Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION-TOLKIEN
Luke, Chapter 1, verse 30:
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be AFRAID, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Mary had no fear of the world or man, yet, when the angel appeared she was immersed in holy fear. Let us follow Mary’s example and bravely face the day saying YES to God.
Feast of the Annunciation
The feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus, it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God. — The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . .. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."
973 By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.
Things to Do
· This feast is very important in the defense of the life of unborn children. Even with small children, this is a good day to begin teaching about the high value God places on human life. He loved us so much that he became one of us, took on our human nature and became an innocent, completely dependent infant.
· This is a Solemnity, so when this feast falls during the Lenten season, our Lenten penance obligations are lifted. We should celebrate by some special food or dinner. This feast day forecasts the blessed event of Christmas and illustrates how the liturgical year is an endless circle of days. To celebrate this circle or cycle, serve a cake, coffee rings, or wreath-shaped cookies, or foods shaped in ring molds for this feast day. A perfect symbolic food would be an angel food cake for the archangel Gabriel, baked in a tube pan for the endless circle, decorated with the frosting highlighted with blue for Mary.
· A traditional food for this day is waffles. "Lady Day" or Annunciation is the only feast of Mary that Sweden still celebrates since the Lutheran faith became the state religion in 1593. In most of Europe, waffles are a traditional feast day food, but on the feast of the Annunciation in Sweden this is THE "Waffle Day" (Vaffeldagen), where waffles are served either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with lingonberries or cloudberries.
March 25th, Annunciation of the Lord (New, Trad)
- Annunciation Waffles
- Annunciation Blueberry Oatmeal Coffee Cake
- Baked Blueberry & Pecan Crusted French Toast
- Lady Day Feasting (Swedish Waffles and Ukrainian Poppy Seed Bread)
- Lily Sandwiches
- Mother Most Pure Calla Lily Sandwiches
- Marian Blueberry ParFIAT
- Annunciation Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Bride's Cake with Blueberry Filling
- All Recipes for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saint Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!
Feast of the Annunciation
THIS feast is so called from the announcement to the Blessed Virgin, by the archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the mother of the Messias. In the Introit of the Mass the Church refers to this high dignity of Mary’s: All the rich shall entreat thy countenance; after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King.
Prayer. O God, Who didst please that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be blessed by her intercession with Thee.
EPISTLE. Isaias vii. 10-15.
In those days the Lord spoke to Isaiah, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Isaiah said I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also?
Therefore, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.
Instruction on The Angelic Salutation, Or Hail Mary.
Why is this prayer called the Hail Mary, Angelic Salutation? Because it begins with the words which the archangel Gabriel addressed to the Blessed Virgin when he announced to her that she should be the Mother of God.
Of what does the Angelic Salutation consist?
1. Of the words of the archangel Gabriel.
2. Of the words of St. Elizabeth.
3. Of words which have been added thereto by the Catholic Church.
Which are the words of the archangel Gabriel? Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.
What is the meaning of these words? The words; Hail Mary indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words full of grace remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together; and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. The Lord is with thee; these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words Blessed art thou among women are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus, it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her.
Which are the words of Elizabeth, and what do they mean? And blessed is the fruit of thy womb; the word blessed is equivalent to praised. In saying these words, therefore, we desire that the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, may be worshipped and praised by all men.
Which are the words which the Catholic Church has added? To the words Blessed is the fruit of thy womb she has added; Jesus; in order thereby to explain them, and to indicate that this prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus. There upon follow the words, Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
What do these words mean? With the words, Holy Mary, we apply to her who is full of grace as our intercessor, and thereby are reminded to strive to imitate her holiness, if we would be sure of her intercession, and of being heard before God. We call her Mother of God, because she brought forth Jesus, the Son of God. Thereby we at the same time remind her that she is our mother also, and pray her to care for us as a mother; not as though we believed she could of herself help us, but with the design that she should offer to God her all-prevailing prayers for us; hence we say, Pray for us, adding, sinners. By these words we remind Mary of our misery, and ourselves of our powerlessness for good, and of our guiltiness in the sight of God, praying her to procure for us the grace of God to do true penance, to acquire virtues, and to gain true peace, and that; now, inasmuch as at every moment, and throughout our whole life, we have so many dangers to meet, so many virtues to gain; and at the hour of our death, that we may overcome the temptations of the last decisive hour, and stand complete victors before the throne of the eternal Judge. Amen, so may it be, is, as it were, to repeat and make stronger the whole prayer.
