Msgr. Esseff reflects on Our Lady of Fatima and the power of the Holy Rosary. It is a tremendous peace in the world, as well in their own lives, should turn to Our Lady and her Holy Rosary. The way to the face of God can be found in the Holy Rosary and all the mysteries contained in this treasury of grace.
We discuss with Fr. Mark Cyza the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
For more on the Immaculate Conception from St. John Paul II:
HOLY MASS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 150th ANNIVERSARY
OF THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Wednesday, 8 December 2004
- “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1: 28).
We address the Virgin Mary several times a day with these words of the Archangel Gabriel. Let us repeat them with fervent joy today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, remembering 8 December 1854 when Blessed Pius IX proclaimed this wonderful Dogma of the Catholic faith in this very same Vatican Basilica.
I cordially greet those who are gathered here today, especially the representatives of the National Mariological Societies who have taken part in the International Mariological Congress, organized by the Pontifical Marian Academy.
I then greet all of you present here, dear brothers and sisters, who have come to pay filial homage to the Immaculate Virgin. I offer a special greeting to Cardinal Camillo Ruini. I renew to him my warmest wishes for the jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood and express to him my deep gratitude for the service that with generous dedication he has and continues to render to the Church as my Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
- How great is the mystery of the Immaculate Conception that the Liturgy presents to us today! A mystery that never ceases to invite the contemplation of believers and inspires the reflection of theologians. The theme of the Congress that has just been mentioned: “Mary of Nazareth welcomes the Son of God into history”, has fostered a deep examination of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a presupposition for receiving in her virginal womb the Word of God Incarnate, the Saviour of the human race.
“Full of grace”, “κεχαριτωµευη”: in the original Greek of Luke’s Gospel, the Angel greets Mary with this title. It is the name that God, through his messenger, chose to use to describe the Virgin. This is how he had always seen and thought of her, ab aeterno (from all eternity).
- In the hymn of the Letter to the Ephesians just now proclaimed, the Apostle praises God the Father “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1: 3). What a special blessing God addressed to Mary from the beginning of time! Mary was truly blessed among women (cf. Lk 1: 42)!
The Father chose her in Christ before the creation of the world, so that she might be holy and immaculate before him in love, preordaining her as the first fruits of filial adoption through the work of Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1: 4-5).
- The predestination of Mary, like that of each one of us, is linked to the predestination of the Son. Christ is that “seed” that was “to bruise the head” of the ancient serpent, according to the Book of Genesis (cf. Gn 3: 15); he is the Lamb “without blemish” (cf. Ex 12: 5; I Pt 1: 19), immolated to redeem humanity from sin.
With a view to the saving death of the Son, Mary, his Mother, was preserved free from original sin and from every other sin. The victory of the new Adam also includes that of the new Eve, Mother of the redeemed. The Immaculate Virgin is thus a sign of hope for all the living who have triumphed over Satan by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Rv 12: 11).
- Today let us contemplate the humble young girl of Nazareth, holy and blameless before God in love (cf. Eph 1: 4), in that “love” whose original source is God himself, one and triune.
How sublime an act of the Most Holy Trinity is the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of the Redeemer! Pius IX, in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus, recalls that the Almighty “by one and the same decree had established the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of divine Wisdom” (Pii IX Pontificis Maximi Acta, Pars prima, p. 559).
The Virgin’s “yes” to the announcement of the Angel fits into the reality of our earthly condition, with humble respect for the divine will to save humanity not from history but in history. Indeed, ever preserved free from all taint of original sin, the “new Eve” benefited uniquely from the work of Christ as the most perfect Mediator and Redeemer. The first to be redeemed by her Son, she shares to the full in his holiness; she is already what the entire Church desires and hopes to be. She is the eschatological icon of the Church.
- Consequently the Immaculate Virgin, who marks “the very beginning of the Church, Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle, shining with beauty” (Preface), always precedes the People of God in the pilgrimage of faith, bound for the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 58; Redemptoris Mater, n. 2).
In Mary’s Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter.
In the event of the Incarnation the Church encounters Christ and Mary indissolubly united: “he who is the Church’s Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church’s condition as spouse and mother” (Redemptoris Mater, n. 1).
- To you, Virgin Immaculate, predestined by God above every other creature to be the advocate of grace and model of holiness for his people, today in a special way I renew the entrustment of the whole Church.
May you guide your children on their pilgrimage of faith, making them ever more obedient and faithful to the Word of God.
May you accompany every Christian on the path of conversion and holiness, in the fight against sin and in the search for true beauty that is always an impression and a reflection of divine Beauty.
