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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-08-05, Solemnity, Immaculate Conception/Bld Virgin Mary
USCCB.org/New American Bible ^ | 12-08-05 | New American Bible

Posted on 12/08/2005 8:27:21 AM PST by Salvation

December 8, 2005
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Psalm: Thursday 52

Reading I
Gn 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading II
Eph 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

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.




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KEYWORDS: advent; angel; blessed; catholiccaucus; catholiclist; conception; immaculate; immaculateconception; lukegabriel; virginmary
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/08/2005 8:27:22 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Alleluia Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Alleluia Ping List.

2 posted on 12/08/2005 8:28:46 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith

"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"

TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House

Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?

Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)

The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8

Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary

Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)

Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?

John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception

Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th

Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)

Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

On The Feast of The Immaculate Conception, The Patroness of the US, We Must Pray For Our Country[Read only]

3 posted on 12/08/2005 8:33:58 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Season of Advent -- 2005 -- Praying Each Day
4 posted on 12/08/2005 8:49:20 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Advent 2005 – He Comes! The King of Glory
5 posted on 12/08/2005 8:50:57 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: All
Catholic Caucus: Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree
7 posted on 12/08/2005 8:53:26 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Genesis 3:9-15, 20


Temptation and the First Sin (Continuation)



[9] But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"
[10] And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was
afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." [11] He said, "Who told you
that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to
eat?" [12] The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave
me fruit of the tree, and I ate." [13] Then the Lord God said to the woman,
"What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me,
and I ate." [14] The Lord said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly
you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. [15] I will
put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he
shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."


[20] The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all
living.




Commentary:


3:7-13. This passage begins the description of the effects of the original
sin. Man and woman have come to know evil, and it shows, initially, in a
most direct way--in their own bodies. The inner harmony described in
Genesis 2:25 is broken, and concupiscence rears its head. Their friendship
with God is also broken, and they flee from his presence, to avoid their
nakedness being seen. As if his Creator could not see them! The harmony
between man and woman is also fractured: he puts the blame on her, and she
puts it on the serpent. But all three share in the responsibility, and
therefore all three are going to pay the penalty.


"The harmony in which they found themselves, thanks to original justice, is
now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body
is shattered: the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions (cf.
Gen 3:7-16), their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.
Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and
hostile to man (cf. Gen 3:17, 19). Because of man, creation is now subject
'to its bondage to decay' (Rom 8:21). Finally, the consequence explicitly
foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will 'return to the
ground' (Gen 3:19), for out of it he was taken. 'Death makes its entrance
into human history' (cf. Roman 5:12)" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church",
400).


3:14-15. The punishment God imposes on the serpent includes confrontation
between woman and the serpent, between mankind and evil, with the promise
that man will come out on top. That is why this passage is called the
"Proto-gospel": it is the first announcement to mankind of the good news of
the Redeemer-Messiah. Clearly, a bruise to the head is deadly, whereas a
bruise to the heel is curable.


As the Second Vatican Council teaches, "God, who creates and conserves all
things by his Word, (cf. In 1:3), provides men with constant evidence of
himself in created realities (cf. Rom 1:19-20). And furthermore, wishing to
open up the way to heavenly salvation, by promising redemption (cf. Gen
3:15); and he has never ceased to take care of the human race. For he wishes
to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in
well-doing (cf. Rom 2:6-7)" ("Dei Verbum", 3).


Victory over the devil will be brought about by a descendant of the woman,
the Messiah. The Church has always read these verses as being messianic,
referring to Jesus Christ; and it was seen in the woman the mother of the
promised Savior; the Virgin Mary is the new Eve. "The earliest documents, as
they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and
full revelation, bring the figure of a woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a
gradually clearer light. Considered in this light, she is already
prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which
was given to our first parents after their fall into sin (cf. Gen 3:15)
[...]. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with Irenaeus in
their preaching: 'the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's
obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by
her faith' (St Irenaeus, "Adv. haer." 3, 22, 4) Comparing Mary with Eve,
they call her 'Mother of the living' (St Epiphanius, "Adv. haer. Panarium"
78, 18) and frequently claim: 'death through Eve, life through Mary' (St
Jerome, "Epistula" 22, 21; etc.)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 55-56).


So, woman is going to have a key role in that victory over the devil. In his
Latin translation of the Bible, the "Vulgate", St Jerome in fact reads the
relevant passage as "she [the woman] shall bruise your head". That woman is
the Blessed Virgin, the new Eve and the mother of the Redeemer, who shares
(by anticipation and pre-eminently) in the victory of her Son. Sin never
left its mark on her, and the Church proclaims her as the Immaculate
Conception.


St Thomas explains that the reason why God did not prevent the first man
from sinning was because 'God allows evils to be done in order to draw forth
some greater good. Thus St Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded
all the more' (Rom 5:20); and the "Exultet" sings, '0 happy fault,...which
gained for us so great a Redeemer'" ("Summa Theologiae", 3, 1, 3 and 3; cf.
"Catechism of the Catholic Church", 412).



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.


8 posted on 12/08/2005 9:15:48 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12


Hymn of Praise



[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has
blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. [5] He destined
us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the
purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace which he
freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


[11] In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all
things according to the counsel of his will, [12] we who first hoped
in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of
his glory.




Commentary:


3-14. Verses 3-14 are a hymn of praise to God for the plan of salvation
he has devised and brought to fulfillment in benefit of men and all
creation. It is written in a liturgical style of rhythmic prose,
similar to that in Colossians 1:15-20. In the Greek it is one long
complex sentence full of relative pronouns and clauses which give it a
designed unity; we can, however, distinguish two main sections.


The first (v. 3-10), divided into four stanzas, describes the blessings
contained in God's salvific plan; St Paul terms this plan the "mystery"
of God's will. The section begins by praising God for his eternal
design, a plan, pre-dating creation, to call us to the Church, to form
a community of saints (first stanza: vv. 3f) and receive the grace of
being children of God through Jesus Christ (second stanza: vv. 5f). It
then reflects on Christ's work of redemption which brings this eternal
plan of God to fulfillment (third stanza: vv. 7f). This section reaches
its climax in the fourth stanza (vv. 9f) which proclaims Christ as Lord
of all creation, thereby revealing the full development of God's
salvific plan.


