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Living Our Consecration – July 14 Sunday Refelction

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On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady
A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
by Fr. Omer Prieto

Feast of the Lord’s Baptism (Year C)
Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Our Lady’s Message: I Ask for the Consecration of All (287)

Brothers and sisters,

Ave Maria!

We celebrate this Sunday the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, His first public act that initiated Him to His mission. Though without sin, he lined up with the people to be likewise baptized with water, thus identifying Himself with sinners (Lk. 3:15-16, 21-22). Taking our sins upon Himself, He redeemed us through His death and resurrection, through which we all were baptized in the Holy Spirit and in fire. In this initial act of having himself baptized, He is shown as the beloved Son with whom the Father is well pleased, fulfilling the prophecy long foretold (Is. 42:1-4, 6-7), the Lord of all (Acts 10:34-38) who will bless His people with peace (Ps. 29:1-4, 9-10).

In her message, Our Lady talks about baptism, the sacrament that Jesus instituted to communicate grace to us, placing us in an order of life higher than our own, namely the supernatural life (287 j). To help us live our baptism, She calls for the consecration of all to Her Immaculate Heart. We will read an excerpt from Message 287: “I Ask for the Consecration of All” from the book “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”

I. GOSPEL READING (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22)

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Points for Reflection

1. Jesus had also been baptized.

It looks odd for Jesus to be baptized with water, as He is divine and sinless; but He subjected Himself to it. By lining up with the people to be likewise baptized, He wanted to demonstrate that He was taking upon Himself humanity’s sinfulness in order to redeem us. Taking the first step, He identified Himself with us sinners.

In His first public act, Jesus’ humility is no doubt exceptional. He was declared the “beloved Son with whom the Father was well pleased,” fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy in the First Reading (Is. 42:1-4, 6-7). Anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, He is the “Lord of all”, Paul tells us in the Second Reading (Acts 10:34-38), the One who “will bless His people with peace” (Ps. 29:1-4, 9-10).

2. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Lining up with sinners to be baptized was merely symbolic, though. He redeemed us through His death and resurrection. By dying, He put to death all our sins, which He took upon Himself. By rising, He came out of the tomb, ushering us to new life in the Spirit. This is signified in the Gospel by the opening of heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit. This is the baptism “in the Holy Spirit and fire,” by which we were all baptized. Cleansing us from sin and restoring divine life to us with the dignity of God’s children, this is no doubt “mightier” than John’s baptism “with water.”

3. Our Life as God’s Children

During the 3rd century, St. Cyprian wrote to his friend Donatus: “It’s a bad world in which we live. But right in the middle of it, I have discovered a quiet and holy group of people. They are people who have found a happiness that is a thousand times more joyful than all the pleasures of our sinful lives. These people are despised and persecuted, but it doesn’t matter to them. Donatus, they are Christians, and I am one of them.”

By Jesus’ baptism “in the Holy Spirit and fire,” we were reborn and made children of God, receiving the same love and delight from the Father. Let us therefore echo Cyprian’s words without hesitation: “We, too, are one of them.” Let us live our baptism and make a difference in the world in which we live.

II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: “I ASK FOR THE CONSECRATION OF ALL” (Message 287)

March 25, 1984
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

(For our reflection, we will read an excerpt, starting from paragraph g.)

g. Why do I ask you for the consecration?

h. When a thing is consecrated, it is removed from all uses other than the sacred one to which it has been assigned, and so it is with an object designated for the divine worship.

i. But this can also be the case with a person, when such a one is called by God to render Him perfect worship. Understand then how your true act of consecration is that of baptism.

j. By this sacrament, instituted by Jesus, grace is communicated to you, placing you in an order of life higher than your own, namely the supernatural life. Through this you participate in the divine nature, you enter into a communion of love with God, and your actions, accordingly, have a new value exceeding that of your nature, because they have a value which is truly divine.

k. After baptism you are then destined for the perfect glorification of the Most Holy Trinity and consecrated to live in the love of the Father, in the imitation of the Son, and in full communion with the Holy Spirit.

l. The fact that characterizes the act of consecration is its totality: when you are consecrated you are then wholly so, and forever!

m. When I ask you for consecration to my Immaculate Heart, it is to make you understand that you must completely entrust yourselves to me, in a total and everlasting way, that I may dispose of you according to the Will of God.

