UNBORN WORD of the day


LUKE REVEALS MARY’S INNER REACTION TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS & A CHILDHOOD EVENT

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In the second chapter of Luke we are told on four different occasions how Mary (and Joseph) react and feel about words and events surrounding the birth, infancy and childhood of Jesus. Luke thus introduces us to the overlapping and harmonizing psychology and spirituality of Mary (and Joseph). This is instructive for the modern everyday Christian.

The angels appear to poor uneducated shepherds and entrust to them a proclamation for the entire world, for all time. The shepherds go down the hill and find the manger, and start recounting the words spoken to them about this Child; “all who heard it wondered”. Then the next verse, “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart (Lk 2.19).

Eight days later, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple. The holy man Simeon is inspired by the Holy Spirit to go to the Temple and speak to them about the Child. Luke specifically tells us that Joseph and Mary “marveled at what was said about him (the Child)” (Lk 2.33).

About twelve years later, Mary and Joseph bring the boy Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Jesus becomes separated from them, and His parents seek “anxiously” for Him. After three days they find Him in the Temple and He was questioning and listening to the teachers. “All who heard him were amazed”. Luke then specifically says about Joseph and Mary; “And when they saw him they were astonished” (Lk 2.48).

Luke continues to recount this story about the finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple, advises that they all returned to Nazareth and Jesus was obedient to His parents, then this; “…and Mary kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2.51).

In the 2nd chapter of Luke’s Gospel we are given a glimpse into the spiritual and devotional life of Mary. (This follows up on the 1st chapter presentation of Mary’s Magnificat, which similarly offers a window into the soul of Mary.)

In the Manger and in Nazareth Mary ponders, contemplates in the depths of her heart. In the Temple Mary is awestruck; marveling with astonishment. Mary interiorizes the remarkable truths and teachings about Jesus Christ, she will learn from them, grow in them, mature through them.

Mary lives the Gospel events as no other could, as no other did. As John Paul II says of her, she is the “memory” of the Church, and indeed she will share these events and meanings with the Church in due course.

The Litany in Honor of Mary the First Christian summarizes the scriptural recounting of the numerous Gospel events lived and uniquely experienced by Mary in her lifelong relationship with her most beloved Son Jesus Christ. mary-fst-eng-fr-large

Click here to order a free copy of Litany.



St. John Fisher – a model for the Fortnight of Freedom
June 22, 2012, 11:42 am
Filed under: Prayer, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints

Three prayer cards for Fortnight for Freedom from USCCB.  To download 3 cards click here and here and here.

The Bishops of the U.S. are asking us to join them in prayer for our country in a campaign called the Fortnight of Freedom.

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.” From the USSCB Website.

We would like to encourage everyone to get involved. Pray, fast, call your representatives in Washington to let them know how you feel about this issue.

It is interesting to note that this fortnight of freedom began on  July 21 the vigil of the feast day for both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher who  were martyred for their faith. They were martyred because they would not accept the decrees of Henry the Eighth who in order to marry Anne Boleyn made himself head of the Church of England. Neither of these men would accede to his decrees and both went to their death rather than compromise their faith. Like them we are slowly but surely facing an uphill battle for our faith today. They are models for our us.

Many people have heard about St. Thomas More – but Bishop, St. John Fisher is less well known. One of my favorite observations about St. John Fisher was made by  the inspirational Father Vincent McNabb in his biography about St. John Fisher, published in 1935. He writes:

“In reading the authentic records of how the Bishop (St. John Fisher) bore himself in his bishopric we are perhaps surprised to find him praised for qualities which might be expected of any good bishop. But as there are times of general moral depression when the average layman’s practice of the ten commandments demands heroic virtue, so there are circumstances when a bishop’s fidelity to the ordinary duties of his office argues the saint.”

It seems to us that many of the 10 commandments are at the forefront of our society’s most grave battles – moral battles about the dignity and value of human life and marriage. We can see that the 10 commandments were a divine gift intended to elevate human living and direct it towards God and virtue. So today, for believers to live according to the 10 commandments, in this time of moral crisis, is no small accomplishment. Let us encourage each other continually to meet this challenge of our time, seeking opportunities to lift up these and other noble moral principles which point towards the Culture of Life. And let us pray for our families and our children an join our Bishops in this Fortnight of Freedom.



A Heart on Fire by Fr. James Kubicki
June 16, 2012, 6:15 pm
Filed under: Prayer, Quotes from Great Christians, Sacred Heart

To learn more or order click here.

