Friday, December 7, 2018

Saint December 8 : Immaculate Conception of Mary : Solemnity of the #ImmaculateConception of the Virgin Mary


The doctrine
In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."
"The Blessed Virgin Mary..."
The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body. "...in the first instance of her conception..."
The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.
"...was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin..."
The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death. "...by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race."
The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor. Such is the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception."
Proof from Scripture
Genesis 3:15
No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture. But the first scriptural passage which contains the promise of the redemption, mentions also the Mother of the Redeemer. The sentence against the first parents was accompanied by the Earliest Gospel (Proto-evangelium), which put enmity between the serpent and the woman: "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and her seed; she (he) shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her (his) heel" (Genesis 3:15). The translation "she" of the Vulgate is interpretative; it originated after the fourth century, and cannot be defended critically. The conqueror from the seed of the woman, who should crush the serpent's head, is Christ; the woman at enmity with the serpent is Mary. God puts enmity between her and Satan in the same manner and measure, as there is enmity between Christ and the seed of the serpent. Mary was ever to be in that exalted state of soul which the serpent had destroyed in man, i.e. in sanctifying grace. Only the continual union of Mary with grace explains sufficiently the enmity between her and Satan. The Proto-evangelium, therefore, in the original text contains a direct promise of the Redeemer, and in conjunction therewith the manifestation of the masterpiece of His Redemption, the perfect preservation of His virginal Mother from original sin.
Luke 1:28
The salutation of the angel Gabriel — chaire kecharitomene, Hail, full of grace (Luke 1:28) indicates a unique abundance of grace, a supernatural, godlike state of soul, which finds its explanation only in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. But the term kecharitomene (full of grace) serves only as an illustration, not as a proof of the dogma.
Other texts
From the texts Proverbs 8 and Ecclesiasticus 24 (which exalt the Wisdom of God and which in the liturgy are applied to Mary, the most beautiful work of God's Wisdom), or from the Canticle of Canticles (4:7, "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee"), no theological conclusion can be drawn. These passages, applied to the Mother of God, may be readily understood by those who know the privilege of Mary, but do not avail to prove the doctrine dogmatically, and are therefore omitted from the Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus". For the theologian it is a matter of conscience not to take an extreme position by applying to a creature texts which might imply the prerogatives of God. Proof from Tradition
In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter.
Origen, although he ascribed to Mary high spiritual prerogatives, thought that, at the time of Christ's passion, the sword of disbelief pierced Mary's soul; that she was struck by the poniard of doubt; and that for her sins also Christ died (Origen, "In Luc. hom. xvii"). In the same manner St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary's soul (Epistle 260).
St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew 12:46; Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew). But these stray private opinions merely serve to show that theology is a progressive science. If we were to attempt to set forth the full doctrine of the Fathers on the sanctity of the Blessed Virgin, which includes particularly the implicit belief in the immaculateness of her conception, we should be forced to transcribe a multitude of passages. In the testimony of the Fathers two points are insisted upon: her absolute purity and her position as the second Eve (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:22).
Mary as the second Eve
This celebrated comparison between Eve, while yet immaculate and incorrupt — that is to say, not subject to original sin — and the Blessed Virgin is developed by:
Justin (Dialogue with Trypho 100),
Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.22.4), Tertullian (On the Flesh of Christ 17), Julius Firmicus Maternus (De errore profan. relig xxvi), Cyril of Jerusalem (Catecheses 12.29), Epiphanius (Hæres., lxxviii, 18), Theodotus of Ancyra (Or. in S. Deip n. 11), and Sedulius (Carmen paschale, II, 28).
Shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia 

Wow Beautiful Nativity displayed in White House from the 1700s that was once Banned