The second section, which divides into two stanzas, deals with the
application of this plan--first to the Jews (fifth stanza: vv. 11f) and
then to the Gentiles, who are also called to share what God has
promised: Jews and Gentiles join to form a single people, the Church
(sixth stanza: vv. 13f).


Hymns in praise of God, or "eulogies", occur in many parts of Sacred
Scripture (cf. Ps 8; Ps 19; Dan 2:20-23; Lk 1:46-54, 68-78; etc.); they
praise the Lord for the wonders of creation or for spectacular
interventions on behalf of his people. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, St
Paul here praises God the Father for all Christ's saving work, which
extends from God's original plan which he made before he created the
world, right up to the very end of time and the recapitulation of all
things in Christ.


We too should always have this same attitude of praise of the Lord.
"Our entire life on earth should take the form of praise of God, for
the never-ending joy of our future life consists in praising God, and
no one can become fit for that future life unless he train himself to
render that praise now" (St Augustine, "Enarrationes in Psalmos",
148).


Praise is in fact the most appropriate attitude for man to have towards
God: "How can you dare use that spark of divine intelligence--your
mind--in anything but in giving glory to your Lord?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The
Way", 782).


3. St Paul blesses God as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because it is
through Christ that all God's blessings and gifts reach us. God's
actions in favor of man are actions of all three divine Persons; the
divine plan which the Apostle considers here has its origin in the
Blessed Trinity; it is eternal. "These three Persons are not to be
considered separable," the Eleventh Council of Toledo teaches, "since
we believe that not one of them existed or at any time effected
anything before the other, after the other, or without the other. For
in existence and operation they are found to be inseparable" ("De
Trinitate" Creed, "Dz-Sch", 531).


In the implementation of this divine plan of salvation, the work of
Redemption is attributed to the Son and that of sanctification to the
Holy Spirit. "To help us grasp in some measure this unfathomable
mystery, we might imagine the Blessed Trinity taking counsel together
in their uninterrupted intimate relationship of infinite love. As a
result of their eternal decision, the only-begotten Son of God the
Father takes on our human condition and bears the burden of our
wretchedness and sorrows, to end up sewn with nails to a piece of wood"
([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 95).


St Paul describes as "spiritual blessings" all the gifts which the
implementation of God's plan implies, gifts which are distributed by
the Holy Spirit. When he speaks of them as being "in the heavenly
places" and "in Christ", he is saying that through Christ who has risen
from the dead and ascended on high we too have been inserted into the
world of God (cf. 1:20; 2:6).


When man describes God as "blessed" it means he recognizes God's
greatness and goodness, and rejoices over the divine gifts he has
received (cf. Lk 1:46, 68). Here is what St Thomas Aquinas has to say
about the meaning of this passage: "The Apostle says, 'Benedictus'
[Blessed be the God ...], that is, may I, and you, and everyone bless
him, with our heart, our mouth, our actions--praising him as God and as
Father, for he is God because of his essence and Father because of his
power to generate" ("Commentary on Eph.", 1, 6).


Sacred Scripture very often invites us to praise God our Lord (cf. Ps
8:19; 33; 46-48; etc.); this is not a matter only of verbal praise: our
actions should prove that we mean what we say: "He who does good with
his hands praises the Lord, and he who confesses the Lord with his
mouth praises the Lord. Praise him by your actions" (St Augustine,
"Enarrationes in Psalmos", 91, 2).


4. As the hymn develops, the Apostle details each of the blessings
contained in God's eternal plan. The first of these is his choice,
before the foundation of the world, of those who would become part of
the Church. The word he uses, translated here as "chose", is the same
one as used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer to
God's election of Israel. The Church, the new people of God, is
constituted by assembling in and around Christ those who have been
chosen and called to holiness. This implies that although the Church
was founded by Christ at a particular point in history, its origin goes
right back to the eternal divine plan. 'The eternal Father, in
accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his
wisdom and goodness,... 'predestined (the elect) to be conformed to
the image of his Son in order that he might be the first-born among
many brethren' (Rom 8:29). He determined to call together in a holy
Church those who believe in Christ. Already present in figure at the
beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion
in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Alliance.
Established in this last age of the world, and made manifest in the
outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at
the end of time" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 2).


God's choice seeks to have us become "holy and blameless before him".
In the same way as in the Old Testament a victim offered to God had to
be unblemished, blameless (cf. Gen 17:1), the blameless holiness to
which God has destined us admits of no imperfection. By the very fact
of being baptized we are made holy (cf. note on 1: 1), and during our
lifetime we try to grow holier with the help of God; however, complete
holiness is something we shall attain only in heaven.


The holiness with which we have been endowed is an undeserved gift from
God: it is not a reward for any merit on our part: even before we were
created God chose us to be his: "'He chose us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy.' I know that such
thoughts don't fill you with pride or lead you to think yourself better
than others. That choice, the root of your vocation, should be the
basis of your humility. Do we build monuments to an artist's
paintbrush? Granted the brush had a part in creating masterpieces, but
we give credit only to the painter. We Christians are nothing more than
instruments in the hands of the Creator of the world, the Redeemer of
all men" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 1).


"He destined us in love": the loving initiative is God's. "If God has
honored us with countless gifts it is thanks to his love, not to our
merits. Our fervor, our strength, our faith and our unity are the
fruit of God's benevolence and our response to his goodness" (St John
Chrysostom, "Hom. on Eph, ad loc".).


God's election of Christians and their vocation to holiness, as also
the gift of divine filiation, reveals that God is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8);
we have become partakers of God's very nature (cf. 2 Pet 1:4), sharers,
that is, in the love of God.


"He destined us in love", therefore, also includes the Christian's love
of God and of others: charity is a sharing in God's own love; it is the
essence of holiness, the Christian's law; nothing has any value if it
is not inspired by charity (cf. 1 Cor 13:1-3).


5. The Apostle goes on to explore the further implications of God's
eternal plan: those chosen to form part of the Church have been given a
second blessing, as it were, by being predestined to be adoptive
children of God. 'The state of this people is that of the dignity and
freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as
in a temple" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium, 9).


