Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
St. Mary
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:50)

Ettu Nombu Special - 3

Volume 3 No. 163 September 3, 2013

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Inspiration for Today: Jesus' Joy

If you're a Christian, you know that Christianity is supposed to be about joy. You probably also know that you're supposed to experience joy in spite of circumstances.... There's a joy that the deepest trouble can't put out and, if properly nourished and nurtured, can even overwhelm the greatest grief. ...

Featured: The Virgin Mary's Role In Salvation History

From the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary can be seen as God's ultimate validation of free will. The Virgin Mary's obedience to the will of God as conveyed to her in the angel Gabriel's message was no less voluntary in its affirmation than the disobedience of the virgin Eve had been in its negation. ...

Mary, as the first human to kiss the face of God and the first to believe in Jesus as her Savior, took her place in Salvation History as the first Christian. She is also the one disciple of Jesus who didn't flee or doubt when all the others fled and doubted, but who stayed and accepted to the very end the burden of being under the Cross. Down through the ages the weeping Mary of the Cross witnessing her son's torture and death stands in solidarity with all believers who also suffer and live under the shadow of the Cross. ...

Love Like Jesus

It's clear we please Jesus by bearing fruit. But what kind of fruit? The fruit that comes from every good work. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works...that we should walk in them." This is our purpose, one we have been gloriously restored to by the Resurrection and which flows naturally from our restored identity. Works cannot save us, but without the fruit of good works, we lack the evidence that identifies us as new creations in Christ! ...

Peace From Jesus - More Solid Than Fear

Jesus offers peace in uncertainty, mercy in brokenness, something solid when all is lost. He speaks of peace can that transcend understanding when we cling to the one who gives us life. It is worth noting that his use of the word "peace" here portrays a quiet state of mind, which is infinitely dissimilar to a mind that has been silenced by coercion or despair- emotions some associate with religion. ...

Hymn: Shall We Not Love Thee, Mother

Saint Anselm's Prayer in Honor of Virgin Mary's Nativity

Ten Commandments Aren't Fashionable, But Are Hymn to Love - Pope Francis

Pope Francis admits that the very idea of a commandment is not fashionable today, but that the Ten Commandments come from a God who wants what is best for us. They are "not a hymn to 'no,' but to 'yes,'" he says, "a 'yes' to God, a 'yes' to Love, and because I say 'yes' to Love, I say 'no' to non-Love." ...

More Resources For Study and Reflection

Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary plus other publications of interest.

About Malankara World

Today's Features

Inspiration for Today
Jesus' Joy

If you're a Christian, you know that Christianity is supposed to be about joy. You probably also know that you're supposed to experience joy in spite of circumstances.... There's a joy that the deepest trouble can't put out and, if properly nourished and nurtured, can even overwhelm the greatest grief.

When Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:13, he prays for us -- his followers. He says, I pray that 'they may have the full measure of my joy within them.' One chapter before, he says to his disciples, 'You will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy' (16:22). That's pretty amazing! He's talking to the twelve disciples, men who are going to be persecuted. They're going to be robbed of everything they own, tortured, and put to death. Yet Jesus promises to give them a joy that will withstand all that. Nothing -- not disease or persecution or alienation or loneliness or torture or even death -- will be able to take it away....

Romans 8 is all about living in a suffering world marked by brokenness. Paul talks about trouble and persecution and nakedness and poverty and how Christians are supposed to live in a world like that.

In 8:28-30 he offers three principles for finding joy in suffering. Paul tells us that if we follow Christ, our bad things turn out for our good, our good things cannot be lost, and our best things are yet to come. Those are the reasons for our joy.

-- Tim Keller

Featured: The Virgin Mary's Role In Salvation History

by Michal Hunt, Agape Bible Study

From the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary can be seen as God's ultimate validation of free will. The Virgin Mary's obedience to the will of God as conveyed to her in the angel Gabriel's message was no less voluntary in its affirmation than the disobedience of the virgin Eve had been in its negation. In the 2nd century St. Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyon and a second generation disciple from the Apostle John wrote: "...so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. [...]. Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith." Against Heresies, 3.22.4, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons.