n. You must entrust yourselves in a manner that is complete, giving me everything; you should not give me one thing and hold on to another, for yourselves; you should truly be wholly mine.

o. And then you should entrust yourselves to me not on one day yes and on another day no, or for a period of time as you would have it, but forever.

p. It is to emphasize this important aspect of a complete and lasting dedication to me, your heavenly Mother, that I ask for the consecration to my Immaculate Heart.

q. How should the consecration be lived by you?

r. If you consider the ineffable mystery the Church commemorates today, you will understand how the consecration I have asked of you should be lived.

s. The Word of the Father was entrusted completely to me. After my yes, He came down into my womb.

t. He was entrusted to me in his divinity.

u. The Eternal Word, Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, after the incarnation, was received and hidden in the tiny dwelling, miraculously prepared by the Holy Spirit, of my virginal womb.

v. He was entrusted to me in his humanity, in a manner as profound as the way any son is entrusted to the mother, from whom everything is expected: blood, flesh, breath, food, love, to enable him to grow in her womb each day, and then – after birth – each year, always close to the mother.

w. For this reason just as I am the Mother of the Incarnation, so also I am the Mother of the Redemption, which had on this occasion its wonderful beginning.

x. And so you see me intimately associated with my Son Jesus; I collaborate with Him in his work of salvation, during his infancy, his adolescence, his thirty years of hidden life at Nazareth, his public ministry, during his sorrowful passion and up to the Cross where I offer and suffer with Him, receiving his last words of love and sorrow, in which I am given to all humanity as true Mother.

y. Called to imitate Jesus in everything, imitate Him also in his complete reliance on the heavenly Mother. For this reason I ask you to offer yourselves to me with your consecration.

z. I will be able to be an attentive Mother for you, concerned to make you grow in God’s plan, to realize in your lives the great gift of the priesthood to which you have been called; I will bring you each day to an ever better imitation of Jesus, who must be your only model and your greatest love. You will be true instruments, faithful collaborators in his redemption.

A. Today this is necessary for the salvation of all humanity, so diseased, so far from God and from the Church.

B. By an extraordinary intervention of his merciful love, the Lord can save this humanity, and you are called to be the instruments of the triumph of the merciful love of Jesus.

C. Today this is indispensable for my Church, which must be healed from its wounds of infidelity and apostasy in order to return to its splendor and to renewed holiness.

D. Your heavenly Mother wishes to heal the Church through you. I will do this soon, if you will allow me to work in you, if you entrust yourselves with docility and simplicity to my merciful maternal action.

E. Again today, with sorrowful supplication, I ask you all to consecrate yourselves.

Points for Reflection

1. The Call for Consecration

Our Lady calls for our consecration because of our baptism. By virtue of this sacrament, we are placed in an order of life higher than our own, namely the supernatural life, in which we enter into a communion of life with God. We live in the love of the Father, in the imitation of the Son, and in full communion with the Holy Spirit (287 k). Accordingly, our actions have a new value exceeding that of our nature, because their value is divine.

It is for this that Our Lady calls us to consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart. It is a very special kind of entrustment by which She helps us live our obligations as baptized Christians. In these times of difficulties, our consecration is “necessary” for the salvation of all humanity and is “indispensable” for the Church (287 A, C).
2. Consecration Must be Complete and Lasting

She asks that our consecration to her Immaculate Heart be a complete and lasting entrustment to her maternal care. “You must completely entrust yourselves to me, in a total and everlasting way, that I may dispose of you according to the Will of God. You must entrust yourselves in a manner that is complete, giving me everything; you should not give me one thing and hold on to another, for yourselves; you should truly be wholly mine. And then you should entrust yourselves to me not on one day yes and on another day no, or for a period of time as you would have it, but forever” (287 m-o).

3. Living Our Consecration

To understand how the consecration is lived, Our Lady brings us to the Annunciation, when Jesus was completely entrusted to her, in love (287 s), both in his divinity (287 t) and humanity (287 v). She calls us to imitate her Son, particularly “his complete reliance on her” (287 y). For her part, she promises “to be attentive to us, helping us grow in God’s plan and bringing us each day to an ever better imitation of Jesus, our only model and our greatest love” (287 z).

In our celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, let us commit ourselves more and more to living our consecration to the Immaculate Heart everyday. This is indispensable to the Church and badly needed in these times.

Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Omer

Note:
Our Lady’s messages are taken from the book: “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”, a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur:
Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Abp Francesco Cuccarese, 2007

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Living Our Consecration to Mary – Jan 6 Sunday Reflection

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On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady
A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
by Fr. Omer Prieto

Solemnity of the Epiphany (Year C)
Gospel: Matthew 2: 1 – 12
Our Lady’s Message: The Morning Star (484)

Brothers and sisters,

Ave Maria!

We celebrate this Sunday the Epiphany of the Lord. Visited and adored by the magi from the east, the newborn king of the Jews is revealed to all peoples (Mt. 2:1-12), giving greater significance and dimension to His Birth. “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” (Ps. 72).

Echoing this revelation, Our Lady tells us that Jesus is the “Morning Star,” the true Light that enlightens all. She exhorts us to be penetrated by His light and become His witnesses, as the darkness of our time grows stronger and deeper. We will read Message 484: “The Morning Star” from the book “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”

I. GOSPEL READING (Matthew 2:1-12)

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Points for Reflection

1. The Sign from Heaven

It has been long prophesied that a star would be the sign of Jerusalem’s future glory. Isaiah foresaw this: “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” He further foretold in the First Reading that the wealth of nations will be brought there and foreigners will come bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord (Is. 60:1-6). In Bethlehem, the star is the shining radiance of God that manifests the divine splendor of the newborn Child, revealing Him as Lord and King of the entire world, not only of the Jews. The Psalm says it right: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” (Ps. 72).

2. The Search of the Magi

Such was the star that the “magi” saw from afar. Probably astrologers from Persia and possibly part of the group of “wise men” under the tutelage of prophet Daniel, they were likely familiar with the old Messianic prophesies. Guided by this star, they embarked on the journey anxious to see the Messiah. Crossing the desert, they were led to the little town of Bethlehem where they found Jesus. They worshiped Him and gave Him gifts as foretold. Gold honored Him as King. Incense adorned His divinity. Myrrh (used in preparing the dead for burial) prefigured His death. All these gifts were likewise epiphanies of Jesus’ identity and mission. He is the divine King who would die as ransom for many. The magi’s search for the newborn king heralded the New Light that has dawned on all. This is the “mystery” that was made known to St. Paul – “The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” – we hear in the Second Reading (Eph. 3:2-3, 5-6).

3. Looking Up to the Sky

Epiphany is a life-changing experience. Life is never the same again once we find Jesus. For the Magi, it was a return through “another way.” For Paul, it was a conversion to the “way.” Speaking ahead of the Epiphany, Pope Francis exhorted us at the General Audience last January 2 that we must always look up to the sky. “Only in this way, will we be able to see the Star.” This reminder is more than ever urgent in these times when thick darkness covers us, Our Lady warns us in Her message. “It is the darkness of the lack of faith and of apostasy, which has spread everywhere. It is the darkness of evil and sin, which has now obscured hearts and souls. It is the darkness of faithlessness and impiety, of egoism and pride, of hardness of heart and impurity (484 l-n). With this darkness, we must look up to the sky to see the Star. Jesus is the Morning Star, the true light that guides us to cross the tumultuous desert of deception and confusion of our time.

II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: “THE MORNING STAR ” (Message 484)

December 24, 1992
Dongo, Como, Italy

a. Beloved children, enter with me into the deep mystery of this holy night. Live it close to your heavenly Mother and to my most chaste spouse, Joseph. Live it in silence, in prayer, in humility, in purity and in love.

b. I am opening for you the door of my Immaculate Heart, to have you enter and feel its beating, in these last instants which precede the birth of my heavenly Child.

c. Each beat of my motherly Heart, in this holy night,
becomes a sigh of expectation, a moan of desire, a spark of love, a prayer of quiet, a word with the Father, a transport of the Spirit, who comforts me in a profound ecstasy of life with paradise, which I see all enclosed in this poor cave.

d. As night surrounds everything and deep darkness has come down upon the world, your heavenly Mother is penetrated with a most powerful light: my mind becomes absorbed in the splendor of eternal Wisdom; my Heart opens itself to the most ardent brightness of Love; my soul is penetrated by the ray of the fullness of grace and of holiness; my virginally inviolate body opens to the gift of my divine Son.

e. With my motherly arms, I place in the squalid manger my heavenly Child, born in this night of deep darkness.