This predestination to which the Apostle refers means that God
determined from all eternity that the members of the new people of God
should attain holiness through his gift of adoptive sonship. It is
God's desire that all be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4) and he gives each person
the means necessary for obtaining eternal life. Therefore, no one is
predestined to damnation (cf. Third Council of Valence, "De
Praedestinatione", can. 3).


The source of the Christian's divine sonship is Jesus Christ. God's
only Son, one in substance with the Father, took on human nature in
order to make us sons and daughters of God by adoption (cf. Rom 8:15,
29; 9:4; Gal 4:5). This is why every member of the Church can say: "See
what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of
God; and so we are" (1 Jn 3:1).


What is involved here is not simply formal adoption, which is something
external and does not affect the very person of the child. Divine
adoption affects man's entire being, it inserts him into God's own
life; for Baptism makes us truly his children, partakers of the divine
nature (cf. 2 Pet 1:4). Divine sonship is therefore the greatest of
the gifts God bestows on man during his life on earth. It is indeed
right to exclaim "Blessed be God" (v. 3) when one reflects on this
great gift: it is right for children openly to acknowledge their father
and show their love for him.


Divine filiation has many rich effects as far as the spiritual life is
concerned. "A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not
obsequious and servile; he is not merely formal and well-mannered: he
is completely sincere and trusting. God is not shocked by what we do.
Our infidelities do not wear him out. our Father in heaven pardons any
offense when his child returns to him, when he repents and asks for
pardon. The Lord is such a good father that he anticipates our desire
to be pardoned and comes forward to us, opening his arms laden with
grace" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64). See the notes on Jn
1:12.


6. The gift of divine filiation is the greatest _expression of the glory
of God (cf. note on 1:17 below), because it reveals the full extent of
God's love for man. St Paul stresses what the purpose of this eternal
divine plan is--to promote "the praise of his glorious grace". God's
glory has been made manifest through his merciful love, which has led
him to make us his children in accordance with the eternal purpose of
his will. This eternal design "flows from 'fountain-like love', the
love of God the Father [...]. God in his great and merciful kindness
freely creates us and, moreover, graciously calls us to share in his
life and glory. He generously pours out, and never ceases to pour out,
his divine goodness, so that he who is Creator of all things might at
last become 'everything to everyone' (1 Cor 15:28), thus simultaneously
assuring his own glory and our happiness" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes",
2).


The grace which St Paul speaks of here and which manifests the glory of
God refers first to the fact that God's blessings are totally unmerited
by us and include the grace-conferring gifts of holiness and divine
filiation.


"In the Beloved": the Old Testament stresses again and again that God
loves his people and that Israel is that cherished people (cf. Deut
33:12; is 5:1, 7; 1 Mac 6:11; etc.). In the New Testament Christians
are called "beloved by God" (1 Thess 1:4; cf. Col 3:12). However, there
is only one "Beloved", strictly speaking, Jesus Christ our Lord--as God
revealed from the bright cloud at the Transfiguration: "This is my
beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Mt 17:5). The Son of his
love has obtained man's redemption and brought forgiveness of sins (cf.
Col 1:13ff), and it is through his grace that we become pleasing to
God, lovable by him with the same love with which he loves his Son. At
the Last Supper, Jesus asked his Father for this very thing--"so that
the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as
thou hast loved me" (Jn 17:23). "Notice", St John Chrysostom points
out, "that Paul does not say that this grace has been given us for no
purpose but that it has been given us to make us pleasing and lovable
in his eyes, now that we are purified of our sins" ("Hom. on Eph, ad
loc.").


11-14. The Apostle now contemplates a further divine blessing--the
implementation of the "mystery" through the Redemption wrought by
Christ: God calls the Jews (vv. 11f) and the Gentiles (v. 13)
together, to form a single people (v. 14). Paul first refers to the
Jewish people, of which he himself is a member, which is why he uses
the term "we" (v. 12). He then speaks of the Gentile Christians and
refers to them as "you" (v. 13).


11-12. The Jewish people's expectations have been fulfilled in Christ:
he has brought the Kingdom of God and the messianic gifts, designed in
the first instance for Israel as its inheritance (cf. Mt 4:17; 12:28;
Lk 4:16-22). God's intention in selecting Israel was to form a people
of his own (cf. Ex 19:5) that would glorify him and proclaim to the
nations its hope in a coming Messiah. "God, with loving concern
contemplating, and making preparation for, the salvation of the whole
human race, in a singular undertaking chose for himself a people to
whom he would entrust his promises. By his covenant with Abraham (cf.
Gen 15:18) and, through Moses, with the race of Israel (cf. Ex 24:8),
he did acquire a people for himself, and to them he revealed himself in
words and deeds as the one, true, living God, so that Israel might
experience the ways of God with men. Moreover, by listening to the
voice of God speaking to them through the prophets, they had steadily
to understand his ways more fully and more clearly, and make them more
widely known among the nations (cf. Ps 21:28-9; 95:1-3; Is 2:1-4; Jer
3:17)" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 14).


St Paul emphasizes that even before the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the just of the Old Testament acted in line with their belief
in the promised Messiah (cf. Gal 3:11; Rom 1:17); not only did they
look forward to his coming but their hope was nourished by faith in
Christ as a result of their acceptance of God's promise. As later
examples of this same faith we might mention Zechariah and Elizabeth;
Simeon and Anna; and, above all, St Joseph. St Joseph's faith was
"full, confident, complete", Monsignor Escriva comments. "It expressed
itself in an effective dedication to the will of God and an intelligent
obedience. With faith went love. His faith nurtured his love of God,
who was fulfilling the promises made to Abraham, Jacob and Moses, and
his affection for Mary his wife and his fatherly affection for Jesus.
This faith, hope and love would further the great mission which God
was beginning in the world through, among others, a carpenter in
Galilee--the redemption of mankind" ("Christ Is Passing By", 42).



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 12/08/2005 9:17:33 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"
([St] 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 12/08/2005 9:19:09 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

A Prayer in Honor of the Immaculate Conception




 


ANT. This is the rod in which was neither knot of original sin,
nor rind of actual guilt.


