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Thursday, July 26, 2012
Why the coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth gives us hope for eternal happiness.
What do you think of when you think of Mother Mary? Picture her and think about what comes to mind.
If you’re like most Catholics, you envision purity. You think of someone who is satisfied, comforting and sinless.
This is Our Lady; she is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Besides Jesus, she is the most influential person who ever walked the Earth. She was the one who gave God’s Son live.
A Look at Mary’s Life
An angel approached Mary and told her the Holy Spirit would impregnate her. Mary didn’t quite understand this but she knew whatever God wanted to give her would be something extraordinarily special.
While she was at risk for ridicule and even death because she never engaged in sexual relations but was pregnant, she took comfort in that the Lord would take care of her, which he did when he approached Joseph to calm his fears about Mary’s unfaithfulness.
This strength she had to take on whatever came as a result of her becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit and having faith in God to take care of her teaches us a lot.
Mary was happy. She was happy because she knew God was the one who controlled our Life. She knew that no matter what He wanted of her, it would be for the good. She took on whatever difficulties and despairs she had to, including seeing her only son crucified.
For this reason, when Mary died, she assumed into Heaven. This means that just like Jesus, her whole body and soul went to Heaven. She is eternally whole because of her strength and purity.
Her eternal happiness in Heaven is due to her work on Earth. Her faith in God and work for Him has led her to complete and utter happiness.
How Mary Influences Us
When we follow Mary’s life, by doing whatever we are asked to do by God, we live happy. We live a life that has a purpose, to follow God. We know that we were placed on this Earth for a reason and that is to show others we love them, just as Mary did.
People search for happiness in so many things. They buy expensive things, they do expensive things, but many of them never find the secret to happiness. That is most likely because they search for happiness in things. Happiness doesn’t come from what we can get, it comes from what we provide. Whatever we provide to others, we provide to God. When we give good things to people, we give good things to God. That makes us internally happy and that feeling lasts much longer than any possession.
Take a moment to think about the time you followed Mary’s example to show your love for others with no expectation of something in return. How did you feel? What was it like to see that others were pleased with what you did for them?
Take this feeling with you and do more so you can continue to feel this way. The happiness you have created for others is happiness you create in yourself. The same happiness Mary had and has eternally.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Why the Visitation of Mary Displays Charity to Your Neighbor
Have you ever had amazing news that you couldn’t keep to yourself? You probably had an uncontrollable urge to tell people. It might have even made the people you told excited too.
This is a lot like when there is a baby born. The proud mother and father are so filled with joy they can’t help but tell everyone they know, as they know the people they tell will be excited to hear about the new addition as well.
The Visitation of Mary
Well, this is what happened with Mary and why she ran over to her relative, Elisabeth. The story in the Bible is Elisabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. When Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, she was overjoyed. She was carrying the greatest miracle of all and she wanted to share the good news with her close relative and friend.
When she came to Elisabeth’s house, she told her the news. What Elisabeth experienced was amazing.
She says to Mary:
“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believe: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
John the Baptist, while still in Elisabeth’s womb, could sense the Son of God was in the room. He had the power to sense his presence and this made him leap for joy in the womb.
How magnificent is that?
So how does the visitation of Mary display charity? Mary came to Elisabeth to share joy. Joy is a wonderful thing to share with your neighbor. Mary was spreading happiness. She was bettering someone’s life by giving something to them - that is charity.
What to Learn from Mary
We can learn a great deal from Mary’s visitation to Elisabeth and it’s not only about sharing great news. While telling our neighbors about something wonderful is good to do, it’s important to keep in mind what our actions can do for other people.
When you go to someone, you should bring something that will benefit them as much as it benefits you. God wants you to be generous to others. He wants you to put others before you because you will receive great rewards in life and Heaven from the grace of God.
So when you have something that you know will make someone happy, share it. Helping the needy, less fortunate or those that need support is providing charity to them. You are doing what God wants you to do and that will please Him and in turn, please you.
Take a minute to think back to a time you gave something to someone but weren’t necessarily getting anything back. How good did it feel to offer charity and be generous? It probably gave you a satisfaction much different from when you do things just to receive a reward. This is what charity is all about. Make a point to do this more often and you shall feel this great sense of satisfaction much more in your life and feel truly fulfilled.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Why is Communion often signified with a wheat stalk and grapes?
As a Catholic, you most likely have seen the images of wheat and grapes in many of the reading material you’ve seen, especially about the Lenten season. Wheat and grapes often symbolize abundance but it has a much greater significance in relation to Jesus and the Last Supper.
The Significance of Bread and Wheat at the Last Supper
During the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, thanked God for it and then shared it with his disciples. The bread he told the disciples symbolized his body.
Wheat represents that bread Jesus shared with his disciples. Wheat is the most common grain to make bread.
It was related to Jesus’ death and his return to earth one day. Just as wheat dies each season only to come back the next one, Jesus has died and will return another time.
The Significance of Wine and Grapes at the Last Supper
Wine was the common drink during meals celebration. For this reason, Jesus had wine at his Last Supper.
He took the wine, presented it to his disciples, and told them to drink from the cup. He then said the wine signifies the blood he will lose on the cross. Every time they drink blood from that point on should serve as a remembrance of Him and his pain and suffering for sins.
The grapes signify this part of the last supper since wine is made from grapes. It’s also because Jesus felt that the vines of grapes stood for the work his disciples would do after he was gone. Grape vines are long, intertwine between each other and bear great fruit. He wanted the disciples to extend themselves to share what they know about Jesus to others so that they could produce great things in people.