GOSPEL. Luke i. 26-38.
At that time 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, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
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. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.
Salutation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hail, Mary, full of grace! I rejoice, and give joy to thee, that thou hast been chosen the Mother of the Most High, and the queen of heaven and earth. With thee is the Father Who begot, from all eternity, Him Whom thou didst bring forth as God-man in time; with thee is the Son, Whom thou didst bear in thy virginal womb; with thee is the Holy Ghost, overshadowed by Whose power thou didst become the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Praised, therefore, be thou, thou blessed among women; thou daughter of the Most High; thou bride of the Holy Ghost; thou joy of heaven; thou ornament of the Church of God; thou honor of Christians. Oh, pray God for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Solemnize the Day
Therefore, is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary's obedience from the power of hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God's people: ‘The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and He Himself overthrew the gates of the enemies.’ Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: 'Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel; and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night. . .. The almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.'
Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
Read: Exactly nine months before we celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord.
Reflect: In today’s Gospel, we hear how Mary answered God’s call to bear his only Son. How are you called to serve the Lord in your daily life? Are you paying attention to what God is asking of you?
Pray: Add the Angelus to your daily prayer today.
Act: Say the Hail Mary before your mealtime prayer today with your family.
Let us honor and reflect on the Mother of Christ by creating a peaceful garden in our home (temple) in which to reflect on this.
The joy over the appearance of new plants and flowers in spring prompted man to attribute to them a special power of protection and healing. People planted special spring flower gardens; they brought branches of early-blossoming plants, like pussy willows, into their homes; they decorated themselves and their living rooms with wreaths of flowers and clusters of blossoms. A striking Christian variation of these nature rites was the medieval custom of planting "Mary gardens," which were made up of all the flowers and herbs that are ascribed by love and legend as a special tribute to the Blessed Virgin. This charming and inspiring tradition has been revived in many places in Europe and more recently in this country.
In a typical Mary Garden, the statue of the Madonna occupies a place of honor, either in the center or in a grotto against the wall, with, usually, a birdbath or bubbling fountain built in front of it. Some of the more familiar plants of the many that belong in a typical Mary Garden are:
· Columbine and Trefoil are said to have sprung forth at the touch of Mary's foot, and consequently bear the popular names Our Lady's shoes or Our Lady's slippers.
· Marigold (Mary's bud) has bell-shaped blossoms of vivid yellow. An old legend says, "Her dresses were adorned with Marigold." This flower was used to decorate her shrines for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and during the month of May.
· Lily-of-the-valley (Our Lady's tears). This delicate flower is still widely used in Germany, there it is called Maiglockchen (May bells), to decorate the Mary shrines in churches and homes during the Virgin's month (May).
· Foxgloves thrive in moist and shaded places; they blossom in many colors and present a most attractive sight with their clusters of little bells, which were called Our Lady's thimbles in medieval times.
· Snowdrop. This charming flower is the first herald of spring in Europe. It often blossoms as early as Candlemas (February 2) between batches of melting snow, hence the name. In Germany it is called "Snow bell" (Schneeglocklein). Little bouquets of snowdrops are the first floral tribute of the year at the shrines of the Madonna on Candlemas. It is a popular emblem of Mary's radiant purity and of her freedom from any stain of sin.
· Lily. This stately and dignified flower has been associated from ancient times with Jesus and Mary, and is called Madonna lily in many parts of Europe. At Easter its brilliant and fragrant blossoms symbolize the radiance of the Lord's risen life. Later in the year it is used to decorate the shrines of Mary, especially on July 2, the Feast of the Visitation. It also is an old and traditional symbol of innocence, purity, and virginity.
· Rosemary produces delicate and fragrant blossoms of pale blue color in early spring. according to legend, the plant originally bloomed in white; however, it turned blue (Mary's color) in reward for the service it offered when Our Lady looked for some bush on which to spread her Child's tiny garments after having washed them on the way to Egypt. The bushes do not grow very tall but as they grow older, they spread out and thicken, forming a dense bush. There is an old superstition that "the rosemary passeth not commonly the height of Christ when he was on earth."
