Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, November 24,2014

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, November 24,2014

On this day we remember one hundred seventeen martyrs of Vietnam who lost their lives in various persecutions from 1740 to 1883. This group of ninety-six native Vietnamese and twenty-one Spanish and French missionaries suffered some of the most brutal tortures known to Christendom. Father Paul Le-Bao Tinh testified, “The prison here is a true image of everlasting Hell: to cruel tortures of every kind – shackles, iron chains, manacles – are added hatred, vengeance, calumnies, obscene speech, quarrels, evil acts, swearing, curse, as well as anguish and grief…. In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not alone – Christ is with me.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Lord, your love knows no bounds and you give without measure. All I have comes from you. May I give freely and generously in gratitude for all that you have given to me. Take my life and all that I possess — my gifts, talents, time and resources — and use them as you see fit for your glory.” Amen.

Reading 1
Rev 14:1-3, 4b-5

I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand
who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
I heard a sound from heaven
like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.
The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne,
before the four living creatures and the elders.
No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand
who had been ransomed from the earth.
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
They have been ransomed as the first fruits
of the human race for God and the Lamb.
On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Gospel
Lk 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – The poor widow’s action

Most of us give to God some time, some energy and some money.  We give SOME and not all and only after we take care of our obligations. Is this close to what the poor widow witnessed to all of us in today’s gospel? Is this how our Lord Jesus Christ modeled to us self-denial and self-giving?

Giving back to our Lord and His cause should not be optional on our part. It is a must and an obligation. Authentic Christian giving is offering back to our Lord all that what we have with a cheerful heart until it hurts. It is being generous to God and His people, learning to forget ourselves, our own interests, our convenience, our wants and needs and making no account of weariness or pain. It is spending our life, our strength, our talents and all our material resources in serving God, believing that it is only in the total gift of self that we can give to our Lord our best… our love and commitment.

Giving must be from our heart and should not be limited to what is a duty but anything that will give glory to our Lord. Giving should be founded on what is best we can offer back to our Lord, always trying to do better in His Name, so that we do not become victims of our own complacency and be contented with our own mediocrity.

God gave His all so that we will all be saved. Jesus gave up His life to bring us back to the Father.

Today let us empty our souls of everything and give Him a pure and perfect gift.  With humble hearts and a sincere trust in our Lord, let us endeavor to make a complete gift of ourselves by serving Him and His people.  Let us not be content with serving Him in a small way but let us do so to the greatest extent of what we have!

Direction

Focus on self is one big enemy of generosity. It weighs down our spiritual life and makes it more difficult in making us soar to spiritual heights. Serve God and His people in one ministry or apostolate with great humility, from the bottom and not from the top!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, teach me to be generous and to serve You as You deserve: to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek to rest, to labor and not to ask for any other reward save that of knowing that I do Your holy will. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – The Widow’s Millions

Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all. –Luke 21:3

Someone has calculated that if the widow’s 2 mites had been deposited in a bank at 4-percent interest compounded semiannually, by today it would have grown to the sum of $4.8 billion trillion. What potential there is in such a small investment when it’s left to grow for a long time!

In a more significant sense, that widow’s 2-mite investment continues to reproduce itself to this very day. Only eternity will reveal how many of God’s people have been challenged by that woman’s sacrifice, and have dared to follow her example.

With some, it may have been a commitment to greater stewardship of their money. With others, it may have been the giving of themselves and their talents in service to Christ and His kingdom. How can we begin to estimate the eternal value of all the good that such self-giving service has produced down through the centuries? Like the widow, the poorest and least-talented Christians can invest in eternity when what they give represents sacrifice, devotion, and love for Christ.

Let’s not underestimate the potential our small contributions can make to the cause of Christ. Only in eternity will this world’s true millionaires be revealed. Will we be among them?  — Dennis J. De Haan

If you cannot give a million,
You can give the widow’s mite,
And the least you do for Jesus
Will be precious in His sight. –Anon.

The motive of the giver is more important than the measure of the gift (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 3 – St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions (19th century)

Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II.

Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan.

The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful.

Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries.

Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons.

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution.

By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees.

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.

Comment:

It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a 20th-century war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as some people ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam’s soil proves hardier than the forces that willed to destroy it.

Quote:

“The Church in Vietnam is alive and vigorous, blessed with strong and faithful bishops, dedicated religious, and courageous and committed laypeople…. The Church in Vietnam is living out the gospel in a difficult and complex situation with remarkable persistence and strength” (statement of three U.S. archbishops returning from Vietnam in January 1989).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1209

Related St. Anthony Messenger article(s), click the link below: 

Andrew Dung Lac: Vietnamese Martyr Teaches Quiet Lessons, by Judy Ball

44 SINS AGAINST THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE

44 SINS AGAINST THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE

Q. Is there such a thing as a list of sins against the Sacrament of Marriage?

A. The Catholic Church has not officially compiled such a list. As the same time, it is known that the following sins cry out to Heaven against the Sacrament of marriage:

1. Abandonment. Abandonment, as a sin against the Sacrament of Marriage, is defined as the “abandoning of a child by a parent or both parents,” to permanently depart from the child’s life, or to give up completely on the child. A child is God’s gift to the parents; to abandon a child is to reject God’s gift! Children who lose a parent, they have been known to cry themselves to sleep at night. In the eyes of these children, they have been rejected, deprived of the love that they are entitled to receive as a child. Their tears cry out to Heaven, asking why this is happening to them.

2. Abortion: “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” [CIC, can. 1398] “by the very commission of the offense,” [CIC, can. 1314] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [CIC, cann. 1323-1324] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.” [C.C.C. 2272]

3. Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. [Mt 5:27-28] The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery. [Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10] The prophets denounced the gravity of adultery; they saw it as an image of the sin of idolatry. [Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27]” [C.C.C. # 2380]

“Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.” [C.C.C. # 2381]

4. Anal intercourse. This is intercourse via the anus, committed by a man with a man or a woman. This action is called “sodomy.” This is viewed as sinful in marriage because it goes against the law of nature that calls the married couple to procreate.

5. Artificial insemination: Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.” [CDF, Donum vitae II, 5] “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union… Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.” [CDF, Donum vitae II, 4]” [C.C.C. # 2377]

“Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” [CDF, Donum vitae II, 1]” [C.C.C. # 2376]

6. Beastiality. Beastiality involves a sexual relations between a person and an animal. It is also referred to as “sodomy.” According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, beastiality falls in the category of “Unnatural carnal sins.” Such sins include sodomy, bestiality, masturbation, and any unnatural intercourse between married people (such as using contraceptives, consummated oral or consummated anal intercourse, etc…).

On the subject of beastiality, the Holy Bible (King James Version) teaches: “Thou shalt not copulate with any beast, neither shalt thou be defiled with it. A woman shall not lie down to a beast, nor copulate with it: because it is a heinous crime.” [Lev. 18:23] The penalty for such a crime was death. “He that shall copulate with any beast or cattle, dying let him die, the beast also ye shall kill. The woman that shall lie under any beast, shall be killed together with the same: their blood be upon them.” [Lev. 20:15-16]

7. Bigamy. Bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Similarly, polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners.

According to the Catholic Church teaching found in Canon Law # 1055 §1 “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read, “The predicament of a man who, desiring to convert to the Gospel, is obliged to repudiate one or more wives with whom he has shared years of conjugal life, is understandable. However polygamy is not in accord with the moral law.” [Conjugal] communion is radically contradicted by polygamy; this, in fact, directly negates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning, because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive.” The Christian who has previously lived in polygamy has a grave duty in justice to honor the obligations contracted in regard to his former wives and his children. [C.C.C. # 2387]

8. Birth Control. The following brief from ‘Humanae Vitae’ states: ‘The encyclical opens with an assertion of the competency of the Magisterium of the Church to decide questions of morality. It then goes on to observe that circumstances often dictate that married couples should limit the number of children, and that the sexual act between husband and wife is still worthy even if it can be foreseen not to result in procreation.’ Nevertheless, it is held that the sexual act must ‘retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life’, and the ‘direct interruption of the generative process already begun’ is unlawful.”

“Abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden, as is sterilization, even if temporary. Similarly, every action specifically intended to prevent procreation is forbidden. This includes both chemical and barrier methods of contraception. All these are held to directly contradict the ‘moral order which was established by God.’”

“Therapeutic means which induce infertility are allowed (e.g., hysterectomy), if they are not specifically intended to cause infertility (e.g., the uterus is cancerous, so the preservation of life is intended). Natural family planning methods (abstaining from intercourse during certain parts of the woman’s cycle) are allowed, since they take advantage of ‘a faculty provided by nature.’” [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanae_Vitae]

9. Child Marriage. ‘Child Marriage’ means a marriage in which either (or both) of the parties is a child. In most countries, for the purpose of marriage, an individual is considered a child when a male is under the age of 21 or the female is below the age of 18 years.

Child Marriage is usually arranged by the parents of the child. The children of such arrangements can be as young as seven years old. The reasons vary greatly depending on the countries and their tradition. What cannot be denied is that Child Marriage destroys the childhood of the individual.

Most of the girls either have not attained sexual and physical maturity and they are, therefore, not adapted to the perils that pregnancy poses to the ‘to be’ mother and such a pregnancy may even prove fatal. Young mothers under age 15 are five times more likely to die than women in their twenties due to complications including hemorrhage, sepsis, preeclampsia/ eclampsia and obstructed labour. Maternal mortality amongst adolescent girls is estimated to be two to five times higher than adult women. Maternal mortality amongst girls aged 15-19 years is about three times higher.

Marriage, as instituted by God, is a lifelong union voluntarily planned between a man and a woman of legal age, they being joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them.

10. Common-Law relationship. A common-law relationship involves two persons, a male and a female, living together outside of a Sacramental Marriage. It may involve adultery, whereas one of the two persons is married, or fornication, where both person are unmarried. Either way, those involved in such a relationship are considered to be living in a ongoing life of mortal sin, such denying them the right to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist until such time as they truly and sincerely repent and receive the Sacrament of Confession.

11. Contracting another marriage. First of all, it should be said that an annulment and a divorce are not the same. An annulment does not disolve a valid marriage. An annulment declares that at the time of the marriage, a condition was lacking in order for the marriage to be considered valid. In the words of the Catholic Church, by reason of some impediment at the time the ceremony was performed, no real marriage took place.”

In order for a Catholic person to be free to marry again, he (or she) must have obtained an annulment from the Church. To remarry outside the Church after having received a divorce (in accordance with civil law), prior to having received an annulment in accordance with Canon Law, such a person will then find himself in a situation of public and permanent adultery. [C.C.C. # 2384]

When a person is married a second time prior to having received an annulment, the Catholic Church does not recognize the second marriage. Instead, it views that person as one who is living in adultery. Such a person can no longer receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

12. Contraception meaning birth control, prevents pregnancy (conception) by interfering with the normal process of ovulation through the usage of a device, drug, or chemical agent.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.” [C.C.C. # 2370; Humanae Vitae #14]

13. Divorce: “The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. [Mt. 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk. 10 9; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:10-ll] He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. [Mt. 19:7-9]”

“For I hate divorce, says the Lord… So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.” [Malachi 2:16]

“Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.” [C.C.C. # 2382]

“It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the Sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.” [C.C.C. # 2386]

14. Dowry, also known as the “bride price,” is what is given to the bride’s parents by the groom, be it real estate, animals, property or money, as a payment for the bride during the planning of the marriage.

Dowry is unacceptable because it gets in the way of the bride’s voluntary commitment to give herself to the groom without outside interference.

15. Euthanasia: “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, the sick, the elderly or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”

“Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.” [C.C.C. # 2277]

“Living Wills” that order the withholding of one’s basic medical needs, such as food and water, should a person’s condition deteriorate to a certain degree, is condemned by the Catholic Church. Such Living Wills are viewed as a request to provide assisted suicide. Any person participating in such an act is committing murder. Both, the person committing suicide and the murderer, risk eternal damnation.

Euthanasia violently destroys the Sacrament of Marriage.

16. Female infanticide, also known as female homicide, is the killing of a human infant. In some countries, female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring, due to sex-selective infanticide. Such is found in China where parents are only allowed one child. Preference is for a male child, first of all to carry on the family name and secondly because a male can work and earn money to support the family while the female is considered a financial burden.

The Catholic Church rejects the practice of female infanticide because it opposes God’s choice of a child for the parents. Parents are expected to accept God’s gift of a child, be it male or female, without having to turn to murder in order to obtain one’s personal choice of gender. Such a crime is an offense against the Sacrament of Marriage.

17. Forced Marriage “Forced marriage” is the term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will. In most, but not all forced marriages, it is the female who is forced to participate in a marriage.

The United Nations views forced marriage as a form of human rights abuse, because it violates the principle of the freedom and autonomy of individuals.

The Roman Catholic Church deems forced marriage as a ground for granting an annulment. For a marriage to be valid both parties must give their consent freely.

18. Fornication, the carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young. [C.C.C. # 2353]

The lost of one’s virginity prior to being married because of a sexual relationship with someone prior to marriage, even if that person is the spouse to be, offends the Sacrament of Marriage.

19. Gender Selection (Also known as Sex Selection). In 1987, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a negative judgment on sex preselection. Quoting from the “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation (Donum Vitae)”:

Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. These manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his or her integrity and identity. Therefore in no way can they be justified on the grounds of possible beneficial consequences for future humanity. Every person must be respected for himself: in this consists the dignity and right of every human being from his or her beginning.”

Sex selection, the method by which an offspring can be chosen uses reproductive technologies which attempt to achieve the conception of a child of a particular sex, such leading to the abortion of a child of an unwanted sex. As such, it is condemned by the Catholic Church!

A newborn is God’s Divine gift to the mother. Unknown to us, there is a reason in God’s Divine Plan as to why the mother is called to conceive a boy or a girl. To go against God’s Divine Plan is to elevate oneself, not only equal to God, but over and above God, by over-ruling his Divine decision. Such is bound to draw the wrath of God.

20. Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has alwasys declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual acts to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” [C.C.C. # 2357]

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual conditions; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. [C.C.C. # 2358]

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” [C.C.C. 2359]

21. Incest consist of an intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them. [Lev. 18:7-20] St. Paul stigmatizes this especially grave offense: “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you… for a man is living with his father’s wife… In the name of the Lord Jesus… you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh…” [1 Cor. 5:1, 4-5] Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality.” [C.C.C. # 2388]

“Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing. [C.C.C. # 2389]

22. Lust is a disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.” [C.C.C. # 2351]

23. Masturbation: “By mastubation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. ‘Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrisically and gravely disordered action.’ The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose. For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation is the context of true love is achieved.

To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability.” [C.C.C. # 2352]

24. Murder of the spouse and child(ren). “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. [Gen 4:10]”

“Infanticide, fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority.” [C.C.C. # 2268]

25. Non-Sacramental Marriage. This means to marry outside the Catholic Church, usually in a non-Catholic Church, including in front of a Justice of the Peace.

To understand the full meaning of a “non-Sacramental Marriage,” it is necessary for one to understand the meaning of Sacramental marriage. For one opposes the other.

The celebration of marriage between two Catholics normally takes place during the public liturgical celebration of the Holy Mass, because of its sacramental connection with the unity of the Paschal mystery of Christ (Communion). Sacramental marriages confers a perpetual and exclusive bond between the spouses. By its nature, the institution of marriage and conjugal love is ordered to the procreation and upbringing of offspring. Marriage creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children: “entering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment.”

