Friday, January 2, 2015

My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord

As I was contemplating on what to write for a guest posting at These Stone Walls that appeared recently, I had many thoughts and wrote many drafts until finally settling on the version that was published.

The topic of the posting was my own Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which I had completed earlier in the year, in part inspired by Father Gordon MacRae of These Stone Walls, and his cellmate and brother in the Lord, Pornchai Maximilian Moontri.

Father Gordon, in a recent posting wrote of the tapestry of our lives, particularly of Pornchai's in this instance.  The image of a tapestry is a wonderful image for our lives, and I did expand on it from a personal perspective in my guest post linked above.

But, another image, more particularly of what Mary means to us in our lives of faith in Her Son Jesus Christ came to mind and I want to put it out there for you to ponder.

It starts from this line of scripture: "My soul doth magnify the Lord," which reminded me of a lighthouse.  A lighthouse magnifies the light that is available to it.  A small light is magnified greatly and is used to guide ships to safety.  The lighthouse itself is the magnifier, not the particular source of the light.  The candle or incandescent or other light that is in the center of the lighthouse is a light unto itself.

I have often prayed for Mary to place her mantle of protection over me or over others, and thought of it as sheltering from harm, but now I can see that sometimes it is not so much the sheltering as the magnifying of the light of Christ in us that saves the day or the circumstance.

Jesus is the Light of the World, and where was that light first found in human form?  It was found within Mary, His Mother, from the moment of His Conception until His Birth.  We see His light shining forth from Mary when she goes to visit with Elizabeth, the Mother of John the Baptist.  When Mary calls out to Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaps for joy in the womb, and Elizabeth calls Mary the Mother of her Savior.  Elizabeth knows that Mary is the Mother of Our Lord, not the Lord herself, and this is always important for us to remember as well.

Often, non Catholics look upon Catholic devotion to Mary as a form of idolatry, and since most of us as Catholic Christians do not understand what we are doing either, we are unable to defend this love we have for the Mother of God made man, not for her on her own, but for and because of Him.

Mary is the perfect model for us of what Jesus told us about how He and the Father would make their dwelling in our hearts.  If God dwells in you, can you hide the light?  Could Mary?  No, her soul magnified it, as we are called to do.  Mary is not the light, but the light bearer.

So, for us Mary wants to magnify the light that is in us because nobody knows as well as she what that involves and what it takes.  She has been there, done that, and has that wonderful blue mantle to show for it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hits and Misses of 2014: These Stone Walls

Well, Dear Reader:

Father Gordon MacRae, one of my favourite Roman Catholic Priests has released the The Hits and Misses of 2014 from These Stone Walls, the blog he writes as a priest falsely imprisoned in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.

For readers of TSW, and there are many faithful ones out there, it is a summary review particularly of the best that has happened in a prison for men filled to double its capacity with men who have run afoul of the law (or not).  These men are our brothers, who by dint of circumstance of birth, family, genetics, and/or environment have taken a path less chosen, and one that we might have taken ourselves except for our own particular circumstances.

But I have noticed as time passes, and as the Consecration that Father Gordon, Pornchai and others made to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary takes deeper hold of their spirits, the hits keep getting better, and the misses though sad, are in fact hits on God's Hit Parade, since He ultimately is in charge.

You must read the post linked above, I beg you.  Spend some time looking at the photographs, of Pornchai and his foster family, (and also Father Gordon) who were reunited with him this year, by the Grace of God.  Look also at Michael Ciresi united with his children, and their mother at the family celebration inside the prison for Christmas.  Then do what Catholics do when they see an icon.  Pray for all these folks, that God will continue to Bless them and fill them with His Holy Spirit, that their lives, to a one, will glorify Him and praise Him on earth and in heaven one day.

Michael, I pray that our mutual patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel, will defend you in the day of battle, be your safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil, and may God rebuke the devil, I humbly pray, and may Saint Michael the prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of your soul and the souls of all your loved ones.

We read of Jesse Pickard, at age 27, soon to be released from prison, and pray that the graces imparted upon him by the hands of Father Gordon and the other men of faith there, as it so pleases the Father will sustain him as he works to make a life for himself outside These Stone Walls.

We read also of the overall Miss, which is really a Hit, that is the ongoing attempts to achieve justice for Father Gordon.  Of course, it is a miss.  But Father Gordon has become a much stronger priest inside prison than he could have been outside prison, and all readers of TSW have benefited, though the most important benefits are realized by the men there with him, whether they know it or not.