f. But the stars shine brightly in the heavens, as the angels proclaim the song of celestial harmonies and the shepherds come to the cave to bring the homage of the simple, the poor, the pure of heart.

g. Thus is the Infant Jesus comforted by the love, which He receives from the little ones, even amidst the vast rejection of the great.

h. And so, in the deep night, which enfolds the world, the Morning Star opens to give you his light.

i. My divine Child is the Morning Star, who shines with the very light of the Father, who brings his life into the desert of the world and of history, who gives a beginning to the new day for a redeemed and rescued humanity.

j. “The true Light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came into the world, which is His own, but His own people did not accept Him. A few however have believed in Him, and to these God has given the gift of becoming children of God. The Word became man and made his dwelling among us. We have contemplated his divine splendor. It is the splendor of the only-begotten Son of God the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:9-14).

k. Beloved children, on this holy night, allow yourselves to be penetrated by his divine splendor and become witnesses and apostles of his light. Because the darkness is now becoming deeper, as the moment of the return of Jesus in glory draws closer.

l. It is the darkness of the lack of faith and of apostasy, which has spread everywhere.

m. It is the darkness of evil and sin, which has now obscured hearts and souls.

n. It is the darkness of faithlessness and impiety, of egoism and pride, of hardness of heart and impurity.

o. In this great night, the second birth of Jesus in glory is about to take place, a glory, which, as morning star, will brighten up the dawn of the new heavens and the new earth.

p. For this reason, I urge you today to fight and, together with me, to gain the victory in the great battle of these last times, to assure that you may ever remain faithful to Jesus.

q. “Do not seal up the prophetic words of this book, for the appointed time is near. Let the wicked still act wickedly and the filthy still be filthy. The righteous must still do right, and he who belongs to the Lord must consecrate himself more and more to Him. I am coming soon, and I will bring with me the recompense which I will give to each, according to his deeds” (Rev. 22:10-12).

r. “To the victors, who carry out my Will until the end, I will give authority over the nations, as I myself have received it from my Father, and I will give them also the morning star” (Rev. 2:26-28).

s. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the Churches. I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

t. “The Spirit and the Bride of the Lamb say: ‘Come!’ Whoever harkens to these things says: ‘Come!’” (Rev. 22:16-17)

Points for Reflection:

1. The Morning Star

Our Lady describes Jesus as the Morning Star who shines with the very light of the Father, giving a fresh start to a new day for a redeemed and rescued humanity (484 l). He is the true Light that enlightens every man (484 m), we hear in the Prologue of John’s gospel. “He was in the world and the world was made through Him; yet the world did not know Him. He came into the world, which is His own, but His own people did not accept Him. A few however have believed in Him, and to these God has given the gift of becoming children of God. The Word became man and made his dwelling among us. We have contemplated his divine splendor. It is the splendor of the only-begotten Son of God the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:9-14).

2. Witnessing to the Light

Showing the radiant light of the Morning Star, Our Lady urges us to “be penetrated by His divine splendor and become witnesses and apostles of His light” (484 k). The darkness in our time has grown deeper and stronger, making Her appeal more urgent than ever. “It is the darkness of the lack of faith and of apostasy, which has spread everywhere. It is the darkness of evil and sin, which has now obscured hearts and souls. It is the darkness of faithlessness and impiety, of egoism and pride, of hardness of heart and impurity” (484 l-n). Though the battle against the powers of darkness is tough, She urges us to remain ever faithful to Jesus. He is the Morning Star and the victory is assured.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany, let us heed Our Lady’s call. With Her help, let us find concrete ways by which penetrated by the light of Her Son, we may become His witnesses.

A blessed Epiphany to all!

Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Omer

Note:
Our Lady’s messages are taken from the book: “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”, a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur:
Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Abp Francesco Cuccarese, 2007

#AveMaria

(C) Image saved from Yahoo

Resource:

Shared with Permission from Group Administrator, Marian Movement of Priests

 

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A New Year’s Resolution: Walking with the Blessed Mother toward Jesus, the source of True Happiness

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A New Year has begun.  All feels brand new but as we have experienced time and again, the new year not only presents new blessings but new challenges as well. I have already concluded that my daily existence is only made possible by the grace of God. All my joys come from God and all my sufferings are overcome by my faith in God, His compassion, and our Blessed Mother’s intercession.

