Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aug 22 - Homily: The Perfect Queen

Blessed Feast of Queenship of Mary , Holy Mother of God ( August 22 )

Eight days ago, we were celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Today, we are commemorating another beautiful Marian Feast, that of the Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter "Ad Caeli Reginam."
The Holy Catholic Church made this proclamation in view of the fact that throughout its history, whether in time of peace or in time of war, the faithful have continuously addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.
"From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He 'will reign in the house of Jacob forever,' [Lk. 1:32] 'the Prince of Peace,' [Is. 9:6] the 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords.' [Rev. 19:16] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God." (Ad Caeli Reginam; # 8)
According to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood. In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, we read this sentence: 'He 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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,' [Lk. 1:32-3] and in addition Mary is called 'Mother of the Lord'; [Lk. 1:43] from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: 'When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.' [S. Ioannes Damascenus, De fide orthodoxa, 1. IV, c. 14; PL XCIV, 1158 s. B.] Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary's royal office." (Ad Caeli Reginam; # 34)
To understand the Queenship (queen mother) of Mary as the mother of Jesus as the eternal King, it is necessary to know Jewish history.
First of all, it must be shown that Jesus was born of royal family. This proof is found in the following Biblical passages. "And Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon." [Mt. 1:6] "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generation." [Mt. 1:17] "Jesus was the son (as was thought) of Joseph son of Heli, [Lk. 3:23] son of David, [Lk. 3:31] son of Adam..."[Lk. 3:38] "These are the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David." [Rev. 3:7] "Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered..." [Rev. 5:5] "On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, 'King of kings and Lord of lords.'" [Rev. 19:16] "I am the root and descendant of David." [Rev. 22:16]
Reviewing Jewish history, it is learned that the institution of the "queen mother" was established during the reign of King Solomon. In the Old Testament, we find the following words, "King Solomon had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat on his right." [1 Kgs 2:19] Many of the kings who succeeded King Solomon kept this practice. The mother of the king, through who the king received his throne, was trusted as a confident and advisor. So important was the function of the queen mothers in the days of the Old Testament that their names were listed in the succession records of the kings of Judah. [1 Kgs 14:21, 15:13; 2 Kgs. 12:1, 14:2, 15:2, etc...] In one instance of the Jewish history, we find that when the king died, the queen mother ruled for a time. [2 Kgs. 11:1-3]
Considering the fact that Jesus was a descendant of the House of David in which it was the practice of the mother of the king to sit at the right hand of the king as the Queen mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, being the mother of Jesus, is entitled by tradition to sit at the right hand of the Lord Jesus in His eternal Kingdom, she rightfully having inherited the honour and title of Queen Mother as the mother of Jesus who is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
This summarizes why we as Catholics proudly call the Blessed Virgin Mary our Queen and why the Holy Mother Church, in its inspired wisdom, has officially proclaimed this glorious honour.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pius XII states in the constitution "Munificentissimus Deus," which defined belief in the Assumption as a matter of faith:

"All the arguments and considerations of the Fathers and theologians rest on Sacred Scripture for their ultimate foundation. The Scriptures present the beloved Mother of God as most intimately united with her divine Son as ever sharing in his lot. Hence, it seems all but impossible to see her who conceived Christ. . .as separated from him, if not in soul, yet in body, after her life on earth was over. . .Seeing that by preserving her from the corruption of the tomb he could give her such great honor, we must believe that he actually did so."

St. John Damascene (d. 749) called the Doctor of the Assumption, writes, "On this day the sacred and life-filled ark of the living God, she who conceived her Creator in her womb, rests in the Temple of the Lord that is not made with hands. David, her ancestor, leaps, and with him the angels lead the dance."
Documentation testifies that the feast was celebrated first in the Eastern Church in the second half of the sixth century. Pope Sergius I (687-701) ordered its observance in Rome. At first it was kept as a memorial of Mary's death, her falling asleep (dormition), and it gradually came to be a commemoration of her Assumption as such.

Blessed Feast of Assumption ( August 15 )

This is the most ancient and solemn of the Blessed Virgin Mary's feasts. After a most blessed death Our Lady was triumphantly assumed into Heaven with her immaculate soul and pure body, and was crowned Queen of Heaven by Her own Divine Son.
Let us unite our joy and gratitude with that of the angels and saints in Heaven, as well as that of the Church upon earth, for it is our Heavenly Mother's Assumption Day.
How well did she deserve this immortal crown!
She crushed the serpent's head; she offered herself and her beloved Son unto death for the Redemption of mankind.
She triumphed over the world and the evil.
Let us pray that the Immaculate Virgin Mary may reign as Queen in our hearts, and in the hearts of all mankind. Let us pray to her for the grace of final perseverance in good and a happy death , also let us faithfully pray :
Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast taken up the Immaculate Virgin Mother of Thy Son, with Body and Soul into the heavenly Glory, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may, always intent on higher things, deserve to be partakers of Her Glory.
Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.
Thou Guide of virgin hosts, Fair Mother of the Lord,
Who gavest back what Adam lost, earth's Hope and Heaven's Reward.