V. In thy conception, O Virgin! Thou wast immaculate.

R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son thou didst bring forth.

Let us Pray

O GOD, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son, we beseech Thee, that as by the foreseen death of that same Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer to Our Lady Immaculate

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do
thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy, receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart, we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the port of salvation; and, in so many dangers, may the Church
and Christian society sing once again the hymn of deliverance and of victory and of peace. Amen.

Ejaculations

In Thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father, Whose Son, Jesus Christ conceived of the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth.




11 posted on 12/08/2005 9:42:20 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Thursday, December 8, 2005
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Genesis 3:9-15, 20-20
Psalm 98:1-4
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Show me O Lord, Thy ways and teach me Thy paths.

-- Ps. 24:1-3


12 posted on 12/08/2005 9:46:54 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

 
Collect:
Father, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of your Son. You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by His death, and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception. Help us by her prayers to live in your presence without sin. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Activities:
moreless

December 08, 2005 Month Year Season

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Old Calendar: The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a holyday of obligation in the United States.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed on December 8, 1854: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." — Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesse Tree ~ Mary

Immaculate Conception of Mary
"Tota pulchra es! O Mary, thou art all fair, unstained by original sin" (1st Ant. at Vespers; All.). This cry of admiration, which the Church puts on our lips, expresses the feelings of fallen man before the spotless purity of our Lady. From all eternity God had chosen Mary to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate; He therefore decked her in holiness, preserving her from all stain and making her a worthy dwelling for His Son. The Blessed Virgin's perfect redemption which, from the moment of her conception, preserved her from original sin cannot, therefore, be dissociated from our redemption by Christ; and so, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, coming in the course of Advent, heralds the splendours of the Incarnation of the Redeemer.

Pope Pius IX in his bull Ineffabilis Deus of December 8, 1854, declared the Immaculate Conception to be an infallible teaching of the Church as well as "a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was, by a unique privilege and grace of Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." The stain of original sin was excluded from her soul, not removed from it. Many confuse the meaning of this dogma, thinking it refers to Mary's conception of the immaculate Jesus. That is the Incarnation, which we celebrate on the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25. This dogma of the Immaculate Conception, on the other hand, refers to St. Anne's conception of Our Immaculate Lady in her womb.

Patron: United States.

Symbols: crown and monogram; lily; enclosed garden; crown of stars; glass (symbol of purity) lily often placed in a vase of transparent glass; lily of the valley.

Things to Do:


13 posted on 12/08/2005 9:57:26 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Welcome to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception -- Washington D. C.
14 posted on 12/08/2005 10:04:51 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Immaculate Conception

by Fr. William Saunders

Other Articles by Fr. William Saunders
The Immaculate Conception
12/8/05


I am confused. I thought that the Immaculate Conception has to do with Mary conceiving by the power of the Holy Spirit. My friend says it deals with the conception of Mary. Please explain.

Actually, the confusion over the "Immaculate Conception" is not uncommon. Some people mistakenly do think the term is related to Mary’s conception of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, the Immaculate Conception is the belief that "the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin..." (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus").

In examining the history surrounding this belief, we see the beauty of a Church founded by Christ, whose faithful followers struggle to grasp ever more clearly the mystery of salvation. This struggle is guided by the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus called "The Spirit of Truth," who "will instruct you in everything and remind you of all that I told you" and "will guide you to all truth" (cf. Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13).

Part of the "struggle" with the Immaculate Conception is that there is no specific, crystal-clear scriptural citation for it. Nevertheless, the references in the Gospels to the Blessed Mother and her role in the mystery of salvation intimate this belief. In the Gospel of Luke, we find the beautiful passage of the Annunciation, where Archangel Gabriel said to Mary (in our familiar wording), "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you." While some Scripture scholars haggle over "how full is full," the testimony of St. Gabriel definitely indicates the exceptional holiness of the Blessed Mother. When one considers the role Mary was to play in the life of our Lord — whether His incarnation, His childhood or His crucifixion — she must have been outstanding in holiness, truly "full of grace" in accepting and in fulfilling her role as the Mother of the Savior, in the fullest sense of mother. We believe, therefore, this exceptional, grace-filled holiness extended to the very beginning of her life, her conception.

On the practical side, if original sin is inherited through our parents, and Jesus took on our human nature in all things except sin, then Mary had to be free of original sin. The question then arises, "How is Christ the Savior of Mary?" Actually much of the debate concerning the Immaculate Conception during the Middle Ages focused on this problem. Duns Scotus (d. 1308) posited one solution saying, "Mary more than anyone else would have needed Christ as her Redeemer, since she would have contracted original sin...if the grace of the Mediator had not prevented this." Quoting the "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church," the Catechism adds, "The ‘splendor of an entirely unique holiness’ by which Mary is ‘enriched from the first instant of her conception’ comes wholly from Christ: she is ‘redeemed, in a more exalted fashion by reason of the merits of her Son’" (No. 492). In essence, since Mary was chosen to share intimately in the life of Jesus from her conception, He was indeed her Savior from her conception.

Perhaps one reason why the discussion over the Immaculate Conception was prolonged is because the early Church was outlawed and under persecution until the year 313, and then had to address various problems surrounding Jesus Himself. More reflection about Mary and her role occurred after the Council of Ephesus (431) solemnly affirmed Mary’s divine motherhood and gave her the title, "Mother of God" in that she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and bore Jesus who is second person of the Holy Trinity, one in being with the Father. Several of the early Church Fathers including St. Ambrose (d. 397), St. Ephraem (d. 373), St. Andrew of Crete (d. 740) and St. John Damascene (d. 749) meditated on Mary’s role as mother, including her own grace-filled disposition, and wrote of her sinlessness. A feast day in honor of the Immaculate Conception has been celebrated in the Eastern part of the Church at least since the sixth century.

