Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Annunciation of the Lord


Annunciation Fra Angelico 1451-2.jpg

What happened
here in Nazareth, far from the gaze of the world, was a singular act of God, a
powerful intervention in history, through which a child was conceived who was
to bring salvation to the whole world. The wonder of the Incarnation continues
to challenge us to open up our understanding to the limitless possibilities of
God’s transforming power, of his love for us, his desire to be united with us
.
Here the eternally begotten Son of God became man, and so made it possible for
us, his brothers and sisters, to share in his divine sonship. That downward
movement of self-emptying love made possible the upward movement of exaltation

in which we too are raised to share in the life of God himself (cf. Phil
2:6-11).

The Spirit who “came upon Mary” (cf. Lk 1:35) is the same
Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of Creation (cf. Gen 1:2). We
are reminded that the Incarnation was a new creative act. When our Lord Jesus
Christ was conceived in Mary’s virginal womb through the power of the Holy
Spirit, God united himself with our created humanity, entering into a permanent
new relationship with us and ushering in a new Creation
. The narrative of the
Annunciation illustrates God’s extraordinary courtesy
(cf. Mother Julian of
Norwich, Revelations 77-79). He does not impose himself, he does not simply
pre-determine the part that Mary will play in his plan for our salvation: he
first seeks her consent. In the original Creation there was clearly no question
of God seeking the consent of his creatures, but in this new Creation he does so
.
Mary stands in the place of all humanity. She speaks for us all when she
responds to the angel’s invitation. Saint Bernard describes how the whole court
of heaven was waiting with eager anticipation for her word of consent that
consummated the nuptial union between God and humanity. The attention of all
the choirs of angels was riveted on this spot, where a dialogue took place that
would launch a new and definitive chapter in world history. Mary said,
“Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the Word of God
became flesh.

When we reflect on this joyful mystery, it gives us hope, the
sure hope that God will continue to reach into our history, to act with
creative power so as to achieve goals which by human reckoning seem impossible.
It challenges us to open ourselves to the transforming action of the Creator
Spirit who makes us new, makes us one with him, and fills us with his life. It
invites us, with exquisite courtesy, to consent to his dwelling within us, to
welcome the Word of God into our hearts, enabling us to respond to him in love
and to reach out in love
towards one another.

Pope Benedict XVI

14 May 2009

Basilica
of the Annunciation, Israel


As a way of deepening the Mystery of the Incarnation, here is  “Beyond the Clash of Absolutes: Abortion” taken from Carl A. Anderson’s 2010 book, Beyond A House Divided.

In Christ’s wounds we are healed: World Day of the Sick and Our Lady of Lourdes

OL of Lourdes.jpgWe celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 19th World Day of the Sick.
God of mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, the sinless mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness.

 
By his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24)

Many in the world suffer. That is a given and we ought to keep the suffering of others in the forefront of our minds. I think this is appropriate for no other reason than the example of Jesus who showed had compassion on all suffering people, healing them in body, mind, and soul. He even allowed Himself to be conquered by evil and suffering, though we know that He ultimately defeated death by death itself when on the third day he rose from the dead. Jesus’ own suffering and rising is proof of a love that knows know limits. As Benedict has said in various places that “Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.”

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Dictionary of Apparitions of the Virgin Mary, published

Monsignor René Laurentin published a new edition of the Dictionary of Apparitions of the Virgin Mary. More than 2600 apparitions are included in the edition from around the world.

The video clip introducing the Dictionary is here.

Mary, Mother of God

The sacred Liturgy of the Church fittingly calls to mind three aspects of worship and gives us the essential qualities of Christian life and praise of God. We can note from the Liturgy the (1) humility of all the characters in today’s Gospel, (2) the adoration of the Holy Name of Jesus, (3) and closeness to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Humility proclaims the greatness of GodAdoration of the Name of Jesus El Greco detail.jpg

Approaching to the divine is done only in humility; only in recognizing that we don’t make ourselves; only in knowing who we are in front of God, creator of heaven and earth. The gospel tells how to approach God: like the humble people of history:
  • Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, was made flesh, who fulfilled the Law with the rite of circumcision and accepted the name given by the angel
  • Mary, the teenage virgin who stands in wonder and awe before the Spirit
  • Joseph, the righteous carpenter, who protected the Gift
  • shepherds, the rustic men who were amazed and glorified and praise God.
Adoration of the Name of Jesus

