgin was especially fond of the chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels known as the Portiuncula. It was here in the designs of Divine Providence that he started the Order of Friars Minor, inaugurated the Order of the Poor Clares and brought his sojourn on earth to its holy end.
In this chapel according to tradition our Holy Father obtained the famous indulgence which the Supreme Pontiffs confirmed and extended to many other churches. On ac­count of the many blessings conferred here the celebration of a liturgical feast was granted for this day which marks the anniversary of the dedication of this chapel.
+++
And St. Bonaventure wrote in the Major Life of St. Francis:  Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ.

He loved this spot more than any other in the world. It was here he began his religious life in a very small way; it is here he came to a happy end. When he was dying, he commended this spot above all others to the friars, because it was most dear to the Blessed Virgin.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Santa Maria degli Angeli where
the Portiuncula is located within the Basilica
This was the place where Saint Francis founded his Order by divine inspiration and it was divine providence which led him to repair three churches before he founded the Order and began to preach the Gospel. This meant that he progressed from material things to more spiritual achievements, from lesser to greater, in due order, and it gave a prophetic indication of what he would accomplish later.

As he was living there by the church of Our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of mercy and he brought it to fruition. He embraced the Mother of Our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars.

A Beautiful Gift : Portiuncula Indulgence
 Background on this Grace: Everyone knows how special the Church of The Portiuncula in Assisi was to St. Francis. It is there that he began his service to Christ and His Church. It is there that he was called to rebuild the Church. It is there that he made humble service, obedience, love, and dedication to Our Lord and Our Lady the cornerstones of his unique and inspiring life. It was even there that St. Clare, the spiritual daughter of St. Francis, received her call, lost her locks of hair to the scissors of Francis, and gained her place in the service of God and in the list of great saints.

During one of his many conversations with Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. Francis requested and received this indulgence as a measure and means of God's Divine Mercy and love for us. Upon receiving the approval of Our Lord, Francis took this cause to the Pope, Honorious III, in who finally approved as well. While the benefits of this indulgence were not taken advantage of in the days of Francis given the difficult travel and poor roads, we are given a unique and fortunate opportunity to benefit today given easier transportation.

The Indulgence Itself 

The magnitude of this indulgence is nothing less than the full remission of the punishments due to one's sins from the day of Baptism to the day one enters the church to perform the indulgence requirements!!

Conditions To Obtain The Plenary Indulgence of The Forgiveness of Assisi
(For oneself or for a departed soul)

*        Sacramental Confession to be in God's Grace (within 8 days before or after)
*        Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist
*        Visit to a Franciscan Church, followed by the Profession of Faith
*        Say the Our Father
*        A Prayer for the Pope

Indulgences as Gifts and Opportunities

Once again we see the beauty, majesty, magnitude, and Divine Mercy of God Almighty! All that Our Lord asks is that we humbly and contritely seek forgiveness, that we receive His Most Sacred Body in The Eucharist that we visit a Franciscan church and profess our faith, that we say The Our Father, and that we pray for the Pope. Despite those things on which we may not
agree with the Pope, this indulgence provides us with the opportunity to declare our eternal loyalty to preserving the Faith and not abandoning our mission and duty to be soldiers for our God.

Eventually, the Church modified the conditions and said the faithful could obtain the indulgence either on August 2nd or on the following Sunday and by going to any Catholic church with the intention of gaining this special indulgence. May we take advantage of this beautiful gift and the opportunities which it provides to approach our God in renewed contrite purity, love, appreciation, and loyalty! 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

On July 16, the Church celebrates on the feast of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel which is symbolized by the brown scapular. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapula, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of Saint Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites.

Our Lady promises to be a spiritual mother to those who wear the scapular. She even promises the gift of final perseverance to all who wear her sign with genuine faith in Jesus and in her powerful protection. At the hour of death, she will grant the wearer the grace to repent completely.

For more information:
Novena to Mount Carmel
Procedure for the Blessing and Investiture of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help - Feast Day: June 27th (Begins 6/18)

Recite these prayers each day for 9 days...
Mother of Perpetual Help you comforted Jesus your Son as He faced His passion. We are now your children, called to follow Jesus in His suffering, death and rising to new life. Comfort us too and help us so to discover the power of His Spirit that we may build up His kingdom among us. When He comes again in glory, may we celebrate with joy the fullness of life with all God’s family for ever and ever. Amen.