Mary, as the first human to kiss the face of God and the first to believe in Jesus as her Savior, took her place in Salvation History as the first Christian. She is also the one disciple of Jesus who didn't flee or doubt when all the others fled and doubted, but who stayed and accepted to the very end the burden of being under the Cross. Down through the ages the weeping Mary of the Cross witnessing her son's torture and death stands in solidarity with all believers who also suffer and live under the shadow of the Cross.

The gift of Mary to the Church was Jesus' last human act from the Cross. He placed His mother's care in the hands of the only apostle present at the cross, the Apostle John, "Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." [John 19:26-27] This is one of only two scenes in which Mary is present in John's Gospel. The first is the narrative of the Wedding at Cana in chapter 2 of John's Gospel. These two scenes in which Mary is present have several things in common. First, Mary is addressed as "gunai" [from the Greek gune] or "dear Woman" by Jesus in both scenes; second, she is never called by name but only identified as "the mother of Jesus"; and third, in both cases a "new family" is formed: at Cana by the wedding itself and in the second scene in John chapter 19 a new family is formed by a kind of adoption in which "the beloved disciple" takes Mary as his mother and in the greater sense, as the mother of Christ's family, the Church--a role she continues to fill to this day.

It is Mary who bridges the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament records God's plan for man's salvation in His preparations to make the world ready for the Incarnation. Of all the tribes of the earth He chose a particular people to whom He reveals Himself. He nurtures and instructs them through His prophets in order for them to be able to recognize the Son of God when it was time for Him to come. In order to accomplish this He takes these people to Himself in a covenant bond, establishing worship based on sacrifice to prepare them to understand the ultimate sacrifice that the Son of God would offer for the salvation of man, for these people would be the conduit through which the message of the Son would be carried to the world. And when the time came, from among these people, He chooses a woman from a certain preordained family, the house of David. It was absolutely necessary that she be set apart in her purity and virtue so as not to make the Incarnation of the Son of God a sacrilege and so she is conceived without original sin and set apart in a holy state of purity and perpetual virginity.

This is Mary's role in Salvation History: ever virgin and yet fruitful mother. It is Mary, a daughter of the Old Covenant, who is not only the bearer of Christ in the Annunciation but Mary also "labors" in prayer in the Upper Room with the other disciples for the birth of the Church at Pentecost for the New Covenant believers will become her spiritual children. She stands as the Christian model, which we should all emulate. From her obedience at the Annunciation to the events of Christ's passion she illustrates for us a model of Christian virtue, faith and obedience as she remained true to Christ and His word. Her fidelity shows us that true faith can be preserved in one individual and down through history the Church has honored her for this by considering her the mother of the true remnant of Israel in the New Covenant Church. It has been as Mary prophesized, filled with the Holy Spirit, "Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed!"

After the descend of God the Holy Spirit at the second great Pentecost [the first was the revelation of God at Mt. Sinai], the Apostle John spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ first with Peter in Judea and later in Asia Minor, serving many years as the Bishop of Ephesus. According to tradition Mary accompanied John to Ephesus and lived there several years. Unfortunately the years after Christ's Resurrection were years of intense persecution for the early Church, first from the Jews and later from the Romans. Many documents written before Christianity was protected by the Edict of Milan [early 4th century] were destroyed. For example the great Church Father Origen wrote over 6,000 books of which only a few copies now survive. The great library at Caesarea in Palestine and the Church library at Alexandria, Egypt, which we know contained numerous works from the first centuries of the Church, were destroyed in the 7th century AD Moslem invasions just as the great libraries in Rome were destroyed by successive barbarian invasions in the 5th century AD. The result is that we do not have reliable information on Mary's later years. However, surviving works like The Protoevangelium of James [James was the first Bishop of Jerusalem and kinsman of Jesus] written sometime in the last of the 1st or early 2nd century and a several other documents do contain information about Mary's early life. Although rejected as non-canonical in the 6th century, The Protoevangelium of James provided the names of Mary's parents Anna and Joachim, [honored as saints by the Church] as well as material for many of the most important medieval legends, artistic representations and theological beliefs about Mary.

