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Aletia: Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

According to tradition, Mary’s parents were barren until God answered their prayers.

Little is known authoritatively about the Virgin Mary’s early childhood and family. However, an ancient text from the year 145, called The Protoevangelium of Jamesprovides a narrative that many saints have turned to when wanting to learn more about the Virgin Mary.

According to the unknown author, a man named Joachim was saddened at not being able to conceive a child with his wife, Anne. It’s recorded, “Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.”

Similarly, Anne “mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness.” Then Anne “saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac.”

The Angel Appears

In the midst of her prayers an angel appeared and said, “the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.” At the same time an angel appeared to Joachim, saying, “Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, your wife Anne shall conceive.”

The two conceived a child shortly thereafter and then according to the story “her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anne brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anne: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anne was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.”

The account echoes many of the stories in the Old Testament, where couples were barren until they cried out to God. Angels are often the bearers of good news to them, proclaiming that they will bear a child. Yet in this case, instead of a boy, the announcement is a girl who “shall be spoken of in all of the world.”

The Catholic Church’s Beliefs

While the story is not known to be a factual account, the Church does refer to the parents of the Virgin Mary as Joachim and Anne.

Whatever happened, it would have been fitting for her birth to be miraculous, as the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin in the womb of her mother. The Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated annually on December 8, nine months before the Feast of the Birth of Mary on September 8.

 

Mary’s Peace Plan from Heaven

When our Blessed Mother appeared to the children at Fatima, she gave them the Peace Plan from Heaven. The requests of the Peace Plan include:

  1. penance and reparation
  2. the daily recitation of the Rosary
  3. the five First Saturday Devotions
  4. consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Putting the Peace Plan into action is our only hope for our future. So how do we put it into action? Let’s break it down…

Penance and Reparation

By penance, our Lady explains that men must amend their lives. How? Give up their easy lives of sin, ask pardon for their sins and make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Why? Because both are so grievously offended by the sins of men.

By reparation, Our Lady means 4 steps. 1) Offering sacrifice to atone for our sins. 2) Fulfilling our daily duties to the best of our abilities. 3) Accepting the responsibilities of our state in life. 4) Obeying the Commandments of God.

Especially relevant is the sacrifice Our Lord requires of each of us, most notably is that sacrifice necessary to avoid sin and the occasion of sin as well as to accept with submission all the suffering sent to us. Everything we do, we can offer it as a sacrifice, and in offering it to God, we should say this prayer:

O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Daily Rosary

Our Lady pleaded and insisted that men must say the daily Rosary. Reparation holds back the had of God from striking the world Pray a Rosary a Dayin just punishment for its many crimes. The Rosary is like a sword or weapon the Mother of God can use to cut down heresy and the forces of evil. It is most powerful. And many times it has saved the world from situations as bad as, if not worse than, the ones facing us today.

In addition, the Blessed Mother encourages and recommends The Family Rosary. “The family that prays together stays together”. Threats continually bombard families with breakup on all sides.

The Five First Saturday Devotions

This devotion consists of 4 parts. 1) Going to Confession. 2) Receiving Holy Communion. 3) Reciting 5 decades of the Rosary. 4) Spending 15 minutes with Our Lady meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. Complete all with the intention of making reparation to her.

Why? Because the Mediatrix of All Graces promises, at the hour of death, all graces necessary for salvation to those who faithfully practice this devotion for the First Saturday of any five consecutive months. (NOTE: The Confession may be made under the usual condition of 8 days before or after Holy Communion, provided the person is not in the state of mortal sin when he receives Holy Communion.) Due to the graces we receive, it seems like all people will make this devotion an especially relevant part of their lives!

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This consecration is the least understood but one of the most important parts of the message of Fatima. Our Lady is looking for people willing to become cells of prayer and sacrifice through consecration to her.

Our Lady

The Rosary & the Scapular

Personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take many forms. It can be done simply by reciting with sincerity the Act of Consecration. This consecration can be renewed each day merely by saying the morning offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, the act itself should be repeated on all important feast days of the Blessed Mother. More important than reciting the act is to live up to the conditions which it sets forth. Most noteworthy by fulfilling Our Lady’s requests at Fatima. In consecrating oneself to Mary, a Christian fulfills four goals. Christians pay her homage. You place yourself in her service. One places himself under her protection. And you strive to imitate her virtues.