Then Recite the following prayers...
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be...


The novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help can be made on nineconsecutive days, or on one day each week for nine weeks. It can be made in Church with others, at home with your family or by yourself.

Novena Prayer

Dear Mother of Perpetual Help from the cross Jesus gave you to us for our Mother. You are the kindest, the most loving of all mothers. Look tenderly on us your children as we now ask you to help us in all our needs especially this one… (Pause and state your petitions) While you were on earth, dear Mother you willingly shared in the sufferings of your Son. Strengthened by your faith and confidence in the fatherly love of God you accepted the mysterious designs of His Will.  We too have our crosses and trials. Sometimes they almost crush us to the ground. Dearest Mother, share with us your abundant faith and confidence in God. Make us aware that God never ceases to love us; that He answers all our prayers in the way that is best for us.  Strengthen our hearts to carry the cross in the footsteps of your Divine Son. Help us to realize that he who shares the cross of Christ will certainly share His resurrection.  Dearest Mother, as we worry about our own problems let us not forget the needs of others. You always love others so much; help us to do the same.  Dearest Mother, help us to avoid sin which separates us from our heavenly Father and from one another. Full of trust in you, we place ourselves under the mantle of your maternal protection and confidently hope for your powerful help.
Amen. 



About the Icon

This picture has been a revered icon of hope and inspiration. For three hundred years the picture hung over the main altar in the church of St. Matthew the Apostle in Rome. People came from miles around because of the miracles attributed to this sacred icon. In 1798, the picture was hidden by the monks who fled the city of Rome to avoid being captured by Napoleon's invading armies.

The picture resurfaced years later in an Augustinian monastery chapel.
Meanwhile the Redemptorists had built the new church of San Alfonso near the site of St. Matthew's... which had been destroyed by Napoleon's invasion force. The Redemptorists learned about the picture and requested that it be returned. Pope Pius IX agreed and on April 26, 1866, the original icon was placed above the high altar in the Church of San Alfonso. 



Note in this picture how Jesus, while safely cradled in his mother’s arms, looks anxiously at St. Gabriel the Archangel, who holds the cross and nails for His Crucifixion. (St. Michael the Archangel, at left, holds the lance, spear, and the vessel of vinegar and gall for our Lord's Passion as well.) The Blessed Mother looks at us solemnly, perhaps as if in contemplation of her beloved Son’s future Passion and death for our salvation!
Remember that when we pray this novena to our Lady of Perpetual Help, that we are not choosing to worship her over her Divine Son. She is "our Mother on the order of grace,” according to a Vatican II document, and all the graces Mary gives us come directly from our Lord. She is always ready to intercede with Him on our behalf, but never for anything contrary to His wishes.
As long as we approach her as we do Him, with sincerely humble and contrite hearts, we can count on her aid and guidance. Mary’s last spoken words in the Gospels concerned her Son when she said at the wedding feast at Cana “Do whatever he tells You” (John 2:5). If we persevere in our intentions to do Christ’s Will for us, we are doing hers as well.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Lady of Fatima

First apparition of the Angel
In spring in 1916 Lucia Dos Santos age 9, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, ages 8 and 6 respectively, were at a meadow with their sheep in (hamlet of Fatima). It started raining, and they hid in a small cave to escape the rain. After the rain stopped and the sun came out, they stayed in the cave to eat their lunch, say the rosary and play a game of jacks. They had played but for a short while when, on the serene day, a strong wind blew that swayed the trees and a sudden white light enveloped them. In the middle of that light appeared a cloud in the form of a young man who said to them: "Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!" The angel knelt on the ground and bowed very low. The children imitated the angel and repeated his words three times: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You." Then he rose and said: "Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications."

Second apparition of the Angel It occurred in summer, when the seers were playing near the well of Lucia's house. The Angel said to them: "What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices continually to the Most High." The children asked: "How must we sacrifice ourselves?" The angel said: "Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace to your country. I'm its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you." From that moment, they began to offer to the Lord everything that offended Him, without trying to find any other ways of mortification or penance other than passing hour after hour, bowed to the ground, repeating the prayer that the angel had taught them.