The following requirements are necessary for a Sacramental marriage:

– To be a baptized christian,
– Not closely related to the spouse to be (such as cousins),
– To be free to marry,
– Marrying someone of the opposite sex, and
– To be in good standing with the Church.

26. Obesity Under this subject, we refer to those who when they are bored, lonely, angry or sad, they turn to eating. Their action is not the result of a genuine bodily hunger. Their ” God is their belly.” [Phil. 3:19] Their obesity is associated with gluttony as a disordered appetite.

On this matter, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. [C.C.C. # 1866]

He who uses food (or drink) in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his [marital] duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. The neglect of one’s marital duties because of gluttony/obesity is a mortal sin. Over time, extreme increased weight may lead to medical conditions, over and above isolating and alienating the individual from others, such including one’s spouse and children.

Many children, because of embarrassment, have been known to withdraw from their peers because their parents are “fat.” This is over and above not wanting to be seen with one or both of their parents because of their over-weight condition.

27. Paedophilia: “Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing.” [C.C.C. # 2389]

28. Parent of spouse interferring. In brief, a “Catholic marriage is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.”

A marriage is not a union between a man, a woman and another membersof the extended family. While it is admirable that grown up children take responsibility for the care of their aging parent by allowing the mother-in-law or father-in-law to move into their home, such kindness is not a licence for the parents to interfere in the marriage of their children.

What God has united in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, let no human being separate or scar because of one’s personal opinion.

29. Pornography: “It consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each others. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immmerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” [C.C.C. # 2354)

30. Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays, he sins gravely against himself; he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents. While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.” [C.C.C. # 2355]

31. Public Scandal brings shame, not only to the individual, but also to the family. Often originating in the media, it exposes one’ scandalous actions. Public scandals can involve one’s association with a prostitute, the divorce of a well known christian, a parent being charged as a drug pusher, funds being stolen from the Church or one’s employer or even filing false income tax returns for the purpose of avoiding tax payments.

These behaviours, and many more, bring disgrace to the family. It damages the reputation or character of the individual and often his/her family. Public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behavior hurts every member of the family.

32. Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and chastity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrisically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.” [C.C.C. # 2356]

33. Refusing the marriage duty. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, we read, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The duty of a married couple is to participate in intercourse with one another whenever it is reasonably asked for. To refuse one’s spouse a reasonable request to participate in the act of sexual intercourse is to commit a mortal sin. Both spouses of the marriage have a right to intercourse. Such a right was received on the wedding day.

When a spouse is denied intercourse on an ongoing basis, such can give rise to other sins or severe temptations. Examples of such sins are adultery, masturbation, separation, divorce, anger and/or drunkenness. There are occasions when a spouse can refuse the marriage duty. Examples are when the person asking for intercourse is drunk, in the case of illness, when there is danger to an unborn child or similar valid reasons.

Both partners in a marriage should be considerate of the other one’s sexual needs. It is inappropriate for one spouse to always have to insist on his marital rights.

When one partner denies the other the right to intercourse, that person is no longer open to the procreation of children, such action being contrary to a sacramental marriage as instituted by God.

34. Same sex marriage: Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (C.C.C. # 1602-1605).

Same-sex union contradicts the nature of marriage: It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.

35. Separating and refusing the marriage debt. There are those who interchange the “Marriage Debt” with the “Conjugal Rights” as explained above under “Refusing the marriage duty.” Refusing the Marriage Debt has nothing to do with denying sex to one’s spouse.

Refusing the marriage debt is observed in two different situations, first during marriages, and then following the separation of the spouses. In the Sacrament of Marriage, the spouses have an obligation to financially manage the basic needs of each member of the family. To withhold earned money from one spouse, be it in retaliation for being denied sex, because of limited visitations after separation, as a refusal to pay for the mortgage of the home that houses the children, such actions are mortal sins. They oppose charitable christian behaviour.

36. Sex Change. In 2000, the Vatican pronounced that transsexualism “does not exist.” The document concluded that “sex-change” procedures do not change a person’s gender in the eyes of the church. If a person was naturally born a male, he remains a male; if a person was naturally born a female, she remains a female. Catholics who have undergone “sex-change” procedures are not eligible to marry. To undergo a sex change is viewed as sinful in marriage because it goes against the law of nature that calls the married couple to procreate.

37. Sodomy has its origin in the Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible where it is mentioned that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the behaviour of homosexuality which was viewed as a “deviation.” Hence the English word “Sodomy” is used to describe laws associated with sexual “crime against nature”, namely anal sex, either homosexual or heterosexual.

Accordingly, it can be said that any sexual act that is not intended for the creation of new life is viewed in the Catholic Church as sodomy because of its perversion of the gift to bring life.

Referring to such unnatural acts, Saint Paul states in the Letter to the Romans, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” [Romans 1:26]

38. Sterilization involves any medical technique, applied by a male or female, that intentionally leaves a person unable to reproduce. In 1968, Pope Paul VI released the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life”), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

Contraception is “any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods.

Sterilization is condemned by the Catholic Church.

39. Suicide: “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.” [C.C.C. # 2280]

“Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.” [C.C.C. # 2281]

40. “Therapeutic” Abortion. On July 10, 2009, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement confirming that so called “therapeutic” abortion “has not been and can never be” accepted as Catholic teaching. Numbers 2270 to 2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces this teaching.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explains that two “very different circumstances” can be involved in some medical treatments aimed at preserving the health of the mother. “On the one hand, an intervention that directly provokes the death of a fetus, sometimes inadequately called ‘therapeutic’ abortion, which can never be licit since it is the direct murder of an innocent human being; and on the other hand an intervention not abortive in itself which can have, as collateral consequence, the death of the child.”

The condemnation of therapeutic abortion is a condemnation of those who promote that rape is a reason to justify an abortion.

41. Tubal Ligation. This is a surgical procedure for sterilization in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked, or severed and sealed, either method of which prevents eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization. Tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of sterilization and birth control.

Such action opposes Canon Law # 1055 §1 whereas “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life… and to the procreation and upbringing of children.”

The Catholic Church teaches that “the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. Equally excluded, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or the woman.” [Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter, Humanae vitae, n. 14. 1968.]

42. Vasectomy. This is the surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream. As mentioned under “Tubal Ligation” above, such is condemned by the Catholic Church.

43. Violence and/or torture against spouse. To many, the violence and torture of one’s spouse is known as “Domestic Violence. Such includes any kind of behavior that a person uses, or threatens to use, to control an intimate partner. The two key elements are threat and control. Domestic violence can take various forms.

On this subject, the Catholic Church teaches, “As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form” (physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, economic or verbal) “is sinful; often, it is a crime as well.” [United States Catholic Bishops, ‘When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women.’]

In “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women,” the Catholic bishops emphasize that “no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.”

No man, no matter his faith, has a right to abuse his wife, be it honour killing, by stoning, by torture and murder in any form. For God shall avenge the blood of the innocent that cries out to Heaven.

44. Vitro Fertilization In-Vitro Fertilization involves removing from a woman’s ovary a fertilizable ovum and placing it in a petri dish in which a few concentrated drops of sperm are added. Around the fourth day, the fertilized ovum is returned to the woman’s womb. Only a small percentage of fertilized ova result in a child being born. The other children are lost or killed.

Sometimes the ova that are put in the petri dish do not come from a man’s wife but from another woman, or the sperm fertilizing his wife’s ova comes from another man. Such action results in psychological and legal problems over and above a moral one.

The Catholic Church considers the practice of In-Vitro Fertilization to be a mortal sin. It is the degrading of the sacred human act where in the sexual act, the man and the woman become one flesh as a vehicle of love in the formation of a new life.
Your sexuality, intended for the Sacrament of Marriage, is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God!

