Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Predestination, Song of Songs 2:8-14, Psalms 33, Luke 1:39-45, St Peter Canisius, History of the Birth and Childhood of the Mary


Friday, December 21, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:

Predestination, Song of Songs 2:8-14, Psalms 33, Luke 1:39-45, St Peter Canisius, History of the Birth and Childhood of the Mary

Good Day Bloggers!  Joyeux Noelle et Bonne Annee!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone. The "Armageddon" is a pagan belief inspired by the evil one to create chaos and doubt in God. Trust in God, for He creates, He does not destroy and only God knows the hour of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ's second Coming, another chance at eternal salvation.  It is this simple since the mortal sin of Adam and Eve: "This world begins and ends everyday for someone". Think about how merciful God truly is as he keeps offering us second chances. He even gives the evil one a multitude of chances to atone. When God decides, not humanity, to once again send Jesus to us for a Second time, it will be a time filled with nothing but love, mercy and compassion for humanity as the first time. Remember the mysteries of Faith: the Annunciation, The Nativity, Jesus's Ministry and most of all His Passion, Death, Resurrection Ascension and the Gift of the Pentecost...nothing but love was shown to humanity from the moment of the  conception of Jesus to his Ascension into Heaven. So why would his second coming be something to fear  for God so loves us that he gives us his only son for our salvation, for eternal life and happiness not our damnation. Fear is manifested by the evil one to turn us away from God, renounce it,  ignore it. Simply be prepared by living everyday as a gift: Trust in God; Honor Jesus's Mercy through the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist; Honor and Embrace the gift of our Our Heavenly Mother, Mary designated by God as our Protectress, Utilize the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and invoke the guidance of our guardian angels as assigned to each one of us by God :  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will, make the most of the gift of Life. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


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December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 


November 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

“Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call.” ~ Blessed Virgin Mary


November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you."
~ Blessed Virgin Mary


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Today's Word:  predestination   pre·des·ti·na·tion  [pri-des-tuh-ney-shuh n]



Origin: 1300–50; Middle English predestinacioun  < Late Latin praedestinātiōn-  (stem of praedestinātiō ). See predestinate, -ion


noun
1. an act of predestinating or predestining.
2. the state of being predestinated or predestined.
3. fate; destiny.
4. Theology .
a. the action of God in foreordaining from eternity whatever comes to pass.
b. the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation. Compare election (  def 4 ) , double predestination.



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Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21

2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song, make sweet music for your cry of victory.
11 but Yahweh's own plan stands firm for ever, his heart's counsel from age to age.
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he has chosen as his heritage.
20 We are waiting for Yahweh; he is our help and our shield,
21 for in him our heart rejoices, in his holy name we trust.


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Today's Epistle -   Song of Songs 2:8-14

8 BELOVED: I hear my love. See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills.
9 My love is like a gazelle, like a young stag. See where he stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the opening.
10 My love lifts up his voice, he says to me, 'Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.
11 For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
12 'Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree is forming its first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance. Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.
14 'My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock, in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.'



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Today's Gospel Reading  – Luke 1: 39-45


Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'


Reflection
• Luke stresses the readiness of Mary in serving, in being a handmaid. The Angel speaks about the pregnancy of Elizabeth and immediately, Mary rises and sets out as quickly as she could to go and help her. From Nazareth to the house of Elizabeth there were more than 100 km, the minimum, four days of travelling!, There were no buses, no trains. Mary begins to serve and fulfils her mission in behalf of the people of God.

• Elizabeth represents the Old Testament which was about to end. Mary represents the New Testament. The Old Testament accepts the New one with gratitude and trust, recognizing in it God’s gratuitous gift which is going to be realized and is going to complete the expectation of people. In the encounter of the two women is manifested the gift of the Spirit. The child leapt with joy in Elizabeth’s womb. This is the reading of the faith which Elizabeth makes of the things of life.

• The Good News of God reveals his presence in the most common things of human life: two house wives who visit each other to mutually help one another. Visit, joy, pregnancy, children, mutual help, house, family: Luke wants us and the community to perceive precisely this and that we discover in this God’s presence.
• Elizabeth says to Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Up until today, these words form part of the best known Psalm and most prayed in the whole world, “The Hail Mary”.

• “And blessed is she who has believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled”. This is the praise of Elizabeth to Mary and the message of Luke for the community: to believe in the Word of God, because the Word of God has the force to fulfil all that which it tells us. It is a creative Word. It generates new life in the womb of the Virgin, in the womb of people who accept it with faith.

• Mary and Elizabeth already knew one another. But in this encounter, they discover, one in one another, a mystery which they had not known as yet, and which fills them with great joy. Today also, we meet persons who surprise us because of the wisdom they possess and the witness of faith that they give. Has something similar happened to you already? Have you met persons who have surprised you? What prevents us from discovering and from living the joy of God’s presence in our life?

• The attitude of Mary before the Word expresses the ideal which Luke wants to communicate to the Community: do not close yourselves in self, but get out of self, be attentive to the concrete needs of persons and try to help others as far as possible according to their need.


Personal questions
• Placing myself in the place of Mary and Elizabeth: am I capable to perceive and experience the presence of God in the most simple and common things in the life of every day?
• The praise of Elizabeth to Mary: “You have believed!” Her husband had difficulty to believe what the angel was telling him. And I?
Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.



