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Thursday, December 8th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 1:26-38.


Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

330px-Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_Annunciation AAA

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:26-38.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine,USCCB

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Bible Hub

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Solemnity

botticelli_vierge

Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Solemnity)

        The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is universally celebrated on December 8, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on September 8. A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century. It came to the West in the eighth century. In the 11th century it received its present name, the Immaculate Conception. In the 18th century it became a feast of the universal Church. It is now recognized as a solemnity.

In 1854, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

It took a long time for this doctrine to develop. While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless—either at her conception or throughout her life.  Two Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, helped develop the theology. They pointed out that Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleansed from original sin after birth. In Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset. In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favored”). In that context this phrase means that Mary is receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. However, the Church grows in understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led the Church, especially non-theologians, to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Or rather, Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life. The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God.

“It is no wonder, then, that the usage prevailed among the holy Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, fashioned by the Holy Spirit into a kind of new substance and new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the splendors of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is, on God’s command, greeted by an angel messenger as ‘full of grace’ (cf. Luke 1:28). To the heavenly messenger she replies: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word’ (Luke 1:38)” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 56).

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán

(1832-1869)

beata_narcisa_di_gesu_martillo_y_moranSaint Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán
(1832-1869)

        Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán was born in 1832 in the hamlet of St Joseph in Nobol, Daule, Ecuador. The Dominicans had been looking after the parish for almost three hundred years. She was the daughter of Peter Martillo and Josephine Morán, landowners, modest people with a deep faith. Her father, who had a lively intelligence and was a great worker, amassed considerable wealth.

        He was very devoted to the future saint Marianna of Jesus and Saint Hyacinth of Poland who is venerated fervently throughout the province of Guayas. They had nine children, who grew healthy and strong. Narcisa was the sixth. In 1838, when she was six, her mother died. Helped by a teacher and an older sister she learnt to read, write, sing, play the guitar, sew (a skill she really mastered), weave, embroider and cook. She had great qualities, with a particular bent for music. Often, her prayer became song, and her song was intimate and devout, reaching the heart of Him who well deserved it, as a song which she loved to sing in her youth said.

        She had a clear perception of her call to sanctity, especially from when she received confirmation, aged seven, on 16th September 1839. She grew into the habit of withdrawing frequently in a small wood near her home to give herself freely to the contemplation of divine realities. The tree of Guayabo, near which she prayed, is today the destination for large pilgrimages. She turned a small room in her house into a domestic chapel. She decided to imitate Saint Marianna of Jesus, identifying with the vocation of a victim. She undertook a demanding path of penance to unite herself more closely with the suffering Christ and cooperate in the redemption of the world. She helped with the domestic chores and out in the fields. She was a young, thoughtful, lovable, happy girl with a sweet and peaceful character, extremely good and obedient, generous, compassionate towards the poor, very devout, loved by all the neighbours. She was a very attractive young woman, blonde with blue eyes, tall, strong and agile. She showed herself to be an excellent catechist. She could not do without communicating the fire of divine love to her family and to the children of the neighbourhood.

       In January 1852 her father, a good man, died. Narcisa, who was then 19, moved to Guayaquil to stay with a very well-known family who lived near the cathedral. She stayed in this city until 1868, except for those months she lived in the city of Cuenca. She moved house a number of times to preserve her privacy and to dedicate herself with greater freedom to prayer and penance, earning her living by doing tailoring work. She helped the poor and the sick. She was docile to the instructions of her spiritual directors and shared ideals, and sometimes a house, with the Blessed Mercedes of Jesus Molina. Driven by a desire for greater perfection, and advised by a Franciscan religious, she set off in June 1868 for Lima (Perù) and lived as a lay member in the Dominican convent of Patrocinio, founded in 1688, in the area where Saint John Macias used to graze his flock. The Lord favoured her with extraordinary gifts, and showed her how pleasing her life was, in the midst of trials of the spirit.

        Towards the end of September 1869, she had high fevers. Medical remedies could do little, but she kept up her normal rhythm of life, ending with a novena and the celebration of the Eucharist, with great joy, dressed in white, on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, 8th December 1869, the same day on which Blessed Pius IX opened in Rome Vatican Council I. At the end of the day she took leave of the sisters, saying she was going on a journey very far.

        This was taken as a joke, but not long after, one of the sisters, charged with blessing the cells, noticed a splendour and a special scent in Narcisa’s cell. The community gathered and they saw that she was dead. She was 37 years old.

        Afterwards, it became known that she had made a private vow of perpetual virginity, poverty, obedience, enclosure, eremitical life, fasting on bread and water, daily Communion, confession, mortification and prayer. All these vows she kept faithfully. She lived in continuous union with Jesus Christ. Her mortifications were very severe. She carried constantly on her body the signs of the Lord’s crucifixion. She had a firm faith and admirable hope. The doctors were amazed that she could have lived so long with so little food. Her body remained supple for a long time and from it came a pleasant scent, and in front of it many graces were granted. The city of Lima acclaimed her as a saint, as did the people of Guayaquil and Nobol. The Dominican Sisters of Patrocinio guarded the memory of her virtues and her tomb with great veneration until her body, practically incorrupt, was transferred to Guayaquil in 1955. The documents of the diocesan process of canonization were handed over to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1964. Pope John Paul II beatified her on 25th October 1992 and Pope Benedict XVI canonized her on 12th October 2008. On 22nd August 1998 they dedicated a shrine in her honour in Nobol, where her incorrupt body is at present. Devotion to the “Niña Narcisa” shows the spontaneous identification of ordinary people with this woman from the Ecuadorian coast. The example of her life, pure and pious, of work and apostolate, sends out a very topical message.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Patapius,

Hermit

san_patario-patapio-aSaint Patapius
Hermit

        At Constantinople, St. Patapius, solitary, renowned for virtues and miracles.

The Roman Martyrology

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

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“This is my commandment:

love one another as I love you.”

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BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

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