This blog was started on July 21st, 2015, after my Mary, Our Mother blog had mysteriously disappeared. I will post only Marian items, especially regarding Medjugorje and other Marian apparitions. Thank you for reading this blog. May it give great glory to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
We will continue to read Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, to steep ourselves in the beautifully written declaration on Mary our Mother!
II. The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation
55. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Savior in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin. (Gen. 3. 15). Likewise, she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel. (Is 7, 14; cf. Mich. 5, 2-3; Mt. 1, 22-23.) She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.
56. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God's command, by an angel messenger as "full of grace", (Lk. 1, 28.) and to the heavenly messenger she replies: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word"(Lk. 1, 38). Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God's salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she "being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith." Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her "the Mother of the living," and still more often they say: "death through Eve, life through Mary."
57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother. (Lk. 1, 41-45) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it, when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi. When she presented Him to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed. (Lk. 2, 34-35) When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things that were His Father's business; and they did not understand the word of their Son. His Mother indeed kept these things to be pondered over in her heart. (Lk. 2, 41-51)
58. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning, when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah. (Jn. 2, 1-11) In the course of her Son's preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed(Mk. 3. 35; 27-28) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing. Lk. 2, 19, 51) After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,(Jn. 19, 25) grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: "Woman, behold thy son".(Jn. 19, 26-27)
59. But since it has pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery of the salvation of the human race before He would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the apostles before the day of Pentecost "persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren",(Acts 1, 14.) and Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation. Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (Apoc. 19. 16) and the conqueror of sin and death. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3380#VIII
Our Lady told us in 2015:
January 02, 2015 "Dear children, I am here among you as a mother who desires to help you to come to know the truth. While I lived your life on earth I had knowledge of the truth, and by this alone, a piece of Heaven on earth. That is why I desire the same for you, my children. The Heavenly Father desires pure hearts filled with the knowledge of the truth. He desires for you to love all those whom you meet, because I also love my Son in all of you. This is the beginning of coming to know the truth. Many false truths are being offered to you. You will overcome them with a heart cleansed by fasting, prayer, penance and the Gospel. This is the only truth and it is the truth which my Son left you. You do not need to examine it much. What is asked of you, as I also have done, is to love and to give. My children, if you love, your heart will be a home for my Son and me, and the words of my Son will be the guiding light in your life. My children, I will make use of you, apostles of love, to help all of my children to come to know the truth. My children, I have always prayed for the Church of my Son, and so I also ask the same of you. Pray that your shepherds may come to shine forth with the love of my Son. Thank you."
Our Lady has lived our life, and yet, as the Church tells us in Lumen Gentium, she lived our life in complete submission to God and unity with Jesus, always saying 'yes' to the Holy Spirit's guidance. She needs us now to live in a manner like she lived. She will help us. We are blessed to be her apostles in these days!
We have re-entered Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Calendar. And yesterday was a beautiful new Memorial dedicated to "Mary, Mother of the Church". At Holy Mass yesterday the celebrant read portions of Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium - The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from Vatican II. The descriptions of Our Lady that are woven throughout this Chapter are exquisite and teach us so much about Mary as Mother of the Church. So I will be sharing the document, section by section, this week to help us receive this beautiful new Memorial in our Liturgical Calendar.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
52. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, "when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, ..that we might receive the adoption of sons". "He for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary." This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory "of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ".
53. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is "the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head." Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.
54. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence both the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. It does not, however, have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us. (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3380#VIII )
This is the introduction to this section, and already there is much to rejoice over. Each sentence has a blockbuster phrase in it!! And to think, this Mother of the Redeemer, this "Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ", is our Mother as well. And she is now visiting us on a daily basis in Medjugorje, bringing her motherly care to each of us. I suggest reading the introduction carefully and slowly, several times, so that the Holy Spirit can help us comprehend what we have been given in Mary! Our Lady indeed "occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us."
"Today is a great day of joy and peace. Rejoice with me. Little children, in a special way, I call you to holiness in your families. I desire, little children, that each of your families be holy and that God's joy and peace, which God sends you today in a special way, may come to rule and dwell in your families. Little children, open your hearts today on this day of grace, decide for God and put Him in the first place in your family. I am your Mother. I love you and give you my Motherly Blessing." (December 25, 2006 Jakov)
We have arrived at Pentecost! Today we receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the ministry of the Church! Our Lady wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. She has said:
November 8, 1984 "Dear children! You are not conscious of the messages which God is sending you through me. He is giving you great graces and you do not comprehend them. Pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. If you only knew how great are the graces God is granting you, you would be praying without ceasing. Thank you for having responded to my call." April 25, 2015 "Dear children! I am with you also today to lead you to salvation. Your soul is restless because your spirit is weak and tired from all worldly things. You, little children, pray to the Holy Spirit that He may transform you and fill you with His strength of faith and hope, so that you may be firm in this battle against evil. I am with you and intercede for you before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."
And so today we will pray the Litany to the Holy Spirit, to ask for all the graces we can possibly receive!!!
Litany to the Holy Spirit
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Father all-powerful, have mercy on us. Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, save us. Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless life of both, sanctify us. Holy Trinity, hear us.
Holy Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and the Son, enter our hearts. Holy Spirit, Who art equal to the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.
