Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for December, 2014

The Infant King is HERE!!!

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 25, 2014

"And this will be a sign for you..."

“And this will be a sign for you…”

First Posted: 12/25/2011Updated: 12/25/2014

To watch the video, move your cursor to 0:42 seconds and press play.

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Come all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest... Mt 11:28

Come all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… Mt 11:28

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, with the Tradition parts in various shades of blue and purple, while my comments are left plain; and as always, emphasis has been added when appropriate.  In this post, we have dialog of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph italicized along with St. Elizabeth who appears at the moment of the Visitation, closing with the Archangel Gabriel visiting the shepherds in the field.

Before you begin this reflection, please take a moment to read the INTRODUCTION .

Even before Mary held the WORD of God in her arms for the shepherds to adore, she brought Jesus to those who needed Him most that they might know how much God LOVES them.  In particular, the forerunner of the Messiah, the “voice crying out in the wilderness”, that is John the Baptist.

CATECHISM

Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her Son, as “the mother of my Lord,” (cf. Lk 1:43; Jn2:1; 19:25; Mt 13:55). In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos). ~CCC§495

TRADITION

Three days after the Annunciation the Lord revealed to Mary in a vision that the son whom her cousin Elizabeth had already conceived was destined to be a great prophet and forerunner of the Messiah, and that it was God’s Will that Mary should visit her in order that both mother and child might be sanctified by the presence of their Redeemer.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. ~Lk 1: 39-40

CATECHISM

 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John,” (cf. Jn 1:16).  John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” (cf. Lk 1:15, 41), by Christ Himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to His people, (cf. Lk 1:68). ~CCC§717

[Mary] then asked St. Joseph for his permission. He still knew nothing about the Annunciation, and now Mary told him only that the Lord had informed her that Elizabeth was with child, and that she felt obliged visit her. Joseph willingly agreed to her plans,…

Many times during this tiring four days’ journey Mary dismounted and urged Joseph to ride, but he never accepted her offer, though now and then he did allow her to walk with him…at other times she spoke with Joseph about the coming of the Redeemer. To his profound wonderment and joy, her words filled him with an entirely new understanding and love for God…

CATECHISM

The People of the “poor” (cf. Zeph 2:3; Ps 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1), – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord,” (cf Lk 1:17). ~CCC§716

How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

At last the holy couple reached the little village of AinKarem in the Judean hills five miles west of Jerusalem.  As they approached the house of Zacharias…St. Joseph hastened ahead in order to announce their visit…Elizabeth immediately came out to welcome her cousin,…saying:

“The Lord be with you, my dearest cousin.”

Mary said in a most friendly way:

“My God save you, my dearest cousin, and may His Divine Light give you grace and life!”

At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, which revealed to her the Mystery of the Incarnation, the unique dignity of Mary, and her own son’s sanctification…

CATECHISM

John is “Elijah [who] must come,” (cf. Mt 17: 10-13; Lk 1:78). The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of “[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord,” (cf. Lk 1:17).

~CCC§718

Rapt in joy she looked reverently at the Holy Mother of God – then, stepping back a little and lifting her hands, she exclaimed with an expression of deep humility, happiness, and inspiration:

“Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb lept for joy! And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished.”

  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry,

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” ~Luke 1: 41-45

Crossing her hands on her breast, Mary intoned in the sweetest and softest voice:

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit [has] rejoiced in God my Savior. Because He [has] regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed...”

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed…”
~Lk 1:46-48

Three days later, St. Joseph returned to his work in Nazareth, as Mary planned to spend three months with her cousin.

And Mary remained with her about three months,.. ~Luke 1:56a

During this time, in addition to all her usual prayers, the Blessed Virgin busied herself by sewing and preparing the swaddling clothes for her cousin’s baby. And whenever she could, despite Elizabeth’s protests, Mary swept the house and her own room, and washed the dishes with servants…

Think of this: Mary’s Son would follow in His mother’s example in His public ministry AND even tell His disciples WHY:

“For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
~Mk 10:45

Mary left after John was circumcised and returned to Nazareth where she continued in her daily routine whilst the child in her womb continued to develop and grow.  I highly recommend taking a moment to read about the trials both she and Joseph endured during this time, before the edict came from Jerusalem…

A decree went out from Caesar Augustus…

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. ~Lk 2: 1-5

TRADITION

[Then] one day St. Joseph, while away from home on errand, heard that a recently proclaimed Roman edict ordered all heads of families in Palestine to be registered on the tax lists in their native cities.

When he sadly told Mary this disturbing news, she answered reassuringly:

“Do not let this edict cause you any concern, for all that happens to us is ordained by the Lord, and in all events His providence will assist and direct us.”

Mary obediently presented St. Joseph’s petitions to God…and she received the following answer in prayer:

“My dearest dove, accompany My servant Joseph on the journey. I shall be with you and I shall assist you with paternal love in the tribulations you will suffer for My sake.  Although they will be very great, do not fear.”

Her heart being thus prepared for what lay ahead, calmly told St. Joseph that she was going to travel with him.  

