Precious insights into the family life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – and our families, as well

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Saint Joachim, the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Mediatrix of All Graces, knew the contempt that would be visited upon His Divine Grandson, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, sent himself into voluntary exile after he was denounced by a priest of the Old Dispensation for not producing a child after twenty years of marriage to his wife, our good Saint Anne.

He was visited by an angel, who reminded him of the fact that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, did not conceive a child until she was ninety years old, telling him that his wife, Saint Anne, would conceive a daughter named Mary, who would be the Mother of God.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne brought their daughter to the Temple when she was three years old, giving their long-awaited child back to the good God Who had given them to her so that she could be the Mother of their own Saviour, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe: Led directly to the largest mass conversion in the history of the world!

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Read the miraculous, true story of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Our Lady of Guadalupe Image: How has the 481-year-old Tilma survived so many years without decay?

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“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica,” Dr. Orozco explained,“have lasted no more than ten years.”  A painting of the image on cloth which had been protected behind glass was discarded after only eight years, because the colors had faded and the threads had broken so badly.

The Tilma, meanwhile, was displayed unprotected for 116 years, exposed to the heat of tens of thousands of candles and to the harsh, humid and salty air; yet it remains vibrant.

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December 12 is the official commemoration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Ann Barnhardt waxes theologically about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Jesus Christ, and the Assumption

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There are two phases to Mary’s existence. The first phase was from the moment of her conception until the Annunciation, which is when Jesus was conceived in her womb. The second phase was from that moment of Jesus’ conception forward for all eternity. Each phase has its own physiological delight attached to it which required Mary to be a sinless vessel for Our Lord.

First, the pre-Annunciation period. As it has been discovered just within the last few decades, all baby girls have all of the eggs that are ever going to be in their ovaries fully formed not just at birth, but fairly early in their fetal development phase. Unlike men who are continuously producing new sperm, a woman’s eggs aren’t created and formed with each menstrual cycle. All that is happening during a cycle is that an egg, which has been fully formed in a woman’s body since she was a pre-born fetus, is released into the reproductive tract. What this means theologically is that the egg containing the 23 chromosomes that God would miraculously fertilize with 23 chromosomes that He miraculously supplied (including a Y chromosome) to become the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, was physically present inside Mary’s body from the time that Mary was inside of her mother’s womb. That egg, and those chromosomes, that physical constituent of Our Blessed Lord was present inside of Mary’s body, waiting to be . . . if I may use the word . . . consecrated. The word consecrate, when broken into its Latin components means:

Con: With
Secr: Holy
Ate: Territory of a Ruler

And so, Mary was, from the time she was inside St. Anne’s womb, already carrying a portion of Our Lord’s physicality, namely 23 of His chromosomes. And thus Mary was, from her very beginning, already a proto-tabernacle, already the Ark of the New Covenant, carrying within her what would be consecrated into The Law Incarnate, The High Priest, and The Bread of Life – just like the Old Ark, except perfected and fully fulfilled as God Incarnate. And as we know from the book of Exodus, the Old Ark had to be “perfect”. And thus, the Ark of the New Covenant was TRULY perfect, except this perfection was a perfection that only God Himself could accomplish: the perfection of Mary, full of grace and thus saved from all sin, including Original Sin.

The second phase is actually broken into two sub-phases. The first sub-phase is when Mary was pregnant with Jesus and His entire body was inside of hers.

The second phase is that phase from the time of Jesus’ birth forward into all eternity. Jesus is STILL physically inside of Mary in a unique way. It was discovered just a few short years ago that immune cells pass from a pre-born child to the mother across the placenta. Not only do these immune cells, which are the child’s and thus carry the exclusive and complete DNA of the child, pass across the placenta, but they persist in the mother’s body for the rest of her life. A woman who has carried a son has immune cells with Y-chromosomes in her bloodstream that can now be filtered out of her blood and observed. Female children also pass cells to their mothers.

Thus, a woman truly does carry her children around inside of her, with their DNA coursing through her heart, for the rest of her life. That isn’t just a sentiment – it is a physiological fact.

Thus, Mary continued and continues to this day to be a perpetual, living physical tabernacle of her Son, as she carries cells with His DNA in her bloodstream. And so now we see why Mary was and had to be filled with grace and thus saved from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception eternally forward – because she was and is a perpetual Ark of the New Covenant.

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Editor’s note: This is good stuff!