Thou Lily'mid the thorns, thou snowy-plumed Dove,
Thou budding Rod that God adorns with healing fruit of love.

Thou unassailed Tower, thou Star that breakest night,
From evil shield us by Thy power, and lead us by Thy light.

The shades of sin dispel, the hidden snares remove,
And midst the ocean's surging swell, a saving pathway prove.

Be praise and honor meet to Jesus, Virgin-born,
To Father and to Paraclete, throughout the endless morn. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Queen of the Heavens,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.

May the offering of our devotion ascend to Thee, O Lord, and through the intercession of the most blessed Virgin Mary, who was taken up into Heaven, may our hearts be inflamed with the fire of Love, and continually long for Thee.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Daily meditation in preparation for the Feast the Assumption ( Dormition )

The Catechism, quoting the Byzantine Liturgy, states, "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: 'In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death'" (No. 966).
We firmly believe that from the first moment of her conception, Mary was free of all sin including original sin by a special favor of Almighty God. The Archangel Gabriel recognized her as "full of grace," "blessed among women," and "one with the Lord." Mary had been chosen to be the mother of our Savior. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she conceived our Lord, Jesus Christ, and through her, true God became also true man: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." During her lifetime, although the Gospel citations are limited, Mary always presented our Lord to others: to Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist, who leapt for joy in the womb at the presence of the Lord still in His own mother's womb; to the simple shepherds as well as the wise Magi; and to the people at Cana when our Lord acquiesced to His mother's wish and performed the first miracle. Mary also stood at the foot of the cross with her Son, supporting Him and sharing in His suffering through her love as only a mother could do; moreover, as the exemplary disciple, she stood there courageously with the hope of the resurrection. Finally, she was with the apostles at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born. Therefore, each of us can step back and see Mary as the faithful servant of God who shared intimately in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord.
For these reasons, we believe that the promises our Lord has given to each of us of sharing eternal life, including a resurrection of the body, were fulfilled in Mary. Since Mary was free of original sin and its effects (one of which is corruption of the body at death), since she shared intimately in the life of the Lord and in His passion, death and resurrection, and since she was present at Pentecost, this model disciple appropriately shared in the bodily resurrection and glorification of the Lord at the end of her life.
( taken from Catholic Education Resource Center ~~ Father William Saunders )

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Daily meditation in preparation for the Feast the Assumption ( Dormition )

The magnificent Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on August 15 proclaims the deepest and most profound of these Christian mysteries and promises.
Christianity holds forth a surprising happiness and promise of joy. It describes and offers a mystery of life that is full and forever .
Virgin Mary--the Bearer of God who was the first and best disciple of her Son--lived a long life in the presence of God. She experienced a resurrection after falling asleep in death (called Dormition) and a transport to Heaven (called Metestiseen, Assumption). Remarkably, this is the joy that lies in wait for all other disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ whose bodies will rise at the end of time and be with God in Heaven forever.
Let us pray :

Father in Heaven,
all creation rightly gives You praise
for all Life and all Holiness come from You.
In the plan of Your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised Body and Soul in Glory
to be with Him in Heaven.
May we follow her example
in reflecting Your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless life and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

(taken from International Committee on English in the Liturgy )

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Daily meditation in preparation for the Feast the Assumption ( Dormition )

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption.
The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.
The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption.
The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.
( taken from The Assumption of Mary: A Belief since Apostolic Times , written by Father Clifford Stevens )

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily meditation in preparation for the Feast the Assumption ( Dormition )

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Almighty and everlasting God,
You have taken up body and soul
into the heavenly glory the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Your Son: Grant, we beseech You,
that, ever intent upon heavenly things,
we may be worthy to be partakers of her glory.
Through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.
( From the Roman Missal )

