January 1st- The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

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Below is an article from http://www.catholicreadings.org, it is quite beautiful in the explanation of Our Dear Mother. Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy.

The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

No one falls in love with a nature. We fall in love with a person. A woman loves a man, not mankind. And a mother pinches the pudgy little cheeks of a new born baby, not the cheeks of a new born nature. St. Mary gave birth to a little person, a baby, unlike any other.

In that little person a human nature united with a divine nature at the moment of conception. So St. Mary was the mother of the person Jesus, and the person Jesus had two natures, one fully human and the other fully divine. St. Mary was, then, the mother of Jesus’ human nature and of his divine nature. She was both the mother of a man and the mother of God. Two false extremes must be identified and rejected here.

Jesus was not really and truly only a God who just faked being a man. Nor was he really a man who just pretended to be a God. Jesus the man did not wear his divinity like a cloak that he could remove from his shoulders when he walked in the door. And the Son of God did not wear a fleshy human mask to conceal the radiance of his real divine face.

Jesus was fully God and fully man in a mystery of faith we call the hypostatic union. And because a woman is a mother to a person, not a nature, Mary is the mother of God. This has been the constant doctrine of the Catholic Church since the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.

St. Mary has many titles under which we honor her. Today’s Solemnity commemorates the utterly unique, and unrepeatable, bond she shared with Jesus, a bond no other saint can claim. Jesus and Mary probably even looked very much alike, as hers was the only human DNA in his body.

What a beautiful thing that our God did not float down from heaven on a golden pillow. How good that he was not forged from a fiery anvil. How just that he did not ride to earth on a thunderbolt. Jesus could not redeem what he did not assume. So it was fitting that he was born like all of us – from a mom. We honor Mary today for her vocation as mother.

If she had disappeared from the pages of the gospel after giving birth to Jesus she still would have fulfilled her role in salvation history. She was obedient. She was generous. She allowed God to use her, body and soul, to write the first chapter of man’s true story, the story of the Church. Like all true stories, the person comes first. A life is lived. The book comes later.

God’s Mother gives us our mother – Holy Mother Church, who washes our souls in the saving waters of baptism and thus adopts us into God’s family. The Motherhood of Mary gives the world Jesus. Jesus gives us the Church. The Church then brings us into God’s family where Mary is our mother, Jesus our brother, and God our Father. This is the family of the Church. What pride to be members of so noble a family.

Today’s Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Quote:

O Mother of God, you birthed the one who created all. Within you was He whom the universe cannot contain. How beautiful the mystery. How exalted your vocation that precedes and makes possible the apostles’ own. At home with husband and child you bounced on your knee the one who spins the world on his finger. How beautiful the mystery. Help us start this new year with wonder more than resolutions, with eternal gratitude more than mundane goals.

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

 

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Fourth Day of Christmas- Feast of the Holy Innocents

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As we continue our journey through this season of Christmas, we come to the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Feast that honors all of the young children who were slaughtered by King Herod in his attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. Many parishes will have a special Mass said on this night to honor all the innocent children who were martyred for Christ. Many of these masses incorporate all children who have been lost due to abortion, still birth or miscarriage. Even those who suffered some other form of untimely death.

candles in bucket

During the Mass the priest reads several prayers and then invites those who have added names to the list to come and light a candle as the list of each child is read. Those who wish to pray for a lost child, lights a candle and sets it in a bucket filled with sand that is placed near the feet of the infant Jesus, as He is laying in the manger. There is beauty wrapped in the sadness… and it reminds us, that all life is sacred. As we watch the candles flicker and the light grow, we are reminded of all that has been lost.

From those first babies who were murdered… those who were martyred for Christ... to the countless children who are lost each year… each day, to abortion.  As we listen to the prayers of the faithful, we are also reminded that even though a child may be lost to this life, Jesus Christ came so that we might have eternal life…. and as we sit mesmerized by the flickering flames and the soft glow… we are filled with hope. Filled with the Hope that only Christ can give, and even though there is aching in our hearts from losing something, because of our Faith, we know that God is good and that He is indeed the very Light that came to fill the world. A world that would be engulfed in darkness without Him. And we are reminded of the sacredness of life. All life. And as we process to leave the church, we look back at that tiny babe lying in the manger and at the candles burning low, and we know… we realize… that Christ has held each one tender babies close to His heart and filled them with His Light, and that Hope is enough to send us out into the dark night with the flame of Christ’s Love flickering in our own hearts… Merry Christmas.

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The Third Day of Christmas

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Firstly, happy third day of Christmas! As a kid it used to seem to odd to me that at Mass we used to talk about the twelve days of Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, but in the secular… or rather the ‘non- catholic’ world, they talked about the twelve days before Christmas. It seems that almost everyone else on the planet, (at least here in the states) that Christmas is done… put away until next year. Even the ‘Christian’ radio stations are done with Christmas music… heck, most people will use this weekend to take down all of the decorations and trash the tree. But it is not over yet.

Don’t let the world fool you. Don’t let your joy at the birth of Our Dear Lord and Savior be diminished by the world… celebrate! Keep the Child Christ in you hearts and in your sight. As with the birth of any babe, linger there at the Creche when you take the children to Mass… linger in the true beauty of the season… don’t rush off just yet. The world and all its bitterness and decrepity can wait. Savor the mystery of God made man… savor the knowledge that God loved each one of us so much that He became man… like us in all things but sin, to save us from our sin. Allow yourself the joy that comes from this Truth about God… The Truth about Christmas… and celebrate! Tomorrow we can get back into more serious tidings… God Bless.

 

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Merry Christmas… Jesus Christ is Born

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Because God so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son so that man who had grown to have a love for power… would grow to know the power of Love… His Son Jesus Christ… Who is Love Itself.  Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her King! Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve – O Holy Night

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Merry Christmas!

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Rorate Coeli- Votive Mass For Our Lady in Advent

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“Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum” (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just)

On Friday afternoon we drove the three hours from Jacksonville to Tampa through bouts of pouring rain, on Saturday we rose before dawn  driving through the dark, saturated streets of Tampa looking for our destination. Once we found the campus, we made our way  between the puddles to the beautiful new chapel at the center of the Jesuit High School in Tampa. On this day before the third Sunday of advent… a kind of midway point towards Christmas, we had gathered to celebrate a special votive Mass in honor of Our Lady. Even though it was cold and it was wet, and initially I wasn’t pleased with the dampness… as the Mass started, I began to feel that it was as if God had chosen this gentle drizzle of rain as a means of resting His hands upon us… and in some mysterious way, it was starting to feel like the veil was beginning to thin…

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image borrowed from deviantart

“Drop down dew, ye heavens from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.”

When we finally entered the dark church, each of us was handed a candle that we were to light, and as more families arrived and we filled the pews, the dim light of the candles grew… there was a specialness to the glow, but there was something lacking. It felt like it wasn’t enough. Sure, the flicker of the candles was sufficient enough so that we could see the beauty of the new church, but it wasn’t enough to drive away  all of the shadows… and even though it was comfortable, it wasn’t enough to warm the shiver from our bones… the candles by themselves were lacking. It was missing a vital element; it wasn’t enough to give meaning to our souls

Frankincense And Myrrh: Modern-Days Uses For The Wise Men ...Yes, our original intention was that we had come to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin, but ultimately, we had gathered to offer praise to Our Heavenly Father for the gift of Our Blessed Mother… who in fact was the earth that opened with her yes, so that the Holy Spirit could drop down upon her like the dew and bud forth a Savior.

We embarked in this journey, not only to satisfy God by showing our love for His Mother, it was also because deep down we know that man has always longed for more… There is an ache in our souls that we still carry because of the wight of original sin. That ache  that cannot be filled by the things of the world…even  after all of these thousands of years of searching… we are longing for more...We are still seeking out our messiah’. Even in this day and age when so many have lost their way and turned away from God and His grande design for man… we are still longing… still searching for the Truth … and whether we realize it or not... we remain, like those wise men of old… still actively searching for Christ.

Transalpine Redemptorists at home: Rorate Coeli Desuper et ...Rorate Caeli, is a special Mass… a step out of the ‘ordinary’ advent journey, and because we are celebrating the ever pure and holy Blessed  Virgin, the vestments today are white instead of the usual advent purple. The Mass takes place during this point in advent to remind the faithful, that without Christ’s birth, without Christ’s Light… the world would have remained in darkness. And as the church becomes brightened by the rising sun outside, we are reminded that each of us is brightened by the Light of Christ inside. There is a joy that comes from this realization that is able to reach through to the very soul...to fill that longing… but, you have to be receptive to it… you have to allow yourself to sit in the shadows and be surrounded by darkness for the reality of it to penetrate your senses.

The Light in the Dark | Stillpoint SpacesThe readings and prayers of the Mass foretell of the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son named Emmanuel. These readings call on all to open, not only the gates of their own hearts, but those of societies, to Christ Our Savior. Not only are we to allow Him to enter, but we are to allow Him to reign as King as well. During this time we are petitioning for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord. Since this a High Mass there was incense and chanting. Combine the mystery of the darkness, the candlelight, the fragrance and the smoke of the incense with the traditional Latin being sung and it soon felt like the veil between the faithful and heaven had drastically thinned.

Even though we did not merit it… being there felt like  we had been given a grace… because of God’s goodness, we had been allowed a peek… a small wonderful glimpse into the holy of  holys…. into the mystery of the incarnation of the Lord. Because our journey began in darkness, we got to experience the way Christ is the Light that spreads across the world… for a moment we were removed from the cares of the world and were able to focus solely on Christ’s coming birth. It was an absolutely beautiful way to deepen our advent journey, and it was well worth all the extra driving and  planning it took to get there. And because God is so good and ever loving, He allowed for us to slip away, through the wonder of this Holy Rorate Caeli Mass, and be transported out of realm of the everyday… allowing us to be transported from the darkness into the light. And by doing so, He allowed us to experience heaven’s beautiful embrace.

Below is a copy of the sermon that St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote and was read to us by  Fr. Vincent Capuanoat, S.J. at the Mass. It is absolutely AMAZING! Enjoy!

If we devoutly celebrate the coming of the Lord we do no more than that which we ought to do, for He has not only come to us, He has come for us, Who has no need of our own goods. The enormity of the grace which He gives us demonstrates quite clearly our previous indigence.  For if one judges the gravity of a disease from what it costs to heal it, one is forced to recognize the amount of disease to heal from the amount of medicine to which one must have recourse.

Why would there be a diversity of graces if there was not a diversity of needs? It is difficult to enumerate in a single discourse all the miseries to we which are subjected, but three are now clear in my spirit as needs which are common to all and which one may in some way behold as our main miseries.

There is not a single person amongst us who does not seem to have, at some time, the need for counsel, aid, and assistance, for that triple need is general to the whole human race; and for all that we are, living in the shadow of death, in a weak body and under the spell of temptation, if we wish to seriously reflect, we shall see that we are the victims of this triple evil.
Truly we are weak to seduction, indolent in our action, powerless to resist.If we wish to discern between good and evil, we always mistake ourselves; and if we wish to do good, we are beaten and vanquished.
This was what made the advent of the Lord necessary and what made His presence a need for all men in the state in which they were. God wishes that, by the abundance of His grace, He not only comes but inhabits within us by Faith, to dissipate our shadows by the impact of His light; He wishes to remain within us to aid our feebleness, He resists with us to cover and protect our fragility.
Truly, if He is in us, what will induce us to err? If He is with us, what will we not be able to do in Him who fortifies us? He is a faithful counselor, who cannot deceive us or be deceived, he is a powerful aid who prevents fatigue, an efficient protector who may put Satan himself under our feet and annihilate his power, because He is nothing less than the Wisdom of God Himself, who may, when he wishes to do so, instruct the ignorant.
He is the virtue of God, who supports unceasingly those who fail and takes them away from any danger. My brethren, every time we have the need for counsel, let us appeal to this Master; in all our actions, let us call this powerful aide; in all assaults which we must stand, let us place the salvation of our souls in the hands of this sure Defender.
He is come to the world precisely to find Himself within men, with men, and for men, to dissipate our shadows, to alleviate our strains, and to deliver us from the dangers which imperil us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Seventh Sermon of the Advent of Our Lord
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Wonder of the Universe

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oh wonder of the universe, that

                                                         I should sit here … like this…

quietly contemplating

the silence…

spinning in the quiet clouds of fragrant smoke,

swirling… I drift… alone.

And you, halfway around the world…

are closely pondering

This same face of Christ…

 the Eucharist.

This burning furnace of charity …

His Heart is steady…

unchanging… beating…

quiet flames that are precisely the same for all eternity,

relentlessly pulling us towards

this mystery of Life…

the rhythm of His  chest…

rising and falling.

And even though vast blue skies

and depths of oceans unknown ….

separate us… they can do nothing

to divide us from this

same universal Truth:

Christ is the Eucharist.

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