READINGS for 2008-12-08
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A mOthER’s PRAYER
“For with God, nothing is impossible.” – Luke 1:37
St. Monica is known for the lines on her face that marked the place where her tears constantly flowed as she continuously prayed for her favored child, Augustine.
For 25 years, Augustine lived a life filled with wine, women and song. Despite this, he was still a favored child, because a mother never really forgets the child she bore from her womb.
There is a saying that the prayers of a mother does not remain unheeded. The perfect proof is Augustine, whom everyone now knows as the great saint and doctor of the Church.
The prayers of a mother made the impossible possible.Chelle Crisanto
“Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.” (Andrew Murray)
Lord, I pray for my loved ones today. Turn their hearts to You.
Mary’s role as the mother of the one who will defeat Satan is prophesied from the beginning of the Scriptures. Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection are not an accident or a lucky vehicle for God’s work of salvation. God the Father, out of the depths of His mercy and love, began to prepare for the day of our salvation from the time we first sinned and rebelled against Him.
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
9 After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God then called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11 Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” 12 The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me- she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” 13 The LORD God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.” 14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” 20 The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.
P S A L M
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R: Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) 2 The LORD has made his salvation known in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. 3 He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. 4 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R)
The Immaculate Conception refers to God’s choice to preserve Mary from the stain of Original Sin. It is this blessed state that makes her womb an appropriate dwelling place for His son for nine months. It is her resultant holiness and grace that gives rise to the honor Mary receives in the Church. It is all however, the work of God. There is nothing Mary can boast about except God’s goodness to her.
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
3 Brothers and sisters: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, 4 as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5 he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6 for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. 11 In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, 12 so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
G O S P E L
Mary knows that she does not deserve the graces she has received. She knows they are gift from God. With all grace comes tremendous responsibility to see that it is used for the purpose God intended. Mary does this perfectly and will be forever remembered for it. Let us pray that we will be faithful to all that God has given us and that at least some of us will also become saints.
26 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35 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. 36 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; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 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.
think:With all grace comes tremendous responsibility.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Daniel 3-4
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Felician oF Foligno
Saint Felician was born in A.D. 159 at Foligno, Italy. He was a student of Pope Saint Eleutherius.
When he was consecrated Bishop of Foligno by Pope Saint Victor I in 204, Feliciano was given the pallium (initially served for the pope). He was the first recorded bishop to have received the pallium.
He was arrested during the persecution of Christians during the reign of Decius. Because of his refusal to sacrifice to the pagan gods, he was tortured and scourged. Saint Felician died at the age of 94 on the way to Rome for his execution.
Saint ananiaS oF DamaScuS
Saint Ananias was a Christian in Damascus during the first century. He received a vision of Christ. He was commanded to find Saul (Paul the Apostle) in the city. Saul was found blind and staggering after his encounter with Jesus on the road. Ananias healed the man from his blindness, baptized him in faith, and supported him in the preparation of his missionary work.
Ananias served as an evangelist before his martyrdom in Eleutheropolis.
SaintS timothy anD tituS
Saints Timothy and Titus were two of the most beloved and trusted disciples of St. Paul during the first century.
Timothy was born in Lycaonia, Asia Minor to a Jewish mother and a Gentile father. Timothy together with his mother and grandmother was converted to Christianity when St. Paul came to preach in their hometown. He invited Timothy to preach the Gospel ; thus, the man left his family and followed Paul. Timothy served as Paul’s beloved disicple, following him in spreading the Good News and evangelizing men. He became bishop of Ephesus before he died a martyr.
Titus was born a Gentile and a non-believer of Christ. But he later became one of Paul’s disciples. Titus proved himself to be generous, hard-working and zealous in preaching God’s Words ; thus, Paul sent him freely to many missions in Christian communities. Titus had the gift of being a peacemaker. In his mere presence, the guilty Christian would immediately feel sorry for his sin and the other party would immediately forgive. St. Paul appointed Titus bishop of the island of Crete where the man stayed until his dying day.
MARY’S OPENNESS TO GOD’S PLANS AND OUR RELUCTANCE
Today we celebrate God at work many years before His Son would be conceived and born of the Virgin Mary. We celebrate God’s providence and preparation for the incarnation of His Son when the mother was not yet born.
That Mary was called by Gabriel “full of grace” indicates that she was exempted from the curse of evil that hung over every human being born into this world. Her purity and holiness helped Mary to respond generously to the plans of God even though she did not fully understand what these meant.
We praise and thank God today for initiating our salvation and for preparing Mary as the worthy instrument. We also praise and thank mother Mary for responding so generously to God’s call. By saying “yes” to the mysterious plans of God, she entered a life filled with problems and suffering. But in this way, she contributed to our salvation. She is now honored by all generations all over the world, by Christians as well as by Muslims.
We were not conceived immaculate. But in baptism, all stains of evil were taken away from us and we were prepared by God through the power of the Holy Spirit for a holy life in this unholy world. And we, too, have said our “yes” to God’s plans when we were baptized and when we renew our baptismal promises. But we have to admit that we do not always live according to our promises. We have to admit that we are reluctant to accept God’s plans for us and that at times, we waste His graces and blessings, instead of using them for the good of others, as Mary did and still does.
May today be a moment when we look into our own lives and ask the Blessed Mother to help us to live the way she did. Mary became an instrument of God’s plans. God needs us to be His instruments in today’s world and time. May we realize this great privilege and responsibility. Fr. Rudy Horst
What can I do to respond like Mary without reluctance to God’s plans for me?
Lord, thank You for giving us Mary Your Mother as our mother and model. Help us to learn from her to say “yes” to Your plans and overcome the reluctance to accept what You ask of us, especially when it is difficult. May we find favor with You in spite our sinfulness.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
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