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Advent Spiritual Journey by Fr. Mark Lawlor

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/12/08 at 12:00 AM

Mary, Queen of Heaven:   The season of Advent is a spiritual journey.  Three saints of great prominence during the season of Advent are St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist and Mary, the Blessed Mother.

In this reflection, we look to Mary, the Blessed Mother and the Queen of Heaven.  God choose her from all women of all time to be the mother of the Divine Son of God.  Our Lord was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary.  She is the Mother of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ.  At the time of the Annunciation, Mary’s responded to the angel Gabriel with the words, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  [Luke 1:38]  Mary’s “yes” to God encourages us to say “yes” to God.  We will grow in the spiritual life by meditating on the mysteries of the holy rosary.

During Advent, there are two great Feasts of Mary.  On December 8th, we will celebrate the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception, which is a Holy Day of Obligation.  The teaching of the Church is that from the first instant of her conception, Mary was kept free from the stain of original sin by a singular grace and the privilege of Almighty God, in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior.   In 1846, the bishops of the United States of America proclaimed that Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception as our national patroness.

Also in Advent we have the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.  This feast recalls the apparitions of Mary at the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531 to the native convert, St. Juan Diego.  Pope Pius XII named Our Lady of Guadalupe the “Patroness of the Americas.”

Blessed John Paul II called Mary, “the Star of the New Evangelization.”  Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe is especially invoked as the patroness of the unborn as the miraculous image portrays Mary as being pregnant.  When the Queen of Heaven appeared to Juan Diego, she requested that a shrine be built on the site of the apparitions and to relay her message to the bishop.  When the bishop requested some sign of Mary’s request, our Lady provided roses which Juan Diego carried in his tilma.  When Juan presented the roses to the bishop, the miraculous image was formed.  The original image is still venerated in the basilica after 480 years.  The news of the apparitions and the miraculous image were a catalyst that increased Christian devotion and conversions.  The Feast Our Lady of Guadalupe is thus an important & popular celebration for all those of Mexican heritage and for the Faithful of North and South America.

We may see ourselves as being on a spiritual journey.  Along the way we honor those saints who cooperated with the divine plan and prepared for the coming of the Lord.

St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, & Mary, Our Blessed Mother & Queen of Heaven.   Please pray for us.

In peace,  Fr. Mark

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