Living in the Two Hearts

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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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Second Sunday Advent: The Story Continues…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 8, 2017

HAPPY SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
December 8, 2016

O Mary, conceived without the stain of
Original Sin, pray for us who
have recourse to thee.

Second Week of Advent…

This is a continuation from the previous week

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.

ADVENT REFLECTION : PART II: Infancy and Childhood of the Mother of God

CATECHISM:

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary isenriched from the first instant of her conceptioncomes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary MORE than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love,” (cf. Eph 1:3-4).

CCC§492 (emphasis mine)

The question here, “is this possible?  Can God really do this?”  My answer, OF COURSE HE CAN! He did so for Jeremiah…

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”   ~ Jeremiah 1:5

Because…

“For with God, nothing will be impossible.” ~ Luke 1:37

So how much more will He do for the Mother of His Son?

TRADITION:

AFTER GOD HAD CREATED Mary’s immaculate soul, He showed it to the choirs of angels in heaven, and they felt intense joy upon seeing its unique beauty.

Then, as Mary’s soul was infused into her body, her holy mother, St. Anne, was filled with the [Holy Spirit] and experienced an extraordinary devotion and happiness. Throughout rest of her life, and especially during the next nine months, she constantly received new graces and enlightenment concerning the great mystery of the Incarnation, and frequently praised the Lord in canticles of love.

Not so unusual, look what happened when Mary, only a few weeks pregnant with our Savior, visited with her kinswoman Elizabeth: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe in her womb leaped for joy; 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!’ ”  Hey, does that sound familiar?  (Hail Mary full of grace…blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…) ~Luke 1: 41-42

However, in order to increase her merit, God allowed St. Anne to undergo grievous trials during her pregnancy… Satan did not know that her daughter was to be the Mother of the Saviour,… [but] he did his best to tempt and disturb and harm her… she resisted all his attacks with humble fortitude, patience, and prayer.

CATECHISM

What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. ~ CCC§487

What Mary does, who Mary is, how Mary is obedient and LOVES God is the model for us, the the REAL HUMAN EXAMPLE of how we can LOVE God, be OBEDIENT to God, LISTEN to God and accept His commands…just as her Son would ALSO DO during His lifetime on earth.

Did Christ endure trials during His life, or was it all a ‘bed of roses’?  Did Satan try to tempt Christ or did he just leave the Son of God alone?  Did Jesus come to live among His creation because He LOVES us or…not?

He IS God and He IS man, and because His mother said, ‘YES’, to God’s plan we are redeemed.  Her participation LEAD TO our REDEMPTION!

The Christian tradition sees… the “New Adam” who, because He “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam,(cf. 1Cor 15: 21-22, 45; Phil 2:8; Romans 5: 19-20).

~CCC§411

Thus it is SUPER IMPORTANT to make the distinction and dispel a common misunderstanding among many of our Christian brethren…

CATECHISM

All generations will call me blessed“: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship,”(cf. Lk 1:48). The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . .

This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”  The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as [The Rosary], an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

~ CCC§971, (emphasis mine)

Catholics DO NOT worship Mary.  We Honor her as the Mother of God.  We have a special Devotion to her just as the favorite apostle of Jesus’ – that is John the Evangelist – did: “When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’  And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” ~John 19: 26-27.

As many of us in the Church believe and understand, John ‘stood in’ for us as our Savior gave all of us His mother as OUR mother.

Thus when we HONOR Mary we are following the 4th commandment: You shall honor your father AND your mother, (cf. Deut 5:16).

St. Anne with child Mary
(Google Images)

TRADITION

Early in September, St. Anne was informed interiorly by the Lord that the time of her daughter’s birth was near…

One evening the three women arrived and embraced Anne, congratulating her warmly. Standing with them, she poured forth her deep joy and thankfulness in a beautiful spontaneous canticle, …St. Anne prayed until nearly midnight…While she was praying thus, a supernatural light began to fill the room. Noticing it, the three friends threw themselves onto the floor and hid their faces in awe.  So the dazzling light entirely surrounded St. Anne, making her invisible.

Sound familiar? It should. Jesus’ three closest disciples,” Peter, James, and John his brother”, did something very similar while Jesus was TRANSFIGURED before them, and a “bright cloud overshadowed them”, and God spoke from this cloud, and they ‘hit the dirt’!  See… Mt 17: 1-6

A moment later she was holding in her hands a beautiful, spotless, radiant baby, which she tenderly wrapped in her cloak and pressed to her heart. With tears of fervent love and joy, she gazed at her child and then, raising her eyes to heaven and holding up the baby, she prayed:

“O Lord and Creator, with eternal thanks I offer Thee this blessed fruit of my womb which I have received from Thy bounty without any merit of mine. But how shall I be able to treat such a child worthily?”