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Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane





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Saint of the Day:  St Peter Canisius


Feast Day:  December 21
Patron Saint  Catholic Press, Germany




St Peter Canisius, S.J.
Peter Canisius, S.J. (Dutch: Pieter Kanis), (8 May 1521 – 21 December 1597) was an important Jesuit Catholic priest who fought against the spread of Protestantism in Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Switzerland. The restoration of the Catholic Church in Germany after the Protestant Reformation is largely attributed to the work there of the Society of Jesus, which he led. He is venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint and as a Doctor of the Church.

Life

He was born in 1521 in Nijmegen in the Duchy of Guelders, which, until 1549, was part of the Hapsburg Netherlands within the Holy Roman Empire and is now the Netherlands. His father was the wealthy burgermeister, Jacob Kanis; his mother, Ægidia van Houweningen, who died shortly after Peter's birth. He was sent to study at the University of Cologne, he earned a Master's degree in 1540, at the age of 19. While there, he met Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Through him, Canisius became the first Dutchman to join the newly-founded Society of Jesus in 1543.

Through his preaching and writings, Peter Canisius became one of the most influential Catholics of his time. He supervised the founding and maintenance of the first German-speaking Jesuit colleges, often with little resources at hand. Because of his frequent travels between the colleges, a tedious and dangerous occupation at the time, he became known as the Second Apostle of Germany.

Canisius also exerted a strong influence on the Emperor Ferdinand I; he ceaselessly reminded Ferdinand of the imminent danger to his soul should he concede more rights to Protestants in return for their military support. When Canisius perceived a very real danger of Ferdinand's son and heir, Maximilian, openly declaring himself a Protestant, Canisius threatened Maximilian with disinheritance should he desert the Catholic Faith.

Canisius was an influential teacher and preacher, especially through his "German Catechism", a book which defined the basic principles of Catholicism in the German language and made them more accessible to readers in German-speaking countries. He was offered the post of Bishop of Vienna in 1554, but declined in order to continue his traveling and teachings. He did, however, serve as administrator of the Diocese of Vienna for one year, until a new bishop was appointed for it.

He moved to Germany, where he was one of the main Catholic theologians at the Colloquy of Worms in 1557, and later served as the main preacher in the cathedral of Augsburg from 1559 to 1568, where he strongly witnessed to his faith on three or four occasions each week. His preaching was said to have been so convincing that it attracted hundreds of Protestants back to the old faith.

By the time he left Germany, the Society of Jesus in Germany had evolved from a small band of priests into a powerful tool of the Counter Reformation. Canisius spent the last 20 years of his life in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he founded the Jesuit preparatory school, the College of Saint Michael, which trained generations of young men for careers and future university studies.

In 1591, at the age of 70, Canisius suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed, but he continued to preach and write with the aid of a secretary until his death in Fribourg. He was initially buried at the Church of St. Nicholas. His remains were later transferred to the church of the Jesuit College, which he had founded and where he spent the last year of his life They were interred in front of the main altar of the church, and the room he occupied during those last months is now a chapel which is open to the veneration of the faithful.

Pastoral strategy

Canisius lived during the height of the Protestant Reformation and dedicated much of his work to the clarification of the Catholic faith in light of the emergence of the new Protestant doctrines. His lasting contribution is his three catechisms, which he published in Latin and German, which became widespread and popular in Catholic regions. In his fight with German Protestantism, he requested much more flexibility from Rome, arguing:
If you treat them right, the Germans will give you everything. Many err in matters of faith, but without arrogance. They err the German way, mostly honest, a bit simple-minded, but very open for everything Lutheran. An honest explanation of the faith would be much more effective than a polemical attack against reformers.
He rejected attacks against John Calvin and Melanchton: With words like these, we don’t cure patients, we make them incurable.

Mariology of Canisius

Canisius taught that, while there are many roads leading to Jesus Christ, for him the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the best. His sermons and letters document a clear preoccupation with Marian veneration. Under the heading "prayer" he explains the Ave Maria (Hail Mary), as the basis for Catholic Marian piety. Less known are his Marian books, in which he published prayers and contemplative texts. He is credited with adding to the Hail Mary the sentence
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.
Eleven years later it was included in the Catechism of the Council of Trent of 1566. Theologically, Canisius defended Roman Catholic Mariology in his 1577 book, De Maria Virgine Incomparabili et Dei Genitrice Sacrosancta Libri Quinque. From today's perspective, Canisius clearly erred in some of his sources, but, because of his factual analysis of original sources, it is considered as representing one of the best theological achievements in the 16th century.

Veneration

Canisius was beatified by the Blessed Pope Pius IX in the year 1864, and later canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church on 21 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI. His feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar in 1926, for celebration on 27 April. In the liturgical reform of 1969, it was moved to 21 December, the anniversary of his death, the normal day for celebrating a saint's entry into heaven (although it is still kept by the Society of Jesus on Apr. 27).

