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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-20-12 ^ | 12-20-12 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/19/2012 8:33:27 PM PST by Salvation

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To: All

The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.


21 posted on 12/20/2012 8:51:49 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

St. Dominic of Silos
Feast Day: December 20
Born: 1000, Cañas (modern Rioja), Spain
Died: December 10, 1073, Silos
Patron of: against rabies; against rabid dogs; against insects; captives; pregnant women; prisoners; shepherds

22 posted on 12/20/2012 8:53:15 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Dominic of Silos

Feast Day: December 20
Born:1000 :: Died:1073

Dominic was a shepherd boy and was born at Navarre in Spain. He spent many hours alone with his sheep at the bottom of the Pyrenees mountains. It was there that he learned to love to pray.

When he was old enough he became a Benedictine monk and a very good one. Dominic was appointed abbot of his monastery and brought about many changes for the better.

One day, however, King Garcia III of Navarre, Spain, claimed that some of the monastery's land was his and wanted it back but St. Dominic refused. He did not think it was right to give the king what belonged to the Church. This made the king very angry and he forced Dominic and two of his brother monks to leave his kingdom.

Abbot Dominic and his monks were given a friendly welcome by another king, Ferdinand I of Castile. Ferdinand told them they could have an old monastery called St. Sebastian at Silos. This monastery was located in a lonely spot and was very run-down.

But with Dominic as the abbot, it soon began to take on a new look. He strengthened it spiritually, financially and rebuilt the structure. In fact, he made it one of the best-known monasteries in all Spain that survives even today.

St. Dominic worked many miracles to cure all kinds of sicknesses especially for childless couples who prayed for the gift of children.

Many years after his death, Dominic appeared to a wife and mother. Her name was Joan. Now she is called Blessed Joan of Aza. Dominic told her that God would send her another son.

When that son was born, Joan gratefully named him Dominic. And this son became the great St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican order. Saint Dominic of Silos died on December 20, 1073.

23 posted on 12/20/2012 8:57:06 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 1
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilææ, cui nomen Nazareth, εν δε τω μηνι τω εκτω απεσταλη ο αγγελος γαβριηλ υπο του θεου εις πολιν της γαλιλαιας η ονομα ναζαρετ
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David : et nomen virginis Maria. προς παρθενον μεμνηστευμενην ανδρι ω ονομα ιωσηφ εξ οικου δαυιδ και το ονομα της παρθενου μαριαμ
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit : Ave gratia plena : Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus. και εισελθων ο αγγελος προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου ευλογημενη συ εν γυναιξιν
29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. Quæ cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. η δε ιδουσα διεταραχθη επι τω λογω αυτου και διελογιζετο ποταπος ειη ο ασπασμος ουτος
30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Et ait angelus ei : Ne timeas, Maria : invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. και ειπεν ο αγγελος αυτη μη φοβου μαριαμ ευρες γαρ χαριν παρα τω θεω
31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. Ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum : και ιδου συλληψη εν γαστρι και τεξη υιον και καλεσεις το ονομα αυτου ιησουν
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris ejus : et regnabit in domo Jacob in æternum, ουτος εσται μεγας και υιος υψιστου κληθησεται και δωσει αυτω κυριος ο θεος τον θρονον δαυιδ του πατρος αυτου
33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end. et regni ejus non erit finis. και βασιλευσει επι τον οικον ιακωβ εις τους αιωνας και της βασιλειας αυτου ουκ εσται τελος
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? Dixit autem Maria ad angelum : Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco ? ειπεν δε μαριαμ προς τον αγγελον πως εσται τουτο επει ανδρα ου γινωσκω
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Et respondens angelus dixit ei : Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. και αποκριθεις ο αγγελος ειπεν αυτη πνευμα αγιον επελευσεται επι σε και δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι διο και το γεννωμενον αγιον κληθησεται υιος θεου
36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua : et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis : και ιδου ελισαβετ η συγγενης σου και αυτη συνειληφυια υιον εν γηρει αυτης και ουτος μην εκτος εστιν αυτη τη καλουμενη στειρα
37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. οτι ουκ αδυνατησει παρα τω θεω παν ρημα
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Dixit autem Maria : Ecce ancilla Domini : fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et discessit ab illa angelus. ειπεν δε μαριαμ ιδου η δουλη κυριου γενοιτο μοι κατα το ρημα σου και απηλθεν απ αυτης ο αγγελος

(*) Verses 32-33 breakdown differs in the translations.

24 posted on 12/20/2012 10:42:37 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

THEOPHYL; Because either the Incarnation of Christ was to be in the sixth age of the world, or because it was to serve to the fulfilling of the law, rightly in the sixth month of John's conception was an angel sent to Mary, to tell her that a Savior should be born. Hence it is said, And in the sixth month, &c. We must understand the sixth month to be March, on the twenty-fifth day of which our Lord is reported to have been conceived, and to have suffered, as also to have been born on the twenty-fifth day of December. But if either the one day we believe to be the vernal equinox, or the other the winter solstice, it happens that with the increase of light He was conceived or born Who lightens every man that comes into the world. But if any one shall prove, that before the time of our Lord's nativity or conception, light began either to increase, or supersede the darkness, we then say, that it was because John, before the appearance of His coming, began to preach the kingdom of heaven.

BASIL. The heavenly spirits visit us, not as it seems fit to them, but as the occasion conduces to our advantage, for they are ever looking upon the glory and fullness of the Divine Wisdom; hence it follows, The angel Gabriel was sent.

GREG. To the virgin Mary was sent, not any one of the angels, but the archangel Gabriel; for upon this service it was meet that the highest angel should come, as being the bearer of the highest of all tidings. He is therefore marked by a particular name, to signify what was his effectual part in the work. For Gabriel is interpreted, "the strength of God." By the strength of God then was He to be announced Who was coming as the God of strength, and mighty in battle, to put down the powers of the air.

GLOSS. But the place is also added whither he is sent, as it follows, To a city, Nazareth. For it was told that He would come a Nazarite, (i.e. the holy of the holy.)

THEOPHYL; It was as a fit beginning for man's restoration, that an angel should be sent down from God to consecrate a virgin by a divine birth, for the first cause of man's perdition was the Devil sending a serpent to deceive a woman by the spirit of pride.

AUG. To a virgin, for Christ could be born from virginity alone, seeing He could not have an equal in His birth. It was necessary for our Head by this mighty miracle to be born according to the flesh of a virgin gin' that He might signify that his members were to be born in the spirit of a virgin Church.

JEROME; And rightly an angel is sent to the virgin, because the virgin state is ever akin to that of angels. Surely in the flesh to live beyond the flesh is not a life on earth but in heaven.

