I confess that I am a shopaholic. When I give into my weakness, Satan and his evil minions jump at every opportunity to create a divide between God and me.
A good example, is while online shopping, I spent more money than I had anticipated. I reasoned it was a sale too good to miss – after all it’s a “Back to School” sale. I should know better, especially as my own son was prepping for a huge back to school sale at his stores. Well, I fell into the guile’s of advertisement and “deals”.
Recalling afterwards my crazed mind as I put items into my cart and pressed pay, not once but twice, I realized and bemoaned my indulgence into the flesh and prayed seeking God’s forgiveness. Seeking for the strength to turn away from things of this world. Thank goodness our God is merciful.
God has a way of speaking to me that always strikes at my inner core. It results in a deeper understanding of Sacred Scripture:
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Fatherknows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This verse is especially poignant and meaning because it was part of my meditation for the past few weeks. The depth of meaning in it didn’t hit me until I committed the self indulgent deed of falling prey to my own shopping frenzy.
It was only after I’ve fallen to my own vice that I can finally understand Luke 12:22-34.
God is merciful and will continue to guide us to become more aware of the narrow road towards holiness. I am thankful for his teachings, and graceful for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Satan and his minion are ever present and waiting to prey on our weaknesses. Vigilance Is the key. I can only battle evil with the help of Jesus. I came across the work of an Exorcist – Fr. Ripperger through the Augustine Institute. Please take the time to watch the following videos. They will help each of us to battle our brokenness with the help of the triune.
The road to heaven is narrow. The road to heaven is to love Jesus with all my heart, mind, body and spirit. This is proactively to have a sincere relationship with Jesus with all my heart, taking the time to know him, love him, and finally to follow him by doing – God’s will. Doing God’s will is not what I want, but what God wants for me.
Praying for God’s will in my life means picking up the cross of Jesus. For me this means stepping out of my comfort zone to trust and love Jesus, and, to love my neighbours. I am happy and content to exist in my little shell. It’s stress free and easy. Stepping out means I trust in Jesus to lead me along the rocky and narrow road towards heaven – and not hide in the four corners of my comfortable shell.
I am saved by grace, and this means for me to step out and love those around me. It can be a simple smile, a genuine greeting, a helping hand, and above all to love the unloveable.
Yes it’s hard to love our neighbours, and it is only through God’s grace and knowing that Jesus lives in my heart that I can do this. You can also!
Jesus, help me to enter through the narrow door. Guide and lead me to let go of the things in this world and focus just on the cross – to heed your words with a trusting and sincere heart – and to obey you🙏
I pray that each of you come to know Jesus, love him, and take up the cross to follow him. I pray for God’s blessings upon each of us to love our neighbours and ask for their salvation in our prayers, to sincerely love, greet, hugs, and give in good will.
May the light of the Cross in each of us radiate outwards.
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 15 August
Author: Bishop Paolo Magnani
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 15 August
Bishop Paolo Magnani Bishop emeritus of Treviso, Italy
So what does ‘Heaven’ really mean?
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most joyful of our liturgical Solemnities. The Church on earth and the Church in Heaven join in the infinite glory of God, who welcomes and crowns his Mother. Today is the day of Mary’s birth in Heaven which celebrates the triumph of her soul and her body.
Let us look at her entire biography.
The Assumption is the theme of her constant ascension. Full of grace from the very moment of her conception on this earth, Mary Immaculate never ceased to grow in grace before God.
The Annunciation, Christmas, Calvary, the Passover of the Resurrection and Pentecost are the spiritual landmarks of her existence. In each one, her motherly and virginal love was enriched, aspiring to a summit that no other creature will ever be able to attain.
The mystery of Our Lady of the Assumption becomes evident if it is set within the connections that unite the Marian prerogatives to one another: she was taken up into Heaven because she was Immaculate; she was taken up into Heaven and was Immaculate because of her divine motherhood.
After the holy humanity of Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father in the sanctuary of divinity, there was nothing in the world more perfect than this motherly soul, shining with purity, beauty, tenderness and grace, reflected in her body.