Matrimony “constitutes the only ‘place’ worthy of the call to existence of a new human being.”
[Pope Benedict XVI; February 25, 2012]

Here-under are some articles about marriage for you to read or watch: 

  1. Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
  2. Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
  3. Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
  4. Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
  5. Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
  6. Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
  7. Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
  8. The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
  9. Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
  10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
  11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
  12. True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
  13. Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
  14. Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
  15. Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095

“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS 48:1). The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes (CCC:1603).

The Cost of Abortion & Contraception Deception

Michael Voris talks an in-depth discussion of the true, financial cost of abortion and its effects to the United States. “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death” (CDF, Donum vitae III; CCC: 2273).

Please click this link to watch the video on The Cost of Abortion & Media

FBI Contraception Deception.

Modern man has divorced sex from procreation through his embrace of contraception. This Contraception Deception within the CatholicChurch has come about by a near total betrayal of the faithful by their shepherds and leaders.

Please click this link to watch the video on Contraception Deception

Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Where we are and how we got here. Join Dr. Martin Brenner for this first of a four-part series on the moral evils of contraception.

Please click this link to watch the video on Contraception & the New Dark Age, Part 1 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Contraception and Salvation, Part 2 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Join Dr. Martin Brenner for the second of a four-part series on the  moral evils of contraception.

Please click this link to watch the video on Contraception and Salvation, Part 2 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Contraception and Sanctification. Part 3 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Prayer and the Liturgy. Dr. Martin Brenner discusses how contraception is a detriment to our spiritual lives and marital relationships. The infallibility of the Church’s teaching on this matter is also discussed.

Please click this link to watch the video on Contraception and Sanctification. Part 3 by Dr. Martin Brenner

Contraception and Sexual Ethics. Part 4 by Dr. Martin Brenner

The Proper Practice. Dr. Martin Brenner describes the importance of spreading the message about the sexual ethic and goes into detail about the alternatives to contraception and their practices.

Please click this link to watch the video on Contraception and Sexual Ethics. Part 4 by Dr. Martin Brenner

CIA: The Rockefeller Foundation

Please click this link to watch the video on CIA: The Rockefeller Foundation

We are used to thinking of the Rockefellers as simply a byword for wealth, power and financial success. Perhaps we might think of them as determined businessmen or see them as great philanthropists. But the truth is far different; the Rockefeller Foundation is actively undermining the Catholic Church, and in the process, attempting to erase man’s natural orientation to the eternal.

Global Warming Unmasked

Please click this link to watch the video on Global Warming Unmasked by Michael Voris

Are the environmental movements and groups simply devoted to laudable, correct stewardship of God’s creation, or do they have a more sinister, hidden agenda? Is “global warming” being used as an excuse for something far darker? Is the final goal of the liberal elites behind the push of junk science population control, eugenics and Gaia worship?

Mic’d Up “Is Contraception Killing the Church?”

 Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Is Contraception Killing the Church?”

This week on Mic’d Up we’ll be tackling the terrible scourge of Contraception on the Church. Michael Hichborn and Rey Flores from American Life League will join us to expose Catholic Relief Services complicity with Organizations who support contraception and to Discuss The Pill Kills Day of Action 2014. Also joining us will be Lynn Mills who will be discussing the continued prayer rally at Providence Park Hospital in the Archdiocese of Detroit because of their complicity in abortion, contraception and sterilization. Following that same thread we’ll break down the announcement from Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron concerning the crisis of parish closings facing Detroit. Also dropping by will be author James Kalb, to discuss the plague of pluralism on the Church’s Hierarchy.

FBI Homosexuality.

Many believe the Freemasons are simply a centuries-old charitable fraternity. However, the Catholic Church has consistently condemned Freemasonry more than any other error in its history because it promotes indifferentism, naturalism, communism, and other dangerous philosophies.

Please click this link to watch the video on FBI Homosexuality by Michael Voris

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good, Part 1

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexuality: Grave Evil Presented as Good, Part 1

Homosexuality, Question and Answer Part 2

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexuality, Q & A

Homosexuals and Freemasons inside the Church

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexual and Freemasons inside the Church by Michael Voris

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Please click this link to watch the video on “The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia” 

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intinsically disordered” (CDF, 

The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage of The Humanum Series, Part 1-6

The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage of The Humanum Series, Part 1-6

Published on Nov 17, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

The Cradle of Life & Love: A Mother & Father for the World’s Children | 2 of 6 of The Humanum Series

Published on Nov 17, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

Understanding Man & Woman | Part 3 of 6 of The Humanum Series

Published on Nov 18, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

A Hidden Sweetness: The Power of Marriage Amid Hardship | Part 4 of 6 of The Humanum Series

Published on Nov 18, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

Challenge & Hope for a New Generation | Part 5 of 6 of The Humanum Series

Published on Nov 18, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

Marriage, Culture & Civil Society | Part 6 of 6 of The Humanum Series

Published on Nov 19, 2014

Visit www.humanum.it for more.

Here-under are some articles about marriage for you to read or watch: 

1. Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284  

2. Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288  

3. Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292  

4. Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294  

5. Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298  

6. Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300  

7. Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302

8. The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968

9. Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974  

10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986  

11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980

12. True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972  

13. Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112  

14. Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116

15. Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095  

God himself is the author of marriage” (GS 48:1). The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes (CCC:1603)

Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s video: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, November 23,2014

Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s video: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, November 23,2014

“Jesus of Nazareth… is so intrinsically king that the title ‘King’ has actually become his name. By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the king…. God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was a result of Israel’s rebellion against God…. The law was to be Israel’s king, and, through the law, God himself…. God yielded to Israel’s obstinacy and so devised a new kind of kingship for them. The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways…. The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines” (Pope Benedict XVI).

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, be the Master and Ruler of my heart.  May your love rule in my heart that I may only think and act with charity towards all.” In your Mighty Name, I pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Ez 34:11-12, 15-17 – As for you, my flock, I will judge between one sheep and another.

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading II
1 Cor 15:20-26, 28 – Christ will hand over the kingdom to his God and Father so that God may be all in all.


Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.
The word of the Lord.

Gospel
Mt 25:31-46 – The Son of Man will sit upon his glorious throne and he will separate them one from another.

Please click this link to listen the audio on Fr. Robert Barron’s Homily on the Solemnity of Christ the King

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – There will be final judgment to separate the righteous from the unrighteous

Today, Jesus portrays to us what will transpire the next time He comes around. He warns us that on His second coming, there will be final judgment in which He will separate the righteous from the unrighteous, the blessed from the cursed as He assigns one’s eternal state.

In arid lands, like Israel, goats and sheep often grazed together during the day because green pasture was sparse and quite limited. They were separated at night because goats not only needed shelter but were also less docile and obedient, more restless than sheep.

Separation is an inevitable consequence of judgment as in the case of the sheep and the goat. On Day of Judgment scripture says there will be separation. Those  who showed true compassion and mercy toward their neighbor and those who could not have a heart for those in need of mercy and consideration will have to go separate ways. This highlights the truth that the kind of life we choose to live now and the moral choices we make will have consequences that determine our future — for better or for worse.   Jesus teaches us in today’s gospel a very important lesson about loving our neighbor and taking responsibility for others.  God will judge us not only for the wrong we have done but also for what we have failed to do.

Relating how He will judge every man, Jesus comes to us today with an exhortation that we have to minister to one another especially to the least of God’s people not simply from our humanistic concern but because we chose to stand with the outcasts and the unloved who actually represent Him. The support and the love we give the disadvantaged, the poor, the hungry and the homeless, only indicate the position we have taken in favor of rather than against God’s people and kingdom.

Jesus Himself saidThe sheep he will place on his right hand, the goats on his left. The king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you have my Father’s blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me… ‘I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.’

Have we really ministered to the needs and concerns of God’s people?