While Scripture reveals nothing about Mary's death, St. John Damascene [died 749] recorded a story reportedly shared at the Council of Chalcedon in 451AD that Mary had died in the presence of the Apostles but when the tomb was opened they found it empty, "wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven." From this testimony the Church has taught that Mary was assumed bodily and now tastes the Resurrection for which all Christians hope. This teaching is one of the four dogmas, or truths, of Mary held by the Church.

The Four Dogmas of the Virgin Mary

• The perpetual virginity of Mary [expressed in 3 parts: in her virginal conception of Christ; in giving birth to Christ, and her continuing virginity after His birth = virginitas ante partum; virginitas in partu; virtinitas post partum. The usage of this triple formula to express the fullness of this mystery of faith became standard with St. Augustine [354-430], St. Peter Chrysologus [c. 400-450], and Pope St. Leo the Great [440-461] See CCC # 496-507

• Mary the Mother of God [defined as dogma at the very city where Mary had lived for several years at the Council of Ephesus in 431] See CCC# 495

[Editor's Note: The following two dogmas (Viz., Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption without Death) are not taught by the Orthodox Church.]

• Immaculate conception of Mary [defined as dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854] See CCC# 491-492

• Assumption of Mary into heaven [defined as dogma by Pope Pius XII in 1950] See CCC# 966; 974

Each of these Marian dogmas were teachings within the Church from the very beginning of the Church's formation but became defined more fully as God the Holy Spirit expanded the Church's understanding of the revelation of Christ in Christian doctrine and theology through the centuries. For example the oldest canonical feast of Mary in the Church is the Feast of the Assumption which was already celebrated on its own feast day by the 5th century. Early Church hymns speak of "Mary conceived without sin" and the teaching is explicitly stated in the writings of Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Andrew of Crete, Germain of Constantinople and other Fathers of the Church. This teaching was also celebrated in the early Church liturgy.

Mary's continuing role in Salvation History is that of the Mother of the King of Kings, in Hebrew the gebira or Queen Mother, a title given to the mothers of the Kings of Judah. The mothers of the Kings of Judah were persons of great prestige and power who sat at the right hand of their sons and who were regarded with reverence by his subjects [see 1 Kings 2:19; Jeremiah 13:18]. It is in her role as the gebira that John sees Mary in Revelation 12:1, clothed with the sun and standing on the moon with a crown of 12 stars; it is the same vision Juan Diego will have of the Virgin Mary at Tepiac Hill in Mexico in 1531. But her Son has also made her the Mother of all New Covenant believers [John 19:25-27]. In that role she continues to intercede for her children just as she interceded with her Son at the Wedding at Cana, and she continues to show her love and concern by giving us the same advice she gave the servants of the Bridegroom at Cana: "Do whatever He tells you" [John 2:5].

THE VIRGIN MARY AND THE VIRGIN EVE CONTRASTED

Genesis 3:15 contains the promise of the redemption of mankind after the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Incarnation of the Christ was the manifestation of the promise and it was fulfilled with Jesus Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. The New Testament portrays Jesus as the "Second Adam" whose obedience and sacrificial death on the cross undo Adam's disobedience [see Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49]. Jesus, the Second Adam, triumphed over the same temptations to which the first Adam fell into sin [compare Genesis 3:6 to Luke 4:1-13].

Just as there is a Second Adam there is also a Second Eve. Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ is the Second Eve. Just as the First Eve in the exercise of free will cooperated in the Fall of man so the Second Eve, in the exercise of her free will, cooperated in the redemption and salvation of the entire human race.

The two Eves Contrasted:

THE VIRGIN EVE THE VIRGIN MARY
Daughter of the first Covenant Daughter of the Sinai Covenant
Pledged obedience under the covenant Pledged obedience under the covenant
Eve's disobedience resulted in the fall into sin of the entire human race. The result was death, physically and spiritually. Mary's obedience to God resulted in the offer of the gift of salvation to the entire human race. The result was eternal life.
Eve's name means the "mother of all living" and indeed all of humanity is descended through her. Mary is the "mother of all who truly live" when, at the cross, Jesus gave His mother to the Church as the Mother of all who come to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and therefore receive the gift of eternal life.

