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Posts Tagged ‘Mary’

This post is part of our Advent Reflection Series – a collection of original blog posts written by the Sisters of Notre Dame.

In today’s reading from the Gospel according to Luke, Mary rushes to visit with her cousin Elizabeth. The Angel Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth was with child, and Mary herself was to bear the Son of God. Both women discovered in each other a mystery that they did not fully understand, and yet they were filled with the joy of eager anticipation.

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What struck me about this scripture passage was the faith and humility of Elizabeth. She is humbled to be visited by the future mother of her Lord. She will share in the joy of motherhood with Mary, her relative. How often do we have the grace to share such an intimate moment with a friend, relative or even a stranger, knowing that God is making known his presence in us?

I have a friend, Brittney, whom I consider to be my sister. We share many things in common, but what binds us is our faith in Jesus. We pray the rosary together whenever possible, and we have confidence that no matter the challenges that we face in our life journey, we share in the joy of God’s love and mystery. We feel God’s presence through one another.

As we draw closer to celebrating Christmas, we are called to remember and reflect on the blessings of the people who have touched us with their wisdom and witness of their lives of faith. How can we reflect the presence of God to others as we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”?

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This post is part of our Advent Reflection Series – a collection of original blog posts written by the Sisters of Notre Dame.

It seems hard to believe that we have already reached the second week of the Advent season, when we revisit the story of John the Baptist calling out to us in the words of Isaiah: “Make ready the way of the Lord! Clear him a straight path!”

We might choose to lament that “making ready” has come to mean decorating and shopping, planning, scheduling and traveling; but how sad it is if we don’t move beyond those thoughts to make our own preparation for the coming of the Lord. Imagine how Mary was preparing in those last weeks before her son’s birth. She had to be so focused on that life within her, what his birth would mean, how her life would change. She was clearly making ready and clearing the path for him.

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So, we may need to ask ourselves: What am I doing this Advent that is different than previous years to make ready the way of the Lord in my heart, in my life with others, in the larger world? What am I actively doing to clear Him a straight path?

We need to make within us place and space. This may mean that we need to focus on gratitude and joy, and weed out the negative and our tendency to judge others. It may mean that we are called to simplify our life in some way: reduce our commitments and our busy-ness; clear out our possessions to pass on to others; challenge our own decisions so we give time and attention to relationships that are healthy and helpful.

Maybe this year, clearing the path is about dealing with a thorny relationship, or something we are holding on to which blocks the path for the Lord’s presence. Perhaps it’s about reaching beyond ourselves and forming new relationships with persons who have something to offer from a background, culture, experience, or education that is different from our own.

It may mean that we spend more time in silence and prayer to foster a greater openness within, a clearing out of our own heart, to make way for the message God has for us. As we celebrate this week of Advent, how will we respond to the question: Will I be ready to hear what he has to say to me this year?

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The following prayer is from Catholic Online. Click the link to see the original page.

Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes” to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history. You opened yourself to God’s word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

mothers-day-48957_640Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own. May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.

On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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The Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary recalls the angel, Gabriel, coming to the young woman, Mary, to ask her if she would be the mother of God’s Son, Jesus. The Catholic Church celebrates this feast on March 25 each year, nine months before the birth of Jesus.

The feast is important to all of us as an example. Mary, a young person, so in tune with God in her life, responds with an important “Yes” to God’s request to be the mother of his Son. Mary said: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” As a young woman preparing for her marriage to Joseph, Mary did not know how this would happen, what this child would be like, what Jesus’ future would be, or what all this would mean for her and Joseph’s life together. And yet she could say “yes” to God. She modeled for us great faith and trust.

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It is a very important day for all Sisters of Notre Dame. Notre Dame means Our Lady so the sisters are, in a unique way, Sisters of Our Lady.  They chose the Annunciation their congregational feast because they want to model their lives after Mary’s by being open and ready to say “yes” to whatever God asks of them.

Today, let us pray for all the Sisters of Notre Dame that they continue to listen to God and say “yes” to whatever God asks of them. Let us pray for ourselves, our family members and our friends, that we may be open and ready to say “yes” when God asks something of us, even if we don’t understand.

Let us think about these words of the angel, Gabriel, as we say:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

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Notre Dame Academy Elementary School (NDAES) in West Los Angeles celebrates May Crowning Mass today, May 21. May Crowning Mass is a special tradition at NDAES and Notre Dame Academy High School.  Sister Mary Jolisa Lazaro teaches at NDAES and looks forward to the Mass all year.

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“I have been teaching for a long time. I keep these beautiful Sisters of Notre Dame traditions, which are near and dear to my heart,” she said.