Third apparition of the Angel
It occurred in autumn at Cabeco. The children started prayers when they saw the angel, which had in his hand a chalice over which hung a Host, from which fell in the chalice some drops of Blood. He knelt and repeated three times with the children: "Most Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirt-I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby he is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners." Then he rose, took the Host, and gave it to Lucia, while the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, and said: " Take the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ horribly outraged by thankless men. Recover their sins and comfort your God."

Apparitions of Our Lady

First apparition of Our Lady
On Sunday May 13th 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile
from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holmoak, "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun". The lady spoke to them and said: "Fear not! I will not harm you." "Where are you from?" the children asked. "I am from heaven" the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. "What do you want of me?", Lucia asked. "I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time." Lucia said : "Do you come from heaven...and will I go to heaven ?" " Yes, you'll go". "And Jacinta?" "As well" " And Francisco?" "Him too , but he will have to say many rosaries". In the end Our Lady asked : "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?" "Yes, we do." said the children. "You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort. "Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them : "Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war." And She disappeared. 


Second apparition of Our Lady
On June 13 1917, accompanied by about 50 people, the children were reciting the rosary, when there was again the lightning, and immediately after the Lady on the holmoak appeared like in May. "What do you want from me?" asked Lucy. "I wish you to come here the 13th of next month; that you say the Rosary every day, and that you learn to read. In succeding months I will tell you what else I want." "I would like to ask you to bring us to Heaven", said Lucy. "Yes, Giacinta and Francis will be among the few, but you must stay here for a long time. Jesus wants to help Himself of you to make Me known and loved. God wishes you to remain in the world for some time because He wants to use you to establish in the world a devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne." Lucy asked: "Will I stay here alone"?, "Don't be discouraged , I will not abandon you ever. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God." Then She opened her hands and emanated her light on the children, Giacinta and Francis seemed to be in the light that went up toward the sky, Lucy in the light that spread on the earth. In front of the palm of the right hand of the Lady there was a heart surrounded by thorns that impaled it. They understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary affronted from the sins of men, and She then asked for reparation. 

Third apparition of Our Lady
On July 13 1917 they recited the rosary with the crowd, they saw the usual reflex of light and then the Lady on the holmoak. Lucy asked: "What do you want from me?" She answered: "That you come the 13th of the next month, that you continue to recite the Rosary every day to our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She will be able to aid you." Lucy said " I want to ask you to tell us who you are, and to make a miracle for the crowd to believe that you appear." She Answered: "you continue to come here. In october I will tell you who I am, that which I want, and I will do a miracle that all can see and believe. Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often this prayer, especially during any sacrifice: "O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins commited against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.". As she spoke these words, Our lady stretched out her hands, and bright rays came forth which seemed to penetrate into the earth. All at once the ground vanished, and the children saw Hell, frightened they lifted their eyes to the Lady who told them:"You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save future souls God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved." Then She said:" If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyed, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be destroyed...But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, Russia will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world". "Do you want to learn a prayer?" the vision asked, "Yes we do!" the children responded. "When you recite the Rosary, say at the end of each decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.

Fourth apparition of Our Lady
In August the children were prevented by the civil authorities to go to the meeting of the 13th in which had gathered an immense crowd. The children for two days were confined and threatened with many torments to make them deny, but they did not surrender, they were ready to offer their lives not to betray the promises made to the Lady. When they had been released on August 19, while they fed the flock in a place called Valinhos they saw the Lady above a holmoak. " What do you want from me?" Lucy asked. "I Want you to continue to go to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, that you continue to say the Rosary every day. I, in the last month will make the miracle that all will believe." Then with a sadder appearance told them: "Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for the sinners. You know that many souls go the hell because there is none who pray for them."