The magnificent nativity displaying the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is displayed at the White House again this year by the Trump family. However, in 1968 there was a growing movement to remove the nativity scene from official government holiday celebrations and by 1973 a court ruling banned the display of a life-size nativity or any other religious symbols from the annual Pageant of Peace. The ban on the nativity scene held from the Nixon era until the Reagan era when the ban was finally overturned. In 1984 the nativity was able to make its appearance once again to the Pageant of Peace. During the Christmas season of 1961, before the ban of the nativity scene and other religious symbols, a beautiful 18th century Neapolitan creche made of terracotta and carved wood from Naples, Italy along with a backdrop of delicate gold curtains were installed in the East Room of the White House. It became a centerpiece of the annual White House Christmas decor. In fact, President Kennedy’s 1963 Christmas card featured a photo of the creche organized in shape of a Christmas tree. The creche was made a permanent gift in 1967, when Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. of Far Hills, New Jersey donated the creche to the White House collection. (Edited from source: mynativity.com Displaying a nativity is a tradition that goes back to the time of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy.
Please consider displaying a Nativity scene in your home or yard this year to honor the Birth of Jesus! SHARE this to Inspire!

Bishop Oster of Germany Defends Traditional Marriage Blessings - between Man and Woman

Bishop Oster of Germany; of the Diocese of Passau, Bavaria, defends traditional marriage  blessing practice
Bishop Oster: No blessing for non-marital relationships
Forms of life outside of what the church understands by marriage should not yet be formally blessed and thus sanctioned, emphasizes Passaus Bishop Stefan Oster.

The Passau Bishop Stefan Oster has defended the traditional Catholic faith and blessing practice in dealing with sexual relations. In a post published on his website on Sunday , the bishop explains why, in his view, "forms of life outside of what the Catholic Church understands by marriage" can not be formally blessed, endorsed and affirmed. Ultimately, the church regards every sexual act outside marriage as sinful and disordered.

Humankind is not "the product of biological evolution alone"

Before a change in the pastoral practice would have a "consistent for the whole church and from my point of view, then newer doctrine of man," writes the bishop. However, the attempts made to date did not convince him. Oster expresses his approval of the frequently demanded that the church should take note of new scientific insights in the assessment of sexuality . However, human scientific research, especially on human sexuality and its development, is "not infrequently subject to ideology". From a Christian point of view, man is more than "the product of biological evolution" alone.

The church is also challenged to "sincerely accompany all people who are struggling to reconcile their own lives with the teaching of the faith," writes the at Bishop of the German Bishops' Conference. Women and men of the Church are called to "go with every human being without exception, to welcome him, to accompany him, however harsh or broken his living conditions are to us". Given the complexity of each life path, there may then be situations "that can not be judged or even condemned simply or exclusively from a standpoint of the law of faith."
FULL Post by Bishop Oster: https://stefan-oster.de/wer-kann-gesegnet-werden-und-was-ist-dazu-die-lehre-der-kirche/

Wow Inauguration of Sand Nativity with Tree - Pope Francis "The tree and the crib are two signs that....help us to contemplate the mystery of God made man to be close to each one of us" FULL TEXT + Video


GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE DELEGATIONS WHO GIVEN THE NATIVITY
AND THE CHRISTMAS TREE FOR PIAZZA SAN PIETRO

Paul VI Hall
Friday, 7 December 2018

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thanks for your visit! I welcome you and welcome you with such gratitude the gifts you have come to introduce me: the Christmas tree and the nativity scene, already set up in St. Peter's Square and which will be admired by many pilgrims from all over the world. I address my cordial greetings to each of you, beginning with the Patriarch of Venice and the Bishop of Concordia-Pordenone, whom I thank for their fraternal words. A deferential greeting I address to the civil authorities, and I extend my affectionate thought to all the inhabitants of Jesolo, Pordenone, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, whom you represent here. I thank all those who cooperated for the realization of these Christmas signs, especially the four sculptors, from different countries, who carved the crib, and the technicians and staff of the Governorate.

The tree and the crib are two signs that never cease to fascinate us; they tell us about Christmas and help us to contemplate the mystery of God made man to be close to each one of us. The Christmas tree with its lights reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, it is the light of the soul that drives away the darkness of enmities and makes room for forgiveness. The spruce that this year is placed in Piazza San Pietro, coming from the Cansiglio forest, suggests further reflection. It, with its height of over twenty meters, symbolizes God that with the birth of his Son Jesus has lowered himself up to man to raise him to himself and raise him from the fogs of selfishness and sin. The Son of God assumes the human condition to draw it to himself and to make her participate in his divine and incorruptible nature.