He was filled with joyful consolation, and thanking the Lord, he said to her:

“My Lady, now my only source of grief will be the hardships you will have to undergo. But in Bethlehem we find friends and relatives, and there you will be able rest from the journey.”

Mary…always kept to herself all the secrets of God which she was not told to reveal. Instead she now said to her good husband, quietly and humbly:

My master, I will accompany you with great joy. And we will make this journey as poor people, in the name of the Lord, for He will not despise poverty, which He has come to seek with so much love. Relying on His help, we will go with confidence to Bethlehem.”

They set out for Bethlehem, the town of David…

At six o’clock on a cold, wet, mid-winter morning, the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph set out from Nazareth on their journey to Bethlehem.

CATHECISM

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

They arrived at Bethlehem about four in the afternoon and made their way through the crowds to a large building where public officials were taking the census and levying taxes.  Mary rested in the court, and several women generously gave her something to eat.  St. Joseph went into a big tent where he was asked his name and occupation…

Later, as the sun was sinking, they began to look for lodging. While Mary waited at the end of a street, Joseph went down it from house to house, knocking at the doors of his relatives and acquaintances, but he was admitted nowhere, and in many places he met with harsh refusals and insults. 

Mary…knew that the hearts and houses of men were to be closed to them…

At one end of the village they found a big tree, and under the shelter of its spreading branches Mary waited and rested for a long time…

Finally, about nine o’clock, St. Joseph came back, utterly overcome, crying and trembling with heartbreaking sorrow.  Mary consoled him tenderly. Then he told her of a shepherd’s shelter outside the town.

And she said:

“That will be perfectly satisfactory to me. Let us lovingly embrace poverty, dear Joseph, and go gladly wherever the Lord guides us.”

And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. ~Lk 2: 6-7

Blessed are the poor…the kingdom of God is theirs…

Upon entering the bare grotto which the shepherds use as a stable, they both knelt and thanked the Lord, and Mary was filled with joy at being at last in this holy place.  She immediately set about cleaning the cave with her own hands…St. Joseph…[did] likewise, and the angels helped them…they ate a frugal supper, their hearts overflowing with happiness at the thought of the impending Incarnation.

CATECHISM

Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,” (cf. 1Jn 4:2). Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings “the mystery of our religion”: “He was manifested in the flesh,” (cf. 1Tim 3:16). ~CCC§463

Reciting some prayers together with Mary, St. Joseph filled the manger with straw and moss and placed a cloth over it. Then he withdrew to the entrance of the cave. Looking back, he saw the holy Mother of God praying on her knees, surrounded by flames of dazzling supernatural light. Filled with reverent fear, he threw himself down on the ground and was soon rapt in an ecstatic sleep.

Mary was kneeling, with her eyes raised to heaven and… Her countenance emitted rays like the sun incarnadined, and shone in indescribable earnestness and majesty, all inflamed with the Light of God… Toward midnight a channel of brilliant light came down from the highest heaven and terminated in sparkling fire at the Blessed Virgin.  In it was an extraordinary movement of celestial glories which took on the forms of choirs of angels.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the infant God was born, glorious and transfigured as on Mount ThaborThere the God-Man lay, naked, utterly clean and pure…from Him radiated such marvelous light and splendor that the sun could not be compared to it.

The angels could be heard gently singing canticles of wonderful sweetness… When the holy Mother of God perceived that she been delivered – for her child came forth without pain or injury to her

CATECHISM

The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin.” CCC§499

REMEMBER – God IS CONSISTENT and does not break His own promises to His creatures.  He wanted Mary to remain pure, He made Mary pure, and He kept Mary pure and untouched by even childbirth.  Why?  Because HE CAN! Remember – all things are possible with God! (cf Lk 1:37)

Welcome my God and my Son!

…she immediately bowed her head, placed a cloth over His tiny body, and adored Him with the respect and reverence, saying:

“Welcome, my God, and my Lord, and my Son!”

Then the divine Child suspended the effects of His figuration and assumed the appearance of one capable of suffering.

CATECHISM REVIEW

Taking up St. John ‘s expression, “The Word became flesh,” (cf. Jn1:14), the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:

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, (cf. Phil 2:5-8).

~CCC§461

The Babe now moved, shivered with cold, and stretching forth His little arms, cried out… Bending down, Mary tenderly clasped Him…with great joy and warmed Him against her cheek…while thousands of angels knelt and adored their incarnate Creator.

Nearly an hour after the birth, Mary called to St. Joseph. Awakening…he perceived his Savior in her arms and at once prostrated himself …[in] deepest devotion and humility. Only at [Mary’s] bidding did he rise… [and] with touching joy and gratitude he kissed the Babe’s feet, and [then] held the little Jesus in his arms…while tears of happiness moistened his cheeks.

they laid Him in the manger…

Then…Mary laid her Son in her lap, and while St. Joseph handed her the linens, she carefully and lovingly began to wrap the divine Child in swaddling clothes, drawing them tight on His small body.  Next she and Joseph gently placed the Infant in the manger…

And she gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger… ~Lk 2:7b

[Then] St. Joseph took some blankets and made a resting place for Mary beside the manger.