Wheat and Grapes: Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Another significance of wheat and grapes is the overall image of food for the Last Supper. This was a time to eat, drink and listen to Jesus’ final words before his death. It was a calm, happy time, just as the image is of the wheat and grapes.
How Catholics Relate Wheat and Grapes to Their Life
Catholics receive the “wheat and grapes” whenever they take communion, just as the disciples did during the Last Supper.
By doing they reflect how they now have taken the body and blood of Jesus into their body
and will take it with them as they leave Mass and go on to live their life. They are reminded they should live their life in accordance to God’s Word. They are the vines that extend to bear great fruit in life.
How to You Can Increase Your Communal Experience
As you prepare to take communion, think about the Last Supper and imagine yourself sitting at that great table listening to Jesus. Imagine what He would have wanted from you.
Take these thoughts and apply them to your life in the coming week. As you leave church, remember the reflections you’ve made and keep them in the forefront of your mind. You will see how it will start to affect the things you do and say to others.
This is what Jesus wanted from His disciples. He wanted them to go on with life after His death and lead it in the way He would have if was still on Earth – sharing God’s message with people and helping as many people as possible.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
What is the role of the godparents to a baptized child?
Baptism is such an important event. It’s a time to welcome a new member into the Catholic church. It’s also the time all original sin is wiped away.
The godparents of a baptized child are very important to the Catholic upbringing of the child. They are the ones who will guide the child through the Catholic teachings. They will come together with the child to provide support in their life whenever they need spiritual guidance.
Holding a Hand to Lead to God’s Will
A parent has many responsibilities. She must care for the child, look after the child and teach the child many things in life. It’s not easy for one or two parents to handle.
God felt it was important that children have someone else in addition to their parents to enforce His words. Someone that has only one job and that job is to instill the importance of God in the child.
When children are born, they are highly influential. They learn about the world in everything they see, hear and do.
When children have a religious environment to grow, they start to take in many of its teachings. While it may seem very comfortable to the child as he grows up, there are times when he may have questions about the faith that are not easily answered.
Being able to turn to someone who has been living life according to the scriptures for many years, such as a godparent, can help the child face the challenges of life and understand what God wants of him.
It’s as if godparents take a hold of the hand of a child and leads them down the path of Catholicism pointing to all of the important things they must pay attention to and take in. It’s as though the godparents hands are extensions of God’s hands.
When a Child Struggles with Faith
Often times, children grow up to rebel against Catholicism. Godparents may have guided them throughout their life until that point perfectly, but the child ends up trying to disprove the scriptures.
It’s important for godparents to know that they have not failed in their role as godparents. They should not feel guilty or shameful of themselves or of the child.
What the godparents should do is remain a constant source of spiritual guidance to the child. It’s important to hear the child’s thoughts, doubts and accusations.
Don’t ever cut the child out of your life. He can always come back onto the Catholic path with your guidance. Being able to show him how a Catholic behaves and the good things that come out of that behavior is what can make all the difference. If you cut that child out of your life, you end up not influencing him anymore.
Cherish the Role
Godparents have a very special role. If you are asked to be one, cherish it. You have been given a gift. You are the most important spiritual person in your godchild’s life. Take a hold of it and do your best job. God is smiling down on you and appreciates all you do for Him.
Friday, July 13, 2012
If the Blessed Virgin Mary came down to you and asked you to create a medal in her honor, would you? Well, that’s what happened to a nun in France.
The Story of the Miraculous Medal
On the night of July 18, 1830, an angel came down to Sister Catherine Laboure. This angel was in the form of a child and told Sister to go to the chapel.
When Sister arrived at the chapel, she saw the Virgin Mary. They spoke for many hours. Before the end of their conversation, Mary told Sister that she would give her a mission.
That mission didn’t come until November 27, 1830 when Sister had a vision in the evening hours of meditation.
The vision was of Mary standing on a half globe and holding a golden globe in her hands. “France” was inscribed on the golden globe.
The rings on Mary’s fingers were flowing. Beams of light came off them. Mary told Sister the beams represent the graces she has for people who ask for them.
What’s most interesting is that Mary also had some rings with dark gems on them. These were the ones for people who need grace but didn’t ask for it.
This second apparition to the Sister did not go any further than showing her the half globe under her feet, the golden globe in her hands and the light coming off her fingers.
The third apparition is what the Miraculous Medal was made after. This time the vision was of Mary holding up the golden ball to the Heavens. The light remained coming off her fingers. Around the vision of Mary, the following inscription shown:
“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
The backside of the vision showed twelve stars with an “M” and cross coming out of it. There was also two hearts, one with thorns on it and one with a sword through it.
Mary then said to Sister, “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”
Sister Catherine went to her confessor and told him of her apparitions. He worked with her to create the Miraculous Medal, which was finished in 1832.
The Importance of the Miraculous Medal
Mary wants to help people. She wants people to turn to her to ask for help through life’s challenges.
Some people don’t do this though. They forget that Mary can help them. Instead, they turn to other forms of support that may not be the best in the eyes of the Lord. They may also turn to supports that won’t help them as much as Mary can help them.
Having the Miraculous Medal around your neck can help you remember that Mary is here for you. It helps you remember that she has good graces to give to help you through some of the hardest times. All you have to do is ask for it and believe in her to help you.
Take a moment to close your eyes and think about how much Mother Mary loves you. Think of her as another mother you have, who you may not see, but can care for you dearly. Invite her into your soul and ask her for your deepest desires. As long as you keep the faith, you may just see your life change for the better.