Introduction to 1 Samuel
Welcome to 1 Samuel, the
original Game of Thrones (cue awesome theme here). Oh, yes, that's right. As
much as you've probably heard that the story of 1 Samuel is about the little guy (David) fighting the big guy
(Goliath), that's actually not the whole point of the book. We're here to tell
you that the plot of 1 Samuel is really
about control of the throne of Israel.
at about 1000 B.C. by the Deuteronomists, the book starts
off with a man named Eli serving as God's priest. But God decides that a
young man named Samuel should be in charge, so when Eli eventually dies,
Samuel takes over as priest and prophet. Everything's coming up Samuel.
Hence the title.
people of Israel decide they need a king, so God makes Samuel appoint a
man named Saul, who's kind of the worst. To make a long story short, Saul
is a terrible king, so Samuel has to go find someone else.
a long search, Samuel ends up in Bethlehem (way before Jesus was
born there), where he meets an adorable young shepherd named David, he
anoints David on the spot.
a good long while, and the Israelite army is ready to fight the
Philistines. Every Israelite soldier is too scared to fight Goliath, the
Philistine champion, so David steps forward like a champ. Overly
confident, Goliath is defeated by a stone being flung through his skull by
David. Boom. Now everyone loves David. Even Saul... sort of. Well, maybe
not so much Saul.
that David has gone from zero to hero, everyone has the David fever except
for Saul. He tries to kill David several times out of jealousy for his new
found fame and power. And the Game of Thrones has begun. What follows
until the end of 1 Samuel is a series of plot twists, battles, more plot
twists, and more battles until (spoiler alert) Saul is killed on the
battlefield. 1 Samuel ends on a cliffhanger, but don't worry, as with all
good action adventures, there's a sequel.
Check. Power plays? Check. Epic battles? Check. Seriously, 1 Samuel has all the
makings of every awesome R-rated movie or rated Mature TV show to grace the HBO
airwaves. And our man David's the star.
So here is the real
question: if the book is really about David, why is the book titled Samuel?
Fine, we'll just
tell you. Although the book has got David fever along with the rest of the
Israelites, as Prophet-in-Residence, Samuel's there every step of the way. In
fact, it's because of Samuel that most of the events transpire. He's the Gandalf to David's Bilbo. The Dumbledore to his Harry. Without the old
gray wizard to guide, there is no unexpected journey and adventure. Without
Samuel, there's no Game of Thrones for Israel.
Why Should I Care?
Some of our greatest
tales are based on the old little-dude-defeats-big-dude plot, and this one's no
exception. From his very humble beginnings as a shepherd boy, David has to
contend with all kinds of Big Bads every step of the way. See, 1 Samuel is one
of the original underdog stories and it's not just about one big foe. David is
constantly struggling to be the bigger man, whether it's against Goliath, Saul,
or even himself at times.
Think of 1 Samuel as a
precursor to all those people-pleasing blockbuster franchises making the big
bucks in theaters these days. It's got all the awesome elements that pack
people in those seats: violence, romance, power struggles, dashing heroes, and
even a soundtrack (David's got a bit of a musical knack).
And yes—it even has a sequel.
1 Samuel, Chapter 4, Verse 20
Ark of the Covenant was the glory of Israel who had by this time had become no
better than their neighbors and they worshiped the gods of their neighbors. Additionally,
as they descended, they warred with each other rather than the nations opposed
to them. The Ark was now considered a powerful talisman in war and when the
Israelites bring it into battle with the Philistines it is captured, and the glory
of Israel departs. The cause was the corruption of the priestly family of Eli
who forgot the way of God. God would call another Priest: Samuel and the house
of Eli was brought down.
Dumpty Had a Great Fall
Israelites lost a battle against the Philistine army. The Philistines are a sea
people and a superior fighting force. The Israelites rarely stand a chance
against them (1-2).
Israelites decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp with them so
they might win the battle the next day. Everyone gets so excited when the Ark
makes its way into camp, the echoes of joy reach all the way to the Philistine
camp and they become afraid.
next day, the Philistines fight even harder and they steal the Ark for
themselves. So much for that plan, Israelites. Oh, and Hophni and Phinehas die
just as prophesied (3-11).
messenger comes to deliver the news of Israel's defeat. Eli, sitting in his
place of power on the outer wall, receives the news of the defeat, the loss of
the Ark, and the death of his sons.
promptly falls backwards from his seat, breaks his neck, and dies. Little known
fact: Humpty Dumpty is based on Eli. Little known fact: that was a lie (14-18).
pregnant wife, upon hearing of his demise, goes into labor and gives birth to a
son. She is so sad, she names the child Ichabod, which means the glory has
departed from Israel. Sorry kid, you're stuck with it (19-22).