CHRYS. The angel announces the birth to the virgin not after the conception, lest she should be thereby too much troubled, but before the conception he addresses her, not in a dream, but standing by her in visible shape. For as great indeed were the tidings she receives, she needed before the issue of the event an extraordinary visible manifestation.

AMBROSE; Scripture has rightly mentioned that she was espoused, as well as a virgin, a virgin, that she might appear free from all connection with man; espoused, that she might not be branded with the disgrace of sullied virginity, whose swelling womb seemed to bear evident marks of her corruption. But the Lord had rather that men should cast a doubt upon His birth than upon His mother's purity. He knew how tender is a virgin's modesty, and how easily assailed the reputation of her chastity, nor did He think the credit of His birth was to be built up by His mother's wrongs. It follows therefore, that the holy Mary's virginity was of as untainted purity as it was also of unblemished reputation. Nor ought there, by an erroneous opinion, to be left the shadow of an excuse to living virgins, that the mother of our Lord even seemed to be evil spoken of. But what could be imputed to the Jews, or to Herod, if they should seen to have persecuted an adulterous offspring? And how could He Himself say, I came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, if He should seem to have had his beginning from a violation of the law, for the issue of an unmarried person is condemned by the law? Not to add that also greater credit is given to the words of Mary, and the cause of falsehood removed? For it might seem that unmarried becoming pregnant, she had wished to shade her guilt by a lie; but an espoused person has no reason for lying, since to women child-birth is the reward of wedlock, the grace of the marriage bed. Again, the virginity of Mary was meant to baffle the prince of the world, who, when he perceived her espoused to a mall, could cast no suspicion on her offspring.

ORIGEN; For if she had had no husband, soon would the thought have stolen into the Devil's mind, how she who had known no man could be pregnant. It was right that the conception should be Divine, something more exalted than human nature.

AMBROSE; But still more has it baffled the princes of the world, for the malice of devils soon detects even hidden things, while they who are occupied in worldly vanities, can not know the things of God. But moreover, a more powerful witness of her purity is adduced, her husband, who might both have been indignant at the injury, and revenged the dishonor, if he also had not acknowledged the mystery; of whom it is added, Whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

THEOPHYL; Which last applies not only to Joseph, but also to Mary, for the Law commanded that every one should take a wife out of his own tribe or family. It follows, And the virgin's name was Mary.

ID. Maria, in Hebrew, is the star of the sea; but in Syriac it is interpreted Mistress, and well, because Mary was thought worthy to be the mother of the Lord of the whole world, and the light of endless ages.

28. And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.
29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

AMBROSE; Mark the virgin by her manner of life. Alone in an inner chamber, unseen by the eyes of men, discovered only by an angel; as it is said, And the angel came in to her. That she might not be dishonored by any ignoble address, she is saluted by an angel.

GREG. NYSS. Far different then to the news formerly addressed to the woman, is the announcement now made to the Virgin. In the former, the cause of sin was punished by the pains of childbirth; In the latter, through gladness, sorrow is driven away. Hence the angel not unaptly proclaims joy to the Virgin, saying, Hail.

GREEK EX. But that she was judged worthy of the nuptials is attested by his saying, Full of grace. For it is signified as a kind of token or marriage gift of the bridegroom, that she was fruitful in graces. For of the things which he mentions, the one appertains to the bride, the other to the bridegroom.

JEROME; And it is well said, Full of grace, for to others, grace comes in part; into Mary at once the fullness of grace wholly infused itself. She truly is full of grace through whom has been poured forth upon every creature the abundant rain of the Holy Spirit. But already He was with the Virgin Who sent the angel to the Virgin. The Lord preceded His messenger, for He could not be confined by place Who dwells in all places. Whence it follows, The Lord is with you.

AUG. More I than with me, for He Himself is in your heart, He is (made) in you womb, He fills your soul, He fills your womb.

GREEK EX. But this is the sum of the whole message. The Word of God, as the Bridegroom, effecting an incomprehensible union, Himself, as it were, the same both planting, and being planted, has molded the whole nature of man into Himself. But comes last the most perfect and comprehensive salutation; Blessed are you among women. i.e. Alone, far before all other women; that women also should be blessed in you, as men are in your Son; but rather both in both. For as by one man and one woman came at once both sin and sorrow, so now also by one woman and one man has both blessing and joy been restored, and poured forth upon all.

AMBROSE; But mark the Virgin by her bashfulness, for she was afraid, as it follows; And when she heard, she was troubled. It is the habit of virgins to tremble, and to be ever afraid at the presence of man, and to be shy when he addresses her. Learn, O virgin, to avoid light talking. Mary feared even the salutation of an angel.

GREEK EX. But as she might be accustomed to these visions, the Evangelist ascribes her agitation not to the vision, but to the things told her, saying, she was troubled at his words. Now observe both the modesty and wisdom of the Virgin; the soul, and at the same time the voice. When she heard the joyful words, she pondered them in her mind, and neither openly resisted through unbelief, nor forthwith lightly complied; avoiding equally the inconstancy of Eve, and the insensibility of Zacharias. Hence it is said, And she cast in her mind what manner of salutation this was, it is not said conception for as yet she knew not the vastness of the mystery. But the salutation, was there aught of passion in it as from a man to a virgin? or was it not of God, seeing that he makes mention of God, saying, The Lord is with you.

AMBROSE; She wondered also at the new form of blessing, unheard of before, reserved for Mary alone.

ORIGEN; For if Mary had known that similar words had been addressed to others, such a salutation would never have appeared to her so strange and alarming.

30. And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary for you have found favor with God.
31. And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS.
32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David:
33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

When the angel saw that she was troubled at this unusual salutation, calling her by her name as if she was well known to him, he tells her she must not fear, as it follows, And the angel said, Fear not, Mary.

GREEK EX. As if he said, I came not to deceive you, nay rather to bring down deliverance from deception; I came not to rob you of your inviolable virginity, but to open a dwelling-place for the Author and Guardian of your purity, I am not a servant of the Devil but the ambassador of Him that destroys the Devil. I am come to form a marriage treaty, not to devise plots. So far then was he from allowing her to be harassed by distracting thoughts, lest he should be counted a servant unfaithful to his trust.

CHRYS. But he who earns favor in the sight of God has nothing to fear. Hence it follows, For you have found favor before God. But how shall any one find it, except through the means of his humility. For God gives grace to the humble.

GREEK EX. For the Virgin found favor with God, in that decking her own soul in the bright robes of chastity, she prepared a dwelling-place pleasing to God. Not only did she retain her virginity inviolate, but her conscience also she kept from stain. As many had found favor before Mary, he goes on to state what was peculiar to her. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb.

GREEK EX. By the word behold, he denotes rapidity and actual presence, implying that with the utterance of the word the conception is accomplished.

