Monday, February 28, 2011
21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and, when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,29 "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." 33 And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed--and a sword will pierce your own soul too."36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, . . .” (Luke 2:31-31)
Like Simeon, I would like to think that I have witnessed the holiness of Mary and the salvation of Jesus in my life with the passing of my mother over nine months ago, and the passing of a dear friend almost a week ago. Through the final days of my mother’s life, my sister Jeanine lovingly cared for her and cradled her in her arms while awaiting the arrival of the ambulance that would carry my mother to the hospital for the last time. She prayed with her and remained steadfast in this devotion until mother was welcomed into the Heavenly Kingdom. Similarly, the holiness of Mary was modeled by a friend who stood at the side of a fellow Christian as he walked the road of the Cross during his final days on earth. In both circumstances, I was called to “come and see” the miracle of such holiness at the foot of the Cross of my beloved mother and friend and share in the sacred moments of what is to come when God beckons me home. Almighty Father, please fill my heart with your grace and help me to be a true model of holiness to all those I meet on my earthly journey. Like Mary, let me be a presence in the lives of my brothers and sisters as I run the race of endurance to my Eternal Home.
Reflection by Maria T. Rey-Hughes, Cooperative, NE
Sunday, February 27, 2011
13 After they had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him." 14 So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
I called my son out of Egypt!
16 Herod was furious when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. 17 It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted
because they were no more.
• Matthew 2:19-23: The Holy Family's Return to Nazareth
19After Herod's death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead."
21 So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. 22 But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. 23 There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled
He will be called a Nazarene
As I have been thinking about these passages over the last few days what has occurred to me is the variety of different emotions Mary must have been experiencing during these times. On the one hand she must have felt enveloped by the safety and protection provided to her by her husband Joseph through the instruction of God the Father and his messengers. She must have been aware that her every step was in the care of God.
At the very same time however, she could not have been blind to the dangers and violence all around her. She must have wept extensively as she pondered those grieving parents and children who were killed for political ends.
Like Mary we can be grateful for the care of our heavenly Father but we also must not be blind to the violence of our present day realities of the pains of gun violence, poverty and abortion.
Help us to be grateful for your care for us but not blind to what we can do to alleviate the pain around us
Saturday, February 26, 2011
How I have experienced Mary’s inspiration and encouragement in my own life first came to me when our son Jacob was diagnosed with cancer at age two. Jacob was our first born and our first born son, so I did not really know what it was like to care for a child or children. The night the doctors told us to rush him to Children’s hospital because we think he has cancer, my heart just sank, I cried and I felt it was the same tears as Mary’s when she sat beneath the cross. Then we were up all night and the next day when the doctors told us that our little boy, our son, our first born, did in fact have cancer, it was at astage 4 (the worst stage you can be at), his right lung was completely collapsed, there was a big mass in between his lungs and it was moving over into his left lung. I was in utter disbelief, again I thought of Mary watching her son being nailed to the cross. The very first time they had to take Jacob from our arms to do a biopsy, he was crying out Mommy and this stranger took him away, these big wooden doors slide open, there they went, the big wooden doors closed shut and I could hear his cry fade as they walked into the room. This makes me think of Jesus when he was hanging on the cross crying out to his mother and crying out to God, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. There have been so many times my son has been in such pain and as his mother the only thing I could do was hold him. That feeling of true vulnerability and helplessness made my heart connect with Mary when they brought Jesus to her after they had taken him down from the cross with all of his scares and she just held him and wept. These are examples that if I did not have Mary’s inspiration and encouragement to keep me going, on the right path with faith and trust in God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I don’t know where I would be today.”
(Lori Eyth, Cooperative, NE)
Friday, February 25, 2011
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."