From the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary can be seen as God's ultimate validation of free will. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Virgin Mary's obedience to the will of God as conveyed to her in the angel Gabriel's message was no less voluntary in its affirmation than the disobedience of the virgin Eve had been in its negation.

From the first moment of the angel Gabriel's announcement that of all women born, she had been chosen to bear the "promised seed" [Luke 1:26-38], to Simeon's prophecy of her suffering [Luke 2:33-35], to witnessing her Son's Passion on the Cross [John 19:26], Mary submitted herself completely to God plan for her life. The Fathers of the Church saw her as the model Christian. St. Irenaeus praises her above all women when he writes, "Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. [...]. The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith." [St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.22.4]. And comparing her humility and obedience with Eve's rebellion and disobedience St. Jerome writes of her, "Death through Eve, life through Mary." [St. Jerome as quoted in the Catechism #494].

In addition to the title of the "new Eve" the Virgin Mary is also acknowledged by the titles "The Ark of the New Covenant," "The Mother of the Church," "The Lady of the Rosary," and "Our Mediatrix."

The Virgin Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant

In the Old Covenant the Holy Ark of the Covenant was God's presence with His Covenant people. In Mary's "yes" in humbly submitting herself to God's plan she became the Ark of the New Covenant (see the Chart The Virgin Mary - The Arc of the New Covenant), her womb became the first Eucharistic tabernacle, and her travels to visit Elizabeth her cousin and her journey to Bethlehem, became the first Eucharistic processions. Pope Benedict XVI expressed this dimension of Mary's meekness in her submission to God his homily on June 1, 2005: "In a certain way, we can say that her journey was'and we are pleased to highlight this in the Year of the Eucharist'the first Eucharistic procession of history. Living tabernacle of God-made-flesh, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant in whom the Lord has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus' presence fills her with the Holy Spirit....Is not this too the joy of the Church, that incessantly welcomes Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and carries Him to the world with the testimony of assiduous charity permeated by faith and hope? Yes, to welcome Christ and to take Him to others is the true joy of Christians! Dear brothers and sisters let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat." Pope Benedict XVI, June 1, 2005

The Virgin Mary is the Church's inheritance from the cross of Jesus Christ. At the very end of His life Jesus entrusted His mother into the care of the "beloved disciple" and at the same time announced that the "beloved disciple" became a child of Mary'at this moment in salvation history, St. John became the representative of all the beloved disciples of Jesus' New Covenant Church. This is the birth of the Christian family at the foot of the cross. Jesus has given Mary the maternal care of John and all faithful disciples in her Son's Church. This is Mary's spiritual motherhood "in order of grace" according to Vatican II (Lumen Gentium, 61,62). It is in this sense of her spiritual motherhood that the Church has continued to honor Mary from the earliest years of the Church. The sacramentary Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary contains 46 Masses, twelve of which first appeared during the Marian Year observed by the Church from Pentecost 1987, through the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1988.
Three of these Masses are dedicated to "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Image and Mother of the Church."

The following are some events of salvation history which are a prophetic reference Mary or show Mary's active participation in the redemption of mankind and which are a good summing up for us on this topic of Mary, Mother of the Church.

1. The Protoevangelium: Mary is the 'new Eve'. She is the fulfillment of the prophetic utterance of Genesis 3:15 which is the first scriptural announcement of the Good News which was perfectly fulfilled in Christ, Mary, and the Church.

2. The Incarnate Word: Mary nurtured the Church at its very beginning by giving birth to our Savior.

3. Mary as Mother is the perfect example of every Christian virtue

4. The Passion of Christ: During which Jesus made his Mother our mother also.

5. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: When Mary was united in prayer with her Son's first disciples, and thus became the perfect model of the Church at prayer.

6. The Assumption of Our Lady into heaven: From which she watches over the pilgrim Church on earth with a mother's love until we are reunited.

Also see CCC 964-965; 967-970

Queen of the Holy Rosary

This title was added to the Litany of Loreto in 1883. The rosary was the subject for 12 encyclicals and five apostolic letters by Pope Leo XIII from 1883-1898. The rosary encyclicals established the rosary as a public devotion. (The rosary had been officially approved by the Catholic Church since the 16th century). The rosary was no longer a devotion best suited to the illiterate and to individuals, but the rosary was officially encouraged as a public devotion of the Church and the month of October was designated for special devotions to Mary and the rosary.

