Blessed is she who believed

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

The Blessed Virgin Mary lived her life saying “yes” in response to God’s love. Once Mary received Christ, her mission was to bring him to everyone. The first people Mary brought the Savior to were her cousin Elizabeth and John the Baptist, in Elizabeth’s womb.

Our lives of prayer and watchfulness must lead us to share the good news with others. This Christmas, to whom do you want to bring Christ Jesus, the Savior? How many people will be giving and receiving “gifts” but won’t receive The Gift?

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Song of Songs 2:8–14

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

Responsorial Psalm: 33, 2–3, 11 –12, 20–21 

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Gospel: Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation (Luke 1:39–45)

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

Quote of the Day
from Preface II of Advent for the Liturgy of the Eucharist

It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

For all the oracles of the prophets foretold him,
the Virgin Mother longed for him
with love beyond all telling,
John the Baptist sang of his coming
and proclaimed his presence when he came.

It is by his gift that already we rejoice
at the mystery of his Nativity,
so that he may find us watchful in prayer
and exultant in praise.

 

 

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Live in the presence of the Lord

Feast Days of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Mother of Perpetual Help.jpg

Scriptures of the Day

Psalm: 15:2–3A, 3BC–4AB, 5

He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 7:6, 12–14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”

Questions of the Day

  • If you die today, do you believe that you will go to Heaven or Purgatory? Or have you not given the afterlife much thought?
  • Look around at the road you are on. Is it broad and leading to destruction, or does it lead to life?

Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

 

Reveal for all the light of hope

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
on the on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions

Prayer of the Day
From Pope Saint John Paul II’s Consecration of the Modern World to Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1982, which he renewed in 1983, and his Consecration of All Individuals and Nations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, March 25, 1984

“We entrust, O Mary, and consecrate the whole world to your Immaculate Heart!”

Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call!

Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!

Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope, and love! Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.

In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.

Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!

From famine and war, deliver us.

From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.

From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.

From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.

From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.

From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.

From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.

From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.

Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.

Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”

Prayer and Consecration Resources

Question of the Day

What was the message of Fatima?

War is man’s punishment for sin. God desires to give us his peace. Do we desire to receive it? The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three innocent shepherd children and through them tells us how (pray the Rosary daily for peace in the world). More specifically, Our Lady asked the children for prayer, penance, reparation, and sacrifice, which they did with great fervor to help convert and save sinners.

Will we listen and convert, or will we continue to choose war?

Pilgrim of light, peace, and hope

Today Pope Francis arrived in Fatima, Portugal, first as a pilgrim, and also as Christ’s Vicar on earth, to commemorate the centennial of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children. Tomorrow Pope Francis will celebrate a Canonization Mass for two of those children, brother and sister Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto. It is a great day to ask for graces.

Following is the Holy Father made at the Little Chapel of the Apparitions. He opens his prayer and repeats again toward the end that the Virgin Mary is both a refuge and also the way to God. God chose to come to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we can be assured that if we go to her, she will lead us to her son, for Jesus himself gave his mother to us and entrusted us to her when he said from the cross to his mother, “Woman, behold your son,” and to his beloved disciple John, “Behold your mother” (John 19:26).

Prayer of the Day
Pope Francis’ prayer of entrustment to the Blessed Virgin of Fatima

Hail Holy Queen,
Blessed Virgin of Fatima,
Lady of Immaculate Heart,
our refuge and our way to God!

As a pilgrim of the Light that comes to us from your hands,
I give thanks to God the Father, who in every time and place
is at work in human history;
As a pilgrim of the Peace that, in this place, you proclaim,
I give praise to Christ, our peace, and I implore for the world
concord among all peoples;
As a pilgrim of the Hope that the Spirit awakens,
I come as a prophet and messenger to wash the feet of all,
at the same table that unites us.

Hail, Mother of Mercy,
Lady robed in white!
In this place where, a hundred years ago
you made known to all the purposes of God’s mercy,
I gaze at your robe of light
and, as a bishop robed in white,
I call to mind all those who,
robed in the splendour of their baptism,
desire to live in God
and tell the mysteries of Christ in order to obtain peace.

Hail, life and sweetness,
Hail, our hope,
O Pilgrim Virgin, O Universal Queen!

