Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Message to Readers

Dear Friends in Jesus and Mary,

Lenten Greetings. We are now in the middle of this wonderful liturgical season.

I have decided to continue blogging after Divine Mercy Sunday 2016  but only for the short - term.

Here is a list of forthcoming articles on my Blog for the Months of March, April, June, and August.

1) Don Bosco and the Holy Eucharist.

2) The Oasis of the Heart of Jesus Christ.

3) Saint Maximillian Kolbe -- A Saint for Today.

4) Saint Bernard of Clairvaux -- A Loyal Son of Mary.

5) Saint Joseph -- A Guardian to Jesus Christ.

6)  Easter Sunday 2016 -- Resurrection Joy.

7)  Divine Mercy Sunday 2016 -- A Perspective on the Blessed Sacrament.

8)  The Angel of Ethiopia.

Please Note that August 20, The Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux will be my last and final blog post. I have decided to call it a day with regard to Blogging after August 20, 2016.

This Blog will remain online forever.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Unique Perspective on the Blessed Mother during Lent

Introduction :

In Masses, in honour of the Blessed Mother during Lent specially on Saturdays, Catholics are encouraged to remember Mother Mary's presence in the ministry and Life of Jesus Christ.

During the Lenten Season, as We journey with the Lord through his last days, the figure of his mother is never far away.

Mary walks in front of us, and behind her son. She is the model of the faithful disciple of the Lord.

The Church Liturgy for Lent presents Mother Mary to the faithful as the model of the perfect disciple.  Mother Mary is the faithful Listener. She faithfully conforms herself to the word of God.

Heroically, she follows in Christ's footsteps as he carries the heavy cross. It is she who bears witness to Jesus's act of love as she suffers and dies within her heart uniting the most agonizing sorrow and pain with Christ's own.

Mother Mary is also her son's first and most faithful disciple. As soon as he was born, Mary dedicated herself to him.

Mary at the Foot of the Cross :

As the season of Lent progresses, the Church's liturgy is drawn more into the remembrance of and meditation on Our Lord's last journey to Jerusalem and his profound sacrifice of salvation.

The Lord's Passion, self-offering, love of the faith, and death on the cross all become the central themes of the liturgy.

Clearly, the Church's Liturgy recognizes the presence of the Mother in the Son's Passion.

Two major Marian Themes dominate our meditation during this season with reference to Mary and the Passion.

The first relates to Mary's faithfulness in following Christ and her sharing in His Passion. The second acknowledges the part Mary plays in achieving our salvation.

This has always been the understanding of the Church that Christ so profoundly unites us to himself so that our suffering, as Christ's Body is joined to Christ's suffering, and is offered to the faith for the redemption of all.

Consistently, Church Tradition has seen Mary's suffering as the first and the most profound suffering of any follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mother Mary was his "Disciple  and His Mother". As, The Stabat Mater (Sorrowful Mother) puts within her mouth the words : "What suffering could be like to mine ??

If any suffering is to be added to Christ's for the sake of salvation can any suffering be as great or as powerful as Mary's ??

At the Foot of the Cross, Mary is proclaimed as the Faithful Disciple, the New Eve, Handmaid of the Redeemer, the Mother of God's Children, Mother of Zion, Model of the Church, and Bride of  Christ.

As Mother of the Redeemer, Mary suffers with the Compassionate High Priest and shares in his suffering.

Christ made her the Mother of his disciples and all the faithful rejoice in her. She is the image and model for the Church, designed that the Church might look to her and see in her its own path to have courage in the face of Passion and Death and keep constant faith with the Bridegroom, namely Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Partner in Christ's Passion :

Again at the Foot of the Cross when Mary, though she was the Mother of Christ "by the power of  the Holy Spirit", she became a further gift of divine love by being "A Partner in His Passion," a Mother who suffered with him.

Mary's participation in the Passion and Suffering of Jesus Christ is foretold in the prophecy of Simeon, "He is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and a sword shall pierce your own heart." ( Luke 2:24-25)

The destiny of the Son and the Mother are joined together. The joining of the suffering of the Son and the Mother is the fulfillment of the Father's plan of Salvation.

The New Eve- Mother Mary, stands by the Cross of the New Adam, Jesus Christ. It is the Father who places the "Woman", this Mother at the side of the Son. It is the Father who decrees that she "should suffer with him".

The Church celebrates the suffering of Mary  at the Foot of the Cross, because she stands there with the Lord as the faithful servant of God, the faithful disciple of the Lord, and the representative of both the hope of Israel and the faith for the Church.

She is "firm in faith", "strong in hope", and "burning with love". As her Son suffers, Mother Mary does not spare her own life, rather she stands with him.

She suffers His every pain and torment. His death brings death to her heart. His Resurrection restores her to life.

Just as Mary, brought forth the Christ Child from her own womb, just as she gave birth to the Incarnate God, she now stands at the Cross bearing witness to the birth of Christ's Body, the Church.

" She endured the greatest of pains in bringing forth to new and divine life the family of the Church".

