Saturday, December 31, 2011

,,,because of Mary, heaven continues to come to earth.

Holy Mary, Mother of God. Sunday January 1st, 2012

I want to begin by wishing everyone a very blessed New Year. With this great feast of Mary, Mother of God, we come to the end of the Octave of Christmas; that eight days of solemn celebration of the Nativity of our Lord; eight days of intense joy, in which we renew our faith in the Incarnation.

This Solemn feast of our Lady is a relatively new solemnity, in which the Church desires to draws us more deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation of our Lord. In other words, the Church wants us to contemplate and consider what truly happen on that blessed night two thousand years ago we now call Christmas, and to do so in order to grow deeper in our knowledge of and our love for our God, in order to enter into a deep abiding union with Him.

Hopefully we know the catechism's answer of what happened that night: It was the Incarnation- when the invisible God became visible in the flesh, which He took from the Blessed Virgin Mary nine months earlier. Now the whole world can ‘see’ its God because He actually condescended from heaven to become one of us, physically born of the same Blessed Virgin Mary on Christmas Day. Now in Christ the fullness of deity resides in bodily form. But what did the birth of Jesus really do for us? Perhaps to answer this question we could quickly take a look at what the world was like before Jesus’ birth.

Well to sum it up in just one word, "Cruel,"; the world was cruel. The human person had no value; people were only valued only in so much as what they could produce. Woman were consider less than slaves, for the most part only consider the personal property of their husbands; property which could be discarded for any reason whatsoever. Babies, especially female babies were killed often by exposure because they were “inconvenient.” There was terrible, terrible immorality, dishonesty, and cruelty--everywhere. Although it’s hard to believe, conditions back then were much worse than they are now.

You see, back then there wasn’t much love for God because God in the hearts and minds of almost everyone, including the Jews, was so very far away. He was in His heavens light years away, infinitely distant. God, for average person, was a Divine Being who had to be pacified; God was an angry God who had to be made calm. So awesome was He (and His is awesome) that no one was even supposed to say His name.

The people back then did not have a personal intimate relationship with God; they didn’t even think such a thing was possible. One’s relationship with God was merely in the sense that if you were good, God would bless you; if you were not, He would not bless you. Proof of God’s favor was wealth and prosperity; proof of God’s disfavor was disease, economic poverty and political oppression. Unless you were wealthy and had power, you were in a bondage no better than a slave or even an animal for that matter; economically, for the most part, there wasn’t such thing as a middle class there where only the rich and poor.

And so most folks looked for the coming of the prophesied Messiah, the chosen and anointed one of God. But too often they only hoped in His coming so that when He came, He would grant them material prosperity, comfort, security, and so-called “freedom.” Most folks were looking only for a political Messiah-a “bread king,” one that would fill their bellies, their emotions, and free them to do what they wanted, not necessarily to do what they should.

Even more than all of what I just mention, there was something even more terrible and dark in the world at that time, even though most weren’t aware of it; there was something that was the cause of all the unhappiness, suffering and evil in the world. Because of it, souls lived in a bondage and poverty more terrible than any caused by an opposing earthly enemy or material or economic poverty. Souls before the birth of Jesus were in bondage with no hope for true freedom, they were held in slavery to sin, the most horrible evil on earth, the antithesis of love, and the actual cause of the separation and infinite distance between God and men; because of sin all men were enemies to God, separated from God who is Love Itself; they weren’t free to choose the Good, the Beautiful and the True, to choose Love.

And so, before Jesus, no one could make it to heaven at all; everyone, everyone, was consigned to death, eternal death. This is why, as the bible tells us, the Christ had to be named Jesus. The name of Jesus means “God saves”—in other words, “Savior.” The name was assigned by eternal decree; likewise the reason: “For it is he who will save his people from their sins.” Today’s Gospel carefully records Jesus being given His name, that Most blessed of all Names.