Legacy

Relics associated with St Peter Canisius
In recognition of Canisius' early work in the establishment of Jesuit education, there are multiple educational institutions named for him. Among them is the Canisius College for seminarians in Vienna, Austria, the first institution named for him, as well as Canisius College, a Jesuit secondary school in his hometown of Nijmegen and the alma mater of Peter Hans Kolvenbach, a recent Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Another Canisius College, a university, and Canisius High School, a secondary school, are located in Buffalo, New York. Furthermore, a Jesuit-run Canisius Kolleg can be found in Berlin, Germany. There is also a secondary school named after Canisius, Kolese Kanisius (Collegium Canisianum or Canisius College), in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In addition, there is a primary school: Basisschool Petrus Canisius in Puth in Limburg, Netherlands. In 1850 the Canisius Hospital was established on the corner of the Houtmarkt and the Pauwelstraat in Nijmegen. In 1974 it merged with Wilhelmina Hospital located at the Weg door Jonkerbos in Nijmegen, to become "Canisius-Wilhemina Hospital.

The Apologetische Vereniging St. Petrus Canisius (St. Peter Canisius Association for Apologetics) was founded in the Netherlands in 1904. The purpose of this association was the defense of the Roman Catholic Church against new values of socialism and liberalism and the restoration of the society with a more Catholic way of life.

Works

  • (1555) Summa doctrinae christianae (A Summary of Christian Teachings)
The longer version (with quotes from authority):
Vol. 1: Faith, Hope, Charity, the Precepts of the Church
Vol. 2: The Sacraments
Vol. 3: Christian Justification, good works, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost, Eight Beatitudes, Evangelical Counsels, etc.
  • (1556) Catechismus minor (A Smaller Catechism)
  • (1558) Parvus catechismus catholicorum (A Little Catechism for Catholics)

References

  •  Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Blessed Peter Canisius". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.


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Today's  Snippet  I:  

Book 1, Chapter 7,
The Mystical City of God, The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God

THE BLESSED BIRTH OF MARY IMMACULATE
The most holy Mary, being conceived without sin as described above, was entirely absorbed in spirit and entranced by her first vision of the Divinity. At the first instant, and in the narrow dwelling of the maternal womb, began the love of God in her most blessed soul, never to be interrupted, but to continue through all the eternities of that high glory, which She now enjoys at the right hand of her divine Son.

The most happy mother, holy Anne passed the days of her pregnancy altogether spiritualized by the divine operations and by the sweet workings of the Holy Ghost in all her faculties. Divine Providence, however, in order to direct her course to greater merit and reward, ordained, that the ballast of trouble be not wanting, for without it the cargo of grace and love is scarcely ever secure. In order to understand better, what happened to this holy woman, it must be remembered, that satan, after he was hurled with the other bad angels from heaven into the infernal torments, never ceased, during the reign of the old Law, to search through the earth hovering with lurking vigilance above the women of distinguished holiness, in order to find Her, whose sign he had seen (Gen. 3, 15) and whose heel was to bruise and crush his head. Lucifer’s wrath against men was so fierce, that he would not trust this investigation to his inferiors alone; but leaving them to operate against the virtuous women in general, he himself attended to this matter and assiduously hovered around those, who signalized themselves more particularly in the exercise of virtue and in the grace of the Most High.

Filled with malice and astuteness, he observed closely the exceeding great holiness of the excellent matron Anne and all the events of her life; and although he could not estimate the richness of the Treasure, which was enclosed in her blessed womb (since the Lord has concealed this as well as many mysteries from him), yet he felt a powerful influence proceeding from saint Anne. The fact that he could not penetrate into the source of this activity, threw him at times into greater fury and rage. At other times he quieted himself with the thought, that this pregnancy arose from the same causes as others in the course of nature and that there was no special cause for alarm; for the Lord left him to his own hallucinations and to the vagaries of his own fury. Nevertheless the whole event was a source of great misgiving to this perverse spirit, when he saw how quietly her pregnancy took its course and especially, when he saw, that many angels stood in attendance. Above all he was enraged at his weakness in resisting the force, which proceeded from the blessed Anne and he suspected that it was not she alone, who was the cause of it.

Filled with this mistrust, the dragon determined, if possible, to take the life of the most felicitous Anne; or, if that was impossible, to see that she should obtain little satisfaction from her pregnancy. For the pride of Lucifer was so boundless as to persuade him of his ability to overcome or take away the life of Her, who was to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, or even the life of the Messias and Redeemer of the world, if only he could obtain knowledge of their whereabouts. His arrogance was founded upon the superiority of his angelic nature to the condition and power of mere human nature; as if both were not subject to grace and entirely dependent upon the will of their Creator. Audaciously therefore he set himself to tempt holy Anne, with many suggestions, misgivings, doubts and diffidences about the truth of her pregnancy, alleging her protracted years. All this the demon attempted in order to test the virtue of the saint, and to see, whether these temptations would not afford some opening for the perversion of her will.

But the invincible matron resisted these onslaughts with humble fortitude, patience, continued prayer and vivid faith in the Lord. She brought to naught the perplexing lies of the dragon and on account of them gained only additional grace and protection from on high. For besides the protection abundantly merited by her past life She was defended and freed from the demons by the great princes, who were guarding her most holy Daughter. Nevertheless in his insatiable malice the enemy did not desist on that account; and since his arrogance and pride far exceeds his powers, he sought human aid; for with such help he always promises himself greater ease of victory. Having at first tried to overthrow the dwelling of saint Joachim and Anne, in order that she might be frightened and excited by the shock of its fall, but not being able to succeed on account of the resistance of the holy angels, he incited against saint Anne one of the foolish women of her acquaintance to quarrel with her. This the woman did with great fury, insolently attacking saint Anne with reproach and scorn; she did not hesitate to make mockery of her pregnancy, saying, that she was the sport of the demon in being thus found pregnant at the end of so many years and at so great an age.

