Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary gets a bad rap, sometimes

On this first day of the new calendar year, the Novus Ordo Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. It is, in fact, the 8th day since the Incarnation and traditionally the Church recalls the Lord’s adherence to the Divine Law with his circumcision.

I’d like to highlight something we tend to overlook in our daily journey of faith. That is, the role of Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of us all, in this walk of faith. What does Mary teach us? Why is she so very critical to our catholic life? Recall, the Church has some central themes in her theology that we need to attend to, namely, the Church is approached from the perspective of the Marian dimension in light of our discipleship.

Some friends wrote the following reflection on Mary that I think needs to be more widely seen and understood:

Sometimes in Christian spirituality, the Virgin Mary gets a bad rap because she is so routinely associated with a damaging and suffocating sentimentality, something sickeningly sweet. But this is really a fiction; the Gospel’s portrait of her reveals something entirely different. There we encounter a Mary who is so open to the Word of God that she actually gives birth to it. At the same time, I believe she knew what it meant to encounter the Lord in the darkness of faith. Can we imagine what it must have been like to learn that she was to give birth to the Messiah? Can we imagine her inner struggle, wondering if this could actually be? And yet, her simple “fiat” is what Jesus commands in this morning’s Gospel. “Blessed rather, are they who hear the word and keep it.” In Mary we discover one who not only heard the Word, she “digested” it; she expressed the whole message of the scriptures in her life. We’re told in several places that Mary “treasured these things, and pondered them in her heart.” That was her fundamental attitude. In a very real sense, she is the archetype of a disciple, of what it means to be a follower of Christ. (NS)

Blessings in 2018!!!!

Our Lady of the Expectation, Lady of ‘O’

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Expectation. This Marian feast is sadly no longer on the universal liturgical calendar but it is retained in some places like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland plus with a few religious orders. Yet, “Our Lady of Expectation” educates all of us, especially the Christian family.

With Our Lady of the Expectation we have a view at Divine Motherhood which takes the opportunity to contemplate the great longing and anticipation of Advent, in which “all creation is groaning in labor pains” oriented toward the promise of the Messiah. Divine Motherhood puts our attention to the meaning of new life brought about by mothers who ought to find in Mary the great model: “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

The Church prays, “O God who wished that your Word would take the flesh from the womb of the Virgin as announced by the Angel and whom we confess to be the true Mother of God, may we be helped by her intercession.”

In Spain, the place where this feast day originated, (cf. the Tenth Council of Toledo, AD 656), this feast day is Nuestra Senora de la O: Our Lady of the O, the “O” coming from the expression of longing said in the office of the Mozarabic Liturgy. In the Latin Rite, today’s feast comes in the middle of the “O” Antiphons (where we get the words for the hymn Veni, Veni, Emmanuel — in English O Come, O Come Emmanuel).

Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception has this as its sole significance: that no human being can set in motion salvation by their own powers alone, but that their Yes is wrapped around and supported by that divine love which comes first and before all else.

Joseph Ratzinger

May  Our Lady intercede for the United States of America!

Holy Mother of God, pray for us.

The Unifying Self-Offering of the Theotokos

Depending on the liturgical tradition you follow today’s Marian feast has a few names. The Latins will call this the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary while the Christian East will call the feast the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Whether you say Presentation or Entrance there is little difference. The key is that Mary deepens her relationship with God by this gesture.

Those of us who are Benedictine Oblates, today is a day to renew our oblation to the monastery of our promises. We commit ourselves to Stability of Heart, Fidelity to the Spirit of the Monastic Life and Obedience to the Will of God.

The great Mother of God is our witness; she is the model of our Benedictine witness. She shows us what it means to show good zeal (Cf. Rule of Benedict, 72).

Here is a mediation by Sister Vassa:

“The most pure Temple of the Savior; / the precious Chamber and Virgin; / the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, / is led today into the house of the Lord, / bringing with her the grace of the Spirit. / Therefore, the angels of God praise her: / ‘Truly this woman is the abode of heaven.’” (Kontakion-hymn, Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple)

Today, those of us on the “New” Calendar celebrate the Most-Pure Virgin “being led,” at three years of age, into the Temple; and those of us on the Older Calendar – the feast of the Archangel Michael and All the Bodiless Powers (i.e., the invisible creation of angels, archangels, seraphim, cherubim, etc.). Thankfully, the above-quoted hymn allows me to reflect on both feasts, as it also mentions the angels.

The angels praise with us the self-offering of the little Jewish girl from Nazareth, who is “led” like a lamb into the earthly temple, henceforth to live separately from her beloved parents and to be prepared for Her unique vocation, of serving as “the most pure Temple of the Saviour.” Her self-offering makes possible the bringing together of the human and the divine in the Person of Jesus Christ, and also of the visible and invisible creation. Today let me praise the merely-human little girl from Nazareth, who for all our sakes takes the first little steps toward Her unique cross today, of serving as the “heavenly ladder” between us and the rest of God’s creation, both visible and invisible. Let me let myself be drawn in to Her all-unifying, all-embracing Motherhood, letting myself participate in its “wholeness” or “salvation.” “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!”

Blessed Herman the Crippled

Today is the feast day of Blessed Herman the Cripple (also known as Hermannus Contractus, or Herman of Reichenau, 1013-1054), monk, 11th century scholar, composer, musical theorist, mathematician, and astronomer.

Blessed Herman composed the Marian prayers Alma Redemptoris Mater, and the Salve Regina (also known as the “Hail Holy Queen”) which we pray each time we pray the Holy Rosary. Despite significant physical limitations and suffering, the bright and contemplative mind of Blessed Herman advanced not only our understanding of the physical world, but furthered our devotion to Our Blessed Mother. His contributions to both science and faith remind us that regardless of appearance or apparent physical abilities, we each possess immense God-given gifts and talents! He was called “The Wonder of His Age.”

A hundred years after Blessed Herman died, Saint Bernard added the O Clemens, O Pia, O Dulcis Virgo Maria to the Salve Regina, genuflecting three times as he processed to the altar in the cathedral of Speyers in 1146 on a mission from Pope Eugene III as his legate to Emperor Conrad III in Germany.

(DG sourced)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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