Always in Mary's suffering, has the Church seen the Blessed Mother as a "Martyr".

"How blessed was the Virgin Mother in her sufferings: she gained the palm of living martyrdom at the foot of the cross of her Divine Son.

Commending of Mary :

As one of his final acts, Jesus Christ turns to his Mother Mary and Saint John and says : "Woman, Behold your Son, Son Behold your Mother" (John 19:25).

It is hard to believe that some Christians, Theologians, and Biblical Scholars see in this sacred action of Christ only a simple work of  "House - Keeping". Is it reasonable to suggest that the Lord, in the final moments of his earthly life after preaching the profound sermon of his passion on the cross with his own sweat and blood, would now interrupt the act of salvation with such a mundane arrangement ??

That the Lord turns to his Mother Mary and his beloved disciple in the midst of the very offering of the Sacrifice of the Lamb, surely indicates the sacredness and absolute importance of his words and their meaning.

Could any words, or action, coming as they do at this moment of Christ's Passion, not be given more weight ??

Conclusion :

The Church sees in the commendation of the Virgin Mother to Saint John, the decree of the Lord for the Church to make a home for the Mother in the midst of her children.

The profound words of the Mass, ring out the Lord's deepest intention when it states that in John, the beloved disciple Christ made all his disciples "living signs of his own love for her ".

They are to receive Mother Mary "As a Precious Inheritance from their Master". The Lord Jesus Christ, the child of Mother Mary, entrusts his disciples to his Mother, so that they too maybe the children of Mary.

Present in the midst of the children of God,  - the Church, Mary is the Mother of all.

Mother Mary does for all her children, what she did for her own Son - Jesus Christ.

As, her children we are to look to her with "great confidence in her unfailing protection".

In short, we can say that Mary challenged the system and the soldiers and remained at the foot of the cross demonstrating invincible hope.

Credits and References :

Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai
March 2010, Vol -11 N0-11
"The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church's Liturgy for the Season of Lent"
By Father Benedict O'Cinnsealaigh
Pages 28-30









 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Lent 2016- Lenten Spirituality

Introduction :

When we contemplate the "Way of the Cross" in Lent we see Christ fall not once but three times, and  each time he gets up and drives himself on even though it is to worse torture ending in death.

These falls are telling us something important. God was using the very last stages of his Son's life on earth to drive home to us something vital, something that we all need to know : that we must never give up once we have accepted to do "God's Will".

The Christian way of life means seeing in every other person, be they rich or poor, strong or weak, good or bad, White, Black, Yellow, or Brown, someone beloved of God, someone that we too must love, and love through service, no holding back.

We must not listen to words such as, "Why bother, they won't thank you for it,". Our Lord Jesus Christ fell and it hurt him, the heavy cross on top of him, the hard stony ground beneath his raw and battered body, yes it hurt him but he did not give up.

He did not say, "What good is this doing; who really cares ??"

And indeed, who did care at that time ??

They were all around him, jeering and shouting abuses at him, and still he had compassion on them : "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".

All that Our Lord Jesus Christ taught about loving and serving all that he showed by example in his own way of life can be summed up in these terrible falls.

Life may hit us hard. It often does and we collapse and are near despair.

How often at those times, have we been told to look around and we will be sure to see someone who is worse off than ourselves.

It is not very comforting, but it is true.

We must not give in, but instead put all our trust in "Jesus Christ - The Divine Mercy" and say Jesus, I trust in you who will help us up so that we can carry on and help others in our turn.

Conclusion :

Our Lord Jesus Christ, showed by His Passion and Death exactly what he meant when he said, we must love and serve.

Words alone are not enough. In true humility, we must be prepared to serve whomsoever of our fellow men and women may be in need, not just when we feel like it, but even when we are feeling down ourselves.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, sums it up with the words, "Give until it hurts".

This is the sum and substance of "Lenten Spirituality".

Note : On this Ash Wednesday, I extend my Lenten Blessings to all the readers of my blog and to all souls.

Credits and References :

"A Thought for Lent" by Wendy White
Pages 8-9, Vol - 14, N0-11
March 2013
Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai

Note : Please read an excellent article on Lent.

The Mystery of Lent

http://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-587.shtml#_Toc349936252




 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Origen on Prayer

Dear Friends,

Origen was an Eastern Christian Monk who was the best of all the Hermits and Monks that lived in Egypt during the early years of the Church.

He constantly had pearls of wisdom to give to people who sought for his advice. He wrote many Treatises and Homilies on the Christian Life.

Read a snippet of this article.

Things in themselves so supremely great, so far above man, so utterly above our perishable nature, as to be impossible for the race of rational mortals to grasp, as the will of God became possible in the immeasurable abundance of the Divine grace which streams forth from God upon men, through Jesus Christ the minister of His unsurpassable grace toward us, and through the cooperant Spirit.

Thus, though it is a standing impossibility for human nature to acquire Wisdom, by which all things have been established—for all things, according to David, God made in wisdom—from being impossible it becomes possible through our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

Read the whole article here.

http://www.ecatholic2000.com/fathers/origen.shtml

 

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