Don't let the shiny dome in the picture in the linked post fool you.  When you see the face of Father Gordon you are seeing the face of Christ.  Father Gordon is showing us how to be Christ for each other from very difficult circumstances.  Didn't Jesus do that for us over 2000 years ago?

It is a worthy read, but the redoubtable Father Gordon has missed one hit, to which I have just alluded.  The real hit inside These Stone Walls is its author himself.  God has chosen Father Gordon to be a witness to the truth in the midst of deception and lies.  He has shown mercy where mercy is not warranted by actions, but by the image in which his fellow inmates were created, the image of God.

So, my vote for the Hit of 2014 is Father Gordon J. MacRae.

Remember him and all the men in this particular prison, and all people imprisoned throughout the world in your prayers as we end 2014 and in 2015.  Sometimes a prayer is all they have.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary Warned about 2014

We are getting ready to celebrate the beginning of a New Year, 2015 in a couple of days. 

Will it be more of the same, and if it is what does that mean? 

Or will something significantly different happen in 2015?  Well, here below with links to the original locution is what the Blessed Virgin Mary said about 2014 in Locutions to the World

She first spoke on New Year's Day and then spoke further 10 days later. 


Jan 1st, 2014 

Mary 

The door opens, the New Year begins. Who knows what the 12 months ahead hold in store for mankind? I will speak of the world that is hidden from view. 

During this year, many forces will be released that will move mankind closer and closer to the darkness. These forces are already in place. The problems will not be new but their manifestations and powers will be greater, and, in some moments, very surprising to the whole world.

The shifting from light into darkness will accelerate. Places that now claim stability will suffer violence. The economic foundations will be shaken but will not yet collapse. The turmoil will grow, yet 2014 is not the year of the great chastisements.

Although I bring a warning, I also bring hope. There is still time. However, until the great powers placed in my Immaculate Heart are released, the tide toward evil is inevitable. The forces of darkness have the field all to themselves.

The consecration of Russia will not happen in 2014. Even so, I will do all in my power to limit the darkness and to hold back the inevitable. You, O reader, cherish my love for you and seek my blessings. I do not hold these favors back from anyone who invokes me.

Comment: Mary’s description of 2014 is very clear. Neither the chastisements nor the consecration of Russia will take place. 

Mary said: “During this year, many forces will be released that will move mankind closer and closer to the darkness. “ 

And move they did.  ISIS came on to the scene, and we witnessed it not only in far off lands, but even in Canada we saw a terrorist attack. 

As Mary said: “Places that now claim stability will suffer violence.” 

We saw Russia taking over in the Crimea, while nations stood by helplessly.

Mary said: “The economic foundations will be shaken but will not yet collapse.”  That is a little harder for us to see, since it appeared that the US economy picked up in late 2014.  But, along with that the US sunk deeper into debt, a debt that can never be repaid, and we also saw Russia having serious financial difficulties.  Canada too, saw the dollar plunge as the dependence of our economy on oil, at least on the world stage, caused money to rush to the US Dollar instead.


Jan 10th, 2014 

Mary 

As the bells ring out to announce a New Year, everything is not cleared away. It is not like turning to a new page. It is more like someone awakening in the morning. Soon, the good and the bad, the problems and the opportunities, come rushing back into consciousness.

I have already spoken partially of this year 2014, but I want to state clearly what lies ahead. First, terrorism will spread. No resisting force is present. The terrorists will be international. They will totally disregard national borders to create their own country, so to speak. There, they will operate free of any interference, focused totally on their goal of disrupting everything, of destabilizing governments and of throwing all into confusion, and even death.

Second, America will awaken, startled by the sharp discontinuity in its healthcare and wanting desperately to reverse the situation. But, it must awaken to much more. It must awaken to the moral evils in its midst, especially to the killing of the unborn. I say this again and again, as long as a woman, her husband, her boyfriend, her doctor are given by America, the right to kill the unborn child, then I must withhold my full blessings.

Those who seek public office are the most responsible. They cannot use the healthcare reform as a political tool and not stand fully with the unborn. I warn every politician. Do not cut off the rights of the unborn or I will cut you off from my blessings. I will reject you and raise up another. You are forewarned.

Third, I must speak of the Church and of Pope Francis. I rejoice that he is acclaimed and the papacy is seen by the world in a good light. Yes, let the Church remove whatever draws it away from simplicity. Yes, let the Church reach out, evangelize and be close to the disadvantaged. I want to draw all humanity to my motherly embrace.

However, the biggest problems do not lie within the Church but in the growing power of the kingdom of darkness. This is not a usual time in history. This is the culmination of two centuries. Satan has regrouped from his defeat at the cross and the surprise victory of Jesus at the tomb. The Holy Father must realize this.