GREEK EX. You shall conceive in your womb, that he might show that our Lord from the very Virgin's womb, and of our substance, took our flesh upon Him. For the Divine Word came to purify man's nature and birth, and the first elements of our generation. And so without sin and human seed, passing through every stage as we do, He is conceived in the flesh, and carried in the womb for the space of nine months.

GREEK EX. But since it happens also that to the spiritual mind is given in an especial manner to conceive the Divine Spirit, and bring forth the Spirit of salvation, as says the Prophet; therefore he added, And you shall bring forth a Son.

AMBROSE; But all are not as Mary, that when they conceive the word of the Holy Spirit, they bring forth; for some put forth the word prematurely, others have Christ in the womb, but not yet formed.

GREG. NYSS. While the expectation of child-birth strikes a woman with terror, the sweet mention of her offspring calms her, as it is added, And you shall call his name Jesus. The coming of the Savior is the banishing of all fear.

THEOPHYL; Jesus is interpreted Savior, or Healing.

GREEK EX. And he says, You shall call, not His father shall call, for He is without a father as regards His lower birth, as He is without a mother in respect of the higher.

CYRIL; But, this name was given anew to the Word in adaptation to His nativity in the flesh; as that prophecy said, You shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord has named.

GREEK EX. But as this name was common to Him with the successor of Moses, the angel therefore implying that He should not be after Joshua's likeness, adds, He shall be great.

AMBROSE; It was said also of John, that he shall be great, but of him indeed as of a great man, of Christ, as of the great God. For abundantly is poured forth the power of God; widely the greatness of the heavenly substance extended, neither confined by place, nor grasped by thought; neither determined by calculation, nor altered by age.

ORIGEN; See then the greatness of the Savior, how it is diffused over the whole world. Go up to heaven, see there how it has filled the heavenly places; carry your thoughts down to the deep, behold, there too He has descended. If you see this, then, in like manner, behold you fulfilled in very deed, He shall be great.

GREEK EX. The assumption of our flesh does not diminish ought from the loftiness of the Deity, but rather exalts the lowness of man's nature. Hence it follows, And he shall be called the Son of the Highest. Not, you shall give Him the name, but He Himself shall be called. By whom, but His Father of like substance with Himself? For no one has known the Son but the Father. But He in Whom exists the infallible knowledge of His Son, is the true interpreter as to the name which should be given Him, when He says, This is my beloved Son; for such indeed from everlasting He is, though His name was not revealed till now; therefore he says, He shall be called, not shall be made or begotten. For before the worlds He was of like substance with the Father. Him therefore you shall conceive; His mother you shall become; Him shall your virgin shrine enclose, Whom the heavens were not able to contain.

CHRYS. But since it seems shocking or unworthy to some men that God should inhabit a body, is the Sun, I would ask, the heat whereof is felt by each body that receives its rays, at all sullied as to its natural purity? Much more then does the Sun of Righteousness, in taking upon Himself a most pure body from the Virgin's womb, escape not only defilement, but even show forth His own mother in greater holiness.

GREEK EX. And to make the Virgin mindful of the prophets, he adds, And the Lord God shall give to him the seat of David, that she might know clearly, that He Who is to be born of her is that very Christ, Whom the prophets promised should be born of the seed of David.

CYRIL; Not however from Joseph proceeded the most pure descent of Christ. For from one and the same line of connection had sprung both Joseph and the Virgin, and from this the only-begotten had taken the form of man.

BASIL; Our Lord sat not on the earthly throne of David, the Jewish kingdom having been transferred to Herod. The seat of David is that on which our Lord reestablished His spiritual kingdom which should never be destroyed. Hence it follows, And he shall reign over the house of Jacob.

CHRYS. Now He assigns to the present house of Jacob all those who were of the number of the Jews that believed on Him. For as Paul says, They are not all Israel which are of Israel, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

THEOPHYL; Or by the house of Jacob he means the whole Church which either sprang from a good root, or though formerly a wild olive branch, has yet been for a reward of its faith grafted into the good olive tree.

GREEK EX. But to reign for ever is of none save God alone; and hence though because of the incarnation- t nation Christ is said to receive the seat of David, yet as being Himself God He is acknowledged to be the eternal King. It follows, And his kingdom shall have no end, not in that He is God, but in that He is man also. Now indeed He has the kingdom of many nations, but finally he shall reign over all, when all things shall be put under Him.

THEOPHYL; Let Nestorius then cease to say that the Virgin's Son is only man, and to deny that He is taken up by the Word of God into the unity of the Person. For the Angel when he says that the very same has David for His father whom he declares is called the Son of the Highest, demonstrates the one Person of Christ in two natures. The Angel uses the future tense not because, as the Heretics say, Christ was not before Mary, but because in the same person, man with God shares the same name of Son.

34. Then said Mary to the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35. And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall he born of you shall be called the Son of God.

AMBROSE; It was Mary's part neither to refuse belief in the Angel, nor too hastily take to herself the divine message. How subdued her answer is, compared with the words of the Priest. Then said Mary to the Angel, How shall this be? She says, How shall this be? He answers, Whereby shall I know this? He refuses to believe that which he says he does not know, and seeks as it were still further authority for belief. She avows herself willing to do that which she doubts not will be done, but how, she is anxious to know. Mary had read, Behold, she shall conceive and bear a son. She believed therefore that it should be but how it was to take place she had never read, for even to so great a prophet this had not been revealed. So great a mystery was not to be divulged by the mouth of man, but of an Angel.

GREG. NYSS. Hear the chaste words of the Virgin. The Angel tells her she shall bear a son, but she rests upon her virginity, deeming her inviolability a more precious thing than the Angel's declaration. Hence she says, Seeing that I know not a man.

BASIL; Knowledge is spoken of in various ways. The wisdom of our Creator is called knowledge, and an acquaintance with His mighty works, the keeping also of His commandments, and the constant drawing near to Him; and besides these the marriage union is called knowledge as it is here.

GREG. NYSS. These words of Mary are a token of what she was pondering in the secrets of her heart; for if for the sake of the marriage union she had wished to be espoused to Joseph, why was she seized with astonishment when the conception was made known to her? seeing in truth she might herself be expecting at the time to become a mother according to the law of nature. But because it was meet that her body being presented to God as an holy offering should be kept inviolate, therefore she says, Seeing that I know not a man. As if she said, Notwithstanding that you who speak are an Angel, yet that I should know a man is plainly an impossible thing. How then can I be a mother, having no husband? For Joseph I have acknowledged as my betrothed.

GREEK EX. But mark, how the Angel solves the Virgin's doubts, and shows to her the unstained marriage and the unspeakable birth. And the Angel answered, and said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you.

