Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Peace with God firmly linked with faith, Pope preaches on Jan. 1

Do you ever ask what peace really is? What are the horizons of peace? Why is the name of Jesus held holy, revered, not to be easily used in common speech? What brings every man, woman and child peace? Who is Mary, and why is she important? Pope Benedict answers these questions in a homily at a Mass he celebrated today to mark the New Year, the World Day of Peace, the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

The Theotokos of Vladimir, one of the most ven...

The Theotokos of Vladimir.

“May God bless
us and make his face to shine upon us.” We proclaimed these words from Psalm 66
after hearing in the first reading the ancient priestly blessing upon the
people of the covenant. It is especially significant that at the start of every
new year God sheds upon us, his people, the light of his Holy Name, the Name
pronounced three times in the solemn form of biblical blessing. Nor is it less
significant that to the Word of God – who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn
1:14) as “the true light that
enlightens every man” (1:9) – is given, as
today’s Gospel tells us, the Name of Jesus eight days after his birth (cf. Lk

It is in this Name that we are gathered here today. I cordially greet
all present, beginning with the Ambassadors of the Diplomatic Corps accredited
to the Holy See. I greet with affection Cardinal Bertone, my Secretary of
State, and Cardinal Turkson, with all the officials of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace
; I am particularly grateful to them for their effort to spread
the Message for the World Day of Peace, which this year has as its theme
“Blessed are the Peacemakers”.

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Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Mother of God Greco.jpg

No better way to begin a new year of the Lord, on this beautiful 8th day of Christmastide, than to pray the Mass. The 8th day observance is the traditional Jewish practice of naming the child. Today, the Gospel recalls the babe receiving the name, Jesus. We might also call this day the “giving of the holy name.” A liturgical observance is held on January 2. Keeping our lives close to Mary, the holy Mother of God is essential. With the Church we pray,
O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary bestowed on the human race the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.
May Mary intercede before her Son for  our families, friends, clergy and religious and civil leaders. Oh, for ourselves, too.

The Perfect Gift

(Mary prays:) “The Lord has exalted me by a gift so
great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it; and the depths
of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it. As I contemplate his greatness,
which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my
judgment, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that
Savior, whom I have conceived in this world of time.”

The Venerable Bede

Our Lady of Guadalupe

OLOG.jpgO God, Father of mercies, who placed your people under the singular protection of your Son’s most holy Mother, grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace.

The icon of Mary revealed on the tilma of Saint Juan Diego shows the “depth of her love for humanity…her maternal love” [for all peoples]. The Virgin “…desires intimacy with us, just as the Father desires intimacy with us, just as Jesus does… [Mary] is the one who leads us more fully to Jesus,” said Archbishop Samuel Aquila in Rome in a address, “The Encounter with Jesus Through Mary” on December 10, 2012.
I’d like to entrust the soul of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, who died on this date in 2008. He was a good man, holy priest, and a faithful friend. May the Virgin of Guadalupe bring him to Jesus.
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Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Immaculate Conception Diego Velazquez.jpgLord our God, as we celebrate Mary, daughter of Zion and figure of the new Jerusalem that descends from heaven, we await the coming of your Son Jesus Christ in glory. Hasten the day of his coming, and all the nations, together with all of Israel, will find salvation in your eternal kingdom. We ask you this through the Holy Spirit, who consoles us and intercedes for us now and forever.

Today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary ought to be interpreted on the basis of sacred Scripture (Zeph 3:14-18a; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 1:39-55), sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. This feast is best understood from the point of view of the eschatological context of Advent which focuses our attention essentially on the coming of the Lord at the end of time. Consider what the prayer above notes. Christians, remember, live in the end times now.

Mary’s conception (through her parents Anne and Joachim) celebrated in the liturgical season of Advent is a fitting time in which we long, really desire, the Lord’s coming. Our waiting for the Messiah, now for the second time, is a true hope of all hopes.

The Church in the Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantium, has observed this feast with great interest before it reached the Western Empire by the 10th century. In the East today is also called the Conception of Saint Anne.  If you recall, the Franciscan and Doctor of the Church Saint Bonaventure has a clear teaching on the Immaculate Conception of Mary, defended and promoted by other Franciscan theologians and made part of Catholic dogma in 1854.

The precise Catholic theological teaching of the Immaculate Conception is not shared by some Protestant ecclesial communities and the Orthodox Churches. “For them, Mary’s conception has the value of a sign: through the divine intervention that was needed to heal Anne of her infertility, all of humanity has been healed of its sterility, brought on by sin, and has become the womb capable of welcoming the Word’s Incarnation. It is the Lord himself who, in his infinite mercy, prepares the way for his decisive intervention in history.” In many ways there is not that much difference in substance but acknowledged nonetheless here.

Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the patroness of the United States of America.

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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