Short, related slide show

Catholic Online Launches Virtual Pilgrimage Site Dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God

Visit the site

This Week’s Ask Alice: More questions about the Blessed Virgin Mary



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Denise writes: We are doing the study of Rediscover Catholicism, by Mathew Kelly. We are discussing evangelizing. My question is, how do you explain praying to Mary, based on the Bible? My sister says we pray to her as an inter mediator to Jesus, as we would pray with a friend. My question to her was, I would not sit you down put candles in front of you, get on my knees, and pray to you. That is a sin. I can not get an answer as to who appeared to whom and on what date in history did this happen to tell us it was OK to pray to any one or thing other than the Trinity. Most of the people we mentor to are former Catholics who can not get an answer to these questions from any one. I can not seem to get an answer. Please answer this for me. (Question edited for length and editorial content.)

Alice answers: Our son, Matthew, owns an auto shop. He is an excellent, honest mechanic. My kind-hearted son often fixes cars for people in need and accepts whatever they can pay. Always, he’ll stop along the highway to assist a stranger with car trouble. With his charitable attitude, Matt is not a rich man. However, Matthew never has spent money advertising his services in the newspaper. His business has spread entirely by word of mouth.

Matthew began carrying screw drivers and wrenches to Our Lady of Peace to repair classroom desks for Mrs. Didio, his 3rd grade teacher. By age 12, strangers were knocking at our front door asking for the boy who repairs lawnmowers. As Matthew’s mom, people often approach me seeking car care from my beloved son. Frequently our phone rings as strangers request the number to Matt’s auto shop. Last week a lady ran up to me at church and exclaimed, “You have the most wonderful son! He fixes our cars all the time.” She told me that Marge, a parishioner, sent her to Matthew.

When the wine ran out during the wedding feast at Cana, waiters approached Mother Mary, who led them to her beloved Son, Jesus. If people come to me seeking Matthew, what better way is there to contact Jesus then through His and our own Dearest Mother Mary?

Have you ever brought your mother roses to honor her on YOUR birthday for giving you the gift of life? Did you ever light a scented candle when she came to visit you? Mary is our mother in faith. Like our earthly mothers, we love and honor our Heavenly Mother as well. As Catholics we believe that Mary intercedes (prays, implores, and pleads) to Jesus for us.

Our Scriptural basis for praying to Mary is found in (Luke 1:46-49):

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

Mary magnifies, i.e., enlarges, increases, and clarifies the greatness of the Lord. When we pray to Mary, she points upward and leads us to her son, Jesus.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: For a short but detailed overview of the how’s and why’s of Catholic Marian beliefs and practices, I suggest you read pages 107 to 117 of my on-line book, The Passion Behind the Passion. Click here to go there

If you click here you will also find a short, illustrated slide show that further explains these things.

The “bottom line” about the Blessed Virgin Mary is her “divine election” as the sinless Mother of God, the holy “Ark” who bore Jesus in her womb … the “New Eve” … who voluntarily gave her entire body and soul to God, with absolutely no reservations … for the purpose of our salvation, in Jesus Christ.

Because Mary was uniquely conceived “full of grace” according to God’s own plan, only Mary was suitable to be the Mother of God.

If that single fact is not enough to merit our respect and reverence for her, than we look further into Jewish tradition and find that the mother of the king of Israel was always tasked with being a special advocate for the people.

Unlike most other cultures, in Israel, the mother of the king is the queen. And since the traditions of the nation of Israel, under kings David and Solomon were intended to be precursors of future things, we find the angel Gabriel (in Luke 1:28) explaining all of this to Mary.

According to the Bible, Mary is/will be:

Hailed by an angel:

Has an angel …ever … before or since … ever “hailed” (greeted with praise and honor) anyone other than God himself?

Full of grace:

No one since Adam was created or conceived in a state of perfect grace.

Adam foolishly squandered his grace, falling into sin and death, through Satan’s whiles.

Mary never failed. Never sinned. She always remained holy and acceptable to God, dedicated solely and eternally to him. Her perpetual virginity is one sign of that dedication.

Mary’s awesome, God given combination of perfect humility and perfect holiness made Satan absolutely powerless against her.

Blessed among women:

Mary was singled out by God to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, to be the Queen of Heaven, and to be superior to all of God’s other creation … according to God’s supernatural grace and plan.

Because of her “election” (by God himself) and her voluntary cooperation, Mary has already been supernaturally perfected in all things. (Since she carried God in her womb for nine months and lived in the same house with him for thirty years, why should that be a surprise to anyone?)

As the mother of Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mary was destined to be seated at the right hand of her divine Son, interceding for us … not as a normal human being … but as the triumphant, sinless, supernaturally perfected, awesomely powerful advocate that she now is … courtesy of her divine son, who loves us.

Because of this, Mary already presently enjoys all that we Christians can possibly hope for in Christ. Hence, she is the ONLY non-divine, supernaturally perfect human role model for every faithful Christian, according to God’s grace.

