Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Gaudate Sunday!…3rd Sunday of Advent

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 17, 2017

Gaudate Sunday! Rejoice!!! The Infant King is almost here!!!

This is a continuation from last week’s post

Special Note: You’ll want your Bible present to look up passages.  If you have anything other than RSV, NAB, KJV, or NIV,  then your translation might lead you astray.  The newest translations are very loose with little holding to the original Latin text. And if you’re Catholic, I recommend the RSV, it’s the closest to the Latin text next to the Vulgate.

You’ll find Scripture colored maroon, the Catechism colored in deep green, my comments left plain, and the traditional writing done in various shades of blue and purple; and as always, emphasis has been added when appropriate.

Please take a moment to read the INTRODUCTION before you begin this Advent reflection.

Gaudate (Rejoice) Sunday!  : Part III: Mary’s service in the temple and espousal to Joseph

“Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord…”

TRADITION:

During the days that followed, [Mary] willingly set learning all her new duties. Unlike the other girls, she asked her teachers to be allowed to serve them all and to scrub the rooms and wash the dishes. Often she did her own work so quickly and efficiently that she was able to help the others in theirs. To each of her companions she was always sincerely kind, friendly, and humble…

The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. ~Prov 22:4

Thus through the years she grew in wisdom and grace and infused mystical knowledge. Even as a child she had a remarkably advanced understanding of the Scriptures, and she loved to spend hours studying and meditating on them, especially on their inspired prophecies of the coming of the Redeemer of mankind in human form…

…to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ~ Col 2: 2-3

Soon afterward, the Lord in His wisdom decided to train her further in the science of suffering. He suspended all visions and similar graces, and ordered all her angels to conceal themselves from her. Feeling utterly forsaken in this sudden and “dark night,” in her humility Mary began to fear that it was due to her unworthiness and ingratitude for such precious graces…

I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to thy servant,…
~Gen 32:10a (echoing Jacob’s words)

During these various tests, Mary never stopped praying to the Lord for help, and though she suffered from the strain and at times she wept, nevertheless without once losing union with God she successfully fought and conquered all these temptations…

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church. ~Col 1:24

In other words, Mary participated with the sufferings that would be her Son’s, joining herself to the redemptive graces of her Son just as Paul would do long after Christ’s ascension into heaven.  At the same time, we can say in all honesty, Mary’s Son followed in her footsteps as He went through the 40 days in the desert and then the complete abandonment in the garden at GethsemaneWhat did Jesus do, what were His responses? Did He react in the similar way that Mary did?  If so, wouldn’t that suggest His mother’s instruction in prayer was definite?

Read for yourself!  I think if anything can be said about God Almighty, He is CONSISTENT.  All throughout salvation history He repeatedly gives us examples of what is to come and how to respond BEST to what lies ahead.

It is important to mention that during her years of service in the Temple the death of her good parents, Anne and Joachim, occurred.  Both times Mary was allowed to bring comfort to her parents mystically.  St. Joachim’s death, pp57-58; St. Anne’s death, pp61-62.

In that movie, mentioned on the first posting, her parents are portrayed as still alive thus proving, once again, that you cannot ignore tradition for the sake of telling the story, especially  from a mistaken point of view. To do so is to miss the full story of salvation history.  But I digress…let us continue with the rest of the story… 🙂

“My dove, let not thy heart be sad or disturbed…
I will choose a man perfect and, according to My heart.”

THE ESPOUSAL TO JOSEPH

TRADITION:

When Mary reached the age of thirteen and a half, having grown considerably for her age, Almighty God in a vision commanded her to enter the state of matrimony.

Because of her intense love of chastity and her early vow of perpetual virginity, which she had often renewed, this divine order meant to her a sacrifice as painful as that of Abraham when God commanded him to offer up his son’s life (Gen 22:1-14).  When Mary heard this unexpected decree, she was astonished and became greatly afflicted. Nevertheless she prudently suspended her own judgment and preserved her faith and hope more perfectly than Abraham

Thus Mary in her great trial, though she felt some human uneasiness and sadness, obediently resigned herself entirely to the Will of God. And the Lord answered her:

“Mary, let not thy heart be disturbed, for thy resignation is acceptable to Me.  And by My disposition, that will happen which is best for thee.”

