Tag Archives: Virgin Mary

The Annunciation

St. Gabriel appears to Mary. The Annunciation, by Botticelli

St. Gabriel appears to Mary. The Annunciation, by Botticelli

Hail, Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!

Today is the feast day of the Annunciation, one of the earliest Christian feasts, the celebration of which dates back to the 4th century, although a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dates from the 2nd century.

The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of St Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.

There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The Old Testament prophets had hinted at His coming, which they saw dimly, but the Archangel Gabriel now proclaims the promise is about to be fulfilled.

The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to St Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, Mary did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature.

Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1: 35-38).”

In his Sermon 23 on the day of the Annunciation, St Philaret of Moscow boldly stated that “the word of the creature brought the Creator down into the world.” He explains that salvation is not merely an act of God’s will, but also involves the Virgin’s free will. She could have refused, but she accepted God’s will and chose to cooperate without complaint or further questions.

Thank you, Mary, Mother of God, for saying “Yes”!

See also “The Christmas Miracle: Scientific Evidence of the Virgin Birth,” Dec. 25, 2013.

H/t my dear friend John Molloy, Chairman of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition.

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: Veni Veni Emmanuel

Virgin Mary

Isaiah 7:10-14

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld,
or high as the sky!

But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”

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 conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

~Eowyn

To the Greatest Mother of All

Thank you for saying “Yes” to God when the angel Gabriel visited you on that day so many years ago.

Happy Mother’s Day!

With gratitude and love,

~Eowyn & Joan

Pro-abort lesbians attack Catholic archbishop

The time of the persecution of Christians is in Europe.

On January 13, 2013, 1.4 million Christians, including children and the elderly, peacefully marched in support of traditional marriage in Paris and were met with tear gas and batons.

On January 24, 2013, despite the overwhelming disapproval of the French populace of homosexual marriage, the socialists-dominated French parliament approved legislation authorizing same-sex couples to marry and to adopt children.

France protest1

Two days ago in Brussels, Belgium, an archbishop of the Catholic Church was attacked by four enraged pro-abortion lesbians who doused the priest with water from bottles shaped in the image of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

Leonard1

John-Henry Westen reports for LifeSiteNews that on April 23, 2013 at the ULB University in Brussels, Belgium, four topless women shouted and cursed as they attacked the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, by dousing him with water.

The archbishop, who was at the university to participate in a debate on blasphemy law, remained calmly seated with his eyes serenely closed in prayer.

The four women, representing the “feminist” pro-abortion homosexual group FEMEN, took to the stage where they disrobed to reveal black-painted slogans on their bare chests and backs, such as “my body my rules,” and “anus dei is coming.” “Anus dei” is their mockery of Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), a liturgical prayer addressed to Christ as Savior. The women also held signs reading “stop homophobia”. The women doused the archbishop with water from bottles formed in the image of Blessed Mary, the mother of Christ.

For most of the attack, which lasted a number of minutes before the women could be forced off stage, Archbishop Leonard sat drenched with water with eyes closed in prayer. After the ordeal, the archbishop reverently kissed the image of the Virgin Mary on one of the water bottles that was used in the attack.

Leonard3

Le Soir reports that one of the interveners said of the archbishop: “He was very calm and maintained a position of prayer. I have to believe he was praying for us.”

According to FEMEN, Tuesday’s attack was spurred by an interview three weeks ago where Archbishop Leonard said that when speaking to Christians who are inclined to homosexuality he suggests celibacy, as is required for all single persons.

The FEMEN incident is not the first time Leonard has been attacked for standing up for the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and expressing his concern for those who live the homosexual lifestyle.

  • In 2007, then Bishop-of-Namur Leonard was accused of an offense against the Belgian anti-racism act for calling homosexual acts “abnormal”.  He was cleared of homophobia charges in 2008 after appearing in court.
  • In 2010, as the new archbishop of Brussels, Leonard was targeted by homosexualist groups, and condemned by the country’s prime minister, for speaking the truth — that AIDS is a consequence of risky sexual behavior, including homosexual sexual activity.
  • Also in 2010 Leonard was attacked at his Cathedral by a man who shoved a cherry pie in the archbishop’s face.
  • In 2011, homosexual activists at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels threw a custard pie in Leonard’s face.

