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Mary

Holy Name of Mary

Excerpt from a homily by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

And the Virgin’s name was Mary. Let us speak a little about this name, which is said to mean “star of the sea,” and which so well befits the Virgin Mother. Rightly is she likened to a star. As a star emits a ray without being dimmed, so the Virgin brought forth her Son without receiving any injury. The ray takes naught from the brightness of the star, nor the Son from His Mother’s virginal integrity. This is the noble star risen out of Jacob, whose ray illumines the whole world, whose splendor shines in the heavens, penetrates the abyss, and, traversing the whole earth, gives warmth rather to souls than to bodies, cherishing virtues, withering vices.

Mary is that bright and incomparable star, whom we need to see raised above this vast sea, shining by her merits, and giving us light by her example.

All of you, who see yourselves amid the tides of the world, tossed by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, do not turn your eyes away from this shining star unless you want to be overwhelmed by the hurricane.

If temptation storms or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star, call upon Mary.

If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary.

If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of your soul, turn your eyes to Mary.

If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgment, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary.

In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary.

Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life: “Following her, thou strayest not; invoking her, thou despairest not; thinking of her, thou wanderest not; upheld by her, thou fallest not; shielded by her, thou fearest not; guided by her, thou growest not weary; favored by her, thou reachest the goal. And thus dost thou experience in thyself how good is that saying: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary.’

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Mary

What You Need To Know About the Annunciation

Father Chris Alar explains the Annunciation and how to defend Mary in the Bible.

If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ.
Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary.
This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.

Holweck, F. (1907). The Annunciation. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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, 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

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Mary

What the Early Church Believed: Mary is the Mother of God

Tract from Catholic Answers

A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses, because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic matter for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism.

Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

“The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God”

Irenaeus (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

“Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit”

Epiphanius of Salamis (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

“When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation”

Theodore of Mopsuestia (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]).

Full tract available here on Catholic.com

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Mary Miracles

Our Lady of Guadalupe

A short summary of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe (who appeared in the 16th century) from Franciscan Media:

A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower, and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

Juan was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared, and within it stood an Indian maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

Eventually the bishop told Juan to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Juan to try to avoid the lady. Nevertheless the lady found Juan, assured him that his uncle would recover, and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

On December 12, when Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground, and the bishop sank to his knees. On the tilma where the roses had been appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac.

Franciscan Media

This miracle precipitated the greatest flood of conversions in the whole history of Christianity. In the seven years following this miracle, approximately eight million Aztecs converted to Christianity. . .

Bryan Cross, Called to Communion

Numerous people failed to convert the Aztecs, who at that time were performing thousands of children sacrifices. Finally, Mary’s miracle ended this and helped to nearly convert the entire country which spread Christianity across Central and South America.

There are many interesting features in the actual miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, including:

  • The moon under her feet, which for the Aztecs represented the devil. Mary is crushing the head of the serpent, which corresponds to Revelation 12.
  • Mary is pregnant in the image and there is a four-petal flower resting on her womb, which in Nahualt culture is a symbol of pregnancy.
  • The position of the stars around the image can mathematically be arranged into music notes that play a beautiful sounding song. Normally if this is done with a random pattern of dots, it will just sound like noise.

In the series “Explaining the Faith”, Father Alar has a full lesson and explanation about all the details of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Join Fr. Chris Alar as he discusses Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Life, the history and the image.
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Mary

The Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception Tract from Catholic.com

It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.

Read the full tract here on Catholic.com

How to Defend the Immaculate Conception by Jimmy Akin (Catholic.com)

Why does the Church teach that Mary was immaculately conceived? Her conception is never even mentioned in Scripture.

If Mary is sinless, doesn’t that make her equal to God? 

How could Mary be sinless if in the words of the Magnificat she said that her soul rejoices in God her savior? 

How can you reconcile Mary’s sinlessness with Paul’s statement that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God? 

Didn’t the Church just invent the doctrine 150 years ago? 

For answers to these questions, click here to head over to catholic.com.

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Mary

Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7th marks the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Pope Saint Pius V instituted the feast formerly to Our Lady of Victory after an alliance of Catholic states defended against the advancing Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto in Eastern Europe on October 7th, 1571. The Christians were outnumbered and the victory was attributed to the praying of the rosary. Pope Clement XI extended the feast day to the Universal Church in 1716.