May you obtain peace and salvation for all the peoples. May the eternal Father, who desired you to be the immaculate Mother of the Redeemer, also renew in our time through you, the miracles of his merciful love. Amen!
Fr. Andrew Apostoli does a tremendous job covering all the varied aspects of the events of Fatima and the call of Our Lady of Fatima. He conveys the “immaculate” heart of the message, as well as tackling the “controversies” that have plagued the events over the years. Because of the prophetic nature of her messages, Our Lady of Fatima has been the subject of much controversy and speculation. In this book, Father Andrew Apostoli carefully analyzes the events that took place in Fatima and clears up lingering questions and doubts about their meaning. He also challenges the reader to hear anew the call of Our Lady to prayer and sacrifice, for the world is ever in need of generous hearts willing to make reparation for those in danger of losing their way to God.
Check out the book here
“As was so dramatically obvious during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Fatima in May, 2010, Our Lady’s apparitions in 1917 remain powerfully compelling for us today. There she was an evangelist, calling us to prayer, conversion of heart, and penance, pointing to Jesus and repeating her words at Cana, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ This book brings it all home.”
-Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history . . . Even now there is tribulation, in every conceivable form, and power threatens to trample down faith. Even now, then, there is a need for the answer about which the Mother of God spoke to the children at Fatima.”
-Pope Benedict XVI
Join Bruce and I as we discuss the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the wonderful Fr. Mark Cyza.
From Pope Benedict XVI 2005 found at vatican.va:
I am also thinking of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we recently published, in which the Word of God is applied to our lives and the reality of our lives interpreted; it helps us enter into the great “temple” of God’s Word, to learn to love it and, like Mary, to be penetrated by this Word.
Thus, life becomes luminous and we have the basic criterion with which to judge; at the same time, we receive goodness and strength.
Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?
The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us.
While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, “within” all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a “mother” to whom we can turn at every moment.
She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us.
On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.
1. What makes Mary any different than you or me? What if Mary had said, “No”?
2. How did the tradition of there being three magi start up if Matthew:2 doesn’t give a number of Magi? How did they get named? Basically, I need some more information on how this Catholic tradition got started.
Mark Hart is an author, speaker, director and teacher, Mark’s work both written and spoken, is known across the country and world. While he serves as the Vice President of LIFE TEEN, he is known to tens of thousands simply as the “Bible Geek ®” Mark passionately echoes the gospel to all he encounters. He is as deep as he is funny, and his love for his wife and daughters is second only to his immense love for Jesus Christ.
Visit Mark at www.lifeteen.com
Fr. Mark Cyza discusses praying with Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. He speaks of the history of the devotion., as well as, the importance of spending time in contemplation of the saving mysteries of our salvation. Fr. Cyza explains why should welcome the opportunity to pray with Blessed Virgin Mary and how she walks with us in her great garden of prayer.
Resources: Visit the Discerning Hearts Holy Rosary Page here
Stunning…simply stunning. I love “Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady’s Graces”! A beautiful and lovingly assembled collection of and meditations on the 13 principal Marian mysteries celebrated by the Church. From the sound theological foundations for our devotion to Our Lady to the reflections and teachings of the saints, Fr. Peter John Cameron, founding editor-in-chief of the monthly worship aid Magnificat, has given us a wonderful resource to deepen our walk with the Blessed Mother of God.
You kind find this book at www.servantbooks.org
Here is the extended web-exclusive edition of our “Inside the Pages” interview with Fr. CameronDownload (right click & choose “Save Link As”)
Mary Our Mother
It was during the crucifixion in St. John 19 that Our Lord looked down at Mary and the apostle John at the foot of the cross and said to Mary, “Woman behold your son,” and to John, “Behold your mother.” 1
Bear in mind here that Jesus is suffering the pains of the cross—He must be doing something bigger than simply asking John to watch after his Mother. John here is a representative of all of Jesus’ followers, and Jesus is giving his mother to all of us.
In Revelation 12 John describes his vision of a “woman clothed with the sun,” 2 who brings forth a male child to rule the nations and defeat the ancient dragon who is the devil. Verse 17 says that the offspring of this woman are those who keep God’s commandments and bear testimony to Jesus.
Friends, God has given us Mary, the Woman chosen from all eternity, 3 to be our spiritual mother and draw us closer to her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 – Jn. 19:26-27
2 – Rev. 12:1
3 – cf. Gen. 3:15, Is. 7:14; Jer. 31:22, etc.