Who can destroy this darkness? Who can avoid the disasters which inevitably lie ahead? The heavenly Father has placed this power in my Immaculate Heart and, Holy Father, only you can release that power by deciding to consecrate Russia, in union with all the bishops, to my Immaculate Heart.

I have spoken plainly of the issues that will confront the world and the Church in 2014.

Comment:  Our Lady highlights the three important issues.




Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Flight Into Egypt

We know that some time later, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with the baby Jesus to protect Him from Herod's rage against the little children.

Mary shares with us her thoughts about the events of the exile at Locutions.org.

March 31, 2012 
300. An Exile of Protection 
Mary 
“We must leave this place”.  Joseph’s eyes, usually so peaceful, were filled with fear.  “The child is in danger.  We must go”.  So, we set out on yet another journey, even farther away than our beloved Nazareth, into a strange land and among a foreign people.  Yet, how much I already knew of this nation called Egypt. 
Joseph in Egypt 
Another Joseph had also gone there, sold into slavery by his brothers, yet destined to be lifted high by the plans of God (which are always so difficult for the human mind to grasp).  I would go to an Egypt from which God had called our forefathers.  He worked great signs and wonders to call them forth.  I would cross the desert which they crossed, the desert in which God formed them into a nation as they lived forty years, waiting to enter the Promised Land. 
God’s Plan 
These were my thoughts as Joseph and I made the journey, carrying the Savior of Israel.  God was forming us by this exile.  We had to believe.  So much we did not know.  What was God’s plan for us?  He seemingly tells us one thing and then events move us away.  “This child is set for the rise and the fall if many in Israel”, God said to us through Simeon.  But now, we are exiled from Israel and the child will grow up in a foreign culture.  “He will rule over the house of Jacob forever” said the angel, Gabriel.  Yet, Jacob only came to Egypt at the very end of his life. 
As we fled into Egypt, the events were confusing, but in my heart a voice spoke.  I recognized the voice of the Father, “I will call my Son out of Egypt” he said, “just as I called my people.  There will be new life and he will bring about a new people.  Go in faith.  Stay there until I call you back.  When you return, I will lead you back to Nazareth.  From there, he will be called a Nazarene”.

Remember for later that Mary heard the voice of God the Father calming her and instructing her about the future.  Like Mary, so many of us live in exile in our lives.  Our sin has separated us from God, but God wants us back, and Mary joins with us in our Sorrow, as this exile was one of the 7 Sorrows of Mary in the life of Jesus.

So, Mary speaks to the exiled of us, and the exiled parts of all of us:
Are You in Exile? 
It all happened, just as the Father said it would.  O reader, if at this moment you think that events have taken you far away, believe that the Father will bring you back.  He arranges everything to protect the divine life in your soul.  Do not despair and, especially, do not lose faith.  I am with you in your exile.  I know what it means to be sent away, to be uprooted.  Do not forget.  You are never uprooted from my Immaculate Heart.  As I took Jesus, years later, back to Nazareth, so I promise to carry you back to where you will flourish.  I can do that if you remain by faith in my arms. 
Comment:  In her exile, Mary trusted God and will help all those who are also exiled in any way.
Here is the reading and meditation on the Second Sorrow from http://www.themostholyrosary.com/
2. The flight into Egypt: "And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod." – Matt. II, 13-14. 
Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.



St. John The Evangelist

Today the Catholic Church commemorates St. John the Evangelist.  John, unlike any of us walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus and knew Him in ways we have not experienced. In the Office of Readings for the day we read the following from him in his Epistle about God made Man, Jesus the Living Word of God:


From the first letter of the apostle John1:1-2:3 
Word of life and light of God 
This is what we proclaim to you:what was from the beginning,what we have heard,what we have seen with our eyes,what we have looked uponand our hands have touched—we speak of the word of life.(This life became visible;we have seen and bear witness to it,and we proclaim to you the eternal lifethat was present to the Fatherand became visible to us.)What we have seen and heardwe proclaim in turn to youso that you may share life with us.This fellowship of ours is with the Fatherand with his Son, Jesus Christ.Indeed, our purpose in writing you thisis that our joy may be complete.
Here, then, is the messagewe have heard from himand announce to you:that God is light;in him there is no darkness.If we say, “We have fellowship with him,”while continuing to walk in darkness,we are liars and do not act in truth.But if we walk in light, as he is in the light,we have fellowship with one another,and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 
If we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin,”we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us.But if we acknowledge our sins,he who is just can be trustedto forgive our sinsand cleanse us from every wrong.If we say, “We have never sinned,”we make him a liarand his word finds no place in us.
My little ones,I am writing this to keep you from sin.But if anyone should sin,we have, in the presence of the Father,Jesus Christ, an intercessor who is just.He is an offering for our sins,and not for our sins only,but for those of the whole world.
The way we can be sure of our knowledge of himis to keep his commandments.