The blessed Anne did not permit herself to be disturbed by this attack, but in all meekness and humility bore the injuries and treated her assailants with kindness. From that time on she looked with greater love upon these women and lavished upon them so much the greater benefits. But their wrath was not immediately pacified, for the demon had taken possession of them, filling them with hate against the saint; and, as any concession to this cruel tyrant always increases his power over his victims, he incited these miserable dupes to plot even against the person and life of saint Anne. But they could not put their plots into execution, because divine power interfered to foil their natural womanly weakness. They were not only powerless against the saint, but they were overcome by her admonitions and brought to the knowledge and amendment of their evil course by her prayers.

The dragon was repulsed, but not vanquished; for he immediately availed himself of a servant, who lived in the house with Joachim and Anne, and exasperated her against the holy matron. Through her he created even a greater annoyance than through the other women, for she was a domestic enemy and more stubborn and dangerous than the others. I will not stay to describe, what the enemy attempted through this servant, since it was similar to that of the other woman, only more annoying and malicious. But with the help of God saint Anne won a more glorious victory than before; for the watcher of Israel slumbered not, but guarded his holy City (Ps. 120, 4) and furnished it so well with sentinels, chosen from the strongest of his hosts, that they put to ignominious flight Lucifer and his followers. No more were they allowed to molest the fortunate mother, who was already expecting the birth of the most blessed Princess of heaven, and who, enriched by heroic acts of virtue and many merits in these conflicts, had now arrived at the fulfillment of all her highest wishes.

The day destined for the parturition of saint Anne and for the birth of Her, who was consecrated and sanctified to be the Mother of God, had arrived: a day most fortunate for the world. This birth happened on the eighth day of September, fully nine months having elapsed since the Conception of the soul of our most holy Queen and Lady. Saint Anne was prepared by an interior voice of the Lord, informing Her, that the hour of her parturition had come. Full of the joy of the Holy Spirit at this information, she prostrated herself before the Lord and besought the assistance of his grace and his protection for a happy deliverance. The most blessed child Mary was at the same time by divine providence and power ravished into a most high ecstasy. Hence Mary was born into the world without perceiving it by her senses, for their operations and faculties were held in suspense.

She was born pure and stainless, beautiful and full of grace, thereby demonstrating, that She was free from the law and the tribute of sin. Although She was born substantially like other daughters of Adam, yet her birth was accompanied by such circumstances and conditions of grace, that it was the most wonderful and miraculous birth in all creation and will eternally redound to the praise of her Maker. At twelve o’clock in the night this divine Luminary issued forth, dividing the night of the ancient Law and its pristine darknesses from the new day of grace, which now was about to break into dawn. She was clothed, handled and dressed like other infants, though her soul dwelt in the Divinity; and She was treated as an infant, though She excelled all mortals and even all the angels in wisdom. Her mother did not allow Her to be touched by other hands than her own, but she herself wrapped Her in swaddling clothes: and in this Saint Anne was not hindered by her present state of childbirth; for she was free from the toils and labors, which other mothers usually endure in such circumstances.

So then saint Anne received in her arms Her, who was her Daughter, but at the same time the most exquisite Treasure of all the universe, inferior only to God and superior to all other creatures. With fervent tears of joy she offered this Treasure to his Majesty, saying interiorly "Lord of infinite wisdom and power, Creator of all that exists, this Fruit of my womb, which I have received of thy bounty, I offer to Thee with eternal thanks, for without any merit of mine Thou hast vouchsafed it to me. Dispose Thou of the mother and Child according to thy most holy will and look propitiously down upon our lowliness from thy exalted throne. Be Thou eternally blessed, because Thou hast enriched the world with a Creature so pleasing to thy bounty and because in Her Thou hast prepared a dwelling-place and a tabernacle for the eternal Word (Sap. 9, 8). I tender my congratulations to my holy forefathers and to the holy Prophets, and in them to the whole human race, for this sure pledge of Redemption, which Thou hast given them. But how shall I be able to worthily to treat Her, whom Thou hast given me as a Daughter? I that am not worthy to be her servant? How shall I handle the true ark of the Testament? Give me, O my Lord and King, the necessary enlightenment to know thy will and to execute it according to thy pleasure in the service of my Daughter."

The Lord answered the holy matron interiorly, that she was to treat her heavenly Child outwardly as mothers treat their daughters, without any demonstration of reverence; but to retain this reverence inwardly, fulfilling the laws of a true mother toward Her, and rearing Her up with all motherly love and solicitude. All this the happy mother complied with; making use of this permission and her mother’s rights without losing her reverence, she regaled herself with her most holy Daughter, embracing and caressing Her in the same way as other mothers do with their daughters. But it was always done with a proper reverence and consciousness of the hidden and divine sacrament known only to the mother and Daughter. The guardian angels of the sweet Child with others in great multitudes showed their veneration and worship to Mary as She rested in the arms of her mother; they joined in heavenly music, some of which was audible to blessed Anne. The thousand angels appointed as guardians of the great Queen offered themselves to her service. This was also the first time, in which the heavenly Mistress saw them in a corporeal form with their devises and habiliments, as I shall describe in another chapter and the Child asked them to join with Her in the praise of the Most High and to exalt Him in her name.

