We were blessed with a White Christmas! Here's a view out my back door looking out over the deck...
Merry Christmas - and peace to men of goodwill!
|Madonna of the Streets by Roberto Ferruzzi|
495 Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord".144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).145 144 Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.
145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
The Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God115. On New Year's Day, the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event: for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and salvation because "through her we have received the Author of life"(127).
We celebrate Mary's motherhood, Jesus Christ's Godhood, and the eternal connection between mother and Son.The solemnity of the 1 January, an eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with that which says: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners". [From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy]
The Holy See shares the profound aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has been designated "world day for peace". [from sec. 117 of the Directory cited above]
|Mary and the Christ Child by Raphael|
Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing,Ave, ave, ave, Maria, ave, ave Maria.
who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria, ave, ave Maria.
In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth, we thy children invoke thy fair name.
Ave, ave, ave Maria, ave, ave Maria.
Thy name is our power, thy virtues our light,
They love is our comfort, thy pleading our might.
Ave, ave, ave Maria, ave, ave Maria.
We pray for our mother, the Church upon earth;
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
"Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos)." --Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 495.The above statement from the Catechism succinctly states why we call her "Mother of God." The Orthodox church honors her as the "Theotokos" or God-bearer. I don't know about other people but I introduce the woman who carried me in her womb as "mother." I don't call her 'mother of my body' or "my bearer" because she did not create my soul. No, I call her "mother." In the same way, we call the bearer of Jesus (the second Person of the Trinity) the "Mother of God" for that is what Jesus is--God.
"For in the first place no common man was born of the holy Virgin; then the Word thus descended upon him; but being united from the womb itself he is said to have endured a generation in the flesh in order to appropriate the producing of His own body. Thus [the holy Fathers] did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as Mother of God." --Council of Ephesus, AD 431.It is a belief that was thought over, fought over, and decided very early in the Church. She is in reality the "Mother of God" not mother of an ordinary man or just His body. She bore the second Person of the Blessed Trinity in her womb.
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
The Church stated in Lumen Gentium (LG) (or Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) in chapter VIII, "Our Lady":"This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God..." I John 4:2
"The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and brought forth life to the world, is acknowledged as truly the mother of God and of the Redeemer." (LG 52)
[Mary is] "Redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son and united to him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the holy Spirit.
"Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. 'This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; [LG 57] it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:
At a general audience in October 1995, Pope St. John Paul II stated:
- Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son.' [LG 58; cf. John26-27] (CCC 964)
Mary is united to Christ in the whole work of Redemption, sharing, according to God's plan, in the Cross and suffering for our salvation. She remained united to the Son "in every deed, attitude and wish" (cf. Life of Mary, Bol. 196, f. 122 v.). Mary's association with Jesus' saving work came about through her Mother's love, a love inspired by grace, which conferred a higher power on it: love freed of passion proves to be the most compassionate (cf. ibid., Bol. 196, f. 123 v.).
|Annunciation by Murillo, 17th cent.|
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Mary's "Magnificat", Luke 1:46-55)
|The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity, Velazquez|
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." --Revelation 12:1
The logic of this title escapes a lot of well-meaning Christians. By virtue the fact that Christ is the King of the Universe, Mary is the Queen Mother. Just as Queen Elizabeth's Mother was called "Queen Mother", so Mary merits the title. And, like her title as the "Mother of God", "Queen of Heaven" is appropriate and true.We have a foreshadowing of this relationship in King Solomon and his mother, Bathsheba. Solomon had many wives because of the tradition of taking wives of royal families for peace and trade treaties. The nation of Israel wanted a king "like all the other nations" and they certainly achieved that. Who was to be his queen? His hostess? He couldn't have a favorite and cause strife in the royal household. Bathsheba, his mother, Queen mother fulfilled those duties. I Kings chapter shows an incident of someone coming to her to beg a favor of her son, King Solomon. It shows that she was the acknowledged queen; the one anyone should talk to if they wanted something from the king. In the same way we can go to Blessed Virgin Mary when we want to ask the King for His mercy and favor.
|Our Lady of Grace from an old prayer card|
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:41-45
"Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and humanity to a place after her Son, as the most holy mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honored with a special cult by the church."