Fully open to the splendours of the Word, her Son, Mary finally achieves the perfection of all the requirements of her sublime vocation.
In the First Reading of the Liturgy for this feast, we hear a passage from the Book of Revelation (11:19; 12:1-6) in which the Church has gathered various symbols, destined to express the theological and salvific meaning of the figure of Mary and her glorification.
It all takes place in a heavenly sphere: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.
A little later, it speaks of other signs in the heavens: a great red dragon and the stars of heaven swept down to earth; then, lastly, we hear “a loud voice in heaven”.
Heaven is the setting of an event rich in symbols. In Pius XIl’s Bull declaring the Dogma which defines the Assumption to be a truth of faith [Munificentissimus Deus], we read: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (n. 44). In the face of this Dogma it might be useful to ask oneself what the word “Heaven” means.
Meaning of ‘Heaven’
“Heaven” is a word that recurs in the revelation of the Old and New Testaments. It has a long popular tradition which indicates the solid vault that separates the world on high from the world below.
This is what the Israelites thought, and likewise, what many instinctively think today.
The term “Heaven” was used by revelation and applied to what lies beyond the visible sky, imagining that there is an invisible one where God’s throne stands, as in a palace. Hence, its metaphorical sense: indeed, the One who dwells in the heavens cannot be pinpointed in any one place, for not even the heavens could contain him. Therefore, Heaven as a place is part of a symbolic language which communicates to us the reality of the faith.
And thus, we speak of Heaven as the home of angels, the stage of God’s manifestation, the dwelling place of the glorious Christ, the dwelling place of Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of the Assumption. Consequently, it is a transcendent space, it is the presence of God and his glory, it is God’s Name, it is God himself.
To go to Heaven is to go to God and to live with God. According to the Gospel, we must lay up for ourselves a treasure in Heaven!
The Reading from the Book of Revelation for this feast opens with the grandiose scene in which the woman clothed with the sun comes to take up her residence. But who is this woman? What does she represent?
A preliminary answer leads us to the Old Testament, where the “People of God” is compared to a woman and Jerusalem is considered as a woman, Yahweh’s Bride, radiant with God’s light (cf. Is 60) and destined to form a holy and numerous people.
This woman of the Book of Revelation gives birth to a son, but in her painful experience of motherhood she must first engage in a battle of demonic origin against evil, against the enemy of God.
The woman will emerge victorious from this conflict. The newborn child is the Messiah, “one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rv 12:5). Her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the celestial woman, on the other hand, fled to the desert where God cared for her.
This Reading is complex and rich in evocative resonance; it reminds us of the wait for the Messiah, the sufferings and triumph of the messianic experience that unite Mother and Son. The woman of the Book of Revelation is the Sorrowful Mother, but also the victorious Queen, a title missing from the Litany of Loreto.
Mary comes first
When we start with this Woman-Mother of the People of God and of the Son-Messiah, we come to the Church, the new People of God with Mary.
Ever in the light of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us listen to St. Paul (Mass of the Day: I Cor 15:20-27), who speaks to us of the Resurrection of Christ and of our resurrection in him. We have reached the crowning event of the history of salvation, of the victory of the Man over sin, Satan and death: “Christ is risen from the dead”.
This is the sign of the Christian faith. With Baptism, Christians are incorporated into Christ and come to share in his Risen Life. Christ is the first fruits of all the dead who are destined to be raised. In this chain of risen people whom Christ brings with him to Heaven, Mary comes first, with Christ and for Christ.
If we want our Marian devotion to conform with God’s will, it must be as Christocentric as the entire spiritual biography of the Mother of Christ.
The Gospel for the Mass of the Assumption is offered to us by St. Luke (1:39-56), who has passed on what is called The Infancy Gospel.
The account of Mary’s visit to St. Elizabeth introduces us to the important Marian prayer of the Magnificat, the personalized comment of the One who henceforth plays the lead role in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Magnificat is a great canticle in which converge the spiritual sentiments of the poor, the humble, those who wait with trust for salvation from God.