God has come to earth…the Savior is born!  Now, who should hear the GOOD NEWS?  How about those of simple hearts and minds who will appreciate the Incarnation for what HE IS, and would faithfully tell that good news to others?  Thus the LORD God decided to tell…

…of all the human race those who merited to be the first to see the Christ Child were the poor, humble, and devout shepherds of Bethlehem…

CATECHISM

To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (cf. Lk 2:11).

From the beginning he was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world,” conceived as “holy” in Mary’s virginal womb, (cf. Jn 10:36; Lk 1:35). God called Joseph to “take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit,” so that Jesus, “who is called Christ,” should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David, (cf. Mt 1:20; 1:16; Rom 1:1; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16).

~CCC§437

There were shepherds in the field…

During this holy night, three of their leaders, while watching over their flocks in the fields…

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
~Luke 2:8

…and the glory of the Lord shone around them…

…[they] noticed with amazement a strange, luminous cloud hovering above the hill in which the cave and manger were located. And as they were staring…a bright light came toward them, bathing them in its celestial radiance…within the light they perceived the splendid Archangel Gabriel in human form…these simple men were with intense fear, until Gabriel said to them…

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. For there has been born to you today, in the town of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  ~Lk 2:9-12

 While he was speaking, the radiance around him became still brighter, revealing seven other great angels of extraordinary beauty, and then a whole multitude of the heavenly host, all praising God and chanting in sweet harmony, to a joyful melody:

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace to Men of Good Will!”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!” ~Lk 2:13-14

And these good men said to one eagerly:

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Lk 2:15

Only toward dawn did they find the grotto-stable and knock timidly at its entrance. St. Joseph… opened the door and welcomed them. They told him what the angels had announced to them during the night, and they said that they had come to offer their gifts and veneration to the divine Child.

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  ~Lk 2:16-18

Then [Joseph] led the shepherds into the grotto, where the Blessed Mother of God was sitting on the ground beside the crib in which the beautiful Babe of Bethlehem was lying. 

Be not afraid, I bring you tidings of great joy!

Be not afraid, I bring you tidings of great joy!

And as they gazed down at the tiny Jesus, He looked at them, and from His radiant little face and eyes a current of divine love streamed forth and touched the hearts of those poor but fortunate men… renewing them…with a new grace and understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation…

Still holding their shepherd’s staffs in their hands, they very humbly knelt down before the Infant Jesus…[and] weeping tears of joy…they adored their God…[and] they began to sing together the words and melody which the angel had taught them.

CATECHISM

The Father’s only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is “Christ,” that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of His human existence, though the  manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples, (cf. Mt 1:20; 2: 1-12; Lk 1:3-5; 2: 8-20; Jn 1: 31-34; 2:11).

Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power,” (cf. Acts 10:38).

~CCC§486

Meanwhile…the Mother of God modestly observed all that they did and felt… And when they had finished singing…she spoke to them, urging them to persevere in the love and service of the Lord.  They stayed in the cave from dawn until noon…each of them in turn [were allowed] to hold the divine Babe for a moment…

Then they left, filled with heavenly consolation and understanding, “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen…”

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. ~Lk 2:20

“But Mary kept in mind all these words, pondering them in her heart.”

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. ~Lk 2:19

CATECHISM

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role,” The Angel Gabriel at the moment of the Annunciation salutes her as “full of grace.”

In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly born by God’s grace. ~CCC§490

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death; Amen!

SPEAKING OF THE NATIVITY, THE MOTHER OF GOD SAID TO VENERABLE MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA

“Who would be so hardened as not to be moved to tenderness the sight of their God become man, humiliated in poverty, despised, unknown, entering the world in a cave, lying on a manger surrounded by brute animals, protected only by a poverty-stricken Mother, and cast off by the foolish arrogance of the world?

Who will dare to love the vanity and pride which was openly scorned and condemned by the Creator of heaven and earth in His actions?

No one should despise the humility, poverty, and indigence which the Lord loved and chose for Himself as the very means of teaching the way of Eternal Life. Few there are who stop to consider this truth and this example, and as a result of this rank ingratitude, only the few reap the fruit of these great mysteries.”

Still to come:

Tobit 13: 8-11, 13-15

Let all men speak, and give Him thanks in Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, the holy city, He will afflict you for the deeds of your sons, but again He will show mercy to the sons of the righteous. Give thanks worthily to the Lord, and praise the King of the ages, that His tent may be raised for you again with joy.

May He cheer those within you who are captives, and love those within you who are distressed, to all generations forever. Many nations will come from afar to the name of the Lord God, bearing gifts in their hands, gifts for the King of heaven. Generations of generations will give you joyful praise.

 Rejoice and be glad for the sons of the righteous; for they will be gathered together, and will praise the Lord of the righteous. How blessed are those who love You! They will rejoice in Your peace. Blessed are those who grieved over all Your afflictions; for they will rejoice for You upon seeing all Your Glory, and they will be made glad for ever. Let my soul praise God the great King.

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