|Gift of Mercy
The reward that Christ will bring is the reward of a divine mercy that enters into the chaos of our lives. Christ is bringing to all of us, all sinners, the reward of a mercy so great that no matter what we have done or what we have failed to do, we are shown the mercy that helps us know and understand we all are worth more than our actions.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century. It came to the West in the eighth century. In the 11th century it received its present name, the Immaculate Conception. In the 18th century it became a feast of the universal Church. It is now recognized as a solemnity.
In 1854, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin."
It took a long time for this doctrine to develop. While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless—either at her conception or throughout her life. This is one of the Church teachings that arose more from the piety of the faithful than from the insights of brilliant theologians. Even such champions of Mary as Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas could not see theological justification for this teaching.
Two Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, helped develop the theology. They pointed out that Mary's Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus' redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleansed from original sin after birth. In Mary, Jesus' work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset.
"[Mary] gave to the world the Life that renews all things, and she was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.
"It is no wonder, then, that the usage prevailed among the holy Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, fashioned by the Holy Spirit into a kind of new substance and new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the splendors of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is, on God's command, greeted by an angel messenger as 'full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28). To the heavenly messenger she replies: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38)" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 56).
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-08
Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.
Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
I will take refuge in His loving heart.
He is my strength in times of weakness.
He is my comforter in times of sorrow.
The Word of God
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.
R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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
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.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Mary, the young girl of no status, from the village of Nazareth, an utterly insignificant place is signaled out, called, chosen, and overshadowed with God's Spirit. Her response moves from one of fear to total trust in God's inscrutable designs.
- Lord, may I grow each day in trusting your amazing annunciation to me: "I am your highly favoured one" I am not to be afraid. You rejoice in me! In the 'busyness' of life, keep these thoughts before me. Like Mary, may I too be ready to play my part in bringing you to birth.
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels.
May I respond to your call today.
Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Solemnity)
He destined us for adoption. (Ephesians 1:5)
From Heidi to Oliver Twist, the stories of orphans who finally find a home hold a special place in our hearts. Why? Maybe because we all know what it's like to feel alone, and we find in these stories of acceptance the hope that we too will find a place where we are welcomed and loved unconditionally. In other words, we all long to be adopted into eternal life!
But what if this yearning for adoption were met by someone with an even stronger yearning to adopt us? What if today's passage is really telling us how deeply God longs to be our Father?
Think of how faithfully God reached out to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Think of how he rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. Think of all the times he saved his people from their enemies and restored them to himself. Think about how he sent his only Son among us, born of the sinless Virgin Mary, to save us and make us his sons and daughters.
Today, we celebrate the outpouring of grace at Mary's conception, making her free from original sin and so able to bear the Son of God. It's a beautiful memorial, but what does this mean for us? It means that we have a Father who wants to bring us into his home forever. For without Mary's immaculate conception, there could be no incarnation. And without the incarnation, there would be no salvation. So now we have a spiritual home. We are loved and welcomed. We are no longer orphans but children of the Most High!
Today also begins the Holy Year of Mercy decreed by Pope Francis. How fitting that this year of grace should start on the day when we celebrate God's mercy toward Mary—a mercy that opened the floodgates of grace for all of us!
So take a moment, and imagine that you are an orphan living on the streets. Out of nowhere, God appears and puts his arms around you. "You are my child," he says, his eyes beaming with love. "I want you to come home and live with me."
That's what makes Mary such a special woman. That's what makes this such a special day.
"Thank you, Lord, for adopting me!"
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Today's 5 minutos:
"Like a precious oasis, in the middle of Advent, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate. And not without reason. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers" Gen 3:5. It is the first Gospel, the first Christmas, the first great news of of the Good News, the announcement that was anticipated that God wants to save man. From then it would start, through the fall of Adam and Eve, a great Advent. God inaugurates like so, the age of hope, before the age of bronze and the age of iron. Through the fall of our first fathers, there begins to live great tests of
clemency. God Himself took it upon Himself to look for dresses that would cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve; to secure the livelihood of His creatures and on top of all, to promise a saving remedy. Mary, the woman, reminds us of the great desire of God to save us, the rush to come seeking the man. If it were up to God, His Son would've been born right away. But we have to warm up the heart who are to receive Him; prepare the hay, set out the manger, solicit perhaps a site for the inn. While the Savior comes, God signals all of history with the presence of a Woman. Mary is the way which God wants us to prepare carefully to receive His Gift. The figure of Mary in the middle of Advent astonishes us and fills us with joy to discover with haste that God wants to save us, symbol of His love, of the charity that urges Him. And at the same
time, it indicates the desire of the Lord for us to colaborate with Him."
