Category Archives: Mary Mother of God

The Origin of Man, or, The Ancient Seeds of Sacred Music Found Within the Life Teen Mass?

Forgive me, I couldn’t help the title for this post after viewing the video! What’s worse, is I almost entitled it the ‘Catholic Homecoming Anthem’ in hopes of drawing back all those children of the Church who lost their faith during this bizarre era. God does works in mysterious ways!!! However, being a people of justice, and thankful for the talents each of us receives, I believe there is absolutely no reason why the Monkees should not be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! (Hey, at least ‘they’ kept the organ!).  You can find out more and help put The Monkees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by signing the petition here. As for me, ‘I’m a believer’ in avoiding Life Teen Masses… enjoy. [Note: some kind person just now sent me a article on the Teen Mass over at the Curt Jester–go figure!]

Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany: Sunday, January 6, 2008

Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany

Many traditions and genuine manifestations of popular piety have been developed in relation to the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany, which is of ancient origin and rich in spiritual content. Among such forms of popular piety, mention may be made of :

  • the solemn proclamation of Easter and the principal dominical feasts; its revival in many places would be opportune since it served to make the connection between the Epiphany and Easter, and orientate all feasts towards the greatest Christian solemnity;

  • the exchange of “Epiphany gifts”, which derives from the gifts offered to Jesus by the three kings (cf. Mt 2,11) and more radically from the gift made to mankind by God in the birth of Emmanuel amongst us (cf. Is 7, 14; 9, 16; Mt 1, 23). It is important, however, to ensure that the exchange of gifts on the solemnity of the Epiphany retain a Christian character, indicating that its meaning is evangelical: hence the gifts offered should be a genuine expression of popular piety and free from extravagance, luxury, and waste, all of which are extraneous to the Christian origins of this practice;

  • the blessing of homes, on whose lentils are inscribed the Cross of salvation, together with the indication of the year and the initials of the three wise men (C+M+B), which can also be interpreted to mean Christus mansionem benedicat, written in blessed chalk; this custom, often accompanied by processions of children accompanied by their parents, expresses the blessing of Christ through the intercession of the three wise men and is an occasion for gathering offerings for charitable and missionary purposes;

  • initiatives in solidarity with those who come from afar; whether Christian or not, popular piety has encouraged a sense of solidarity and openness;

  • assistance to the work of evangelisation; the strong missionary character of the Epiphany has been well understood by popular piety and many initiatives in support of the missions flourish on 6 January, especially the “Missionary work of the Holy Child”, promoted by the Apostolic See;

  • the assignation of Patrons; in many religious communities and confraternities, patron saints are assigned to the members for the coming year.

Readings of the Holy Mass, Sunday, January 6, 2008 

Reading 1

Is 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,the glory of the Lord shines upon you.See, darkness covers the earth,and thick clouds cover the peoples;but upon you the LORD shines,and over you appears his glory.Nations shall walk by your light,and kings by your shining radiance.Raise your eyes and look about;they all gather and come to you:your sons come from afar,and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.Then you shall be radiant at what you see,your heart shall throb and overflow,for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.Caravans of camels shall fill you,dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;all from Sheba shall comebearing gold and frankincense,and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial PsalmPs 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.O God, with your judgment endow the king,and with your justice, the king’s son;He shall govern your people with justiceand your afflicted ones with judgment.

R Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.Justice shall flower in his days,and profound peace, till the moon be no more.May he rule from sea to sea,and from the River to the ends of the earth.

R Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.All kings shall pay him homage,all nations shall serve him.

R Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;the lives of the poor he shall save.

R Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. 

Reading II

Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:You have heard of the stewardship of God’s gracethat was given to me for your benefit,namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.It was not made known to people in other generationsas it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 

Gospel

Mt 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 risingand 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 secretlyand 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 housethey saw the child with Mary his mother.They prostrated themselves and did him homage.Then they opened their treasuresand 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. 

Taken from Popular piety and divine worship

The Universal Spiritual Motherhood of Mary: Mary has universal spiritual motherhood by Pope John Paul II, General Audience 9.24.97

Mary has universal spiritual motherhood

1. Mary is mother of humanity in the order of grace. The Second Vatican Council highlightspentecost-duccio.jpg this role of Mary, linking it to her co-operation in Christ’s Redemption. “In the designs of divine Providence, she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord” (Lumen gentium, n. 61).

With these statements, the Constituion Lumen gentium wishes to give proper emphasis to the fact that the Blessed Virgin was intimately associated with Christ’s redemptive work, becoming the Saviour’s “generous associate”, “in a singular way”.

With the actions of any mother, from the most ordinary to the most demanding, Mary freely co-operated in the work of humanity’s salvation in profound and constant harmony with her divine Son.

2. The Council also points out that Mary’s co-operation was inspired by the Gospel virtues of obedience, faith, hope and charity, and was accomplished under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It also recalls that the gift of her universal spiritual motherhood stems precisely from this co-operation: associated with Christ in the work of Redemption, which includes the spiritual regeneration of humanity, she becomes mother of those reborn to new life.

In saying that Mary is “a mother to us in the order of grace” (cf. ibid.), the Council stresses that her spiritual motherhood is not limited to the disciples alone, as though the words spoken by Jesus on Calvary: “Woman, behold your son” (Jn 19:26), required a restrictive interpretation. Indeed, with these words the Crucified One established an intimate relationship between Mary and his beloved disciple, a typological figure of universal scope, intending to offer his Mother as Mother to all mankind.