Then in support of the Epistle, we have a commentary from that great Saint Augustine about this First Letter of John and the linkage between it and the Gospel according to Saint John.


SECOND READING 
From tractates on the first letter of John by Saint Augustine, bishop(Tract 1, 1. 3: PL 35, 1978, 1980)
Life itself was revealed in the flesh 
Our message is the Word of life. We announce what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have touched with our own hands. Who could touch the Word with his hands unless the Word was made flesh and lived among us? 
Now this Word, whose flesh was so real that he could be touched by human hands, began to be flesh in the Virgin Mary’s womb; but he did not begin to exist at that moment. We know this from what John says: What existed from the beginning. Notice how John’s letter bears witness to his Gospel, which you just heard a moment ago: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. 
Someone might interpret the phrase the Word of life to mean a word about Christ, rather than Christ’s body itself which was touched by human hands. But consider what comes next: and life itself was revealed. Christ therefore is himself the Word of life. 
And how was this life revealed? It existed from the beginning, but was not revealed to men, only to angels, who looked upon it and feasted upon it as their own spiritual bread. But what does Scripture say? Mankind ate the bread of angels. 
Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh. In this way what was visible to the heart alone could become visible also to the eye, and so heal men’s hearts. For the Word is visible to the heart alone, while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well. We already possessed the means to see the flesh, but we had no means of seeing the Word. The Word was made flesh so that we could see it, to heal the part of us by which we could see the Word.

John continues: And we are witnesses and we proclaim to you that eternal life which was with the Father and has been revealed among us—one might say more simply “revealed to us.” We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen. Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.Are we then less favored than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should John add: so that you too may have fellowship with us? They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.And our fellowship is with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And we write this to you to make your joy complete—complete in that fellowship, in that love and in that unity.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple

We all know the short story of the Presentation of the Baby Jesus, the obedience of Mary and Joseph presenting the Son of God to God.  Though it was not necessary, at least in theory, since this child was God in human form, it was NECESSARY.  But, let Mary tell you the story from her viewpoint.

March 30, 2012 
299.Prophetic Words in the Temple 
Mary 
The time came to bring the child to the temple, which was an awesome structure filled with natural and supernatural beauty.  Joseph and I came to the temple as so many other parents had done, but I knew my Son was different.  The Jewish laws about offering the first born male because he was holy to God and then buying him back, was only an image of the reality.  Couples gladly purchased the redemption of their child with a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. 
Joseph and I did the same but we both knew, without fully understanding, that the Jewish Laws and the focus upon the first born male was all directed to this moment, when God’s first born would be brought to the temple. 
Simeon and Anna 
When we had fulfilled all the Jewish rites, a holy man named Simeon and a holy prophetess named Anna suddenly came to us.  They were like Elizabeth and Zechariah.  They knew.  They understood.  The Holy Spirit led them.  They had words that God wanted us to hear.  Simeon spoke first in a very personal way.  His holy life was now complete he had seen “the glory of Israel”.  He went beyond Israel and spoke of Jesus as “a light to the nations”.  He told us that God had revealed his mysteries.  The child would be a “sign of contradiction” resulting in “the rise and fall of many in Israel”.  He blessed us and spoke to me, “Your own soul a sword shall pierce”. 
The Prophetic Words 
He spoke for just a few, brief moments but I never forgot those prophetic words – the sign of contradiction – the rise and fall of many in Israel – the sword that would pierce my heart.  So much was contained in that brief encounter.  Joseph, also, heard the words.  They entered his heart as well.Anna, also, had a clear vision.  This child would be for the redemption of Jerusalem.  We left the temple holding Jesus in our arms but we knew that the Father only gave him to us for a time.  The Father had his hand upon Jesus and a moment would come when Jesus would leave our house in Nazareth and go to the Jordan.  After being anointed by the Spirit, he would begin.

But, here is where the story part of what Mary has to say ends for the moment, and the teaching begins.  Read what Mary has to say to parents about their children.

