Sunday, March 27, 2011

MARY, IN SEARCH FOR THE LOST BODY OF CHRIST

Luke 2:41-49 tells us that Jesus, at the age of 12, went to Jerusalem with his parents for the feast of the Passover.  But after the feast, as they were returning home, Jesus remained behind without the knowledge of his parents.  After three days of searching, they found him in the temple of Jerusalem.


Ephesians 5:23 - "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

If Jesus, the head of the church was searched by Mary when he was lost for three days, then undoubtedly, Mary is also searching for those members of the church which is the body of Christ, who had gone astray and are still lost until now.

Let us pray for our lost brothers and sisters that they will return to the head of the church, Jesus Christ.


- Mary June D.

Friday, March 25, 2011

THE ANNUNCIATION

Today, March 25th is the feast of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38).

The Annunciation was the beginning of a vast and wonderful repair work to be done by God on the destruction caused by Adam and Eve. A woman caused the downfall of the human race; a woman will raise man back to God. A devil approached Eve; an angel appeared to Mary.  The devil tempted Eve to disobey and cast down the human race; an angel appeared to Mary to receive her obedience and raise up the human race.  The devil urged infidelity; the angel fidelity to God's will. The first woman believed the tempter; Mary believed her Maker. Eve brought destruction; Mary salvation.


Mary was deserving to receive God the Son physically in her womb because she has first received Him spiritually in her heart.


- St. Peter Chrysologus


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- Excerpted from St. Peter Chrysologus Sermo. 140 on Luke 1:26-29.
Source:  Winnowing Fan, Vol. XI, No. 1, January 1994


Saturday, March 19, 2011

ST. JOSEPH

Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus from Joseph and refers to him as the husband of Mary.  But he does not allow us to have misconceptions about Christ's birth by immediately narrating the unusual manner in which Christ was born.

Mary, being espoused or betrothed to Joseph was living in the bridegroom's house for her protection.  It was the practice of the ancients.  The practice being such, Joseph was going to be very certain that nothing amiss could take place. We, too, must live our lives in such a way so no one can attribute wrongdoing to us.

Finding Mary with child, he who should be jealous and suspicious, he who should degrade her, in fact cherished her. So convinced was he that what was done was done by God. Though how it was done exactly, he was not sure until confirmed, not explained, by the angel. So instead of setting her aside, he kept her with him after he was assured and he ministered to her.  St. Joseph said to himself, this was done by God, this was commanded by God, this is all I know but this is sufficient.


Even Matthew could not explain more than to say "it was of the Holy Spirit."  But how, in what manner, no one explained and neither should we proceed any further nor require further explanation.  We must simply ask, is this God's work, is this God's command.  We must ask nothing else.  We could, of course, ask many questions. But we must not inquire. Just receive what is revealed and be curious not about what is kept secret.


Joseph, being a just man .... what is a just man?  One who is virtuous in all things.  Joseph believed in Mary; he did not want her degraded or disgraced. There was absolutely no jealousy or suspiciousness in him. He did not judge rashly even in the presence of overwhelming evidence. Joseph was not willing to grieve her.


Joseph, faced with a divine occurrence, did not know what to do. To keep Mary was transgression of the Law; to dismiss her was to degrade her. It was a dilemma.  Joseph does neither.  He was already a recipient of graces for the New Testament.  He was going to do both. That was a little difficult.  Wherewith an angel appeared to direct his decision.


Mary, on her part, knew what happened; an angel had just explained what was to happen to her.  She could have explained everything to Joseph.  She saw Joseph suffering; she could have re-assured him. But no.  She keeps silent.  She was not quick to defend or explain herself. She lets God do all the explaining.


Mary kept her silence; the angels kept silent.  Joseph must pass his test before he receives certitude.


If Mary explained herself in defense, she could have provoked Joseph instead. For a defense is an attempt to cloak guilt.  But there was no guilt; so there was no need for defense.  A defense from one under suspicion heightens the suspicion.  But obviously Mary did not defend herself because Joseph was not suspecting her of anything.  If she defended herself, then Joseph had reason to suspect. 


The angel appeared to Mary before the conception of Jesus so that she may be fully informed of what is to happen thus avoiding any perturbation.  The angel appeared to Joseph after the conception and surely enough Joseph was disturbed; but he tells no one, not even Mary. He humbly waits for God to explain.


The angel appeared to Joseph, not as to Mary or Zacharias or to the shepherds; the angel appeared as in a dream.  Joseph needed no vision. A dream was enough.  Mary needed a vision because what was asked of her was too great.


In his dream, the angel simply confirmed what he was thinking. Joseph knew that the dream was from God because it was a confirmation of what was in his heart.  It was an unquestionable sign; it was certainly from God.


The angel assures Joseph in a few words:  "Son of David;" he spelled the genealogy of Jesus.  "Fear not," for Joseph was afraid to make a decision contrary to God's will.  Then the angel confirms what Joseph was planning to do and what Joseph was thinking. "Take her unto thee as your wife," not as one given by her parents but as one given by God; and not as a wife but as one dwelling with her.  "Fear not, because that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."  Joseph believed because he had mastered the prophecies regarding the Messiah.


Then the angel confers on Joseph the role of father, "And you shall call Him Jesus."  And what will be the work of this Child?  "For He shall save His people from sin."


- St. John Chrysostom, Homily IV


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Source:
- http://www.caryana.org/vignettes/vignettes22.html


Acknowledgement
The above article is from Winnowing Fan which is owned and copyrighted by S of G Foundation.  The publishing of this article in full is permitted without written authorization.








Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MARY, NOT AN OBSTACLE

I'm a Marian devotee, meaning, a Catholic who has a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  But in spite of my devotion to her, I still can't fathom the depth of her life and her mysteries, probably because of my sinfulness.  The simplest and the immediate knowledge I have of her is that she is my beloved spiritual mother, and the mother of God. I know that there's more to her than what I read about her from the bible or from books written by the saints and Marian scholars.


Far from being an obstacle to Jesus, the fact is, where it not for the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would still see God as someone who is "high up there," someone who's strict and authoritative just because He is God. But the Blessed Virgin Mary changed all that. Because of my devotion to her, I now see God in a totally different light.  Mary brought me closer to Jesus in a way that I can't explain.  All I can describe is that, the more I pray to her, the more I love praying to Jesus.  The more I cling to her, the more I've become devoted to Jesus.  That's why until now, I'm still a Marian devotee because I don't want to separate myself from Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.


- Mary June D.