ST-Luke-5 – The “Blessed” Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 5 – Mary, the Neck of the Mystical Body Gives Her Fiat.  The Visitation of Blessed Mary to Elizabeth and Mary the Head Crushing Woman, and Ark of the New Covenant.

In this episode we turn our attention to the visitation of Mary to her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist.  Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth “cries out” (anaphōneō in the Greek):  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  Anaphōneō, “to cry out” with shouts of joy, is only used in the Old Testament when the Ark of the Covenant is present.  Furthermore, only two women other than Mary in Scripture are called “blessed.”  The book of Judges tells the story of Jael, who kills the enemy Canaanite General Sisera by driving a tent peg into his head.  In celebration of the defeat of Israel’s enemy, Deborah the judge declares: “Most blessed of women be Jael!” (Judges 5:24).  In the book of Judith, another enemy of Israel falls at the hand of a blessed woman.  Judith cuts off the head of the Assyrian General Holofernes.  Upon seeing the severed head of Holofernes, King Uzziah proclaims: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth!” (Judith 13:18).  Both of these blessed women, Jael and Judith, help preserve the line of Messiah by crushing the head of the enemies of Israel.  Likewise, the Blessed Virgin Mary bears the Messiah himself, Jesus, who crushes the head of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15.

There are striking similarities between the Old Ark of the Covenant and Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant.  The Old Ark contained the stone tablets of the law (the word of God), manna (the bread of God) and Aaron’s rod (the authority of God’s High Priest).  These contents prefigure Mary, the New Ark, whose womb contains Jesus, who IS the word of life, who IS the bread of life, who IS the authority of God on earth, the final High Priest of Israel.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

“Virgin Mary, all nature is blessed by you” – St. Anselm from the Office of Readings

From a sermon by Saint Anselm, bishop

Virgin Mary, all nature is blessed by you

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of man – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendour by men who believe in God. The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Saviour of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.”

“FEAR NOT!” The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary reflection and teaching by Msgr. Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the scriptures and the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He speaks of the power of the name of Jesus, the message of Our Lady of Fatima, and the many aspects which are contained in the mysteries of the Rosary.  He also talks about the legacy of Fr. Patrick Peyton.

For a free Mp3 audio of all 4 mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary visit here

The Holy Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary text and mp3 audio download Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30th 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.   

BKL#14 – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff –The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Msgr. Esseff reflects so beautifully about the Queenship of Mary…Queen of Heaven. He talks about the joys and peace of the heavenly encounter with our Blessed Mother and with the Holy Trinity. It is a very special reflection…not to be missed!


Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30th, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served as a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.

 

 

 

BKL98 – “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary”– Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and what death really mean.

Reading 2  1 COR 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He was ordained on May 30th, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA. Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world. Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders.

“The Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes” – St. Bernadette Soubirous from the Office of Readings

From a letter from Saint Bernadette Soubirous, virgin

(Ep. ad Gondrand a 1861: cf. A. Ravier, Les escrits de sainte Bernadette, Paris, 1961, pp. 53-59)

The apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes

I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads.

At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross but for the life of me I couldn’t manage it and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads slip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished.

I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course they wanted to know what I was doing and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn’t know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place….

The third time I went the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realise she was not speaking of the Gave and she indicated a little trickle of water close by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water but only at the fourth attempt was there a sufficient amount for any kind of drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home.

I went back each day for two weeks and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven she told me she was the Immaculate Conception.

During the two weeks she told me three secrets but I was not to speak about them to anyone and so far I have not.

COLLECT
Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness,
that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God,
may, with the help of her intercession,
rise up from our iniquities.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes Day 2 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Our-Lady-of-Lourdes-1Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception!” O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity. O dispenser of His graces here below, take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son the petition for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

DAY ONEOur-Lady-of-Lourdes
O Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, virgin and mother, queen of heaven, chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Eternal Word and in virtue of this title preserved from original sin, we kneel before you as did little Bernadette at Lourdes and pray with childlike trust in you that as we contemplate your glorious appearance at Lourdes, you will look with mercy on our present petition and secure for us a favorable answer to the request for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

HM-3 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

Episode 3 – “A Handmaid of the Lord – The Assent” – “A Handmaid of the Lord”: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on the Mother of God as described in her book “A Handmaid of the Lord.” In part one of our conversation on the work, Dr. Walker reflects on the meaning of “The Assent.”   We also explore  “The Finding in the Temple” and “The Rejection”  as events described by Adrienne in the book that helps deepen our appreciation and understanding of the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As a sheaf of grain is tied together in the middle and spreads out at either end, so Mary’s life is bound together by her assent. From this assent her life receives its meaning and form and unfolds toward past and future. This single, all-encompassing act accompanies her at every moment of her existence, illuminates every turning point of her life, bestows upon every situation its own particular meaning and in all situations gives Mary herself the grace of renewed understanding. Her assent gives full meaning to every breath, every movement, every prayer of the Mother of God. This is the nature of an assent: it binds the one who gives it, yet it allows him complete freedom in shaping its expression. He fills his assent with his personality, giving it its weight and unique coloring. But he himself is also molded, liberated and fulfilled by his assent. All freedom develops through surrender and through renunciation of liberty. And from this freedom within commitment there arises every sort of fruitfulness.

von Speyr, Adrienne (2012-03-09). Handmaid of the Lord (Kindle Locations 26-33). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth,” as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar,” a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe Day 7

Our-Lady-of-Guadalupe-with-Please visit the Discerning Hearts Our Lady of Guadalupe page for the text and audio for the remaining days.

Day Seven
Mystical Rose, your miraculous signs of Castilian roses in winter and your image on the tilma of Juan Diego led to the conversion of eight million Aztec people to Catholicism in just seven years. Mary, Mother of the Americas, intercede again for your children in the Americas, and convert the hearts of all who deny the sanctity of every human life.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory be …

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