Mary, Mother of Jesus

“When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.  All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.  And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  Luke 2:17-19

Our Lady of Manaoag

Today, we usher in 2017. What a better way to begin this new year than to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. 

The past year has been tough. On top of all other challenges, our family is under attack by dark forces of this world, trying to pull us apart to different directions.

Through it all, I believe she intercedes for us as we struggle daily to carry on. The rosary has such power to obtain graces as  we pray everyday.

During times when I almost give up, I think about Mary, and if she was in the same situation, what would she have done.  It always gives me the serenity to endure everything, with the realization that she experienced worst.

Yet she never faltered.  She is ever a picture of faith and love, despite the pierced heart from her own son, Jesus’ suffering and death. 

We look forward to a new year with a new hope for our family. May each of us continue to carry in our hearts the unconditional love of Mary for Jesus everyday.  For as long as we do, there’s hope.

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The Greatest Announcement

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

Who doesn’t love surprises? I’m sure I have had my share in the 48 years of my existence. But as I try to recall which one had the most impact, not even one comes to mind. Now that surprises me!

Let me see. Well, a wedding proposal might have surprised me. I would have loved to be in the receiving end of one. But sorry for me. Because during our time, it was not necessary. Not because we were less romantic. It was just that the wedding and marriage were already being discussed over the courtship stage that it was in itself, already a proposal and a yes.

And yes, a diagnosis from my OB once surprised me. But in a negative way though. So I would not want to count it in.  And the proper term should be “scare” instead of surprise. If scare is the word, then I have a lot stored in my memory.

So let us go back in time with Mary; when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was going to be the mother of God, and she will call Him, Jesus. Now that was a big surprise to her. Imagine, in her simplicity and meekness, she found favor with God. Imagine her wonderment. Imagine a life-changing surprise in all her innocence.

But what differs us now, with Mary then when she received God’s word?

Mary was young and inexperienced, while we are older and “matured”, so to speak, and have years of religious instruction in school and the church. Yet when she got the greatest announcement of her life, she trusted God wholeheartedly and believed in His grand plan for her absolutely. She humbly went on with her daily life, even with the knowledge that she was (and still is) most special.

How about us? How do we accept the big surprises that come our way? It may be an unexpected promotion, a huge bonus, a love life that’s long overdue, healing for our ailments, maybe even winning the lottery. Do we receive them with humble and grateful acceptance? Or do we get drunk with self-entitlement that we fail to see the hand of God in all the merriment? And do we even remember to thank Him?

Like Mary, the greatest announcement we could ever receive in our lives is Jesus. Let us be innocent like Mary. Ever trusting. Ever thankful. Because whenever we least expect it, Jesus will continually surprise us with His everlasting love.  And it would be pleasing to Him if we respond exactly like His Mother.

The Happy Priest Reflects on the Assumption of Mary

  • By Fr. James Farfaglia
  • 8/15/2012

reposted from Catholic Online  (www.catholic.org)

Worldwide chaos will end when the entire world turns back to God. 
There will be no solutions to the unraveling and disintegration of everything around us until we all become good disciples of the One who came to save us.  A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.True devotion to Mary gives us the answer to all of the challenges of our times.  She is the perfect disciple.   Saint Augustine once wrote, “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”

 