Archbishop Leonard has been a great supporter for the pro-life movement in Belgium, speaking at their inaugural March for Life in 2010.

Below are more — uncensored — pictures of the demonic attack on Archbishop Leonard (Source: De Standaard).

Eye bleach alert!!!!

Leonard1Leonard4Leonard5Leonard6Leonard7

Please pray for Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard and for the Church in Europe.

Our time, too, will come and may already be here. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago had warned us about the coming persecution. Alarmed at Obama’s war against the Catholic Church and against religious liberty, Cardinal George said “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

In the days before the November 6, 2012 presidential elections, Obama had urged his supporters to “vote for revenge,” while his malevolent senior adviser consigliere, the Iran-born Marxist Valerie Jarrett, vowed:

“After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.”

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us “put on the armor of God” and stand “firm against the tactics of the devil … on the evil day.” And “having done everything,” we hold our ground and “stand fast,” with our “loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,” our “feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace” and “in all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6)

H/t FOTM’s Christine Hall & MD Hobbit

~Eowyn

The Woman Conceived Without Sin

“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. She was with child and … gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.” -Revelation 12:1-2, 5

Mary clothed with the sun

Yesterday, December 9, the universal Church celebrated the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Since Mary is the patron saint of the United States of America, yesterday was also the feast day of our country!

Protestants, my brothers and sisters in Christ, are allergic to Mary, insisting on their mistaken notion that Catholics “worship” Mary when in fact we don’t. But Catholics do honor, revere and love Mary for she is the Mother of Jesus the Christ, as she rightly should be. Imagine how we hurt Him when we dismiss and disregard His mother. He respects her so much that, even though it wasn’t yet time for Him to begin His public ministry, He performed His first miracle changing water into the finest wine because His mother asked Him to.

As the mother of God, Mary must have been a very special and remarkable woman. Scripture tells us she was a virgin (see also “The Christmas Miracle: Scientific Evidence of the Virgin Birth”) and that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Still, it took the Church more than 1,800 years to definitively determine another of her special and wholly remarkable attributes.

On December 8, 1854, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

In other words, Mary was conceived without sin — thus, the Immaculate Conception.

But you don’t have to take Pius IX’s word on this. We can deduce this ourselves, with the help of science.

Are you ready to put your thinking caps on and take a trip in logic, reason, and science with me?

Here we go . . . .

1. Scripture tells us that, as a result of our first parents’ disobedience of God’s explicit command because they wanted to be “as gods,” Adam and Eve’s offspring — all human beings — are born with the Original Sin. We are each born with concupiscence — an inclination toward evil, which renders us “tinder for sin” (fomes peccati).

2. Translated into the language of modern science, “born with the Original Sin” can only mean this concupiscence is biologically INHERITED. That in turn means it is transmitted from parents to child through all the generations via some genetic code or DNA.

3. Jesus, being God Himself (Son of the Father and the Second Person of the Trinity), by definition is without sin and without the Original Sin, for He is all good.

4. But the Second Person of the Trinity so loves us that He chose to become incarnate as a human being, to be born of a human mother, and to suffer and die for our redemption and salvation.

5. Since a baby is formed in the mother’s womb out of her very blood and tissue, the human mother of the incarnate God must be free of the primeval stain of Original Sin that is the genetic inheritance of every human. That means Mary could not have transmitted the concupiscence DNA to Jesus, which implies she herself did not have the Original Sin genetic marker, which is another way of saying she was conceived without sin.

Now we come to the Science part of our exercise in reasoning….

6. In 1979, researchers at Stanford University made a shocking discovery: They found a pregnant mother’s blood containing cells with Y sex chromosomes. Since women only have X chromosomes, they concluded that the cells must have entered into her body from the male baby she carried within her. That discovery began a new field in science — the study of fetal cell microchimerism.

As recounted by science writer Jena Pinctott in her October 2011 book, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy, “During pregnancy, cells sneak across the placenta in both directions. The fetus’s cells enter his mother, and the mother’s cells enter the fetus.” How amazing is that?

More amazing still is that one kind of fetal cells that enter into the mother’s body is the baby’s stem cells, which can “morph” into other types of cells through a process called differentiation. The baby’s fetal stem cells can actually become the mother’s own cells that make up her liver, heart, or brain. More than that, there is evidence that fetal cells may offer the mother increased resistance to certain diseases. (Read more about this in my post of Jan. 15, 2012, “Baby in womb protects mom from disease.”)