Only, let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him… Everyone should remain in the state in which he was called…So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God.
~1 Cor 7: 17a, 20, 24

CATECHISM

In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father’s loving goodness. Through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power [AND] her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful, (cf. Lk 1: 26-38; Rom 4: 18-21; Gal 4: 26-28).

~CCC§723

The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by His grace. It was fitting that the mother of Him in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (cf. Col 2:9), should herself be “full of grace.”

She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the “Daughter of Zion”: “Rejoice,” (cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14). 

It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle, (cf. Lk 1: 46-55), lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the Eternal Son.

~CCC§722

TRADITION:

Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.“Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” Lk 2:30

Meanwhile the Lord spoke in sleep to the High Priest, who happened to be St. Simeon, and commanded him to arrange the marriage of Mary, whom He regarded with special love, to whomever it seemed right to the council of priests. After consulting together, the priests appointed a day on which all the bachelors of the line of David, which was also Mary’s, were to assemble in the Temple.

Nine days before that date, Simeon called in Mary and gently explained to her that as she was an orphan and a firstborn daughter with an inheritance, now near the age the young girls had to leave the service of the Temple and marry, the priests were planning to find her a worthy husband.

During the nine days that followed, Mary continually prayed to God with many tears and sighs for that which she had so much at heart.

And once the Lord appeared and said: “My dove, let not thy heart be sad or disturbed. I will guide the priests by My light, and I will give thee a husband selected by Myself, and one who will not hinder thy holy desires. I will choose a man perfect and according to My heart.”

CATECHISM

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time.

For the first time in the plan of salvation, and because His Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men.

In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary, (cf. Prov 8: 1-9; Sirach 24). Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.” In her, the “wonders of God” that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested…

~CCC§721

TRADITION:

Then, as God intended, while left between uncertainty and hope, Mary gave herself over to fervent prayer an acts of love, faith, humility, obedience, and chastity.

CATECHISM

Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faithunadulterated by any doubt“, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will, (cf. 1Cor 7: 34-35). It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” (St. Augustine)

~CCC§506

“…whose name was Joseph,
of the house of David…” Lk 1:27b

TRADITION:

This good man whom God found worthy of becoming Mary’s husband and the foster father of the Word Incarnate, …was at this time a humble, unmarried carpenter who worked for a in a small town in Galilee, [and was named Joseph].

Joseph was born near Bethlehem, the third of six brothers. … From his third year, thanks to unusual graces, he began to know God by faith. With surprising understanding he eagerly learned all that was taught to him about religion and already practiced advanced forms of prayer. At the age of seven he attained the perfect use of reason and a high degree of holiness. He was a quiet, likable, and humble boy.

“Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. ~Lv 19:2b

…when he was about twenty, Joseph left home and went off to earn his living in the country north of Jerusalem. For some time he worked as assistant to a poor carpenter in a small town near Mount Gerizim…He spent much time fervently asking God for the coming of the Messiah,…[and] led a very retiring life…consistently avoid[ing] the society of women… [because from] the age of twelve he had made and perfectly kept a vow of chastity,…

Also mirroring the life of his future spouse, Mary.  For we read that in her quiet hours in the Temple, Mary prayed for the coming of the messiah as did many in Israel.  Did we not hear Simeon’s own words in Luke’s Gospel account – Lord, now let Your servant go in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation…” (cf Lk 2:29).

CATECHISM

Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living, (cf. Gen 3:15, 20).

By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age, (cf. Gen 18: 10-14; 21: 1-2). Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth His faithfulness to His promises:

Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women, (cf. 1Cor 1:17; 1Sam 1), Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him.

After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of [Z]ion, and the new plan of salvation is established.”

