Category Archives: Mary

The Magnificent Dogma of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary- —

By Larry Peterson

from catholicism.org

 

The Third Ecumenical Council held by the Catholic Church took place in Ephesus in 431. The Council was called to refute the teaching being put forth by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius. He held that the Virgin Mary may only be called the Christotokos (Birth Giver of Christ) and not Theotokos (Mother of God).

 

This teaching was condemned and the Council confirmed that indeed, since it was God who was the Father, Mary was truly the Mother of God. This settled for all time the central mystery of the Catholic faith which is the Incarnation; Jesus Christ is one person with two natures; one divine and one human. This is a mystery we embrace and believe but will never fully understand.

 

Pope Pius XI, who had a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin, honored her by creating a new feast day in her honor. In 1931, 1500 years after the Council of Ephesus had proclaimed that Our Blessed Lady was truly the Mother of  God; Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast Day of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This action not only reaffirmed the Council’s dogmatic proclamation that Mary is Theotokos, it also set October 11 into the Roman calendar as the day the feast was to be celebrated.

 

Since Vatican II’s changes were put in place the Feast Day of Divine Maternity has become somewhat overshadowed by the dogma of Mary’s “Perpetual Virginity”. But make no mistake, these two dogmatic pronouncements are eternally joined together and they are inseparable. October 11 is still an active feast in the 1962 Roman Missal which is used during the extraordinary celebration of the Mass.

 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 495: Mary’s Divine Motherhood;

Called in the Gospels, ‘the mother of Jesus,’ Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, “as the mother of my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly the ‘Mother of God’ (Theotokos).

 

From the Catechism 496: Mary’s Virginity:

From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own…

 

Our Blessed Mother was a young, innocent woman of about 14 years of age when the Angel Gabriel came to her and announced to her what God wanted from her. What could have gone through her young mind as this was asked of her? She must have been so afraid. How could she have had any possible idea that she would be the New Eve who would give birth to the New Adam who, in turn, would save us all?

 

This mystery of faith is so profound. This young woman, in effect, was chosen by God Himself to be his spouse. Their child would be both God and Man. He would change the world forever.

Mary’s virginal motherhood sealed in perpetuity the truth of the Incarnation. She gave Christ the body He possessed. She gave Him the humanity that was part of Him. And all the time he was God…and she was His Mom. WOW!

 

Our Greatest Christmas Gift: God’s Earthly Trinity; A Young Man, His Teenage Wife and a Newborn Baby—

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

If it were two thousand years ago and you lived in Nazareth you might notice a young man packing items on a donkey in preparation for a trip. Early the next morning you see this fellow, with his pregnant teenage wife sitting on the back of the burro, heading down the road. They are in compliance with the law of the day. They are on their way to Bethlehem, the town of their ancestor’s birth, for the census.
We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are THE integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress was an act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a pregnant woman as his wife, another act of extreme humility. (Imagine how much he must have loved this young woman)

Holy Family  & First Christmas  from Pineterest

To complete this humble family was none other than God Himself. The Creator of all that isbecame like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come to us in the womb of his mom, just like all of us. He allowed Himself to be born among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do it this way?

He did it to show us…show us Goodness, show us Love and show us how to give those things from within ourselves.  Foremost, He did it to save us, save us from ourselves and Satan’s favorite tool, Pride, which had brought down Adam and Eve. The Holy Family was, and still is, the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day. Of course, the antidote to Pride is Humility. 
Isn’t God amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not young people whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible.
Guided by the Holy Spirit they united in marriage. Then, absorbed by each other’s love they took on the world. They traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave surrounded by smelly animals and filth and they watched and marveled as poor shepherds and rich kings worshipped their child side by side.
They managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod, who were trying to kill their newborn Son.  Imagine the fear in Joseph as he wondered how he could protect his little family from the forces of evil. And, lest we forget, he also got them safely to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. He must have been something. We know the rest of the story.
If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to what “Family” is and the Holy Family is the model to build on.
We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, our Mom too, the most humble of all women ever, stands ever vigilant and  ready to crush the head of the evil serpent who might harm any of her children. In so doing she is protecting all of us for all eternity. She is our protection against all wickedness. When we ask for her protection we cover ourselves with an impenetrable shield.
Fittingly, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. There are millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family. Maybe it is time that they should for this is the family that “set the bar” for all families for all time.
The Salvation story comprises the greatest acts of human Love, Goodness and Humility ever. Mary, Joseph and their boy, Jesus, encompassed by an unconditional love for God and each other, offers that love to all of us.  God’s earthly Trinity has shown us the way.
How can anyone NOT Love Christmas?  

