The Mary Month Of May

When my son was about four or five years old, he had in his imagination an entire galaxy complete with a language, laws, super heroes, and super villains.  Everyone in our family had a super power, but I was given the “most powerful” super gift of all.  My super power was love.  This little boy valued love, above any talent his imagination could conjure, and made it the unbeatable weapon.  

In this month of May, as Catholics, our attention is drawn to Our Lady.  Reflecting on my son’s creation, I couldn’t help but see the parallel to Mother Mary.  Our Creator made her sinless, but her love for Him kept her pure, and able to withstand the greatest evil ever.  The Theotokus (God Bearer) couldn’t be tempted away from the love she had for God’s will, and gave that Love, for God, to the world in her Fiat.  Jesus knew her super power, and the really cool thing is that he gave her to us.  He gave her to us, while His Love was conquering sin, as if to say, …you are clean and here is My mother, the Immaculate Conception… Help of Christians…Refuge of Sinners, who gave the greatest fiat throughout eternity…. and, now her super power is our grace.

A Week of Saints (December 30, 2018 – January 5, 2019)

Sunday, December 30: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

God uses the family to teach relationship: our relationship with the Father as children, Jesus as brother, Our Lady as Mother, the Church as the bride of Christ.  On this feast of the Holy Family, we have the opportunity to pray and meditate on the family God chose for His own Son. 

May the Holy Family, who had to overcome many painful trials, watch over all the families in the world, especially those who are experiencing difficult situations. May the Holy Family also help men and women of culture and political leaders, so that they may defend the institution of the family, based on marriage, and so that they may sustain the family, as it confronts the grave challenges of the modern age!…may Chtistian families find the light and strength to be united and grow as the ‘domestic church’, especially in their diligent participation in he celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. “St John Paul II

Monday, December 31: St Sylvester, Priest, Pope (c 250-335):  

St Sylvester was born in Rome. He enjoyed providing shelter to Christians passing through the city, and would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table and give them all the care the needed in the name of Christ. One such Christian was Timothy of Antioch.  After Timothy’s death, Sylvester was imprisoned for helping Timothy, but later released upon the death of the governor.  Under the tyranny of Diocletian, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. Sylvester became Pope in 314. He is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the triumph of the Church, and the Baptism of Constantine (when Constantine was cured of leprosy).

Tuesday, January 1:  The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

“Today, the liturgy of the Octave of Christmas presents to us the icon of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. The Apostle Paul points her out as the “woman” through whom the Son of God entered the world. Mary of Nazareth is the Theotokos, the One who “gave birth to the King of Heaven and earth for ever” (Entrance Antiphon; cf. Sedulius). At the beginning of this new year, let us place ourselves with docility at the school of Mary. We want to learn from her, the Holy Mother, how to accept in faith and prayer the salvation that God never ceases to offer to all who trust in his merciful love.”    St John Paul II

Wednesday, January 2: St Basil the Great, Priest, Bishop (329-379)

After studying various modes of religious life, St Basil founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor, and his principles influence Eastern monasticism today. Basil stood strong against Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, and was at its height. He worked hard to unite and rally his fellow Catholics, who were crushed by tyranny. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition.  Basil was best known as a speaker. His writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

Patron:  hospital administrators, reformers, monks, education, exorcism, liturgists

Thursday, January 3:The Most Holy Name of Jesus 

Jesus, the name that is above every name. St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter class struggles and family feuds in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, because of Fr.  In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church.

“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” St John Neumann

Friday, January 4: St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Mother Seton is first American to be canonized. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity, opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage, while raising her five children. She was born a protestant, in high society, married a wealthy business man, William Magee Seton, who died of Tuberculosis.  At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.  While in Italy Elizabeth witnessed three basic points that led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore.

“How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound.”

Patron:  Catholic Schools

Saturday, January 5: St John Neumann, Priest, Bishop (1811-1860):  

John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York. There he did missionary work, and joined the Redemptorists becoming its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio.  As bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one. He drew into the city many teaching communities of sisters and the Christian Brothers. John Neumann became the first American bishop to be canonized.

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

Patron: Catholic education

Mary, How Did You Behold Him?

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Did you behold Him your child?

You looked in His face, what found you there?

Did you see your self, your eyes, your hair?

Did you behold Him Creator?

Omnipotent God, Who created you.

In His image, was yours there too?

Did you behold Him Spirit?

Did His infant coos, speak to your heart?’

What did you hear. In His word to impart?

Did you behold Him The Word?

The Word Incarnate, who dwelled in your womb.

The Visible Word, who arose from the tomb.

Did you behold Him Healer?

In His fingers grasp, was His power perceived? 

Did you sense the healing, the lepers received?

Did you behold Him Savior?

Did the pulse of His heart, announce our Salvation bought, 

with His selfless love,  on the cross He sought.

Mother Mary how did you ever behold Him?

In a stable in Bethlehem, with angels singing,  

The Son of Man meeting your eyes, 

At rest in your lap…Is God!

Inspiring Thoughts

Second Reading in the Office Of Readings, December 20th

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord,’ she says, ‘be it done to me according to your word.”

St Bernard

 

I’m Sinful Weak and Sorrowful

 

8868E659-B2E5-499A-BBBE-F3B24F8C708CWhen strong temptations are knocking at my door, I rebuke satan, in Jesus’ name, and turn to Our Lady…pray for us sinners now.  I suppose one could think, but she was sinless, what does she know about sin?  Nothing, but I imagine she knows a great deal about temptation.  I can’t imagine satan leaving her alone, this unblemished lamb, innocent, wholly devoted to God.  Even before she was known to the devil, as the Mother of God, he who couldn’t resist himself, would be tormented by one, who didn’t even glance his way.  Before satan knew she was the Theotokos (Mother of God), her life had to torment him.  Imagine his hatred for Our Lady after the Crucifixion, when he realized who she is.  He tempted Christ; he surely tempted Mother Mary…”God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear” (from an ancient homily on Holy Saturday).  I imagine with her, he was his most cunning, relentless and evil.  So it is, if I need someone on my side, I want the pro.  Our Creator chose Mary to resist the temptations of satan, so much so that She was His choice to carry Christ within her womb, and hold Him in death.  She raised Him to adulthood. He was tortured, disgraced and misunderstood, and Mary, His mother, was present to it all, but without sin.  She watched her son through all of this, without sin.  I’d say if God trusted Mary, to remain sinless, then she would be the one to look to, when temptation strikes.

“So long as she (Blessed Mother) is in your mind, you are safe from deception.” – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.