On the other hand, the universal efficacy of the redeeming sacrifice and Mary’s conscious co-operation with Christ’s sacrificial offering does not allow any limitation of her motherly love.

Mary’s universal mission is exercised in the context of her unique relationship with the Church. With her concern for every Christian, and indeed for every human creature, she guides the faith of the Church towards an ever deeper acceptance of God’s Word, sustains her hope, enlivens her charity and fraternal communion and encourages her apostolic dynamism.

3. During her earthly life, Mary showed her spiritual motherhood to the Church for a very short time. Nonetheless, the full value of her role appeared after the Assumption and is destined to extend down the centuries to the end of the world. The Council expressly states: “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the Cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect” (Lumen gentium, n. 62).

Having entered the Father’s eternal kingdom, closer to her divine Son and thus closer to us all, she can more effectively exercise in the Spirit the role of maternal intercession entrusted to her by divine Providence.

4. The heavenly Father wanted to place Mary close to Christ and in communion with him who can “save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25): he wanted to unite to the Redeemer’s intercession as a priest that of the Blessed Virgin as a mother. It is a role she carries out for the sake of those who are in danger and who need temporal favours and, especially, eternal salvation: “By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix” (Lumen gentium, n. 62).

These titles, suggested by the faith of the Christian people, help us better to understand the nature of the Mother of the Lord’s intervention in the life of the Church and of the individual believer.

5. The title “Advocate” goes back to St Irenaeus. With regard to Eve’s disobedience and Mary’s obedience, he says that at the moment of the Annunciation “the Virgin Mary became the Advocate” of Eve (Haer. 5, 19, 1; PG 7, 1175-1176). In fact, with her “yes” she defended our first mother and freed her from the consequences of her disobedience, becoming the cause of salvation for her and the whole human race.

Mary exercises her role as “Advocate” by co-operating both with the Spirit the Paraclete and with the One who interceded on the Cross for his persecutors (cf. Lk 23:34), whom John calls our “advocate with the Father” (1 Jn 2:1). As a mother, she defends her children and protects them from the harm caused by their own sins.

Christians call upon Mary as “Helper”, recognizing her motherly love which sees her children’s needs and is ready to come to their aid, especially when their eternal salvation is at stake.

The conviction that Mary is close to those who are suffering or in situations of serious danger has prompted the faithful to invoke her as “Benefactress”. The same trusting certainty is expressed in the most ancient Marian prayer with the words: “We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin” (from the Roman Breviary).

As maternal Mediatrix, Mary presents our desires and petitions to Christ, and transmits the divine gifts to us, interceding continually on our behalf.


To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:

I greet the new students of the Venerable English College and pray that the Lord will bless them abundantly as they begin their studies.

I extend a cordial welcome to the various ecumenical groups present, especially to the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council. Thankful to God for the progress made so far in our official dialogue, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the Joint Commission in its current work. I send a special greeting to the General Secretary Dr Hale, who could not be here due to his wife’s recent accident, and I pray for her prompt recovery.

I am so pleased to welcome the Delegation of the Disciples of Christ on the 20th anniversary of the dialogue between us. May the International Commission’s continuing work on the theme of the Church’s mission lead us steadily along the path towards ever greater unity.

I warmly greet the representatives of the Center of Christian-Jewish Understanding. I hope that your visit will further strengthen our mutual understanding and co-operation in the face of so many shared concerns.

Upon all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims, especially those from England, Wales, Ireland, Nigeria, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and the United States, I invoke an abundance of divine grace and peace.

The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God 01.01.08

The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God

On New Year’s Day, the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event: for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and salvation because “through her we have received the Author of life”(127).

ourlady.jpgThe solemnity of the 1 January, an eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with that which says: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners”.

In the West, 1 January is an inaugural day marking the beginning of the civil year. The faithful are also involved in the celebrations for the beginning of the new year and exchange “new year” greetings. However, they should try to lend a Christian understanding to this custom making of these greetings an expression of popular piety. The faithful, naturally, realise that the “new year” is placed under the patronage of the Lord, and in exchanging new year greetings they implicitly and explicitly place the New Year under the Lord’s dominion, since to him belongs all time (cf. Ap 1, 8; 22,13)(128).

A connection between this consciousness and the popular custom of singing the Veni Creator Spiritus can easily be made so that on 1 January the faithful can pray that the Spirit may direct their thoughts and actions, and those of the community during the course of the year(129).

New year greetings also include an expression of hope for a peaceful New Year. This has profound biblical, Christological and incarnational origins. The “quality of peace” has always been invoked throughout history by all men, and especially during violent and destructive times of war.

The Holy See shares the profound aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has been designated “world day for peace”.

Popular piety has not been oblivious to this initiative of the Holy See. In the light of the new born Prince of Peace, it reserves this day for intense prayer for peace, education towards peace and those value inextricably linked with it, such as liberty, fraternal solidarity, the dignity of the human person, respect for nature, the right to work, the sacredness of human life, and the denunciation of injustices which trouble the conscience of man and threaten peace.

Taken from the Directory of Popular Piety