Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

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.


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.

Prayer for Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church

Eternal Father, we place before you the project of forming
the Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans seeking full communion with the
Catholic Church. We thank you for this initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, and we
ask that, through the Holy Spirit, the Ordinariates may become:

Our Lady of Walsingham.jpg

families of charity, peace and the service of the poor,
centres for Christian unity and reconciliation, communities that welcome and
evangelize, teaching the Faith in all its fullness, celebrating the liturgy and
sacraments with prayerful reverence and maintaining a distinctive patrimony of
Christian faith and culture.

Drawing on that heritage we pray:

Go before us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most
gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works,
begun, continued and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally
by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

V.  Our Lady of Walsingham.

R.  Pray for us
as we claim your motherly care.

V.  Saint
Therese of the Infant Jesus.

R.  Pray for us as we place this work under your patronage.

V.  Blessed John
Henry Newman

R.  Pray that Christ’s Heart may speak unto our hearts.

V.  Saints and
Martyrs of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and North America.

R.  Pray for us and accompany us on our pilgrim way.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe detail.jpg

Most Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

With a look full of hope and compassion Mary says: fear not, God loves you personally

Pope Benedict made the annual visit to Spain’s Square, the Spanish Steps as it’s known, to lay a wreathe at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to offer a prayer of filial devotion and to encourage the faithful in our faith. His address follows:

B16 Dec 8 2010 Spanish Steps.jpg

Also this year
we have made an appointment here, in Piazza di Spagna, to render homage to the
Immaculate Virgin, on the occasion of her solemn feast. To all of you, who have
come in great numbers, as well as all those taking part through radio and
television, I address my cordial greeting. We are gathered around this historic
monument, which today is all surrounded by flowers, sign of the love and
devotion of the Roman people for the Mother of Jesus. And the most beautiful
gift, and most pleasing to her, that we offer is our prayer, the one we bear in
our hearts and which we entrust to her intercession
. They are invocations of
gratitude and supplication: of gratitude for the gift of faith and for all the
good that we receive daily from God; and supplication for our different needs,
for the family, health, work, for every difficulty that life has us encounter.

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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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