As time passed, further discussion arose about this belief. In 1849, Pius IX asked the bishops throughout the Church what they themselves, their clergy and the people felt about this belief and whether they would want it defined solemnly. Of 603 bishops, 546 responded favorably without hesitation. Of those opposing, only five said the doctrine could not be solemnly defined, 24 did not know whether this was the opportune time and 10 simply wanted a condemnation of any rejection of the doctrine. Pope Pius also saw the spiritual malaise of the world in which the rationalist school of philosophy had denied truth and anything of the supernatural, in which revolutions were causing social upheaval, and the industrial revolution had threatened the dignity of the worker and family life. Therefore, Pope Pius wanted to spiritually recharge the faithful and saw no better way than presenting again the beautiful example of our Blessed Mother and her role in salvation history. On December 8, 1854, Pius IX solemnly defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in his bull "Ineffabilis Deus."

Finally, it is also interesting that in several apparitions of our Blessed Mother, she herself has attested to her Immaculate Conception: On December 9 (the date for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire) in 1531 at Guadalupe, Mary said to Juan Diego, "I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, through whom everything lives...." In 1830, Mary told St. Catherine Laboure to have the Miraculous Medal struck with the inscription, "Mary conceived free from sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Lastly, when she appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858, Mary said, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

In a homily on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception delivered in 1982, Pope John Paul II wrote:

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who filled you, Virgin of Nazareth, with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In Him, you were conceived Immaculate! Pre-selected to be His Mother, you were redeemed in Him and through Him more than any other human being! Preserved from the inheritance of original sin, you were conceived and came into the world in a state of sanctifying grace. Full of grace! We venerate this mystery of the faith in today’s solemnity. Today, together with all the Church, we venerate the Redemption which was actuated in you. That most singular participation in the Redemption of the world and of man, was reserved only for you, solely for you. Hail O Mary, Alma Redemptoris Mater, dear Mother of the Redeemer.
As we continue our Advent preparation, may we invoke the prayers of our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate, to draw ever closer to our Lord, her Son, this Christmas.


Fr. Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria. If you enjoy reading Fr. Saunders' work, his new book entitled Straight Answers (400 pages) is available at the Pauline Book and Media Center of Arlington, Virginia (703/549-3806).

(This article courtesy of the
Arlington Catholic Herald.)

15 posted on 12/08/2005 10:10:20 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Homily of the Day


Homily of the Day

Title:   She Was Almost Invisible, but She Gave Birth to Him!
Author:   Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph. D.
Date:   Thursday, December 8, 2005
 


Genesis 3:9-15, 20 / Ephesians 1:3-6 11-12 / Luke 1:26-38

As we look across the span of recorded history, we find the exploits of leaders, scholars, adventurers, inventors, and explorers whose achievements changed forever the world that we live in. And we wonder how they rose to greatness, as often as not from humble beginnings. More often than not, our wonderings go unanswered, because there is rarely a useful record of their formative years, and even less useful records of those invisible people who did the forming and shaping of their intellects and their souls.

The feast we mark today celebrates that simple peasant girl whose heart was so open to God that she gave birth to God's only Son, whom she then tended and guided for the many years that followed. What an extraordinary privilege that was, and with what grace Mary lived up to her special calling at every moment. At the very first moment of it all, she said to the angel, "I don't understand how this can be, but my answer to God is 'Yes.'" And so it was all her life long.

That is why we celebrate this and all the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because she, a human being just like us, had both the ability and the willingness to say "Yes" to God at every moment. In doing that, she made the right home and formed the right heart in God's Son and her son, Jesus.

Mary is the almost-invisible woman in the Gospels, but her gift to Jesus was beyond calculation. The gifts that we have to give will in the long run also be almost entirely invisible except to those who can read the fine lines of cause and effect from generation to generation.
Give your gift as Mary did. History may never notice, but God will, and so will many of His children.

 


16 posted on 12/08/2005 10:14:09 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Faith-sharing bump.


17 posted on 12/08/2005 12:41:54 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Salvation
Genesis 3:15, the Protoevangelium, the first mention of the message of Salvation for all mankind thru Jesus Christ:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.

Satan (the serpent) has been at war ever since with the woman and humankind, and he strikes at the woman's seed (Jesus Christ, persecuted by Satan, suffered nails to be driven thru his feet.). As was shown in Mel Gibson's film The Passion, Jesus Christ stomped on the snake (striking at the serpent's head).

Halleluia for our Savior Jesus Christ!

18 posted on 12/08/2005 12:49:20 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Salvation

I praise the Lord for all the blessings He's brought into my life. Prayers offered up for all FReepers reading this thread.


19 posted on 12/08/2005 12:53:01 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Salvation

Homily of the Day bump.


20 posted on 12/08/2005 1:01:09 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: Salvation

From the Akathist, 4th Stasis:

"Priest: Extolling your birth-giving, we all praise you as a living temple, 0 Theotokos. For the Lord whose hand sustains the world, having dwelt in your womb, sanctified and glorified you, and instructed all people to cry to you:

Rejoice, tabernacle of God the Logos;

rejoice, holy one, holier than the holies.

Rejoice, ark that was gilt by the Spirit;

rejoice, inexhaustible treasure of life.

Rejoice, precious diadem of godly kings;

rejoice, honored pride of the pious priests.

Rejoice, the Church's unshakable tower;

rejoice, the kingdom's unassailable fortress.

Rejoice, through whom trophies of victory are raised;

rejoice, through whom enemies are defeated.

Rejoice, healing of my body;

rejoice, my soul's salvation.

Rejoice, 0 Bride unwedded.

People: Rejoice, 0 Bride unwedded."


21 posted on 12/08/2005 4:26:49 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Salvation
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Luk 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

Luk 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Scripture never teaches that Mary was "sinless" she was the HUMAN half of Jesus genealogy and the Catholic church keeps making his mother a sinless goddess.

You diminish Christ and his sinless nature with your beliefs. Maybe she could have been crucified for our sins in her sinless state, Jesus was unnecessary

22 posted on 12/08/2005 5:28:26 PM PST by RnMomof7 (Sola Scriptura,Sola Christus,Sola Gratia,Sola Fide,Soli Deo Gloria)
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To: Salvation
A hymn well suited to the Gospel lesson:

"O Lord, How Shall I Meet Thee"
by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676

1. O Lord, how shall I meet Thee,
How welcome Thee aright?
Thy people long to greet Thee,
My Hope, my heart's Delight!
O kindle, Lord, most holy,
Thy lamp within my breast
To do in spirit lowly
All that may please Thee best.