Best Form of Consecration

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The Brown Scapular

For the average layman, it’s best to wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Therefore, Sister Lucia states that all Catholics need to hear the call to wear the Brown Scapular as part of the Fatima message. She says, “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable.” A person who wears this Scapular declares that he or she belongs to Mary. In return, the Mother of God promises eternal life to those who die wearing this mantle. In 1251, when she gave the Scapular to St. Simon Stock and thereby to the world, the Queen of Heaven stated, “Whoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.” Consequently, wearing the Scapular serves as a constant reminder of one’s personal consecration to Mary and of the necessity of imitating her virtues and heeding her requests.

Her Immaculate Heart Will Triumph

At Fatima, Our Lady’s promises reveal that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted and God will grant some time of peace to the world. That final triumph can come soon if enough people will still grant Her requests from Fatima. It depends upon how many of us are willing to follow Our Lady’s “peace plan from Heaven.” Are you willing?

 

 

The Holy Family

St. Joseph’s Feast Day – March 19th

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Families, is the silent man of the New Testament. He plays a vital role in the first chapters of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. However, neither evangelist records anything St. Joseph said. But if he does not speak, he certainly does act.

St. Joseph’s Ancestry

Joseph was born in Bethlehem, the hometown of David. In fact, Joseph could trace his ancestry back to the shepherd boy who became king of Israel.

Joseph’s Early Life

Joseph the Carpenter

When we first meet Joseph in the gospels, he has moved north to the town of Nazareth in Galilee. He works as a carpenter. In Nazareth, Joseph became engaged to Mary. Sometime before their wedding, the Archangel Gabriel made the announcement to the Blessed Virgin that she was going to be the Mother of the Savior.

The gospels do not say when Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant. What we do know is that Joseph assumed Mary was unfaithful to him and that she was to bear some other man’s child. Feeling hurt and shame, Joseph, being a righteous man, made plans to break off their engagement quietly. Before Joseph could act, however, an angel visited him saying, “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take Mary as your wife, for the child within her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.”

This is how the Holy Family began, with an angel assuring Mary and Joseph that what was out of the ordinary to them was in fact all part of God’s plan to redeem the world.

Joseph’s Role as Step-Father

Joseph & Mary on their way to Bethlehem

Every time we see Joseph thereafter, we see him taking loving are of Jesus and Mary. In Bethlehem on that first Christmas night, he wanders the streets looking for a decent place where Mary can give birth. When King Herod schemes to murder the Christ Child, it is Joseph, warned by an angel, who gets Jesus and Mary safely to Egypt. And when Herod is dead and it is safe to come home, Joseph brings his family to Nazareth.

Finally, the last time Joseph appears in the gospels is when he and Mary search Jerusalem for three anxious days, looking for the Child Jesus.

The evangelists never mention Joseph again. Biblical scholars always assume that he must have died before Christ began His public ministry. If he had been alive, there would have been no need for Jesus, as He hung from the cross, to ask St. John to look after Mary.

Joseph – Our Heavenly Protector

Families have always found comfort in having St. Joseph as their heavenly protector. Blessed Pope Pius IX probably had that in mind in 1870 when he named Saint Joseph the Patron Saint of our extended family, the Catholic Church.

 

The 13th Day – A Film About the True Story of Fatima

Witness the greatest miracle of the 20th Century, and experience the incredible, emotionally-charged and often harrowing world of three young children whose choice to remain loyal to their beliefs, even in the face of death, would inspire thousands.
Running time:  85 minutes
WATCH THE TRAILER

What’s Been Said About This Film:

“The 13th Day is the best film ever made about Fatima”

Steve Greydanus, National Catholic Register

“A timely message of Fatima has been retold for a new generation”

Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Media Review

“A remarkable re-telling of the Story of Fatima”

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

“…having reminded us of a very important message for the World, contained in God’s proclamation transmitted to the children of Fatima.”

The Jury, International Catholic Festival of Film and Multimedia

“This is a triumph of a film”

Sr. Helena Burns, FSP

Where Can You See This Film?

You can purchase the dvd from Ignatius Press or watch it for FREE on FORMED.org here using Assumption’s code.