Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

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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Advent Begins…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on December 3, 2017

We prepare for 4 weeks the coming of the Savior of the world.

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.

What is Advent?

The Catechism of  the Catholic Church teaches us:

[It’s the] Liturgical Season of four weeks devoted to the preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas~Glossary Terms

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming (cf. Rev22:17).  By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to His desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease,”(cf. Jn 3:30) ~CCC§524

To me it seems more than adequate to say, this Advent is unlike any other we have experienced in that so much is going on in our world today, that I feel it very necessary to pack as much ‘spiritual meat’ into the upcoming reflections as I can.  Time being of the essence I will republish writings I did called “As Seen Through Mary’s Eyes”, and add to them as much reference as I can to the Catechism and Sacred Scripture. 

So many people have missed the significance of God’s decision to come among us, first as an infant and then as a child and so forth, through His chosen vessel – that is Mary.  I CRINGE every time I hear someone refer to the movie, “The Nativity”, as a good source for a Christmas Devotion. It’s totally NOT.

I heard it once said that the creators of that film were surprised that it did not do as well as they thought it ought; but I wasn’t surprised.  The movie DISSED the Holy Family in a shameful way.  They ignored tradition and concentrated on just PARTS of Luke and Matthew’s Gospel accounts that suited their story instead of considering the FULLNESS of the story. 

It blatantly suggested that Mary and Joseph were just good people that had something extraordinary happen to them, and completely ignored the fact that Mary was more than just a good person while Joseph, in his choice of life, seemed fashioned for the task of caring for God and His mother by his Creator. 

This is why it is so IMPORTANT to have the FULLNESS of the FAITH.  That is BOTH Scripture AND Tradition (Good Theology).  That is what I hope these Advent writings will reflect, the fullness of the faith, and will give the reader the “spiritual meat” required to prepare one’s heart for the Coming of Christ our King as the rest of our world spirals into chaos.  By keeping Christ in our hearts and as our CENTER, regardless of the world and its follies, we will NOT be shaken, but will HOPE in Him. 

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.

Come Holy Spirit and Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful…

IN THE BEGINNING

BEFORE TIME BEGAN, the Holy Trinity decreed that one day, after the creation of the world and of man and after man’s fall, God the Son was to be born of a Virgin Mother. 

SCRIPTURE:

“…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” ~Gen 3:15

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign.  Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. ~Isaiah 6:14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. ~Eph 1: 3-4

In order that this Mother should be the purest human being who ever lived, Almighty God decreed that she was to be miraculously exempt from all stain of original sin…

Kissing the face of God…

CATECHISM

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.” By the grace of God,  Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. ~CCC§493

Meaning….

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, (cf Lk 1:28),  was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God AND by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

~CCC§491

This is why it is a GRAVE ERROR to just present the Blessed Virgin as a really nice girl who had something extraordinary happen to her.  And unfortunately, most of the films made about Jesus’ life when dealing with His early years have done just that.  Forgive us, Holy Mother of God, we know NOT what we do.  Lord Jesus, do not hold this error regarding your Holy Mother against Your ignorant children.  May we do better to understand her role in our redemption during this Advent Season.

“God sent forth His Son,” but to prepare a body for Him, (cf Gal 4:4; Heb 10:5),  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” (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

Eve brought the expulsion from Eden thus entered in death, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall die.” (cf Gen 2: 16b-17)

But Mary brought forth the Savior who gives LIFE, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…all things were made through Him…In Him was LIFE, and the LIFE was the light of men.” (Jn 1:1, 3a, 4)

Thus Mary is the Mother of Life as she IS the Mother of God, Who is the Word made flesh, Jesus the Christ (cf Jn 1:14).

TRADITION:

St. Anne was born in Bethlehem of rich parents who owned many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.  But they regularly gave away to the poor a large part of their possessions and kept very little for themselves.  After Anne’s birth they moved to a beautiful country estate… near Nazareth.

YEARS LATER…

St Anne & St Joachim – Parents of Mary

One day Anne happened to be praying fervently to God to give her a husband who would help her to live according to the Divine Law.  And at the very same moment on another farm near Nazareth and unusually pious middle-aged bachelor named Joachim was also praying for God’s help in choosing a wife.