· Violets are dedicated to Mary as symbols of her humility. They are said to have blossomed forth outside her window when she spoke the words, "Behold, I am a handmaid of the Lord." Leaving her, the angel of God blessed the little flowers in passing, thus endowing them with the tenderest and most beautiful fragrance of all plants.
· Roses were associated with Mary from early times. Saint Dominic (1221) is credited with the spreading of the familiar devotion called the "Rosary (rosarium) of the Blessed Virgin Mary." The word "rosary" originally meant a rose garden but was later used in the sense of "rose garland." Three colors are especially consecrated to Mary: white roses as symbols of her joys, red roses as emblems of her sufferings, and yellow (golden) roses as heralds of her glories.
Tolkien Reading Day
Although founded in 2002, the First Tolkien Reading Day wasn’t until March 25th, 2003. This is because a journalist from New York enquired as to whether or not there was such an event for Tolkien in January 2002 and the society liked the idea so much, they adopted it – although they didn’t have time to prepare anything for that year and postponed it. The society chose an important date from the book for the reading day. March 25th is the Downfall of Sauron.
In recent years The Tolkien Society have provided information packs, bookmarks and posters for schools taking part in this event. They have also provided free posters for events held by libraries and the general public taking place near to the event, rather than on the 25th.
With the popularity of the Lord of The Rings film trilogy firmly influencing the popularity of the books, Tolkien Reading Day was set up with hopes of getting even more people reading and discovering that there is much more to Tolkien than just The Lord of the Rings.
Typical events consist of readings and discussions, but some groups re-enact scenes from the Lord of the Rings books.
Lord of the Rings
A battle against evil alone does not make The Lord of the Rings fundamentally Christian and Catholic; and yet there are many ways that it is.
Here are some of the ways The Lord of the Rings is a Christian myth.
1. Darkness pervades Middle earth where man, beast and nature are called to an adventure full of peril and hope. Here is how Elijah Wood explains the film's dominant theme: No matter how bad things are, no matter how much evil there is in this world, there is always some good worth fighting for, worth standing up for, and worth some effort in carrying on.
2. The One Ring illustrates how evil can entice and enslave. Beautiful gold rings are enticing to wear. But when we slip them on our fingers, we announce our devotion and loyalty to their owner.
3. Gandalf and Saruman, while not analogous, have traits, goals, and experiences similar to those of Jesus and Satan. Gandalf is even tempted in a battle with Saruman not unlike Christ is tempted by Satan in the wilderness.
4. Evil is parasitic and can only destroy that which was created. Everything that (God) created in Middle-earth (and in our world) is good. It is the perversion and corruption of what was created that is evil. Good can exist on its own. Evil can only live off what is good.
5. Like all Christians, Frodo is called to risk his life through great peril to save others. Frodo, like us, does not appear to be up to the task. He does not have any obvious talent suited for war. But he is chosen, as we are. We are all necessary for God's grand plan to be fulfilled; and even the most unlikely and disgusting Gollum-like beast in our life is necessary. And when Frodo asks, "What can a little hobbit do?" — Isaiah answers, "A little child will lead them" (11:6).
6. In the Shire, the Hobbits come naturally to living a beatific life that Christ calls Christians to live by. The Hobbits are the meek that inherit the earth, the merciful who receive mercy, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers. (Mt. 5:3-12)
7. Like all Christians, Tolkien's characters are called to play roles in a story that is much greater and more important than they are aware. Just as we are not aware of all that has happened before us, so Gandalf, at the end of The Hobbit, says to Bilbo, "You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? "you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"
8. There is a longing for the return of the king. As Christians long for the return of Christ the King, so the free people of Middle-earth long for their kingdoms to be once more united in peace and justice under the rightful heir. Did I mention that Aragorn looks like Christ?
9. The Fellowship of the Ring is constituted of different characters with different gifts suited for battling evil — the diversity keeps them united. This is not unlike the diversity of spiritual gifts and temporal talents given to the different members of the Christian community for the unity of the body — so that we might be dependent on each other.