And so, Jesus has come to offer to all men the possibility to be free, free from sin and free from eternal death. And if that wasn’t enough, He as even made it possible for those who would repent and believe in the Gospel, not only to be free from sin, but to become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father; free to choose He who is Goodness, Beauty and Truth Itself, Who is Love Itself.

Think of it: Do we really realize our great dignity? The Son of God became a son of man, so that the sons of men could become sons of God, actual partakers in the Divine Nature of God Himself. How can we even begin to begin to appreciate what the birth of Christ as done for us, each one of us? WE are now free to love, truly, authentically, fully!!! Free to love God and our neighbor for love of God, and even to love ourselves properly.

And so this is why we celebrate this Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God; it is because of her that we are able to celebrate Christmas. It was by her fiat, her yes of consent freely given that we received Jesus the Savior, while we were still in our sins, as today’s second reading reminds us. Without her yes, which she was free to not give, none of us here would have any hope of reaching God, reaching heaven. She has made it possible for God to come us, so that it would be possible for us to go to God. If not for her, no matter how “good” we would be, there would be no hope for eternal salvation. Because of her, because of her sacrifice we now have hope. She has given God a baby, His own Son, to offer in sacrifice for our life! To keep this solemn feast then is to show her our immense gratitude and love to the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as to Jesus.

Yes, in some respects our world today doesn’t seem much different than it was before the coming of Christ—men’s hearts are still cruel, the human person is still in many cases, such as in abortion, not valued much; and there is still immorality, dishonesty, and cruelty—everywhere; sadly, even among members of the Church. Souls are still separated from God by sin. But the big difference is now we have hope. God is no longer distant, somewhere out there high in His heaven; now because of Christmas and because of Our Lady, He is close, infinitely close to each one of us; closer in fact than we are to ourselves.

Because of Our Blessed Mother we can be free from sin and even more, infinitely more, we can enter into a divine union with God even while we walk yet on earth; a deep intimate friendship which goes beyond what the mind can even imagine or words can describe. Heaven has come to earth because of Mary, our heavenly Mother.

But, because of Mary, heaven continues to come to earth. The Incarnation of God as man is not just something that occurred two thousand years ago…No, it occurs now in our midst at the Holy Mass. Christmas is something that we can experience in our lives now!

In just a short while God descends, condescends from heaven to be “reborn” on this sacred Altar. This is the Mystery of Faith, and it has the power, infinite power to renew us and to renew our world through us. But only if we believe, only if we come before the “newborn” child with faith, and believe, adore, hope and love Him truly present in the Holy Eucharist in the flesh, as a man, as God still among us.

Now at this beginning of this New Year as in everyday of our lives, while we still breathe, we can begin a new, through the grace of the Sacrament of Confession, we can leave sin behind and choose to live in the freedom of God’s beloved sons and daughters. Because of the Mother of God we not only have a model to imitate but a advocate a helper to be with us as we strive to become better, holier, by turning away from sin to a new more fuller life in Christ. In the Holy Eucharist God is with us…He has come to free us from the one thing that can separate us from Him; He has come to save us from our sins.

Our Blessed Mother is with us at this Holy Mass and every Holy Mass, inspiring us to turn to the Eucharist in faith and “do whatever He tells us.” She will lead us to live more fully with her Son Jesus, who is God now with us. She will help us find Him and see Him, with the eyes of faith, both in the Holy Eucharist at every Mass, and in the depths of our souls were He longs and desires to become one with us, to actually share His Divinity and so His divine life within us, so great is His love for us.

Jesus chose to come into this world through Mary, and he continues to come into souls through holiness by grace which by divine decree comes only through her. And so obviously, we would all be well to turn to her for help as we make our New Year resolution to start anew in our growing in our love, our hope and our faith in Jesus our Lord and God in the Holy Eucharist. She will help us if we turn to her, to believe even when we don’t fully understand; to grow in prayer and so intimacy with Christ; to expand every ounce of our energy to bring Christ to others and of course to avoid sin and anything that might distract from her divine Son, to whom she points with confidence, hope and love.