At the moment of the birth of our Princess Mary the Most High sent the archangel Gabriel as an envoy to bring this joyful news to the holy Fathers in limbo. Immediately the heavenly ambassador descended, illumining that deep cavern and rejoicing the just who were detained therein. He told them that already the dawn of eternal felicity had commenced and that the reparation of man, which was so earnestly desired and expected by the holy Patriarchs and foretold by the Prophets, had been begun, since She, who was to be the Mother of the Messias, had now been born; soon they would now see the salvation and glory of the Most High. The holy prince gave them an understanding of the excellence of the most holy Mary and of what the Omnipotent had begun to work in Her, in order that they might better comprehend the happy beginning of the mystery, which was to end their prolonged imprisonment. Then all the holy Patriarchs and Prophets and the rest of the just in limbo rejoiced in spirit and in new canticles praised the Lord for this benefit.

All these happenings at the birth of our Queen succeeded each other in a short space of time. The first exercise of her senses in the light of the material sun, was to recognize her parents and other creatures. The arms of the Most High began to work new wonders in Her far above all conceptions of men, and the first and most stupendous one was to send innumerable angels to bring the Mother of the eternal Word body and soul into the empyrean heaven for the fulfilling of his further intentions regarding Her. The holy princes obeyed the divine mandate and receiving the child Mary from the arms of her holy Mother Anne, they arranged a new and solemn procession bearing heavenward with incomparable songs of joy the true Ark of the covenant, in order that for a short time it might rest, not in the house of Obededon, but in the temple of the King of kings and of the Lord of lords, where later on it was to be placed for all eternity. This was the second step, which most holy Mary made in her life, namely, from this earth to the highest heaven.

Who can worthily extol this wonderful prodigy of the right hand of the Almighty? Who can describe the joy and the admiration of the celestial spirits, when they beheld this new and wonderful work of the Most High, and when they gathered to celebrate it in their songs? In these songs they acknowledged and reverenced as their Queen and Mistress, Her, who was to be the Mother of their Lord, and the source of the grace and glory, which they possessed; for it was through his foreseen merits, that they had been made the recipients of the divine bounty. But above all, what human tongue, or what mortal could ever describe or comprehend the heart-secrets of that tender Child during these events? I leave the imagination of all this to Catholic piety, and still more to those who in the Lord are favored with an understanding of it, but most of all to those who, by divine bounty shall have arrived at the beatific vision face to face.

Borne by the hands of the angels the child Mary entered the empyrean heaven where She prostrated Herself full of love before the royal throne in the presence of the Most High. Then (according to our way of understanding), was verified what long before had happened in figure, when Bethsabee entered into the presence of her son Solomon, who, while presiding over his people of Israel, arose from his throne, received her with honor and reverence, and seated her at his side as queen. Similarly, but in a more glorious and admirable manner, the person of the divine Word now received the child Mary, whom He had chosen as Mother, as Queen of the universe. Although her real dignity and the purpose of these ineffable mysteries were unknown to Mary, yet her infant faculties were strengthened by divine power for the reception of these favors. New graces and gifts were bestowed upon Her, by which her faculties were correspondingly elevated. Her powers of mind, besides being illumined and prepared by new grace and light, were raised and proportioned to the divine manifestation, and the Divinity displayed Itself in the new light vouchsafed, revealing Itself to Her intuitively and clearly in a most exalted manner. This was the first time in which the most holy soul of Mary saw the blessed Trinity in unveiled beatific vision.

The sole witnesses of the glory of Mary in this beatific vision, of the sacraments then again revealed to Her, of the divine effect that overflowed into her most pure soul, was God the Author of this unheard of wonder, and the astounded angels, who in some measure perceived these mysteries in God Himself. The Queen seated at the side of the Lord, who was to be her Son, and seeing Him face to face, was more successful in her prayer than Bethsabee (III Kings 2, 21). For She prayed that He bestow the untouched Sunamite Abisag, his inaccessible Divinity, upon his sister, human nature by the hypostatic union be fulfilled in the person of the Word. Many times He had pledged Himself to it among men through the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and now Mary besought Him to accelerate the reparation of the human race, expected for so many ages amid the multiplied iniquity and the ruin of souls. The Most High heard this most pleasing petition of his Mother, and acting more graciously than Solomon of old toward his mother, He assured Her that soon his promises should be fulfilled, and that He should descend to the world in order to assume and redeem human nature.