Many of us aspire for a happier new year and what better way to ensure this by walking with the Blessed Mother each day. She embodies all the characteristics of an individual whose definition of happiness is being in the constant light and love of Jesus Christ.

“Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.”          -St. Augustine of Hippo

Choosing to walk with the Blessed Mother might be considered taking the road less traveled. It is anything but easy.  As soon as our Blessed Mother said yes to God’s call, her life was never the same. From her conception to her Son Jesus’ crucifixion, the Blessed Mother’s fiat was tested. In spite of it all, her resolve remained strong and her faith steadfast. As our Blessed Mother has proven, choosing God above all things is possible. She undoubtedly is a sure guide to lead us to Him.

In message 260 given from the the Blue Book, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Our Blessed Mother calls us to a “Path of Penance”. She invites us to walk with her and to begin our journey to follow the Will of God. Let’s read her message:

March 5, 1983

First Saturday of the Month and of Lent

The Path of Penance

a      “Beloved sons, follow me along the path of penance.

b    The weapons with which you are to fight my battle are those of prayer and penance. Today I want to show you the path of penance which is to be traversed by each of you.

c       The first stage is that of renunciation and self-denial.

d    It is necessary to renounce oneself, as well as all disordered attachments, passions, immoderate desires, ambitions. Even in your apostolic labors, you are never to seek success and human approval. Rather have a love for being hidden, for an apostate carried out in silence, in humility, and the daily and faithful fulfillment of our duties.

e    In this way you will mortify egoism which constitutes your greatest peril, the easiest and most customary of the snares by which my Adversary attempts to impede your journey.

f    Then you will become free interiorly: it will be easy for you to discern in the light the Will of God, and you will find yourselves more suitably disposed to carry it to perfection.

g      The second stage is that of carrying one’s cross properly.

h    This cross is made up of the difficulties one encounters when one desires to fulfill solely the Will of God, because this involves the task of daily fidelity to the duties of one’s state in life. It is a fidelity in which even the very smallest tasks are performed with perfection. Everything is done in the fulfillness of love; every moment if the day is lived in fulfilling the divine Will.

i    How precious, above all for you, my beloved sons, is this second stage of suffering!

j    In this you are shaped into the likeness of Jesus Crucified.

k    This interior crucifixion will take place each day and in every moment of your priestly day: in moments of prayer, which is so greatly necessary and which must be the center of your life; in the most precious moment of the celebration of the Holy Mass, when with Jesus you too are interiorly immolated for the life of the world; in your fidelity to the priestly duties proper to the ministry of each one; in evangelization, in catechizing, in teaching, in the apostolate of charity; with each person you meet, especially the very poor, the lonely and forsaken, those who feel themselves despised and rejected by all.

l    In your priestly apostolate never seek to please yourselves or to procure some personal advantage; give yourselves always with all the inexhaustible force of love, and do not let ingratitude stop you or misunderstandings stand in your way; indifference should not make you hesitate, nor should lack if cooperation cause you to become weary. It is above all in your priestly suffering that souls can be begotten by you to the life of grace and to salvation.

m      The third stage is that of following my Son Jesus toward Calvary.

n    During his life, how often I found Him turning his glance with desire toward Jerusalem, where He would one day go to be betrayed, arrested, judged by his own, condemned, scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified. How greatly Jesus longed for this moment. He was always journeying toward the consummation of the Pasch of love and immolation of you.

o    Therefore, you, my beloved, who are priests, you too are called to follow him each day toward the consummation of your paschal immolation for the salvation of all.

p    Never lose courage. Today the voices of condemnation are for you the shouts of those who reject and challenge you. Sins, committed but then justified and no longer atoned for, are for you the painful strokes of the scourge. The errors, which threaten to estrange great numbers of souls from the faith, are for you the crown of thorns. Today, to remain faithful to your calling is to follow the stern path that leads of Calvary.

q    The Obstacles found today in staying united and obedient in all things to the Pope, and to the hierarchy united with him, the lack of understanding on the part even of your brothers, the sense of being pushed aside with which you are often overwhelmed are for you the painful falls.

r    But, the entrusting of yourselves to my Immaculate Heart by means of your consecration, is today for you the meeting of your Mother, so full of sorrows.

s    Together, from now on , let us go forward in perfect imitation of Jesus, who invites us to follow Him in the way of the Cross.

t    Some of you will even have to shed your own blood in the decisive moments of this bloody purification.

u    Beloved sons, you see now described for you the road you must travel to reach a genuine experience of conversion.

v    It is the simple and evangelical road, pointed out to you by my Son Jesus when He told you:”He who wishes to come after Me, let him renounce himself, take up his cross each day, and follow Me.” (Cf.Mt 16:24)

w    Along this path,  evangelical and sacerdotal, your heavenly Mother wishes to lead you.”