June 15 was the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are featuring a quote from Father James Kubicki, S.J – National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

“St. Augustine and other Fathers of the Church liked to say that Mary first received the Word into her Immaculate Heart and then conceived the Word in her womb. In this new person were joined two natures – human and divine. The loving union of God with humanity had begun in a new and wonderful way, making possible every person’s union with God. He took flesh so that he could give his flesh to save humanity and to unite his flesh with ours. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) states, “By his incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man” (LG, 22).

Cell by cell, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, now uniting himself to our nature and our flesh, began to develop in the womb of his mother. Within 21 days his first organ appeared. His tiny physical heart began to beat under the heart of his mother. Over nine months he grew and developed as every baby does until at last he was born….His entire life on earth was a revelation of the love of God…

Father James Kubicki, S.J.  has a wonderful new book entitled  A Heart on Fire – Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Father Kubicki is an extraordinary priest who is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television – he is also a popular conference speaker, parish mission speaker and  retreat director. Father Kubicki has been a great friend to our apostolate too – giving us support and encouragement.

A Heart on Fire is a book which will help rekindle devotion to the Sacred Heart – arguably the most important devotion for  all Christians.  Father Kubicki makes the Sacred Heart devotion understandable to the modern mind without downplaying its traditional beauty and power. This is an important book because understanding the love of Christ and its central role in our faith is what each Christian is truly striving to achieve. We highly recommend this book.

Mary with Unborn Jesus



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 26
December 22, 2011, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

 

The Virgin and St. Joseph Refused Shelter in Bethlehem Jan Massys 1558

NINTH STATION

Jesus’ life is marked by uncertainty from the very moment of his birth. He is certainly accepted by the righteous, who echo Mary’s immediate and joyful “yes” (cf. Lk 1:38). But there is also, from the start, rejection on the part of a world which grows hostile and looks for the child in order “to destroy him” (Mt 2:13); a world which remains indifferent and unconcerned about the fulfilment of the mystery of this life entering the world: ‘there was no place for them in the inn’  (Lk 2:7). In this contrast between threats and insecurity on the one hand and the power of God’s gift on the other, there shines forth all the more clearly the glory which radiates from the house at Nazareth and from the manger at Bethlehem: this life which is born is salvation for all humanity (cf. Lk 2:11).”  John Paul II, Gospel of Life #33

“The stable at Bethlehem is the first place for solidarity with man: for one man’s solidarity with another and for all men’s with all men, especially with those for whom there is “no room at the inn” (cf. Lk 2:7), whose personal rights are refused recognition.” John Paul II , 24 December 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, I offer You my day for the unborn who have been rejected by our world. There is no room for them at the inn today.  Like the unborn of our day, You and  Your mother were turned away when Your hour to be born had come. Thank You for sharing in their rejection.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 25
December 21, 2011, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

NINTH STATION

“Patience is a twofold grace, that of waiting and that of suffering, both are a great aid to zeal. The Eternal Word’s zeal for the salvation of men had existed in all its perfection and all its fullness from all eternity, yet think how long He waited! When the conditions were changed and He had at length become incarnate, He still waited patiently for nine months,and after that He waited for thirty years! This was zeal, zeal in its perfection. Is my zeal tempered with patience?”    Mother St. Paul’s book Ortus Christi (published in 1921) .

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, grant me the grace of patience and zeal. Help me this Christmas to renew my intention to bring You to everyone I meet. May I look for ways to bring Your love to those in need. You came as a lovable child – may I learn to present your lovable face to others.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 24
December 20, 2011, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mother of Life – Nellie Edwards

 (click here to learn more about Nellie Edwards and her apostolate.)

EIGHTH STATION

“Now Mary’s Expectation was full of God, and therefore it was joyous. It had two intensities of joy in it: the intensity of created holiness thirsting for the sight of God; and the intensity of an earthly mother’s desire natural, simple, and human, but immensely sanctified to see the Face of her Babe, whom she knew to be God as well. ….Mary yearned for that earthly beatific Vision, the Face of the Incarnate God. She had doubtless intellectual visions, as mystics call them, of the beauty of the Sacred Humanity, before that night at Bethlehem. But these would rather increase the burning of her desire, than be a satisfaction to it…” Fr. Frederick W. Faber, D.D., Bethlehem