In this divine consistory and tribunal of the most holy Trinity it was determined to give a name to the Child Queen. As there is no proper and legitimate name, except it be found in the immutable being of God himself (for from it are participated and determined according to their right weight and measure all things in infinite wisdom) his Majesty wished himself to give and impose that name in heaven. He thereby made known to the angelic spirits, that the three divine Persons, had decreed and formed the sweet names of Jesus and Mary for the Son and Mother from the beginning before the ages, and that they had been delighted with them and had engraved them on their eternal memories to be as it were the Objects for whose service They should create all things. Being informed of these and many other mysteries, the holy angels heard a voice from the throne speaking in the person of the Father: "Our chosen One shall be called MARY, and this name is to be powerful and magnificent. Those that shall invoke it with devout affection shall receive most abundant graces; those that shall honor it and pronounce it with reverence shall be consoled and vivified, and will find in it the remedy of their evils, the treasures for their enrichment, the light which shall guide them to heaven. It shall be terrible against the power of hell, it shall crush the head of the serpent and it shall win glorious victories over the princes of hell." The Lord commanded the angelic spirits to announce this glorious name to saint Anne, so that what was decreed in heaven might be executed on earth. The heavenly Child, lovingly prostrate before the throne, rendered most acceptable and human thanks to the eternal Being; and She received the name with most admirable and sweet jubilation. If the prerogatives and graces, which She then was favored with, were to be described, it would necessitate an extra book of many volumes. The holy angels honored and acknowledged most holy Mary as the future Mother of the Word and as their Queen and Mistress enthroned at the right hand of her Son; they showed their veneration of her holy name, prostrating themselves as it proceeded from the throne in the voice of the eternal Father, especially those, who had it written on the devises over their breast. All of them gave forth canticles of praise for these great and hidden mysteries. In the meanwhile the infant Queen remained ignorant of the real cause of all that She thus experienced, for her dignity of Mother of the incarnate Word was not revealed to Her till the time of the Incarnation. With the same reverential jubilee did the angels return in order to replace Her into the arms of holy Anne, to whom this event remained a secret, as was also the absence of her Daughter; for a guardian angel, assuming an aerial body, supplied her place for this very purpose. More than that, during a great part of the time in which the heavenly Child remained in the empyrean heaven, her mother was wrapped in ecstasy of highest contemplation, and in it, although she did not know what was happening to the Child, exalted mysteries concerning the dignity of the Mother of God, to which She was to be chosen, were revealed to her. The prudent matron kept them enshrined within her breast, conferring them in her thoughts with the duties she owed to her Child.

On the eighth day after the birth of the great Queen multitudes of most beautiful angels in splendid array descended from on high bearing an escutcheon on which the name of MARY was engraved and shone forth in great brilliancy. Appearing to the blessed mother Anne, they told her, that the name of her daughter was to be MARY, which name they had brought from heaven, and which divine Providence had selected and now ordained to be given to their child by Joachim and herself. The saint called for her husband and they conferred with each other about this disposition of God in regard to the name of their Daughter. The more than happy father accepted the name with joy and devout affection. They decided to call their relatives and a priest and then, with much solemnity and festivity, they imposed the name of MARY on their Child. The angels also celebrated this event with most sweet and ravishing music, which, however, was heard only by the mother and her most holy Daughter.


WORDS OF THE QUEEN. (The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain.)
My admonition to thee, whom in spite of thy weakness and poverty I have chosen with such generous kindness as my disciple and companion, is this: that thou strive with all thy powers to imitate me in an exercise, in which I persevered during my whole life from the very first moment of my birth, omitting it on not a single day, however full of cares and labors it might have been. This exercise was the following: every day at the beginning of dawn, I prostrated myself in the presence of the Most High, and gave Him thanks and praise for his immutable Being, his infinite perfections, and for having created me out of nothing; acknowledging myself as his creature and the work of his hands, I blessed Him and adored Him, giving Him honor, magnificence and Divinity, as the supreme Lord and Creator of myself and of all that exists. I raised up my spirit to place it into his hands, offering myself with profound humility and resignation to Him and asking Him to dispose of me according to his will during that day and during all the days of my life, and to teach me to fulfill whatever would be to his greater pleasure. This I repeated many times during the external works of the day, and in the internal ones I first consulted his Majesty, asking his advice, permission and benediction for all my actions.

Be very devout toward my most sweet name. I wish that thou be convinced of the great prerogatives and privileges, which the Almighty concedes to it, so that I myself, when I saw them in the Divinity, felt most deeply obliged and solicitous to make a proper return; and whenever the name MARY occurred to my mind (which happened often) and whenever I heard myself called by that name, I was aroused to thankfulness and urged to new fervor in the service of the Lord, who gave it to me. Thou hast the same name and I wish, that in proportion it should cause the same effects in thee and that thou imitate me faithfully by following the lesson given thee in this chapter, without failing in the least point from this day onward. And if in thy weakness thou shouldst fail, rouse thyself immediately, and in the presence of thy Lord and mine, acknowledge thy fault, confessing it in sorrow. Repeating these holy exercises over and again with solicitous care, thou shalt find forgiveness for imperfections and grow accustomed to strive after what is highest in all virtues and most pleasing and agreeable to thy own tastes and mine, thou shalt not be denied the grace of employing thyself entirely in listening, attending to and obeying in all things thy Spouse and Lord, who seeks in thee only what is most pure, most holy and perfect, and a will prompt and eager to put the same into practice.

 


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Today's  Snippet  II:   

Book 1, Chapter 8,
The Mystical City of God, The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God

HER CHILDHOOD YEARS
The sovereign Child was treated like other children of her age. Her nourishment was of the usual kind, though less in quantity; and so was her sleep, although her parents were solicitous that She take more sleep. She was not troublesome, nor did She ever cry for mere annoyance, as is done by other children, but She was most amiable and caused no trouble to anybody. That She did not act in this regard as other children caused no wonder; for She often wept and sighed (as far as her age and her dignity of Queen and Mistress would permit) for the sins of the world and for its Redemption through the coming of the Savior. Ordinarily She maintained, even in her infancy, a pleasant countenance, yet mixed with gravity and a peculiar Majesty, never showing any childishness. She sometimes permitted Herself to be caressed, though, by a secret influence and a certain outward austerity, She knew how to repress the imperfections connected with such endearments. Her prudent mother Anne treated her Child with incomparable solicitude and caressing tenderness; also her father Joachim loved Her as a father and as a saint, although he was ignorant of the mystery at that time. The Child on its part showed a special love toward him, as one whom She knew for her father and one much beloved of God. Although She permitted more tender caresses from her father than from others, yet God inspired the father as well as all others, with such an extraordinary reverence and modesty towards Her whom He had chosen for his Mother, that even his pure and fatherly affection was outwardly manifested only with the greatest moderation and reserve.