Through Mary, heaven has comes to earth; through Mary, Heaven-Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, comes to dwell in each one of us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

God continues to give us the gift of His Whole Self!

The Solemnity of Christmas December 25th, 2011

Christmas as arrived. With it we are invited to enter into the crib at Bethlehem; and there, with the Virgin Mother and St. Joseph, behold the God, who out of love for us, became a little helpless babe and gaze upon Him with faith, hope and love. For only love inspired by faith and hope can believe this wonder, the wonder of the Incarnation-the true and living God who became man, one of us, who remains one of us and who remains with us.

In this wonder, the wonder of a child, we discover that Christmas is for children, because Christmas is all about a Child, the newborn Christ-child. Christmas invites all of us to become children before the Crib looking in humility at our God made man with the all of the wonder of young Child at Christmas looking at the presents under the tree. In this case, however, we look at the greatest of all presents ever given to the children of men, Jesus, Our Emmanuel-The God who is still with us in the Holy Eucharist, truly present in all the tabernacles of the world.

In the light of the Holy Eucharist, who is Jesus, we discover that Christmas is so more than just an anniversary of the birth of the baby Jesus, who was God among us, God become one of us. It is this, but much much more. Because it was the birth of Jesus who was and is our God became man. And because Jesus, Our Lord and God is still in the flesh, is still a man, Christmas is an event that can occur now in our midst. God continues to give us the gift of His Whole Self in the present.

At Holy Mass, not only at Christmas, but at every Holy Mass, God continues to become man on this Altar and all the altars of the world….He continues to come down from heaven in order to be “born” on our altar during Holy Mass. But we for our part must become as little children to open ourselves to the believe in this wonder…it isn’t a fairy tail, it isn’t a myth….it is the truth above all truths, the reality above all realities…it is where the hope and fears of all the world are met in Jesus tonight, who becomes truly present to us, not only in spirit but in the flesh as God among us.

In this mystery of faith, God offers us 'today,' now, to me, to you, to each one of us, the possibility of acknowledging and receiving him like the shepherds in Bethlehem, so that He might be born in our lives and renew them, illumine them, transform them by his grace, by his presence." (Pope Benedict )

I want now to speak here especially to the children among us. Dear Children you can see that we here have a very special new statue that was donated to us by some very special friends of our parish family. It is statue of Jesus as a little Child. Isn’t He wonderful! Ask your parents to bring you up next to the crib after Holy Mass, in order to see him closer, and to see him in the crib as well.

In fact, if you compare this statue of the little child Jesus, you can see that he resembles the baby Jesus in the crib in this way. See that His hands are open up just like the baby Jesus our crib. His hands are open because he wants to embrace you. He loves you so very much. Jesus is calling to all of you…He wants you to know that He is your very truest and dearest friend, and He will always listen to you if you call to Him in prayer.

Notice I have place the child Jesus over the tabernacle. In the tabernacle the child Jesus really and truly dwells. The tabernacle is like the crib at Bethlehem. Yet, Jesus is really there. And Jesus waits there with his arms open, with his heart open for the little children to come unto him in faith in order to be loved by Him. He offers you all of his love; He offers you, dear children, His heart.

Respond generously to the Lord Who calls you to be friends with Him. I promise you, He will never let you down." (Pope Benedict).

"Dear children, my friends. "I would like to ask you for one thing. As you answer this beautiful invitation from Jesus, take it to your friends and tell them. “Look, I have responded to Jesus’ call to me, and I am happy because I found a great Friend that I meet in prayer and that I can visit at any time, because He is truly present on earth with us in the Holy Eucharist, dwelling in the tabernacle and on the Altar at Holy Mass. I can hear Him speak to me in my heart and in the readings at Holy Mass…I can even receive Him into my heart and soul at Holy Communion.