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) – Today we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven.  What exactly does this mystery of our faith mean?  In order to answer this question, let us turn to the solemn infallible proclamation made on November 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. 
“In their homilies and sermons on this feast the holy fathers and great doctors spoke of the assumption of the Mother of God as something already familiar and accepted by the faithful.  They gave it greater clarity in their preaching and used more profound arguments in setting out its nature and meaning.  Above all, they brought out more clearly the fact that what is commemorated in this feast is not simply the total absence of corruption from the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary but also her triumph over death and her glorification in heaven, after the pattern set by her only Son, Jesus Christ.
Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of Original Sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more full conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”
Sometimes people get confused when they do not understand the difference between the assumption of Mary and the ascension of Jesus.  Jesus ascended into heaven by his own divine power because he is true God and true man.  Mary is human and not divine.  Therefore, she is assumed into heaven by God’s power. 
The dogma of the Assumption is directly linked to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  The Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived without Original Sin.  Since Mary, through a special privilege of grace did not have any sin, including Original Sin, her body did not suffer the normal consequences of death that we do.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary in the womb of her mother was defined as a dogma of our Catholic Faith by Blessed Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.
In the solemn proclamation, the Pope said:  “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”
The Tradition, both of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church maintain that Mary died in the presence of the Apostles.  Thomas was not present.  When he did join them a few days later, they took him to her tomb. 
When the Apostles opened her tomb, her body was not present.  Moreover, in the subsequent years of Church history, no relics of Mary’s body were ever venerated.  However, it is recorded that at one time the veil and the belt of the Virgin Mary were venerated in Constantinople.  As we contemplate the mystery of the Assumption, we also contemplate the tremendous number of challenges in our own country and throughout the world. 
True devotion to Mary gives us the answer to all of the challenges of our times.  She is the perfect disciple.   Saint Augustine once wrote, “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
Worldwide chaos will end when the entire world turns back to God. 
There will be no solutions to the unraveling and disintegration of everything around us until we all become good disciples of the One who came to save us. 
Our nation is presently challenged by many difficulties.  The rapid unraveling of every sense of moral decency is alarming.
For almost four decades the issue of abortion has been on the forefront of a cultural war.  The approximate number of known legal abortions in this country alone since Roe v. Wade is staggering to the imagination. 
New issues have entered into the battlefield.
Attempts to alter God’s plan for marriage rage on as numerous states redefine their marriage laws. 
The Federal government expands its intrusive tentacles into the Catholic Church, trampling upon religious liberty and freedom of conscience. 
Moving beyond democrat or republican and liberal or conservative, our country is polarized by two clashing world views.
Is government the answer or is it the problem?
Is civil law based upon and derived from natural law and divine law, or is it composed from capricious human ideologies? 
Does the unborn child have the right to life or is a woman autonomous from God’s law and free to kill her own child?
Can the human person ignore God’s plan for marriage, sexuality and procreation, and re-define marriage?
Our contemporary national conversation reminds me of the words spoken by  Anthony of the Desert, a second century saint who said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.'”
What America needs now more than ever is God. 
President Ronald Reagan understood this. 
As he was sworn into office for the first time, he placed his hand on the Bible that was owned by his devout Christian mother. 
The Bible was marked to The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14 which was his favorite Scripture passage.
“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.
As we celebrate this beautiful Marian feast day, let us recall the famous prayer called the Memorare which was composed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153).  Let us conclude with his beautiful prayer which has consoled millions of people.
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

message sent

“And the angel said to her ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom, there will be no end.’…

…And Mary said ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:30-33, 38

have you ever wondered how simple misunderstandings result to  severed ties, destroyed friendships, couples split-up and broken families?  how about workplace foul-ups?  ha-ha, now tell me about it.

yesterday was my lucky day.

a corporate volcano spewed verbal pyroclastics and an emotional flow of  utter annoyance  from the intense heat had taken place.  if  i had given into temptation, a full-blown eruption could have ensued.  but thank God,  i was able to hold my composure, and my joyful nature prevailed. 

it all started with a simple email, the response of which should have been the answer to my query, or a simple idk ( i don’t know).  but instead the recipient confronted me asking me why i sent him the email, that he was not the right person to send it to, that he doesn’t have any idea of what i was asking for.  i tried to reason out with him but instead his voice took on a higher and angrier tone.  i was dumbfounded because i have absolutely no idea where all that furor was coming from.

God knows how much patience kept my tolerance to a manageable level.  until finally the guy got tired, probably because he did not get the reaction that he expected.  he started to walk away.  as he did, when i realized he already let his guard down, i told him with poise and dignity intact,  “your reply could have been just a simple yes, no or i don’t know.  no more, no less.”  we could have spent our time in more productive endeavors, and preserved a bit of whatever is left of the wee respect that we still have for him.

the trouble with people is, sometimes we tend to read between the lines instead of accepting the message at face value.  we are always suspicious that maybe, we are told with what was meant otherwise.  if we keep living in doubt, then where will we find certainty?

today is the feast of the Annunciation.  when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she will be the mother of God, indeed she was full of grace, she had enough faith to believe.  just imagine if she did not say “let it be done unto me according to your word”

Jesus is the message sent by our Father for our salvation.  let us then, pray for discernment.  so that when we respond, it wouldn’t rot in the outbox.  but rather, by our acts of faith, we would be able to forward them.  and through us, that same message of  God would be sent.