"This cult, as it has always existed, in the Church, while it is totally extraordinary, it yet differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered equally to the Incarnate Word and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and is most favorable to this adoration. The various forms of piety towards the Mother of God which, within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine,...ensure that while the mother is honored, the Son through whom all things have their being and in whom it has pleased the Father that "all fullness should dwell" rightly known, loved and glorified and his commandments are observed." [both quotes from Lumen Gentium (LG), Chapter VIII, para 66.This is essentially saying that there has always been a following of Mary, but it has always come in second place the adoration and worship of God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
transitive verb 1: entreat, implore —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea; pray be careful; 2: to get or bring by praying
intransitive verb 1: to make a request in a humble manner 2: to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving
Examples of PRAY: 1. There's little else to do now but hope and pray. 2. The minister said, “Let us pray.” 3. He prayed that they would have the strength to go on. 4. He prayed that he would find a parking spot.
Origin of PRAYAny educated person can see that "pray" has had and still has more than one meaning. It is not just a wording meaning worship or adoration or praising God. What is that pray tell? No, I am not worshiping you.
Middle English, from Anglo-French prier, praer, preier, from Latin precari, from prec-, prex request, prayer; akin to Old High German frāga question, frāgēn to ask, Sanskrit pṛcchati he asks
|Pentecote [Pentecost] by Jean II Restout 1732|
"The Church becomes a mother, taking Mary as her model. In this regard the Council says: "The Church in deed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, by receiving the Word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life" (LG 64).
Analyzing this description of the Church's maternal work, we can note how the Christian's birth is linked here in a certain way to the birth of Jesus, as though a reflection of it: Christians are "conceived by the Holy Spirit", and therefore their birth, the fruit of preaching and Baptism, resembles the Saviour's.
Moreover, in contemplating Mary, the Church imitates her charity, her faithful acceptance of the Word of God and her docility in fulfilling the Father's will. By following the Blessed Virgin's example, she achieves a fruitful spiritual motherhood. (Pope St. John Paul II, Mary is Model for Church's Motherhood, Section 3.)St. John Paul II explained this point extremely well. The Church must imitate Mary's charity and "her faithful acceptance of the Word of God." There is nothing more important than having the Church as our Mother. We have God as our Father and the Church as our Mother. Those of us who have a true passion for Christ's Church are working hard in making sure the Church becomes more like Mary.
From the Church he [the Christian] learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary...." (CCC 2030)Mary was there from the first moment of His Conception, to every aspect of His public ministry, through His suffering, death, and burial to His joyful Resurrection. She was there in the upper room when the fulfillment of Christ's promise, to send a comforter, was fulfilled and the Apostles and Mary received the Holy Spirit. (See LG 58) She was there for it all and she is an example for us all. She believed His words; she believed His promises. She followed Him with the undying faith that we all should have.
"...the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues....For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father." (LG 65)She is the model for us in virtue and our call to her Son. If we were to model our lives after the example of Mary's complete giving of self to God, we, too, will be prepared to meet Him in Heaven.
|Immaculate Conception by Murillo 1678|
"To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace".133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace." [CCC 490; 132 LG 56. 133 Lk 1:28.]
"The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son".136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love"." 137 [CCC 492; 136 LG 53, 56. 137 Cf. Eph 1:3-4.]
"This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . .
"Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power." (CCC 969, 970)
|Our Lady of Kibeho|
|Christ commissioning St. Peter|
(Feb. 13, 2013)
Thank you for your time. I have been trying to resolve an issue I have with my Church
the Catholic Church for some time now unsuccessfully. I have made the observation that the
Church has come to accept the existence of the “homosexual person”. This I believe to be an
error the Church must correct.
I have communicated with a number of people in the Church over the past eight years
and have been unsuccessful resolving this issue. I do not judge anyone we all have the gift of
freewill and will all be judged by the Lord for our lives. However the Church does not have
freewill but has an obligation to the Lord to be consistent with the faith of our fathers and the
traditions of the Church.
I believe that human sexuality is a very complicated issue that I am ill equipped to discuss
with any level of competence. My issue is much simpler “Church 101” if you will. Sexuality of any
kind is only involved due to the nature of the change in Church teaching. The heart of this issue is
the Church’s handling of temptation.
Here is what leads me to believe that the Church has accepted the existence of the
This section of the Catechism 2357 I believe defines “homosexuality”:
“Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive
… sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.”
I leave out the words “or predominant” as that just makes the group size smaller and
clarifies the definition. This statement says that there is a group of people who “experience an
exclusive … sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”. If this group has an “exclusive …
sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex” they are incapable of being attracted to people
of the opposite sex.
2359 says “Homosexual persons are called to chastity” I do not see how this is not an
acceptance of the “homosexual person” who is fundamentally different than the “heterosexual
person”. I reject this idea.