My dear Children, my Christmas wish for you is that, you would come often to Church to embrace by Jesus who is holding His arms out to you as He offers you His Sacred Heart. And you would say to Jesus, “Dear Jesus, my dearest friend, come into my life and I will listen to you always.”

Finally, dear children, be sure to visit me after Holy Mass for I have a very special Christmas gift for you. Never forget that Jesus loves you so very much.

And now to all of God’s children both young and Old. In light of the mystery of Christmas, which is a mystery of God’s love, and now that all preparations have been made and we celebrate Christmas with our loved ones, now that the presents have been purchased and we share to joy of giving to those we love, have we overlooked one the most important aspect of Christmas? Have we prepared properly and given the present to the one who loves us the most-Jesus? It is His Birthday after all. Have we given to the Christ Child the one present that He desires this Christmas?

And that Present the Jesus wants most this Christmas is the gift of our self. Jesus wants us to give Him our heart for Christmas, our whole heart, and all of its love. Jesus wants us to give Him the gift of our lives, of all we are, all we do, and all we have.

Christmas is all about children. Let us not disappoint any child this Christmas. Most especially, let us not disappoint the Christ-Child who is God with us in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; and who comes to meet us this night, at this Holy Mass with arms open to embrace us, and Who holds out His Divine and Human heart for a present for us to embrace.

This Christmas, let us give Jesus the Present of ourselves, the present of our humble and contrite heart; let us give ourselves to Jesus totally, not just in words but through our worship and adoration of Him, not only at Christmas but every Sunday at Christ’s Mass, and by worshiping and adoring Him with our very lives in all that we think, say or do.

On behalf Fr. William, the parish staff and myself, I wish you and yours a very Merry, Blessed and Grace filled Christmas. And may the Christ Child who is calling to you, bless you and your family abundantly during this joyous season!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Forever and Ever...!!!

4th Sunday in Advent. December 18th, 2011

Have you ever noticed when you listen to the readings on Sunday how many times the word forever is mentioned? It’s not only mentioned in the readings, but it is also mentioned at every prayer the priest prays at every single Mass, including this Sunday. I know our very own Fr. William even ends every homily with, “forever and ever.

As we continue with our joyful and penitential preparations for Advent, perhaps we can ask ourselves, “Do we take forever and ever for granted and gloss over its meaning for us? As a young teenager my mother once asked me when I was being particularly nasty with her, “Do you ever think of eternity son?” My glib answer was to tell her that I didn’t, since I didn’t have the time.” But how true her words were and still are. Eternity is forever and ever. It’s not that life is too short, it is that eternity is so long…forever and ever.

This Sunday as we almost complete the Advent Season and approach Christmas, let us all contemplate the eternal God who existed from all eternity and entered into our time and space and was born in a small stable at Bethlehem; and continues to reborn to us on the stable of our sacred altars and to remain with us in littleness in the Bethlehem of our Tabernacles. Whether we like it or not we too are going to exist forever and ever, with Him or without Him. It boggles the mind never ever, ever, never an end, but forever. I not sure we think of this enough…am not sure we take our eternal salvation seriously enough; so many distractions by things so much less important than forever.

The Christmas season is almost upon us and it is the one time when millions more than usual at least, think about the birth of Jesus. But why did He, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, why did He, the eternal God, become one of us? And in light of this questions, “What is the purpose of our lives?...Why do we exist…what or Who have we been made for…?” It is important to ponder all of this, since where we shall exist forever and how we shall exist forever and ever depends on our answer now, while we live in time and can still choose.

