Tag Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Advent’s First Sunday

At the Sunday Angelus today, the Holy Father notes some crucial points about our Christian faith that can’t go unheard and need to be savored deeply in the heart. Notice, please, that Benedict doesn’t talk about expectation but he does speak of the Lord’s coming and presence; his death and resurrection and our final destiny (that is, love) and doesn’t mention the Christ Child as the exclusive image of Advent. The Cross, resurrection and ascension is our only Hope. Pope Benedict addressed the faithful with the following:


Today the Church begins a new liturgical year, a path that is further enriched by the Year of Faith, 50 years since the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The first Time of this journey is Advent, composed, in the Roman Rite, of the four weeks that precede the Birth of the Lord, that is, the mystery of the Incarnation. The word “Advent” means “coming” or “presence.” In the ancient world, it signified the coming of the king or the emperor into one of the provinces; in the language of Christians, it referred to the coming of God, to His presence in the world; a mystery that involves the whole of the cosmos and of history, but that recognises two culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. The first is the Incarnation itself; the second is the glorious return at the end of time. These two moments, chronologically distant – and it is not given to us to know how far apart they are – touch us deeply, because by His death and resurrection Jesus has already accomplished that transformation of humanity and of the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed to all nations, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Saint Mark. The coming of Christ is continuous; the world must be infused by His presence. This permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel requires our continual collaboration; and the Church, which is like the Betrothed, the promised Bride of the crucified and risen Lamb of God (cfr. Rev. 21,9), in communion with her Lord collaborates in this coming of the Lord, in which His glorious return is already begun.

It is to this that the Word of God recalls us today, tracing out a line of conduct to pursue in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life . . . Be vigilant at all times and pray.” So: simplicity and prayer. And the apostle Paul adds the invitation to “increase and abound in love” among ourselves and towards everyone, to strengthen our hearts and to be blameless in holiness (cfr. 1 Thess 3, 12-13). In the midst of the turmoil of the world, or the desert of indifference and materialism, Christians accept the salvation of God and witness to it by a different way of life, as a city set on a hill. “In those days,” the prophet Jeremiah proclaims, “Jerusalem shall dwell safely; this is the name they shall call her: ‘The Lord our justice'” (Jer 33,16). The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, of His justice that is already present and working in history, but not yet fully realised, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked, and sought after with patience and courage.

The Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which consists of listening to God, a profound desire to do His will, and joyful service to others. Let us be guided by her, so that God who is coming may not find us closed or distracted, but might extend to each of us a small part of His kingdom of love, of justice, and of peace.

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.

BVM undamaged in storm

Something you don’t see everyday: the Wall Street Journal published a photo of the statue of Our Lady
of the Miraculous Medal undamaged following Sandy’s destructive path of terror in NYC!

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us.

OL Miraculas Medal WSJ Oct 31 2012.jpg

Portsmouth monks talk about their Lourdes Grotto

Portsmouth CofA.jpegThe month of October is devoted to the theme of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary is the official prayer for the Year of Faith. As Pope Benedict recently said, “I would like to suggest to everyone to renew the prayer of the Rosary in the upcoming Year of Faith. With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ.”

On May 4, 2012, Abbot Caedmon, the religious superior and chancellor of Portsmouth Abbey and Portsmouth Abbey School dedicated the new shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. I wrote a post on it, “Portsmouth Abbey Monks Dedicate Lourdes Grotto.”
The Portsmouth Abbey folks have finally produced a beautiful background video on the meaning of the Grotto for the monastic community, the school and the greater Catholic community. “The Grotto at Portsmouth Abbey” may be watched here. The video is the fruit of Jamie Macguire with the assistance of several monks. It’s well done, and informative.
This is the first of many good things to come from Portsmouth Abbey and School in light of the Year of Faith.
May Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of the Rosary, pray for Portsmouth Abbey and for us.

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.
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory