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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-12-03, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
USCCB.org/New American Bible ^ | 12-12-03 | New American Bible

Posted on 12/12/2003 7:02:06 AM PST by Salvation

December 12, 2003
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Psalm: Friday 52 Reading I Responsorial Psalm Gospel

Reading I
Zec 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

or

Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

God's temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed."

Responsorial Psalm
Judith 13:18bcde, 19

R (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R You are the highest honor of our race.

Gospel
Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.

or

Lk 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior."


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For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments and discussion.
1 posted on 12/12/2003 7:02:07 AM PST by Salvation
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Alleluia Ping!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Alleluia Ping list.

2 posted on 12/12/2003 7:03:38 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, Pray for Us.


3 posted on 12/12/2003 7:05:48 AM PST by eastsider
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To: eastsider
Morning Eastsider!

I shall remember to light her candles today.
4 posted on 12/12/2003 7:23:06 AM PST by Askel5
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To: All
Advent Reflections for All -- 2003 -- #39 and 40

The Advent Calendar -- #27

The Advent Wreath

The Jesse Tree

5 posted on 12/12/2003 7:23:25 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: eastsider
Thank You, eastsider!
6 posted on 12/12/2003 7:24:00 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: eastsider
Also "Patroness of the Americas".
7 posted on 12/12/2003 7:25:09 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All; eastsider; Askel5


8 posted on 12/12/2003 7:27:03 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
From: Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet


[19] Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his
covenant was seen within his temple.

The Woman Fleeing from the Dragon


[1] And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the
sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve
stars; [2] she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth,
in anguish for delivery [3] And another portent appeared in heaven;
behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven
diadems upon his heads. [4] His tail swept down a third of the stars of
heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the
woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child
when she brought it forth; [5] she brought forth a male child, one who
is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught
up to God and to his throne, [6] and the woman fled into the
wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God.

[10] And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and
the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ
have come.



Commentary:

19. The seer introduces the heavenly temple (the location par
excellence of God's presence), paralleling the earlier mention of the
temple of Jerusalem (cf. 11:1-2). The opening of the temple and the
sight of the Ark of the Covenant show that the messianic era has come
to an end and God's work of salvation has been completed. The ark was
the symbol of Israel's election and salvation and of God's presence in
the midst of his people. According to a Jewish tradition, reported in 2
Maccabees 2:4-8, Jeremiah placed the ark in a secret hiding place prior
to the destruction of Jerusalem, and it would be seen again when the
Messiah carne. The author of the Apocalypse uses this to assure us that
God has not forgotten his covenant: he has sealed it definitively in
heaven, where the ark is located.

Many early commentators interpreted the ark as a reference to Christ's
sacred humanity, and St Bede explains that just as the manna was kept
in the original ark, so Christ's divinity lies hidden in his sacred
body (cf. "Explanatio Apocalypsis", 11, 19).

The heavenly covenant is the new and eternal one made by Jesus Christ
(cf. Mt 26:26-29 and par.) which will be revealed to all at his second
coming when the Church will triumph, as the Apocalypse goes on to
describe. The presence of the ark in the heavenly temple symbolizes the
sublimity of the messianic kingdom, which exceeds anything man could
create. "The vigilant and active expectation of the coming of the
Kingdom is also the expectation of a finally perfect justice for the
living and the dead, for people of all times and places, a justice
which Jesus Christ, installed as supreme Judge, will establish (cf. Mt
24:29-44, 46; Acts 10:42; 2 Cor 5: 10). This promise, which surpasses
all human possibilities, directly concerns our life in this world. For
true justice must include everyone; it must explain the immense load of
suffering borne by all generations. In fact, without the resurrection
of the dead and the Lord's judgment, there is no justice in the full
sense of the term. The promise of the resurrection is freely made to
meet the desire for true justice dwelling in the human heart" (SCDF,
"Libertatis Conscientia", 60).

The thunder and lightning which accompany the appearance of the ark are
reminiscent of the way God made his presence felt on Sinai; they reveal
God's mighty intervention (cf. Rev 4:5; 8:5) which is now accompanied
by the chastisement of the wicked, symbolized by the earthquake and
hailstones (cf. Ex 9: 13-35).

1-17. We are now introduced to the contenders in the eschatological
battles which mark the final confrontation between God and his
adversary, the devil. The author uses three portents to describe the
leading figures involved, and the war itself. The first is the woman
and her offspring, including the Messiah (12:1-2); the second is the
dragon, who will later transfer his power to the beasts (12:3); the
third, the seven angels with the seven bowls (15:1).

Three successive confrontations with the dragon are described--1) that
of the Messiah to whom the woman gives birth (12:1-6); 2) that of St
Michael and his angels (12:7-12); and 3) that of the woman and the rest
of her offspring (12:13-17) These confrontations should not be seen as
being in chronological order. They are more like three distinct
pictures placed side by side because they are closely connected: in
each the same enemy, the devil, does battle with God's plans and with
those whom God uses to carry them out.

1-2. The mysterious figure of the woman has been interpreted ever since
the time of the Fathers of the Church as referring to the ancient
people of Israel, or the Church of Jesus Christ, or the Blessed Virgin.
The text supports all of these interpretations but in none do all the
details fit. The woman can stand for the people of Israel, for it is
from that people that the Messiah comes, and Isaiah compares Israel to
"a woman with child, who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is
near her time" (Is 26:17).

She can also stand for the Church, whose children strive to overcome
evil and to bear witness to Jesus Christ (cf. v. 17). Following this
interpretation St Gregory wrote: "The sun stands for the light of
truth, and the moon for the transitoriness of temporal things; the holy
Church is clothed like the sun because she is protected by the splendor
of supernatural truth, and she has the moon under her feet because she
is above all earthly things" ("Moralia", 34, 12).

The passage can also refer to the Virgin Mary because it was she who
truly and historically gave birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord
(cf. v. 5). St Bernard comments: "The sun contains permanent color and
splendor; whereas the moon's brightness is unpredictable and
changeable, for it never stays the same. It is quite right, then, for
Mary to be depicted as clothed with the sun, for she entered the
profundity of divine wisdom much further than one can possibly
conceive" ("De B. Virgine", 2).

In his account of the Annunciation, St Luke sees Mary as representing
the faithful remnant of Israel; the angel greets her with the greeting
given in Zephaniah 3:15 to the daughter of Zion (cf. notes on Lk 1:26-
31). St Paul in Galatians 4:4 sees a woman as the symbol of the Church,
our mother; and non-canonical Jewish literature contemporary with the
Book of Revelation quite often personifies the community as a woman.
So, the inspired text of the Apocalypse is open to interpreting this
woman as a direct reference to the Blessed Virgin who, as mother,
shares in the pain of Calvary (cf. Lk 2:35) and who was earlier
prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 as a "sign" (cf. Mt 1:22-23). At the same
time the woman can be interpreted as standing for the people of God,
the Church, whom the figure of Mary represents.

The Second Vatican Council has solemnly taught that Mary is a "type" or
symbol of the Church, for "in the mystery of the Church, which is
itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out
in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother.
Through her faith and obedience she gave birth on earth to the very Son
of the Father, not through the knowledge of man but by the
overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, in the manner of a new Eve who placed
her faith, not in the serpent of old but in God's messenger, without
wavering in doubt. The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed
as the first-born among many brethren (cf. Rom 8:29), that is, the
faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates with a
mother's love" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 63).

The description of the woman indicates her heavenly glory, and the
twelve stars of her victorious crown symbolize the people of God--the
twelve patriarchs (cf. Gen 37:9) and the twelve apostles. And so,
independently of the chronological aspects of the text, the Church sees
in this heavenly woman the Blessed Virgin, "taken up body and soul into
heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord
as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to
her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rev 19:16) and conqueror of sin and
death" ("Lumen Gentium", 59). The Blessed Virgin is indeed the great
sign, for, as St Bonaventure says, "God could have made none greater.
He could have made a greater world and a greater heaven; but not a
woman greater than his own mother" ("Speculum", 8).

3-4. In his description of the devil (cf. v. 9), St John uses symbols
taken from the Old Testament. The dragon or serpent comes from Genesis
3:1-24, a passage which underlies all the latter half of this book. Its
red color and seven heads with seven diadems show that it is bringing
its full force to bear to wage this war. The ten horns in Daniel 7:7
stand for the kings who are Israel's enemies; in Daniel a horn is also
mentioned to refer to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, of whom Daniel also says
(to emphasize the greatness of Antiochus' victories) that it cast stars
down from heaven onto the earth (cf. Dan 8:10). Satan drags other
angels along with him, as the text later recounts (Rev 12:9). All these
symbols, then, are designed to convey the enormous power of Satan. "The
devil is described as a serpent", St Cyprian writes, "because he moves
silently and seems peaceable and comes by easy ways and is so astute
and so deceptive [...] that he tries to have night taken for day,
poison taken for medicine. So, by deceptions of this kind, he tries to
destroy truth by cunning. That is why he passes himself off as an angel
of light" ("De Unitate Ecclesiae", I-III).

After the fall of our first parents war broke out between the serpent
and his seed and the woman and hers: "I will put enmity between you and
the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel" (Gen 3:15). Jesus Christ is the woman's
descendant who will obtain victory over the devil (cf. Mk 1:23-26; Lk
4:31-37; etc.). That is why the power of evil concentrates all his
energy on destroying Christ (cf. Mt 2:13-18) or to deflecting him from
his mission (cf. Mt 4:1-11 and par.). By relating this enmity to the
beginnings of the human race St. John paints a very vivid picture.

5. The birth of Jesus Christ brings into operation the divine plan
announced by the prophets (cf. Is 66:7) and by the Psalms (cf. Ps 2:9),
and marks the first step in ultimate victory over the devil. Jesus'
life on earth, culminating in his passion, resurrection and ascension
into heaven, was the key factor in achieving this victory. St John
emphasizes the triumph of Christ as victor, who, as the Church
confesses, "sits at the right hand of the Father" ("Nicene-
Constantinopolitan Creed").

6. The figure of the woman reminds us of the Church, the people of God.
Israel took refuge in the wilderness to escape from Pharaoh, and the
Church does the same after the victory of Christ. The wilderness stands
for solitude and intimate union with God. In the wilderness God took
personal care of his people, setting them free from their enemies (cf.
Ex 17:8-16) and nourishing them with quail and manna (cf. Ex 16:1-36).
The Church is given similar protection against the powers of hell (cf.
Mt 16:18) and Christ nourishes it with his body and his word all the
while it makes its pilgrimage through the ages; it has a hard time
(like Israel in the wilderness) but there will be an end to it: it will
take one thousand two hundred and sixty days (cf. notes on 11:3).

Although the woman, in this verse, seems to refer directly to the
Church, she also in some way stands for the particular woman who gave
birth to the Messiah, the Blessed Virgin. As no other creature has
done, Mary has enjoyed a very unique type of union with God and very
special protection from the powers of evil, death included. Thus, as
the Second Vatican Council teaches, "in the meantime [while the Church
makes its pilgrim way on earth], the Mother of Jesus in the glory which
she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and beginning of
the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she
shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (cf. 2 Pet
3:10), a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim people of God"
("Lumen Gentium", 68).

10-12. With the ascension of Christ into heaven the Kingdom of God is
established and so all those who dwell in heaven break out into a song
of joy. The devil has been deprived of his power over man in the sense
that the redemptive action of Christ and man's faith enable man to
escape from the world of sin. The text expresses this joyful truth by
saying that there is now no place for the accuser, Satan whose name
means and whom the Old Testament teaches to be the accuser of men
before God: cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10). Given what God meant creation to
be, Satan could claim as his victory anyone who, through sinning,
disfigured the image and likeness of God that was in him. However, once
the Redemption has taken place, Satan no longer has power to do this,
for, as St John writes, "if any one does sin, we have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our
sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world"
(Jn 2:1-2). Also, on ascending into heaven, Christ sent us the Holy
Spirit as "Intercessor and Advocate, especially when man, that is,
mankind, find themselves before the judgment of condemnation by that
'accuser' about whom the Book of Revelation says that 'he accuses them
day and night before our God"' (John Paul II, "Dominum Et
Vivificantem", 67).

Although Satan has lost this power to act in the world, he still has
time left, between the resurrection of our Lord and the end of history,
to put obstacles in man's way and frustrate Christ's action. And so he
works ever more frenetically, as he sees time run out, in his effort to
distance everyone and society itself from the plans and commandments of
God.

The author of the Book of Revelation uses this celestial chant to warn
the Church of the onset of danger as the End approaches.



Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.

9 posted on 12/12/2003 7:29:13 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
From: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation and Incarnation of the Son of God


[26] In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city
of Galilee named Nazareth, [27] to a virgin betrothed to a man whose
name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
[28] And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is
with you!" [29] But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and
considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. [30] And
the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found
favor with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and
bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. [32] He will be great,
and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give
to Him the throne of His father David, [33] and He will reign over the
house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end."
[34] And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no
husband?" [35] And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come
upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore
the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [36] And
behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a
son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. [37]
For with God nothing will be impossible." [38] And Mary said, "Behold,
I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your
word." And the angel departed from her.



Commentary:

26-38. Here we contemplate our Lady who was "enriched from the first
instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique
holiness; [...] the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding
angel, by divine command, as `full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28), and to
the heavenly messenger she replies, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
be it done unto me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the
daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the
Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly to God's saving
will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid
of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with Him,
serving the mystery of Redemption, by the grace of Almighty God.
Rightly, therefore, the Fathers (of the Church) see Mary not merely as
passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of
man's salvation through faith and obedience" (Vatican II, "Lumen
Gentium", 56).

The annunciation to Mary and incarnation of the Word constitute the
deepest mystery of the relationship between God and men and the most
important event in the history of mankind: God becomes man, and will
remain so forever, such is the extent of His goodness and mercy and
love for all of us. And yet on the day when the Second Person of the
Blessed Trinity assumed frail human nature in the pure womb of the
Blessed Virgin, it all happened quietly, without fanfare of any kind.

St. Luke tells the story in a very simple way. We should treasure
these words of the Gospel and use them often, for example, practising
the Christian custom of saying the Angelus every day and reflecting on
the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

27. God chose to be born of a virgin; centuries earlier He disclosed
this through the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). God,
"before all ages made choice of, and set in her proper place, a mother
for His only-begotten Son from whom He, after being made flesh, should
be born in the blessed fullness of time: and He continued His
persevering regard for her in preference to all other creatures, to
such a degree that for her alone He had singular regard" (Pius IX,
"Ineffabilis Deus," 2). This privilege granted to our Lady of being a
virgin and a mother at the same time is a unique gift of God. This was
the work of the Holy Spirit "who at the conception and the birth of
the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her
while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity" ("St. Pius V
Catechism," I, 4, 8). Paul VI reminds us of this truth of faith: "We
believe that the Blessed Mary, who ever enjoys the dignity of
virginity, was the Mother of the incarnate Word, of our God and Savior
Jesus Christ" ("Creed of the People of God", 14).

Although many suggestions have been made as to what the name Mary
means, most of the best scholars seem to agree that Mary means "lady".
However, no single meaning fully conveys the richness of the name.

28. "Hail, full of grace": literally the Greek text reads "Rejoice!",
obviously referring to the unique joy over the news which the angel is
about to communicate.

"Full of grace": by this unusual form of greeting the archangel reveals
Mary's special dignity and honor. The Fathers and Doctors of the
Church "taught that this singular, solemn and unheard-of-greeting
showed that all the divine graces reposed in the Mother of God and that
she was adorned with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit", which meant
that she "was never subject to the curse", that is, was preserved from
all sin. These words of the archangel in this text constitute one of
the sources which reveal the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (cf.
Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus"; Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God").

"The Lord is with you!": these words are not simply a greeting ("the
Lord be with you") but an affirmation ("the Lord is with you"), and
they are closely connected with the Incarnation. St. Augustine
comments by putting these words on the archangel's lips: "He is more
with you than He is with me: He is in your heart, He takes shape within
you, He fills your soul, He is in your womb" ("Sermo De Nativitate
Domini", 4).

Some important Greek manuscripts and early translations add at the end
of the verse: "Blessed are you among women!", meaning that God will
exalt Mary over all women. She is more excellent than Sarah, Hannah,
Deborah, Rachel, Judith, etc., for only she has the supreme honor of
being chosen to be the Mother of God.

29-30. Our Lady is troubled by the presence of the archangel and by the
confusion truly humble people experience when they receive praise.

30. The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the
vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel
sets her mind at ease by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary," he is
helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally
experiences when God gives him or her a special calling. The fact that
Mary felt this fear does not imply the least trace of imperfection in
her: hers is a perfectly natural reaction in the face of the
supernatural. Imperfection would arise if one did not overcome this
fear or rejected the advice of those in a position to help--as St.
Gabriel helped Mary.

31-33. The archangel Gabriel tells the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is
to be the Mother of God by reminding her of the words of Isaiah which
announced that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, a prophecy which
will find its fulfillment in Mary (cf. Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).

He reveals that the Child will be "great": His greatness comes from His
being God, a greatness He does not lose when He takes on the lowliness
of human nature. He also reveals that Jesus will be the king of the
Davidic dynasty sent by God in keeping with His promise of salvation;
that His Kingdom will last forever, for His humanity will remain
forever joined to His divinity; that "He will be called Son of the Most
High", that is that He really will be the Son of the Most High and will
be publicly recognized as such, that is, the Child will be the Son of
God.

The archangel's announcement evokes the ancient prophecies which
foretold these prerogatives. Mary, who was well-versed in Sacred
Scripture, clearly realized that she was to be the Mother of God.

34-38. Commenting on this passage John Paul II said: "`Virgo fidelis',
the faithful Virgin. What does this faithfulness of Mary mean? What
are the dimensions of this faithfulness? The first dimension is called
search. Mary was faithful first of all when she began, lovingly, to
seek the deep sense of God's plan in her and for the world. `Quomodo
fiet?' How shall this be?, she asked the Angel of the Annunciation
[...]."

"The second dimension of faithfulness is called reception, acceptance.
The `quomodo fiet?' is changed, on Mary's lips, to a `fiat': Let it be
done, I am ready, I accept. This is the crucial moment of
faithfulness, the moment in which man perceives that he will never
completely understand the `how': that there are in God's plan more
areas of mystery than of clarity; that is, however he may try, he will
never succeed in understanding it completely[...]."

"The third dimension of faithfulness is consistency to live in
accordance with what one believes; to adapt one's own life to the
object of one's adherence. To accept misunderstanding, persecutions,
rather than a break between what one practises and what one believes:
this is consistency[...]."

"But all faithfulness must pass the most exacting test, that of
duration. Therefore, the fourth dimension of faithfulness is
constancy. It is easy to be consistent for a day or two. It is
difficult and important to be consistent for one's whole life. It is
easy to be consistent in the hour of enthusiasm, it is difficult to be
so in the hour of tribulation. And only a consistency that lasts
throughout the whole life can be called faithfulness. Mary's `fiat' in
the Annunciation finds its fullness in the silent `fiat' that she
repeats at the foot of the Cross" ("Homily in Mexico City Cathedral",
26 January 1979).

34. Mary believed in the archangel's words absolutely; she did not
doubt as Zechariah had done (cf. 1:18). Her question, "How can this
be?", expresses her readiness to obey the will of God even though at
first sight it implied a contradiction: on the one hand, she was
convinced that God wished her to remain a virgin; on the other, here
was God also announcing that she would become a mother. The archangel
announces God's mysterious design, and what had seemed impossible,
according to the laws of nature, is explained by a unique intervention
on the part of God.

Mary's resolution to remain a virgin was certainly something very
unusual, not in line with the practice of righteous people under the
Old Covenant, for, as St. Augustine explains, "particularly attentive
to the propagation and growth of the people of God, through whom the
Prince and Savior of the world might be prophesied and be born, the
saints were obliged to make use of the good of matrimony" ("De Bono
Matrimonii", 9, 9). However, in the Old Testament, there were some who,
in keeping with God's plan, did remain celibate--for example, Jeremiah,
Elijah, Eliseus and John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin, who received
a very special inspiration of the Holy Spirit to practise virginity, is
a first-fruit of the New Testament, which will establish the excellence
of virginity over marriage while not taking from the holiness of the
married state, which it raises to the level of a sacrament (cf.
"Gaudium Et Spes", 48).

35. The "shadow" is a symbol of the presence of God. When Israel was
journeying through the wilderness, the glory of God filled the
Tabernacle and a cloud covered the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus
40:34-36). And when God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, a cloud
covered Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:15-16); and also, at the Transfiguration
of Jesus the voice of God the Father was heard coming out of a cloud
(Luke 9:35).

At the moment of the Incarnation the power of God envelops our Lady--an
expression of God's omnipotence. The Spirit of God--which, according
to the account in Genesis (1:2), moved over the face of the waters,
bringing things to life--now comes down on Mary. And the fruit of her
womb will be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary, who herself
was conceived without any stain of sin (cf. Pius IX, "Ineffabilis
Deus") becomes, after the Incarnation, a new tabernacle of God. This
is the mystery we recall every day when saying the Angelus.

38. Once she learns of God's plan, our Lady yields to God's will with
prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between
what she is going to become--the Mother of God--and what she is--a
woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for Him nothing
is impossible; therefore no one should stand in His way. So Mary,
combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God's call:
"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done according to
your word."

"At the enchantment of this virginal phrase, the Word became flesh"
([Blessed] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary", first joyful mystery). From the
pure body of Mary, God shaped a new body, He created a soul out of
nothing, and the Son of God united Himself with this body and soul:
prior to this He was only God; now He is still God but also man. Mary
is now the Mother of God. This truth is a dogma of faith, first
defined by the Council of Ephesus (431). At this point she also begins
to be the spiritual Mother of all mankind. What Christ says when He is
dying--`Behold, your son..., behold, your mother" (John
19:26-27)--simply promulgates what came about silently at Nazareth.
"With her generous `fiat' (Mary) became, through the working of the
Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the living, and, by
receiving into her womb the one Mediator, she became the true Ark of
the Covenant and true Temple of God" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 6).

The Annunciation shows us the Blessed Virgin as perfect model of
"purity" (the RSV "I have no husband" is a euphemism); of "humility"
("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord"); of "candor" and "simplicity"
("How can this be?"); of "obedience" and "lively faith" ("Let it be done
to me according to your word"). "Following her example of obedience to
God, we can learn to serve delicately without being slavish. In Mary,
we don't find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish
virgins, who obey, but thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to
what God wants, ponders what she doesn't fully understand and asks about
what she doesn't know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the
divine will: `Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to
me according to your word'. Isn't that marvellous? The Blessed
Virgin, our teacher in all we do, shows us here that obedience to God
is not servile, does not bypass our conscience. We should be inwardly
moved to discover the `freedom of the children of God' (cf. Romans
8:21)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 173).



Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.

10 posted on 12/12/2003 7:30:23 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
FEAST OF THE DAY

Today's feast commemorates the apparition of Mary to St. Juan
Diego on Tepeyac hill near Mexico City. Mary appeared to Juan in
the form of an Aztec princess and had the complexion of a Native
American. Mary spoke to Juan in his own language and sent him to
the bishop of Mexico with the request that a chapel be built on the
hill.

When Juan spoke to the bishop he was doubted and the bishop
asked for a sign to prove the authenticity of the vision. Mary
appeared to Juan again and gave him some Spanish roses to take
back to the bishop in his cloak. When Juan emptied out his cloak, an
image of Our Lady was left imprinted upon it. The image left on the
cloak was the same as Juan had received when he looked upon Our
Lady. This apparition occurred in the year 1531, and helped to
convert many Native Americans to Christianity. Our Lady of
Guadalupe was declared patron of the Americas by Pope Pius XII. In
1999 this celebration was raised to the rank of feast throughout all
the countries of the Americas.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal's feast is celebrated on this date
outside of the United States. In the USA St. Jane's feast is moved to
August 18.


QUOTE OF THE DAY

When shall it be that we shall taste the sweetness of the Divine Will
in all that happens to us, considering in everything only His good
pleasure, by whom it is certain that adversity is sent with as much
love as prosperity, and as much for our good? When shall we cast
ourselves undeservedly into the arms of our most loving Father in
Heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our affairs, and
reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in
all that we can? -St. Jane Frances de Chantal


TODAY IN HISTORY

1769 Pope Clement XIV proclaims a universal jubilee
1974 Pope Paul VI announced his intention of canonizing Elizabeth
Ann Seton


TODAY'S TIDBIT

Guadalupe is Spanish for the Aztec name Tecoataxope and means,
"she will crush the serpent of stone".


INTENTION FOR THE DAY

Please pray, through Our Lady of Guadalupe patroness of the
Americas, for all for all people living in the Americas.
11 posted on 12/12/2003 7:33:29 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet
Question from Ed Valenciano on 12-09-2003:

How is it that the woman clothed with the sun mentioned in Revelations 12:1 is claimed to be the Virgin Mary by us Catholics. What is the solid proof that this passage refers to Mary. I am a Marian devotee and I would like to be very certain about my answer when I am asked this question by my non-Catholic associates. Thank you.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 12-10-2003:

The first level of "proof" would be the literal interpretation of the text itself, in which we see that this Woman gives birth to a Son, Whom the Dragon wishes to destroy. All commentators agree that the Son if Jesus Christ--and the Dragon is explicitly identified as Satan--therefore it is absolutely reasonable to assume that the Woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ MUST BE Mary, the Mother of our Lord.

The book of Revelation records a vision of a woman clothed with the sun:

12:1 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 12:2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. 12:3 And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 12:4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; 12:5 she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 12:6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

There is a long-standing tradition of interpretation in the Church which views this woman from two perspectives: as representative of God’s People and as the Mother of our Lord. We note that it is common to find a feminine image for the People of God, in the OT and the NT. In this case, we see that the Savior (male child) is born of the Jewish People with the pains of birth (symbolically often used to represent a new age dawning, certainly the case with the coming of the Messiah) and Satan attempts to destroy our Lord, not just as an infant but he continually attempted to thwart his saving mission. But having failed to do this and now that our Lord has ascended to heaven, Satan continues to wage war upon the Church (the Woman). She is given protection by our Lord, as the Church is protected, through a period of persecution. The reference to a period of three and a half years, in various fractions, seems to represent a period of persecution, no matter how long it may be, in fact. This three and a half period may find a past reference in the persecution of Antiochus IV of Syria upon the Jewish people in the 2nd century BC and may find an initial fulfillment in the siege of Jerusalem from 66-70 AD, more specifically, for precisely a three and a half year period.

At the primary level of symbolism, we can see this woman as representative of our Blessed Mother, who gave birth to our Lord. But in making this association, we do not apply every aspect or detail to her directly without qualification. For the suffering need not be a matter of physically giving birth, but of the sufferings the Mother of our Lord endured which reach a height as she stood beneath the cross upon which her Son died. Remember, the prophet Simeon had foretold that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. This allusion was not a matter of a physical sword but of spiritual and emotional suffering of a Mother, which is also physical. But many non Catholics will not accept deeper levels of symbols, which is often at the spiritual level of interpretation and in light of Tradition and sometimes special revelations, such as Marian apparitions, some of which have been officially approved.

And while maintaining both the symbol of Mary and of the People of God for this Woman, I now regard the primary meaning as Mary, as the other figures of this chapter refer first of all to single referents and secondarily to other realities: the Dragon is Satan, St. Michael is the Archangel, and the Male Child is, of course, Jesus Christ. The apparent connection between the appearance of the ark of the covenant in chapter eleven and the appearance of this woman in chapter twelve further confirm the association of the Woman with Mary, for she is regarded by the Church as the new Ark of the Covenant, as the first dwelling place of the Incarnate Lord.

We should also note that the Church has chosen the text of the Woman Clothed with the Sun as the first reading for the vigil Mass of the feast of the Assumption. The implication is obvious: this text is to be associated with the Blessed Mother, now in her heavenly splendor.

Finally, we have the words of two popes who comment upon this Woman as an image of the Blessed Mother.

In his encyclical letter “Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum” Pope Pius X wrote:

“A great sign,” thus the Apostle St. John describes a vision divinely sent him, appears in the heavens: “A woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon her head.” Everyone knows that this woman signified the Virgin Mary, the stainless one who brought forth our head…John therefore saw the Most Holy Mother of God already in eternal happiness, yet travailing in a mysterious childbirth. What birth was it? Surely it was the birth of us who, still in exile, are yet to be generated to the perfect charity of God, and to eternal happiness. And the birth pains show the love and desire with which the Virgin from heaven above watches over us, and strives with unwearying prayer to bring about the fulfillment of the number of the elect.

In his encyclical letter, "The Great Sign," Pope Paul VI wrote:

The great sign which the Apostle John saw in heaven, "a woman clothed with the sun,"(1) is interpreted by the sacred Liturgy,(2) not without foundation, as referring to the most blessed Mary, the mother of all men by the grace of Christ the Redeemer.

In his encyclical letter “Redemptoris Mater” Pope John Paul II wrote:

47. Thanks to this special bond linking the Mother of Christ with the Church, there is further clarified the mystery of that "woman" who, from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis until the Book of Revelation, accompanies the revelation of God's salvific plan for humanity. For Mary, present in the Church as the Mother of the Redeemer, takes part, as a mother, in that monumental struggle; against the powers of darkness"(138) which continues throughout human history. And by her ecclesial identification as the "woman clothed with the sun" (Rev. 12:1),(139) it can be said that "in the Most Holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle." Hence, as Christians raise their eyes with faith to Mary in the course of their earthly pilgrimage, they "strive to increase in holiness."(140) Mary, the exalted Daughter of Sion, helps all her children, wherever they may be and whatever their condition, to find in Christ the path to the Father's house.

Thanks, Ed

Father Echert



COPYRIGHT 2003


12 posted on 12/12/2003 7:36:30 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Askel5
Good morning, Askel5!


13 posted on 12/12/2003 7:37:10 AM PST by eastsider
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To: All
Thought for the Day

It is impossible for a person who prays regularly to remain in serious sin; because the two are incompatible, one or the other will have to be given up.

 -- St. Teresa of Avila

14 posted on 12/12/2003 7:38:46 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Friday, December 12, 2003

Meditation
Zechariah 2:14-17 (2:10-13, RSV)



Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sometimes simple obedience is all that stands between us and the awesome power of God. This truth is dramatically evident in the life of St. Juan Diego, the Aztec Indian whose faithfulness changed the course of history. In December of 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near present-day Mexico City and asked him to give a message to the local bishop, Juan de Zumárraga. She wanted the bishop to build a chapel on Tepeyac, where she would hear the cries of the people and “help their many sorrows, necessities, and misfortunes.”

A recent convert to Catholicism, Juan Diego promptly obeyed and went to Zumárraga. But the bishop didn’t take him seriously. When Mary asked him to go back, Juan told her to send someone more eloquent. Mary insisted, saying, “There are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen.” When Juan Diego returned, the bishop asked for a sign. Juan brought him not one sign but two: Castilian roses, which normally don’t grow in December, and most surprisingly, a beautiful image of Mary, miraculously imprinted on his cloak. To this day, the cloak depicts the image of Mary pregnant with Jesus, her feet crushing the head of Satan.

Because Juan Diego said “yes” to Mary’s request, the church she asked for was built. Juan lived beside the church for the rest of his life, telling visitors his story and showing them his miraculous cloak. As the news of Mary’s appearance spread and more people came to the church, millions gave up the superstitions of their ancestors and were converted to Christ.

These events happened centuries ago, but they still speak to us today. In a culture desperately in need of the gospel, we too are called to be a light to God’s people. Like St. Juan Diego, we cannot tell what the results of our obedience will be. The task the Lord gives us may look very simple indeed. But if we feel the impulse to say, “Not me!” let us remember that our “yes” may be the key that unlocks a miracle.

“Holy Spirit, let me be open to whatever inspiration you send me today. I want to be your humble instrument to lead others to Jesus.”


15 posted on 12/12/2003 7:41:09 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Have a great day, Salvation : )


16 posted on 12/12/2003 7:41:10 AM PST by eastsider
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To: eastsider; All

17 posted on 12/12/2003 7:42:48 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; Cap'n Crunch; All
A Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Relic From Guadalupe Tilma to Tour U.S.

The Amazing Truth of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Celebrating 470 years of an ongoing miracle, the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe 1531

18 posted on 12/12/2003 7:52:42 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Ping back. Interesting thing [to me] that I heard at Mass today was there is no place in Mexico called Guadalupe. But there is such a place in Spain. The Priest said Guadalupe was sort of corruption of the name of an actual place in Mexico. But ????
19 posted on 12/12/2003 8:29:11 AM PST by ex-snook (Americans need Balanced Trade - we buy from you, you buy from us. No free rides.)
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To: ex-snook
**The Priest said Guadalupe was sort of corruption of the name of an actual place in Mexico. But ????**

Tepeyac Hill??

Doesn't make sense.
20 posted on 12/12/2003 8:55:51 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
My favorite feast day. The first time I read the story I cried like a baby and my life was changed.

There are no words to express how much I love Our Lady and how much she continues to do for me even though I don't deserve it.

"Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"-Our Lady to St. Juan Diego

Thank you Jesus, for giving us your Mother to be our Mother.

Thank you Dearest Mother, my Queen, for all that you have done and continue to do for me, as sinful as I am, I love you!

21 posted on 12/12/2003 9:10:25 AM PST by Cap'n Crunch
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To: Salvation

Through the Year with Bishop Fulton Sheen
Inspirational Selections for Each Day of the Year

Bishop Fulton Sheen - May he rest with God eternally

Building up the Church

December 12 - "Gifts can be transient things. That's why St. Paul says of several of them, 'They will pass.' See how Saul lost his gift, or Samson. Samson had the charism of strength. And Samson one day said, 'I will go out and do as I've done before,' and scripture says that' he knew not that the Lord had left him.' He no longer had the charism.

So the particular gifts can be lost. We therefore have to keep a due balance in the Church, and not be overemphatic about certain gifts, not forming elites, not allowing anyone to say, 'We have a monopoly on the Spirit. You join our group. I am of Paul; I am of Cephas; I am of Apollos.' The test is always: does it build up the Church? If it does not build up the Church, then it is not properly used." - Bishop Sheen

22 posted on 12/12/2003 9:26:45 AM PST by NYer (Keep CHRIST in Christmas!)
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To: Salvation; ex-snook
Did a Google.

http://aztlan.net/juandiego.htm

She told Juan Diego to pick the Castilian roses, which do not exist in that climate but were miraculously growing right in front of him. He gathered them using his tilma and approached the church dignitary. Juan Diego unfolded his tilma and the bishop saw that emblazoned on the front was a beautiful olive skin lady and the miraculous blossoms laying at her feet.

The bishop asked Juan Diego who the lady was and he answered Tecuauhtlacuepeuh which in Nahuatl sounds like "guadalupe". The bishop associated the lady with the Muslim Spanish Madonna "Our Lady of Guadalupe" that was venerated high in the Estremadura Mountains of Spain.
23 posted on 12/12/2003 11:55:48 AM PST by clockwise
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To: Cap'n Crunch
Thank you for sharing part of your story.
24 posted on 12/12/2003 3:39:13 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: clockwise; ex-snook

**Tecuauhtlacuepeuh** That I can see the parallels.

(G) ua (d)l a u pe


25 posted on 12/12/2003 3:43:39 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Friday, December 12, 2003 >> Our Lady of Guadalupe
 
Zechariah 2:14-17 Psalm 113 Luke 1:39-47
View Readings
 
THE MOST AMAZING WOMAN
 
“Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: ‘Blest are you among women and blest is the Fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ ” —Luke 1:41-43
 

I, Father Al Lauer, am the founder of a religious community, the Brothers and Fathers of Pentecost. One of our principal patrons is Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Presentation Ministries publishes One Bread, One Body. Presentation Ministries’ retreat house, called the Paul Jansen Discipleship Center, has a chapel named after Our Lady of Guadalupe. Presentation Ministries is a network of over thirty small Christian communities. One of our communities is named after Our Lady of Guadalupe. Why did the Holy Spirit lead us to so emphasize Our Lady of Guadalupe?

Mary is the mother of God. Therefore, she has a very important part in God’s plan of salvation. When Jesus hung on the cross, He gave His disciples Mary to be our mother (Jn 19:26-27). Jesus wants us to love His mother, who is our adoptive mother.

Jesus especially worked through His mother at a place that would later be called Guadalupe. There Mary showed herself to be the great evangelizer. In seven years, she led eight million people to commit their lives to her Son Jesus. Also, Our Lady made one of the greatest stands for life ever. She put an end to killing thousands of children as sacrificial offerings.

Today in our secular humanistic culture of death, we need the Lord to continue to work through Our Lady of Guadalupe to protect life and lead millions of people to new life in Christ. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

 
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me more about Mary’s part in Your plan.
Promise: “See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord.” —Zec 2:14
Praise: Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke to one obedient man. Now half the Catholic Church’s living members are in the New World.
 

26 posted on 12/12/2003 9:33:24 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Homily of the Day


Homily of the Day

Title:   Mary Got It Exactly Right. Have You?
Author:   Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
Date:   Friday, December 12, 2003
 


Rev 11:19; 12:1-6, 10 / Lk 1:39-47

No matter what the era of history, from the age of the caveman to the era of the hi-tech woman, it's always been a challenge to be a responsible adult. Despite our wishful thinking and occasional appearances to the contrary, there's no free lunch and there never was. We earn our bread by the sweat of our brow; be it physical or mental, it's still sweat! We struggle to do our best at our jobs, to pay our taxes, to feed our families, to be good parents and good citizens. And at times we get tired, so tired!

Some of that tiredness is simple and obvious in its origins: We're doing so much at such a pace. But there's another part of our tiredness whose source may not be so obvious. It's the weariness that can come from walking too long and too far alone, and feeling the oppressive heaviness of the darkness in which we walk.

Mary walked many a hard journey in her life: She was pregnant before she was married; she was widowed very early; she stood by helpless at the unjust execution of her Son. Yet she never walked alone and never walked in the dark, for from the very beginning of her conscious life, she was aware of the Lord's presence, she knew the Lord could be trusted with her life, and she gave thanks.

That is God's invitation to us this day through Jesus' Holy Mother: Know that the Lord is with you, trust Him with your life, and give thanks always!

 

 
       

27 posted on 12/12/2003 9:39:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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