When the prayers of St. Anne and St. Joachim were presented by the angels before the throne of the Blessed Trinity, God decreed that this pure couple should unite in marriage…

In their home they frequently talked together about God and the coming of the Redeemer, for which they prayed long and fervently.  Both Anne and Joachim had been serious even in their youth.  Now as they matured, they made a distinguished and devout couple.

In His wisdom Almighty God proceeded to purify them still further by giving them a heavy cross to bear, a cross which only grew heavier as the years passed: they remained childless.  Among the Israelites in those times, this was considered not only the greatest misfortunes and disgrace (1Sam 1:5,7,10-11)…

This same condition would reappear in Salvation History with St. Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and her husband, Zachariah, and their experience just before John was conceived.  See Luke 1: 5-7

But they took these humiliations with patience and continued to pray that God might bless their marriage with children.  Seven years passed without an answer to their prayers.

THEN ONE DAY…

…when Joachim was offering his sacrifice in the temple, the priest rebuked and insulted him saying, “Why do you come here, Joachim?  Your offerings are not acceptable to the Lord!”  His face burning with shame, the poor man withdrew to a corner of the Temple and prayed: “O Lord, my sins merit this disgrace.  But as I accept it according to Thy will, do not cast me away…”

That evening St. Anne was sitting under a great tree in her garden reading prayers… begging God to send Joachim home and to let them have at least one child – she was now 44 years.  Then she prayed…for the coming of the Messiah.  Just then the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared before her in resplendent form:

“Anne, servant of God, the Lord has heard thy petitions.  If He delays in their fulfillment, it is in order to prepare thee and give to thee much more than thou has asked…He sends me to give thee joyful news: He chooses thee to be the mother of her who is to give birth to the Redeemer of mankind! … now go to the Temple to give thanks to the Lord, and [you] shall meet Joachim at the Golden Gate.”

This time the Holy Spirit moved the priests in the Temple to accept Joachim’s offerings courteously, and several of his friends congratulated him.  Then two priests led him to the Holy Place and left him alone after burning incense on the altar.

While Joachim prayed on his knees with his arms extended, a bright angel appeared and told him that this childlessness was not a disgrace but and honor; for the child who was to be born of his wife would be the most perfect flower of the race of Abraham.

When Zechariah was praying at the Holy of Holies, as was his lot (see Lk 1: 8-9), the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and foretold him of John’s birth, (see Lk 1: 13-17).  Mind you, Zechariah didn’t handle the news too well and was struck dumb because of it, see Lk 1: 18-20.

The holy couple at the Golden Gate

Thus it happened that near the Golden GateThey hastened toward each other and embraced with tender emotion… As they now renewed their vow to offer their child to His Temple…A cloud of heavenly light enfolded them, while a great number of angels hovered over them…Never had a human couple achieved such supernatural purity of soul.

Thus did Almighty God prepare and purify Mary’s good parents until the great day at last came when the glorious mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God took place.

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID TO:

ST BRIDGET OF SWEDEN: Know that is not for your own sake alone that I speak to you, but also for the salvation of all Christians…

VEN. MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA: Many mysteries pertaining to My Mother…are still hidden,…I desire to make known to mortals how much her intercession is worth…If men would seek to please Me…if they would all begin to solicit her intercession from their whole heart, the world would find some relief.”

SISTER ANNA CATHERINE EMMERICH: I give you these visions – and I have ever done so – to prove that I shall be with My Church till the end of days.  But visions alone sanctify no one; you must practice charity, patience, and all the other virtues.”

PRAYER:

Lord, open our eyes and our ears to hear Your Word as we prepare to welcome Your Son into our hearts. Give us the knowledge of Your LOVE that we crave, and help us to bring that LOVE into our wounded and hungry hearts so that we may share it with others.  You Yourself said:

Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear… ~Rev 3:19-22

Therefore…

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Behold, Thou desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. ~Ps 51: 1-2, 6, 10

In Jesus’ name, we humbly pray, AMEN!

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