CHRYS. As if he said, Look not for the order of nature in things which transcend and overpower nature. Do you say, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Nay rather, shall it happen to you for this very reason, that you have never known a husband. For if you had, you would not have been thought worthy of the mystery, not that marriage is unholy, but virginity more excellent. It became the common Lord of all both to take part with us, and to differ with us in His nativity; for the being born from the womb, He shared in common with us, but in that He was born without cohabitation, He was exalted far above us.

GREG. NYSS. O blessed is that womb which because of the overflowing purity of the Virgin Mary has drawn to itself the gift of life! For in others scarcely indeed shall a pure soul obtain the presence of the Holy Spirit, but in her the flesh is made the receptacle of the Spirit.

ID. For the tables of our nature which guilt had broken, the true Lawgiver has formed anew to Himself from our dust without cohabitation, creating a body capable of taking, His divinity, which the finger of God has carved, that is to say, the Spirit coming upon the Virgin.

ID. Moreover, the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Christ is the power of the most high King, who by the coming of the Holy Spirit is formed in the Virgin.

GREG By the term overshadowing, both natures of the Incarnate God are signified. For shadow is formed by light and matter. But the Lord by His Divine nature is light. Because then immaterial light was to be embodied in the Virgin's womb, it is well said to her, The power of the Highest shall overshadow you, that is, the human body in you shall receive an immaterial light of divinity. For this is said to Mary for the heavenly refreshing of her soul.

THEOPHYL; You shall conceive then not by the seed of man whom you know not, but by the operation of the Holy Spirit with which you are filled. There shall be no flame of desire in you when the Holy Spirit shall overshadow you.

GREG. NYSS. Or he says, overshadow you, because as a shadow takes its shape from the character of those bodies which go before it, so the signs of the Son's Deity will appear from the power of the Father. For as in us a certain life-giving power is seen in the material substance, by which man is formed; so in the Virgin, has the power of the Highest in like manner, by the life-giving Spirit, taken from the Virgin's body a fleshly substance inherent in the body to form a new man. Hence it follows, Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you.

ATHAN. For we confess that which then was taken up from Mary to be of the nature of man and a most real body, the very same also according to nature with our own body. For Mary is our sister, seeing we have all descended from Adam.

BASIL; Hence also, St. Paul says, God sent forth his Son, born not (by a woman) but of a woman. For the words by a woman might convey only a mere passing expression of birth, but when it is said, of a woman, there is openly declared a communion of nature between the son and the parent.

GREG. To distinguish His holiness from ours, Jesus is stated in an especial manner to be born holy. For we although indeed made holy, are not born so, for we are constrained by the very condition of our corruptible nature to cry out with the Prophet, Behold, I was conceived in iniquity. But He alone is in truth holy, who was not conceived by the cementing of a fleshly union, nor as the heretics rave, one person in His human nature, another in His divine; not conceived and brought forth a mere man, and afterwards by his merits, obtained that He should be God, but the Angel announcing and the Spirit coming, first the Word in the womb, afterwards within the womb the Word made flesh. Whence it follows, Shall be called the Son of God.

GREEK EX. But observe, how the Angel has declared the whole Trinity to the Virgin, making mention of the Holy Spirit, the Power, and the Most High, for the Trinity its indivisible.

36. And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.

CHRYS. Seeing that his previous words had overcome the mind of the virgin, the angel drops his discourse to a humbler subject, persuading her by reference to sensible things. Hence he says, And, behold, Elisabeth your cousin, &c. Mark the discretion of Gabriel; he did not remind her of Sarah, or Rebecca, or Rachel, because they were examples of ancient times, but he brings forward a recent event, that he might the more forcibly strike her mind. For this reason also he noticed the age, saying, She also has conceived a son in her old age; and the natural infirmity also. As it follows, And this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For not immediately at the beginning of Elisabeth's conception did he make this announcement, but after the space of six months, that the swelling of her womb might confirm its truth.

GREG. NAZ. But some one will ask, How is Christ related to David, since Mary sprang from the blood of Aaron, the angel having declared Elisabeth to be her kinswoman? But this was brought about by the Divine counsel, to the end that the royal race might be united to the priestly stock; that Christ, Who is both King and Priest, might be descended from both according to the flesh. For it is written, that Aaron, the first High Priest according to the law, took from the tribe of Judah for his wife Elisabeth, the daughter of Aminadab. And observe the most holy administration of the Spirit, in ordering that the wife of Zacharias should be called Elisabeth, so bringing us back to that Elisabeth whom Aaron married.

THEOPHYL; So it was then, lest the virgin should despair of being able to bear a son, that she received the example of one both old and barren about to bring forth, in order that she might learn that all things are possible with God, even those which seem to be opposed to the order of nature. Whence it follows, For there shall be no word impossible with God.

CHRYS. For the Lord of nature can do all things as He will, Who executes and disposes all things, holding the reins of life and death.

AUG, But whoever says, "If God is omnipotent, let Him cause those things which have been done to have not been done," does not perceive that he says, "Let Him cause those things which are true, in that very respect in which they are true to be false." For He may cause a thing not to be which was, as when He makes a man who began to be by birth, not to be by death. But who can say that He makes not to be that which no longer is in being? For whatever is past is no longer in being. But if aught can happen to a thing, that thing is still in being to which any thing happens, and if it is, how is it past? Therefore that is not in being which we have truly said has been, because the truth is, in our opinions, not in that thing which no longer is. But this opinion God can not make false; and we do not so call God omnipotent as supposing also that He could die. He plainly is alone truly called omnipotent, who truly is, and by whom alone that is, whatever in any wise exists, whether spirit or body.

AMBROSE; Behold now the humility, the devotion of the virgin. For it follows, But Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. She calls herself His handmaid, who is chosen to be His mother, so far was she from being exalted by the sudden promise. At the same time also by calling herself handmaid, she claimed to herself in no other way the prerogative of such great grace than that she might do what was commanded her. For about to bring forth One meek and lowly, she was bound herself to show forth lowliness. As it follows, Be it to me according to your word. You have her submission, you see her wish. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, signifies the readiness of duty. Be it to me according to your word, the conception of the wish.

GREEK EX. Some men will highly extol one thing, some another, in these words of the virgin. One man, for example, her constancy, another her willingness of obedience; one man her not being tempted by the great and glorious promises of the great archangel; another, her self-command in not giving an instant assent, equally avoiding both the heedlessness of Eve and the disobedience of Zacharias. But to me the depth of her humility is an object no less worthy of admiration

GREG. Through an ineffable sacrament of a holy conception and a birth inviolable, agreeable to the truth of each nature, the same virgin was both the handmaid and mother of the Lord.

THEOPHYL; Having received the consent of the virgin, the angel soon returns heavenward, as it follows, And the angel departed from her.

EUSEB. Not only having obtained what he wished, but wondering at her virgin beauty, and the ripeness of her virtue.

