2001 Issue #2
eight Beatitudes of Mary
art thou because full of grace," said the Archangel
art thou for thou shalt conceive in thy womb the Son
of the Most High, God.
art thou, Virgin Mother, for 'the Holy Spirit will come
upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow
art thou for doing God's Will: 'Be it done unto me according
to Thy Word.'"
art thou for believing," said Elizabeth.
is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus)," added Elizabeth.
art thou among women."
art thou, for the message that was brought to thee from
the Lord shall have fulfillment."
From The "World's First Love" by Fulton Sheen.
month of February begins with Candlemas, the Feast of the
Purification of Our Lady. This is the same mystery which we
recall in the fourth Joyful decade of the rosary. Now is
the fitting time to reflect on that special feast, to recall
to mind its events, and to meditate on the mystery.
Joseph brought his wife and their divine Child to the Temple
in Jerusalem, in obedience to the law. Every first-born child
had to be "bought back" from God. This was done
in memory of the Exodus, when the angel of death killed all
the first-born of the Egyptians on one night, but the Hebrews
were spared. According to the law of Moses, a sacrifice was
offered to God, in place of the life of the child.
recall also certain special events. It was on this day that
the elderly prophets, Simeon and Anna, recognized the Messiah.
They "saw through" the humanity of this Baby, and
beheld His Divinity.
these truths we can meditate, because they are mysterious.
God is pleased when we probe them with our mind, trying to
understand the Divine plan, the good example, the humility
of Jesus Christ, and the virtues of His saints. Elevate your
mind to God in every decade of the rosary!
to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,
Purification of the Most Blessed Virgin
Fidelity in the observance of the law
days after the birth of our Lord, the Most Blessed Virgin
carried Him to the temple to be offered to God as her first-born
Son according to the ordinance of the Jewish law, and, after
the custom of all Hebrew women, to purify herself after childbirth.
There are here deep mysteries to be meditated. God presented
in His own temple, and the Mother of God, the purest of Virgins
submitting to the law of purification. What need had Mary
to purify herself? This Virgin-Mother had never ceased to
be perfectly pure; her only Son is God as well as Man; He
is the Master of the law and the source of all purity; they
cannot then, either of them, be obliged by this law of purification.
But God had given to the Jews a law that required of all mothers
three things: the first was to present themselves in the temple
forty days after they had given birth to a son; the second,
to offer to God two doves to be sacrificed, in order to purify
themselves; the third, to present also their child to God
as a gift which they had received from Him.
is evident neither Jesus nor His Mother had any need to offer
themselves to God, or to be purified; but they willed to observe
the law, and accomplish all its exterior ceremonies as an
example to all the people of Israel. They wished also to teach
us many great virtues, which they practiced themselves in
this action and which were destined to contribute to the salvation
of the world; these were supreme adoration of God, obedience,
humility, and the spirit of sacrifice.
cannot be doubted that the very reasons that obliged all other
mothers to observe the law of purification exempted the most
Holy Virgin. One of these reasons was the sin of our first
parents which had caused all their descendants to be born
in sin. Their mothers, in carrying them to the temple, while
they rendered thanks to God asked at the same time mercy for
their sins. The Blessed Virgin had never any part in original
sin, her Son was the Holy of holies, the Lamb of God who taketh
away the sins of the world; she had conceived and brought
Him forth, still preserving stainless virginity; there was
no reason then that obliged her to the law of purification.
But the law she made unto herself was the law of edification.
She would not scandalize her neighbour. Now, what would they
have thought if they had seen her, who passed for a pious
woman in Israel, dispensing herself from the observance of
a law that all other women exactly observed? Learn from this
admirable model that we are under obligation to give to our
neighbours the edification expected of us. The higher our
reputation for piety is, the more scandal do we give, if we
are lax even in observances we think of less importance, because
we often thus occasion the fall of others, who are led by
our example to abandon some pious practice.
law therefore which Mary made for herself was the law of love
to us. She knew that since the fall of Adam the world expected
Him who was to be its Redeemer. As soon, therefore, as she
held in her arms Him who was to be the Saviour of sinful man,
she hastened to the temple, she offered Him in sacrifice,
she placed in the hands of the priest the Victim offered for
the sins of the world, and she thus voluntarily participated
in the work of our salvation. Mary had been the Mother of
Jesus for only a few days, and already she felt she was also
our Mother; she offers for us - so cold, so indifferent, so
unloving as we are - her dearly loved divine Son!
us turn our regards for a few moments on the saintly old man
Simeon, who had the happiness of receiving into his arms the
Infant Jesus, and who was the first priest who offered this
divine Victim to God. Simeon, the Gospel tells us, waited
for the consolation of Israel. The heart of this just man,
nourished by reading and meditation on the holy books, awaited
with faith and pious impatience Him who was to redeem Israel;
thus it was he merited that the Messiah should be placed in
his arms by His most Holy Mother while a divine light illumined
him interiorly, making known to him that this was the promised
Saviour of the world. Then, his heart overflowing with happiness
broke forth into the Nunc dimittis, a canticle of rapturous
joy: Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant O Lord in peace, Since
my eyes have seen Thy salvation.
Lord favours us far more than He did the holy old Simeon;
He comes not only for an instant to rest in our arms, but
He unites Himself to us in the most intimate manner and at
any time that we desire, since it is for this that He always
remains in the tabernacle and so lovingly invites us to unite
ourselves to Him in Holy Communion; but is our fidelity great
as was St. Simeon's? Do we desire the coming of the Lord with
his holy impatience, and are our souls illumined with joy
when He deigns to visit us? Alas! There are amongst us many
so insensible they would never approach Holy Communion at
all but for the menaces of the Church! Jesus extends His arms
tenderly to them and they will not cast themselves into them.
They must be compelled! Nay, there are some Catholics who
close their hearts and wholly refuse to receive Him! Senseless
and ungrateful, they perish with hunger, with the Bread of
Life close at hand! They are poor: by their side is a treasure,
yet they do not possess themselves of it! Ah! Pray to Mary
to open their eyes and to draw them to her Son. If they do
but come to know Him, they must love Him, and this love will
fill their hearts with heavenly joy.
Ave Maria. May 16, 1868
Domini nuntiavit Mariae,
et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
angel of the Lord declared
and she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum; benedicta
tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the
fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
the handmaid of the Lord: be it done unto me according
to thy word.
Verbum caro factum est,
et habitavit in nobis.
the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us.
pro nobis sancta Dei genetrix,
ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
for us O holy mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of
the promises of Christ.
Domine, mentibus nostris infunde: ut qui, angelo
nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus,
per Passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis
gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum
forth, we beseech Thee, O
Lord, Thy grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation
of Christ Thy Son was made
known by the message of an
angel, may, by His passion and
cross, be brought to the glory of
His Resurrection, through the
same Christ our Lord. Amen.