MEDITATIONS FOR THE FIRST FRIDAY
OF THE MONTH.
the hour of our death, when life, like a false friend, is about to forsake us,
we must, in a special manner, increase our confidence in the Heart of Jesus. It
is said that Our Lord appeared one day to a holy soul who had conjured Him to
grant to a pious person a happy passage from this life, and addressed to her
these consoling words:
daughter, where is the pilot who, having brought into port a vessel laden with
precious stones, sinks it in the sea at the moment of his arrival? Can you
suppose that, after having granted so many graces to this soul in the course of
her life, I shall abandon her at the end thereof?
us lean on the heart of Jesus; and driven on the stormy sea of this world, under the
protection which He grants to those who love Him, we shall one day triumphantly
enter the desired port, and enjoy the eternal blessings of that holy guidance.
Death was always precious
in the sight of God, for Jesus was to pass through its portal; it is precious
to Him still, for Jesus has died. No one who is devout to the heart of Jesus
will fail to find at the moment of his death more excellent and abundant
treasures than he had ever expected to receive. Death, precious to Himself,
will not Our Lord render it also inexpressibly so to us?
cannot mistake the proofs of His tenderness. If we may venture to say so, the
exile of the being He created is a sorrow to Him as much as to the soul itself;
for, like a tender father, God desires that His children should be with Him in
His kingdom. Of all the hours of life this is the one which is the most
precious in the sight of God, exerts the greatest power over His love, and for
this very reason has such a mighty influence over His mercy and justice. In
order to receive the fulness of the new life to be merited by repentance
through the divine reparation every man must undergo the terrible suffering of
death; but is not this suffering, caused by sin, like all other trials, a token
of love on the part of God?
death life could not attain to its end; without death how could the soul ever
reach eternal life? The rebel angel escaped the sentence of death, but for him
there was no resurrection. It is decreed that man should die, or, rather, the
soul, cleansed by the blood of Our Lord, and vivified by His love, passes into
eternity before the body which it shall one day glorify; united together they
are called by Jesus to reign in heaven in a state so exalted that it could not
have been won by primeval innocence.
in this world, without awaiting the eternal glorifying of humanity, the most
beloved amongst the friends of God experience through their whole being a
marvelous transformation which robs death of its terrors, and wholly disengages
them from this transitory world. The interior light by which they are led is no
longer human, but divine, through Jesus; and a supernatural love is substituted
for that natural love which they made their law; and not only are their
criminal affections destroyed, but the love of God above all things gives them,
even in this life, a foretaste of heaven. They feel no longer an engrossing
care for the preservation of the body, but sigh after death, crying incessantly
to God, with St. Paul, " I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.
They exult when they hear the clock strike, at the thought that one hour less
remains for them to pass in this exile; death is no longer a passage of sorrow,
but the desired way by which they shall go to the Lord; they sigh after it,
they desire it, and would fain hasten the moment of its approach by the ardor
of their desire for the enjoyment of a never-ending eternity. One single thing
restrains them: it is when the perfection of love imposes on them a law of
charity yet stronger, which would detain them in this world for the glory of
God and the good of their brethren; "for," says St. Teresa,
"thus do souls arrive at a strict union with Jesus."
ardently they have desired to die in order to enjoy the presence of Our Lord;
this is their martyrdom that their exile is prolonged; yet they are so inflamed
with the desire of knowing Him, of making His name hallowed, of being useful to
the souls of others, that far from sighing after death they would wish to live
for many years, even amidst the greatest sufferings, too happy in being able to
add to the glory of their divine Master.
submission in death is an act of entire adoration, a magnificent profession of
faith and praise; its beauty consists in the cheerful and ready sacrifice which
the creature makes to the Creator of the life which He had given, shadowing
forth God’s power in all its grandeur. Death beholds the soul already in
adoration annihilated at the thought of the near approach of eternity; this, we
may well imagine, is the kind of death the angels love to contemplate. The soul
takes to itself no merit, places no trust on the way in which it has served
God, and de sires to possess even the smallest consolation the Church can be
stow. It is specially attracted by the sanctity of God, which makes it aspire
to become pure, pure almost beyond conception, in order to appear before the
inviolable majesty of God; relying only on His mercy; never losing its
confidence in the greatness of the divine compassion, but fearing lest its
offences may be beyond the reach of pardon; dying the death of a child, with
its eyes fixed on the countenance of its tender Father. Why, then, when in a
state of grace, should we entertain a fear of death?
dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God abides in him." He who loves
God is then sure of His grace, and dying in this state is certain of enjoying
forever the sovereign good in the habitations of the elect. And can such a one
has, however, said that no living man is entirely pure in the sight of God.