Pope Benedict the XVI on “All Saints Day”

10/30/2009

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

‘With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism’

 

On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part.
On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part.
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ROME (Catholic Online) – The feasts of “All Saints” and “All Souls” are celebrated as Holy days and the “offices” which report the news from the Holy see are closed. We present the 2008 Homily of our beloved Holy father, Pope Benedict XVI and will present his homily for this year after the Holy Days:

Pope Benedict XVI ON “All Saints Day”

Dear brothers and sisters!

With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Visiting a nursery garden, one remains taken aback at the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously begins to think of the Creator’s fantasy that made the earth a marvelous garden. These same sentiments come to us when we consider the spectacle of holiness: the world appears to us as a “garden,” where the Spirit of God has sustained with remarkable wonder a multitude of saints, male and female, from every age and social condition, of every tongue, people and culture.

Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism. All, however, were marked by the “seal” of Jesus, the imprint of his love, witnessed upon the Cross. All now are at joy, in a feast without end as, like Jesus, they reached this goal across toil and trial, each one encountering their share of sacrifice to participate in the glory of the resurrection.

The solemnity of All Saints became recognized in the course of the first Christian millenium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. Already, in 609, Pope Boniface IV had consecrated the Pantheon in honor of the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs. But this martyrdom could be interpreted in a wider sense, that of loving Christ without reserve, a love expressed in the total gift of oneself to God and one’s brothers and sisters.

This spiritual measure, to which all the baptized are called, is accomplished in following the way of the evangelical beatitudes, that the liturgy offers to us on today’s solemnity. It’s the same path traced by Jesus and that the saints pushed themselves to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, myths, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And God himself gave them a share in his own happiness: previewed in this world and, in the hereafter, enjoyed in its fullness. They are now consoled, have inherited the earth, are sated, pardoned, see the God whose children they are. In a word: “theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3,10).

On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. As a celebrated “spiritual” song says: “When the saints go marching in, oh how I’d want, Lord, to be in their number!”

May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to surpass every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation! Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal one of Mary, Queen of All Saints, and let ourselves be led by her toward our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits “of every nation, people and language.” And let us unite ourselves in prayer already recalling our dear departed ones who we’ll commemorate tomorrow.

– – –

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the crosses and roses of Cory

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

the funeral mass for Corazon C. Aquino is now over.  the homily of  Rev. Catalino Arevalo S. J., Cory’s spiritual adviser, was simple yet profound.  part of it enumerated three distinct Cory attributes that are rarely inherent in one ordinary human being all together. 

1. her selflessness –  Cory always sought what was beneficial for others, always before her own self, her family even.  in her times of suffering, she would always think about them and what she could still do for them.

let us ask ourselves: how may times did we have the chance and the capability to help lola carry her heavy bags while she crosses the street, but did not?  because we are too focused on our timetable, that lifting a finger to help someone in need would be a waste of time.  how many times do we change our mobile phones in a year to be “in”, yet oblivious to the immediate needs of a relative who desperately needs financial support for immediate medical attention, because he can’t pay us back ?  or simply, how many times did we stop and look through a person’s eyes when we answer his questions?  are we always too self-indulged, that what we want to see are only ourselves? or we are just too selfish, we won’t respond at all.  are we too eager to go first in line, that we viciously sneak our way to the front, regardless whether those who came ahead of us honestly wait for their turn no matter how long it takes?   simple things that we could simply do, but we won’t.  even if we can.  because i, me, mine always comes first.  such selfishness.