In the Gospel today, Mary’s response is a total ‘yes’ to God’s plan. Fiat, let it be done to me according to Your Will. Now, because of her ‘yes’ we can also freely choose to become and live as actual adopted sons and daughters of the God who chose to become one of us, in order to, not only save us, but to save us for Himself. And so, only those who decide to say ‘yes’ to Jesus, not only with words, but like Mary with their lives, will know the real meaning of Christmas; for millions others it is just another occasion to party and feast and to accumulate more material possessions, living their lives, not only like there is no tomorrow, but like there is no eternity. Yes, they can fool themselves with the concept that there is no heaven, or with the the false idea which believes that every goes to heaven any way, thinking to themselves after all I am good person, it’s the rest of the world that as to change. But is forever worth risking with such glib and incredible indifference.

This Sunday really listen to the words forever and ever. Ponder and pray about them; ask God to grant you the grace to change your heart in light of them. May you will never forget them now and each time you attend Mass; and may these words cause you to change your life for the better and even change your final destiny.

In light of forever and ever… let us turn to the Virgin Mary and ask her for her fervent love in our hearts so we too can receive our savior Jesus and as a result, be submissive to His Holy Will in our lives. When we receive Holy Communion, by our Amen we should be saying, ““Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum… Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.” Let me die to my self, to my will and let Jesus Christ be reborn in my very being so I can live with Him, Mary, Joseph and all of the angel and saints forever and ever and ever…Amen.

“Forever and ever…”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

QUAERITUR: How to get Gregorian chant and a TLM in the parish.

QUAERITUR: How to get Gregorian chant and a TLM in the parish.

"I am not the one. Jesus is the One!"

Gaudete Sunday. Third Sunday in Advent. December 11th, 2011

We rejoice and are glad as we await the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is what we proclaim today as we celebrate this Third Sunday of Advent. The rose colored vestment symbolizes this great joy-Gaudete! We await Jesus coming just like His herald, John the Baptist. John shows us the way to Christ and how to wait with patient, but joyful hope.

In order to really understand today’s Gospel, we have to remember that during the first century in Israel, the Romans controlled the entire political and religious life of the people. And so, many people at the time of John were looking for political answers to this great oppression by the Romans. Now we have never had to live under foreign occupation in this country so it’s hard to image how terrible it must have been for the Israelites. In light of their great hardships, they asked; “Who would ever come to free them, who could possibly grant them liberty? They were a people whose hope was almost gone; the only hope they had left was in the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.

These were the people who went out to see John the Baptist and so, “They asked John, “Are you the one, like Moses or David or Elijah that will lead a glorious and powerful army to victory over the Romans? Unfortunately, in their questions we see all too clearly that what little hope they had left, was placed solely in human power and solutions, such as politics and war. In other words, they trusted in man alone to save man; their hope was in a human Messiah, not a divine one. No wonder their hope was so weak.

John knew all too well the state of affairs in the country of Israel. Yet he saw hope not in human solutions, like politics and war, but in divine solutions. John saw the greatest enemy was not Roman’s, but was the people’s own infidelity to the Lord. He preached boldly about the need for repentance, about turning from the real oppressor-sin. He knew that the real problem of the day was the hardness of people hearts, their refusal to give their total yes to God as shown by their refusal to following God’s commandments and teachings and so offer true worship to the Lord. And so, John called them all to task, no exceptions; he called everyone, even Kings, to repentance-to turn away from the real cause of all the unhappiness, suffering, and even war in the world, which is sin, and to turn back in fidelity to the true and living God, the worship of Who, alone could give them true happiness and peace.

But John not only preached repentance, he lived it. John saw who he was in relation to God; he saw that he, himself was totally dependant on God for everything. “I am not the one, Jesus is the one.” John knew the truth, he knew he needed a savior, he knew he could not fix his own problems, he knew man could not and can never save man; and so he hoped in God alone--God alone can save.

And so, John pointed the world to the One who would come and who alone could fix the world—Jesus is the One. He is the one who will bring Glad tidings to the lowly, healing to the sick & liberty to the captives,. What glad tidings these are, and they make up the Good News of Jesus, the Gospel. This Gospel is not just a message, not just a holy book, the Gospel is a Person, a Divine Person, Jesus Christ—He is the Message! He is THE friend to the lowly, the poor in spirit, the sick and the oppressed, especially those who are sick, oppressed and in slavery to sin. Jesus will bring a victory, a victory much greater than any military victory over any enemy of this world.