We thank the Blessed Mother for her inspiration and ask her to take our hand and walk with us through another year with anticipation of attaining true happiness that only comes from Jesus, her Son.

Happy New Year!

 

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A Present for the Infant Jesus

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”, says the lyrics of one of the most popular Christmas songs. It is difficult to argue that it isn’t so. Beyond the merry making, the lights, the feasts, and the presents, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That in itself makes December beautiful and meaningful!

We are all invited to participate in this profound mystery of Christmas and so like the 3 Wise Men offering gifts, what do we have to offer the Baby Jesus?

As I searched within myself, my talents, my skills, my roles, my life, I realized that the best gift that I can offer Jesus is my motherly heart. This is not because I see myself to exemplary, on the contrary, I always seek guidance from the Blessed Mother because I am in need of her to do this job well. I offer my motherhood because it is something that I perform with pure love and humilty. Never have I had the desire to excel at anything more than being the mother that my children deserve without asking anything in return only that they grow up to be happy and healthy. Being a mother is the most selfless part of being me.

I pray that Jesus accepts my motherly heart with all it’s imperfections but within it the greatest love it has for the children he has blessed me with and finds joy in finding my heart’s capacity to love unconditionally.

May we offer the best of ourselves to Jesus, who has given all of Himself to us. Have a Blessed and Holy Christmas!

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Quotes for a Marian Heart

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This important Marian feast occurs during Advent, a season of watchful and prayerful preparation for Christmas. She who knew better than anyone how to wait attentively for the Lord guides us and shows us how to make more vital and active our journey to the Holy Night of Bethlehem. With her, we spend these weeks in prayer and, guided by her bright star, hasten to make the spiritual journey that will lead us to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation with greater intensity.”

~ Pope St. John Paul II

 

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Thanksgiving Prayer

My Shadow in Forest

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Dear Lord, Today we are reminded of the many blessings you have generously bestowed upon us. For all these gifts both tangible and intangible, we “Thank You” from the bottom of our hearts. We pray that we continue to live each day with gratitude. Never forgetting that everthing has been given by you and comes from you.  We pray that we find you in all things so in all things we find your love, your kindness, and your mercy. May we endeavor to return this gratitude by living a life pleasing to you and generously sharing your gifts with others. Amen.

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In Everything Give Thanks from The Catholic Gentleman

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Recently, my wife and I watched the excellent movie, The Song of Bernadette, the story of St. Bernadette Soubirous, the seer of Lourdes. One scene in particular was especially moving: After the village school children completed their lessons well, a priest rewards them for their good behavior by giving them holy cards. Now, a holy card doesn’t sound particularly exciting to us, and most of us probably have more than we know what to do with. But the children in the movie were overjoyed. Most of them were incredibly poor, barely able to heat their homes, and having a “holy picture” was a luxury they had never experienced.

This scene got my wife and me thinking about how much we have and how much we take for granted.

Americans, and all those in the developed Western world, have a serious problem with ingratitude. We have so many luxuries that we don’t even see them any more. In the summer, we live in air conditioned comfort. In the winter, we have heat available instantly, without having to scrounge for firewood to fuel a meager fire. Rather than walking miles and miles to get water, we turn on the faucet. Our grocery stores, and our cabinets, are bursting with every imaginable food. Almost every American owns a smart phone, and giant flat screen TVs are in every home. Any and every imaginable convenience is only a shopping trip away.

And because we have so much, we face the serious, soul destroying danger of materialism. Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans has to rent a storage unit to store all their extra stuff?And yet we want even more. Every year, people are trampled to death by the stampedes of shoppers on Black Friday, and countless Americans are drowning in credit card debt because they bought things they didn’t need and couldn’t afford.