In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
you keep the joys of men and women
as they journey to the Heavenly Homeland.
In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
you keep the sorrows of the human family,
as they mourn and weep in this valley of tears.
In the depths of your being,
in your Immaculate Heart,
adorn us with the radiance of the jewels of your crown
and make us pilgrims, even as you were a pilgrim.

With your virginal smile,
enliven the joy of Christ’s Church.
With your gaze of sweetness,
strengthen the hope of God’s children.
With your hands lifted in prayer to the Lord,
draw all people together into one human family.

O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary,
Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Grant that we may follow the example of Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta,
and of all who devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.
Thus we will follow all paths
and everywhere make our pilgrim way;
we will tear down all walls
and cross every frontier,
as we go out to every periphery,
to make known God’s justice and peace.

In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white,
the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb,
blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart.
And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light
that illumines the ways of the world,
making God known to all,
making known to all that God exists,
that God dwells in the midst of his people,
yesterday, today and for all eternity.

Hail, Mother of the Lord,
Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!
Blessed among all women,
you are the image of the Church robed in paschal light,
you are the honour of our people,
you are the victory over every assault of evil.

Prophecy of the merciful love of the Father,
Teacher of the Message of Good News of the Son,
Sign of the burning Fire of the Holy Spirit,
teach us, in this valley of joys and sorrows,
the eternal truths that the Father reveals to the little ones.

Show us the strength of your protective mantle.
In your Immaculate Heart,
be the refuge of sinners
and the way that leads to God.

In union with my brothers and sisters,
in faith, in hope and in love,
I entrust myself to you.
In union with my brothers and sisters, through you, I consecrate myself to God,
O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima.

And at last, enveloped in the Light that comes from your hands,
I will give glory to the Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

May we, too, live as pilgrims of light, peace, and hope, consecrated to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, his mother and mother of the Church. To learn more about how the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is a path to Jesus, read True Devotion by Saint Louis de Montfort.

Let us meet at the feet of the Virgin Mother

Tomorrow Pope Francis will arrive in Portugal on pilgrimage to celebrate the 100th anniversary of  Apparitions of Our Lady to three young shepherd children. At the feet of our Mother, he will present “the brothers and sisters of the world redeemed by His blood without excluding anyone.” Let us join Pope Francis on pilgrimage and be united with him spiritually in prayer and in oneness of heart, pleading for the peace that only Jesus can give, making reparation for those who do not believe and for our own sins.

Video of the Day
Pope Francis’ Message to the People of Portugal in advance of his pilgrimage to Fatima

Quotes of the Day
from Pope Francis’ message to Portugal

 Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts.

Prayer illuminates one’s eyes to know how to see others as God sees them, to love them as he loves them.

I come to you in joy to share with you the Gospel of Hope and Peace.

Behold, I come to do your will

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Today the Church celebrates the day that the history of humanity was changed forever. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus said he came to do his Father’s will, which was to redeem us from our state of sin and death and reunite us with the Father now and for all eternity. The Blessed Virgin Mary imitates her Son when she says Yes to the Father’s plan, to be the mother of the Savior of the world.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 7:10–14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”

New Testament Fulfillment: Luke 1:26–38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Psalm: 40:7–8A; 8B–9; 10, 11

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.

What the Church Teaches About Mary
Resources from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

To Jesus Through Mary

Mary was the channel that God chose to come through to enter the world, to take on our flesh, humanity, and our suffering. Mary is also a channel through which we can go to know her son better, as well as his Holy Spirit. Her work was not limited to a specific time and place. Rather, Jesus allows his mother to continue her work from her privileged place in heaven, distributing graces to all who ask her assistance. Her Yes to God’s will earned her the title of the “New Eve” and “Mother of All Mankind.” Developing a relationship with Mary will help us develop our relationship with Jesus Christ, her son. You should not be afraid that you give too much honor to Mary. No human being will ever honor her more than her own son. To learn how Mary can help us do God’s will, I recommend Father Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory Retreat.

Questions of the Day

  • Whose will are you doing?
  • Will you give God your Yes!?
  • Will you give Mary your Yes! and ask her help in becoming the saint God created you to be?