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Posts Tagged ‘Mary’


Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Projectjanetsuecarole 008[1]Sirach 39:13-16

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for All of God’s Works

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Lord, for bringing me the strength to re-think my words before I said something foolish.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, God, for sending me wisdom to avoid offending someone with my opinion.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Jesus, for encouraging me when I received terrible news the other day.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Holy Spirit, for pulling me up when I was at the end of my resources.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Mary, Mother of God, for your gentle, nurturing presence in my life.

The works of God are all of them good.

imagesCAU5R5A8Let me thank you, Lord, for world in which I find myself, for the people in my life, and for the many times you have protected and lead me on my journey.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you for your gifts of salvation and redemption, for your Word of promise that I treasure and share.

Let me put down roots, let me open up my petals, let me praise you, let me bless you . . . let me thank you, Lord.  


Images from: http://carolesegalsartblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/passion-for-painting-in-garden.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukgardenphotos/5431771702/

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Psalm 119

Our Portion

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God.

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God. This is Our Portion.

Remember your word to your servant by which you give me hope . . . My portion is the Lord; I promise to keep your words.

Last week we reflected on how Mary treasured the Word of God in her heart and body. We know that we are created in God’s image; we understand that we are dearly loved by God; and we believe that God constantly accompanies us through life even though we do not always sense God’s presence. This is our portion in life.

As we explore God’s word in Psalm 119 strophes four through eight, let us also examine what our portion is. And let us consider the lessons and promises that unfold.

Daleth: Selflessness – God invites us to take part in creation by living out the Law of Love. Do we accept this door that invites us to love?

He: Thought, Speech and Action – We see how me might answer God’s call: first in our thoughts, then in our words and finally in our deeds. Do we accept this challenge to believe in God’s promise?

Waw: Connection – Even if we try to deny our connection with God it exists; even if we turn our back on God, God continues to dwell within. Do we recognize the portion God gives to us?

Zayin: Woman of Valor – God enters the human race in the person of Jesus, relying on a woman of valor, Mary. Are we equally willing to accept God’s presence in our lives?

Heth: The Life Value of Run and Return – We sometimes fail to recognize God in the marginalized who live at the edges of society. Are we willing to run toward the poor, the sick and the outcast in our return to God?

Tomorrow, A Prayer to Rejoice in Our Portion.  

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Psalm 119: 9-16

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Treasuring God’s Promise

Mary kept the Word of God in her body as the pre-natal Jesus grew in strength. She also kept the Word in her heart with reflection and prayer. We are told that she pondered the verbal and physical message she was brought. She knew that she was to bear light to the nations. She also knew that she need only allow God’s Word to transform her life in order for her to bear fruit. She knew that trust in God alone was enough . . . and in this way she treasured God’s promise.

As we explore God’s word, let us also treasure the promise we know it holds. Today, let us reflect on the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the psalmist shares them with us. And let us consider what lessons and promises they unfold.

Aleph: The Paradox of God and Humans – God calls humans into creation.  How do we respond?

Beth: God’s Dwelling Place Below – Mary agrees to serve as the ark for God’s New Covenant.  How does she find the courage to say yes?

Gimel: Reward and Punishment – The duality we find in this letter reminds us that we are created with a free will.  We are free to choose a world of either/or, a choice that divides.  We are also free to choose a world of “and,” a choice that includes.  Which world do we choose?

Tomorrow, a prayer to fulfill God’s promise in us.


Adapted from a reflection written on the Feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary on June 16, 2007.

For more information on the painting above, click on the image or go to: http://robinandersonfineart.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-holding-baby-jesus-looking-up.html 

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Rembrandt: St. Anna the Prophetess

Rembrandt Rijn: St. Anna the Prophetess

Luke 2:36-38

Anna

She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.

“A fourth and final [Lucan] theme is expressed in Simeon’s word to Mary (apparently this occurs in the outer court where women were allowed).  Jesus will bring truth and light and will effect decision and judgment. However, in so doing he will face opposition and death. When Jesus comes to Jerusalem as an adult, the journey will be his ‘exodus’ (NRSV: ‘departure,’ 9:31).

