The Virgin Mary
She is the mirror of the splendor of God, through whom the Light of God first shone to mankind in the incarnation of the Son of the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. She is the Virgin Mary who, in this month, we honor as the Lady Mother of Life, Queen of Lebanon, Star of the East, Our Lady of Fatima.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, many times in our lives as the children of the Father in Heaven, we are encouraged to stop and reflect on the meaning of our life under the protection of Our Lady and in relation to her work in the Plan of God for our salvation. We do have a mother yet it is up to us to call upon her aid and to ask for her intercession. She is the sign of the richness of God’s love for mankind and also the container of the Holy Face of the Lord whose countenance is God in the Flesh. Mary was also called, in Eastern and Byzantine liturgies, the “Spoken Paradise,” (Al-ferdows Al-Moutakallem”. This means that in Mary, God spoke as the Word of God became flesh and dwelt in her womb. She is also known as the gate of Heaven, a clear indication to her acceptance to being the Mother of God, the “Theotokos,” through whom the Lord is to make dwelling amongst the people of the earth. Christ through Mary is the Paradise that came to us to lead us to the Father. Christ through Mary is God in the flesh, who chose to come and make his dwelling amongst his people.
Pope Francis, in a tweet a few days ago, announced that he is going to Fatima in Portugal to do pilgrimage and to canonize two of the three little shepherds who are the cousins of Lucia Santos: Jacinta and Francisco Marto. In his tweet the Pope wrote in Italian: “Con Maria, domani a Fatima, pellegrino nella speranza e nella pace. Guardiamo a lei: tutto è dono di Dio, nostra forza.” In English: “With Mary, tomorrow to Fatima, pilgrim in hope and in peace. Let us look to her: All is a gift from God, our strength”.
There is no question that the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is a “Gift from God” to heal our sinful humanity by giving us hope and peace. Christ offered himself on our behalf as a pure and fragrant sacrifice. The offering of Jesus, is made possible by God’s Divine Will but also through Mary’s free acceptance “Fiat Mihi Secundum Verbum Tuum”, or “let it be done to me according to your word”.
Mary is a big thing in my life. I entrust my parish and my life and my family to her honor and under her protection every day. May is the sweet fragrance of God in the fullness of her holiness the paradise is now here on earth to save and to redeem, to love and to give peace. The paradise who is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.
It is amazing to see how, in the Old Testament, no one was able to see God, and even if someone saw God, or spoke to HIM face-to-face, like Moses, it was through signs and symbols, in clouds and in pillars of fire, in earthquakes, or in gentle breeze — like to Elias the prophet in the Second Book of Kings.
In the Book of Exodus 33: 18- 23 we read:
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
In short, God says to Moses: put your face in the cloud as I have my face pass before you. God in the Old Testament was a God of Mercy and slow to anger. However, God was also known and looked upon as a warrior and a jealous God for those who refuse to repent or to do good. “Eno Asher Eno”, “I am who I am, the God of mercy slow to anger, storing mercy for a thousand generations…” this is the image that Mary tells us that God is.
God spoke to Moses as his friend, still Moses could not tolerate his presence in the fullness of Glory. He would die and not live. How could it be that Mary, as she full of Grace, not only saw God, but God lived in her womb, a little child, she nursed him, and raised him up like one of us, and HE is God.
There is a lot to contemplate in Mary, as being the Gift of God to our sinful humanity, who because of sin, we could not see in paradise. This is why Adam and Eve trembled and hid behind the leaves at the hearing of His voice in Paradise. Adam and Eve, died in the Original sin while Mary, Virgin and Mother, carries the God, the Lord who carried the Universe.
I love our Virgin Mother, for she is pure of eyes and of heart. In Matthew chapter 5:8, the Lord Jesus says: “Blessed are the pure of Heart, for they shall see God”. Mary is the image of paradise, Mary is the Tree of Life who gave Jesus, the bread of life to the world.
I love the Virgin Mary, my mother and your mother. Let us pray to her in honor of God’s honor for her. In thanksgiving and in supplications.
Finally what do we learn from the Virgin Mary, at this 100 year anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s appearance to the three little shepherds of Fatima in 1917, from May 13 to October 13? The Rosary for peace is what Our Lady tells the shepherds will save souls from hell, will save the church from persecution and will save the world from a ravaging war.
My friends, I do trust in the promises of our Lady. If not the rosary, I try to pray every day the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Every week I try to go to confession. I try to offer all my life as a sacrifice of repentance from my sins and for God to help many.
What can we poor sinners offer to God beside our repentance from sin and our perseverance in prayer? In Luke 11: 13, the Lord exclaims with the following: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” This is what god offered to the Virgin Mary: The Holy Spirit. HE, the Divine Father, has poured out his Holy Spirit upon the Virgin Mary and made her “Full of Grace.”
I ask you my dear parents: What Do You Pour upon your Own Children? What do you pour upon your children when you don’t go to Church on Sunday or don’t bring them to? Or on other Holy Days or special Feasts? What do you pour on your children when you are gossiping or angry, when you are unforgiving or vicious? When you refuse to go to confession or you badmouth God and His Holy Church? In fact, we don’t pour upon them, we take from them what is left from the Holy Spirit.
I beg and I urge you today and every day: “bless and do not curse.” Bless even your enemies. Lead with honesty and humility, before your children who even though they might have you, but they will be orphans without the grace of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit being poured upon them.
America needs the Holy Spirit to come back and to be poured upon our youth and young ones. Our youth have become victims of confusion and their bodies are closing out on the Holy Spirit and not allowing God to come in to their lives. What will a man gain when a man gains everything and loses his life? Here what Jesus said in Mark 8: 36:
36“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37“For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Mary did not reject God. Mary gave God to the world. Mary did not upset nor sin against the Holy Spirit. Mary, the pure vessel of grace, the Gift of God to us sinful men and women, is calling upon all of us to be apostles of Mercy and of repentance in our own homes, in our own nations and all over the earth.
Let us go then with Mary and in Peace and Hope, let us again consecrate our homes to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin over Satan and his darkness. Let us consecrate our children and go to confession. Let us renew our love to the Blessed Sacrament and pursue the love of the neighbor even the love of the enemy. Let pray for repentance and let us enjoy the prayer of the rosary as families and as individuals. Heaven is the source of our peace and Heaven is our destination. While here on earth, remember that our home is vacant unless we call the Lord to our home. May God bless you and bless your families. May Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Star of the East, Our Lady of Lebanon, Our Lady of Fatima bless and protect us all in the Grace of her Only Son our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Andre Mahanna