“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
– Luke 1:42-43
Meditation Happy New Year! The Church begins every year with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Though we may say this title of Our Lady in the Hail Mary prayer without a second thought, it is incredibly important. The Council of Ephesus affirmed this title of Mary not first and foremost for the sake of Mary, but actually to preserve the truth about Jesus Christ Himself – that He is fully God! And, amazingly enough, He chose to dwell in all of His divinity within Mary. Truly, Mary can show us what it means to “Find God in Yourself,” the fifth step to Superabundance. If we learned to set aside some time every day to find God dwelling within, the Lord will claim His Kingship in our hearts, and our lives will be radically transformed.
Live It! Tip of the Week: Ask Mary to be your mother and assist you in finding God in yourself in daily, silent prayer. If possible, make this prayer after receiving the Eucharist at Mass this week. Don’t let a day go by without calling to mind the reality that Christ dwells within you.
Prayer Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death.
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’” – Isaiah 25:6-9
Meditation Merry Christmas! Though only described briefly in Scripture, the home at Nazareth was our Lord’s preferred dwelling place from His birth to the time of His public ministry – a full 30 years! Truly, the Lord has a heart for the home. During the wedding feast of Cana, Christ transforms over a hundred gallons of water to choice wine – a truly superabundant gift! The spiritual significance is profound; the Lord has restored joy to mankind, to the heart of man and woman. In fact, marriage continues to be a place of joy – married couples are happier, healthier, and wealthier than other individuals in society according to current sociological data. The family is an incredible component of the super abundant life that Jesus Christ came to give us. Do we taste this joy in our own families?
Live It! Tip of the Week: The Lord has come! Rejoice and be glad! Surprise your family this octave of Christmas with something superabundant – a special meal or dessert, a family outing to a favorite park or event, or a special activity together.
Prayer “I wish to invoke the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth.. it is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families..St. Joseph was a just man..may he always guard, protect and enlighten families. May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of the Church of the home…May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity, and strength.” -St. Pope John Paul II
Here at Paradisus Dei, we are grateful for you and your family. There are many reasons for that. One of them is the incredible connection your family, indeed all families, have to the Christmas story. This short video helps to explain that connection in a simple way. Think of it as our gift to you this Christmas.
“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”
– Luke 2:51
Meditation The Paradisus Dei altar tells a beautiful story of the mystery of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The providential addition of Mary and Joseph to each side of the altar goes further to communicate a particular and important truth of this plan of salvation – God chose to bring about His plan through a family. In fact, the family is still God’s preferential plan. Life and love still begin for the human person within a family. “The future of the world, and of the Church, pass by way of the family” according to Pope St. John Paul II. As we contemplate the mystery of Christ’s birth within a family and the Father’s entrustment of Christ to a couple, to Mary and Joseph, let us seek to bring life and love into our own family, those particular souls who the Lord has entrusted to us.
Live It! Tip of the Week: Write down the following question and leave it on your bedside table: “Lord, how can I better love my family today?” Ask yourself this question in the morning, think and pray with the question during the day, and the Lord will surely begin to show you where He is inviting you to deeper love! At the end of each day, you can then recall those opportunities with gratitude and prepare to love your family even more the next day.
Prayer Lord, may we see your hidden face in our family as we celebrate your birth.
“For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.” (O Little Town of Bethlehem)
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple
at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.”
Meditation “Give God some of your time” is the 3rd of the 7 Steps to Holiness found in both the TMIY and the Choice Wine programs. The use of our time reveals what we truly care about in our lives – what we truly love. This Advent is a great opportunity to create a daily habit of silent prayer with Scripture in preparation for the coming of Christ, our Love! If you are wondering where to start, consider spending 15-20 minutes each day with the daily readings for Mass. The Church in her wisdom gives us incredible readings to prepare the way of the Lord! The Magnificat book is a great resource with Mass readings for the day and corresponding meditations, artwork, lives of the saints, and more! View a sample issue here: http://bookstore.magnificat.net/paradisusdei
Live It! Tip of the Week: Read and pray with the daily Mass readings for this week of Advent in order to “prepare the way of the Lord” in your heart and in your family.
Prayer “O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen.” -Saint Anthony of Padua
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” –Ephesian 5:25-27
Today we are celebrating Mary’s Immaculate Conception. This feast is incredibly important to the Church because it helps us dive into the Mystery of the nature of God. You see, we are celebrating the fact that God’s mercy over Our Lady was so great, that the redemption of Jesus Christ touched her from the instant of her conception so that Satan, sin, and even death could not harm her; she was conceived without Original Sin. To put it another way, God applied the grace of the crucifixion to Mary before the crucifixion had occurred in linear time. How amazing is that?!
O most Holy Virgin, immaculate in body and spirit, look kindly on me as I implore your powerful intercession. O most Holy Mother, receive my prayers as I present them to God. (state your intentions here)
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, you intercede for us with your Son. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.