A Parent’s Task 
To all parents, I say this.  God has entrusted you with his sons and daughters.  They belong to the Father.  He just places them in your hands for a few years.  Your task is to awaken them to God and to prepare them for the heavenly Father’s task.  Your work is a holy one and you can only carry it out if you yourselves are holy.
Look at your children.  Someday, they will leave your house.  They will announce their decision.  By that time, it is too late.  Will they leave your home to fulfill God’s purpose or to fulfill selfish and worldly ambitions?  Will they leave your home with clarity or with confusion?  With the true God or false gods?  With proper or improper desires?  Look ahead.  Realize that the moment will come when they will no longer be in your hands and no longer living in your home. 
While they are still with you, give your faith to them.  Let them see the holiness of God in your life and learn the truths of God from your teachings.  They, too, can bring forth the glory of God and the salvation of the nations. 
Comment:  For the next thirty years, Jesus would live with Mary.  She would teach him the Scriptures and the purest way of life.  She would form his human intellect and will, just as any mother.  She asks all parents to do the same with their children.
These words of Mary cut like a knife for me, at least, for I know that my children did not often see holiness in me, and saw more unbelief than faith so often.

Where they will be as adults will largely be determined by the way that parents give of themselves and all that they are to them when they are young.

You can read more of what Mary and Jesus also have to say to us in the recent locutions found at Locutions.org.

There are 7 Sorrows that Mary endured during the life of her Son Jesus.  The Prophecy of Simeon is the first one.

Here is the wording of the 1st Sorrow and a meditation on it from The Most Holy Rosary dot Com.

1. The prophecy of Simeon: "And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." – Luke II, 34-35. 
Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

That First Christmas

Joseph and Mary knew full well who they were expecting that first Christmas, the Son of God come to earth in human form.

Mary lets us in to her thoughts and feelings about this impending mystery birth, and about her love for her husband Joesph.

Read her own words from Locutions.org.  Let her take you back to that wonderful moment in time, when she and Joseph welcomed the baby Jesus into the world.
March 29, 2012 
298.The First Christmas 
Mary 
We were ready and filled with expectancy.  The Savior of the world was to be born, known only to Joseph and me.  Then came the startling news about the census of Caesar Augustus and the need to go to Bethlehem.  We had gotten used to our plans being changed by God’s will. 
We prepared and left.  All of the villagers understood our dilemma.  We were pilgrims, going to a strange city at the most inopportune moment.  Still, we rejoiced like so many others had rejoiced because the time of birth drew near. 
Poor People’s Journey 
My breasts were full, ready to feed the newborn child.  We brought all that he would need.  Our journey was a poor person’s journey, on a donkey.  During these days, our love grew.  In my many needs, I loved Joseph even more.  Nothing was too much for him.  I said very little.  He provided everything ahead of time, always thoughtful.Bethlehem was not ready for us.  There was no room where travelers are accustomed to stay.  So, the birth took place in a stable, the best known stable in the whole world.  I was identified with the poor and took my place among those who are rejected and are set aside as of little importance.  There, I would always stay, offering to the poor the milk of my comfort. 
The Virgin Birth 
My eyes saw the human face of God.  The birth was miraculous, a virgin birth without any of the pains and sufferings, the way birth was meant to be “in the beginning”; the way Eve was meant to give birth before she transgressed and lost her gifts.  I saw life as it was meant to be, a woman rejoicing in her newborn child without suffering the pangs of childbirth.  My pangs would come at Calvary where I brought forth all my other children.  For now, that scene seemed so far away.  That would be the end.  This was the beginning. 
God in our Midst 
The birth was miraculous but everything else was quite ordinary, but how could anything from now on be ordinary?  Yet, I must say again, everything was just like it would be if the child were not God.  We had to provide for him.  We had to protect him.  We had all the duties of new parents.  Yet, he was in our midst.  With him in our midst, nothing could be just ordinary. 
Comment:  The birth was extraordinary but God did not change all the other circumstances.

What an extraordinary moment in time, yet so ordinary.  This baby in the manger, though God in reality was a baby, needing the love and care that every baby needs.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Elizabeth, Joseph, Marriage

After the Annunciation, much transpired, and we only see glimpses of it in the bible story.  But, we know that Mary was one to take things and ponder them in her heart, and so we can read here how she did ponder and took what was happening very seriously, and very prayerfully.

Read below from Locutions.org about her journey to see her cousin Elizabeth, the dilemma that Joseph faced when he found out that she was pregnant, and about their married life prior to the birth of Jesus.