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, as Christmas approaches help me today to long to see your face. May everything I do today as I prepare for this wonderful feast be done with love. Help me choose to be cheerful even as I hurry through my day – cheerfulness that is rooted in the joy of the season.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 23
December 19, 2011, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Advent, Evangelium Vitae, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Meister der Kahriye Cami Kirche -Mary and Joseph – The Census in Bethlehem

EIGHTH STATION

“Christmas is the feast of man. A human being is born. He is one of the millions and millions of people who have been born, are being born and will be born on earth. A human being, one item in the vast range of statistics. It as not without reason that Jesus came into the world when a census ‘was being held, when a Roman emperor wanted to know the number of subjects in his territory. A human being is an object to be counted, something considered under the aspect of quantity, one of many millions. Yet at the same time he is a single being, unique and unrepeatable. If we celebrate with such solemnity the birth of Jesus, it is to bear witness that every human being (is) somebody unique and unrepeatable.” Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness John Paul II Christmas 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, thank you for coming into this world as a man, for choosing to belong to the human race. Thank you for showing us the true worth of each person. As we celebrate your birth, may our respect for each human life increase.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 22
December 18, 2011, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Artist . Brother Claude Lane, O.S.B Title The Dream of Joseph Location Mt. Angel Abbey, Oregon On one side Joseph is pictured as a traveler, his feet still in movement, and carrying a knapsack. The Angel is pictured on the other side.

EIGHTH STATION

God willed and Caesar decided a census would be a good idea. The timing was the absolute worst according to a human analysis, but Mary and Joseph were completely at peace as they realized that it was now very possible that Jesus would be borne in Bethlehem or on the way there. They accepted God’s will. They welcomed God’s intervention in their lives.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord, as I begin this day I ask for Your help in accepting sudden or unforeseen events and in responding to them. Give me Your outlook on life O God. Help me to have Your peace and Your patience O Lord as I go through my day. God help me with every difficulty and decision today and every day.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 21
December 17, 2011, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

The Expectant Madonna with Saint Joseph, 15th century French, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection

SEVENTH STATION

“The house at Nazareth was in very deed God’s Sanctuary, containing the Altar of Repose, where the Savior of the world was resting. Angels were in constant adoration before their King. The faithful consisted of Mary and Joseph, whose thought and conversation could be about nothing else but the Child Who was coming into the world.

And who shall measure the graces and blessings, which that Child was showering upon Mary and her faithful spouse, during those months of waiting and prayer and holy converse,while they planned and arranged with such care and minuteness, as parents are wont to do, every detail connected with the birth of the firstborn?” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, help me to be open to the graces and blessings you want to shower on me this Advent season! Help me today to think often about your coming birth and to show a true Christmas spirit to those around me.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 20
December 16, 2011, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary and Joseph carved by Jacques Bourgault

SEVENTH STATION

Here are 2 quotes form St. Thomas Aquinas about Christ’s  time in the womb.

“Mary and Joseph needed to be instructed concerning Christ’s birth before He was born, because it devolved on them to show reverence to the child conceived in the womb, and to serve Him even before He was born.”  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, Second Article, Reply to Obj. 2.

“But His first coming was unto the salvation of all, which is by faith that is of things not seen. And therefore it was fitting that His first coming should be hidden.” Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, First Article, Reply to Obj. 3.

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, please instruct me on how to love my family, friends and those I meet today. Help me to see your hidden presence in those around me.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 19
December 15, 2011, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary Spinning with  Joseph before the Birth of Jesus,  Strasbourg, Musee de Notre-Dame I’Oeuvre, inv 1482

SEVENTH STATION

For almost six months prior to the birth of Jesus, He and his parents were a true family, in the full sense of that term. In this first Christian family we find a model for every family, in fact it is also a model for every group or community. All members of this family desired first the Will of God and secondly, what would be best for the “other” members of the family. Each member put himself or herself last.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord I believe You will give me many opportunities today to help others and to put others first. Help me O God, to view each day as a series of opportunities to serve You my God as well as my neighbor. Show me Lord, a Divine view of the needs of my family members, friends and acquaintances and then help me to help. Grant me a good attitude Lord and the will to try.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 18
December 14, 2011, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Adoption, Advent, Incarnation, Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

St. Joseph Shadow of the Father

Painting by Fr. William McNichols

SIXTH STATION

“In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today, I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph… The one who gives the most importance to the adoptive father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that thanks to him, the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah was prophesied as the ’son of David’.”   Pope Benedict, Angelus address, December 18, 2005

A MORNING OFFERING

O Heavenly Father, St. Joseph adopted Jesus when he was still an unborn baby. Jesus was adopted by a man so we could be adopted by You, Our God. Help me to love You today as a child loves his/her father. I want to offer my heart to You with childlike trust.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 17
December 13, 2011, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

On this mosaic Joseph is depicted as taking the Virgin Mary to his home.
This is one of the world famous mosaic depictions of Chora museum.