Jesus shows us His definitive victory. One of the greatest military powers the world has ever seen threw everything that it had at him, even their greatest torture--crucifixion. The power of hell itself, threw everything it had at Him, even its greatest torture, the very power of death itself. And Jesus in return showed them and us an even greater power, the very power of God Himself. And because Jesus was God, it was His own power; and He used it to defeat the power of hell itself by His glorious resurrection. The Resurrection show us definitively that God’s power can swallow up anything the power of this world has to offer, anything the power of hell as to offer…especially the power of sin and death. This is indeed THE GOOD NEWS for us, for you and for me.

Jesus side is the winning side, the battle as already been won. But now the battle needs to be fought in each soul, inside each of us. If we are on His side, we will be victorious as well. But, we have to always keep in mind that the victory Jesus will lead us to will be primarily to a spiritual victory, like His. Jesus will not necessarily take all our troubles away, we still have to, like Him, suffer and die, but He will give us His own Divine Power in order to, not only to prevail and to persevere over our self will, over sin, but to do so with Joy and peace even amidst great sufferings. If we are with Jesus, no power in this world can defeat us; not even the devil himself; not even one of our greatest enemy, which is ourselves, can take away our hope in finally being victorious over our sins. With Jesus, and only with Jesus, we will reach the reward for all the victorious, union with God Himself and life forever with Him in heaven.

We live in a broken hearted world, one that is marked with conflict- wars, divisions, and a general disregard for God and the things of God. We want to see the solutions to all of our problems apart from God. It’s too easy fall into the trap of thinking that we can save ourselves; that we can solve all of our problems without conforming our lives to God’s truth and will in order to do it. Yet, this is so far from the truth. We are helpless and cannot save ourselves nor solve all of our problems apart from God and His truth. Politics can’t save us; only God can save; and He does so in the Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God who has become one of us in order to save us.

Jesus alone is the Answer…and Jesus comes to us through the Sacraments. It is only through the Sacraments, that the power of Jesus’ victory flows in order to brings liberty to the captives, captive to sin, which is all of us. The Sacraments alone have to power to set us free, to heals us, to save us. The Sacraments have the power to restore our fallen world; for the Sacraments have the power of God Himself…in fact one of the Sacraments is called the Most Blessed of all Sacraments because It is God Himself, in the flesh, in Person with all of His divine power and glory. And so this Sacrament of all Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist is alone the Answer because it is Jesus, and as I said, Jesus Alone is the Answer.

But we can only, access this Power of all powers through faith, by believing, adoring, trusting and loving, and begging pardon for those, including our own lack of faith, who do not believe, adore, hope and love. We will never, never, overcome our current woes, not to mention prevent our world from sliding more into chaos, into hell, until more Catholics come with strong and living faith, before the Holy Eucharist, having first been purified by worthy Sacramental confessions, and there in front of the very Person of God’s Divine Mercy, Jesus, present in the fullness of His Humanity and the fullness of His divinity, beg the Eternal Father for mercy on us and upon our whole world.

Gaudete! Let us rejoice, we have a God who has come, and who comes again in through the Sacraments in order to offer us His saving and healing power, the power of His Humanity and Divine Love. Let us have hope…for Hope has a name, and that name is Jesus, and through faith, we process this Hope in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the God who heals, frees and saves those who come to Worship Him and adore Him.