10. Upon leaving Lorien, each of the Fellowship members are
given custom fitted Elvish hooded cloaks not unlike St. Paul's armor in
Ephesians 6:10-17. Again, Tolkien disliked allegory; so, the cloaks are not
exactly like St. Paul's armor of salvation. But they do have mystical traits of
great aid that keep them safe in their battle with evil.
A Catholic Core The Lord of the Rings is also Catholic.
11. There are sacraments not symbols. For their journey, Galadriel graciously bestows upon the Fellowship — a representation of the church — seven mystical gifts: no mere symbols these, but glimmering reflections of the Church's seven sacraments — the conveying of spiritual grace through temporal rites. And at her Mirror, Galadriel derides the Reformers' taunt of Eucharistic magic in the Mass when she says: "For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same words for the deceits of the enemy."
12. As grace and creation is experienced through a sacrament, so control and destruction is experienced through an anti-sacrament — the One Ring. The ring that Frodo bears is not symbolic, but rather operates as an anti-sacrament. Dependent on a person's spiritual disposition, a sacrament literally allows grace and life to flow into a person through the physical realm. Likewise, in Middle-earth, the characters' spiritual disposition makes them more or less susceptible to the anti-sacrament power of the ring, which if worn, literally brings evil and destruction upon the bearer.
13. The protagonists pursue absolutes, rejecting any willingness to compromise or relativize. In Middle earth there is an absoluteness of what is right and wrong. There is no hint of moral relativism that separates the different peoples, races, or creators of the freelands. Aragorn says to Eomer: "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men."
14. The protagonists embrace suffering as a requirement of working out their salvation. It isn't enough to simply believe or have faith to be free of the tyranny of evil each of our protagonists must sacrifice and work hard through great peril to secure their salvation and the right ordering of their world.
15. The Shire, described as the ideal community, reflects the social teachings of Catholicism. The Hobbits benefit from a community structure with little formal organization and less conflict. They work only enough to survive and otherwise enjoy each other's company. There is no jealousy, no greed, and rarely does anyone do anything unexpected. There is a wholeness and graciousness about it that seems to come naturally out of selflessness.
16. Gandalf, the steward of all things good in the world, reflects the papacy. Gandalf is leader of the free and faithful. He is steward of all things good in the world, but he claims rule over no land. As the Popes of history did with kings and emperors of our world, so Gandalf crowns the king and blesses him to rule with justice and peace.
17. Middle-earth ideology reflects a corporate moral hierarchy and not individualism. There is no democracy or republic in Middle-earth. There are spiritual leaders like Gandalf, and Kings like Theoden and Elessar with lords and vassals. There is no defense of individualism, no claim of choice, and no justification for an individual to follow his conscience.
18. There is a mystical Lady, like The Blessed Mother, who responds miraculously to pleas for help. The Lady is named Varda (or in Elvish, Elbereth or star-queen) and although she is never seen, she's is described as holy and queenly; and when her name is invoked — "O Elbereth! Gilthoniel! — as Frodo and Sam do on occasion, miracles follow that protect the quest and defeat the present enemy.
19. The sign of the cross. At the end of the first movie (and the beginning of the second book) Aragorn kneels beside the mortally wounded Boromir — and as he dies, Aragorn makes a rudimentary sign of the cross touching first his forehead and then his lips. It is a salute to Avatar, the One who created all.
20. There is a last sharing of cup and bread, not unlike O.T.
manna and its fulfillment in The Eucharist.Before the Fellowship departs from
Lorien, Galadriel bids each to participate in a farewell ritual and drink from
a common cup. More significant is the mystical Elvish food given to the
fellowship — lembas or waybread. A small amount of this supernatural
nourishment will sustain a traveler for many days.
All of this should make viewing or reading The Lord of the Rings a more interesting and insightful experience for both Christians and Catholics.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART FOUR: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
SECTION ONE-PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
CHAPTER ONE-THE REVELATION OF PRAYER - THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAYER
Article 3-IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH
I. Blessing and Adoration
2626 Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. the prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.
2627 TWO fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father - we bless him for having blessed us; it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father - he blesses us.
2628 Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The sanctification of the Church Militant.
· Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
· Get to Mass as today is a Solemnity
· Make reparations to the Holy Face
· 30 Days with St. Joseph Day 6
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
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