Greeting the Arabic-speaking faithful, he [Pope Francis] invited them to pray the rosary and carry it in their hands or pockets. The rosary, he explained, is the most beautiful prayer that we can offer to the Virgin Mary. “It is a contemplation of the stages of the life of Jesus the Saviour with his Mother Mary and it is a weapon that protects us from evil and temptation.”

The Pope also spoke about the rosary as a “contemplative prayer”, saying that, in meditating on the mysteries of salvation, “the loving face of God Himself, whom we are called to contemplate in eternity, is increasingly revealed to us.”

Pope Francis speaking about the Marian prayer during his First General Audience in October – Robin Gomes at SpiritDaily.org
Father Mark Goring on why Mary asks us to pray the Rosary.

Click here for more information about the Holy Rosary.

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Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

On March 3rd, 2018, Pope Francis designated the day after Pentecost Sunday to be the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. For this year, it occurs today June 1st.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19:26-27.

When Jesus told John “Behold, your mother”, He was not only announcing that she would be John’s mother, but the mother of the whole world. We are disciples of Jesus, we are the Church, and she is our mother.

Meaning of the Celebration

-Saint Luke tells us that Mary was with the Apostles on that Pentecost day when the Holy Spirit descended upon them and she was a witness of the early ministry of the Apostles.

-Pope Francis has observed that he wants to promote devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church, to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as growth of genuine Marian piety.”

-Inspired by the Second Vatican Council’s document Lumen Gentium, the title “Mother of the Church” was decreed by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1965.

https://aleteia.org/daily-prayer/monday-june-1/

Did the early Church honor Mary? Here’s a video showing quotes from prominent figures of the first four centuries of the Church that reveals the importance of our Mother:

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Mary

What Some Might Miss in Our Lady of Fatima’s Message

Matt Nelson – Catholic Answers Article –

One hundred years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in six visitations near Fatima, Portugal. She sealed those visitations with a miracle of the sun, which danced and emitted colored rays of light before tens of thousands of eyewitnesses, a fitting maternal signature upon what the Vatican has recognized as “the most prophetic of modern apparitions” (The Message of Fatima).

Mary’s message to the three young visionaries did not consist merely of information: it was a call to action. The apparitions at Fatima were, above all, a call to penance. Fr. John Hardon affirms, “Our Lady of Fatima’s message to a sinful world in our day, may be summarized in the . . . imperative, ‘Do penance’” (Penance and Reparation). The imperative nature of this message was made apparent in the third part of the secret where St. Lucia records “the angel [crying] out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, penance, penance.’”

With penance at the core of our Lady’s message at Fatima, it is essential that we understand it.

Sin causes a rupture in our communion with God and a loss of grace. To heal that rupture we must act. We must first acknowledge our sinfulness and then sincerely resolve to turn from sin. Finally, we must make reparation and strive to repair what our sin damaged in ourselves and in the world. Thus penance is an action inspired by our love of God that expresses our desire to undo the disorder our sins brought into the world.

The sacrament of penance (normally referred to as reconciliation or confession) is central to the Church’s mission of sanctifying its members. The resurrected Christ conferred this priestly “ministry of reconciliation” on the apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit.If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23). As with all the sacraments Christ instituted, the sacrament of penance functions only by God’s grace.

Read the full article on Catholic.com

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Mary

Why Catholics Call Mary Their Mother

Father Mike Schmitz explains how loving Mary is actually a way to enhance your love for God. He uses an example of visiting a girlfriend’s parents and getting to know and love them. By getting to know people who are important to her, it allows you to get to know her more and the same thing is true when it comes to God. To get to know someone that God Himself loves and knows doesn’t take our love away from God it actually amplifies our love of God. The more you love Mary the more you should love Jesus.

Why do we call Mary our mother? It is because Jesus, from the cross, gave her to us as a mother (we are his disciples).

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19:26-27.

Using the word ‘Woman’ has the meaning of referring back to Eve, the first woman who is the mother of all the living. Jesus is referring to Mary, the mother of all the redeemed. We must have a relationship with her, it was Jesus who upheld the responsibilities that children have to their parents and parents have to their children.

Where is Mary in your life? Have you taken her into your home?

Father Mike Schmitz on why Catholics call Mary their mother