Materialism is at bottom the idolatry of things. While some of these things may be good in themselves, seeking our happiness in them, instead of God, is a spiritual sickness. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “How hardly shall the rich enter the kingdom of heaven.” Loving stuff more than God can literally kill our souls and keep us out of heaven if we aren’t careful.

Fighting Materialism

So how can we combat this materialism? How can we keep our souls alive when the comforts and luxuries we enjoy desensitize us to the goodness of God? Here are three simple ways.

1. Gratitude – Gratitude flows from humility. When we realize that we are completely dependent upon God for everything we have, including our very existence, we begin to see everything as a gift. “Blessed is he that expecteth,” said Chesterton, “for he shall be gloriously surprised.” The difficult part is to take notice of these gifts and then appreciate them as undeserved favors from God. This doesn’t come naturally, it is an art we have to cultivate.

One way to take better notice of God’s gifts is to start a gratitude journal. Once a week, or even once a day, write down all the things you are thankful for. This practice will make you more attentive to all that you have.

2. Detachment – The saints constantly speak of detachment from the things of the world. What does this mean practically speaking? It means you don’t need anything to be happy except God. It means you use things and love God, rather than loving things and using God. It means your heart is completely free.

Have you ever noticed that sprinters wear very little clothing? Their outfits are minimalist because they don’t want layers weighing them down. The less clothing they have, the fast they can run. It is the same in the spiritual life. The less our hearts are weighed down by attachments and desires, the faster we can run towards heaven.

3. Generosity – Giving is an excellent antidote to greed. It helps us realize that all that we have really isn’t ours anyway. When we realize that everything we have is a gift from God, rather than something we are entitled to, we are much more likely to share it with others.

Even if you don’t feel generous or particularly want to give, do it anyway. The practice will help sever those attachments to possessions and make us grateful for what we have. You will also find that there is great joy in giving—much more so than there ever is in taking. “Give and it will be given to you,” said Jesus. God is generous to us in proportion to our generosity to others.

In Everything Give Thanks

We are all blessed in countless ways that we hardly notice. God our Father will not be outdone in generosity. Yet, far too often, all we can see is what we don’t have, and we grumble and complain. This ingratitude is sinful and it grieves the heart of God.

Let’s make a concerted effort to be grateful for our numberless blessings and to keep our hearts detached from material things, remembering the admonition of St. Paul, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

Resource: The Catholic Gentleman

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Quotes for a Marian Heart

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“To succeed in your intentions, entrust yourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary always, but especially in moments of difficulty and darkness. ‘From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God…Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God’s Word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God.’”

– St. John Paul II

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An Omnipresent God’s Gift of Now

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Can you imagine a being that is able to be present everywhere at the same time eternally?  Modern society can easily associate this kind of ability as belonging to a superhero… suited for one of a multitude of characters from Marvel or Dc Comics. They may even contest that there are cooler and more useful superpowers than it such as flying, supersonic hearing, the ability to climb walls, or teleportation to name a few.

Each superhero has very distinct skills and talents to fight the evil of their day, but they are all fictional characters written by talented writers with a flair for imagination. To be Omnipresent belongs not to the creation of man, but the Creator of man. While superheroes discover how their powers can be used to help conquer evils, God’s nature as being omnipresent was there before evil entered the world. By His very nature, He is omnipresent not for the sake of anything or anyone..it is who He is.

If we want to know ourselves fully well than we must learn who created us and who He made us to be. So the question arises, if the one true God is omnipresent then what are humans? How are we to exist in time? Unlike God who is always present, we are not. He made us to be in the “now” of time.

We had a beginning and we have a future with Him forever, but we can only exist right this very moment. In Isaiah 43:18, we are reminded by God of how we are to live in relation to time,”Remember not the events of the past” and Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”

When we try to live in either the past or future for which we were not made to exist then this is where our anxiety, stresses, disappointments, nostalgia, handicaps, and fears come from. Many are robbed of the full joy given by Christ by attempting to live omnipresent like God, though not a true omnipresence but a false one. We cannot fully experience life in any dimension in time but right now.

So how can we practice being present in the moment? This brings me to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. This is a wonderful prayerful tool that brings us to the present moment while connecting us with the timelessness of God and with His mother and the saints. Receiving Eucharistic Jesus is another way to be present. Being intentional about gratitude, being kind, loving, and merciful are all good ways to be in present moment. How will you practice living the truth that God has revealed in your life right now?

By Mom Contributor