Jesus is opening our hearts and minds to what He wants from us. He wants us to act on our lives, not sit around and be complacent and wait for a scout to blow his bugle to call us to action or to look for the rapture cloud.  He wants us to get our act together today and for us to be able minister to one another, lift each other up to our Father and be One Body in His Name. We have to live everyday for God’s glory-work diligently, humbly and patiently. We should be salt of the earth and the light of the world as we await His return. Deep within our hearts, we should be able to claim clear passage into our Father’s kingdom because of our faith and the life we have led out of our love for Him and His people.

Whether we are absolutely confident that we are ready to face our Lord Jesus or not, we should take time to retreat and review our lives, acknowledge our faults and our sins. We should be able to pick up the bits and pieces of our lives without much constraint and start anew.

Repentance is key to live our lives for our Lord. We should never wait for another day. The time we finally make up our minds and decide to believe in Jesus and repent of our sins and live as He has lived could be shortly after His anticipated return. This can only make us only to look back with the pains of hell and judgment upon us rather than being able to look up to heaven and experience the joy and eternal happiness of being in our Father’s kingdom.

Jesus loved us, His people, to the point of dying for us on the cross. We may never equal what He did for us but we need to imitate Him and live for Him and His people. We must decide to bring God’s love, mercy and compassion upon the hungry, the thirsty, the oppressed, the sick, the stranger just as He did. We must be MEN for others… we must be CHRIST to all despite the obstacles! To do all these, we must have Christ as KING of our hearts… our Lord and Savior!
Direction

The command of the Lord is clear. We ought to minister to the least of our brethren not only in word but in deed. Jesus said: “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”
Prayer

Heavenly Father, guide me with your grace. Give me a heart full of love and compassion so that I may be able to share Christ with all your children, without reservation and without discrimination.  All these I pray in Jesus. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Who are the least brothers and sisters of mine?

St. Francis of Assisi was riding his horse when one day he saw a leper by the roadside begging for money. He dismounted, gave him a coin and kissed him on the cheek. As he rode away, he looked back and thought for a moment that he saw Christ Himself standing where the beggar had stood.

This story illustrates that when we serve a needy person we serve the Lord. Jesus made this clear when He said that any kindness shown to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the sick, the destitute, and the imprisoned will be judged as having been done directly to Him (Mt 25:40,45). He identifies so closely with the oppressed that serving them in His name is the same as serving Him.

We tend to limit our own service to Christ by thinking that ministers and missionaries are the best able to do it. But whenever we extend help in the name of Jesus through acts of caring, Jesus Himself is there even though we cannot see Him. And someday when we stand before Him, He will recall our deeds of love performed in Hi name and say, “Well done!”

When Jesus comes as King, He will judge on the basis on how people treated Him when He was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or imprisoned (Mt 25:31-46). Those being judged will ask when they saw Him in these situations, and Jesus will say, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me … Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34, 40). This is Christ offer for us today. But how do I treat and serve Christ among the least brothers and sisters of mine – the aborted babies whose Guardian Angels are crying for God’s help? Our love for Christ is only as real as our respect for the life, love and compassion for our least brothers and sisters.

When the Son of Man come in his glory, and all the angels with him… He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep and goats (Mt 25:31-33). The sheep symbolizes an obedient person who gives everything he has, even his life without complaining. The goat symbolizes a disobedient person who always complain, argue and quarrel his caretaker and neglectful of the needs of others. The scriptures present us with the choice between two kingdoms – the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The choice is ours. To accept Jesus as Lord and King is to enter a kingdom that will last forever where righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit dwells (Rom 14:17). It is a kingdom, not of deceit and destruction but of truth and life. It is a kingdom, not of evil and conceit but of holiness and grace. It is a kingdom, not of exploitation, hatred and violence but of justice, love and peace. As member of the Church we are called to be a sacrament of this kingdom, a sign to the world of what the kingdom of God really is. Is my life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus? How faithfully am I practicing His prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven” (Mt 6:10)?

Reflection 3 – Indifference Truly Hurts

Let me tell you a story I got from the web. A scientist tells God, “Look, God, the world does not need you anymore.  Nowadays, we can do our own miracles.  We can give new life to a dying man by transplanting organs and harvesting embryonic stem cells. We can now cure almost any disease, and we can even clone animals.  Before long, we will be able to clone humans, too.  I’m sorry, God, but I have to tell you that you have become obsolete.”

God listens patiently to the scientist and says, “I understand that. However, I love you, and I don’t want you to be miserable. You said you are going to clone humans. Let’s make sure you will not make a big irreversible mistake. So, I propose we hold a man-making contest.” The scientist replies, “That’s a good idea!” God says, “Okay,” God says. “Let’s do it the way I did it when I created Adam and Eve”.  The scientist says, “No problem”, and reaches down to scoop up a handful of dirt. “Opps! Wait a minute”, God says. “You get your OWN dirt.”

Nowadays, Alzheimer’s disease has become so common. Many people are becoming forgetful about so many things, particularly about God. How many of us still remember the truth that “the earth is the LORD’S and all it holds, the world and those who live there” (Ps 24:1)? Everything comes from God, even the dirt that we stand on. As the first Book of Chronicles said, “Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor are from you, and you have dominion over all” (1Chro 29:11-12).

This global Alzheimer’s disease is the reason behind the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. It was Pope Pius XI who instituted this feast in his encyclical “Quas Primas” in 1925. We may recall that at this time, the world was still recovering from the devastation caused by the First World War, and it was only a few years after the bloody Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, which gave birth to atheistic communism in the world. Everywhere the Pope looked, he saw human societies abandoning Christian values as they try to build a world independent from God and based solely on human powers and resources. With this dark backdrop in mind, he instituted this feast to remind the world that Jesus is the true King, and he is the only hope for the salvation of the world.

As Pope Pius IX wrote: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony… That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to that end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ.” (Quas primas, #19, 21)

This feast is all the more necessary in our time. The world has grown from bad to worse. It is said that when you reject someone, at least you still consider him as an existent being. But when you ignore him, it simply means he does not anymore exist in your life. This is what is happening in the world nowadays. People do not anymore reject God; they simply ignore Him. They have all the time to have fun, watch television and indulge in all sorts of worldly activities and vices, but they do not have a minute to spare for God. In today’s world, it is our indifference that is hurting Jesus the most.

Let me share with you a poem that was often quoted by Bishop Fulton Sheen. It was written by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, an Anglican priest in Leeds, England in 1883. He was a chaplain in World War I, and he had first-hand experience of the horrors of war and the cruelty of man. His poem is entitled “Indifference”, which is about the treatment of Christ in the poor in Birmingham, England and the indifference of modern men to Jesus.

“When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,

They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,

For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

“When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.

They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;

For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,

They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

“Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;

The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall, and sighed… for Calvary!”

We can substitute the place Birmingham with the name of any city we live in, for this indifference to Jesus has become so universal in this modern world. Sad to say, we have to admit that this attitude applies even to Catholics. The Gospel on this Solemnity of Christ the King intends to shake us from our smug complacency and indifference: “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire!”

This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Every Sunday for the entire liturgical year we have heard the teachings and miracles of Jesus. It has been clearly illustrated to us, with preponderance of evidence, that Jesus is God, and that he reigns as King of the entire universe for all eternity. On this last Sunday, we are asked to make a decision: are we going to serve our King?

An affirmative response to this question may be easy to give, but it entails serious resolutions and hard decisions. Among these are to make God as the priority in our life; to worship and adore the real presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist; to set apart a meaningful time for prayer and scriptural reflection everyday; to reject all teachings and beliefs, attitudes and behavior that are contrary to the Gospel; to love and serve Jesus in the poor and the needy among us.

Let us pray in this Mass that the Lord may grant us all the graces we need to become true and loyal followers and servants of Jesus, the Eternal King (Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Palmera Springs, Camarin Road, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1423).

Reflection 4 – Thy Kingdom Come, on Earth as It Is in Heaven

Purpose: Freedom is the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom, and its freedom must be defended.

Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/112314.cfm

The Solemnity that we celebrate today, the Solemnity of Christ the King, was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to be observed on a Sunday at the end of each liturgical year. So here we are, at the end of our liturgical year. Next Sunday is already the beginning of Advent, a new liturgical year. If you believe that the liturgical calendar trumps the secular calendar, and you really like New Year’s Eve parties, then you should throw one this weekend, right after Thanksgiving.

In 1925, Pius XI instructed his fellow bishops to see to it that sermons were preached to the people in every parish at the end of each liturgical year, specifically to proclaim the meaning, and the importance, of the Kingship of Christ. We are to consider how to order our lives, so as to be faithful and obedient subjects of Christ in his Kingdom here on earth. Back in 1925, Pius XI was struggling with the political agendas and maneuvers of Mussolini and similar regimes around the world. Pius XI had two major political headaches during his pontificate: Communism and Fascism.

You might have seen the film, For Greater Glory, about the Cristero War in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution had taken place from 1910 to 1920. Pius XI issued an encyclical, Quas Primas, in 1925, and instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King. It had a social and political meaning for the faithful, suffering oppression under many regimes. In Mexico, inspired by this encyclical and the new Solemnity, the Cristeros in 1926 began to defend religious freedom for Christ the King. Their battle cry was “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!”

In Italy, as you know, Mussolini was one of the founders of Modern Fascism. His mother was a faithful Catholic, but he had lost his faith at a young age, and became an atheist. Like Hitler and many others, he became an admirer of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. On his 60th birthday, Mussolini received a special gift from Hitler of the complete 24-volume set of the works of Nietzsche. Of course, Mussolini and Hitler may have misinterpreted the philosophy of Nietzsche, or simply used it for their own political ends, their own will to power. But like Nietzsche, they abandoned, and then attacked, the Christian faith. Mussolini became an absolute dictator, and attempted to convince Catholics to support Fascism. At first, the Church attempted to cooperate with Mussolini, but soon he became very anticlerical, and insisted that the State had authority over the Church. Pius XI did his best to oppose both Communism and Fascism, and to defend the freedom of individuals, families, and religion.

The relation between Church and State has always been a major issue, from the very beginning of Christianity. Does the Church claim to have authority over the State? Is Christ a political rebel? Does he want to overthrow the government? Is he a threat to secular power? Does Christ want to be the king—or the dictator—in a political regime? Certainly, that is what Pilate wanted to know. Pilate wanted to know the intentions of Christ: “This Jesus and his disciples, certainly they have a moral agenda. So don’t they also have a political agenda? Aren’t they trying to impose their morals on everyone else through the use of political power?” Pilate ordered that the title, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” be written on a plaque in three languages and placed on the cross above Jesus’ head: abbreviated as INRI in Latin. The use of the title indicates that Pilate wanted him to be regarded as the leader of a rebellion against the authority of Rome.

But the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world. Certainly it is in the world, and the Church is that Kingdom, at least in embryonic form. We become citizens of that Kingdom of Christ by faith, repentance, and baptism. Baptism both signifies and produces an interior regeneration. Christ becomes the King of our souls, and establishes his reign in our hearts. He frees us from sin and from our self-centered thoughts and desires. The Kingdom has come and is coming. It is in the process of coming and being actualized. Thus, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom is the everlasting reign of Christ over the whole universe. He created it. He is its King. And he must be the King of our hearts.

Part of his creation rebels against his rule, and refuses to do his will. The rebellion includes mankind, which is why he became visible and asked us to accept his reign. Since Christ was born and came into this world, his Kingdom is now in this world. Christ came and asserted his right to rule the temporal order. He has that right. And the State must protect the freedom of his Church. But he does not seek to establish his reign by force or by fighting. His Kingdom is in this world, but it does not belong to this world. Our King allows us to defend ourselves against an unjust aggressor and to participate in a just war if necessary, but his Kingdom does not come through violence or coercion. His Kingdom must come freely and voluntarily. It comes only through faith, repentance, baptism, and works of mercy and charity. Christ seeks to enlighten everyone and inspire them to believe his word and to do these works. He came to testify to the truth, and the truth is that he is our King and Creator. Those who love truth listen to his voice. He speaks to us through his Church. His Kingdom will come at the end of time, and he will then separate the just from the unjust. But His Kingdom is also present in mystery here and now in the Church, in the Eucharist, and in the hearts of those who listen to him. May his Kingdom come, and may his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!

Suggestions for Further Reading: Pius XI, Quas Primas, Encyclical, 11 December 1925 (online here)

Reflection 5 – Christ the King

“Can there be a power not obtained by human means? A power which does not respond to the logic of domination and force? Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; he came to bear witness to the truth of a God who is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16), who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the Kingdom of God.

“The power of the true Messiah, the power which will never pass away or be destroyed, is not the power of the kingdom of the earth, which rise and fall, but the power of truth and love. In this way we understand how the kingship proclaimed by Jesus in the parables and openly and explicitly revealed before the Roman procurator, is the kingship of truth, the one which gives all things their light and grandeur.

“By his sacrifice, Jesus has opened for us the path to a profound relationship with God: in him we have become true adopted children and thus shares in his kingship over the world. To be disciples of Jesus, then, means not letting ourselves be allured by the worldly logic of power, but bringing into the world the light of truth and God’s love.

“We invoke the kingdom daily in the prayer of the ‘Our Father’ with the words ‘Thy kingdom come’; in effect we say to Jesus: Lord, make us yours, live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love” (Pope Benedict XVI, 2005-2013).

Reflection 6 – Christ the King and Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro (1891-1927 A.D.)

Today is the solemnity of Jesus Christ the King. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the atheist and totalitarian political regimes that denied the rights of God and the Church. The climate in which the feast was born was, for example, that of the Mexican revolution, when many Christians went to their deaths crying to their last breath, “Long live Christ the King!” 

¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Fr. Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock.

Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, Mexico, he entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.

Fr. Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics.

He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988.

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1208

Comment:

When Father Miguel Pro was executed in 1927, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993, 1999 and 2002. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.

Quote:

During his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II said that Fr. Pro “is a new glory for the beloved Mexican nation, as well as for the Society of Jesus. His life of sacrificing and intrepid apostolate was always inspired by a tireless evangelizing effort. Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away (see John 16:22). Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death.”

Mary the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”: Blasphemy or Biblical?

Mary the "Spouse of the Holy Spirit": Blasphemy or Biblical? -by Dave Armstrong

Mary the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”: Blasphemy or Biblical?

Here we have another massive misunderstanding as to the patristic and Catholic meaning of a striking phrase: similar to the false perception of “Mother of God”.

Having a child conceived by the Holy Spirit has no direct analogy, because it was a one-time extraordinary event, in order to bring about the incarnation. We should fully expectto have some difficulty understanding it.

But Christianity is filled with such anomalies, wonders, and paradoxes. How could Jesus be fully God and fully man? Run-of-the-mill logic cannot accept this, anymore than it can grasp the Trinity (hence many heretics deny both). It requires the eyes of faith and a comprehension of the “both/and” biblical, Hebraic outlook.

St. Augustine (354-430) stated that “Mary was that only one who merited to be called the Mother and Spouse of God.” (Sermon 208). Scripture speaks in terms of the bride being the Church, and makes analogies between marriage and Christ and His Church. So why should there be controversy about Mary being the spouse of the Holy Spirit?

By the same general reasoning that applies to Theotokos (arguing solely from the Bible, not Catholic tradition), it seems to me that “spouse of God” would also be appropriate and non-objectionable. That Jesus’ conception was of the Holy Spirit as a sort of “Father” is plain in the Bible:

Matthew 1:18-20 (RSV) Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; (19) and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. (20) But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;” (cf. Lk 1:31, 34-35)

If we ask, then, “Who is Jesus’ father?” (in terms of the origin of His conception), it’s not Joseph, but the Holy Spirit in one sense, and God the Father in another. Multiple senses and meanings and applications are common in Holy Scripture.