Another holy woman also offered a prayer of thanks giving for the birth of her long awaited child, much longer than this, but the point is these prayers of thanksgiving reflect very much the culture that Mary was born into giving further insight into why Mary is not just a fortunate girl but one set specifically aside, BY GOD, to participate in the EXTRAORDINARY.  See Samuel 2: 1-10

God gave her to understand that she was to bring up her daughter with all motherly love and care but without outward show of reverence, while retaining inwardly profound veneration for the future Mother of the Messiah.

Why, do you suppose?  I think a line from Fiddler On the Roof would fit in nicely here: “People, hmph!  If God lived on earth, people would break His windows!  True, of course true!” ~Yenta, the Matchmaker, circa. Fidler On the Roof.

And what did Jesus say to those He cured at the beginning of His ministry AND to His own disciples, “Tell no one who I am”, (cf. Mt 16:20; Mk 7:36,  8:30; Lk 5:14…just to name a few…)

Now in heaven the Blessed Trinity announced to the choir of angels:  “Our Chosen One shall be called Mary, and this name is to be powerful in grace.”

CATECHISM

…many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the Mother of Christ, the “new Eve.” Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.

~CCC§411 (emphasis mine)

Why not take a moment, if you will, to read a small bit on the Infancy of Mary

TRADITION : AFTER MARY’S INFANCY: around the age of 4 years…

One day, three old priests came from Nazareth to give examination, in order to determine whether [Mary] was worthy of being accepted for service in the Temple…Throughout the examinations, under the guidance and inspiration of her angels, Mary had remained perfectly recollected and serious, and at the same time strikingly beautiful and lovable.

A few days later everyone in St. Joachim’s home was preparing for the trip to Jerusalem. Several fine ceremonial dresses which had been made for Mary were carefully packed up. Finally…at dawn, two donkeys were loaded with baggage, and St. Joachim and St. Anne set out, [with St. Anne] carrying Mary in her arms. The holy child was very happy to be going to the Temple

She was dressed in a lovely sky-blue robe with garlands of flowers around her arms and neck, and in one hand she carried a candle decorated with flowers. On each side of her were three girls in white with flowers and candles. Then came other girls and women. Everyone who saw them was touched by Mary’s extraordinarily holy appearance.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” Lk 1:38

At the outer entrance to the Temple, they were met by St. Joachim, Zacharias, and several other priests…Mary, in deep humility and adoration offered herself to God. She alone perceived that the Almighty welcomed her and accepted her, for she heard a voice from heaven saying:

“Come, My beloved, My spouse, come into My Temple, where I wish thee to offer Me praise and worship.”

With tears in their eyes, her father and mother placed their hands on her head and solemnly pronounced the words by which they gave her to the Lord, while a priest clip a few locks of her hair…

Then, after St. Anne and St. Joachim had tenderly blessed her, little Mary, without hesitating and without looking back, began to climb up the fifteen steps. She would not let anyone help her, but with remarkable resolution and dignity, she hastened up all by herself, filled with holy fervor and joy. Everyone who saw her was visibly affected.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN:

“From my infancy the Holy Spirit was perfectly with me. And as I grew, It filled me so completely as to leave no room sin to enter. When I had attained an age to know something of my Creator, I turned to Him with unspeakable love and desired Him with my whole heart.

I vowed in my heart to observe virginity if it was pleasing to Him, and to possess nothing in the world – but if God willed otherwise, that His Will, not mine, be done. I committed my will absolutely to Him.”

“And Mary Said, ‘Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord; be it be to me according to your word.’ ” ~Luke 1:38

CATECHISM

After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In [Mary] we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on [the church’s] “pilgrimage of faith,” [AND] what [the Church] will be in the homeland at the end of her journey.

See... Rev 21:2, 28-21

There, “in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity,” “in the communion of all the saints,” the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

See… Jn 19: 26-27

In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.

See… Rev 11:19, 12:1, 5 … Faithful to God, Obedient to His Love, and desiring complete union with our Creator.

Likewise [the Church] shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God, (cf. 2Peter 3:10).

~CCC§972 (emphasis mine)

Dawn Finds me ready to welcome YOU…

PRAYER: Ps 119: 145-152

The dawn finds me ready to welcome YOU, my God…

I call with all my heart; Lord, hear me, I will keep Your commands.  I will call upon You, save me, and I will do Your Will.  I rise before the dawn and cry for help, I hope in Your Word.  My eyes watch through the night to ponder Your promise.

In Your love hear my voice, O Lord; give me life by Your decrees.  Those who harm me unjustly drawn near; But You, O Lord, are close; Your commands are TRUTH.  Long have I known that Your Will is established for ever.

The dawn finds me ready to welcome YOU, my God…

Guide, guard and protect our hearts, O Lord, as we continue to prepare a place for YOU to dwell with us.  In Your Holy and Precious name, Jesus Christ,  we pray, AMEN!

Recommended Reading:

Presentation I : Personal Reflection (scroll down)
Presentation II

Take a look at Jesus’ life as you pray with His mother:
Praying the Rosary

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