“Simeon’s words are confirmed by Anna, a devout woman of advanced age . . . The two aged saints are Israel in miniature, poised in anticipation of the new.  God is leading Israel to the Messiah, but the Messiah will weep over this city because it did not know the time of the messianic visitation (19:41-44)”. (Mays 932)

Scholars describe Anna as having insight that most of us lack and she appears in this story to affirm the Messiah’s identity. She is likely 105 years old, lives in or near the Temple, and dedicates her days and nights to a life of service to and in God; but she is no doddering ancient. Robin Gallaher Branch describes her saying that “her lifestyle evidently invigorates her, for she is mobile, articulate, alert, spiritually savvy and unselfish”. (Branch)

Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, Anna and Simeon, servants, disciples, prophets, all announcing that openness and peace and joy have come to a people who yearn to be free, that light and courage and hope have come to a people who wait in darkness, that healing and consolation and union have come to a people who remain faithful despite their fear. As we approach the fourth Sunday of Advent, a time when we near the announcement of joy to the world because the Messiah is come, let us remember that we are Advent people. And let us, like Anna, be articulate, alert, spiritually savvy and unselfish as we declare to all that the one who saves is indeed come to live among us.


For insight into the importance of Anna the Prophetess, one of the Bible’s most unusual women, by Robin Gallaher Branch, click on the image above or go to: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/anna-in-the-bible/

Branch, Robin Gallaher. “Anna in the Bible.” Bible History Daily. Biblical Archeology Society, 19 Apr 2013. Web. 15 Dec 2013. .

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

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Friday, December 18, 2020

Greg Olsen: Joseph, Mary, and Simeon with Jesus

Luke 2:21-40

A Pierced Heart

This is a verse which is my consolation as a parent and particularly as a mother: A sword shall pierce your own heart, so that the thoughts of many may be revealed. When one of my children is suffering through an injustice brought on by no fault of their own, I ask them to remember that there are times when we suffer so that evil and corruption will surface. This does not make the pain any less; it does, however, give us a place to put the pain.

I also love Simeon’s canticle, the prayer we pray as part of the Night Office in the Liturgy of the Hours. It is a lovely way to be thinking as we put ourselves to bed at night. When I am restless during midnight hours, I re-pray this oration because it reminds me why we are here on earth: To know, love and to serve God.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

Your word has been fulfilled:

My own eyes have seen the salvation

Which you have prepared in the sight of your people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

And the glory of your people Israel. 

The image of drifting into sleep having surrendered ourselves to God’s beneficent will is a calming one.

The image of God performing all deeds openly and honestly is a strengthening one.

The image of God keeping true to his agreement with us is a reassuring one.

The image of the Blessed Mother handing her child in confidence to the wise and holy Simeon is a moving one.

The image of Simeon rejoicing at the gift of holding in his arms the world’s salvation is a joyful one.

The image of God’s love for us being so intense, so enduring and so true that it pierces our hearts so that our very thoughts are revealed to us and to others is at once challenging and heartening. It is generous beyond our expectations. For we each hold the Christ child in our own arms.

What a generous and trusting mother is Mary that she allows her heart to be pierced for us. What an awesome and piercing love is Christ’s that he remains with us, and that he persists in taking us with him back to the Father. Knowing this, we might surely walk in peace, even though our hearts be pierced.

Tomorrow, the faithful Anna . . .


This reflection was first written on November 5, 2009.

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Monday, December 14, 2020

jesus-lamb-of-god[1]Luke 2:21

The Naming

When the eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Parents devote much time and thought to the naming of a child but history does not record any conversation Mary and Joseph may have had on the naming of Jesus. As we see with the relatives, friends and neighbors of Elizabeth and Zechariah, many opinions may come to bear on the naming of an infant, but scripture merely records the fact that Mary and Joseph did as Gabriel requested. And the child’s name continues to resonate through millennia.

God says: When you come to a crossroad or feel pressured by others and you are at a loss for how to proceed, step away from the confusion and center yourself on your purpose. Call on me in times when others crowd you so that chaos will simply fall away. Place your focus on how your actions reflect the goodness for which I created you. Concentrate not on the opinions of others but on the integrity your actions will – or will not – have. When in doubt, call on the name of this one who is all for all eternity.  Call on the name of Jesus.