By analogy, then, if Jesus’ parents were Mary and the Holy Spirit, then by simple analogy it follows that Mary (in this particular sense, and this alone) is the “spouse of God” just as she was the Mother of God.

Likewise, “spouse of God” is thought to imply an equality with God, when in fact it’s only a limited analogical description based on Mary’s relation to the Holy Spirit in the matter of the conception of Jesus. This description is no more “unbiblical” or non-harmonious with scriptural thought than St. Paul saying “we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9; cf. 2 Cor 6:1), or St. Peter referring to men becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4; cf.1 Jn 3:2). These are similarly understood as not entailing equality with God.

Along these lines, there are many biblical passages about Israel or the Church being the “bride” of God the Father or Jesus Christ, God the Son:

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; . . .

Isaiah 62:5 . . . as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Jeremiah 31:32 . . . my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.(cf. Jer 3:20)

Hosea 2:16, 19-20 “And in that day, says the LORD, you will call me, `My husband,’ and no longer will you call me, `My Ba’al.’ . . . (19) And I will betroth you to me for ever; . . . (cf. Hos 4:12; 9:1)

Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (cf. Mk 2:19-20; Lk 5:34-35; Mt 25:1-10)

2 Corinthians 11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.

Ephesians 5:28-29, 32 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (29) For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, . . . (32) This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (cf. Rev 19:7; 21:2; 21:9)

Given all of this biblical data, saying that Mary is the “spouse of God” should not present any difficulty at all to anyone who accepts the Bible as God’s inspired revelation. The only possible objection would come from not understanding what is meant by the phrase in the first place.

Read the source: http://www.setonmagazine.com/latest-articles/mary-the-spouse-of-the-holy-spirit-blasphemy-or-biblical

About Dave Armstrong

Dave Armstrong
A full-time Catholic apologist since 2001, Dave was received into the Church in 1991. Since February 1997, he has blogged over 2,500 times. Dave is happily married to Judy since 1984, and their four children have all been homeschooled. BiblicalCatholicism.com | Meet Dave

7 Lessons from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

7 Lessons from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

Of all the gifts that God has given his Church, the greatest is without question the Blessed Sacrament, for it is nothing less than the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus himself. In the Eucharistic host, our Divine Savior dwells among men in his fullness. He is truly God with us—what could be greater than this?

If the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus himself, and holiness is found in imitating Christ, then the Blessed Sacrament is a school of holiness. Today, I want to spend a few moments reflecting on the characteristics of Jesus in the Eucharist and what his presence can teach us about both holiness and masculinity.

1. Humility

In the Blessed Sacrament, we see the profound humility of Jesus Christ. Here, the Eternal Wisdom of God who made all things, the brightness of the Eternal Father, condescends to come among us in the form of the most ordinary food. After all, bread is simple fare, the food of the poor. Unlike a fine cut of meat, bread is almost always eaten as a side that is hardly noticed.

If we are to imitate Christ, we must first and foremost practice humility. The servant is not greater than his Master. We must be content to be unnoticed, unpraised, and unappreciated. We must give all glory to God, choosing to be humble and unassuming—like a piece of bread.

2. Silence

Men have always cherished quiet strength, strength that is demonstrated more by deeds than empty words. In the Eucharistic host, Jesus greets us with complete silence. He is ready to listen to all that we have to say, and he only speaks in return when we have quieted our hearts and are completely silent as he is. And finally, he is ready to act on our behalf if we only have confidence in his promises.

The saints constantly praise the virtue of silence, and we are warned that we will be judged for every idle word. Do we waste words? More than this, do we hear what others are saying? As men, we often struggle to listen, and yet listening is an act of love. Listen to your wife or those others around you who may be desperate for someone to pay attention.

3. Love

Almost every Eucharistic miracle on record has the host turning into the flesh of a human heart. This is not random. In the Blessed Sacrament, Christ’s beating heart burns with love for us, and he longs for our love in return. On the cross, Christ literally died of a broken heart for love of sinful humanity, pouring out his precious blood to win our affection. Yes, more than anything, it is love that Jesus desires most from those whom he has redeemed, and if he could have done anything more to secure it, he would have done so.

Do you love Christ? If so, you will obey him and carry your cross after him. You will imitate him by laying down your life for others in sacrificial love.

4. Vulnerability

In the host, Christ is completely and totally vulnerable. Far too often, he is mistreated and abused, ignored and maligned, treated casually and without dignity. Yet, this is the price he willing to pay to live among his people. No matter how many times he is profaned and trampled upon, literally or figuratively, he continues to come to us again and again, saying “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Do we love in this way? Do we open our hearts to others, even though it may mean the pain of rejection? Do we forgive 70 times 7? We cannot love if we close our hearts in fear. We must be courageously vulnerable—like Christ.

5. Patience

Christ waits patiently for you and I in tabernacles and monstrances around the world. He would wait an eternity for a single visit. He waits for us to repent when we stray; he waits for our words of allegiance and affection; he waits to hear of our joys and sorrows; he waits to answer our deepest desires.

Like Christ, we too must be patient with others, especially with those who least deserve it or who try our patience the most. We must also wait with forgiving hearts for those who have harmed or abandoned us to return.

6. Poverty

During his life on earth, Christ was completely poor. He came to earth with nothing and left with nothing. In the Eucharistic host, he who created the galaxies again comes to us poor and naked. And yet, this poverty is only material, for Jesus comes to us rich in grace and in love. He ardently desires to give us all that we need if only we ask with confidence. He wants to bless us with an abundance of graces, which are the true riches of the soul.

Materialism and greed creep into our hearts so easily. Yet, we are called to follow Christ in poverty and detachment, giving generously to others of all that we have received. Give, and it will be given to you—more than you can ask or hope.

7. Presence

The gift of God’s presence is the greatest gift. To the ancient Israelites, there was no greater calamity than the withdrawing of the presence of the Lord. Likewise, there was no greater comfort than the assurance of his presence.

It is the same today. If we have Jesus, we possess all things; without him, we have nothing. Yet, we do not have to travel far to find the presence of Christ—he is as close as the nearest parish, the fulfillment of the ancient “bread of the presence” in the Jewish temple. Nor is his presence an abstraction or an idea, it is real and tangible to our senses. We Catholics can joyfully and truthfully say, “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

If we are to imitate Christ, we must be present to those who need us. How many absentee fathers and husbands there are! How many wives and children have been abandoned by the man who is called to lay down his life for them. Are you present to your family? Are your wife and children your priority? If you are a husband and father, your presence is an irreplaceable gift. Be present.

Conclusion

If we imitated Christ in the Blessed Sacrament perfectly, we would be saints. But doing so is not easy. It requires constant repentance and conversion of life; a putting off of the old man and putting on of the new. This is our calling.

I encourage all of you to find an adoration chapel and to contemplate the Blessed Sacrament. Visit Jesus and adore him, asking for the grace to follow and imitate him completely. Pour out your heart to him, tell him your hopes and fears, your wants and needs—and hear him say in return those words of sacrament and salvation, “Lo, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

The post 7 Lessons from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament appeared first on The Catholic Gentleman.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at The Catholic Gentleman.

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Sam Guzman is an author and editor of The Catholic Gentlemanwhose work has appeared in several publications. He resides in Wisconsin with his wife and two small boys where he is also the Communications Director for Pro-Life Wisconsin.

Did you know that Mary was raised in the Temple and made a vow of virginity?

Did you know that Mary was raised in the Temple and made a vow of virginity?

November 21st, The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

by Father Ryan Erlenbush, November 20,2014

Read the source:  http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2014/11/did-you-know-that-mary-was-raised-in.html

“Congratulate me, all ye that love the Lord, because when I was a little one I pleased the Most High.” (from the Common Office of our Lady)

Though it is related nowhere in the sacred books, ancient tradition tells us of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple when she had been weaned from her mother at the age of three. This presentation is quite diverse from that of our Lord in his fortieth day – for Blessed Mary was given over to the Temple for her rearing and education, as Joachim and Ann returned to Nazareth, she remained in Jerusalem until her fourteenth or fifteenth year.