The book of Genesis introduces us to the fall, the fall for the lies, as if to have lost true wisdom for false wisdom, to be fooled, to have been made dumb in a sense, a true sense of the presence of God among us. And so we feel left abandoned, and God throughout History yells with actions "I HAVE NEVER LEFT". How can He leave? He is in all of creation because we are of His making! Yet, fools that we are now, we live in debauchery, passions, pride, and all the sort guide us away. I got a worker that I've heard, he punched his cousin at a store, punched his lights out, and the question was why? Why would you brutally beat down your own kin? Your own brother from another mother? "Because he said something about my wife, and was talking about my wife' he said.
In defense, in self defense...and so goes the lies. And this is an example of pride. This weekend he did it again. I texted him, "why were ya'll fighting?" And after long texts he said in defense of his cousin and wife again. Someone here has fallen and been tricked by the devil. This time someone pulled a knife on someone. Cain and Abel, bitten by the lies still survives. Do we need more laws to prevent this from happening? Do we need laws on fist fights, choking, and knives? Knife laws? You can make over 600 laws like the Jews and still hate and reject Jesus. There is no room in the inn of the heart of mankind so long as we lived fooled by the devil. Forget that violence. What about me? Tonight my daughter has a play for school. They've been working on this play probably for a while.
And it just so happens that it is goint to take place at the same time as the Holy Mass of obligation for the Immaculate Conception. I've been telling my wife "I'm going to pull her from the play, we have to go to Mass". The temptations and lies from the devil are there for her just to go to the play. But I'm not PLAYING with the faith. The terrorists are causing a scene for your attention, and they hope to gain followers to take over the world. Well, do we sit on our backs? Do we let the devil take over? To push out Jesus? To Kill Jesus in our lives? NO. We do not listen to the lies. Jesus was here before everyone else, and He rose from the dead to promise life everlasting. If I fail at training my children in the truth, then their home, their hearts will not be prepared, warmed for the coming of the Messiah as He is
Sing to the Lord a new song for He has done marvelous deeds. The sheer terror is aimed at tearing you apart...apart from the love of the Father in Heaven. You want scandal? Then listen to the devil. You want peace? Then listen to God speaking today. His deeds are marvelous and deserve a new song, a new heart, a full all out conversion from our sinful ways, fooled ways, dumb ways. The onslaught is to keep you busy, to keep you distracted, to keep you worried, to keep you confused, and the onslaught is on for as long as you live on earth, because there is enmity between offsprings, and one steps on the head of the serpent. "He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel." You remember these words, and compare them to the magnificat, when our Mother in Heaven said to her cousin Elizabeth,
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant." and she ended with "He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever." The advent of hope is among us, and it begins with the mercy of God. Pope Francis wants this year to be the year of Mercy, for us to be mercy, to partake of mercy, and fall in love with mercy. The promise is more than hope, it is a truth and the truth will win.
The truth speaks today, and a teenage girl receives it from Heaven. She is a virgin. She is a faithful Jewish girl. She is transformed, but she was already chosen. Notice the 2nd Scripture today "In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ." WE were chosen. God has chosen you. You must prepare the way in your life and the lives of those you affect simply by your presence. For God is present among us as the ultimate gift. And we hear some words that impacted the life of Jesus, as the mother of our Lord said the Archangel Gabriel ""Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word." This is to say "thy will be done". These words the Lord said to Our Father in the garden of Gethsemanie, the night He would be betrayed. And so the advent of the coming of Christ has come and is made present again, just like the Eucharist, the offering of His body, blood, and soul, on the altar. His is life
giving hope. His advent is the one we live in right now. The bride is to remain pure and holy, and we are the bride, the Holy Church. And it's conception was through Mary, and God the Father enters in a way no one would've ever expected or cared to believe. His offspring is immeasurable and crushes the head of the serpent in the end. The end is near and the end is here. The alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end is God. This calls for a feast. This calls for a celebration. Because the truth sets us free. Accept Him, get ready for Him, convert, stop waiting to prepare and do it now. Let Him immerse and cover you with His shadow of light. The light of hope is amazing!
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