"We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." With these words, Pope Pius XII officially and infallibly declared the Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God (theotokos), to be dogma in 1950. In this pronouncement, Pope Pius was simply stating dogmatically what the Church, East and West, had believed for many thousands of years ago.
The Catholic Catechism further explains:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians (966).
The Catechism then quotes from the Troparion of the Feast of the Dormition from the Byzantine Liturgy:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. (966)
Thus, the Assumption of Mary is not only a participation in her Son's resurrection, but a preview of our future resurrections. As such, the dogma of Mary's Assumption is firmly rooted in the actions and person of Christ, and in the virtue of Christian Hope.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our Lady of the Snows Feast~~ August 5 ~~

Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows dates back to 352 A.D.
In that year a rectangle of snow was discovered on Mount Esquiline, one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome .
According to tradition, on the night of August 4th, a childless aristocratic Roman couple dreamed that the Blessed Virgin Mary instructed them to go to the Esquiline Hill in the morning where they would find a plot of land covered with snow.
Mary told them that a church consecrated to her should be built on the snow-covered plot of land.
On this same night, She also appeared to Pope Liberius in a dream telling him of her desire.
The next morning the couple went to Pope Liberius to tell him about their dream.
The pope then led a procession to the spot indicated in the dream and discovered that snow had indeed fallen on the Esquiline Hill.
Snowfall of any sort was unheard of in Rome at that time of year.
People crowded to see the patch of snow, which persisted despite the heat, amazed that it had fallen in only one place. All of Rome proclaimed the summer snow a miracle, and the couple accepted this as a sign that hey were to use their wealth to help build the church.
As soon as the plot for the building had been staked out the snow melted.
On that site, the pope built a shrine to the Holy Virgin. Originally the church was called Santa Maria ad Nives (St. Mary of the Snows).
Later known as Santa Maria Liberiana and then as Santa Maria ad Praesepe, because relics of the manger of Bethlehem had been brought to the church, the basilica eventually became known as Santa Maria Maggiore St. Mary Major because it is the largest of all the churches in Romededicated to the Blessed Mother.
Construction on the current church structure began in the 5th century. Pope Sixtus III wished to build a church to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary after the Council of Ephesus (AD 431) had solemnly declared her to be the Theotokos, Mother of God .
The Basilica contains the Salus Populi Romani "Protectress of the Roman People" an ancient miraculous image of the Madonna and Infant Jesus composed in the Byzantine style. The image is also known as the Madonna Santa Maria ad Nives.Salus Populi Romana [Salvation of the Roman People] is the title of this famous painting and it is rightly named because for centuries the people of Rome have prayed before it in times of famine, war and national crisis.

The Protectress of the Roman People has saved Rome from numerous afflictions and dangers throughout the city’s history. Many popes and saints have been profoundly devoted to Salus Populi Romani - Madonna Santa Maria ad Nives -Our Lady of the Snows. Far from Rome, in Belleville, Illinois, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate built a shrine to Our Lady of the Snows. The Oblates have missions in Alaska and Canada.
The present-day church is one of the largest basilicas in the world and its Patronal Festival is held on August 5 in remembrance of the miracle of the snow.
During this celebration hundreds of white blossoms are showered from the dome of the chapel.

Prayer to Our Lady of Snows:

Mary, Mother of God, it is our Christian belief that all who fashion their lives in imitation of your Son, Jesus Christ, and have placed their hope in Him are gathered together in a communion of saints. Those who have gone before us live in intimate communion with Christ. You are the most eminent of them, for you were drawn into His life and being as no other. You who gave Him human life followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Mary, look at us. Look at all who are centered on your Son. At the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God Himself Triune and One, exactly as He is. All of God's people hunger to be intimately one with Him.
Mary, we are the wayfarers and we hunger for this exchange of spiritual goods with you who were so intimately close to Jesus Christ. Your image, as protectress of the Roman people, reminds us that you invite us to center on Christ. Your arms embrace Jesus fully, effortlessly. Jesus, whose burden is light and yoke is easy, wishes to be as close to every individual as He is to you. You are both wayfarer and guide to us wayfarers on our pilgrimage of faith.
Teach us, Mary, to embrace Christ fully, to make Him our Way, our Truth, our Life. Teach us, Mary, to carry Christ to the world, and, each in our own way, to give Him birth in the hearts of many. Protect your people, Mary; protect your Church.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ , in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen

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O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to thee, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through thy immaculate hands.

Since thou look with special kindness on those who wear thy Scapular, I implore thee to strengthen my weakness with thy power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to thee.

May thy Holy Scapular bring me thy special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to thy Divine Son and to thee. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate thy virtues.

From now on, I shall strive to live in God's Presence, and offer all to Jesus through thee. Dearest Holy Mother, support me by thy never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and thy own intercession. Amen.


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