Monday, September 8, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid

Untitled document

Minute Meditations

Mary's Purpose Minute Meditations
We should let no day pass without getting closer to Mary. She knows our needs, and her maternal heart wants to love and care for us. Like the moon that points gratefully to the sun for its light, Mary's purpose is to point us to Jesus and the Church and the needs of others.
— from Holding Jesus

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
 Listen to Audio

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 (nine months earlier).

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.

St. Augustine (August 28) 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.


"Today the barren Anna claps her hands for joy, the earth radiates with light, kings sing their happiness, priests enjoy every blessing, the entire universe rejoices, for she who is queen and the Father's immaculate bride buds forth from the stem of Jesse" (adapted from Byzantine Daily Worship).

Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God
audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection

The Word of God

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.

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 Emmanue

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."


Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Behold, the virgin shall be with child. (Matthew 1:23)

For centuries, God had been promising his people a savior, one who would "shepherd his flock" and whose greatness would "reach to the ends of the earth" (Micah 5:3). So over the generations, countless Jews waited, trusting that God's promises would be fulfilled. That's why the birth of Mary was such a momentous event: it signaled the time of fulfillment.

The Church has celebrated Mary's birth since the sixth century, not only to honor her as the Mother of God but also to mark a unique moment in salvation history. As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council put it, "After a long period of waiting, the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Zion, and the new plan of salvation is established" (On the Church, 55).

Today's feast tells us that God always keeps his promises. Mary and Joseph knew this truth. What a shocking message the angel Gabriel delivered when he told Mary that she, a virgin, was to bear God's Son! She didn't know how it would happen, yet she believed. When Joseph learned in a dream that Mary's child was conceived through the Holy Spirit, he too trusted God's word and acted in faith by marrying her. And neither of them was disappointed.

Today is a great day to rejoice in God's faithfulness and love. It's a day to celebrate that love as it was manifested in the Virgin Mary. We see that love in every episode of her life. Naturally, we want to honor her for saying yes to the angel at the Annunciation. But that yes was the culmination of years of humble openness to the Lord. And for all those years, we should rejoice and praise the Lord.

Today is also a great day to imitate Mary with our own yes to God. It's a great day to tell him that we want to try our best to follow Mary's example. We may not be perfectly sinless, but Christ still lives in us. Let's honor him today by taking his mother's advice: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5).

"Lord, give me the grace to believe that you will fulfill all your promises in my life. Mary, pray for me to have the same trust that you had."


Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 13:6


I'm just going to pour out my whine, because this morning in trying to help run the family construction business, work has been getting very slow, but that is coupled with my duty as a director for a Men's Cursillo that needs much prayer and men, candidates for it to come to fruition, and that coupled with my other duty of in the same month as the Cursillo, I'm trying to be director of our parish festival.  All of these consume my mind.  Do you remember what our first scripture was about?  It's fuzzy in mine, so I will recap, bear with the whine;  In today's 1st Holy Scripture, we read about how there would come from Bethlehem the Ruler, the Prince of Peace.  This from a town, not even big enough to be counted in Judah, the smallest.  The meek shall inherit the earth, from this bleek post.  This little town of "bread" would bring the true bread, our hope, and our salvation.  We prayed  the Psalm "With Delight I Rejoice In The Lord".  They finished a rosary for a priest I grew up with as an altar boy last night and people started shuffling off to leave when a lady burst out with a song I had hoped they would sing "I Got that Joy Joy Joy Joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!"  LOL, one of the other lyrics I remembe Father (monsignor) Xavier Frey sing was "and if the devil doesn't like he can sit on a tack, OUCH! " and I guess Fr. Frey sang it everywhere he went because they started singing it.  We rejoice with delight in the Lord.  And then we read the Holy Gospel, about the lineage of Jesus, what about like 40 generations to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ right?  And it came through God and Mary.  And today we celebrate her birthday.  "But wait just a darn minute there Mr. Adrian, how can you celebrate a birthday when not knowing the actual birth day?"  Such is a question my anti-catholic brother in law makes to us on Christmas and the date of birth of Jesus (oh my brother in law no longer wishes to be called anti-catholic).  Easy, we pick a day most fitting and make that day dedicated to the birth day, much like when our kid's birthday comes in the middle of the week and we move the celebration to some other, more fitting day...that's how.  I digress.  Mary comes into the world, like a miracle, her parents were said to have been barren, couldn't have a child.  And her only child, even more of a miracle, because God touched her soul in a way nobody on earth will ever know.  Hence forth, she the mother of Jesus, said "for generations now, people will call me Blessed".  And she, to this day, two thousand years later just about, is called the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary.  So special is she to us first Christians the Catholics, and why? Because God made her that way.  Rejoice Mr. Adrian and my child, rejoice!  So why did I starte with my whine?  Because, truth is, I have faith.  I have hope.  I know that I can count on Christ, just like He is counting on me.  I know that if I just mention something, in faith, it comes to be.  I mention it because 2/3 of my worries right now are for the Lord and His Kingdom.  I know they will come to fruition, for now, patience and trust and live right the Gospel.  Sounds like the exact things Mary our Mother did.  She had to trust when she was told "you will bear a son" the Son of God!  WHOA!  That moment must've brought on a tremendous light in her life, because it was spoken, and it came to be.  The same thing happens with the wine, and the bread (remember the city of bread? Bethlehem?).  A Catholic Priest speaks and it comes to be upon the Holy Altars across the world.  What comes to be?  Jesus.  The hope, the peace, and the joy...our Salvation.  This is what happens to a Christian, they suffer with Joy.  I would hope that all one day would experience this JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart.  I heard a priest say one time "don't get involved with too many things, you might get burned out".  He wouldn't say it if it were not true, but I want to add to that this day that we will have a funeral for the priest I grew up with and travelled the country with alone as a boy;  you will not get burned out, so long as that joy does not burn out...and our joy is Jesus.  Archbishop Fulton sheen recommended priests to spend one hour a day in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  The world would be full of joy if every Christian spent one hour alone with Jesus every day.  And so it boils down to the few that will, and WILL.  The light will not burn out.  The joy will not burn out.  Father Frey's joy never burned out, even as he struggled with pancreatic cancer the last few days of his life.  We suffer with joy, means we suffer with Jesus, and that fills our hearts in a way nobody will ever know.  This joy can not be replaced the way He fills.  And it is fitting, because my whine has been consumed with His wine, His love and joy...His very body and blood...Soul and Divinity....
Subscribe to the Going4th mailing list.