The Virgin Mary: Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate

St. Paul identifies Jesus Christ as the one Mediator between God and man in 1 Timothy 2:5. How can it then be theologically correct to refer to Mary as "our Mediatrix"? For the Church to give Mary the title 'Mediatrix" in no way denies Christ's role as the one Mediator for the New Covenant people of God. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 St. Paul wrote And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. In this passage, St. Paul identifies all Christians as participants in actively mediating between God and our brothers and sisters in the human family through spreading Jesus Gospel message of salvation. In this way, all Christians become mediators of the New Covenant. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in reference to 2 Corinthians 5:19: "Christ alone is the perfect mediator of God and men, inasmuch as, by his death, he reconciled the human race to God.... However, nothing hinders certain others from being called mediators, in some respect, between God and man, forasmuch as they cooperate in uniting men to God, dispositively or ministerially."

We do, after all, mediate for others when we pray to God on their behalf. This does not affect Christ being the sole Mediator because our small efforts are entirely dependent upon Him. In the same way when we ask Mary's intervention through prayer, she mediates on our behalf, praying for us in perfection within the Father's will for our lives. Her status as Mediatrix of all graces exists in a double sense:

• First, she gave the world its Redeemer, the source of all graces, and in this sense she is the channel of all graces.

She freely cooperated with God's plan [Luke 1:38] at the Annunciation, at the key moment of salvation history she represented the whole of family of man. The Fathers of the Church contrast Mary's obedience, which validates God's gift of free will, with Eve's exercise of free will in her disobedience: Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies III,22,4).

• Second, Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces through of her intercessory role for us in heaven.

What this means is that no grace accrues to us without her intercession. This does not mean that we are obliged to ask for all graces through her or that her intercession is intrinsically necessary for the application of graces. Instead, through God's will, grace is not conferred on anyone without Mary's cooperation; although her influences are completely dependent upon Christ's unique mediation, and her mediation of His graces only serves to enhance His heavenly role (cf. Lumen Gentium, 60).

Our Savior began His work of redemption at the instant of His conception in the womb of Mary. He accomplished the redemption of all mankind when He offered his sacrificial death on the cross. In His Passion on the cross He ransomed humanity from the objective guilt and debt of sin, and He reconciled a sinful humanity to the Father. He won for all humanity an infinite store of merit and grace when He paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay. In the sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist Christ unites the people of God to Himself'One Mystical Body in Christ (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; and 1 Corthinans 12:12-27). And yet Mary's unique role cannot be ignored as she continues to cooperate in bring us to her Son. St. Bernard of Clairvaux defined Mary's role by the statement that the Virgin Mary is "the neck of the Body of Christ." She is without a doubt an important link between Christ and His Church as both model Christian and spiritual mother. St. Jerome (d. 420) wrote of Mary, By a woman the whole world was saved; St. Thomas Aquinas (died 1274) wrote of her, So full of grace was the Blessed Virgin that it overflows to all mankind (The Three Greatest Prayers); and St. Irenaeus (177-202 Bishop of Lyons) applauded her faith and obedience when he wrote, So Mary...was obedient and became to herself and to the whole human race a cause of salvation." (Against Heresies) and "As she (Eve) who had Adam as her husband, but was nevertheless a virgin, was disobedient, and thereby became the cause of death to herself and to the whole of mankind, so also Mary, who has a pre-ordained husband, and was still a virgin, by Her obedience became a cause of Her own salvation and the salvation of the whole human race." (Against Heresies, III 22,4).