Parents of eighth and third graders will be in attendance today.  The third graders will process in wearing their special outfits and the eighth graders will process in wearing their graduation gowns, as it is the last Mass with the whole student body. TK students, kindergarteners and first graders will bring flowers to Mary’s statue. During Mass, the first communicants will finally receive Holy Communion with the entire student body. After Holy Communion, and after the actual May Crowning, everyone will say the Act of a Consecration to Mary. NDAES teachers invite their students to say the prayer each day of May so they are able to say it together as a student body during the Mass.  They can also take a copy of the prayer home to memorize and share with their families. The original Act of a Consecration to Mary can be found below:

Queen of the Holy Rosary,
Help of the Christians,
Refuge of the human race,
Conqueress in God’s battlefields,
To You and to Your Immaculate Heart
In this tragic hour of human history
We entrust and consecrate ourselves,
And the Holy Church.
She is the Mystical Body of Your Jesus,
Suffering and bleeding in so many parts
And tormented in so many ways,
We consecrate to You the whole world torn by bitter strive
And consumed by the fire of hatred
The victim of its own wickedness.
Look with compassion to all material and moral destruction
To the suffering and fears of fathers and mothers
Of husbands and wives, of brother and sisters and innocent children.
Look at the many lives cut down in the flower of youth
So many bodies torn to pieces in brutal slaughter
So many souls tortured and troubled
And in danger of being lost eternally.
Oh, Mother of Mercy, obtain peace for us from God!
Obtain especially those graces, which can convert human hearts quickly.
Those graces, which can prepare, establish and insure peace.
Queen of Peace, pray for us;
Give the world at war the peace for which all are longing,
Peace in Truth, Justice and the Charity of Christ.
Give them peace of the arms and peace of mind,
That in tranquillity and order
The Kingdom of God may expand.
Grant Your protection to infidels
And to those still walking in the shadow of death;
Give them peace and permit that the sun of truth may raise upon them;
And that together with us
They may repeat before the Only Saviour of the World:
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on earth among men of good will (Lk2.14)
Give peace to the people separated by error and schism,
Particularly those, who have special devotion to You
And among whom there was no home,
Where Your venerable Icon was not honoured,
Though at present it may be hidden
In the hope for better days.
Bring them back to the One Fold of Christ,
Under the One True Shepherd.
Obtain peace and complete liberty for the Holy Church of God,
Check the spreading flood of neo-paganism,
Arouse within the faithful love of purity
The practice of Christian life and apostolic zeal,
So that the people who serve God,
May increase in merit and number.
All of humanity were once consecrated to the Heart of Your Son.
All our hopes rest in Him, Who is in all times
Sign and pledge of victory and salvation.
Forever we consecrate ourselves to You
And to Your Immaculate Heart,
Oh, Mother and Queen of the World!
May Your love and patronage hasten the victory of the Kingdom of God,
May all nations, at peace with each other and with God, proclaim You Blessed
And sing with You from one end of the earth to the other,
The eternal Magnificat of glory, love and gratitude
To the Heart of Jesus, in which alone,
They can find Truth, Life and Peace.

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In the month of May, our thoughts turn to Mary for many reasons: May processions and crownings, Mother’s Day, feasts of Our Lady of Fatima and the Queenship of Mary. In fact, there is a feast day of Mary celebrated somewhere in the world on every single day of the month of May according to the Roman Calendar of Marian feasts.

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Michelangelo’s “Pieta”

 

What can we learn from Mary?  Just think about her words:  “I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Annunciation), “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Visitation), “Do whatever he tells you”; (wedding at Cana); and what she doesn’t say because she “treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:20).  At the Cross, Jesus gave us the precious gift of his mother, and we know that she continues to embrace us lovingly as she points the way to her Son.  She has special “bragging rights” and we can imagine that if she walked with us today, she would be tweeting and texting in praise of her Son.  She wants us to love him as she does.  She wants us to follow him and listen to his words (in a way, if we read the Gospels regularly, isn’t this similar to reading a personal blog from Jesus?)

What might Jesus be saying to us today?  Do we hear his voice assuring us, “Do not be afraid”?  Can we hear the gentleness in his voice as he reminds us, “Love one another as I have loved you!”  And as the early Church gathered in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus, the Acts of the Apostles recount that “All joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus.”  Mary teaches us to be PRESENT in the community!  Perhaps during this month of May, we can try to be more present, more attentive to the words of Jesus, more loving , more faithful and more faith-filled as we strive to follow Mary’s example in embracing her Son and her Son’s beloved people.

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Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes” to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history. You opened yourself to God’s word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own “Fiat.” May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.

On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you…

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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