On Mary’s lips these sentiments acquire fresh vigour, inexhaustible and unfathomable depth and a unique motivation. Having reached the fullness of the perfection that shines on her body and already illumined by the beatific vision, she, the undeserving little creature, sings the Magníficat before the Almighty and Merciful God.
Mary never forgets she is the handmaid of the Lord, just as she does not forget the gratuitous goodness of the love of God, who has turned his gaze upon her almost as a compendium of all his mercy poured out upon humanity.
For this reason, the daily prayer of the Magnificat closes the Christian day.
Mary taken up into Heaven, in her attitude of contemplation before the Most Holy Trinity, carries out the ministry of intercession on our behalf, ever in communion with Jesus Christ, the one Mediator and heavenly Priest.
And we, his children and his faithful, although we are sinners, commend ourselves full of trust to this Mother of ours, steeped in beatifying tenderness.
Let us ask her to purify us: to free us from every evil, starting with sin in its various forms. We are pilgrims on this earth, here below, where it is our vocation to journey on towards Heaven, now bound for experiencing God in the beauty of the creatures.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary strengthens us through faith in the future resurrection; she attracts us with the sweetness of her love, so that one day we too may contemplate Jesus, the blessed fruit of her love.
We ask this of you: O clement, O merciful, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Taken from: L’Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English 8/15 August 2007, page 11
L’Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See. The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:
The Cathedral Foundation L’Osservatore Romano English Edition 320 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us. Holy Mary, pray for us. Holy Mother of God, pray for us. Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. Mother of Christ, pray for us. Mother of divine grace, pray for us. Mother most pure, pray for us. Mother most chaste, pray for us. Mother inviolate, pray for us. Mother undefiled, pray for us. Mother most amiable, pray for us. Mother most admirable, pray for us. Mother of good counsel, pray for us. Mother of our Creator, pray for us. Mother of our Savior, pray for us. Virgin most prudent, pray for us. Virgin most venerable, pray for us. Virgin most renowned, pray for us. Virgin most powerful, pray for us. Virgin most merciful, pray for us. Virgin most faithful, pray for us. Mirror of justice, pray for us. Seat of wisdom, pray for us. Cause of our joy, pray for us. Spiritual vessel, pray for us. Vessel of honor, pray for us. Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us. Mystical rose, pray for us. Tower of David, pray for us. Tower of ivory, pray for us. House of gold, pray for us. Ark of the Covenant, pray for us. Gate of Heaven, pray for us. Morning star, pray for us. Health of the sick, pray for us. Refuge of sinners, pray for us. Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us. Help of Christians, pray for us. Queen of angels, pray for us. Queen of patriarchs, pray for us. Queen of prophets, pray for us. Queen of apostles, pray for us. Queen of martyrs, pray for us. Queen of confessors, pray for us. Queen of virgins, pray for us. Queen of all saints, pray for us. Queen conceived without Original Sin, pray for us. Queen assumed into Heaven, pray for us. Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us. Queen of peace, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy Servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal happiness. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Let us celebrate and pray together today this special prayer and draw closer to Jesus through Mary’s intervention for us.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Marthaopened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
In the past, when I had family or friends over for dinner, I stayed in the background preparing the meal. Being present and mindful of my surrounding and to sit with my guest was not something I did. I was busy in the background and very much like Martha focused on the preparation.
I was also the complainer – telling my husband I had no help.
I was not like Mary. Mary sat by Jesus and listened intently to him. She relished his companionship.
When I sit and prayerfully read Luke 10:38-41, I realize I am too much like Martha, and not enough like Mary. Today I pray for the grace of God to know, love and be close to Jesus. A balance of both Martha (in good works for Christ) and to be mindfully present in him like Mary.
There are some subjects discussed today that can get us cancelled. Just as there are some topics discussed that has become embedded within our popular culture that we never question. Father Chris, MIC in the past few weeks has discussed secularism, new age beliefs, yoga, horoscope, and today – The Truth of the Lodge and the Catholic Faith.
These are topics that many Catholics don’t really dwell on as their ideas and icons have become immersed in our secular world. His teachings have helped me make sense of where I am in the world and my Catholic faith.