It was during these twelve years of dedicated service in the Temple that our Lady made her vow of virginity, which God then protected through the ministry of St. Joseph.

Let us consider the outline of the history of the presentation of Mary in the Temple, and then further the vow of Blessed Mary to remain a virgin.

The historical context of the presentation in the Temple

It is thought that some of the Jews who had a special devotion for the Lord and the Temple, would give over to the service of the Temple their daughters. At a young age, these girls would be dedicated to the High Priest and would serve in the Temple as a quasi-Altar Society, caring for the linens, the vestments, and other such appointments of the sanctuary.

[See an excellent post by Taylor Marshall for more on this (here)]

Tradition holds that such was the case also of Joachim and Ann, and further that they had vowed that they would give the Blessed Mary to such service. It is related in early Christian literature, that the child Mary was taken to the Jerusalem at the age of three and, unlike other children of such tender years, was wholly self-possessed and rational, running with joy to consecrated herself to the service of God in the Temple. Not once did she look back to her parents, but she only looked straight on ahead to the coming of the Messiah. (cf. Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew 4)

The history of the presentation in the Temple

Much of the tradition of the presentation of our Lady in the Temple is recorded in the Protevanglium of James (an apocryphal book of the second century). Although this text was not truly written by an apostle, nor is it an inspired text of holy writ, yet the book does bear witness to the ancient traditions of the Christian faithful regarding our Lady.

While not a part of the inerrant word of God, the Protoevangelium gives us a hint of what beliefs were common among the first Christians. That our Lady’s presentation had been a commonly held tradition in the early Church is testified to in the following passage (7.1-2)

“And the child was two years old, and Joachim said, ‘Let us take her up to the Temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us and our offering be not received’. And Anne said, ‘Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother’. And Joachim said, ‘Let us so wait’. And the child was three years old … and they went up to the Temple of the Lord, and the priest received her and kissed her and blessed her, saying, ‘The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel.’ And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet and all the house of Israel loved her. And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the Temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there.” (quoted in Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

Consider also the testimony of the mystics of the Church. Here, an excerpt from a prayer revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden by our Lord,

“Blessed may you be, my Lady, O Virgin Mary. In your most holy infancy, immediately after your weaning, you were borne by your parents to the temple of God and were, with the other virgins, entrusted to the keeping of the devout high priest.”

Again, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmmerich, relates the same tradition,

“When the signing was ended, Mary took leave of her parents. Joachim was especially affected. He took the little child up in his arms, pressed her to his heart, and said weeping; ‘Remember my soul before God.’”

Mary vows her life as a virgin – the Biblical evidence

“Infinite glory be to you, my Lady, O Virgin Mary, who humbly vowed your virginity to God himself and therefore had no concern about who would betroth you.” (Prayer revealed by God to St. Bridget of Sweden)

It is an ancient tradition of the Church that our Lady had vowed virginity during her years of service in the Temple. In this respect, she is a model to all as consecrated virgins, as she was herself the first to make of herself this perfect offering to the Almighty in anticipation of the coming of the Christ.

But, is there any biblical evidence that Mary had made a vow of virginity? Yes!

When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary with the joyful news of her conception of the Christ Child, Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus (Luke 1:31), she is perplexed and uncertain:

And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? (Luke 1:34)

Let us consider that question of our Lady. What caused her to be uncertain regarding her conceiving of a male child? She was not infertile. She was not old. In every respect, she seems to be in prime condition and age to conceive a son.

Was she unwed? No! She was already betrothed to St. Joseph! And so strong was the bond of betrothal that she was already called the “wife” of Joseph (Matthew 1:20).

Here we have a young woman, betrothed to a man, already his wife, and soon to move into his home. In modern terms, this would be something like a girl the day before her wedding (yet with no fear of being left at the altar). Would any young woman, a day before her wedding, be surprised to hear that she would soon conceive a child? No!

Why then was Mary, about to be wed, uncertain of the manner in which the Child should be conceived? She was not so naïve, for at least ancient times marriage was directed to childbirth.

There is only one explanation: Mary did not intend to enter into a natural marriage with St. Joseph. She knew she would be wed, she knew she was in prime condition to conceive a child, and yet she also knew that she would conceive no child by Joseph! This is why she is amazed!

How does she know she will conceive no child by Joseph? Because she and the Just Man had agreed to live as virgins within their marriage. Blessed Mary had made a vow of virginity while she was at the service of God in the Temple. She had given herself wholly to the Most High, and thus she never expected to have a child of St Joseph in this marriage whereby she would love Joseph more as a brother than a husband.
Update: By way of clarification, we should point out that St Joseph must have agreed to this vow of our Lady, and likewise made such a vow of continence himself. Indeed, who would be so impious as to think that St Joseph would presume to have relations with the wife he had taken into his house when it had been revealed to him that the Child in her womb was Christ the Lord?! Obviously, he had made a vow of continence!

There can be no other explanation for this simple question: How shall this be done? Such a question only makes sense if Mary can say I know not man and “I will never know man”! Mary could only ask this question if she had vowed virginity during those tender years in which she cared for the Temple which was a mere shadow of her pure womb.

Joachim & Anna: The Birth and Presentation of Our Lady, from a 2nd Century Document

Joachim & Anna: The Birth and Presentation of Our Lady, from a 2nd Century Document

by STEVE RAY on NOVEMBER 20, 2014

“The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as it is known in the West), or The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple (its name in the East), is a liturgical feast celebrated on November 21 by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Orthodox Churches.

“The feast is associated with an event recounted not in the New Testament, but in the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James. According to that text, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would have a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary was taken to the Temple at around the age of three in fulfillment of a vow…. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Mother of God. Joseph was then chosen to be her caretaker.” (Wikipedia)

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This document about the birth and infancy of Mary was written in the early 2nd century and known and loved by the first Christians. It is the source for the names of Mary’s parents Joachim and Anna. It is fascinating.

I have only provided the first 1/3 of the document. The second part of the document is about Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. The third about the birth of Jesus.  Enjoy the pictures of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the bottom.

The Protoevangelium of James
The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God,
and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

In Honor of the Feast Day of Sts. Joachim and Anna on July 26.

IN THE RECORDS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriach Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.

2. And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am a maid-servant, and it has a royal appearance. And Anna said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Judith said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Israel? And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Isaac.

3. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow’s nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.

4. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran anti hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

5. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest’s forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest’s plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.

6. And the child grew strong day by day; and when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to try whether she could stand, and she walked seven steps and came into her bosom; and she snatched her up, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, thou shall not walk on this earth until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she made a sanctuary in her bed-chamber, and allowed nothing common or unclean to pass through her. And she called the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they led her astray. And when she was a year old, Joachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel. And Joachim brought the child to the priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations. And all the people said: So be it, so be it, amen. And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be for ever. And her mother snatched her up, and took her into the sanctuary of her bed-chamber, and gave her the breast. And Anna made a song to the Lord God, saying: I will sing a song to the Lord my God, for He hath looked upon me, and hath taken away the reproach of mine enemies; and the Lord hath given the the fruit of His righteousness, singular in its kind, and richly endowed before Him. Who will tell the sons of Rubim that Anna gives suck? Hear, hear, ye twelve tribes of Israel, that Anna gives suck. And she laid her to rest in the bed-chamber of her sanctuary, and went out and ministered unto them. And when the supper was ended, they went down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.

7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.

8. And her parents went down marvelling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

Click here for the rest of the document

Read the source: http://www.catholic-convert.com/blog/2014/11/20/the-birth-of-our-lady-from-a-2nd-century-document/