Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Seven Joys of Mary


1. The Annunciation

In the sixth month, 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, The Annunciation and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! 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. (Luke 1:26–38)

2. The Visitation
During those days 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. The Visitation 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.” . . . Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (Luke 1:39–45, 56)

3. The Nativity
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. The Nativity So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1–7)

4. The Adoration by the Magi
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, The Adoration by the Magi “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

. . . And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.

They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1–2, 9b–11)

5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. Finding Our Lord in the Temple After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:41–51)

6. The Resurrection
But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.The Resurrection

While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.

They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1–8)

7. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven and Her Coronation as Queen of Heaven
Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.

And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined.

Or another version of the list is shown in the following video:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Queenship of Mary


In this feast, particularly cherished by the Popes of modern times, we celebrate Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church.

Pope Pius IX said of Mary's queenship: "Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all choirs of Angels and the ranks of Saints in Heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks."

And Pope Pius XII added the following: "We commend that on the festival there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this there is founded a great hope that there will rejoice in the triumph of religion and in Christian peace...

...Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence now than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficultly, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow...

. . Whoever, therefore, honours the lady ruler of the Angels and of men - and let no one think themselves exempt from the payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul - let them call upon her as most truly Queen and as the Queen who brings the blessings of peace, that She may show us all, after this exile, Jesus, who will be our enduring
peace and joy."

I have posted two videos below-one is the "Sister Act 'Hail Holy Queen'" and the other is the "Salve Regina" chant.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as in honor of Jupiter.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.

At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.

For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.

Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth."

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution , Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

Friday, August 14, 2009

St. Maximillian Kolbe

Fr. Kolbe lived his priestly ministry spreading the Gospel message through the use of media-newspapers, magazines and radio, but he died laying down his life for another man in a Nazi concentration camp.

He was born Raymond Kolbe in 1894 to poor and pious Catholic parents. At age 12, he had a vision of the Mother Mary in which she asked him to choose whether he would accept a white crown, which meant that he should persevere in purity, or whether he would accept a red crown, which meant that he should become a martyr. He told Mary that he would accept both.

He entered the Franciscan seminary the following year and was tempted to leave to join the military, but he persevered and made first vows with the Conventual Franciscans in 1911. He took the name Maximilian and was ordained a priest in 1918 at the age of 24.

In 1922, he began a magazine in Poland, called Knight of the Immaculate, which at its height had a circulation of 750,000 copies per month. Eight years later, he became a missionary to Japan and began a similar publication there.

In 1932, he moved to India, but returned to Poland in 1936 due to poor health.

At this time, Nazism was becoming more widespread. Fr. Maximilian was first arrested with several other friars in 1939, but they were released. The friars continued their media ministry and housed 3,000 Polish refugees, most of whom were Jewish. But many of the friars were arrested again Feb. 17, 1941, including Fr. Maximilian.

He was transferred to Auschwitz in May and was assigned to harsh labor and beaten often. He was once beaten and left for dead, but the prisoners managed to transport him to the camp hospital where he spent his recovery hearing confessions. When he recovered, Fr. Maximilian ministered to other prisoners by offering mass and delivering Communion using smuggled bread and wine.

In July 1941, there was an escape from the camp. Camp rules required that 10 men be executed in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Fr. Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a married man with young children, who had been chosen by the Nazis to be killed.

Fr. Maximilian was killed with lethal carbonic acid injection. His body was then burned and his ashes were scattered.

Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1982, declaring him a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, journalists and prisoners.

Prayer of consecration to Jesus through Mary written by St. Maximilian Kolbe:

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to thee. I, N___, a repentant sinner, cast myself at thy feet humbly imploring thee to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to thyself as thy possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases thee. If it pleases thee, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of thee: "She will crush your head," and, "Thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world."

Let me be a fit instrument in thine Immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever thou enters, one obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through thy hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise thee O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thy enemies.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Assumption Novena from EWTN

+JMJ+ Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. I ask for this favor: (Mention your request).

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.