Full of Grace

In my imperfection
I offer you the perfect.
Full of Grace,
Take up my cause.

Gracious God,
You have prepared grace
And holiness of life
For all men ,
Yet we are not ready
For Your wonders.

We delay.
We play with idols,
And take for granted
The universe that engulfs us,
As though it founded itself
And raised its own pillars.
We swim in a sea of plenty,
As though it is infinite.

Fool that I am,
May the Wise Virgin,
Trim my lamp
To light my way.
Holy Vessel of all graces
Waiting in your labor
To bring us forth,
And give us the Divine Life
Held in your treasury
For the Day
The Promised One will descend from heaven
Into my soul,
And carry me,
With all your children
To that place of safe repose.

The imperfect, washed clean,
In the waters of New Birth,
Rising perfect with resplendent Light,
As swaddling and infusion,
From El Shaddai,
the God of the Great Breast,
And the womb of the chased Virgin,
Immaculate,
Which brought forth Christ
In the unity of Trinity,
Receive again bodies
As splendid as their souls.

What’s in a Name?

As we enter the Jubilee of Mercy through the holy “door” of Mary let us take to heart the tender words that she spoke to her “Juanito” [her nickname for St. Juan Diego] during her visitations in 1531:

“Know and understand well . . . that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live . . . I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; [I listen] to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows . . . Hear me and understand well . . . that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish?”

Read more: http://www.spiritualdirection.com/2015/12/12/our-lady-of-guadalupe-and-the-renaissance-of-civilization#ixzz3uCQq1aIG

She who believed by faith, conceived by faith – sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
She who believed by faith, conceived by faith

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and my sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her –- did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power, and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent -– the most eminent -– member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine -– our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfills the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the  Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? ““Of Mother Church”,” I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.

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Virgin Mary, All Nature is Blessed in you

– Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.

From a sermon by Saint Anselm, bishop
Virgin Mary, all nature is blessed in you.

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night—everything that is subject to the power or use of man—rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendor by men who believe in God.

The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

Full of Grace

In my imperfection
I offer you the perfect.
Full of Grace,
Take up my cause.

Gracious God,
You have prepared grace
And holiness of life
For all men ,
Yet we are not ready
For Your wonders.

We delay.
We play with idols,
And take for granted
The universe that engulfs us,
As though it founded itself
And raised its own pillars.
We swim in a sea of plenty,
As though it is infinite.

Fool that I am,
May the Wise Virgin,
Trim my lamp
To light my way.
Holy Vessel of all graces
Waiting in your labor
To bring us forth,
And give us the Divine Life
Held in your treasury
For the Day
The Promised One will descend from heaven
Into my soul,
And carry me,
With all your children
To that place of safe repose.

The imperfect, washed clean,
In the waters of New Birth,
Rising perfect with resplendent Light,
As swaddling and infusion,
From El Shaddai,
the God of the Great Breast,
And the womb of the chased Virgin,
Immaculate,
Which brought forth Christ
In the unity of Trinity,
Receive again bodies
As splendid as their souls.

Consolation of Eve

Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

Mother Eve, waiting long,
Your bones resting in the earth,
At Adam’s side,
From which you were taken,
Waiting, waiting for the Woman.

Sustained in weary life by a Promise.
Enduring the grave,
Counting the centuries,
Waiting for Good News.
The Virgin is with Child. Rejoice!

©2011 Joann Nelander All rights reserved