"Blessed is she who believed..." One of the many things that I am drawn to in this account of the Visitation is Mary's faith. There are so many other questions that I want to ask: why did she go "in haste"? Why did she go to be with Elizabeth? What would it be like to be Mary or Elizabeth, filled with joy at God's work in me? By journeying to visit Elizabeth, probably on foot, is she trying to show all of us modern women that exercise during pregnancy is important? (Okay, that last one is a bit of a joke.) But amidst all these questions, my heart rests and reflects on Mary's faith in the "fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." That she would bear the Son of God. That the Lord would take care of her as she received His will and lived it out. And even more than these two, she believed His word of love to her. I'm not sure that Scripture says anywhere, "And then God said, 'Mary, I love you and am with you always.'" But that is what He says to all of us in our hearts, through the events of our lives, through the fact that we live and breathe, through the beauty of the natural world and the created individuals around us. So she must also have heard His word of love to her, and BELIEVED it. I hear His loving word to me so often, and I think it goes in one ear and out the other sometimes; I am so quick to forget that He loves me. I know this because I find myself basing my actions during the day on inner fear and insecurity, "I have to do this or someone will be mad." "I am going to take this for myself, because no one else is thinking of me or they would give it to me." How was Mary able to go visit her cousin Elizabeth in the first few, sometimes physically challenging months of pregnancy? Because her heart was strong and secure in the word of love that God had spoken to her. It reverberated in her heart, over and over again; I love you, I love you, I love you. I picture her looking up at the sky on the way to see Elizabeth, maybe noticing a bird that made her smile, or a shade of blue that delighted her heart, and remembering, "He loves me, He loves me, He loves me." Resting in this good truth gave her joy.
What is God's word of love to me today?
What good truth is He calling me to rest with inwardly as I go about doing the things He gives me to do today?
(By Heidi Emmanual, Pro Sanctity member, NE)
Thursday, February 24, 2011
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who is said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God." 38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
"What has always amazed me most about the Annunciation is how very few questions Mary asks and how completely full of trust she really is. When I am faced with something unknown or unexpected my mind immediately fills with questions and fears and 'what if' scenarios—and they are over much tinier things than the enormity of what Mary was told. The insignificant questions my days are usually filled with are things like 'What if the weather is bad?' 'What if the door is locked?' 'What if I get a bad performance review on the job?' 'What if I move too slowly or am not smart enough?' 'What if I run out of time?'
Help us take a lesson from Mary knowing that You can be completely trusted and that all of our days and situations, both big and small rest in Your hands."
(Reflection by Joan Kash, Pro Sanctity Member, NE)
"Notice the particularity of God’s action- Gabriel is sent from God, to Galilee, to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin in that town who was betrothed, betrothed to a man named Joseph, Joseph of the House of David, and the virgin’s name is Mary- and it was a Tuesday, at 2:33pm and Mary was working in the garden. So that last part is not in the Gospel, but the Annunciation did unfold on a specific day, at some specific time and Mary was doing something somewhere when it came to pass. The Annunciation was not on Mary’s calendar. It was not an event she planned, yet it was the most significant and fruitful grace ever received in all of human history. I am so grateful for Mary’s yes. I am so grateful that she was docile enough to notice and cooperate with the grace of the Incarnation at the particular moment God offered it. Mary is attentive and receptive in the moment. How about you? God comes to you today. He has a grace to give you. I wonder what it might be… do you? You may have many things on your calendar today, but the most significant part of your day will be the grace that is offered to you. I will pray for you. I will pray that you will be attentive and receptive to the Grace of God in the moment it comes, so that God’s grace will be fruitful for you, and for the whole world. Will you pray the same for me?"
(Reflection by Fr. Scott Traynor, Pro Sanctity priest friend, SD)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Annual Feast Day of Our Lady of Trust - March 6, 2011All are welcome to Pro Sanctity’s Celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Trust on Sunday, March 6, at St. Thomas More School Social Hall, 3515 South 48th Ave. Omaha, NE 68106, from 1-4 PM. Come listen and pray with Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls and well-known speaker and author, reflect on “Mary, Model of Holiness”.A rosary and refreshments will follow.A children’s program will be available also.Cost: Free will donation, please bring snacks to share. For more information contact Joan: email@example.com, 402-553-4418 or Teresa: firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-289-2670.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Dearest all. The brother of
il fratello di Palmira è tornato ieri, 3 febbraio, alla casa del Padre. Preghiamo il Signore della Vita perchè lo accolga nella bellezza del Paradiso. Preghiamo anche per Palmira e la sua famiglia in questo momento non facile. Chiediamo sempre il dono di una fede grande e di tanta consolazione.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Contribution by Fr. Mark Bridgman, Apostolic Sodalis of the Pro Sanctity Family
In honor of Catholic Schools Week, I’ve included the following story that illustrates the importance of all teachers.
What’s a teacher make?
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a