Fifth apparition of Our Lady
On September 13th the children and about 30.000 persons accompanied them to the Cova da Iria and they there recited the Rosary, soon after appeared the Lady on the holmoak. "I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October the Lord, the sorrowful Lady, the Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St Joseph with the child Jesus, will also come to bless the world. God is glad of your sacrifices, He does not want you to sleep with the chord to the sides, use it only during the day.
Sixth and last apparition of Our Lady
On 13 October 1917 the children surrounded by a crowd of 70.000 persons under a torrential rain, Lucy asked again of the Lady:"What do you want from me?" she answered: "I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. Will the war finish. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." Then Lucy asked: "may I ask you for cures and conversions, will you grant them?". "Some yes, others no. It is necessary that they ask pardon for their sins, that they don't offend God our Lord,and that he is already too much offended." "Do you Want anything else from me?" Lucy asked. "I do not want anything more." Then She opened her hands again and She launched a ray of light in the direction of the sun as Lucy shouted that they should look at the sun. At this point the promised sign happened, Lucy shouted to look at the sun, the rain stopped suddenly and there appeared an exceptionally bright sun but not dazzling. The sun began to turn as if projecting in each direction bands of light of each color that lit and colored the clouds, the sky, the trees, and the crowd. It stayed for some moments then it went back to its normal position, it stayed still for a small while and then it happened again. Suddenly it looked as if it stood out from the sky to fall headlong on the crowd, that was looking terrorized, they fell to their knees and begged mercy. Meanwhile the children saw a Lady dressed like the white of the sun with a blue cope, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus that blessed the world.Then after this vision they saw The Lord bless the world, standing next to Our Lady of Sorrows. After these visions the Lady of Mt Carmel finished the miracle. The people then became aware that there clothes were completely dried.

One of the principal anti-clerical publications of the day was O Dia, a major Lisbon newspaper. On October 17th, O Dia reported the following: At one o'clock in the afternoon, midday by the sun, the rain stopped. The sky, pearly gray in color, illuminated the vast arid landscape with a strange light. The sun had a transparent gauzy veil so that eyes could easily be fixed upon it. The gray mother-of-pearl tone turned into a sheet of silver which broke up as the clouds were torn apart and the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy gray light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and people fell on their knees on the muddy ground. The light turned a beautiful blue as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. Yellow stains fell against white handkerchiefs, against the dark skirts of women. They were reported on the trees, on the stones and on the serra. People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited.
Francisco died on 4 April 1919 and Jacinta died on 20 Februrary 1920. Before she dies, little Jacinta revealed little-known but remarkable statements made by Our Lady. Here are just some of them:
More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason. Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God. Priests must be pure, very pure. They should not busy themselves with anything except what concerns the Church and souls. The disobedience of priests to their superiors and to the Holy Father is very displeasing to Our Lord. The Blessed Mother can no longer restrain the hand of her Divine Son from striking the world with just punishment for its many crimes.
Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. tell them to ask graces from her, and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Lucy entered the Convent of the Sisters of St Dorothy to learn to read and write; then she entered in the convent of Coimbra.
On December 10, 1925, sister Lucy received an apparition by the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary in her convent cell. The Holy Virgin shown her a Heart surrounded by thorns, Our Lady said to her:
"See, My daughter, My heart surrounded by thorns which ungrateful men pierce at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude... Say to all those who:
  • for five months, on the first Saturday, Confess,
  • receive Holy Communion,
  • recite the Rosary
  • and keep Me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, in a spirit of reparation ... 

I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls."
As Our Lady said at the apparition of 13 July 1917, "I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia". She did this on 13 June 1929, when She appeared to Lucy in the Chapel of Dorotheas, in the town of Tuy. Lucy said: "I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o'clock until midnight, every Thursday to Friday night. Being alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel. Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light was that of the sanctuary lamp. Suddenly the whole chapel was illumined by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a cross of light, reaching to the ceiling. In a brighter light on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist; upon his breast was a dove of light; nailed to the cross was the body of another man. A little below the waist, I could see a chalice and a large host suspended in the air, on to which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side. These drops ran down on to the host and fell into the challice. Beneath the right arm of the cross was Our Lady and in her hand was her Immaculate Heart. (it was Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm of the cross, large letters, -as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: "Grace and Mercy". I understood that it was the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. Our Lady then said to me: "The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray."
Pope Pius XI did not make the consecration which Our Lady had asked Lucia to make known. Pius XII in his turn, did not consecrate Russia in the original form, he consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a particular mention of Russia. Pope Pius XII did something similar in 1942, and later consecrated the Russian people in 1952.
On 13 May 1982, one year after an assassination attempt in St Peter's Square on 13 May 1981 (the anniversary of the first apparition), Pope John Paul II traveled to Fatima, where he met Sr Lucia. He believed he owed his survival to the direct intervention of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Holy Father requested that the statue of Our Lady from Fatima's Capelinha be sent to Rome, and then in collegial union with the Bishops of the Church, he specifically consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 1984 (the feast of the Annunciation).