2.  faith in God– Cory’s faith in God is so strong and powerful.  through all the episodes of her life, God was ever present.  God was truly a part of her everyday life, she attributed every moment of it as His will for her. she accepted each difficulty with resignation and each blessing with gratitude.  she was a Marian devotee, remembering always to pray the rosary.  she went to mass regularly, and she prayed without ceasing, always seeking the Lord in whatever circumstance.  as such, her faith is so overwhelming, it cannot be contained within her.  it burst into flickers of light to everyone who came close to her, until that flicker glowed into their own.  later will they realize that Cory had planted a mustard seed of faith in them, that grew as days go by that she lived by her example.  needless to say, everyone who came close to her or those who only see her on tv, now pray the rosary, and hear mass as often too. all because of Tita Cory.  imagine how many souls she had saved just by living a life of faith in God.

let’s ask ourselves:  how involved is God in our life? how many hours, minutes or perhaps seconds do we spend each day just thinking about him?  do we remember to thank him for little blessings like a beautiful sunny day or perhaps the smell of  roses? do we talk to God when we’re alone in the car and got caught in the traffic asking him to give us more patience?  do we tell him our innermost secrets? or ask his advise when we had to make an important decision in life? or do we remember Him only during calamities, misfortunes or sickness?  such a shame.

3.  her courage– Cory was only a woman, the weaker sex, or so they say.  but she has proven that gender has nothing to do with courage at all.  when Ninoy was arrested and eventually assassinated, she was left to raise five children.  that alone required much.  but lead a nation to stand up against a regime that has been in power for so long;  to survive seven coup attempts during her term; and to fight that last battle with colon cancer with such faith? indeed Cory was incredible and inspiring.  that was an understatement of course.   how great is Tita Cory, only a woman; but how remarkable and noteworthy that brave and grown men weep at her passing.   her courage was a gift that God gives only to those who deserve it.  and believe me, if heroism is defined by one’s courage and bravery, then indeed Cory Aquino is a hero.

let’s think about this:  we already knew that Tita Cory was deeply respected and admired as our icon of democracy.  but only in her death did we realize how much she is loved and will be missed by the Filipino nation.  all of us wish to be at least loved and missed at our own funerals.  maybe admired and looked up to, for those who seek power and recognition.  but are they as brave enough to fill in her shoes? to fight for the rights of the weak? to speak for those who can’t?  do they have enough courage to put God, country and family above themselves?  are they valiant enough to stand up for what is good, right and moral when all around them dictates otherwise? 

if each Filipino could only pick up bits and pieces of  lessons from her life and make them part of their own, what a beautiful nation this would be.  with little Tita Corys in each of us, how could we ever go wrong? for with that faith in God that she lived by, who can ever be against us?

thus was Corazon C. Aquino: a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, a public servant, a President, a hero, an icon, an inspiration, a pillar of strength, a gift from God, a Marian devotee, God’s loving daughter.  and her life – a picture of crosses and roses.  all together is a sweet blend that is Cory.  truly one of a kind.

cory-aquino2

her funeral procession is now over. she is gone forever.  but her legacy lives on.  and her selflessness, her courage and her faith in God… i pray would remain engraved in our hearts forever. 

 for the first time, i can now truly say i am proud to be Filipino.  because Cory taught me what it means to be one. 

Maraming Salamat, TITA CORY!

MOTHER

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.   And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:19-20

she carried you inside of her, 

that moment on she always cares.

she brought you out to see the world,

and she made sure she’s always there.

mother and child

 

 

 

she may be stout, she may be thin

she may be out , she may be  in.

she may be tough,  but if she’s  weak, 

eventually she’d stand and leap. 

she is a cool spring of joy

when they treat you like toy.

she is a ray of sunshine though

as raindrops of tears flow.

she clings to you like sticky glue

 when others make you feel blue.

and though it hurts, she’ll  let you go

 when it’s time for you to grow.

she always gives, though there is none.

 she would still share, when all is gone.

mother and child

 

 

 

 

the pain you feel, she’d feel it too.

and that heavy load, she’d take from you.

even though she can’t, she’ll swim for you. 

she’d drown for you, to rescue you.

mother won’t think twice, when worst may come;

to give her life so you may shine. 

rose

 

 

 

 

but there is one special mother, that’s greatest of all

she bore a dear Son so we won’t fall.

she loves Him so from concepcion to Cross

she’ll love Him forever; she loves Him the most. 

her son is dear Jesus our Savior and brother.

her sweet name is Mary, our Lady, our Mother. 

Mother Mary

(Roobee, happy mothers day to you too…)