Powerful Pillars

As I mentioned over at Contemplative Haven yesterday, Father Joseph Homick has a new blog called, Two Pillars:  Holy Eucharist and Our Lady.  I really appreciate the way Father Joseph has set it up, with separate pages for each topic that’s on his heart.  Although quite recent, there is already a wealth of information there, and I encourage you to go and have a readfest.

Also at Contemplative Haven back in January, I mentioned Father Joseph’s most recent book:

I will be putting this image in my sidebar here along with my other Marian resource material, and please check Father Joseph’s blog for ordering information for this and all of his other wonderful books.

See You Soon

I have to close the comments here for at least a little while (please see explanation at Contemplative Haven).  🙂  When I get up and running again I hope to be posting on a more regular basis.

For today, I would like to share a homily from Pope John Paul II recorded in 1990 in Malta, on the subject of the Blessed Mother and the family:

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception, celebrated December 8th, is a Solemnity in the Catholic Church.  This feast is one of only three Solemnities, and thus is one of the highest ranking Marian celebrations in our liturgical year (the other two being the feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st and the feast of the Assumption on August 15th.)

God’s preservation of Mary not only from personal sin but from original sin from the moment of her conception is a dogma of faith in the Catholic Church.  It wasn’t always so, and from the 7th century through to St. Thomas Aquinas and on to Blessed John Duns Scotus right up to Pope Pius IX the discussions continued.

Since the entire Marian month of December is devoted to the Immaculate Conception, I would like to delve a little more deeply into this topic in a few upcoming posts, to follow the discussion as it evolved through the centuries and to highlight subject matter such as Mary’s pre-redemption.

But for today, on Mary’s beautiful feastday, I leave you with this passage from Henri Nouwen’s, “The Genesee Diary” – an entry he wrote on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1974:

In this feast it seems that all the quiet beauty of Advent suddenly bursts forth into exuberance and exultation. In Mary we see all the beauty of Advent concentrated. She is the one in whom the waiting of Israel is most fully and most purely manifested; she is the last of the remnant of Israel for whom God shows his mercy and fulfills his promises; she is the faithful one who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled; she is the lowly handmaid, the obedient servant, the quiet contemplative. She indeed is the most prepared to receive the Lord.

It seems that there is no better time to celebrate this feast than during these Advent days. It is the celebration of the beauty of her who is ready to receive the Lord. It is like admiring the palace where the King will enter, the room to which the bridegroom will come, the garden where the great encounter will take place.

[Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Genesee Diary, pg. 174]

Presentation of Mary

 The Memorial of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated on November 21st.  The theme of this Memorial is:  total consecration to the Lord through Mary.

Although not mentioned in the Bible, this ancient feast is based on information taken from one of the apocryphal Gospels, the Protevangelium of James.  In it we are told that at the age of three, Mary was taken by her parents to the Temple of Jerusalem, where she was presented and would remain until the age of marriage, in the company of other young girls in the charge of holy women.

 

The Dictionary of Mary [Catholic Book Publishing Co.] gives us some informaiton about the actual history of the Memorial:

This event was already commemorated in the 6th century in the East.  Gregory XI in 1372 heard of the feast, kept in Greece on November 21, and instituted it at Avignon.  In 1585, Sixtus V extended it to the Universal Church. 

If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered how Mary’s parents could possibly have given up their baby girl at the age of three to complete strangers; you may have felt very badly for Mary, assuming she would have felt very abandoned, lonely and frightened – traumatized, in fact. We have a tendency to forget that Mary’s human life was like no other, that she was imbued with mystical knowledge from the time she was within the womb of her mother, and from that very time within her mother’s womb she had no desire other than to serve God and be in complete union with His Will. Venerable Mary of Agreda shares her mystical visions of this time in Mary’s life [The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin, from the Mystical City of God]:

When the time arrived for the accomplishment of the vow which her parents had made, of consecrating her to the service of the Temple, she herself was the first to beg them, with all humility, to fulfill their promise without delay, and she most fervently entreated God to inspire them to do it promptly.  The Lord granted the humble prayer of His beloved, and her parents, obedient to the heavenly inspiration, parted with their amiable child, though not without the deepest sorrow.

The grief of St. Ann, in particular, exceeded even that of Abraham when commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac.  At the expiration of the three years St. Joachim and St. Ann, accompanied by many of their relations and by a great number of angelic spirits, who, during the journey, sang hymns of praise to the Most High, left Nazareth and journeyed to Jerusalem, bearing in their arms their young and happy child.

{I found the image at the Australian EJournal of Theology, which has some lovely artwork, as well as very interesting subject-matter.}

The Holy Name of Mary

Yesterday was the feastday of The Holy Name of Mary.  I was reading St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Hail Holy Queen!, Chapter Ten of which is dedicated to the “sweetness of the name of Mary”. The chapter is filled with the thoughts of many saints and other holy people on this subject, and I share some of them here:

St. Peter Damian:  “The name of Mary came from the treasury of the divinity.”

St. Bernard:  “O most holy Virgin Mary!  Thy name is so sweet and amiable that it cannot be pronounced without inflaming those who do so with love towards thee and God.”

Richard of St. Laurence:  “Thy name, O Mary, is far better than riches, because it can better relieve poverty.”

St. Methodius:  “Thy name, O Mother of God, is filled with divine graces and blessings.”

St. Bonaventure:  “Thy name, O Mary, cannot be pronounced without bringing some grace to him who does so devoutly.”

St. Ambrose:  “Thy most sweet name, O Mary, is a precious ointment, which breathes forth the odor of divine grace.”

St. Germanus:  “…as breathing is a sign of life, so also is the frequent pronunciation of the name of Mary a sign either of the life of divine grace, or that it will soon come; for this powerful name has in it the virtue of obtaining help and life for him who invokes it devoutly.”

♥  M A R Y 

Divine Mercy Sunday: Mary, Mother of Mercy

mother-of-mercy

 

“As Mother of Mercy, Mary reminds us that if God is Being, Truth and Wisdom, He is also Goodness and Love, and that His infinite Mercy, which is the radiation of His Goodness, flows from His love…”

[From:  The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life:  Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, pg. 224]

The Crucifixion

crucifixion2

Excerpt from, “The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life”, by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (pgs. 188-189):

What must have been the value of her sufferings at the foot of the Cross, granted the understanding she then had of the mystery of the Redemption!

In the spiritual light which then flooded her soul, Mary saw that all souls are called to sing the glory of God. Every soul is called to be as it were a ray of the divinity, a spiritual ray of knowledge and love, for our minds are made to know God and our wills to love Him. But though the heavens tell God’s glory unfailingly, thousands of souls turn from their Creator….

Mary saw all that evil, all those wounds in souls, just as we see the evils and wounds of bodies. Her fulness of grace had given her an immense capacity to suffer from the greatest of evils, sin. She suffered as much as she loved God and souls: God offended by sin and souls whom it rendered worthy of eternal damnation. Most of all did Mary see the crime of deicide prepared in hearts and brought to execution: she saw the terrible paroxysm of hatred of Him Who is the Light and the Author of salvation.

Pieta