This is one of the most beautiful and moving retelling of the Nativity Story:
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
There is a joy to in the season of Advent as we prepare our hearts and soul to receive God’s gift:
“The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas. From the earliest days of the Church, people have been fascinated by Jesus’ promise to come back. But the scripture readings during Advent tell us not to waste our time with predictions. Advent is not about speculation. Our Advent readings call us to be alert and ready, not weighted down and distracted by the cares of this world (Lk 21:34-36).“
Christmas is a season for active preparation through fasting, reading the Bible, and prayer. It is a time to share with our families and communities the love of God. It is a time to express our resounding joy.
Praying the Joyful Mysteries, allows us to follow Mary’s “Yes” to the birth of Jesus. Through Mary’s eyes, we journey along with her in the faith, hope and joy. Reading scripture (Luke 1:26-56). also allows us to focus our minds and hearts on the true reason for the season – Christ, coming to redeem all of humanity.
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.
I give thanks for two beautiful children my husband and I adopted as babies. I give thanks to God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit for the graces and blessings bestowed upon us.
Yesterday we celebrated MeiMei’s 16th birthday – how quickly the time has past.
Father of Jesus, We praise you and give you glory For the wonderful things you do for us; For life and health, for friends and family, for this splendid day.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son, And to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, And ever shall be, World without end.
Hail Mary Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, (and our mother) pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
Father Luke’s Podcast on Garabandal and Mother Mary:
I have to admit there was a time I use to acted rashly without thinking it through. In fact, my actions often had consequences. Afterwards, I would feel remorseful and terrible for acting without thinking it through. It created a negative environment that always resulted in a heartfelt apology from me.
There was a lot for me to learn about anger management, and it was only when I humbled myself and sought Jesus’ help that I was able to let go of my impulses and think things through.
Through scripture, prayer and reflection, I now have a deeper understanding of taking the time to find a balance, to look at the whole, and think it through before reacting. Our Blessed Mother is our role model as she reflects on God’s words, teachings, and the situation – pondering.
“[Mary] does not remain locked in her initial troubled state at the proximity of God in his angel, but she seeks to understand. So Mary appears as a fearless woman, one who remains composed even in the presence of something utterly unprecedented. At the same time she stands before us as a woman of great interiority, who holds heart and mind in harmony and seeks to understand the context, the overall significance of God’s message. In this way, she becomes an image of the Church as she considers the word of God, tries to understand it in its entirety and guards in her memory the things that have been given to her.” —Pope Benedict XVI, p. 33
The above quote is from: Jesus of Nazareth the Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI.
Through our prayers, we can help avert the dangers that befalls our world. Marian apparitions throughout history has always come with grave warnings of impending danger to our humanity. At all times, they are warnings and calls to return to God. They are request by Mother Mary to pray daily on our own, as country, or as a community for God’s Divine Mercy.
It is easy to feel a sense of doom especially in light of the many events that has happened within the last two years. It is just as easy to fall into a depression, and take on an attitude that one can do nothing.
A mother’s love is great, and Mother Mary has come time and time again to warn us to ask for the diversion of impeding disasters through prayer, and turning back from our sins. She reminds us to embrace the Divine Mercy of God. Pray the Rosary daily. Pray for love and peace as a community, with a friend, with your family, or on your own:
The Hail Mary
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
We must denied ourselves and take up the cross of Jesus Christ.
33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his[righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
To deny our disorders, laziness, our distractedness and inordinate comforts. Denying all those things that keep us from prayer, worship and time with God. The temptation is there, and we need overrun the evil one with God’s help by taking up the cross (Ralph Martin – Run: You Can!)
Choose God, choose faith, choose to take up the cross and pray unceasingly.
Times like these will tempt our faith. They will make us doubt. There is a battle going on between good and evil. Run to Jesus with every breathe and with every step. I always imagine within my mind’s eye of stomping on the serpent’s head – with God’s help (Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:1-6).
Be open to receiving God’s grace to that we can let go of all the burdens that weights us down.
Hope, Faith, and Charity.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Posted below are a few videos by Mark Goring, Father Chris Alar and Ralph Martin that I compiled in the hope of easing your fears, anxieties and stress for present world events. They are a reminder that Mother Mary loves her children, and needs our help in prayer. They remind us to take up the cross for Jesus. This means denying the secularism that has pushed God and all sense of spirituality into the back burners of our lives.
God Bless 💖Let us all cone together in prayer.
Mark Goring on Prophesy and Marian Apparition in Kiev
Father Chris – Explaining the Faith – Ukraine, Russia, Fatima: What Heaven is Telling Us