Again the Holy Father later requested that the statue of Our Lady from Fatima's Capelinha be sent to
Rome, and then in collegial union with all the Bishops of the Church for the Jubilee, he specifically consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 8 October 2000.


Sr Lucia, the last surviving witness of the three children to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Fatima, Portugal, died at the age of 97. Sr Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, March 22, 1907 – February 13, 2005, as Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, died of old age at the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa of Coimbra in central Portugal, at 5:25 pm local time.

Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta Marto on May 13th 2000 in a celebration attended by more than 700,000 people. Cannonized May 13th 2017.

Sr Lucia wrote two books, one entitled Memories and another entitled Calls of the Message of Fatima. 

 THE MESSAGE  OF FATIMA on the Vatican site.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This was done in 2011 ... but LET'S DO IT AGAIN!! 
Special Rosary on May 13th, the Day that Our Lady First Appeared at Fatima
Catholics around the world are planning to pray a special Rosary on May 13th to honor Our Lady of Fatima and to beg her to intervene in the world, to stop the growing spiral of sin, revolution and violence.
The driving force behind the Worldwide Fatima Rosary on May 13th is the thought that Our Lady will be pleased to see one million people praying the Rosary all together on May 13th, which is the very day She pleaded: “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world!”
In fact, most Catholics are quite familiar with the goodness of the Blessed Mother, and how easily She is touched by the prayers of Her children, and how She intervenes on behalf of Catholics by public prayer, especially by the praying of Her Rosary.
Two signal example so this are the great naval battle at Lepanto where Catholic forces defeated a larger Turkish fleet in 1571, and the unexpected and miraculous liberation in 1955 of Austria from the unjust post-war Soviet Communism occupation.
If Our Lady has worked such wonders in the past, She can and will help us now to solve the growing problems of the world – if we do what She asked for at Fatima!
Everyone can be a vital part of this worldwide Fatima rosary by praying the Rosary, and inviting others to pray the Rosary also.
If someone is not familiar with the Fatima message and the power of the Rosary, now is a good time to educate them about why we are saying the Rosary on May 13th, the day Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917.
They can be told that we are:
  • echoing what She asked for at that apparition…
  • offering sufferings and reparations for the sins against Our Lord, as acts of supplication and for the conversion of sinners
  • praying the Rosary to obtain peace for the world
They can also be told that world events will only get worse, and there will be no peace until we pray the Rosary and stop offending God. Simple!
Ultimately, we pray this Worldwide Fatima Rosary on May 13th with absolute and unshakable faith in Our Lady’s promise to defeat satan: “Finally, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”

May we all live to see it.

I believe we will all see something by the end of 2017. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Our Lady of Fatima Novena - begins May 4th Through the 12th

The same verse is said once each day for the nine days.

Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion, so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it, we may gather the fruits and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, and this favor that I so earnestly seek, (mention your request) which I ask of you in this novena, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of all souls. Amen.

(Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be three times each)

Monday, May 1, 2017

St. Joseph the Worker

St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.
“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.
There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.
We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.

Apparently in response to the "May Day" celebrations for workers sponsored by
Communists,
Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a longer history.
In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.
"The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it" (Genesis 2:15). The Father created all and asked humanity to continue the work of creation. We find our dignity in our work, in raising a family, in participating in the life of the Father's creation. Joseph the Worker was able to help participate in the deepest mystery of creation. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, "The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, 'Go to Joseph'" (see Genesis 41:44).

In Brothers of Men, René Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus, speaks about ordinary work and holiness: "Now this
holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of word, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God...in relation to this mystery, involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living."