If accepting Mary's role as Mediatrix of all graces is difficult for you, just remember, there is nothing in this doctrine that contradicts Jesus' role as the one Mediator. Mary's motherly mediation in no way adds to or takes away from her Son's unique mediation as the risen Lord in glory. His role as Mediator is not lessened because Mary has been allowed to assist Him. Mary's perfect fidelity to the Father's will, to the requirements of her Son's redemptive mission, and to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has made her the Christian's model of faith and love. Mary is the most excellent example and fulfillment of all that the Church herself is called to be and to give. Vatican II describes Mary's cooperation through obedience, faith, hope, and love in the redemptive activity of her Son from the beginning to the end of time in His role as Savior of the human race as "wholly singular." Since Mary consented uniquely and completely to her calling to be the "God bearer" and filled with grace from the first instant of her Immaculate Conception so as to be the worthy Mother of God, Mary was the necessary condition willed by the Father to make his Son and hers the one Mediator of redemption to the whole world. Even though Mary is redeemed as we are, although by a special preservative redemption making her the 'firstfruits' of Christ's victory over sin and death, no other person in salvation history has been given the same role as she in making our redemption possible. She continues that motherly role in our redemption by continuous intercession in heaven and by mediating her Son's saving graces to the pilgrim Church on earth. Vatican II does not hesitate to call her our "Mediatrix" as well as our "Advocate," 'Helper," and "Benefactress" (Lumen Gentium, 62).

For further reference see CCC#967-970.

Mary's Continuing Mission

Mary's true mission in the past and in the present is to lead us in obedience and faithfulness by her example to her Son, Christ Jesus. It is important to understand that Mary's motherly mediation in no way adds or takes away from her Son's unique mediation as the risen Lord in glory. Her true glory is ever to be entirely transparent to His and to lead us by her motherly love and compassion to her beloved Son and Savior.

On the altar of the Cross our Lord gave His Mother to the Apostle John and through him to the whole Church. When Scripture tells us from that hour the disciple took her into his home [John 19:27] our understanding is that John became not only the representative of the Church but also a representative of the whole human race. Therefore, the Virgin Mary becomes mankind's spiritual mother calling all men, as she did the servants at the wedding in the Gospel of John 2:5, to do whatever He tells you. The wedding at Cana was the beginning of Jesus' public ministry and it was also the beginning of Mary's role as intercessor for the human family.

Mary prayed in union with the Apostles and disciples in the Upper Room as the followers of Jesus the Messiah, in obedience to Jesus' command, prayed 9 days for the coming of the Holy Spirit'on the 10th day the Holy Spirit came in fire to possess the New Covenant universal Church [Acts 1:13-14]. The book of Acts of Apostles records that the leaders of the infant Church along with the entire faith community were persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and so the Church has done ever since. Then too, in the Church has been fulfilled the Scriptural prophecy uttered by the Virgin Mary by divine inspiration: Behold for henceforth all generations shall call me blessed [Luke 1:48]. Even though no human being can ever pay her an honor equal to that which God has given Mary in choosing her to be the Mother of our Savior, it is contrary to Holy Scripture as well as to all Christian tradition and history to neglect giving Mary the honor she deserves. Mary, as our Mother, is the loving gift from Jesus Christ to every man, woman, and child in the family of God.

For additional references see:

CCC# 495 Mary's Motherhood;
CCC# 496 Mary's virginity;
CCC#465 Mary, Mother of God;
CCC# 964-970 Mediatrix.

Suggested Readings and References:

1. Catechism of the Catholic Church

2. Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

3. Catholic Evidence Training Outlines: Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward

4. Catholic Dictionary: edited by John A. Hardon

5. Catholic Doctrine: The Sunday Visitor, edited by Russell Shaw

6. Catholicism and Fundamentalism: Karl Keating

7. Church History: Fr. John Laux

8. How to Understand the Creed: Jena-Noel Bezancon, Philippe Ferlay and Jean-Marie Onfray

9. Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Marian Teachings of Fr. Kolbe: by Mantu Bonamie

10. Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion; Mark Miravalle

11. The Creed: Bernard Marthaler

12. What Catholics Really Believe: Karl Keating

13. Why Do Catholics Do That: Kevin Orlin Johnson

14. Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Ch. VIII.

15. John Paul II, Mother of the Redeemer, Redemptoris Mater

Source: www.AgapeBibleStudy.com;
Copyright © 2000, revised 2007 Agape Bible Study. All Rights Reserved.

Love Like Jesus

by Woodrow Kroll, Back to the Bible

Years ago, a man walked the earth and revealed a life so unique it became the central point in human history. A man, who, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-8).