And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end:

All of these things are permanent, eternal, and preordained by God from before the foundations of the world.

Mary is firmly in the “middle” of God’s plan for our salvation … providing her own flesh and blood in order to make Jesus’ human body … from whom our salvation comes.

Mary is at once, Jesus’ first, best, and most constant disciple. One who closely cooperates with God in all these ways truly merits the term “co-redemptrix”.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee:

The Spirit of God hovered above the holy Ark of old, and no one dared touch it, upon pain of death. Inside the Ark were the tablets of the Law, which unfortunately, were never able to save a single soul! Mary uniquely cooperated with God’s plan in order to bring Christ into the world. Doing so, she became the Ark of the New Covenant.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, true God and true man, dwelled within the Blessed Virgin Mary’s holy womb, sanctifying her by his awesome presence and his grace. Those who touched her received him. And those who received Jesus received eternal life.

Which Ark then, is holier? Which is more critical to God’s plan for our salvation? Which Ark held within it the promise of divine redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life?

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word:

Mary’s “fiat” (yes) still resounds throughout human history. Never before or since did God ever wait for someone to say “yes” so he could save the world from their sins.

“Everything” was “riding” on the personal decision of that young Jewish maiden, who always did precisely what God had created her to do, without fail.

Luke 2:6-11  And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.  And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

Can anyone else, from any generation … past, present, or future … honestly claim to have done the same?

The scriptures also provide other insights into the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Faithful disciple of Jesus Christ:

John 2:5  His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he (Jesus) shall say to you, do ye.

John 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

Acts 2:1-3  And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them.

Mary Assumed into Heaven by the power of God:

(Revelation 11:19)  And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven: and the Ark of his Testament was seen in his Temple. And there were lightnings and voices and an earthquake and great hail.

Crowned as Queen of Heaven:

(Revelation 12:1)  And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Mother of God. Mother of the Church:

(Revelation 12:2-5)  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in pain to be delivered.  And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.

Of all these things, Saint Luke explains:

Luke 1:1-4 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us, According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word:

It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.

In short, St. Luke gives personal testimony to the truth of all that he recorded in his Gospel. And while the Holy Spirit is rightly credited with inspiring all of the sacred scriptures, we can be sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary described the blessed events of the Annunciation, Christmas, and all the others … to him … for the Blessed Virgin Mary was most certainly the primary eye-witness to every major New Testament event … even more so than the apostles. The Bible confirms this.

The more a person studies these things (and prays on them) the more a person comes to understand the mind of the church, the mind of God, and the unique and awesome role that God envisioned for the Blessed Virgin Mary (and for us all).

And since Jesus Christ, who is God, rightly honors his mother in ways that mere mortals can only imagine… who are we to do any less? (Always remembering that worship is reserved to God, alone.)

For much more on this, I suggest you study the extensive material to be found at this site. (click here)

I hope this helps. Please write again.

God bless you,

Doug

  Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary

The circumstances of the Dormition of the Mother of God were known in the Orthodox Church from apostolic times.

Already in the first century, the Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite wrote about Her “Falling-Asleep.” In the second century, the account of the bodily ascent of the Most Holy Virgin Mary to Heaven is found in the works of Meliton, Bishop of Sardis. In the fourth century, St Epiphanius of Cyprus refers to the tradition about the “Falling Asleep” of the Mother of God. In the fifth century, St Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, told the holy Byzantine Empress Pulcheria: “Although there is no account of the circumstances of Her death in Holy Scripture, we know about them from the most ancient and credible Tradition.” This tradition was gathered and expounded in the Church History of Nicephorus Callistus during the fourteenth century.

At the time of Her blessed Falling Asleep, the Most Holy Virgin Mary was again at Jerusalem. Her fame as the Mother of God had already spread throughout the land and had aroused many of the envious and the spiteful against Her. They wanted to make attempts on Her life; but God preserved Her from enemies.

Day and night She spent her time in prayer. The Most Holy Theotokos went often to the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord, and here She offered up fevent prayer. More than once, enemies of the Savior sought to hinder Her from visiting her holy place, and they asked the High Priest for a guard to watch over the Grave of the Lord. The Holy Virgin continued to pray right in front of them, yet unseen by anyone.

In one such visit to Golgotha, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Her and announced Her approaching departure from this life to eternal life. In pledge of this, the Archangel gave Her a palm branch. With these heavenly tidings the Mother of God returned to Bethlehem with the three girls attending Her (Sepphora, Abigail, and Jael). She summoned Righteous Joseph of Arimathea and other disciples of the Lord, and told them of Her impending Repose.

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