~CCC§489

Soon afterward, he heard that as an unmarried descendant of King David, he was to go to the Temple in Jerusalem, with his best clothes. He was at this time thirty-three years old, a handsome, modest, and serious with pleasing, honest features.

Not 45 or 65 and balding, as many artists in sacred art have portrayed dear Joseph… when I was 33 yrs old, I often reflected on my own appearance and pronounced, I do not look old!  Joseph was NOT old, but he WAS OLDER THAN Mary.  A custom not uncommon for Jewish life at that time.

It was on Mary’s fourteenth birthday that the young men gathered in the Temple dressed in their feast-day robes. After the High Priest had presented Mary to them and explained the purpose of the meeting, she returned to her cell and wept, while he gave to each youth a dry branch announced that they were all to pray that the Lord single out the one whom He had chosen as Mary’s spouse.  

Although ,the humble carpenter Joseph had a deeper veneration for her than any of the others, he alone considered himself unworthy of such a blessing, and remembering his vow of chastity, he inwardly renewed it and resigned himself entirely to the Will of God.

After a number of prayers had been recited, each suitor came forward and placed his branch on an altar facing the Holy of Holies. When Joseph, the last in line, was about to his branch all of a sudden blossomed into a white lily-like flower, and at the same time a dove of the purest and most dazzling white was seen to descend and rest on his head for a moment, during which God said in his heart:

“Joseph, My servant, Mary shall be thy spouse. Receive her with all care and respect, for she is pleasing in My sight. She is just and pure in mind and body. And thou shall perform all that she shall [asks].”

“My dove, let not thy heart be sad or disturbed…
I will choose a man perfect and, according to My heart.”

Thereupon the priests announced that Joseph was the husband selected for Mary by the Lord Himself, and sent for her… When Mary appeared, calm and beautiful and humbly resigned to God’s Will, the priests introduced her to Joseph and proceeded solemnly to betroth the holy couple.  Then according to the Jewish custom, the two parted until the wedding.

After the wedding, Mary sadly took leave of the priest her teachers and companions, thanking them all for their kindness to her during her years among them. And then, offering up her own wish to remain in the Lord’s House all her life, with keen grief, she left the Temple, and in the company of St. Joseph and some attendants sent by the priests, she set out, with perfect resignation and trust in God for the new life to which He was leading her in Nazareth.

CATECHISM REPEAT:

“God sent forth His Son,” but to prepare a body for Him, He wanted the free cooperation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of His Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (cf. Lk 1: 26-27).

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.

~CCC§488

Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because He is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven,” (cf. 1Cor 15: 45,47). From His conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives Him the Spirit without measure,” (cf. Jn 3:34). From “His fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace,” (cf. Jn 1:16; Col 1:18).

~CCC§504

Many have, and still do, argued that they cannot understand the reason we proclaim the virgin birth of Christ.  But the Catechism of the Catholic Church is so clear in reason, that I offer it here:

Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation.

Jesus has only God as Father.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. ~Phil 2: 5-8

He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which He assumed . . . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to His divinity and naturally son of His mother as to His humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures,” (cf. Lk 2: 48-49).

~CCC§503

GOD BECAME MAN.  Jesus IS GOD, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  He never had to “count equality” or “grasp” the concept of God – HE IS GOD.  He EMPTIED Himself of His Godhead and BECAME MAN, yet MAINTAINED His DIVINITY being thus BOTH GOD AND MAN (both/and – Good Theology), having His Godhead from the Father “begotten and not made, one in consubstantial with the Father” (Nicene Creed said at Mass), and His humanity from His mother, Mary: “For us men and our salvation, He came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” (ibid)

But again, NONE OF THIS would have been possible if Mary did not say YES when the Angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation.  A topic we will delve into next week!

IN CLOSING:

THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN:

“As soon as I understood that there was a God, I was always solicitous and fearful for my salvation. And when I heard more fully that God was also my Creator and Judge of all my actions, I loved Him intensely, and every hour I feared and pondered lest I should offend Him in word or deed…”

AND TO ST. ELIZABETH OF SCHOENAU:

“The Lord did with me what a musician does with his harp.  The musician sets and tunes all the strings so that they give a sweet and harmonious melody, and then he sings playing on it. Thus God brought into harmony with His Will my soul and heart and mind and all the senses and of my body.”