2. Thy Zion strews before Thee
Green boughs and fairest palms,
And I, too, will adore Thee
With joyous songs and psalms.
My heart shall bloom forever
For Thee with praises new
And from Thy name shall never
Withhold the honor due.

3. I lay in fetters, groaning,
Thou com'st to set me free;
I stood, my shame bemoaning,
Thou com'st to honor me;
A glory Thou dost give me,
A treasure safe on high,
That will not fail or leave me
As earthly riches fly.

4. Love caused Thy incarnation,
Love brought Thee down to me;
Thy thirst for my salvation
Procured my liberty.
O love beyond all telling,
That led Thee to embrace,
In love all love excelling,
Our lost and fallen race!

5. Rejoice, then, ye sad-hearted,
Who sit in deepest gloom,
Who mourn o'er joys departed
And tremble at your doom.
Despair not, He is near you,
Yea, standing at the door,
Who best can help and cheer you
And bids you weep no more.

6. Ye need not toil nor languish
Nor ponder day and night
How in the midst of anguish
Ye draw Him by your might.
He comes, He comes all willing,
Moved by His love alone,
Your woes and troubles stilling;
For all to Him are known.

7. Sin's debt, that fearful burden,
Let not your souls distress;
Your guilt the Lord will pardon
And cover by His grace.
He comes, for men procuring
The peace of sin forgiven,
For all God's sons securing
Their heritage in heaven.

8. What though the foes be raging,
Heed not their craft and spite;
Your Lord, the battle waging,
Will scatter all their might.
He comes, a King most glorious,
And all His earthly foes
In vain His course victorious
Endeavor to oppose.

9. He comes to judge the nations,
A terror to His foes,
A Light of consolations
And blessed Hope to those
Who love the Lord's appearing.
O glorious Sun, now come,
Send forth Thy beams so cheering,
An guide us safely home.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #58
Text: Matt. 21: 1-9
Author: Paul Gerhardt, 1653, cento
Translated by: composite
Titled: Wie soll ich dich empfangen
Composer: Melchior Teschner, 1613
Tune: Valet will ich dir geben
23 posted on 12/08/2005 6:16:55 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: Salvation
Lk 1:26-38
# Douay-Rheims Vulgate
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, in mense autem sexto missus est angelus Gabrihel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae cui nomen Nazareth
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary. ad virginem desponsatam viro cui nomen erat Ioseph de domo David et nomen virginis Maria
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus
29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. quae cum vidisset turbata est in sermone eius et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio
30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. et ait angelus ei ne timeas Maria invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum
31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. ecce concipies in utero et paries filium et vocabis nomen eius Iesum
32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. hic erit magnus et Filius Altissimi vocabitur et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris eius
33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end. et regnabit in domo Iacob in aeternum et regni eius non erit finis
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? dixit autem Maria ad angelum quomodo fiet istud quoniam virum non cognosco
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. et respondens angelus dixit ei Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi ideoque et quod nascetur sanctum vocabitur Filius Dei
36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua et ipsa concepit filium in senecta sua et hic mensis est sextus illi quae vocatur sterilis
37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. quia non erit inpossibile apud Deum omne verbum
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. dixit autem Maria ecce ancilla Domini fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum et discessit ab illa angelus

(*) vv 32-33 breakdown differs.

24 posted on 12/08/2005 7:31:38 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex


Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary

Jean Bellegambe
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

25 posted on 12/08/2005 7:33:22 PM PST by annalex
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To: All
This little short article puts the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in just a few words.

Thursday, December 8

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

clinging to Freedom with a Face

“Hail, full of grace!” In the history of the world, these words have been addressed to only one person. She is a woman. Mary of Nazareth. The angel Gabriel speaks this greeting to announce the Incarnation. At that precise moment, and with Mary’s divinely ordained consent, the eternal Son of God became man for our salvation. Heaven and earth rejoice.

The Incarnation of the Son of God touches the whole human race. No wonder that the Church encourages us to guard and cherish this great mystery: “The doctrine of faith must be firmly believed which proclaims that Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Mary, and he alone, is the Son and the Word of the Father.”

The message of the angel also tells us about the Mother of Jesus Christ. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” God saved Mary in a way that remains unique to the Mother of the Redeemer. In view of the foreseen merits of her Son, Mary is preserved from contracting original sin. What Christ offers effectively to each person on earth, Mary receives fully at her conception. That Mary is conceived without sin enhances her freedom. She is able to love God more. Those who follow Jesus of Nazareth also cling to his Mother Mary. They recognize in her Immaculate Conception a source of hope.


Reflection based on Luke 1:26-38
Father Romanus Cessario

Loving Father, you son’s Immaculate Mother is our purity in the flesh. Deepen my devotion to Mary Immaculate.


26 posted on 12/08/2005 7:38:50 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: annalex

Let us look at these scriptures:

Gen 1:15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

("she shall crush" is more often translated from Hebrew as "he shall crush", meaning that not Eve directly but her seed, Jesus, will crush Satan)

Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

(Here the usual since King James translation, "most favoured one" instead of "full of grace" inaccurately translates the Greek "kecharitomene"; only rarely is "charis", -- "grace" translated as "favor" by King James, making "most favoured" inconsistent and forced).

The immaculate conception of Mary is derived from these two verses: in Genesis 3 we learn that the enmity will be put between Mary and Satan; in Luke 1 we learn that Mary is full of grace. In both instances, Mary is cast by the inspired authors as wholly opposite of Satan or his work, sin. The doctrine was formalized late, in 1854 by Pius IX. It was, however, among the beleifs of the early Church. The symmetry between Mary and Eve was developed by Justin Martyr in his Dialog With Tryphone in AD 100.


27 posted on 12/08/2005 7:51:15 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

Excellent teachings there!