Catena Aurea Luke 1
25 posted on 12/20/2012 10:43:09 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

The Annunciation of Ustyug

30th-40-th of the 12 century
Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow

26 posted on 12/20/2012 10:46:58 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All

Thursday, December 20

Liturgical Color: Violet

Today the Church honors St. Zeno, martyr. St. Zeno was a Roman soldier during the persecution of Decius. He was guarding a group of Christians and encouraged them not to renounce their faith. He was arrested as a Christian and beheaded in 249 AD.

27 posted on 12/20/2012 4:20:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: December 20, 2012
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, eternal majesty, whose ineffable Word the immaculate Virgin received through the message of an Angel and so became the dwelling-place of divinity, filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, grant, we pray, that by her example we may in humility hold fast to your will. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Advent: December 20th

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Today is the fourth of the O Antiphons. O sublime majesty of the coming Redeemer! To Him has been delivered the key, the government of the house of David (Is 22:22). Boundless is His power over the graces and privileges of the Church, over the souls and hearts and the wills of men. He holds the destiny of the Church in the palm of His hand. He is Master of the storms that arise to destroy the Church and the souls committed to her. He is capable of dealing with the false principles and the errors that threaten her doctrines. He has overcome the devil and his associates, the world, the flesh and its tribulations. To Him all power is given (Matt. 28:18). "He shall open and none shall shut" (Is 22:22). Against the power that is His all other forces are powerless. The destiny of souls and the government of the Church are placed in His hand. He is the Lord of all. O Key of David, I believe in Thy power; and in the many difficult situations that confront the Church and my own soul, I place my trust in Thee.

O Antiphons ~ Key of David

O Key of David
"Come, lead the captives from their prison." With the key of His almighty power, the Redeemer has opened the prison in which poor, sinful man was languishing in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Key of David, come and deliver the captives from their prison. The Church wishes that by the practice of virtue we should free ourselves from sin and unfaithfulness. She asks God that He may spare us from punishment, deliver us from His wrath, from an evil death, and from hell. The Church prays that God may free us from a heart that clings to the world, from a spirit that is pleased with worldliness, from a human respect that degrades us. She urges us to return kindness and affection for scorn, love and compassion for persecution. Our Holy Mother the Church prays that we may be delivered from ourselves, from our self-love, and from all our secret sins. She prays that God may detach our hearts from all that can bind them to earth, for he who has been freed from the things of the earth is free with the freedom of Christ.

Key of David, come and deliver the captives from their prison. By Thy coming free us from all that separates us from God. Bring us freedom and redemption; incline us to surrender ourselves completely to God. So all pray for each, and each for all.

Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.

4th O Antiphon:
And scepter of the house of Israel,
Thou openest and no man dare shut,
Thou shuttest and no man dare open,

Lead from prison, the fettered one,
The dweller in darkness and the shadow of death.

Today is Day Five of the Christmas Novena.

28 posted on 12/20/2012 4:29:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

December 20

Symbols: Key

Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison.

O Key of David, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens; Come and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israël, qui aperis, et nemo claudit, claudis, et nemo aperuit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

The key is the emblem of authority and power. Christ is the Key of the House of David who opens to us the full meaning of the scriptural prophecies, and reopens for all mankind the gate of Heaven.

Recommended Readings: Isaias 22:22-25

29 posted on 12/20/2012 4:46:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Isaiah 7:10-14

3rd Week of Advent

“Ahaz answered, ‘I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!’” (Isaiah 7:12)

Like King Ahaz, we too may resist the idea of asking God for a sign. God has already made things so clear in his word that asking for a further sign seems to show a lack of trust. Or maybe we don’t believe God is interested in the details of our daily life or that he cares enough to manifest himself to us in a personal way.

Still, a sign from God can be exactly what we need to move us along the path to deeper spiritual maturity. Near the beginning of that path, God delights in answering what has come to be known as The Seeker’s Prayer: “God, if you’re real, I want to know you. Show your­self to me in a way I can recognize.” This is a good way to pray for our loved ones who do not presently acknowledge God.

Those who have already com­mitted ourselves to the Lord often hesitate when there’s a fork in the road. We can easily decide between a clear good and a blatant evil. Obviously I should count to ten instead of exploding at my defiant teenager! But more often, two good alternatives are placed before us.

God trusts us to make a good deci­sion and promises to walk with us along either branch of the path. But before we decide, we long to know what he thinks is truly best for us. In a situation like this, it may also be appropriate to ask God for a sign.

That sign may take many forms. Sometimes it is a spoken word that resonates in our heart. Sometimes it’s something in nature, like a rose blooming out of season. Or we can open Scripture, and ask the Spirit to lead us to a particular passage. A person considering a job transfer may find Genesis 12, God calling Abraham to leave his homeland, or St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:26, “Remain as he is.”

God doesn’t work like a magi­cian. When you sense him leading you in a particular direction, test the word in several ways. Make sure it is consistent with Scripture and our Catholic tradition. Seek the advice of trusted mentors. Wait until you are at peace that this is God’s word to you. Then move for­ward with confidence, and let God go to work!

“Father, I delight in doing your will. Make your way clear before me.”

Psalm 24:1-6; Luke 1:26-38

30 posted on 12/20/2012 5:04:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim


(A biblical refection on today’s Gospel Reading – Thursday, 20 December 2012) 

Gospel Reading: Lk 1:26-38 

First Reading: Is 7:10-14; Psalms: Ps 24:1-6 


The Scripture Text

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father  David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “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, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Lk 1:26-38 RSV) 

The mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart, above all, when this heart is pure and spotless. The words of Christ are truly “words of eternal life,” filled with inexhaustible light and fruitfulness. Those of the Blessed Virgin reflect something of this fullness. There is no doubt that her response to the message of the Angel Gabriel is her greatest word. It is the sublime revelation of the Immaculate Heart.

The Archangel Gabriel greets the chosen one of God. Mary is both troubled and astonished, but the heavenly messenger reassures her and reveals the purpose of his message. She has been chosen by God to be the Mother of His only Son, of the long-awaited Messiah whose reign is without end. But the daughter of Zion is not overwhelmed by it all. Her response is human: “How can this be, since I have no husband” (Lk 1:34). The angel said to her, “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” (Lk 1:35). Thus her Son will have no other Father but the Most High. The messenger concludes with the assurance that to the Lord all things are possible (Lk 1:37).

Mary has heard. She believes. She is aware of the mystery which has been revealed to her. All eyes in heaven and on earth are turned in her direction. The Trinity awaits her consent in the accomplishment of this greatest work of His glory. At this moment, the salvation of the human race which has been lost rests in her hands. Mary senses the expectation of the Archangel or rather of the God Who sent him. She hears the groanings of humanity resounding in her heart, that humanity which is enslaved by sin and burdened with sorrow. Her soul expands with this breath of hope which, for centuries, has given life to her people. She is, as it were, buoyed up by the desires and hopes of all the patriarchs and prophets, but at the same time, astonished at the prospect of such a destiny and filled with anguish at its fearsome responsibility.