We know the basic story, but now as Paul Harvey, the radio commentator would say: "Now you know the whole story."  Still, that would be presumptuous of us to think we know the whole story, but we can certainly know more.  So, please read on.
March 26, 2012 
295.Traveling to See Elizabeth 
Mary 
After Gabriel left, I was alone and able to ponder what had just happened. The miracle had taken place. The Word had become flesh. I was pregnant with the heavenly Father’s Son. I had become the bride of the eternal Holy Spirit. Now, I had to live out this mystery. Where should I go from here? What would be my first steps? 
A New Light 
I found a new light within me. Formerly, this inner light had guided me to perfection and showed me the way to be pleasing to God. Now, this new light would show me how to be God’s mother. All was clear. The angel had revealed God’s miracle to Elizabeth. I would go there and we would rejoice together, each of us sharing what God had done within our wombs, for in both of us there was miraculous life. 
It was not easy to say “goodbye”. How could I explain this decision? All I could say to others was that my heart was set on it. When would I return? I had to say that I did not know. Of course, Joseph was the most difficult of all. He was puzzled. So recently, we had come to our decision. Now, I was leaving Nazareth for far away Judea (90 miles). I knew I had to go, so I set out in haste for the hill country of Judea. 
With Elizabeth 
I was alone on the journey and better able to ponder the events that had overtaken me. Within my womb I carried the Savior of the world. Within my heart, I carried this secret known only to me. As I arrived at Zechariah’s house, Elizabeth broke out into prophetic words, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb”. The Spirit had placed these words on her lips. She went on “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She knew that I was pregnant with God’s Son. The Lord had given me a companion in my mystery. I was no longer alone in the universe because our hearts were joined by divine revelation. Then, she said those final words, “Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled”. 
Special Memories 
Suddenly, I was back in spirit in Nazareth, at that moment when Gabriel revealed the mystery and when everything had been placed before me. I understood clearly what the angel was saying. However, would I believe that it was true? God flooded my heart with this extraordinary divine light and my mind believed that God wanted to take flesh within me. All that Gabriel had proclaimed in just a few words was God’s invitation. Within I was saying, “I believe. I believe”. My mind did not move to the right or to the left. I did not ponder the consequences. My eyes focused only on the mystery and I repeated those words, “I believe. I believe”. 
As I said those words, my heart rushed to the center of the mystery, drawn by the almighty hand of God. Suddenly, I was there, on the edge of eternity, at the brink of the mystery, ready to fall forever into the arms of the Father. Elizabeth was right, “Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.” 
In her presence, I relived those moments. How many times, God would always lead me back to that scene of divine intimacy. It was so good to be with Zechariah and Elizabeth. They had their own divine mystery, a child leaping in her womb and filling her with the Holy Spirit. 
Comment: Mary continues her personal story, in complete accord with the gospel account. 
March 27, 2012 
296.Joseph’s Dilemma 
Mary 
On my return to Nazareth, there was the obvious problem.  Joseph, who was puzzled by my sudden leaving, now could see that I had conceived a child.  We did not speak about it.  He just grew silent and withdrew from me.  What else could I expect?  He was a just man and, in his eyes, I had committed adultery.  He, who had thought that I was the purest maiden in the whole world, now saw me as an adulteress and he was the only one who knew that the child was not his. 
God’s Plan 
I saw how God had arranged everything.  He had waited for our betrothal and for all of Nazareth to know of our relationship.  After that, we could have come together as husband and wife.  That was a private decision.  The couple was free to begin their married life whenever they chose.  In the eyes of all at Nazareth, we had come together before I left and now I was three months pregnant.  God had covered over the mystery and hidden if from all.  Joseph, however, was in the middle.We spoke little in those days and my silence only confirmed what he was thinking, that I was pregnant by another man.  I could say nothing.  Heaven had to reveal the mystery.  My words would seem preposterous. 
Waiting in Faith 
So, I waited in faith, my first great trial.  I realized the consequences.  He could have me stoned or he could put me away quietly.  I never doubted Joseph.  I never thought for a moment that he would have me killed (and the Messiah with me).  Joseph belonged to God, and now I saw why God had chosen him.  Another man, less sensitive to the divine, would have acted in haste and in anger.  Joseph moved slowly and in grace. 
Joseph’s Decision 
