Monday, March 25, 2019

⛪ You Have Found Favor...⛪

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We Are Called to Love

The love of Jesus Christ that leads to his willing embrace of the crucified earthly destiny that appeared before him is both a model for how we are called to love and a revelation of God's self-offering of control out of love. This model for how you and I are to love is not an invitation to masochism or some sort of foolhardy and dangerous behavior. Instead, it is an example of our willingness to accept both the suffering and the joy that comes with love. This revelation of God's self-offering or sacrifice of control tells us a great deal about who Jesus Christ is and what God is like.

—from the book The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering by Daniel P. Horan, OFM


clickable: The Following is from MorningOffering

†Saint Quote
"Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."
— St. Rose of Lima

"The queen bee never settles in her hive without being surrounded by her swarm, and charity never takes possession of the heart without bringing in her train all other virtues, exercising them and bringing them into play as a general his troops. But she does not call them forth suddenly, all at once, nor in all times and places. The good man is like a tree planted by the water-side that will bring forth its fruit in due season, because when a soul is watered with charity, it brings forth good works seasonably and with discretion."
— St. Francis de Sales, p.117
An Introduction to the Devout Life

The Solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25th, honors the profound meeting between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, as recorded in St. Luke's Gospel. On this day St. Gabriel announced to Mary Immaculate that she would miraculously conceive a Child by the Holy Spirit, the long-awaited Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. This is the moment of the Blessed Virgin Mary's great fiat of perfect submission to the Divine will. This day on which the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of His Blessed Mother is exactly nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th.

"Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me."
Psalm 86:11-13


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Annunciation of the Lord

Saint of the Day for March 25

The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).

Mary has an important role to play in God's plan. From all eternity, God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God's decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. Because Mary is God's instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God's grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God's grace. She is the empty space where God could act. Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.

Mary is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God (Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38).

Together with Jesus, the privileged and graced Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.


Sometimes spiritual writers are accused of putting Mary on a pedestal and thereby, discouraging ordinary humans from imitating her. Perhaps such an observation is misguided. God did put Mary on a pedestal and has put all human beings on a pedestal. We have scarcely begun to realize the magnificence of divine grace, the wonder of God's freely given love. The marvel of Mary—even in the midst of her very ordinary life—is God's shout to us to wake up to the marvelous creatures that we all are by divine design.


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Reading 1 Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us!"

Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11
R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.'"

First he says, "Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in."
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, "Behold, I come to do your will."
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this "will," we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 1:14ab

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.

Gospel Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"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 called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.


Meditation: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation of the Lord (Solemnity)

May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth is built over the site of what is believed to be the home of the Virgin Mary. In the lower level of the church is an altar with the Latin inscription Verbum caro hic factum est: "Here the Word became flesh."

Here. The Incarnation happened here, in a small town in Galilee. That inscription tells us that God became a man at a specific moment in time. He entered into the history of the human race, and his birth, death, and resurrection changed the course of history forever.

But think of this: Jesus also had a personal history. The moment Mary said her fiat, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and Jesus began growing in her womb. Mary gave birth to him and nursed him at her breast. He was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. He learned his first words from his parents. He followed in Joseph's footsteps and became a carpenter. He went to the synagogue each Sabbath and sat at the feet of rabbis.

You have a personal history as well—and because Jesus has become flesh, he has entered into that history. He lives in you—all the time!

Jesus is here with you as you read these words. He was with you when you woke up this morning, and he will be with you when you go to sleep tonight. He goes to work with you, and he cares for your family. Through every joy and sorrow of life, through every major and minor event, in all of your prayers for help and all of your words of praise and thanksgiving, he is there. And because he lives in you, he is present to everyone around you. He reaches out in love to everyone you encounter each day.

This is what our God has done for you. He will continue to do it for every person who says yes to God, as Mary did, until he comes again. So on this glorious feast, tell Jesus how grateful you are for his coming to earth, and for living his own personal history—and yours!

"Jesus, give me a constant awareness of your life in me."

Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalm 40:7-11
Hebrews 10:4-10



Lent is a new spring, the rebirth of an eternal life that rises anew out of the ashes of our limitless desire to be reborn to a life in Christ.
—Fr. Christopher Hartley
from Slaves in Paradise by Jesús García


Click to see the Devotional Calendar


"Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son...". Had the people asked for a sign? For the Lord had said "I'll give them a sign". Isaiah said "let us not tempt the Lord" for a sign. And so, a sign is still given, like when our Lord said "an evil generation seeks a sign...and only the sign of Jonah" will be given. And this coming from the son born of a Virgin. A fully consecrated 100% pure virgin for God....forever. To Mary, this was an act of God, an affirmation and confirmation of her Holy Desire to be totally God's. She embodies the spouse...the Wo-Man, only this time, she is the righteous spouse...of the image of what a Holy Church shall be. Pure. And His.

Let us pray: "Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!" I often wonder the eternity of ties, "what is the purpose of life...both now and eternal?" and I mean, what will be the point of existence? People in the world will dive into philosophy to expound and make something out of nothing. But God already made something out of nothing. He made you! Conception. He just spoke and it came to be. So, we've got the solution...we shall live for Him and breathe for Him, and love for Him. His will, shall be done. What's cool about this? His will can be accomplished through me and you! Amen?


"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus." God's favor on her was just that...her favor for Him. Two wills united, and something beautiful happened. His conception. What He desires. Can you conceive the thought? Nowadays, the antichrist is anti-conception...contra conception. Against His will. But shall be a people that seeks His will, amen? We are on the side of the Church triumphant and it opened up through the conception...God made flesh.

God has always been one for conception. And so, the immaculate conception conceives this day. She glows from this day out. They say a pregnant woman glows. That 9th grade student I saw pregnant a couple weeks ago, I seen a light around her. Life is inside. But what's funny, one of my godsons that I pray for very much, even before the crack of dawn this morning, when that young man would receive the Eucharist, he would glow too! Life inside. But now he doesn't glow, and he seems serious, not full of life anymore.

So what can we take away from the Gospel today? Holiness. Mary our Mother said ""Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then, the angel disappears. There would be no divine visits any more, she was on her own, perplexed on "what's next". So, she took it one day at at time, as a holy soul does in love with God. "This day I shall love the Lord...yes that's what I will do." I read a lenten quick line today that said ".... holiness comes from the humility of doing the next right thing—quietly and unnoticed." 9 months from today will be Christmas. Emmanuel will come true. God is with us, becomes true. A novena of months becomes true. For most, ideally, they'd like to live a novena of decades for our Lord. But what if God desires more? That is why He created the most awesome gift waiting to happen...eternity. A room for you. There, a true purpose of true joy awaits. The kind of joy that leaves no more questions in mind, no more doubts, and no more lacking. My dream of heaven is "everyone going to church". What does that mean? It means everyone is going to be one with God. And it starts here and now, like Mary. They say she was a consecrated virgin, basically raised in a temple. That was her home. There, the angel touched her. There life began. And it does so with you, and now.


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Random Bible Verse
Ecclesiastes 7:9 (Listen)

9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Thank You Jesus

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