What will be Mary do? Where will she find words capable of satisfying both heaven and earth? There must be acceptance, but is there not also need for reserve? She must have faith, confidence, the fullness of joy and desire, but would it not be more fitting to humble herself, to adore and to tremble at the coming to the Lord of all majesty? Where can she find the right words and gestures to fit this infinitely unique and solemn occasion?


Love finds it, because it is the nature of love to give itself. And Mary answers: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). It is as if she said to God: “I am completely yours; use me for whatever Your heart desires.” These are sublime words whose simplicity contains more wisdom than the whole angelic world! It is an act so great and so decisive that its consequences will be endless! “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), the humble Virgin whispers. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us. And this living Word embodies the grace of the Redemption and all the sanctity of the Church. It will mean for all men unending union with Him in His Father.

It is in pondering the role of her consent in the divine plan and her share in the redeeming Incarnation that Christian wisdom explains the universal intercession of our heavenly Mother and her role in our salvation and sanctification. She is the “aqueduct” through which grace flows (provided that we do not take this image too literally), for by her free consent, she was privileged to give her body and blood to the Author of grace Himself. At the same time, her interior dispositions in this mystery teach us a lesson of great importance for our Christian life. It is good example that we find Our Lady giving us in this mystery and it is this practical aspect that we now want to consider.

At first glance, we would perhaps be tempted to overlook it. The Annunciation is something completely unique. The Virgin’s interior sentiments are just as sublime as the dignity which she here receives in unparalleled. We must praise the chosen one of the Most-High, especially out of love for her. We must thank her, for she has had a share in our redemption. But in this mystery may we not also find in her a model for our personal imitation?


The answer is unquestionably yes! We must remember that the elevation of the Queen of Saints to a dignity greater than that of all the saints (who are often more to be admired than imitated) renders her worthy of imitation even at the moment of her greatest exaltation. The way in which Mary accepts this infinitely singular grace of the Divine Maternity will teach us how we ought to accept and receive the same grace which makes us in turn the children of God. Let us return to the contemplation of these words of Our Lady with this in mind. Let us search for the true dispositions of her soul so that our dispositions may conform more perfectly to hers.

We detect, first of all, a sentiment of profound humility in her response. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” really means: “I am nothing of myself. The Lord possesses all rights over me. I am completely dependent on Him.” We have only to recall the rights that a master held over his slaves in the ancient world and we will begin to understand something of this humility. But to visualize Mary maintaining this attitude at the moment when the Most High is raising her to the very borders of His glory, defies all our attempts at understanding even as does the divine exaltation itself. When the Archangel in appearing before her called “full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28) the Blessed Virgin was greatly troubled, completely astonished at such a compliment (see Lk 1:29). This greatness that is praised in her is something entirely new to Mary. Such an idea would never have occurred to her. But now she realizes the greatness of God’s love for her. She sees herself raised above all creatures and above the angels themselves, in becoming the Mother of their Lord. At this very pinnacle of greatness, she never loses sight of the reality of her original nothingness. When the God of all majesty deigns to make her His child, Mary does not forget her complete dependence on Him and she acknowledges it: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” She is His Mother …… and yet she is also His servant!

This vivid awareness of our own nothingness is, thus, the first disposition we need to receive divine grace. How could He Who is Light become one with a creature who is filled with the foolish illusion of being something, when in reality she is nothing? How could the Sovereign Wisdom normally use for His action a tool which is not completely dependent on Him? Of necessity, there is the obligation to humble ourselves, if we want to receive the blessings of Our Father in heaven. Before Him from whom all our blessings flow, we are only weak and ignorant children. We are pure nothingness. Most of all, there is the reality that we are sinners. Our own humility, indeed, if it is sincere, must be surrounded by a halo of contrition, for if we were falsely to believe ourselves without any sin and without need of pardon, we would end by allowing the illusion to cut us off from the rays of divine grace. “I have sinned, Oh Lord, have pity on me!” the humble St. Catherine of Siena often repeated.


Nevertheless, if it ended there, this disposition of the soul would be incomplete, certainly not enough to conform us to what is the will of God for us. The truth is that we are nothing, but even more, that God is all good, that He is that unending Love which is ceaselessly acting and eager to lavish itself on us. To be faithful to that belief, the humbled soul must also rise up again with confidence. In the radiant souls of the saints, humility and confidence are twin sisters, both are daughters of truth. It is this that the Blessed Virgin teaches us here: after the avowal of her nothingness, she surrenders herself to the workings of divine love: “Be it done to me according to Thy word.”

Our indifference easily leads us to see in abandonment an attitude which exempts us from all effort. On the contrary, this means that we want with all our heart what the Lord wants and desire with all our being the action of His love on us. Self-surrender is the opposite of sloth, for one who is lazy looks for exemptions, while one who has surrendered his will spends himself without counting the cost. The distortion of this truth keeps us from understanding the sublime desire which led Mary to surrender, body and soul, to the action of the Holy Spirit. We see her humble acceptance, her unwavering faith. But do we equally admire this burning desire, this burst of confidence and love which inspired her Fiat and put her completely into God’s hands?

The words of the Angel are for Mary the revelation of this infinite love with which God has deigned to love her. The Virgin surrenders herself to it. Her desire is to open her soul to God in proportion to the immensity of this love. “Let it be to me according to Your word!”  Yes, let me be His Mother! Let me be loved and formed as it pleases Him, He Who, always infinite, deigns to love me as His child. “Be it done to me!” It is to this act of faith and trust which surrenders to the actions of God’s love that our Mother wishes to lead us.

God loves us with a Father’s love. He wishes to call us His children here on earth through the virtues and holiness expressed in the image of His first born son; afterwards, through the endless happiness that we will share with Him. At each moment, through interior graces and exterior circumstances, His tenderness beats against our tepid and negligent souls like a relentless torrent. However, we do not want it. We do not care about our lofty destiny and, although we are already His children by our baptism, we do not even live as servants. The fact that faith has revealed both God’s love for us and its power to transform us does not change us; we remain indifferent. May a true Fiat at last rise from our souls and open our hearts in continual confidence to the action of His merciful Providence! Fiat is not a word, nor a purely intellectual affirmation, but a surge of the will, a love which surrenders itself in a confidence without reserve. Be it done to me! Yes, let me become truly a child of God!