As we honor St. Joseph today, let us not forget his other mighty roles; namely the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the protector of the Holy Family, the Patron of the Universal Church, the foster father of Jesus our Lord, and our foster father as well!




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday


"I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish,"
Jesus told Faustina, according to her diary, which has been studied and authenticated by the Church over several decades.
"I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of my death. I myself will defend it as My Own glory." (Diary of Faustina, 48)
Jesus is shown in most versions as raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white (translucent). The depictions often contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!" (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary - 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the "Fountain of Mercy". According to the diary of St Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus.

On February 22, 1931, while staying in Plock, Sister Faustina received Jesus’ order to paint a picture according to the vision shown to her (cf. Diary 47). She tried to fulfill the command, but not knowing painting techniques, she was unable to do it by herself. Still, she did not give up the idea. She kept returning to it and sought help from other sisters and from her confessors. A few years later her superiors sent her to Vilnius (Wilno), where her confessor, Rev. Prof. Michael Sopocko, interested to see what the picture of a hitherto unknown theme would look like, asked the painter Eugene Kazimierowski to paint the picture according to Sister Faustina’s directions. This is the only image that was painted under her direction.

Kazimirowski painted the original image between January and June of 1934.
During this time St. Faustina had the artist change the face at least 10 times but was still not pleased with it. The picture was finished in June 1934 and hung in the corridor of the Bernardine Sisters’ convent near St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius, where Father Sopocko was rector. From April 26-28, 1935, during the celebrations concluding the Jubilee Year of the Redemption of the World, the image of The Divine Mercy was transferred to the Ostra Brama [“Eastern Gate” to the city of Vilnius] and placed in a high window so that it could be seen from far away. Here the image was seen for the first time by the public. By permission of Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski, on April 4, 1937, the image was blessed and placed in the St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius.
In 1944, a committee of experts was formed, at the order of Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, to evaluate the image. The experts’ opinion was the the image of The Divine Mercy, painted by E. Kazimierowski was artistically executed and an important contribution to contemporary religious art. You will notice that the Image resembles the Shroud of Turin very closely.
In a decree dated August 3, 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe this day (Divine Mercy Sunday) with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.  In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.”

The plenary indulgence is granted (under the usual conditions of a sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and a prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!).
Additional provisions are offered for those who are impeded from fulfilling these requirements, but who wish to acquire a plenary indulgence. 

While the readings and prayers for Mass on this day remain unchanged (they reflect perfectly on Our Lord’s Divine Mercy) the Holy See offers this reflection:

The full text of the decree of the Apostolic
Penitentiary may be found at: www.mercysunday.com.
The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during His first public appearance: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent Me, so even I send you,’ and then He breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (Jn 20, 19-23).

In addition, the decree requires that parish priests “should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church’s salutary provision.  They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions.  On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass they should lead the prayers that have been given above and they should also encourage the faithful to perform acts of mercy as often as they can.”
Jesus said that we either enter by the door of Mercy or by the door of Justice. With the way the world is ... JUSTICE can't be far off. This *could* be (I'm no prophet!) the last Divine Mercy Sunday we're afforded before that Day of Justice.
Divine Mercy Sunday is SUCH a BLESSING and OH SO IMPORTANT; yet daily, we have an opportunity to pray this special chaplet for the good of souls everywhere. My daily 3pms, generally begin around 2pm and include several prayers, petitions and meditations which include, during the 3pm hour of Divine Mercy, begging Jesus to empty purgatory into heaven. The 3 o'clock hour is most important because it is when Jesus died for us and He permits us this special grace and mercy DAILY if we but take the time to honor His precious gift.
When I tell folks they're in my daily 3pms. This is what it means, to be part of my prayers for the world and included in the Divine Mercy Chaplet for their spiritual and temporal needs.


