Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

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.

Feast of the Miraculous Medal

Miraculous medal.jpgThe feast of the Miraculous Medal may be surprising to a few. Catholics honor buildings, theological ideas, people and medals. The Miraculous Medal is known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, the medal that Our Lady on this date in 1830 instructed Saint Catherine Labouré to have struck. There is nothing miraculous about the medal. What is miraculous is the fact that it is a sign that God does miraculous things in our lives. In a boring world there are events that turn reality on end.

Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that God cares for each of his creatures enough to make His presence known through signs?
The devotion to the medal is nothing more and nothing less than a person having trust in Mary’s instrumentality before the Throne of Grace. It is a devotion to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Miracles of conversion, healing, cure, renewed faith, and more. Those who are devoted to the wearing the medal receive special graces at the time of death.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Entrance of the BVM in the Temple.jpgThe liturgical memorial celebrated today is an odd feast for some in the West: The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in the Byzantine East it’s sometimes referred to as the Entrance of the Virgin in the Temple. A slight difference with no real distinction.

Liturgical history tells us that the feast was observed in Jerusalem in the 6th century. A church was built to Mary’s honor. In the West the feast was introduced in the 11th century but it has disappeared for a time from the Church’s calendar and then in the 16th century it was given to the Church to be observed universally.
The tradition of the Church –that is, it is only spoken of in apocryphal literature– is that the parents of Mary, Saints Joachim and Anna, praying for the miracle of a child received from God a baby they longed to have: Mary. Their prayer and vow to God was dedicate the child to Him, and His service. One slight possible problem. Jews at this time in history only brought to the Temple their baby sons, not their baby daughters. At least that’s what some scholars of the Law taught. This unhistorical account of Mary’s presentation known to us from the Protoevangelium of James gives the churches a liturgical observance. Nevertheless, little did Mary’s parents realize what it meant to fulfill their promise of dedicating their daughter in the Temple to God’s service. Salvation history would never be the same.
Psalms connected with the Presentation in the Temple: with lighted candles: Ps. 44/45: 14-15; 119/120 to 133/134.

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]yahoo.com.
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