Prayer: Deut 32: 1-6

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Ascribe greatness to our God!

“The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He.

Yet basely has He been treated by His degenerate children, a perverse and crooked race! 

Do you thus requite the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not He your Father, who created you, who made you and established you?

O Blessed Mother, by your prayer and example, help us wayward people to return to the LORD as you have given us the path to salvation – that is your Son, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  As you made yourself available to the Will of the Father, so too do we desire His perfection.  Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!

In His precious name, Jesus Christ, we humbly pray, AMEN!

Recommended Reading:

As Seen Through the Eyes of Mary: Complete Advent Reflections

All the links you may have skipped in the above post:
Joseph

St. Simeon
Holy of Holies
Garden at Gethsemane
40 Days in the Desert
Introduction

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And so I continue…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 12, 2017

 

Sacred Scripture

(All emphasis added by moi)


Those who TRUST in HIM understand TRUTH,
and the faithful will abide with Him in LOVE
because GRACE and MERCY are upon His elect,
and He watches over His holy ones. ~Wisdom 3:9

Let us then, with full confidence, draw near to the throne of GRACE,
that we may receive MERCY
and find GRACE to HELP in time of need. ~Hebrews 4:16

See to it that no one fail to obtain the GRACE OF GOD,
that no root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble,
and by it the many more become defiled. ~Hebrews 12:15

* For GRACE sanctifies and makes one Holy = always seeking the Will and greater pleasure of God. (1Cor 1:2)

* Justification comes by way of FAITH (Rom 5:1), and we have PEACE with God through Jesus Christ (Phil 4:7).

*All which comes by Jesus and we then REJOICE in the hope of sharing in the GLORY of GOD! (Phil 4:4-5)

All this, of course, echoes Our Lady’s words from her May 25th Message, when she said:

Little Children, open your hearts to the GRACE to which you are called.

GOD gives GRACE to the HUMBLE ~James 4:66

And those who are humble will:

Submit…to GOD. RESIST the devil and he will flee
Draw near to GOD and HE WILL draw near to you (see Rev 3:20)
Humble yourselves before the LORD
and He WILL exalt you. ~James 4:7-8a, 10

Therefore, gird up your minds, be sober,
set your HOPE FULLY upon the GRACE that IS coming to YOU
and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And… as each [of you] has received a GIFT, EMPLOY it for one another
(read the parable of the talents in Mt 25:14-30),
as good stewards of GOD’s varied GRACE. ~ 1 Peter 1:13; 4:10

A profound moment…

And once again, mom’s call continues with the call confirmed by the above passages when she says:

Dear children, be prayer and a reflection of GOD’s LOVE for all those who are far from [Him] and [His] commandments. Little children, be faithful and determined in conversion and WORK ON YOURSELVES…

(Therefore, my beloved… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for GOD is at work in you, both to WILL and to work for HIS GOOD pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of GOD without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. ~Phil 2:12,13-15)

…so that, for YOU, holiness of life may be TRUTH. And ENCOURAGE each other through PRAYER, so that your life on earth will be more pleasant.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Ponder on the above, especially if YOU have felt yourself called to more prayer; whether that be an extra Rosary, or maybe beginning to pray a daily Rosary. Or perhaps taking 10 minutes at 3pm to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Or maybe you already do these things but now you’re wanting to take extra time to just sit quietly with our LORD and listen to what He wants to tell you ~Ps 46:10

More will I write. But take some time to discern for yourself if maybe GOD is calling YOU through His Mother in a more profound way?

Today I desire to thank you for your perseverance and call you to open yourselves to profound prayer. Prayer, little children, is the HEART of FAITH and is HOPE in eternal life… ~June 25, 2017, Monthly Message in part, emphasis added by me.

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