Then came the moment.  I will never forget those words, “I have come to take you into my home.  Let us begin our married life as we had agreed”. As yet, I did not know what had happened until he said to me, “I know the fullness of the mystery.  What was conceived in you is from the Holy Spirit.  We will call the child, “Jesus”, for he shall save his people from their sins.”  This was from God.  He had even revealed to Joseph the same name for the child that Gabriel had said. 
He went on, “Mary, you are blessed among women.  You are all pure and all holy, chosen by the Most High God to be his mother and all ages will call you blessed.  I am the protector of the mystery, called by God to be seen as the father of Jesus, for he must come from the House of David.  I will always be faithful to you, knowing that you have believed God’s word and conceived by his power.  Now, let us begin to prepare for his birth like any other couple”. 
The mystery was complete.  By God’s hand, Joseph, also, was now enclosed in this wall of God’s plan and I could look forward to the day I would bring forth this child.  O reader, wait upon God.  Believe in his plans.  Trust that he will arrange everything so you can fulfill his will.  Everything will move toward that goal if you do not get in God’s way. 
Comment:  The full story of God revealing the mystery to Joseph is told in Matthew 1:18-25. 
March 28, 2012 
297.Marriage – As it Was in the Beginning 
Mary 
So Joseph and I began our married life.  It was a home, filled with marital love but he had no sexual relations with me.  Many would find this impossible.  Many do not believe it, even though it is clearly told in the gospels.  Many would say, “What kind of marriage is this when the couple does not enjoy the bodily oneness that consummates the personal union?” 
Indeed, marriage is a deep personal relationship which, in the natural, is consummated by the physical union of bodies that can bring forth new life.  But the natural does not exhaust the possibilities of human existence.  The natural should open out to the supernatural and to God’s will. 
Putting Aside Bodily Union 
At times, God’s wants the couple to refrain from bodily union.  There are external causes (like physical illness) or internal causes.  For example, the couple believes they are not ready to conceive another child.  So, in every marriage, if it is truly open to the supernatural, there will be times, even periods of time, when the couple would set aside their bodily union. 
Our marriage was even deeper in the supernatural.  God had claimed my body as his own.  God’s Son was living in my womb.  Even before this mystery existed, I had accepted a supernatural call to perpetual virginity.  Joseph, also, had received the call to be my husband and to safeguard my perpetual call.  Our relationship was full and deeply loving, but there was also a unique supernatural aspect which I will try to explain. 
Marriage in the Beginning 
More than any couple, we lived in God’s presence.  Adam and Eve also had lived in this presence and had accepted their male/female relationship as a gift from God.  They had not yet joined their bodies and Eve had not yet conceived or become “the Mother of the Living”.  Yet, they lived in the deepest of love. 
However, when sin came, their supernatural relationship with God was destroyed and their relationship with each other became distorted.  It was never the same.  They could never regain the greatness of their relationship which came from God’s supernatural gifts.  Only by the supernatural was the natural sustained.  When the supernatural was destroyed, an evil entered their relationship which they could not control. 
This is the state of marriage now present in the world.  To regain its greatness, marriage needs the supernatural.  My marriage with Joseph had the fullness of supernatural blessings.  Through us, all generations of spouses can regain the supernatural equilibrium of the original couple. 
Our marriage is a light put upon the lampstand.  Marriage is not primarily a bodily union.  It is a union of persons brought about by God’s supernatural gifts.  The more God’s power and kingdom rule in the marriage, the higher will be their relationship and the fuller will be the sexual life which they enjoy.  The spouses will be equals, with each bringing their gift of masculinity and femininity to the relationship.  Each will complement the other.  By their own power, the couple cannot build a marriage relationship because they carry too much sin and selfishness.  By faith, the supernatural can join them in a way that even their sinfulness cannot destroy.  Do you think a man can love a woman, and vice-versa during their entire life without the power of supernatural love?  This is too much for human love because its strengths are too soon exhausted. 
A Promise 
You married couples who struggle in your relationship, especially in your sexual life, run to Joseph and me.  Come together in prayer and we will gladly share our supernatural gifts so you can begin to enjoy marriage “as it was in the beginning” before sin destroyed what God had planned.  We lived in this supernatural gift to help you to live in a marriage which enjoys natural and supernatural helps. 
Comment:  Mary explains that personal selfishness destroys a relationship.  God’s supernatural gifts are needed to destroy selfishness.