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

If our souls are thus deepened by humility and expanded by faith in His love, God will shower His grace upon us. He will realize in us His ambitions as a Father, and in the words of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, His Son will find in us “another humanity.” If saints are so rare, it is not because God fails to call all His children to these sublime heights to make of them other Christs, but because our souls are poorly disposed and not docile to His grace. Vanity makes them superficial, suspicion makes them narrow. “My measure will be your measure,” said the Lord to Saint Catherine of Siena. Our measure of humility and confidence is the measure of His grace. Mary will respond to His offer with the measure of a mother. In like manner, can we not offer Him the response of a true child to a father’s love?

We should have these dispositions at all times, but above all, when we seek God’s grace. Let them be the foundations of our prayers. Let us then return to our nothingness and surrender ourselves to “the immense action of eternal love.” Let neither curiosity nor routine lead us to the reality of truth but rather to the realization of our own weakness and our eagerness to hear the Word of God.

In the sacraments above all, grace flows in torrents; it demands only that there be emptiness to fill. The sacrament of Penance which must be the avowal of our misery and the meeting with merciful love; and even more, the sacrament of the Eucharist, for which hunger should torment us, the hunger of weakness which needs support, the hunger of confident desire which longs for the Bread of delight and of life …… Let us place our souls there in union with her spotless soul. Let us reach out humbly to receive our share of that which is divine even as she has received hers.

Charity is, as St. Paul says, “Amen to God” (2Cor 1:20); it is expressed perfectly in this. “Yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will” (Mt 11:26). Our Lady of true submission, who learns this virtue from her Son, teaches it in turn to us. It is her wish to make each of her children a living “yes to the will of God in their lives.

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your marvelous plan of salvation. Help me to participate in this plan as I imitate Mary’s humble openness. By Your Holy Spirit, empower me to say, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Amen.

Note: The text was adapted from Joseph-Marie Perrin OP [translated from French to English by Sr. Jean David Finley OP], MARY – MOTHER OF CHRIST AND OF CHRISTIANS, Makati, the Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1990, pages 55-60.

31 posted on 12/20/2012 5:11:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 20, 2012:

The intensity of this time right before Christmas can be fun but also draining. When you feel stressed, keep repeating the mantra, “Whose birthday is it, anyway?” If you keep this in mind, what’s important and what isn’t will sort itself out.

32 posted on 12/20/2012 5:23:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

20 December, O CLAVIS DAVID

 on December 19, 2012 8:35 PM | 


To illustrate the antiphon O Clavis David, I chose Bartolomeo Bermejo's magnificent painting of the Harrowing of Hell. It depicts the Risen Christ descending into the dreary dungeon of Hades where Adam and Eve, Methuselah, Solomon, and the Queen of Shebah await Him. The Risen Christ descends into the darkness, radiant in the light of his glory. Psalm 106 expresses the mystery of the moment: "Then they cried to the Lord in their need and he rescued them from their distress. He led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains to pieces" (Ps 106:13-14).

O Key of David
and Sceptre of the House of Israel ,
who opens and no one can shut,
who shuts and no one can open (Is 22:22; Rev 3:7):
Come and bring the prisoners forth from the prison cell,
those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death (Is 42:7; Ps 106:13-14; Lk 1:9).

The Yes to Love

On December 20th we stand in the doorway of the humble dwelling where the Blessed Virgin Mary receives the Angel's message. We are all ears, all eyes . . . listening, looking, and trying to take in something of the mystery that unfolds before us. The mystery of the Annunciation is, in essence, the Virgin’s utterly simple "Yes" to Love; through her "Yes" l'amore che move 'l sol e anche le stelle, the light that moves the stars and even the sun, encloses itself in her womb. We enter the mystery of the Annunciation, not by any effort of the imagination, but by an utterly simple and penetrating act of faith, by the "Yes" to Love.

Love Conceived, Love Crucified, Love Risen

One does not approach the Virgin of the Annunciation without discovering the Mother of Sorrows. The joyful "Yes" to Love conceived beneath the Virgin's heart flowers into the sorrowful "Yes" to Love crucified, and the glorious "Yes" to Love risen from the tomb. Standing in the doorway of the Holy House of Nazareth, listening and looking, we have only to believe in Love, in the Love to whom "nothing is impossible" (Lk 1:37).



Today's O Antiphon is closely tied to the Annunciation Gospel. "He will be great," said the Angel Gabriel, "and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Lk 1:32-33). We lift our voices to Christ, calling him "Key of David and Sceptre of the House of Israel."

The Key of the House of David

The antiphon draws its invocation from the twenty-second chapter of Isaiah. The Lord says to Shebna, the master of the household of King Hezekiah, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Helkias, and I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda. And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father" (Is 22:20-23).

A Key Borne on the Shoulder

Eliakim, whose name means, "God has raised up," is a figure of Christ. Christ is Lord and Master over the household of the Father. On the shoulder of Christ was placed the key of the Cross, the key that opens what no mortal can open, and that closes what no mortal can close. In the image of the great key placed on the shoulder we recognize a figure of the Cross placed on the shoulder of Christ, the key by which heaven is opened and hell vanquished.

Before Thee A Door

The second biblical source of the antiphon's invocation is in the third chapter of the Apocalypse. "And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth. I know thy works." (Apoc 3:7). Read on! The following verse is crucial: "Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word and hast not denied my name" (Ap 3:8). The open door set before us is like the door opened before the Virgin Mary by the message of the Angel. It is comforting to hear the Lord say to each of us, "Thou hast a little strength" (Rev 3:8). Our little strength is no obstacle to the designs of God, "because no word shall be impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

Out of Darkness

The O Antiphons are composed of two parts: the invocation beginning with the word "O," and the petition beginning with the cry, Veni. The petition of today's antiphon is derived from the Song of the Servant given in the forty-second chapter of Isaiah. There, the Lord God presents his servant whom he upholds, the Chosen in whom his soul delights(Is 42:3). The Servant is given as "a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness" (Is 47:7).

The Orient From on High

The second text related to the petition of the antiphon is a familiar one because we sing it every morning at Lauds in the Benedictus. "Through the bowels of the mercy of our God . . . the Orient from on high hath visited us: to enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace" (Lk 1:79). The way of peace is the way opened before us by the Cross-bearing Christ. Christ, with the key of the Cross, opens the door before us.

Into the Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The way of peace leads to the altar and into the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the actualization of the Kingdom here and now. From the altar, the light of the Resurrection penetrates into all that, in our lives, remains shadowy and locked. With the Virgin of the Annunciation, we have only to believe in Love and, believing, say faith's simple "Yes." Our "little strength" is of no consequence. We go to the altar of God to be overshadowed by the power of Love. Love will do the rest for "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16 ) and "no word shall be impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

33 posted on 12/20/2012 6:26:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?


What does the word 'Incarnation' mean?