28 posted on 12/08/2005 7:54:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
 
 
A Voice in the Desert
 

Thursday December 8, 2005   The Immaculate Conception

Reading I (Genesis 3:9-15, 20)   Reading II (Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12)

Gospel (St. Luke 1:26-38)

In the second reading today from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul, talking about each one of us who is a member of Christ, says, In Him we also were chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One Who accomplishes all things according to the intentions of His Will. As we celebrate today the solemnity of Our Blessed Lady’s Immaculate Conception, meaning, of course, the day that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, without the stain of Original Sin, we then have to ask ourselves: Why? This was not something Mary did for herself; she had not yet been conceived. It was from the very moment of her creation, of her conception, that she is without sin. This is purely a gift from God, not something she earned, not something she deserved, but it was a singular grace given to her. And so if all of us have been chosen by God, destined in accord with the purpose of the One Who accomplishes all things according to the intentions of His Will, then the obvious question is: Why? Why is Our Lady conceived without sin?  

In the other two readings that we have today, it is very clearly laid out for us. In the first reading from the Book of Genesis, we hear the words spoken by God Himself to Satan: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and that ultimately it is the woman who is to crush the head of Satan. If we look at the rest of the reading, we hear about Adam and Eve. They were without sin, yet the devil in his wiles was able to topple them without too much difficulty. And we all know from our own lives, being affected by Original Sin, how tragically easy it is for the devil to cause us untold problems. So there is no possible way, on a human level, that Our Lady would have been able to overcome Satan’s wiles if she had been tainted by sin.  

Sin, we recognize, even Original Sin itself that we all inherit, darkens the mind and it weakens the will. So it is not even that we want to do things that are wrong; it is in our weakness that we are already leaning in the wrong direction. Therefore, if Our Lady was going to overcome Satan completely, she had to be without sin. It was the extraordinary grace of God that kept her from sinning throughout her entire life; consequently, it is God’s grace that allowed her to crush Satan’s head. Yet, at the same time, we all know that even though we have God’s grace we do not always cooperate very well, and that even in the state of sanctifying grace–where we have every grace necessary to stay away from sin–we do not do it. Our Lady would not have been able to either if she had been affected by sin at all. 

Now we also see the second reason, which is really the primary reason, why Our Lady was without sin, and that is in the Gospel reading. The angel Gabriel appears to Our Blessed Lady, and says to her that the child she is to conceive will be called holy, the Son of God. Our Lady is without sin so that she could be the worthy mother of the Son of God. When we stop to ponder the idea of what it means to be the Mother of God, I think any one of us could easily reason to the fact that the Mother of God Himself needs to be without sin. Jesus came to free us from our sins, and so what happened with Our Lady is that the grace of salvation, the grace that was achieved for us on the Cross by the shedding of His precious Blood, was applied to Our Blessed Lady at the moment of her conception.  

Now this might seem illogical to us because how can the grace be given to Our Lady some forty or fifty years before Our Lord was actually crucified? But recall that even the people of the Old Testament times were saved by the grace of Christ, that the grace of Christ had to be applied to them so they could be saved; and so it was with Our Lady, in a singular and extraordinary way. She is the only human person ever to be conceived without Original Sin. She is the only one who ever will be conceived without Original Sin. She should have been with sin; she was conceived through the normal marital relations of her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, and she should have had sin like the rest of us. But because of these two reasons that we have seen, God spared her that specifically so she could fulfill the purpose for which He had created her.  

And if, as Saint Paul tells us, each one of us was chosen from all eternity by God, so it is with Our Blessed Lady. In fact, some of the saints tell us that the very first thought in the mind of God (after Himself, that is) was the thought of Our Lady, that from all eternity He had decreed that she would come into this world to be the mother of His Son and that was the very first thing on His mind. So we see the mercy of God being extended to all of us in the very person of Our Blessed Lady; that, in one of our own, we have one who is without sin; in one of our own, we have the one who has crushed the head of Satan; in one of our own, we have something which is humanly impossible–but completely possible for God–that is, that a human creature would be the mother of the Eternal God. It is for these reasons that she needed to be without sin, specifically so she could fulfill the purpose for which God created her.  

Now as Saint Paul tells us, each one of us, called and chosen by God, also is made for the purpose for which God chose to create us. We have an example, on of our own, who is placed before us, who did the Will of God in all things and stands as the example for each of us to live holy lives without blemish, as Saint Paul tells us, so that we too can exist for the praise of the glory of God. And learning from Our Lady’s example, not able to do it as perfectly, obviously, as she was, but with the grace of God we too can crush the head of Satan–in Our Lady and with Our Lady–and we too are able to glorify God in our actions and in the way that we live so that in all things we will be able to fulfill the purpose of the One Who created us to fulfill His intentions.  

*  This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.       


29 posted on 12/08/2005 7:57:53 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

God bless you and thank you for these posts.


30 posted on 12/08/2005 8:08:43 PM PST by Nihil Obstat
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To: annalex
A few quotes from Justin Martyr

CHAPTER LXXXIV -- THAT PROPHECY, "BEHOLD, A VIRGIN," ETC., SUITS CHRIST ALONE.

"Moreover, the prophecy, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,' was uttered respecting Him. For if He to whom Isaiah referred was not to be begotten of a virgin, of whom did the Holy Spirit declare, 'Behold, the Lord Himself shall give us a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son?' For if He also were to be begotten of sexual intercourse, like all other first-born sons, why did God say that He would give a sign which is not common to all the first-born sons? But that which is truly a sign, and which was to be made trustworthy to mankind,--namely, that the first-begotten of all creation should become incarnate by the Virgin's womb, and be a child,--this he anticipated by the Spirit of prophecy, and predicted it, as I have repeated to you, in various ways; in order that, when the event should take place, it might be known as the operation of the power and will of the Maker of all things; just as Eve was made from one of Adam's ribs, and as all living beings were created in the beginning by the word of God. But you in these matters venture to pervert the expositions which your elders that were with Ptolemy king of Egypt gave forth, since you assert that the Scripture is not so as they have expounded it, but says, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive,' as if great events were to be inferred if a woman should beget from sexual intercourse: which indeed all young women, with the exception of the barren, do; but even these, God, if He wills, is able to cause[to bear]. For Samuel's mother, who was barren, brought forth by l the will of God; and so also the wife of the holy patriarch Abraham; and Elisabeth, who bore John the Baptist, and other such. So that you must not suppose that it is impossible for God to do anything He wills. And especially when it was predicted that this would take place, do not venture to pervert or misinterpret the prophecies, since you will injure yourselves alone, and will not harm God.