Though He was human and divine, the Son of Man had nothing in the natural that would have attracted others to him. Yet in three years, He healed the sick, fed the poor, ministered to the brokenhearted, cast out evil spirits, brought sight to the blind and gave hope to the hopeless. His message was radical and His love, unparalleled. Prostitutes, politicians, beggars and kings all were the same to Him and equally deserving of love - not because of their worthiness but because God, being the very definition of Love, could do no less. He told us to live simply, to give generously and to love unconditionally.

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13), Jesus told His disciples. We need to remind ourselves that in those terrible hours Jesus hung on the cross, it was all about love. We can't comprehend that kind of all-consuming, all-powerful Love, but we can spend the rest of our lives living in wholehearted response to it.

How do we do that? "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).

It's clear we please Jesus by bearing fruit. But what kind of fruit? The fruit that comes from every good work. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works...that we should walk in them." This is our purpose, one we have been gloriously restored to by the Resurrection and which flows naturally from our restored identity. Works cannot save us, but without the fruit of good works, we lack the evidence that identifies us as new creations in Christ! Just as God's nature is revealed in what He does, we reveal His nature in what we do.

What are these good works? While feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the needy are expressions of the Christian life, they represent only a partial "list" of the works Jesus performed. For a complete list, read the Word with the sole intent of identifying every action verb - those "good works" that both Jesus and His disciples practiced; then pray that His Holy Spirit will empower you to "go and do likewise!" Halleluiah, He is Risen!

Peace From Jesus - More Solid Than Fear

by Jill Carattini

A powerful story is told of the bombing raids of World War II where thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. After experiencing the fright of abandonment, many of these children were rescued and sent to refugee camps where they received food and shelter. Yet even in the presence of good care, they had experienced so much loss that many of them could not sleep at night. They were terrified they would awake to find themselves once again homeless and hungry. Nothing the adults did seemed to reassure them, until someone thought to send a child to bed with a loaf of bread. Holding onto their bread, the children were able to sleep. If they woke up frightened in the night, the bread seemed to remind them, "I ate today and I will eat again tomorrow."(1)

Hours before he was arrested, Jesus spoke to his disciples about the time ahead of them, days they would face without his physical presence. "In a little while," he said, "you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me." Reasonably, at his words the disciples were confused. "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying," they grumbled. Jesus answered with more than reassurance. To their confusion and uncertainty, perhaps also to their fears of the worst and visions of the best, Jesus responded with something they could hold on to. Concluding his last conversation with them before the cross, he said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Like children with bread holding onto what gives us life, Jesus offers peace in uncertainty, mercy in brokenness, something solid when all is lost. He speaks of peace can that transcend understanding when we cling to the one who gives us life. It is worth noting that his use of the word "peace" here portrays a quiet state of mind, which is infinitely dissimilar to a mind that has been silenced by coercion or despair - emotions some associate with religion. To these, the gospel is good news. It is as if Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you might be thoroughly quieted by what gives you life."

When the Apostle Paul wrote down the now oft-quoted instruction "Do not worry about anything," he had every reason to be anxious about everything. In prison and facing days unquestionably out of his control, Paul was undeniably holding on to something solid. "The Lord is near," he wrote from a jail cell. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(2)

Paul does not promise that followers of Jesus will not see darkness or sorrow anymore than he himself was avoiding it or Jesus himself escaped it. But he does promise, as clearly as Jesus promised the disciples, that there is a reason for hope in the best and worst of times. The Lord who is near has overcome the world in which we will continue to find trouble. The mystery of Christ is that somehow even in the midst of trouble he can answer the cries of our hearts with more than reassurance.

For the Christian, to be found in Christ means to be thoroughly stilled by who Christ is. His victory gives life, and the surety of that victory gives peace that transcends all things. Like children pacified by the assurance of bread, we are invited to hold the very bread of life, a hope more solid than fear.

References:

(1) Story told in Dennis Linn’s Sleeping with Bread, (New York: Paulist, 1995), 1.

(2) Philippians 4:5b-7.

About The Author:

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Source: A Slice of Infinity. Copyright (c) 2011 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

Hymn: Shall We Not Love Thee, Mother
Shall we not love thee, Mother dear,
whom Jesus loves so well?
And to his glory year by year
thy joy and honor tell?
Bound with the curse of sin and shame
we helpless sinners lay,
until in tender love he came
to bear the curse away.