Joseph and Mary did not begin their marriage in a bed of roses.  So, they are much like us in our marriages and relationships in so many ways.  But, we can use the example of their marriage as a guide for us in ours.

Monday, December 22, 2014

How Can This Be? - The Annunciation From Mary's Perspective

Christians are well aware that Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel who announced to her that she would bear the Christ Child, and we have some very few words from Mary about what this meant to her at the time, but the recounting of that moment has always left me wondering, pondering if you will, what it was like for her really.

So, many times I have asked myself: "How can this be?"  The whole annunciation narrative is preposterous to our mortal minds.  How indeed can this be?  God, if he exists, would never do such a thing . . . OR Would He?

The angel Gabriel answers my question himself when he says to Mary, "nothing is impossible to God."

Suspend your incredulity and come with Mary on a journey into the mind and heart of the one called to bear the Christ Child.  She has the only human perspective possible to unfold for us some of the mysteries of her own Salvation and ours.

Read below from Locutions.org as she describes what happened when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her:
March 25, 2012 
294.The Angels’ Message 
Mary 
When the angel Gabriel came I thought I was settled into my way of life. God had provided everything. I had my inner call which was so unique and I also had Joseph, who would allow me to live this call, hidden from the eyes of others. Our hearts were truly one. His heart was given to God just as mine was. We were totally united, called together into this mystery that flowed from my heart but which his heart welcomed, also.
Frightened By God’s Light 
This was the situation when Gabriel said these words, “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you”. I had always enjoyed the intimacy of God. So many times, he had spoken in my heart calling me to himself. Now, God spoke through an angel. This went beyond any experience I had ever had. Through this visit, I was plunged into the greatest divine light. It is frightening to be lost in darkness but it is even more frightening to be overwhelmed with God’s light. Gabriel did not need to hear my words. He saw my fear, and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God”. I saw and I understood better than any scholar what this meant. 
The Regained Favor 
Adam and Eve had lost this favor. Now, I began to understand that all the divine favors that I had experienced were a sign. Gabriel was revealing that all these favors because I was perfectly joined to God. What was at the beginning, existed again. What had been lost was regained. I was perfectly united with God just as our first parents had been. Everything came together. Through these words, “You have found favor with God”, I saw the mystery. I understood what God had done. 
A Greater MysteryI asked myself a question, “Why has God done this to me?” Gabriel went on, “You shall conceive and bear a son”. Once more, I was enveloped by a mystery that I did not understand. I had faithfully followed God’s inner call. I had consecrated myself as a virgin. God had confirmed that call by giving me Joseph. We had agreed to a life of virginity. Now, I was told by an angel of God that I would conceive. 
All I could say was, “How can this be, since I do not know man?” Gabriel quickly explained the divine plan, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you”. I understood his words, “the Holy Spirit”. He was the third eternal Person whom I had experienced coming from the Father and the Son. I thought to myself, “Will I be absorbed into God? Will I be made fruitful by a Divine Person?” 
The Son Coming From the Father 
Yet, that is what Gabriel was telling me, “The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God”. The words rang in my head and flooded my heart. Through the divine favors, I had seen and experienced the Father and the Son in the eternal processions of the three Divine Persons. With his Father, he was truly an eternal Son. Now, Gabriel used the words “A child to be born”. I would be a mother. A child would come forth from my womb. That child would be the Son whom I saw come forth from the Father’s side. God’s plan was so clear to me. I understood it. The Father was knocking at my door, inviting me to open myself to the power of his Spirit so that his Son could take flesh and blood within my womb. 
All Is Possible With God 
Even Gabriel stood outside the mystery. He was just the messenger. Seeing me try to respond to the invitation, he told me of what God had already done. My kinswoman Elizabeth, who was beyond the years of childbearing, had conceived a son and was in her sixth month. This was a marvel of God. Gabriel was using the burning and shining lamp of John to guide me. Then, with the greatest of simplicity, he said, “Mary, nothing is impossible to God!” How those words supported me. Yes, for God, nothing is impossible. All that I heard, all that I was told was possible. It could take place. 
Mary’s Free Will 
At that moment I experienced the freedom of my will. I experienced God as the great respecter of the human persons whom he creates. I realized that God waited upon me. He knocked but he did not open. He invited but he did not compel. He who is almighty would not act. He would wait. It was as if all the centuries were contained in that single moment, as if all of history, from Adam and Eve to Jesus’ Final Coming, was suspended, held in midair. In my own heart, it was like years, all the years and all the moments that I had experienced God’s delights. Now, I realized God was my suitor. He wanted my hand in marriage and my womb to bring forth his Son. 
And the Word Became Flesh 
How could I refuse him? How could any creature say “No”? My whole being poured forth into God. I was united to God as I had never been before. The divine fire overshadowed me. “Let it be done” I said. I repeated this over and again, as if once was not worthy enough of his Being. 
Then, silence overwhelmed by soul, the deepest of all silences. I was still, and totally attentive. How else could I be? The Word was becoming flesh. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the overshadowing took place. With that, Gabriel departed and I was left with my thoughts and with the eternal, living Word in my womb. 
Comment: In a long, beautiful and penetrating narrative, Mary shares her inner feelings at her Annunciation.