Archdiocese of Washington: Year of Faith series

Written by:

Dominican Brothers of the Province of St. Joseph

When I used to be a math tutor, I helped elementary school students who were struggling with arithmetic.  As a physicist, I was knee deep in very difficult and advanced mathematics and realizing that some children had difficulty with addition and subtraction initially took me aback.   Basic arithmetic had become so familiar to me that it took some time to figure out how to teach and explain it.  I took it so much for granted that I forgot how odd it must seem to a child coming across it for the first time.

In a similar way, we could look at today’s “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” question: “What does the word ‘Incarnation’ mean?” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the Church calls ‘Incarnation’ the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it.”(CCC 461)  While this is not easy language it is something that most Catholics are used to hearing and may not think twice about.  When we realize that most of the disagreements in the first five centuries of the Church revolved around this doctrine, we may be surprised.  What, exactly, is the big deal? In these arguments, the big deal was our salvation.

Since the original sin, mankind had cut itself off from friendship with God.  Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins and restore us to communion with God.  The theological question was this: if Christ came to save us, what did He have to become in the Incarnation?  Jesus Christ saved us by becoming like us in all ways but sin.

The first major Christological heresy, Arianism, claimed that Jesus Christ was not  really God, just a very godlike creature.    Arius didn’t want to admit that God could become man—it might imply that God wasn’t perfect and transcendent.  But St. Athanasius argued fiercely against him.  Only God can bridge the infinite gap between us and Him.  If Jesus wasn’t really and truly God, then Jesus couldn’t save us from our sins.  This is why we say in the Creed that Jesus is “God from God, light from light, true God from true God, consubstantial with the Father.”

The heretic Nestorius split the unity of Christ’s Person.  Can we really say that Mary is the “Mother of God?”  Nestorius thought this was pious nonsense.  How can the eternal and perfect God have a mother, or be born in time?  It seemed safer to say that two persons existed in Christ.   This, of course, is deeply wrong.   The same Person who died on the Cross had to be God, for us to be saved from our sins.  God died on the Cross.  Only as God did He offer something infinitely worthy to God, and only as man could He suffer on our behalf.  By splitting the unity of Christ’s Person, Nestorius would tear asunder the unity of Christ’s saving work.   Thus the Church found itself confessing that Jesus Christ was “True God and True Man.”

When we dive into the details, we find that the mystery of the Incarnation is far from straightforward, and sorting out the details takes a lot more than simple arithmetic. But the mystery of the Incarnation opens up to us the mystery of divinization, “for this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might becomes sons of God.”(CCC 460)

34 posted on 12/20/2012 6:45:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

Mary’s Fiat
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Father Edward McIlmail, LC  

Luke 1:26-38

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, full of grace! 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.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I contemplate the example of Mary’s simplicity and generosity, my heart burns within me. If only I could be as docile as she was. In my desire to improve, I trust in your help and mercy. As I begin this prayer, I humbly place myself in your presence. I come, Lord, to do your will.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, a love for the example of Our Lady.

1. A Personal Call: We notice the very human details of the Annunciation. It happened in a specific place, to a specific person. So it is with God’s plan. He doesn’t call us en masse. He calls each one of us personally, because he loves each of us as a son or daughter. The Catholic faith is a personal relationship with Our Lord. Do I ever feel the opposite? Do I ever feel like just a number? That’s not how God intends my faith to be. My vocation is personal. Do I respond likewise in a personal way to God?

2. Beyond All Hopes: God’s people had long awaited a Messiah. Mary also would have looked forward to a Savior. Yet it likely would not have occurred to her that she would ever be the mother of the Redeemer. We too might wonder: When will God send someone to save the world in our time? In fact, he tries to do just that ― through each one of us. Each of us can be a saint; each of us can help save the world, with God’s grace. Likewise, each of us is called to a great and unique vocation, whether ordained, consecrated or lay. To what great mission is God calling me? Do I realize that my life can be great, if lived with sufficient love?

3. Let It Be: Mary’s fiat ― “Let it be done to me” ― was the response that brought joy to the angels in heaven. A 14- or 15-year-old, by her openness to God’s plan, would help to change the course of history. We, too, are called to say “yes” to God and to build little civilizations of love. Each generation can contribute to building the Kingdom. Do I see the young people in my life as potential apostles? Do I respect them as persons called to great things? Do I see my friends in the same way?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, your great plan for sending your Son into the world hinged on Mary’s “yes.” Let me learn from her openness; let me say “yes” to what you ask.

Resolution: I will pray for a young person to have the strength to follow a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.

35 posted on 12/20/2012 6:57:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Let it be done…


by Food For Thought on December 20, 2012 · 

God wants to great things for us but we resist. This is often the case of people in general. We have an inborn hunger and desire for God, and yet we seem to be afraid of assuming the responsibility of receiving him into our lives.

Mary, the virgin, was quite different. Without hesitation, Mary consented to becoming the mother of Jesus, by saying: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” Apart from Jesus, Mary’s life and example makes her one of the greatest preacher and spiritual director the world has ever known. The lesson of her life is the only lesson that is essential for us. When God wishes to give himself to us, when he wishes to do something marvelous for us, we must not refuse as Ahaz did. Rather, like Mary, we must open our minds, hearts and lives to him. Only then will he come and make himself at home with us. It is as simple as that. This is basic Christianity.

36 posted on 12/20/2012 7:05:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Thursday, December 20, 2012 >>
Isaiah 7:10-14
View Readings
Psalm 24:1-6 Luke 1:26-38


"Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God?" —Isaiah 7:13

Some people are doubting Thomases, Scrooges, and Grinches. They have a cynical attitude toward Christmas. If you tell them that Jesus is truly coming this Christmas, that all will "be calm" and "bright," that the "herald angels" will sing and there will be "joy to the world," these cynics would respond: "Bah! Humbug!"

To those who don't expect much out of Christmas, the Lord says: "Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!" (Is 7:11) The Lord is willing to confirm the good news of Christmas with signs and wonders, but the Scrooges must be open enough to ask for a sign.

If you are cynical, the Lord will accept you where you are, but He will not accept your staying where you are. He expects you to ask for a sign which will replace cynicism with hope. Therefore, ask for a sign — a big sign, even an impossible sign (see Lk 1:37). The Lord will give you the sign you ask for or even better. The Lord will definitely show that He is Lord, Immanuel ("God with us") (Is 7:14), and loving Savior.

If, after seeing the sign, you turn to Jesus, you will have your greatest Christmas ever. You will have Christmas by God's standards, a Marian Christmas, a true encounter with Jesus Himself, God and Man.

Prayer: Jesus, have Christmas in my life Your way.
Promise: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." —Lk 1:35
Praise: "O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at Your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead Your captive people into freedom."

37 posted on 12/20/2012 7:08:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Both men and women regret abortions.
But the babies are with God.

38 posted on 12/20/2012 7:14:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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