And thee he chose from whom to take
true flesh his flesh to be;
in it to suffer for our sake,
by it to make us free.

Thy Babe he lay upon thy breast,
to thee he cried for food;
thy gentle nursing soothed to rest
the incarnate Son of God.

O wondrous depth of grace divine
that he should bend so low!
And, Mary, O what joy 'twas thine
in his dear love to know!

Joy to be Mother of the Lord,
and thine the truer bliss,
in every thought and deed and word
to be for ever his.

And as he loves thee, Mother dear,
we too will love thee well;
and to his glory year by year
thy joy and honor tell.

Jesus, the Virgin's holy Son,
we praise thee and adore,
who art with God the Father One
and Spirit evermore.

Words: Henry Williams Baker, 1868  

Saint Anselm's Prayer in Honor of Virgin Mary's Nativity

by St. Anselm

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life.

When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light.

Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin.

Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin.

Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins.

O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner. Amen.

Ten Commandments Aren't Fashionable, But Are Hymn to Love - Pope Francis

by Kathleen Naab

Pope Francis admits that the very idea of a commandment is not fashionable today, but that the Ten Commandments come from a God who wants what is best for us. They are "not a hymn to 'no,' but to 'yes,'" he says, "a 'yes' to God, a 'yes' to Love, and because I say 'yes' to Love, I say 'no' to non-Love."

"The Ten Commandments are a gift of God," the Pontiff said. "The word 'commandment' is not fashionable; it reminds the man of today of something negative, the will of someone who imposes limits, who puts obstacles to life. [...] But the Ten Commandments come from a God who has created us for love, from a God who has forged a close alliance with humanity, a God who only wills the good for man."

Francis exhorted, "Let us trust God! Let us trust in Him! The Ten Commandments point out a path to follow" in a world of injustice.

He added that the Commandments "indicate a path of liberty."

"We must not see the Ten Commandments as limitations to liberty. No, they are not this, but we must see them as indications for liberty. They are not limitations but indications for liberty! They teach us to avoid the slavery to which the many idols reduce us that we build ourselves - we have experienced this so many times in history and we are experiencing it also today," Francis said. "They teach us to open ourselves to a dimension that is larger than the material, to live respect for persons, overcoming the avidity for power, for possession, for money and to be honest and sincere in our relations, to protect the whole of creation and to nourish in our planet lofty, noble and spiritual ideals. To follow the Ten Commandments means to be faithful to ourselves, to our more authentic nature, and to walk towards the genuine liberty that Christ taught in the Beatitudes."

The Pontiff spoke of Jesus' fulfillment of the Commandments with the Beatitudes, noting that the heart of the Decalogue is "the Love that comes from God and that gives meaning to life, love that makes us live not as slaves but as true sons, love that animates all our relations: with God, with ourselves – we often forget this – and with others."

"True liberty," he said, "is not to follow our egoism, our blind passions, but to love, to choose what is good in every situation. The Ten Commandments are not a hymn to 'no,' but to 'yes.' A 'yes' to God, a 'yes' to Love, and because I say 'yes' to Love, I say 'no' to non-Love, but the 'no' is a consequence of that 'yes' that comes from God and makes us love."

Source: Zenit

More Resources For Study and Reflection

We celebrate the Nativity of Virgin Mary on September 8. To learn more about St. Mary, her life, and her role in the Church, please visit Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary.

This supplement includes the previous years' specials on St. Mary published by Malankara World Journal.

You can access Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary at:
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/shunoyo/StMary.htm

 Malankara World Library with devotionals, prayer, essays and sermons are available at:

Malankara World Library

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Default.htm

Please keep an eye for the Malankara World Journal Specials planned for the Ettu Nombu in 2013. This is the third in a series of 8 planned (Issues 161-168) for Ettu Nomb - 2013.

If you missed the first two special issues, you can access them here:

Volume 3 No 161: September 1, 2013
Ettu Nombu (8 Days Lent) Special - Day 1

Volume 3 No 162: September 2, 2013
Ettu Nombu (8 Days Lent) Special - Day 2

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