"Let all nations know that Thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture." — St. Clement
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Let us say boldly with St. Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is the most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, she is tender, she has nothing in her austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant. In seeing her, we see our pure nature."
— St. Louis de Montfort, p. 42 AN EXCERPT FROM True Devotion to Mary
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Queenship of Mary
Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary's queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary's Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary "mother of my Lord." As in all the mysteries of Mary's life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus' kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century St. Ephrem (June 9) called Mary "Lady" and "Queen." Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: "Hail, Holy Queen," "Hail, Queen of Heaven," "Queen of Heaven." The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary's litany celebrate her queenship.
The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus' redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.
As St. Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.
"Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest" Here I am, Lord. I come to seek Your presence. I long for your healing power.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instil in my heart a desire To know and love you more each day.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater. Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions you endure.
This is evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you are suffering.
We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5 R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations. Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations. For great is the LORD and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods. For all the gods of the nations are things of nought, but the LORD made the heavens.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Alleluia Jn 10:27 R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 23:13-22
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.
"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.' Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.' You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ For Mary the angel's message is a blessing; but very much a blessing in disguise. It is placing her in a very difficult position, socially, culturally, religiously, personally. She has to trust this interior movement in her heart and 'go with it'. And she does.
▪ In our lives too there are turning points where we may experience an invitation to embrace something difficult rather than discard it. Something which wrecks our dream for ourselves or for our loved ones. There's a need to discern the spirits.
▪ Is there release from something into another way of being: more open, more generous, more humble, deeper service of Christ Jesus.
▪ If it is disconcerting that does not mean that it is bad. What response would your better self give?
Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another. . Conclusion
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 23:13-22
The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)
You lock the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 23:13)
When you were a child, did you ever beg your older brothers or sisters to let you play with them, only to find yourself pushed away and locked out of the room? Eventually, Mom or Dad comes along and tells them to open the door and let you play. In this passage, Jesus is intervening just like that parent, and for something much more important. Through their teachings and actions, many of Israel's religious leaders were locking the door to the kingdom of heaven.
We may not be religious leaders, but we, too, have the ability to lock or unlock the door through which people can meet Jesus. When we are unkind or short-tempered, we close the door; when we are gracious and welcoming, we open it. When we sacrifice our time to be with someone who needs us, we open the door even wider. When we walk past someone who is hurting, we close it.
It's not always easy to identify ways that we close and open heaven's door, especially since we all live very different lives in very different situations. So try this to help you think in terms of your own life.
First, write down three of the most moving, convicting aspects of Jesus that you have learned about over time. It could be his mercy, his patience, his faithfulness, or any number of other things.
Next, write the names of three people whom you would say have most demonstrated these attributes of Christ to you. How did they make you feel? How did their words and actions help open the door for you?
Finally, write the names of three people for whom you want to help unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven. Using what you have already written, think of how you can do for them what the other people did for you. You can use the same strategies that they used, or you can develop your own approach—one best suited to the people you want to reach. Whatever you choose to do, let these role models be your inspiration, and ask the Spirit to help you be creative.
Let's be known as those who throw the doors wide open for people to come and meet Jesus!
"Lord, help me to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven."
We heard the word of the Lord "... your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater." And towards the end "We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him". Can you love more? Can you be loved more? Will you love more? Will you let yourself be loved more? If the answer is a yes, because all things are possible through Jesus, then let the answer be a faithful yes.
We prayed today "Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations." For great is the LORD and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods." There are deceptive practices being used to vie for your time, your talent, and your treasures...these are false gods calling out to you. I seen theatres that look like churches, and stadiums that are oh so welcoming to the crowds, wide open doors, and the small door to the church is practically empty. Yet this is the keyhole to eternal life with Him...choosing the path often not taken, at every moment of your life, and this is a call to holiness.
We heard the Lord coming into our lives "...you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter." Again, with the doors and locks, what's all this saying to me? Because the Lord is speaking to me right now, not those other people you may have thought about when He says "you hypocrites". Look at yourself sincerely. I dare not lift a finger for the Lord, and thus I keep the door locked. I am an obstacle, I block the door. In spanish there's a joking saying that says of a person standing in the way "la carne de burro no es transparente!" (Donkey flesh is not transparent!). Then you realize they talking about you and you move out of the way. And what does "moving out of the way" mean? It means let God's light shine, let people see the way by you letting them go first, letting them be first, letting them be guided to the Lord. In this world, churches are packed because they sing the "me me" song. They sing songs and preach sermons that make "you" the center, not God. And so, when our Lord says today "You blind ones, which is greater, the gift?" the gift meaning ourselves and our offerings " or the altar that makes the gift sacred?" The Lord Himself being the place of offering...the temple, the Heavens. By no means do I make myself Holy, much less the worthless gifts I offer the Lord. He makes them Holy. I've actually nothing I can offer the Lord to make up for all the good He has done upon that gift on the Holy Cross. And so, what can I offer the Lord?
How about sincerity? How about honesty? How about truth for the Truth? How about sincerity in Confession? How about honesty by word of mouth? How about living the truth and proclaiming the truth? The Lord sees your offerings and accepts or can reject them by the heart that offers. He can not accept evil, insincerity, dishonesty, and things untruthful. He accepts a holocaust of self, where others come first.
This is the atrocity of murder...taking the life of another. Not only blocking the way to Heaven but knocking people away. All because one is made greater than the other. Think about this next time your mouth spits out nasty words from the heart in vile language and gossip. Think about this next time your mind wanders into a sensual world of feelings, and self satisfaction. The Lord says every last word will be accounted for, and much more, every last thought.
Suddenly, the offerings become of value. Because we are bringing everything to the Lord our Heavenly King and Father.
Don't worry so much about being bad, but worry much about being good. And if you need some help with holiness...ask our Mother to help. Our Mother is a gift from God. She will know how to help those offerings become holy. God is all knowing and all powerful, powerful enough to make a Mother for Himself and offer that precious gift to the world. Someone that knows how to love and how to give. Someone that knows how to say "yes" and mean it and keep the yes in her heart forever.
At this moment, many are in need of prayer, and are idling. Their faith is idle. They are unmoved. Are you? I want you to be a mover and shaker, a waker of faiths, a fire starter, because the Lord wishes the world to be ablaze with His Holy Spirit. Do not focus on the bad but on the Good, and the Lord is Good and above all. Isn't He.....