                                       ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

Two Teenagers, A Child and Christmas–a Perfect Mix

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson
If it were two thousand years ago and you lived in Nazareth you might notice a young man packing items on a donkey in preparation for a trip. Early the next morning you see this fellow, with his pregnant teenage wife sitting on the back of the burro, heading down the road. They are in compliance with the law of the day. They are embarking on a three or four day journey to Bethlehem, the town of their ancestors’ birth, for the census.
We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are THE integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress was an act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a pregnant woman as his wife, another act of extreme humility.
To complete this humble family was none other than God Himself. The Creator of all  there is became like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come to us in the womb of his mom, just like all of us. He allowed Himself to be born among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. 


Why would He do this? He did it to show us Goodness, show us Love and show us how to do it.  Finally He did it to save us, save us from ourselves and Satan’s favorite tool, Pride, which had brought down Adam and Eve. The Holy Family was and still is, the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day. Of course, the antidote to Pride is Humility. 
Isn’t God amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term. Joseph walked guiding the donkey, protecting his young wife the entire time. Mary gave birth in a cave surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Lest we forget, they somehow made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.
We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, our Mom too, the most humble woman ever created, stands ever vigilant ready to crush the head of the evil serpent who might harm any of her children. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. She is our protection against all wickedness. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

If you take a moment to truly ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it might leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. 
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The Salvation story comprises the greatest acts of combined Love and Humility ever.
                                 ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved

When Thinking Family Consider That Two Teenagers Set The Standard for Us All

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

From the Book Of Sirach Ch 3: 2-4

For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children;
A mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Those who honor their father atone for sins;
They store up riches who revere their mother.


N.B: In this essay the use of the word PRIDE refers to Negative Pride

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The birth of Jesus is the greatest act of humility imaginable.

This was God, the Creator of all that there is, becoming like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come in the simplest way of all, among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. Why would He do this?

 He did this because he loved us unconditionally and wanted us to learn that Pride, the greatest of the deadly sins and the root cause of all the evil in the world,  must be kicked to the curb at all costs. Pride was the reason He came to us. From the first sins of Adam and Eve to the very present, Pride is the villain. Pride is why He had to redeem and save us. Incredibly, he became as HUMBLE as humanly possible to teach us that humility is what conquers Pride. Amazingly, He chose teenagers to set the example for everyone from that very night onward. They showed us that  the love between a man and a woman  will always conquer negative pride if tempered with Humility. For marriage is about loving and sharing and giving of oneself to another–totally. Humility is the virtue that effects that giving.

We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are an integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress, was another act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a woman who was pregnant as his wife, another act of extreme humility. The Holy Family was the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day .

 Isn’t God  amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term, a three to five day journey on the back of a donkey. Joseph walked guiding the donkey. Mary gave birth in a cave  surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Oh yeah, lest we forget, they also  made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.

If you take a moment to ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it will leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself  and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, the most humble of all women ever, crushes the head of the evil serpent with her heel. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

THANK YOU Lord, for Christmas

by Larry Peterson

 We Catholics have our “Catholic Hall of Fame” (I call it that) which is filled with people we call saints. The Blessed Virgin Mary is undoubtedly the greatest of all saints and, as the Mother of God, she is highly honored above all others.  But it is important to remember that when they were alive  they did not walk around with glowing orbs wrapped around their heads for all to see. They walked and talked and ate and slept and got sick and even woke up “on the wrong side of the bed” at times…just like the rest of us. They were people like we are. But they had made a choice to open their hearts to God’s grace and once they did  there was no turning back.  No matter what they were confronted with, whatever hardship, obstacle, injustice or whatever it might have been, they were determined to serve God before all else even if it meant giving up their very lives. This is how certain people are able to rip their “pride filled egos” from inside themselves and leave it  in the pile of dust of what once was.

Christmas and the great lessons it teaches in giving of oneself to others is once again upon us. A young girl named Mary would listen to a message from the Angel Gabriel and unhesitatingly accept  being  the Mother of God. She would now be pregnant and unmarried. She did not understand any of it. She knew that under Jewish law this could mean her possible execution when people found out. It did not matter. Filled with the grace of God she gave all of her being to Him. She trusted Him completely. Her espoused, Joseph of Nazareth, a carpenter and “righteous” Jew,  kicked  his manly pride to the dusty curb and accepted the  pregnant woman as his wife. He would love her with all  his heart, protect her, provide her a home and be her best friend until the day he died. This was, indeed, a Holy Family.