For more reflections, enter the words The Name of Jesusinto the blog search bar.

Image from: http://www.awordforyou.org/Encourage/?p=488

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Friday, December 11, 2020nativity-story-gathering[1]Luke 2:15-20

Reflections of the Heart

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Pain and happiness. Amazement and worry. Wonder and joy. A gamut of emotions in such a short few days.

Joseph and the child. Shepherds and angels. Innkeepers and oxen. Extraordinary companions for such a new mother.

God says: Mary is wise to ponder all things in the heart. It is from this pondering that she gains wisdom and fortitude. It is in this abiding with me that she discovers courage and patience. It is from her love of me that she finds persistence and hope. When Mary keeps these things in her heart she hides from no one; rather, she gathers a new strength for the journey before her, a fresh perspective of the past that lies behind, and a deep reverence for the holy present. Each moment of each life is as precious as the moment you read about today. Each moment of your lives holds more love from me than you can imagine. Ponder these things in your heart. Reflect on these things in your heart. And remember me.

Mary knows that the road she travels with this special child will be as fraught with problems as her journey to Bethlehem has been. She also knows that the shepherds who arrive in the quiet darkness have sought and found her small family by knocking on many doors in their determined search. Faith, persistence, endurance and courage. As Mary greets her son’s first visitors, she ponders these things in her heart.


To view a clip of the 2006 film Nativity Story:The Birth of Christ depicting the arrival of the shepherds and wise men, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lpv77EdxF4 

Image From: http://www.williedeutsch.com/the-hobbit-a-beautiful-story-for-christmas/

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Luke 1:18-19

How Shall We Know This?

I am Gabriel who stands before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  

Gabriel appears to Daniel (Daniel 9:21), Zechariah (Luke 1:19) and Mary (Luke 1:26) to announce good news from God. We too want to hear words that lift our hearts as we manage the complexities and challenges of living.

God says: My angels bring you constant messages although they struggle to be heard amid the cacophony of your lives. If you are able to find a regular quiet time – even if for only a few moments each day – when you will draw apart to open the door of your heart to me, you will feel the presence of my angels. You will also feel my own presence within you. How shall you know this?  Only come to me . . . and you will know.

The words of Psalm 138 remind us: I thank you, Lord, with all my heart, you have heard the words of my mouth.  In the presence of the angels I will bless you . . . I thank you for your faithfulness and love  . . . You increased the strength of my soul . . . All earth’s kings shall thank you . . . They shall sing of the Lord’s ways. 

How shall we know that God is great?

St. Paul reminds the Colossians: Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

How shall we know? When we create time for God in our hectic lives, we will come to know.


Enter the word angels into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: https://today.duke.edu/2017/08/medicis-painter-carlo-dolci

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Mary's greatness quoteLuke 1:46-55

Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. 

In the tradition of The Liturgy of the Hours the Magnificat is sung as part of Vespers, or Evening Prayer.  For the entire prayer, go to the Bible Gateway site linked in the citation above and explore the various interpretations of these verses.

God says: Imagine what I hear when so many voices are raised to me each evening with these words of Mary.  It is most pleasing to hear the babel of your many languages and even more pleasing to hear the petitions you lift up to me as you pray.  Do not worry if you find that the details of your life call you away at the appointed Evensong.  As best you can, pause for a moment to remember me and our Mother Mary who bravely stepped forward so that I might come to live among you.  Just say the word “Magnificat” with deep intention before you move into your evening.  I will unite your word with the other prayers that fly to me. Remember always how much Mary loves you as the sisters and brothers of Jesus.  And remember always that I also love you.

These words of Mary express the hope of all.  Let us spend a few moments of our precious time to unite ourselves with her and those millions of others who lift these verses to God each day as the evening closes in.


Image from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-of-Our-Lady-of-the-Magnificat/270422953001042

To read more about Mary’s own Prayer by Fr. John A. Harden, S.J., go to: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7340

To visit with a homily about this prayer by Msgr. Charles Pope and to reflect on an image of Elizabeth greeting Mary, go to: http://blog.adw.org/2010/12/the-magnificat-is-a-bold-prayer/

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