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Mary's act of faith is a real example of obedience and love (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 21st December 2014)

Posted on December 19, 2014 at 7:27 AM Comments comments (0)
 
This Sunday's Gospel Acclamation:
 
'I am the handmaid of the Lord:
let what you have said be done to me.'
 
Mary's yes, or fiat as it is commonly referred to, is the ultimate act of faith in God's divine plan.  It is a simple and humble acceptance of the Father's will over and above Mary's own dreams and aspirations. 
 
Mary's fiat is the complete sacrifice of the self in favour of the interests of another.  It is, in that sense, very much like marriage.  Marriage, as a Sacrament, is the complete giving of oneself to another in love.  Love, in this sense, is a sacrifice and we should always guard against reducing it to a mere emotion as is often the case in today's world.  Love is wanting the very best for your spouse and this, of course, should be reciprocal, so that at all times each spouse is striving for the very best for the other and each lives in the security of an endless cycle of sacrifical love.  
 
Mary, in saying yes to God, not only shows us how to be completely obedient to whatever God wants for us.  Mary, in saying yes, also shows us how to love.  
 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: are we prepared to say ‘yes’ to God as Mary did? (Tuesday 25th March 2014)

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (5)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):
 
‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.’
 
 
Nothing is impossible with God.  Mary, despite being a virgin, found herself to be with child.  And not any old child; Mary was pregnant with the ‘Son of the Most High’ as described by the angel Gabriel.  The impossible had suddenly become possible.  The surreal had become real.
 
And then the Saviour of the world was born.  Jesus, the Lord, came to save us from our sins and to give us the gift of eternal life.  Yet none of this would have been possible had Mary not said ‘yes’ to God. 
 
How many of us would say yes to God as Mary did?  Are we prepared to put God and others first before ourselves for the greater good, as Mary did?  Are we prepared to sacrifice our lives in service to God and to others, as Mary did?  Do we have a deep, unconditional love for God as well as a child-like trust which means we are always ready to say ‘yes’ to Him when he calls us to do His work, as Mary did?
 
Mary is our guiding light.  It is Mary who shows us the way to complete faith in God.  It is Mary who shows us the type of unconditional love and trust we must have in God.  It is Mary who shows us the way to that deep humility in our daily lives; always putting God and others first.  It is Mary who shows us how we should live our lives; respecting others and ensuring we are never boastful of our achievements.  Mary never boasted that she gave birth to the Son of God.  How then can we ever boast about our achievements?   
 
Mary is our light.  On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation let us ask Mary to show us the way to Jesus.  Let us ask Mary to intercede for us so that we too can have the grace to say ‘yes’ when God is calling us to do His work. 
 
 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Rejoicing at Mary’s ‘Yes’ (Friday 20th December 2013)

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 8:19 AM Comments comments (2)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):      
 
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
 
 
The Annunciation: the ‘yes’ that saved the world.  Oh how grateful we must be to Mary our Mother for her ‘yes’ to God (also known as the fiat).  Without any kind of selfish thought Mary trusts completely in the Will of God and agrees to bear and give birth to the Saviour of the world.
 
Read the passage again and imagine the whole of Creation waiting to hear those words….’I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.’  Imagine the joyous scenes in Heaven as Mary says ‘yes’ to God…
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn (Thursday 12th December 2013)

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 7:59 AM Comments comments (4)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):
(please note this is the Gospel spoken during Mass in the Americas today, in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is a different Gospel passage from the one for the UK today)
 
‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.’
 
 
Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  And how fitting we should have this Gospel passage!  Our Lady of Guadalupe is, after all, Protectress of the Unborn. 
 
Each and every child conceived today is - like Jesus in the passage above - a miracle of God.  We are all created by God, for God.  Therefore, every child deserves the respect of all mankind.  How many little miracles do not see the light of day in our world?  Today we must pray, and pray hard, for an end to abortion.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the key to undoing the evil of abortion and we must direct our prayers through her, to God. 
 
Today, in a spare moment, please say at least one Hail Mary through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for an end to abortion.  We have already seen numerous abortion clinics close across the United States in the last year or so and we have witnessed an unprecedented show of support for life through the European ‘One of Us’ campaign which amassed 1.8 million signatures across the continent.  We also have the recent rejection of the Estrela Report in the European Parliament, providing further evidence that life is winning! 
 
But we must not rest.  There are still millions of innocent little miracles dying each and every day throughout the world for no good reason.  Please, please, say that Hail Mary today.  The miracle of life is so precious.  It’s a gift we are all blessed to have received.  Why then should we deny it to others….?
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: The Annunciation (Monday 9th December 2013)

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 7:29 AM Comments comments (1)
 
Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38):
 
‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.’
 
 
The faith of Mary is astounding; simply astounding.  She trusts completely in God’s will and His plan for her life.  There must have been all sorts of things going through Mary’s mind at this time yet all she asks is….how is it possible.  No hint of anger or frustration, no selfish thoughts.  Just a genuine curiosity as to how this could come about.
 
And as soon as the angel offers an explanation it is accepted with reverence and trust as Mary declares ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord….let what you have said be done unto me.’ 
And so it is with us.  We are all handmaids of the Lord.  Do we, like Mary, trust God sufficiently to let his Will be done unto us?