"You are asking for something that would be harmful to your salvation if you had it—so by not getting what you've asked, you really are getting what you want." — St. Catherine of Siena
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "What really hurts is not so much suffering as the fear of suffering. If welcomed trustingly and peacefully, suffering makes us grow. It matures and trains us, purifies us, teaches us to love unselfishly, makes us poor in heart, humble, gentle, and compassionate toward our neighbor. Fear of suffering, on the other hand, hardens us in self-protective, defensive attitudes, and often leads us to make irrational choices with disastrous consequences." — Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 47 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Freedom
click to go there
Post by Fr. Don Miller, OFM Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Saint of the Day for September 8
The Story of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Church has celebrated Mary's birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.
Scripture does not give an account of Mary's birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child that will advance God's plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary's life from the beginning.
Saint Augustine connects Mary's birth with Jesus' saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. "She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed." The opening prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary's Son as the dawn of our salvation and asks for an increase of peace.
We can see every human birth as a call for new hope in the world. The love of two human beings has joined with God in his creative work. The loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with travail. The new child has the potential to be a channel of God's love and peace to the world.
This is all true in a magnificent way in Mary. If Jesus is the perfect expression of God's love, Mary is the foreshadowing of that love. If Jesus has brought the fullness of salvation, Mary is its dawning.
Birthday celebrations bring happiness to the celebrant as well as to family and friends. Next to the birth of Jesus, Mary's birth offers the greatest possible happiness to the world. Each time we celebrate her birth, we can confidently hope for an increase of peace in our hearts and in the world at large.
The LORD says: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, And the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.) He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
Or Rom 8:28-30 Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 13:6ab, 6c R. (Isaiah 61:10) With delight I rejoice in the Lord. Though I trusted in your mercy, let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord. Let me sing of the LORD, "He has been good to me."
R. With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise; from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 1:1-16, 18-23
The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king.
David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The genealogy of Jesus is sometimes considered a difficult passage of Scripture to comprehend. A question that this passage raises is: Was God less with the Jews in their defeats and subjection than he was in their glory days? Do I believe that God is as close to me when I am in difficulties than when all is seemingly well?
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
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 1:1-16, 18-23
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus. (Matthew 1:21)
Do you think the Virgin Mary had a "bucket list"?
A bucket list is a popular trend in which people make a list of goals that they want to accomplish before they die: things like writing their life story, visiting a foreign city, or going skydiving.
It's hard to imagine what Mary's bucket list may have contained. It's likely that she had some goals in life, even if they were just dreams of how her life would progress once she and Joseph were wedded. Yet as we celebrate Mary's birthday today, we can see that her greatest accomplishments happened when she put aside her own goals and said yes to whatever was on God's bucket list for her.
We know that it wasn't always easy. Mary probably never anticipated an early pregnancy or having to flee to Egypt or watching her only child die a criminal's brutal death. But then again, she probably never expected that she would have a front-row seat to hundreds of miracles, to her son's resurrection, or to the world-changing descent of the Holy Spirit.
Mary shows us that saying yes to God's plan for our lives can be far more rewarding—and surprising—than any list we could ever come up with. Of course, there are challenges that we might never have imagined, but they are far outweighed by the adventure, the excitement, and even the fun that come from having a living relationship with almighty God. You never know exactly where he's going to lead you. You never know exactly what he might ask you to do. But you can be sure that following him will bring you untold blessings, just as it did for Mary.
Today, take some time to honor Mary as the woman who shows us how to say yes to God's plan. Thank her for her openness to God and her willingness to trade in her bucket list for his. And above all, trust that God has nothing but good planned for you.
"Father, come and strengthen me to be more like Mary: to ponder your word in my heart, to be open to your plan for my life, to love your Son, and to sing your praises every day."
"You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times." If in the beginning, God made the earth and it was "Good", and we call it "mother earth", and Adam was born from the mother that was Good, then Adam was good and from Adam came Eve, the eve of mankind. Eventually, though, a new Eve would be born, and this is the mother of God, returning to God what is good...and our Lord was born from Mother Mary.
We prayed today "With delight I rejoice in the Lord." and "Let me sing of the LORD, "He has been good to me". Let me sing of the Lord and all His goodness. He has always been good to me...have I failed to be good to Him? We all have failed, but we have all been redeemed. God in His infinite goodness became Man, and let Himself be tortured by our sins and hatred, so that you may see that He loves us. He loves to an extreme. He loves like no other possible human being. Of this I will speak from the book I recommend you buy and so often meditate "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas Kempis, keep in mind the Mother of God as I share the following:
"Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger, nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven or on earth; for love is born of God and can find its rest only in God above all He has created. 4. Such lovers fly high, run swiftly and rejoice. Their souls are free; they give all for all and have all in all. For they rest in One Supreme Goodness above all things, from Whom all other good flows and proceeds. They look not only at the gifts but at the Giver, Who is above all gifts. Love knows no limits, but is fervent above all measure. It feels no burden, makes light of labor, desiring to do more than it is able. Nothing is impossible to love, for it thinks it can and may do all things for the Beloved.......Love is submissive and obedient to authority, mean and despicable in its own sight, devout and thankful to God. Love always trusts and hopes in God, even when it lacks fervor; for there is no living in love without some sorrow or pain. 8. Those who are not always ready to suffer and to stand disposed to the will of their Beloved are not worthy to be called lovers; for lovers must gladly embrace all hardship and bitter things for their Beloved, and never allow themselves to turn away from HIM by adversity. "
Isn't that awesome? Mary embodies the "Lover" in so many ways. She is the spouse of Joseph, she is the person in Whom God embeds Himself, embodies Himself. And so, her birth, is remembered, a treasure, a gem, a beautiful jewel and not just a "tool" as so many make her out to be. Happy Birthday Beautiful Mother, I love you for having so often aided me in loving Jesus more. For those that want to love Jesus, God more than right now, grab a hold of our Mother in Heaven. She is the Lover of God. So sad that "lover" on earth means to many the one whom you are involved in an affair, but the affairs of Christ are not of this world. Joseph was afraid when he found out Mary was pregnant. She was probably this 15 year old girl He was supposed to marry, he was probably this late 20s or 30's man, but a righteous man, meaning holy. He was afraid to be called the father of the son of God, he thought himself not worthy. Because the angel said to him "Do not be afraid". Jesus is then born saying "Do Not Be Afraid" many times over, repeating what the Word of God said from the beginning. Because from the beginning it was made good, and we shall culminate in one way or the other into the will of God. I desire for me and you to be the Lover of Christ, the lover of God. There are two images in the world left imprinted from Heaven. One, the shroud of Turin, where the man believed to be Jesus is almost six foot tall, and the second print from Heaven is our Mother imprinted in a cloth of a peasant indian, Our Lady of Guadalupe, where the young girl there is about 15 years old and the image is under 5 ft. tall. This small person gave birth to this large person. It is to say "He must increase, I must decrease" as St. John says in the John 3:30. Mother of God, what a most humbling honor, that to this day we can not fathom the greatness of that humility. That to this day, we can yell "she wasn't nothing" and she rejoices in it...because humility will accept the buffet of an onslaught of atrocities...as Christ, and still rise and say "I love you anyway". When you get tired of sinning, if you ever do, you will give up your life. The mother of God knew only Love. She was and is an extreme "Lover", one who loves, one who is compassionate, one who is meek, and humble. If I could only love Jesus like that...and this is why I turn to her in my prayers...