The crib, located in the center of the Piazza, is made with sand jesolana, originally from the Dolomites. Sand, poor material, recalls simplicity, smallness and also fragility - as the Patriarch said - with which God showed himself with the birth of Jesus in the precariousness of Bethlehem.

It may seem that this smallness contradicts divinity, so much so that someone from the beginning has considered it only an appearance, a lining. But no, because smallness is freedom. Those who are small - in the evangelical sense - are not only light, but also free from any desire to appear and any claim to success; like children who express themselves and move spontaneously. All of us are called to be free before God, to have the freedom of a child before his father. The Child Jesus, Son of God and our Savior, who we place in the manger, is Saint in poverty, smallness, simplicity, humility.

The crib and the tree, fascinating symbols of Christmas, can bring in families and meeting places a reflection of the light and tenderness of God, to help everyone to live the feast of the birth of Jesus. Contemplating the Child God who emanates light in the humility of the nativity scene, we can also become witnesses of humility, tenderness and goodness.

Dear friends, I renew my gratitude to all of you and offer you the best wishes for a Merry Christmas. A good and holy Christmas! I ask you to pray for me and I cordially bless you, your family and your fellow citizens. Thank you.

Pope Francis sends Condolences on Death of President Bush plus Rare Video of Pope John Paul II with President


Here is the telegram of condolence for the death of November 30 last George HW Bush, former President of the United States of America, sent on behalf of the Holy Father Francis by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, to the Archbishop of Galveston -Houston, His Eminence Card. Daniel N. DiNardo:

His Eminence Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Saddened to learn of the death of former President George H. W. Bush, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family. Commending President Bush’s soul to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

Pope Francis "I invite you to continue to be bearers of the Lord's redemption to prisoners, refugees and migrants..." FULL TEXT to Order of #OurLadyofMercy


ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE RELIGIOUS OF THE ORDER OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OF MERCY (MERCEDARIANS),
IN THE 8TH CENTENARY OF FOUNDATION

Sala Clementina
Thursday, 6 December 2018

Dear brothers,

I welcome you to this meeting. I thank Fr. Juan Carlos Saavedra Lucho, Master General of the Order, for the words that Father has given to me, and that God keeps him enthusiastic. You are concluding the Jubilee for the eighth centenary of the foundation of the Order; a time of grace in which you have had the opportunity to experience God's merciful love on the journey, as well as to examine the present and to establish guidelines for continuing with renewed spirit.

In this meeting I wish to place before your gaze that first love which you express with the vow of redemption. In it you promise to "give life, if necessary, as Christ has given it for us, to save Christians who find themselves in the extreme danger of losing their faith in new forms of slavery" (Constitutions, No. 14) . A short time ago, I told one of you: "How many problems do you have, eh?" "Well, I have the vow to give my life," he replied. These words remind us all, and especially to the religious, that following Christ means giving life to save souls.

We all know the importance of following Christ, but sometimes, instead of following Him, we plan our life as if He were to follow us - the whims of the religious are difficult, My God, they are very difficult - and to adjust to the plans. and to the projects we make and create. It's temptation, is not it?

Following Jesus is not a question of methodology; it is to let Him precede us and give time for personal and community walking. The mercedary charism is topical and is called upon to be challenged by the new fields of action and "redeeming service", such as the promotion of the dignity of the human person, the prevention of physical or spiritual slavery, the accompaniment and reintegration of more vulnerable than our society. Redemption of prisoners, or be sure that today there are many more, more than double those at the time of the foundation of the Order. The mercedarian family, consecrated and lay, needs to be inspired by this "creativity of God", even when this implies having to break their own patterns that, over time, have been added to the foundational charism. This always happens to us with foundational charisms, it is as if time slowly dulled them and created shells; and if one is not careful to remove these shells, the charism then becomes the heart of a large coconut and it is difficult to return to it. We need to remove these shells of time to go back to that, to the primordial intuition, which is a call from God.