I ask all to join me in my daily petition for the Church Suffering to be brought into heaven during this special hour by reciting this short prayer: "Eternal Father, please take all the pain and suffering of the souls in purgatory and unite it to the Perfect, Holy Passion of Jesus, His True Presence in the Eucharist and the benefits and graces of all Masses said this day and please empty purgatory into heaven daily during this special hour of Divine Mercy, especially those that have no one to pray for them; according to the promise of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit" Amen.
The way the world is just getting worse and worse AND because we've recently ended the SPECIAL Jubilee Year of MERCY; I URGE you with all that is within me ... GO TO CONFESSION, PRAY FOR YOUR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS & THE WHOLE WORLD; THAT ALL BE SAVED AND NONE BE LOST! Do NOT be afraid of Confession, no matter how long it's been or what you've done! NOTHING is bigger than God's MERCY! The priest (the *man*) acts In persona Christi, that is in the place of Christ. Jesus uses the priest to act through (same as the Consecration at Mass) for YOUR benefit that your humble & contrite heart may hear the words of mercy and forgiveness.
Our Lord Speaks to St. Faustina:
“Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to Confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls.” (Diary #1602)
I GUARANTEE that when you leave the Confessional, you WILL FEEL the joyful grace and you'll be able to receive Holy Communion! To be reunited to Jesus in this intimate manner and to know and feel the powerful supernatural grace that the Sacraments impart to us through Holy Mother Church ... well you'll just have to experience it! But you won't be afraid of Confession any more :) 
SO DON'T PUT IT OFF!!!! PLEASE!!!! 
2 Corinthians 6:2 refers to Redemption in the last days: "For He says, "In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."
Just as Jesus said: "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND."


More on Divine Mercy: click HERE.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Divine Mercy Novena starts Good Friday

The Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday is April 23rd

DIVINE MERCY NOVENA STARTS ON GOOD FRIDAY

Divine Mercy Novena Instructions from EWTN

The Feast of Divine Mercy on April 23 is one of the most important dates in the Church calendar. This focuses on God's unlimited mercy to everyone especially the greatest sinners.

Jesus revealed to Sister Faustina on numerous occasions that a feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The feast is a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in the divine benevolence the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come. Jesus said: Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)



God loves us-all of us- no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. The message of divine mercy could be summed up by the ABC:

A- Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B- Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through others us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C- Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

HAPPY  EASTER

DIVINE MERCY – The "2nd Baptism" for anyone going to the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist

"The Graces of My Mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, that is TRUST. The more a soul trusts the more it will receive.” "I desire the confidence of My People. Let not even the weak and very sinful fear to approach me: even if their sins be as numerous as all the sands of the earth all will be forgiven in the fathomless pit of My Mercy.” ~JESUS to St Faustina

POWERFUL BIBLE QUOTE ON JESUS' RESURRECTION:

“I am the resurrection and the life,” said Jesus. “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” ~John 11:25-26
God of mercy, You wash away our sins in water, You give us new birth in the Spirit, and redeem us in the Blood of Christ. As we celebrate Christ's resurrection increase our awareness of these blessings, and renew Your gift of life within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God,  for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Thursday

This day, Maundy Thursday (also "Holy Thursday" or "Shire Thursday") commemorates Christ's Last Supper and the initiation of the Eucharist. Its name of "Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "command." This stems from Christ's words in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you." It is the first of the three days known as the "Triduum," and after the Vigil tonight, and until the Vigil of Easter, a more profoundly somber attitude prevails (most especially during the hours between Noon and 3:00 PM on Good Friday). Raucous amusements should be set aside...


The Last Supper took place in "the upper room" of the house believed to have been owned by John Mark and his mother, Mary (Acts 12:12). This room, also the site of the Pentecost, is known as the "Coenaculum" or the "Cenacle" and is referred to as "Holy and glorious Sion, mother of all churches" in St. James' Liturgy. At the site of this place -- our first Christian church -- a basilica was built in the 4th century. It was destroyed by Muslims and later re-built by the Crusaders. Underneath the place is the tomb of David.

After the Supper, He went outside the Old City of Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley, and came to the Garden of Gethsemani, a place whose name means "Olive Press," and where olives still grow today. There He suffered in three ineffable ways: He knew exactly what would befall Him physically and mentally -- every stroke, every thorn in the crown He would wear, every labored breath He would try to take while hanging on the Cross, the pain in each glance at His mother; He knew that He was taking on all the sins of the world -- all the sins that had ever been or ever will be committed; and, finally, He knew that, for some people, this Sacrifice would not be fruitful because they would reject Him. Here He was let down by His Apostles when they fell asleep instead of keeping watch, here is where He was further betrayed by Judas with a kiss, and where He was siezed by "a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief Priests and the ancients of the people" and taken before Caiphas, the high priest, where he was accused of blasphemy, beaten, spat upon, and prepared to be taken to Pontius Pilate tomorrow morning.


