Nothing and no one can take us from the hands of Jesus, because nothing and no one can overcome his love. Jesus's love is invincible. The evil one, the great enemy of God and of his creatures, attempts in many ways to take eternal life from us. But the evil one can do nothing if we ourselves do not open the doors of our hearts to him, by following his deceitful enticements.
—from the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
✞ "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
TODAY'S FEAST DAY
NATIVITY OF THE VIRGIN MARY The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 8th, nine months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin's parents, St. Ann and Joachim, were an aging couple praying for a child. Mary's birth was miraculous, as she was conceived without sin (Immaculate Conception), an exclusive grace God bestowed upon her because she was predestined to be the mother of the Incarnate Son of God. The birth of the Virgin Mary ushers in the dawn of the redemption of the human race through Jesus Christ.
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
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Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saint of the Day for September 8
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 who 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.
Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading 1 Mi 5:1-4a
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." or Mt 1:18-23 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."
Meditation: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said. (Matthew 1:22)
When you watch a movie for the second time, you tend to pick up on details you missed at first. But you also risk losing the sense of anticipation about where the plot is leading; you already know how it ends. Something similar might happen when you read today's Gospel. As we celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary, we hear a very familiar story. We see Joseph grappling with Mary's unexpected pregnancy, and we see how their courage and faith helped them deal with the Incarnation.
Take a few minutes right now to imagine how Mary and Joseph must have been feeling at the time everything was unfolding. Their actions hardly resound with confidence. Mary was "greatly troubled" and quizzed the archangel about whether this was possible (Luke 1:29). Joseph, meanwhile, was ready to divorce her when he heard that Mary was pregnant. At that point, they wouldn't have had the chance to discuss their angelic encounters. All they could see were the scandalous risks involved with choosing to go forward. Joseph risked his reputation if he married a woman who carried somebody else's child. Mary jeopardized not only her chance of a good marriage, but her life as well.
Yet both said yes, and both did it alone, without even knowing the other side of the story. How confused and scared they must have been!
If Joseph and Mary had been able to see how their choices would affect the world, if they had been able to see how we would revere them, would it have been easier for them to say yes to God? Probably. But that makes it all the more remarkable; they made their choices in the dark, without knowing how everything would turn out.
That's how we make our choices too. Think about all the times you have said yes to the Lord in your life. You have followed him sometimes eagerly, sometimes in the "darkness" of suffering or loneliness. Like Mary and Joseph, your understanding of what God can do with your yes is limited. You do not know where God is leading you. But he knows what he will do.
Listen to his voice—what yes is he calling you to next?
"Lord, help me respond to you with the same trust that Mary and Joseph showed."
Micah 5:1-4 Psalm 13:6
"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. " Yesterday I was working on my trailer and had a coworker use a backhoe to lift a heavy part of it when something gave way and landed on my thumb and I yelled, took it out, wiggled it and knew it was broke. They took me to the ER and they took off my fingernail and Xrays verified it was broken. It throbs, and robs me of my right hand, and I am right handed. I asked "how could this be? I was supposed to help that evening play my guitar at a funeral rosary vigil and this morning I said I would play and sing at the funeral, and now, I can hardly use my right hand. And this weekend, I was going to a Diocese meeting on vocations.
My brother in law was outside the ER waiting as I got out, he said "it's the evil one" and I said, "God makes good things come out of bad things". The hard part, is faith. Mary, Mother, Happy Birthday! As I write in pain, I can only imagine her heart and soul's pains of faith, of living, breathing, and dying for Jesus. Help us Mother of God. We need that kind of faith. We need guidance now. We celebrate a life, a special life, the life that gave life to the Son of God. This Holy Vessel, this first tabernacle, this treasure of an ark of the New Covenant, is beautiful. God knows. And the beauty is the soul God sees.
Blessed are you among women, Hail full of grace, pray for us!