There you have it: During her pregnancy, across the placenta Mary’s cells entered into baby Jesus and baby Jesus’ cells entered into Mary, and baby Jesus’ stem cells became the cells of Mary’s liver, heart, and brain.

God and woman became one.

That is why I honor, revere, and love very much our Blessed Mother Mary with all my heart.

“Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.” -Revelation 12:17

~Eowyn

Replacing Hate with Love

In the spirit of the season, I removed the controversial post entitled “Why They Hate Us”  to replace it with something more in keeping with the season. 

In this case, I found a wonderful song and had to find images to do justice to the subject.  When you watch the video, remember the composer, Jed Santa Maria, is singing.  I believe the words to his song are truly inspired. 

The artwork by James Tissot (1836-1902) is from a 124 piece watercolor series he did on “The Life of Christ.”  More of his work can be found at the Brooklyn Museum website that held an exhibition of his work in 2009. 

Watch full screen.

Religious faith is most powerful non-medicine against pain

Many of us are afflicted with chronic pain. Last year, a poll by the American Osteopathic Association found that nearly 70% of Americans say they or someone they care for experienced pain in the previous month. 48% of respondents do not believe that proper treatment can ease chronic pain; 41% believe pain is simply a part of aging; while 34% believe that the side effects of pain medications are worse than the pain itself.

But researchers have found pain reducers that are not opiates or pharmaceuticals. The website “Cracked” has an article on 6 things other than drugs which can reduce pain. Beginning with the least, the six are:

#6. Money: An experiment in China found that just touching money makes us feel better. Those subjects in the experiment who had just handled a stack of bills before plunging their hands into very hot water for a short period of time, showed a higher pain threshold than those who had just handled blank paper. Even though the first group didn’t think they would get to keep the money, simply being in physical contact with it made them feel less pain.

#5. Eating: We all have comfort foods that we turn to when we are stressed, but eating also helps in alleviating pain — at least for a while. Come to think of it, that may explain the explosion of obesity in our society of plenty where even those our government defines as “poor” are over weight.

#4. Music: Listening to your favorite music enables you to tolerate up to twice your normal threshold of pain. A study of people with chronic pain and those in long-term hospital stays found that listening to their favorite music dramatically decreased the pain they were feeling.

#3. Imagination: According to a study on stomach pains, getting a child to imagine that s/he is floating on a cloud is a more effective pain reliever than prescription drugs.

#2. Touch: One study found that touching our own wounds helps our bodies deal with pain as it allows our brains to better “map out” the part of our body that’s hurting. The more information the brain gets about the pain’s location, the better it can process and effectively deal with the pain.

And now the most powerful, Number One non-drug pain-reducer….

#1. Religious Faith

Researchers found that those who are religious handle pain better. In the study, devout Catholics are better able to withstand electrical shocks than atheists or agnostics. Participants of all beliefs were told to look at two different paintings while their hands were being shot up with electricity. Those who were Catholic reported less pain when looking at a painting of the Virgin Mary as opposed to a painting of some woman by Leonardo da Vinci. Atheists and agnostics did not feel any pain relief no matter what painting they looked at. Test subjects who were religious showed increased brain activity, while non-religious subjects had no increased brain activity.

My best friend and this blog’s co-founder, Joan, certainly can attest to the power of faith.

She has chronic excruciating pain from degenerative disk disease, fibromyalgia, and severe osteoarthritis. She describes her pain as “like someone jabbing a knife into my spine.” Despite that, she is cheerful and lives an active full life as a homemaker, having retired from being an administrative law judge. She cooks and cares for her husband, 7 cats, 1 parrot, and a turtle. She is active in her parish, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, and regularly cooks meals for tens of people. She tells me she is able to do all that because of her great love for the Triune God, and offers her pains as redemptive suffering to Christ.

At times when her pain is particularly bad, Joan finds comfort by gazing at the picture of the Divine Mercy which I had given her when she was hospitalized for total-knee replacement surgery 5 years ago.

Divine Mercy of Christ

As serendipity has it, today is Divine Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter. St. Faustina was assured by Jesus that all who receive of the Holy Sacraments today will have full remission of their sins and punishments.

“[T]hough your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” -Isaiah 1:18

~Eowyn