In all things the infant Queen was most gracious, perfect and admirable. Though She passed her infancy subject to the common laws of nature, yet did this not hinder the influx of grace. During her sleep her interior acts of love, and all other exercises of her faculties which were not dependent on the exterior senses, were never interrupted. This special privilege is possible also in other creatures, if the divine power confers it on them; but it is certain that in regard to Her whom He had chosen as his Mother and the Queen of all creation, He extended this special favor beyond all previous or subsequent measure in other creatures and beyond the conception of any created mind.

The enforced silence of other children in their first years, and the slow evolution of their intellect and of their power of speech arising from natural weakness, was heroic virtue in the infant Queen. For if speech is the product of the intellect and as it were the result of its activity, and if She was in perfect possession of all her faculties since her Conception, then the fact of her not speaking as soon as She was born, did not arise from the want of ability, but because She did not wish to make use of her power. Other children are not furnished with the natural forces, which are required to open their mouth and move their tender tongue as required for speech, but in the child Mary there was no defect; for as far as her natural powers were concerned She was stronger than other children, and as She exercised sovereignty and dominion over all creation, She certainly could exercise it in regard to her own powers and faculties, if She had chosen to do so. Her not speaking therefore was virtue and great perfection, which opportunely concealed her science and grace, and evaded the astonishment naturally caused by one speaking in infancy. Besides, if it is wonderful that one should speak, who according to the natural course ought to be incapable of speech, I do not know, whether it is not more wonderful, that one, who is able to speak from her birth should be silent for one year and a half.

It was ordained therefore by the Most High, that the sovereign Child should voluntarily keep this silence during the time in which ordinarily other children are unable to speak. The only exception made was in regard to the conversation held with the angels of her guard, or when She addressed Herself in vocal prayer to the Lord. For in regard to interaction with God, the Author of speech, and with the holy angels, his messengers, when they treated in a visible manner with Her, this reason for maintaining silence did not hold good: on the contrary it was befitting, that, since there was no impediment, She should pray with her lips and her tongue; for it would not be proper to keep them unemployed for so long a time. But her mother never heard Her, nor did she know of her being able to speak during that period; and from this it can be better seen, what perfection it required in Her to pass that year and a half of her infancy in total silence. But during that time, whenever her mother freed her arms and hands, the child Mary immediately grasped the hands of her parents and kissed them with great submission and reverent humility, and in this practice She continued as long as her parents lived. She also sought to make them understand during that period of her age, that She desired their blessing, speaking more by the affection of her heart than by word of mouth. So great was her reverence for them, that never did She fail in the least point concerning the honor and obedience to them. Nor did She cause them any trouble or annoyance, since She knew beforehand all their thoughts and was anxious to fulfill them before they were made manifest.

When She reached the age of two years She began to exercise her special pity and charity toward the poor. She solicited alms for them of saint Anne, and both the kind-hearted mother readily granted her petitions, both for the sake of the poor and to satisfy the tender charity of her most holy Daughter, at the same time encouraging Her who was the Mistress of mercy and charity, to love and esteem the poor. Besides giving what She obtained expressly for distribution among the poor, She reserved part of her meals for the same purpose, in order that from her infancy it might be said of Her more truly than of Job: from my infancy compassion grew with me (Job 31, 18). She gave to the poor not as if conferring a benefit upon them, but as paying a debt due in justice, saying in her heart: this my brother and master deserves what he needs and what I possess without desert. In giving alms She kissed the hands of the poor, and whenever She was alone, She kissed their feet, or, if this was impossible, She would kiss the ground over which they passed. Never did She give an alms to the poor without conferring still greater favors on their souls by interceding for them and thus dismissing them relieved in body and soul.

Not less admirable were the humility and obedience to the most holy Child in permitting Herself to be taught to read and to do other things as other children in that time of life. She was instructed in reading and other arts by her parents and She submitted, though She had infused knowledge of all things created. The angels were filled with admiration at the unparalleled wisdom of this Child, who willingly listened to the teaching of all. Her holy mother Anne, as far as her intuition and love permitted, observed with rapture the heavenly Princess and blessed the Most High in Her. But with her love, as the time for presenting Her in the temple approached, grew also the dread of the approaching end of the three years set by the Almighty and the consciousness, that the terms of her vow must punctually be fulfilled. Therefore the child Mary began to prepare and dispose her mother, manifesting to her, six months before, her ardent desire of living in the temple. She recounted the benefits, which they had received at the hands of the Lord, how much they were obliged to seek his greater pleasure, and how, when She should be dedicated to God in the temple, She would be more her Daughter than in their own house.