As for today's liturgies, in the morning, the local Bishop will offer a special Chrism Mass during which blesses the oils used in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Unction, and the consecration of Altars and churches.

At the evening Mass, after the bells ring during the Gloria, they are rung no more until the Easter Vigil (a wooden clapper called a "crotalus" is used insead). Parents explain this to their children by saying that the all the bells fly to Rome after the Gloria of the Mass on Maundy Thursday to visit the Popes. Children are told that the bells sleep on the roof of St. Peter's Basilica, and, bringing Easter eggs with them, start their flight home at the Gloria at the Easter Vigil, when when they peal wildly. 

Then comes the Washing of the Feet after the homily, a rite performed by Christ upon His disciples to prepare them for the priesthood and the marriage banquet they will offer, and which is rooted in the Old Testament practice of foot-washing in preparation for the marital embrace (II Kings 11:8-11, Canticles 5:3) and in the ritual ablutions performed by the High Priest of the Old Covenant (contrast Leviticus 16:23-24 with John 13:3-5). The priest girds himself with a cloth and washes the feet of 12 men he's chosen to represent the Apostles for the ceremony.

The rest of the Mass after the Washing of the Feet has a special form, unlike all other Masses. After the Mass, the priest takes off his chasuble and vests in a white cope. He returns to the Altar, incenses the Sacred Hosts in the ciborium, and, preceded by the Crucifer and torchbearers, carries the Ciborium to the "Altar of Repose," also called the "Holy Sepulchre," where it will remain "entombed" until the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday.

Then there follows the Stripping of the Altars, during which everything is removed as Antiphons and Psalms are recited. All the glorious symbols of Christ's Presence are removed to give us the sense of His entering most fully into His Passion. Christ enters the Garden of Gethsemani; His arrest is imminent. Fortescue's "Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described" tells us: "From now till Saturday no lamps in the church are lit. No bells are rung. Holy Water should be removed from all stoups and thrown into the sacrarium. A small quantity is kept for blessing the fire on Holy Saturday or for a sick call." The joyful signs of His Presence won't return until Easter begins with the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.

Customs

As to customs, many families have a practice of visiting the tabernacles of three or seven nearby churches after the Mass on this day as a sort of "mini-pilgrimage" (any nearby Catholic churches will do). Some families visit the churches directly after the evening Mass; others go home and wake up in the middle of the night to make the visits (though since churches are rarely open all night these days, this would be hard to do). The spirit of the visits to the churches is keeping vigil in the Garden of Gethsemani while Jesus prayed before His arrest. Matthew 26:36 "Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray."

In Germany, Maundy Thursday is known as "Green Thursday" (Grundonnerstag), and the traditional foods are green vegetables and green salad, especially a spinach salad. In Latin countries, Jordan almonds ("confetti") are eaten today and also throughout Eastertide.


Back when Kings and Queens of England were Catholic, they, too, would wash the feet of 12 subjects, seeing the footwashing rite also as an example of service and humility. They would also give money to the poor on this day, a practice is said to have begun with St. Augustine of Canterbury in A.D. 597, and performed by Kings since Edward II. Now the footwashing isn't done (it was given up in the 18th c.), but a special coin called "Maundy Money" is minted and given to the selected elderly of a representative town. 

On this day, one may gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Tantum Ergo (Down in Adoration Falling).

Tantum ergo sacramentum
Veneremur cernui
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensum defectui

Genitori, genitoque
Laus et jubilatio
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio, amen
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/charlotte-church/tantum-ergo-lyrics/#T8jDJRG3zAvMKZqf.9
Tantum ergo sacramentum
Veneremur cernui
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensum defectui
 
 Genitori, genitoque
Laus et jubilatio
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio, 
Amen

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke 1:26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i.e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favored one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation.
And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of God like Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?" 

The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall descend upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word." 

The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.
FIAT!