Those who follow Christ do so by giving life; it is not a partial discipleship. The poor rich young man wanted to make a partial discipleship and he could not. This places us before the essential truth of our religious consecration. To trust the Lord means to surrender himself to him without keeping anything in his pocket; giving him not only what is material and superfluous, but also all that we consider ours, even our tastes and our opinions. The gift of one's life is not something optional, but it is the consequence of a heart that has been "touched" by the love of God.

Please, I ask you not to be carried away by the temptation to consider your sacrifice and the gift of yourselves as an investment destined for personal profit, to achieve a position or a certainty of life. No !, this is not. Rather, try to translate this oblation and consecration into the service of God and of men, living the joy of the gospel through the charism of redemption. Those who let themselves be saved by the Lord are freed from sin and, above all, from sadness, inner emptiness and isolation (see Evangelii gaudium, n.1). To give life is to find it in those who have been redeemed by the Lord through our example and our testimony.

The Order of Mercy echoes the gospel of salvation which says: "The Lord has visited and redeemed his people" (Lk 1, 68). Thus the gesture of "visiting and liberating" marks all your vocation and your missionary activity. You are called to go out to save Christians who are in danger of losing their faith, who are seen as diminished in their dignity as people and trapped in principles and systems opposed to the gospel. This concept of trapped Christians work it out well, because it is a form of slavery, end up trapped in a thousand worldly things or that presents society itself, and not know how to get out of it, and also free the trapped Christians.
Today, as in other periods of history, Christians are threatened by this triple enemy: the world, the devil and the flesh. It is not something of the past, it is something current. These dangers are sometimes disguised and we do not recognize them, but their consequences are obvious, they fall asleep the conscience and provoke a spiritual paralysis that leads to inner death. These enemies sometimes appear before us, but in most cases they go slowly, slowly, fall asleep, and one does not realize it, does not realize it, and it takes God's grace to say: "Where am I? How did I fall from there to here? ". It is an anesthesia. Vigilated, supervised not to end anesthetized. We must also be careful not to fall into this state of lack of spiritual vitality. Think of the spiritual worldliness that subtly enters our life and slowly dissipates the beauty and strength of this first love of God in our souls (see Gaudete et exsultate, nn. 93-97). Of the Apocalypse we remember: "I have this against you: that you have abandoned your first love" (2, 4). And the times the Lord reproaches his People: "I remember the affection of your youth, when you followed me in the desert" in Jeremiah (see 2, 2). That is, the memory, the memory of the first love. That we should not be reprimanded: "What a pity, the Order is well organized, everything is fine, but what a pity, they have lost their first love". That this reproach is never done. Some time ago, in a public hearing in the square, while I greeted the people, there was a married couple, elderly, but very young, celebrating sixty years of marriage even if it did not seem. I asked them: "Do you continue to love each other?". They looked at each other, then they looked at me, their eyes were bright and they answered me: "We are in love". I leave you this image so that each of you can say: "I am in love, I have not lost my first love".

As members of a redemptive order, you must first of all experience in yourself the redemption of Christ to help your brothers to discover the God who saves. "Redeemed to redeem", a good definition of your life and your vocation. I invite you to continue to be bearers of the Lord's redemption to prisoners, refugees and migrants, to those who fall into the networks of trafficking in human beings, to vulnerable adults, orphans and exploited children ... Bring to all those who are discarded from the society the tenderness and the mercy of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you in your vocation and mission, and do not get tired of being instruments of freedom, joy and hope. May this eighth centenary yield an abundant fruit of grace and holiness, and be a constant stimulus to follow Christ giving life for all men in the times in which we live. May the Virgin of Mercy and St. Pedro Pascual, whose memory we are celebrating today, intercede for all of you and accompany you on your journey. And please do not forget to pray for me.

Thank you.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stFriday December 7, 2018 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 179

Reading 1IS 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
"Son of David, have pity on us!"
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
"Do you believe that I can do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
"Let it be done for you according to your faith."
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
"See that no one knows about this."
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.