The holy Anne heard the discreet arguments of her child Mary; but though She was resigned to the divine will and wished to fulfill her promise of offering up her beloved Daughter, yet the natural force of her love toward such an unequalled and beloved Treasure, joined with the full understanding of its inestimable value, caused a mortal strife in her most faithful heart at the mere thought of her departure, which was closely at hand. There is no doubt, that she would have lost her life in this fierce and vivid sorrow, if the hand of the Almighty had not comforted her: for the grace and dignity of her heavenly Daughter was fully known to her and had entirely ravished her heart, making the presence of Mary more dear to her than life. Full of this grief she said to the Child: "My beloved Daughter, for many years I have longed for Thee and only for a few years do I merit to have thy company; but thus let the will of God be fulfilled; I do not wish to be unfaithful to my promise of sending Thee to the temple, but there is yet time left for fulfilling it: have patience until the day arrives for the accomplishment of thy wishes."

A few days before most holy Mary reached the age of three years, She was favored with an abstract vision of the Divinity, in which it was made known to Her that the time of her departure for the temple ordained by God, had arrived, and that there She was to live dedicated and consecrated to his service. Her most pure soul was filled with new joy and gratitude at this prospect and speaking with the Lord, She gave Him thanks saying: "Most high God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, my eternal and highest Good, since I cannot praise Thee worthily, let it be done in the name of this humble slave by the angelic spirits; since Thou, immense Lord, who hast need of none, dost look upon this lowly wormlet of the earth in thy unbounded mercy. Whence this great benefit to me, that Thou shouldst receive me into thy house and service, since I do not even merit the most abject spot of the earth for my place of habitation? But as Thou art urged thereto by thy own greatness, I beseech Thee to inspire the hearts of my parents to fulfill thy holy will."

At the same time saint Anne had a vision, in which the Lord enjoined her to fulfill her promise by presenting her Daughter in the temple on the very day, on which the third year of her age should be complete. There is no doubt that this command caused more grief in saint Anne, than that given to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. But the Lord consoled and comforted Her, promising his grace and assistance in her loneliness during the absence of her beloved Daughter.

Saint Joachim also had a vision of the Lord at this time, receiving the same command as Anne. Having conferred with each other and taking account of the will of the Lord, they resolved to fulfill it with humble submission and appointed the day on which the Child was to be brought to the temple. Great was also the grief of this holy old man, though not quite as that of saint Anne, for the high mystery of her being the future Mother of God was yet concealed from him.



WORDS OF THE QUEEN. (The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain.)

My dearest daughter, keep in mind, that all the living are born destined for death, but ignorant of the time allowed them; this they know for certain however, that the term of life is short, that eternity is without end, and that in this life only they can harvest what will yield life or death eternal. In this dangerous pilgrimage of life God has ordained, that no one shall know for certain, whether he is worthy (Eccles. 9, 1) of his love or hate; for if he uses his reason rightly, this uncertainty will urge him to seek with all his powers the friendship of that same Lord. God justifies his cause as soon as the soul acquires the use of reason; for from that time onward He enlightens and urges and guides man toward virtue and draws him away from sin, teaching him to distinguish between water and fire, to approve of the good and reject evil, to choose virtue and repel vice. Moreover, God calls and rouses the soul by his holy inspirations and continual promptings, provides the help of the sacraments, doctrines and commandments, urges man onward through his angels, preachers, confessors, ministers and teachers, by special tribulations and favors, by the example of strangers, by trials, death and other happenings and dispositions of his Providence; He disposes the things of life so as to draw toward Him all men, for He wishes all to be saved. Thus he places at the disposal of the creature a vast field of benevolent help and assistance, which it can and should use for its own advancement. Opposing all this are the tendencies of the inferior and sensitive nature, infected with the fomes peccati, the foment of sin, tending toward sensible objects and by the lower appetites and repugnances, disturbing the reason and enthralling the will in the false liberty of ungoverned desires. The demon also, by his fascinations and his deceitful and iniquitous suggestions obscures the interior light, and hides the deathly poison beneath the pleasant exterior. But the Most High does not immediately forsake his creatures; He renews his mercy and his assistance, recalling them again and again, and if they respond to his first call, He adds others according to his equity, increasing and multiplying them in proportion as the soul corresponds. As a reward of the victory, which the soul wins over itself, the force of his passions and concupiscences is diminished, the spirit is made free to soar higher and rise above its own inclinations and above the demons.

But if man neglects to rise above his low desires and his forgetfulness, he yields to the enemy of God and man. The more he alienates himself from the goodness of God, so much the more unworthy does he become of the secret callings of the Most High, and so much less does he appreciate his assistance, though it be great. For the demon and the passions have obtained a greater dominion and power over his intellect and have made him more unfit and more incapable of the grace of the Almighty. Thereon, my dear daughter, rests the whole salvation or condemnation of souls, that is, in commencing to admit or resist the advances of the Lord. I desire thee not to forget this doctrine, so that thou mayest respond to the many calls which thou receivest of the Most High. See thou be strong in resisting his enemies and punctually solicitous in fulfilling the pleasure of thy Lord, for thereby thou wilt gratify Him and attend to the commands made known to thee by divine light. I loved my parents dearly, and the tender words of my mother wounded my heart; but as I knew it to be the will of the Lord to leave them, I forgot her house and my people in order to follow my Spouse. The proper education and instruction of children will do much toward making them more free and habituated to the practice of virtue, since thus they will be accustomed to follow the sure and safe guiding star of reason from its first dawn.


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