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Fr. Ted's Homiliy 12.10.2017

Fr. John's Homily 12.10.2017




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Weekly Message from the Pastor PDF Print E-mail

Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Third Sunday of Advent
17 December 2017

The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary (continued)

This is a continuation of the 1876 article originally published in the Centennial Edition of the Holy Bible. Although this version of the Blessed Virgin’s life is (for the most part) non-scriptural, it nevertheless illustrates the importance of Mary in the life of the Church and the extent to which she is honored and reverenced as the mother of our Savior.

After the death of her parents, Mary was placed under guardians whose names have not transpired. In all probability they were of the sacerdotal (priestly) race, since she belonged to the family of Aaron, by her mother’s side. “If we be permitted to hazard a conjecture,” says the Abbe Orsini, “we would say, it is likely that the charge of her education was particularly confided to the pious husband of Elizabeth, the high reputation of whose virtue and close kindred would seem to have marked him out for these protecting offices. The intense love that cause the Blessed Virgin, two or three years afterwards, to traverse all Judea that she might offer her congratulations to the mother of St. John the Baptist, and her protracted sojourn in the mountains of Hebron, seem to denote relations more intimate than those of simple kindred. The roof that sheltered Mary during such a long visit could not have been according to the usages rigorously observed by the Jews, less sacred than the paternal home.”

Whosoever these guardians were, they soon determined to give their pupil a spouse worthy of her. Mary was then, according to the common opinion, about fifteen or sixteen years of age. Cardinal Gaeton thinks that she must have been at the least twenty-two years old.

This project of marriage alarmed the young virgin. She would have resisted it; but sterility being then looked upon as a disgrace, and her vow of virginity becoming null by the sole will of the family council, Mary must needs obey. Her suitors presented themselves, and of them all the lot fell upon a poor carpenter of Nazareth, a man advanced in years (aged about fifty years) and who, although of the noble race of David, earned his bread by the sweat of his brow. An ancient tradition, given by St. Jerome, and preserved in the history of Mount Carmel, relates, that the suitors, after beseeching Him who presides over men’s destinies, deposited in the right time their almond wands in the Temple, and that on the next day of the withered and dead wand of Joseph was found verdant and flourishing, like that which, in ages long gone, had secured the priesthood to the family of Aaron.

Such was the man chosen by God to be, in the eyes of men, the spouse of Mary, but in the eyes of heaven, the protector and guardian of her virginity. The humble Joseph received Mary in his poor home, and as a profound admirer of the virtues of his spouse, he respected her as the ark of the Lord, nay, as the temple of Jehovah. Mary, bidding adieu to the cedar and gold of the Temple, the consecrated perfumes, the psaltery of lyres and harps, and to all the brilliant and beauteous occupations of the holy place, clothed herself with indigence as a robe of honor, and gave herself without murmuring to all the fatiguing cares of her poor household. And why should not the pious Mary love Joseph? – by what countless cares should she not prove her gratitude to him, since her virginity, that treasure so dear to her heart, found such sure and holy protection beneath the shade of his virtues?

About two months had passed over the heads of these chaste spouses in the house of Nazareth, where they led the most holy life that heaven had ever beheld, when the hour destined for the world’s salvation came, that hour so often announced by the Prophets of Israel, and so long expected by the nations. Let us hear the evangelical historian: “And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.” – St. Luke, i. 26-32.

Mary, not being able to comprehend these strange words, manifestly contradicting the vow of virginity she had made in the Temple of the Lord, grew more astonished. She then says to the angel, with simplicity, “How shall this be done?” “And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God.” – St. Luke i. 35-37. Mary, then annihilated before the divine decrees, replies, with the most sincere humility, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” And the angel disappeared. “And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt amongst us.” “Let us go no further into this mystery,” says St. John Chrysostom, “nor let us ask how the Holy Ghost could operate this miracle in the Virgin. This divine generation is a profound abyss that no curious searching can fathom.”

Fr. Ted



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