In the daily readings recently I noted that 1 Corinthians 6:9 says:
"Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing
I use a Catholic translation and checked the Vatican site this quote is from the Vatican
The implication being that there are “non-practicing homosexuals”. “fornicators nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes” are not qualified as “practicing”. I do not believe
that Paul was familiar with the concept of the “homosexual person”. I do not believe it right
and just for the Church to change the Evangelists thoughts to correspond with its current
2357 says “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained” as far as I can tell this
is the only justification for the Churches acceptance of the “homosexual person”. To accept
something that is “unexplained” can only be done as an act of faith. As a Catholic I am
required to accept much on faith and I do. For me to accept “homosexuality” as an article
of faith it would need to be consistent with the faith of my fathers, Church history and tradition,
and in this case natural law. Since “homosexuality” is consistent with none of these I reject it as
a false premise.
Let me say I believe that psychology does wonderful things for many people. I also
believe that psychology is a soft science. Some in psychology say that God is a delusion. I
believe it is wrong to look at this with the rubric of psychology. I believe the correct lens is
morality. I believe God is not provable by design I believe God wants us to come to Him
through faith. A provable God and faith are not possible. If God is not provable then it is
reasonable to come to the conclusion that there is no God. My belief is rooted in faith and
the faith of my fathers as well as the Church. If one concludes there is no God then why is
one person’s morality better than an others and who is to say “same-sex behavior” wrong.
Since I believe in God I believe God determines morality. At my father’s funeral the Priest
said “If there is no God then life is a cruel joke”. I believe this to be true.
In communicating with a fair number of people in the Church over eight years.
Generally they fall in two camps. Those who believe as I do that the Church has changed its
teaching and accepts the existence of the “homosexual person” and those who don’t. Those who
believe that the Church has changed its teaching for the most part think that it should. A small
subset think that the Church should accept “same sex behavior” presumably in “marriage”. Most
say the Church has not changed its teaching.
I have been looking for the rational explanation for the Church’s action unsuccessfully.
All I have found are “self-identification”, “same-sex behavior”, “group think”, “political
correctness” and “false compassion” none of which is substantial enough to change Church
teaching in my view.
It is also clear to me that the normalization of this behavior in the secular world is well
underway. I believe that with Adam and Eve the Lord created the most basic unit of society the
family. I believe that same sex “marriage” is a direct assault on the institution. I believe that the
Churches acceptance of the “homosexual person” ties its hands while fighting this evil.
We all face innumerable immoral temptations in our lives and of course the Church has an
obligation to update its teaching as new things are learned. “Same sex behavior” is just sinful
behavior and the Church is cruel if it continues to tell people who engage in “same sex behavior”
that they are fundamentally different. It is my belief that this is the only immoral temptation the
Church tells practitioners that they are fundamentally different than others.
One of the Bishops who was kind enough to respond wrote “you may find it helpful to
review an earlier section of the Catechism, from #355 to #421 on creation, human dignity, the fall
and redemption. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you in your quest for Truth. ”. When I
asked if 387 and 2357-2359 are contradictory he did not respond.
I believe that the Church is making it harder for the lost sheep to find its way home with
this error. 387 says “Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin
clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness”.
I believe that 2357-2359 feeds this temptation. Everyone tries to rationalize their behavior. I know
that I do. I know of no other sinful behavior that the Church hands out a tool to rationalize the
If we lived in a vacuum I would be silly pursuing this but we do not. I believe the Lord
has purpose for his Church in the real world. I believe that action or lack of action by the Church
has consequence. I believe if the Church had stood up 50 years ago and properly said that the
“homosexual person” does not exist the reality of same-sex “marriage” in the secular world would
not be accepted today. I believe it is never too late to correct an error the Lord is forgiving.
I do not believe this to be a complicated issue but an important issue. The Church has
come to accept the existence of the “homosexual person” to teach something new is a change
of teaching. I believe this a profound change of teaching. I believe the Church does not disavow
the existence of the “homosexual person”
As a member of the Church I feel an obligation to the Lord to point out an error by the
Church if I see one. I also feel the Church has an obligation to the Lord to either correct the
error or explain my error to me the Church has done neither to date.
I believe that acceptance of the existence of the “homosexual person” is an evil pervasive
in the world today. I believe that next to spreading the Gospel in the world standing against and
exposing evil in the world is the Church’s highest obligation to the Lord.
If you can give a rational explanation as to why my observation is an unreasonable one
that would be helpful to me.
Thank you again for your time.