[...]

CHAPTER C -- IN WHAT SENSE CHRIST IS [CALLED] JACOB, AND ISRAEL, AND SON OF MAN.

"Then what follows--'But Thou, the praise of Israel, inhabitest the holy place'--declared that He is to do something worthy of praise and wonderment, being about to rise again from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion; and this He has obtained from the Father. For I have showed already that Christ is called both Jacob and Israel; and I have proved that it is not in the blessing of Joseph and Judah alone that what relates to Him was proclaimed mysteriously, but also in the Gospel it is written that He said: 'All things are delivered unto me by My Father;' and, 'No man knoweth the Father but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal Him.' Accordingly He revealed to us all that we have perceived by His grace out of the Scriptures, so that we know Him to be the first-begotten of God, and to be before all creatures; likewise to be the Son of the patriarchs, since He assumed flesh by the Virgin of their family, and submitted to become a man without comeliness, dishonoured, and subject to suffering. Hence, also, among His words He said, when He was discoursing about His future sufferings: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.' He said then that He was the Son of man, either because of His birth by the Virgin, who was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham; or because Adam was the father both of Himself and of those who have been first enumerated from whom Mary derives her descent. For we know that the fathers of women are the fathers likewise of those children whom their daughters bear. For [Christ] called one of His disciples--previously known by the name of Simon--Peter; since he recognised Him to be Christ the Son. of God, by the revelation of His Father: and since we find it recorded in the memoirs of His apostles that He is the Son of God, and since we call Him the Son, we have understood that He proceeded before all creatures from the Father by His power and will (for He is addressed in the writings of the prophets in one way or another as Wisdom, and the Day, and the East, and a Sword, and a Stone, and a Rod, and Jacob, and Israel); and that He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, 'Be it unto me according to thy word.' And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.

ST. JUSTIN MARTYR. DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO


31 posted on 12/08/2005 8:16:10 PM PST by annalex
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: Marcellinus

I hadn't thought about her being addressed by title. Excellent observation. (Yet all along I knew it, I just took it for granted.) But what you say makes so much sense.


33 posted on 12/08/2005 9:10:41 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Marcellinus

Indeed she is in a rare company: I can only think of Jesus being called "the Christ".


34 posted on 12/08/2005 9:11:58 PM PST by annalex
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To: All
The Word Among Us


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Meditation
Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12



The Immaculate Conception?

What do you think of when you hear the words “Immaculate Conception?” You may already know what the church teaches: Mary is called immaculate because she was conceived without original sin. But what does that actually mean? A good way to think about Mary is to think of a beautiful cathedral. A cathedral is a place that is especially dedicated to worship. It’s filled with God’s presence and reminds us of heavenly things. As soon as we enter it, we feel like getting on our knees and giving praise to the Lord.

This is really why we honor Mary today. She is like that cathedral, but much more so. She was so full of God and his grace that she was able to bear his divine Son in her womb. When she told her cousin Elizabeth, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46), she was saying that she was like a “magnifying glass.” Why? Because when we look at her total surrender to God’s will, we see a perfect model for living the Christian life.

But that’s not all. Because of Mary’s “yes” to God, we have received all the “spiritual blessings” that come from Christ. We should never take for granted the incredible fact that we have Jesus living within us. Even though we don’t carry him as Mary did, we do have his Spirit—-who is God himself—within us. If we are in Christ, we are truly alive: We have become “members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), right alongside Mary. And so we can proclaim as Mary did, “My spirit rejoices in God my savior,” for he has truly done wondrous things for us!

Do you want to know the best way to honor Mary? Become a model for your brothers and sisters, just as she is a model for all of us. Walk in holiness as Mary did, and let your light shine to those around you. Show the world that it is a privilege to be part of the body of Christ—to be united with Mary, all the great saints, and even Jesus himself! Remember: No one is saved by their own activities, but through the grace and power of God made manifest in his people, his church, his body here on earth.

“Lord, purify my heart! I want nothing to stand between you and me. Help me to be like Mary, yielded completely to your will.”

Genesis 3:9-15,20; Psalm 98:1-4; Luke 1:26-38



35 posted on 12/08/2005 9:15:50 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 

<< Thursday, December 8, 2005 >> Immaculate Conception
 
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Psalm 98
Luke 1:26-38
View Readings
 
BORN FREE
 
"The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women." —Luke 1:28
 

Mary was immaculately conceived to prepare her to conceive years later Jesus, the Son of God. "Flesh begets flesh, Spirit begets Spirit" (Jn 3:6). To be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35), to conceive the Holy One, she had to be free from sin and from our fallen nature. The Spirit and the flesh are directly opposed (Gal 5:17). The Spirit could not overshadow a person with a carnal nature without destroying her. If a human being touched the ark, he would die (2 Sm 6:7). Our fallen nature and God's holiness are incompatible. Jesus' incarnation implies Mary's immaculate conception. You can't have one without the other.

God did not intend our nature to be incompatible with Him. He "chose us in Him before the world began, to be holy and blameless in His sight" (Eph 1:4). However, by inheriting the sinful, fallen nature of our forefathers and by sinning ourselves, we alienated ourselves from God and became incompatible with Him by nature. "All of us were once of their company; we lived at the level of the flesh, following every whim and fancy, and so by nature deserved God's wrath like the rest" (Eph 2:3). Since our nature, or natural birth, has alienated us from God, we must put the old nature to death and be born again of water and the Spirit to enter God's kingdom (Jn 3:5). Yet how can the kingdom begin? How can He be born for us to be born again by the power of the Spirit? Someone must be born without sin for God to become man.

 
Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide me to all truth (Jn 16:13). By appreciating the masterpiece, Mary, may I be drawn to You, the Master.
Promise: "Mary said: 'I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.' " —Lk 1:38
Praise: Mary's Immaculate Conception awesomely bridged the infinite gap between fallen human nature and divine holiness.
 

36 posted on 12/08/2005 9:19:05 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

Thanks.


38 posted on 12/09/2005 8:54:18 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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