We Christians believe that the infant born on that first Christmas night so long ago was and is the Son of God. The Creator Himself  sent His only Son to teach us and to save us. What did He have to teach us? He had to first and  foremost teach us how to love one another. Then we needed to learn that Pride leads to all sin. It is the parent of jealousy and greed, envy and anger, lust and gluttony. We needed  to know how to conquer the great sin of pride. So the baby grew and became the Man that preached love and forgiveness. He was kind and caring and cured sick people. He taught us about the evils of “pride”. After He finished teaching us how did He save us? He allowed us to kill Him. His Mom was there, watching and feeling the searing pain of Simeon’s  prophesied sword pierce her tender, loving heart. She gave Him to the world and watched as the world took Him away from her.

Jesus died for us. He poured out every last drop of His blood so we could once again have access to heaven. He did this out of pure love for each and every person that ever lived or will live. “We come to know and believe that God is Love and he who abides in Love abides in God and God in him”   1 John 4:16

Christmas begins the “Greatest story ever told”. It is about love and forgiveness and kindness and sharing. It is about peace and joy. For children it can be about a man in a red suit with a “broad face and a little round belly, that shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly—“. It is a beautiful thing, Christmas, a beautiful thing. How can you not love the goodness and peace it represents.  God IS Love.  I would like to join the millions of others around the world and say THANK YOU Lord for Christmas and all it represents.

To St. Joseph; The Best Husband & Dad EVER–Merry Christmas

I just felt compelled to write a few words about a simple man, a man of incredible faith, unyielding loyalty, and a heart so filled with love for his wife and child it might have exploded if that were possible. I am referring to Joseph (Yosef in Hebrew) the husband of Mary and the earthly father of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We all know him as St. Joseph.

I am not going into any theology here. Nothing about the Pauline Epistles or the Gospels of Mark and Luke or the apocryphal works that have varied “opinions” about the man and his time. I just want to look at Joesph as a husband and a father and try, just a little bit, to get into his shoes (sandals).

First of all, Joseph was a “righteous” Jew. This meant he followed the Law of Moses and did it to the best of his ability. He was a true man of faith. I do not care how old he was when he became betrothed to Mary. All I know is that “betrothal” under the Jewish law was like a pre-marriage. Sort of  like a post-engagement. There even  had to be a rabbi officiating. You did not walk away from a betrothal. No sirree, to get out of a betrothal you needed a divorce.

So what happens? Joseph and Mary become betrothed and Joseph finds out she is pregnant. This is not 2012 we are talking about, this is over 2000 years ago. Mosaic Law permitted the actual execution by stoning of the woman. What would I have done? What would you have done? Damn–I can’t imagine being confronted with that situation. So, I don’t know what I would have done. Not our man, Joseph. He loved this woman and married her anyway. I know, I know, he had the dream and everything. But haven’t you ever dreamed and I do suggest that, as a man during those times, being faced with the reality of what was going on, he could have ran away from that dream like an Olympic sprinter dashing toward the stadium exit instead of the finish line. Yet, he married her and they had a nice reception, they moved in together and about four months later it was time to travel to Bethlehem for the census.

So now I’m thinking of me and what would I do. I’m thinking; My wife is due any day.I have little money and I have to make an 80 mile trip over rugged and dusty terrain that will take maybe four to five days if,  I can do 20 miles a day. Heck, I don’t want to make the trip so how is she going to be able to deal with 20 miles a day for 4 days?  Okay, okay, there is no choice. Dang, I hope that donkey can take it. I probably would have tried to hook up with a caravan as I traveled assuming it would be safer in numbers. I do not know if Joseph actually did that. The bottom line is, he had to take his pregnant wife and  let her sit on the back of a donkey and travel 80 miles. Nice trip. I would probably hate myself for doing that.  Think about it, we can drive 20 miles in 20 minutes doing 60 mph and we still complain.

Anyway, he gets to Bethlehem and there is no place to stay. Not a lousy room anywhere, even in a dive. She is already in labor and he is probably freaking out a bit. If it was today at least he probably would have had an old Chevy or something that she could have laid down in. He winds up in a smelly stable with animals and straw and his son is born and it is a beautiful thing but I’ll bet he would have done anything to get his wife and son into a room, any room. And along comes Herod and his insane jealousy.

Joesph hears about King Herod wanting to kill his baby. Just imagine for a moment that the government had soldiers out looking for your child so they could kill it. I can’t imagine. In fact the maniac king has thousands of children killed figuring sooner or later he would kill the right one. MADNESS—-Why? EGO.

The trip to Bethlehem was a cake walk compared to the Egypt trip. But Joseph somehow manages to make it about 300 to 350 miles to Egypt with a wife and a newborn and remains there a few years. Then, when he knows it is safe, he goes to Nazareth and resumes his trade as a carpenter, teaching his Son the law and the trade. He passes away  before his Boy begins his public life. His Son is at his side as he breathes his last.

 I love this man. Thank you Lord for giving us St. Joseph, the best husband and dad ever. All of us should think of him this Christmas. He deserves it.  I’m done.