Promise of God the Father, have mercy on us. Ray of heavenly light, have mercy on us. Author of all good, [etc.] Source of heavenly water
Consuming fire Ardent charity Spiritual unction Spirit of love and truth Spirit of wisdom and understanding Spirit of counsel and fortitude Spirit of knowledge and piety Spirit of the fear of the Lord Spirit of grace and prayer Spirit of peace and meekness Spirit of modesty and innocence Holy Spirit, the Comforter Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier Holy Spirit, Who governest the Church Gift of God, the Most High Spirit Who fillest the universe Spirit of the adoption of the children of God
Holy Spirit, inspire us with horror of sin. Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth. Holy Spirit, shed Thy light in our souls. Holy Spirit, engrave Thy law in our hearts. Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of Thy love. Holy Spirit, open to us the treasures of Thy graces. Holy Spirit, teach us to pray well. Holy Spirit, enlighten us with Thy heavenly inspirations. Holy Spirit, lead us in the way of salvation. Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge. Holy Spirit, inspire in us the practice of good. Holy Spirit, grant us the merits of all virtues. Holy Spirit, make us persevere in justice. Holy Spirit, be Thou our everlasting reward.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Send us Thy Holy Spirit. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.
V. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful, R. And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Let us pray. Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, forever and ever.
Our Lady once told us: "Dear children! Today I wish to call you to work in the Church..." (October 31, 1985). She went on to tell us: "I love all the same and I desire from each one to work as much as is possible. I know, dear children, that you can, but you do not wish to because you feel small and humble in these things." She encouraged us to have courage and do what we could. I think we all know what she means. We do feel small and humble. It is hard to take the risk of failing, and so we don't step forward to help in the Church. But, we have a secret power that we don't even know about!! It is the Holy Spirit! He is with us to help us to live out our role in service to others.
And so today we ask to understand how the Holy Spirit will work through us for others:
"Dear children! Today I invite you to open yourselves to God by means of prayer so the Holy Spirit may begin to work miracles in you and through you. I am with you and I intercede before God for each one of you because, dear children, each one of you is important in my plan of salvation. I invite you to be carriers of good and peace. God can give you peace only if you convert and pray. Therefore, my dear little children, pray, pray, pray and do that which the Holy Spirit inspires you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 25, 1993)
St. Paul explains how the Holy Spirit operates in us, working through each of us:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Cor 12: 4-11)
And so we pray:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
We have finished our Novena to the Holy Spirit! Tomorrow we will pray with the entire Church to receive the Holy Spirit anew, with a fresh out pouring of grace! Come Holy Spirit!
Pray with the heart! Our Lady has consistently requested that we pray with the heart, that we come before the Lord with our hearts open and ready. But how often do we realize that prayer is not something we can do on our own? As St. Paul says, "we do not know how to pray as we ought!" We need help! Today we will ask the Holy Spirit to come to our aid. We will ask for the Holy Spirit to actually pray in us, for us, with sighs too deep for words!
Our Lady said:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Renew your personal prayer, and in a special way pray to the Holy Spirit to help you pray with the heart. I intercede for all of you, little children, and call all of you to conversion. If you convert, all those around you will also be renewed and prayer will be a joy for them. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 25, 2003)
St. Paul gives us good advice:
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Rom 8: 26-27)
The Holy Spirit does not leave us on our own in prayer. God Himself comes to us to pray in us, to pray with us, to show us how to pray. The Holy Spirit wants us to succeed in prayer! The Father wants to connect with us, and Jesus wants us to know how special we are to Him. So we only have to ask the Holy Spirit to come, and He will come, and He will pray in us with a sweetness we will never want to stop. This is prayer with the heart! And so we pray:
Come Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, come Let thy bright beams arise, Dispel the darkness from our minds, And open all our eyes.
Revive our drooping faith, Our doubts and fears remove, And kindle in our breasts the flame Of everlasting Love. Amen!
Today we call upon the Holy Spirit to be our Guide. Jesus called the Spirit the Paraclete, which can be translated "The one who accompanies..." I like this idea. The Holy Spirit is so gentle and loving that we might not even realize He is with us. But He comes to guide us into holiness and God's plan for us, if we will let Him. Our Lady lived a life of complete union with the Holy Spirit and so she knows how He operates. She wants us to be led by the Spirit too.
Our Lady spoke about the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
"Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer and sacrifice, to prepare yourselves for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Little children, this is a time of grace and so, again, I call you to decide for God the Creator. Allow Him to transform and change you. May your heart be prepared to listen to, and live, everything which the Holy Spirit has in His plan for each of you. Little children, allow the Holy Spirit to lead you on the way of truth and salvation towards eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 25, 1998)
And St. Paul also lived by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He wrote:
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him," God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. (1 Cor 2: 9-13)
Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote a famous poem about the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) - Lead, Kindly Light
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home- Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene-one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now, Lead Thou me on! I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it still Will lead me on, O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone; And with the morn those angel faces smile Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Today we consider the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Strengthener. Our Lady encourages us to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit so He can transform us. The Holy Spirit will help us to call God our Father and make us capable of love! St. Paul in The Letter to the Ephesians says the very same thing, that through the Holy Spirit we will be strengthen in the inner man and we will be grounded in love. We need very much the strengthening and comforting love of the Holy Spirit, for we are naturally weak and lack the power to love on our own. Oh Comforter to thee we cry!
Our Lady asked us to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit:
"Dear children, Today I call you to open your hearts to the Holy Spirit and permit Him to transform you. My children, God is the immeasurable good and therefore, as a mother, I implore you: Pray, pray, pray, fast and hope that it is possible to achieve good, because from that good love is born. The Holy Spirit will strengthen that love in you and you will be able to call God your Father. Through this exalted love, you will truly come to love all people and, through God, you will regard them as brothers and sisters. Thank you." (November 2, 2007)
St. Paul prays that we might be strengthen by the Spirit in the inner man:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3: 14-20)
Let us pray through this wonderful hymn to the Holy Spirit:
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made.
O Comforter, to you we cry, O heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above.
You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God's hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may your grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know; And you, through endless times confessed, Of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son, Who rose from death, be glory given, With you, O holy Comforter, Henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.