The last line in today’s reading from the Book of Numbers says: “So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” This OT prefiguring of the centrality of the name of Jesus having power is startling and it helps us to keep in mind that Jesus himself said that if you ask anything in his name he will give it to you.
In the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) has the Church celebrate the feast of the circumcision of Jesus, which, besides dedicating a male to God, it is also giving of the name of  to the baby. A separate feast day is given for the Holy Name of Jesus in this missal prayed on the first Sunday of teh year, or if Sunday’s dates are 1, 6 or 7, the feast falls to January 2.
But connected here we recall that Mary’s son was given the name “Jesus,” meaning God saves. Paul’s letter to the Philippians tells us that God the Father gave us Jesus’ name so that at hearing his name we would recognize and adore the name of Jesus above all others (2:9). In another place in the NT we hear Saint Peter saying that “there is no other name under heaven , given to men, whereby we must be saved,” and that at the name of Jesus “every knee shall bend, in heaven, on earth and under the earth.”
The spiritual teaching of many saints includes a profound reverence for the divine name of Jesus. One can think of Saint Bernard, Saint Bernardine of Siena, Saint John Capistrano, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the orders such as the Cistercians and Dominicans who promoted the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. Pope John Paul II restored the feast of the Holy Name in the 2002 Roman Missal as an optional memorial giving it another day, that of January 3
Catholic custom is at the hearing of the name of Jesus one bends the neck in a slight bow as a sign of respect. Ultimately, the feast takes seriously the dominical saying, “hallowed be Thy name.”

Closeness to Mary, the Mother of God

Hodigitria Mother of God.jpg

The feast we observe on this the first day of January is an old Marian feast. We recognize that woman gave birth to the Son of God. It is through Mary that we know the face of God, who had a heartbeat. Indeed, through her ‘yes’ to God’s invitation the Eternal Word of God became man, in fact, God-man. Theologically, through Mary the activity of the Holy Spirit is made known to the world. That is why we say, “Come Holy Spirit, come through Mary” as a pious aspiration. In the Year of Grace Pius Parsch says that “she is the priestess who joyfully and solemnly offers on high the Lord’s fruitfruits of sacrifice in redemption” (vol 1, p. 246).
For a man schooled in Jewish theology and the Law, Saint Paul acknowledges and preaches that in the divine plan we personally meet God. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul states: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Further on Paul says that we are “no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” How did this happen? It happened through a woman allowing herself to be disponable to God. That Mary was close to her son Jesus, who is our brother and Savior, Mary our Mother advocates our cause with her Son. Mary is the mediatrix of graces. That is, she intercedes on our behalf with Jesus. And as some preachers will say, “a Jewish mother always gets what she wants from her son.” Mary, the Mother of God, pleads our cause if we go to her with our heart open and supple for grace to be received.
In looking at what the Liturgy gives to us we can put the words of the Pope on our lips: “In giving ourselves to Christ, our Hope, you, O Mother of God, are always present.”

The Tidings Brought to Mary

Tidings Brought to Mary.jpgPaul Claudel’s extraordinary play, “The Tidings Brought to Mary” will be presented by Blackfriars Repertory Theater and the Storm Theater.


Details:

Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Manhattan Center, 311 West 34th Street (at 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10001.
Paul Claudel’s 1912 play is situated in 15th century France telling the story of two sisters of the Vercors family, one giving her life to God and the other focused on herself.
Monsignor Luigi Giussani said of the play, “The theme of ‘The Tidings Brought to Mary’ can be defined like this: love is the generator of the human person according to its total dimension; that is, to say, love is the generator of each person’s story in that it generates a people.”
Many have said that Tidings is challenging, thought-provoking and well-received. Until Blackfriars Theater produced the play in 2009, it had not been seen in NYC since 1923.
The text of “The Tidings Brought to Mary.”
Read the Introduction to Tidings by Monsignor Luigi GiussaniTidings Brought to Mary Luigi Giussani Introduction.pdf
A review of the play
To purchase tickets visit this link. All tickets are picked up at the door.

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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