Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homily Solemnity of the Assumption 2008

For over 2,000 years,
the Church both in the Roman Rite and in the East…
in numerous languages, tribes and nations
through a great variety of images, feasts, and prayers
has ceaselessly rendered honor and devotion to the Mother of God.

The icons of Church in the East do not attempt to portray human details
but instead are windows into Heaven
which present lessons from another world with great spiritual value.

In the icon of “Our Lady of Perpetual Help,”
Mary is portrayed as a royal woman amid Heaven’s splendor.
The gold in the background and in Mary’s robes symbolize the glory of Heaven.
Mary is wearing a hooded cape of royal blue, lined in green, over a red tunic.
These are the royal colors worn by the Byzantine Empresses.
On her head is an 8-pointed star,
showing that Mary is the star that points the way to Christ.

Mary is an important woman,
truly a Queen arrayed in gold as the Psalm today proclaims,
a woman of power and position in God’s plan of salvation.

Mary looks…not at Jesus or to Heaven…
but out toward us, as if ready to share with us something very significant.

Greek Letters: “Mother of God” / “Jesus Christ”

The figure of the infant Jesus is also clothed in royal red and green.
He is curled up in His mother’s arms, clutching her thumb,
and looking back at something that has frightened Him.
He has run in fear to His mother’s secure embrace,
and has run so fast that His sandal broke and is dangling from His foot!

In the upper corners, according to the Greek abbreviations,
are the angels Michael and Gabriel.
They are the source of the fear that overcomes Jesus,
for they hold in their veiled hands the instruments of the Passion:
the Cross, nails, jar of vinegar, stick with a sponge, spear.

Having seen a vision of the Angels,
revealing to Him the instruments of the Passion that awaits Him,
Jesus runs into the loving and comforting arms of His dear Mother.

Mary, was a strong, loving, and wise woman,
a perfect mother who comforted the Christ child in His infancy.

Mary looks at us with intensity,
knowing that there are times of fear or sorrow when we need to be comforted,
and she promises never to leave us.

As we celebrate today, at the end of her earthly life,
Mary was kept free from the decay of
and was assumed body and soul into Heaven, where she reigns as Queen.

Mary is the Mother whom Jesus Christ took on our human flesh
and the one through whom we, along with our merits and prayers,
return glory and praise to Jesus.

Ad Jesum per Mariam…the famous Latin adage proclaims.
To Jesus through Mary!

Jesus Christ is our salvation and it is to God alone that our worship is rendered.
Yet Jesus Himself, in entrusting Mary to John at the foot of the Cross,
and in so doing giving her to the entire Church as our Mother,
has showed us that we can and should worship Him through her.

Saint Louis De Montfort…
author of the great spiritual book True Devotion to Mary
teaches us that by establishing in our lives devotion to Mary,
we establish for ourselves a more perfect relationship to Christ.

Just as Mary was necessary in the drama of salvation,
as the vessel through which Jesus entered into the world,
so she is essential to the fulfillment of our salvation.

Of course we can appeal directly to Jesus.
But how much more complete and beautiful are our efforts and prayers
if they are offered in union with Mary, the sinless Mother of God!

Imagine any good work and prayer of your life.
On its own it is worth much and is precious in God’s sight,
for God delights in our prayer and self-offering.

But imagine our prayers and sacrifices offered to Jesus through Mary!
Mary takes them in her loving hands,
wraps them beautifully with her own perfect prayer,
and like a gift wrapped in gold paper and silk ribbons,
presents a perfect package to Her son Jesus on our behalf.

How could Jesus refuse anything brought to Him by His beloved mother?!

The perfect exercise of devotion to Jesus is devotion to His Mother Mary.
Devotion to Mary consists in giving everything to her:
our bodies and souls, our possessions, our prayers, and our good works,
that she may accompany us in every moment of our journey of life
perfecting all that we have and all that we do,
and drawing us into intimate union with Jesus her Son.

The culmination of Saint Louis De Montfort’s spiritual teaching
is the great and beloved Consecration to Jesus Through Mary.
“Consecration” means to set something or someone aside for a sacred purpose.

Chalices and Altars are consecrated for sacred use in the Liturgy.
Men and women religious are consecrated to God by the vows they take.
Priests are consecrated for the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass
by the laying on of hands by the Bishop.
Any prayer of consecration is an act of devotion
by which we give ourselves entirely to God
and promise complete fidelity, obedience, and surrender to Him.

The consecration to Jesus through Mary consists of 33 days of prayer
with the act of consecration itself taking place on the 34th day,
which is always a Marian feast.

Before my Ordination to the Priesthood, led by the seminary Rector,
I made the consecration with several of my brother seminarians.
I plan to renew it in the coming weeks leading up to the Feast of O. L. Walsingham
and I am happy to share information about it with anyone who is interested.

By this act of consecration, we open our hearts completely and without hesitation
to Mary, our Mother,
allowing her to share in our lives
and bring us into deeper communion with Jesus.

Mary is our Mother and the source of perpetual help and comfort.
The more we dedicate ourselves to Mary and through her to Jesus,
the more grace we will receive from Him to resist sin and choose holiness.

Give everything to Jesus through Mary,
and your fears and trials will fade in the light of God’s peace
as your bodies and souls find rest in Mary’s embrace.

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