SIXTH STATION

“In Joseph’s midnight angelic revelation John Paul II sees Joseph’s “personal Annunciation” and the moment of his “Divine election….His place in the history of salvation is defined.

When Joseph woke from sleep ‑ we read in Matthew ‑ he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’ (Mt 1:24). In these few words there is everything. The whole description of Joseph’s life and the full characteristic of his holiness: ‘He did’. Joseph, the one we know from the Gospel, is a man of action.” Pope John Paul II, General Audience, March 19, 1980

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, I want to follow you but so often I fail. Help me today, to begin again! May I follow Joseph’s example and lovingly take up the responsibilities you have placed before me today. May I offer you not just my love today but also my actions.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 16
December 12, 2011, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

The Dream of St. Joseph (with unborn Christ Child) by Francisco Rizi (1608-1685)

 SIXTH STATION

Joseph, like everyone who tries to do what is right, had to wrestle with a tremendous problem. He prayed and fasted, he quietly considered, but because of the nature of the problem he did not consult others. God was his trustworthy guide and consultant. And God showed Joseph what must be done. Immediately Joseph did God’s Will.

A MORNING OFFERING

O Lord, I trust You in all things. Help me make tiny decisions through my day. And help me God my Savior with all my problems and larger decisions too. I believe You will help me as I try to do what is right and good. I realize that Your ways God are different and above human plans and ideas. Help me God to be open and sensitive to the inspirations of Your Holy Spirit.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Returning to Nazareth – Day 15
December 11, 2011, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Prayer

Maria Schwanger

FIFTH STATION

“As Mary takes leave of her dear friends, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and their newborn baby, she turns northward with her feet, heavenward and inward with her heart. She recalls the wonderful birth of John, reliving the event, remembering excited faces and rejoicing, marveling at the beautiful little body of that baby. There is no treasure so precious and captivating as the small body of a newborn baby old in months but new in the brilliance of daylight!… For truly it is one of Life’s great secrets: every newborn child is a witness to the Prince of Peace, and every birth day a little Christmas.”    From Unborn Jesus Our Hope

A MORNING OFFERING

Oh my Jesus, thank You for this Christmas season.  This is a time of hope!  Help me to turn my heart with joy to You, the babe in Mary’s womb. Help the celebration of Your birth be a reminder to me of how precious each life is to You.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Returning to Nazareth – Day 13
December 9, 2011, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

FIFTH STATION

Mary was living her life according to God’s Divine Timetable. It was soon time for her to return to Nazareth and begin a new chapter in her life as God’s “handmaid”. She travels the road alone, but with God. God has a Plan, Mary has a purpose. God leads and she follows.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord I have proven so many times that my sense of timing and my plans are inept and shallow. I prefer Your Plan for my day God. Help me to travel the road, the hallway, each twist and turn with You unseen at my side Lord. For without You I can do nothing, but with You all things are possible.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Visitation: A Three Month Retreat – Day 12
December 8, 2011, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary in the House of Elizabeth , Robert Anning Bell 1863-1933

FOURTH STATION

…We know nothing of what went on during those three months, but we may presume that things continued as they began. It is not likely that Elizabeth said her ‘Ave’ only once, and only once spoke of the honour she considered it to have the Mother of God in her house. It is not likely that the unborn Forerunner never again saluted His Master, in Whose presence he so continually was. It is impossible to conceive that Mary sang God’s praises and her own unworthiness no more during those three months. And what about Jesus ? These were the first three months of His life on earth, and grace was surely going out from Him to His Blessed Mother first, and then to all who knew the secret.  ”
From Mater Christi : meditations on Our Lady(1920). Mother St. Paul

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, the Season of Advent is a special time of preparation. Help me to prepare for Your birth today as Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and John prepared for Your birth. May I salute You often today with the joy of John the Baptist, may I recognize Your hidden presence as Elizabeth recognized Your presence, may I sing joyfully to You as Mary sang to You and may I offer my sufferings to You in reparation for my sins as Zechariah did during his time of penance.