Let us pray. St. John the Baptist, through your intercession, help us to have your same attitude, help us to have a humble submission to God and to live for Him alone. Help us to see that the cause of all, all, unhappiness, suffering and unrest in the world, even war, the cause of all man’s problems, is not great opposing military, or great power in the world, but the cause is our own infidelity to the Lord, that is doing our own thing, in other words, sin. John show us that the Holy Eucharist is Jesus--the Lamb of God, the One alone who has the power to free, to heal, and to save. Help us to be like you, faithful to the Lord even to our last breath, so that by our lives and even by our death, we too may point out to others, the true Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world-Jesus truly Present in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Our Lady of the New Advent, through your intercession obtain for us the grace of the Holy Spirit to help us to open the gates of hearts fully at this Holy Mass in order that the Heart of Christ truly present in the Holy Eucharist, may come fully in, and make us one with Him and through Him, one with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011



The Immaculate Conception

In 1854, Pope Pius IX's solemn declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, clarified with finality the long-held belief of the Church that Mary was conceived free from original sin. In proclaiming the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a dogma of the Church, the pope expressed precisely and clearly that Mary was conceived free from the stain of original sin. This privilege of Mary derives from God's having chosen her as Mother of the Savior; thus she received the benefits of salvation in Christ from the very moment of her conception.

This great gift to Mary, an ordinary human being just like us, was fitting because she was destined to be Mother of God. The purity and holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a model for all Christians. But not just a model, she is the also the hope for all Christians. She is the hope because through her we can have access to Christ in a otherwise inaccessible manner. Through her, by the "overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, we can become, like her, though divine grace, worthy dwelling places of her Son.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of the Immaculate Conception of Mary:
490. To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role". The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491. Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1844:
"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of
almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all
stain of original sin." (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.)

492. The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son." The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love."

493. The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia) and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature". By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

The immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary has its origins in today's Gospel. The Archangel Gabriel said to Mary in greeting: Hail, Full of Grace. This name given to Mary- Full of Grace- is a title to her and shows us that God HImself calls her Full of Grace.

Full of Grace means all of the merits and graces gained by her Son, Jesus Christ as he died upon the cross- were given to Mary at the moment of her conception in the womb of Saint Anne. (you may want to say a few words about devotion to her.)

The Fullness of Grace given to Mary as a gift were never lost or diminished in her life- until she was Assumed into heaven. The grace of Christ was fully given to her throughout her life. Mediating on the mysteries of the Rosary helps us to see this.

For us, we must know because of the Blessed Virgin, there is available to us this same fullness of grace. We are sinners and are in great need of grace. Our Lady helps us obtain the grace we need to be faithful disciples of Christ.

We need help with our daily struggles and crosses. We too often try to limit our Lord in answering our prayers. Like the Virgin, we must follow the way of the cross. However, we tend to draw back and naturally are not wanting to do this. Life, however, takes over- the circumstances which we have no control over, cause us to suffer, to struggle and sometimes to loose hope. Todays feast should revive our hope, for there is unlimited grace in Christ.

But even more; God prepared a worthy dwelling place for his Son in the Immaculate Conception; God too, by grace and holiness, wants to prepare a worthy dwelling place in us for the Son in the Spirit. We for our part must, like the Virgin, give Him our yes, our fiat! This of course is not a one time thing; our fiat is given each time we choose right over wrong, truth over error; the Church’s teachings over the teachings of the world; virtue over sin; in other words; each time we choose God’s Holy will over our own selfish will; each time we for love of God put the needs of others before our own.

While this seems like an impossible task; what is impossible for men is possible for God through the intercession of the Virgin. If we turn to her in greater love and devotion, she will help us to draw closer to her Son, Jesus; through her powerful intercession, through her fiat her yes, the Holy Spirit will come and rebirth the Son of God in us through holiness. And then although not conceived Immaculate, we will live Immaculate and die Immaculate; in other words, we will be saints, one with God, God dwelling in us; God going out to the world, in us, through us, and with us.

Come Holy Spirit Come, Come by means of the powerful intercession of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy well-beloved spouse. (3x) amen. Immaculate Conception, Mediatrix of All Grace, Co-redemptrix, pray for us poor sinners who have recourse to thee. Amen.