Thus no one should have the presumption to hope for salvation through his own
merits; for, except Jesus and Mary, no one was ever exempt from sin. But we
need not fear death when we have a true sorrow for our faults, and place our
confidence in the merits of Jesus, Who came on this earth in order to redeem
and save sinners, for whom He shed His blood, for whom He died. The blood of
Jesus Christ," says the Apostle, cries more loudly in favor of sinners
than the blood of Abel for vengeance against Cain."
transforms into a brilliant light that which by its nature was plunged in
darkness and obscurity, and the plaintive cry of our misery is changed into a
song of triumph; for the fetters which yet separate the soul of the dying from
the heavenly Jerusalem are so near being severed asunder that the triumphant
alleluias of heaven mingle with the lamentations of earth, and the last gaze of
repentant love is tenderly fixed on the crucifix till earth fades from view.
The transit of the creature from time to eternity is dear to the Creator; for
precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
us throw aside, then, those vain fears of death, and regard it as a tribute
which all must pay to nature. Let us be ready cheerfully to leave this world
when Our Lord shall call us to the land where the saints await us, and where we
shall meet those who have instructed us in the faith, and whose victory will in
some measure supply for the negligence with which we have performed our own
duties toward our heavenly Father. Let us unite ourselves to those glorious
troops of blessed spirits who are seated in the kingdom of God with Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob; into which the good thief entered in triumph after a life of
sin, and now enjoys, in the company of the elect, the ineffable delights of
paradise; where there is no darkness nor storms, no intense heat, excessive
cold, sickness, or sorrow; and where there is no need of the light of the sun,
because the Sun of justice alone enlightens the heavenly Jerusalem.
read the following touching account in the life of St. Gertrude: The saint once
heard a preacher insist strongly on the strict obligation of a dying person to
love God above all things, and to entertain for his sins a contrition founded
on love. She believed this to be an exaggerated doctrine, and that if pure love
was necessary very few persons would die in the proper dispositions. She became
interiorly disturbed, and a cloud obscured her mind; but Our Lord Himself vouchsafed
to dispel her fears, telling her " that in the last struggle, if the dying
person had during life sought to please Him, and to lead a Christian life, He
would so mercifully reveal Himself that His love would penetrate into the
inmost folding’s of the heart, causing it by His presence to make acts of the
most perfect contrition"; and, added Our Lord, " I would have My
elect to know with what a great desire I wish them to be united to Me at that
important moment. Let this be made known, so that men may rely no less on this
last merciful grace than on all the others which My love has lavished upon
them." Let us propagate this consoling truth, so well calculated to
inflame our hearts with the most lively love for so merciful a God.
us pray to the agonizing heart of Jesus for the one hundred fifty thousand
persons who, it is computed, die daily in this world.
sweet Jesus! grant that I may die the death of those devoted to Thy divine
Holiness Pius IX., by a brief dated 29th September, 1859, granted an indulgence
of three hundred days, extended afterwards by a new re script to three years,
and a plenary indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions, to the recital
of the following prayers. They are applicable to the faithful departed.
Intentions to be made during Mass, either at the offertory, immediately after
the consecration, or at the communion of the priest.]
Father, I offer to Thee the sacrifice which Thy divine Son made of Himself on
the cross, which sacrifice He now renews on our altars. I offer it in the name
of all mankind, with the Masses which are now being celebrated, and which will
be celebrated throughout the world, in order to adore Thee and render Thee all
possible honor and glory; to thank Thee for Thy innumerable benefits; to
appease Thy justice, provoked by our sins; to give Thee the satisfaction Thou
dost expect, also to obtain grace for myself, for Thy Church, and for the whole
world, as also for the souls in purgatory. O Lord, I offer Thee the Masses
which are being said throughout the world, in the name of all mankind, for Thy
glory and the salvation and benefit of Thy creatures. O Lord, I desire to offer
up myself to Thee for all the intentions for which Thou now offerest Thyself to
God Thy Father.
July 7-August 15, 2021
Through acts of
reparation, fasting, penance, charity, and prayer (both personal and
sacramental) we call upon the power of God to release ourselves, our families,
our parishes, our dioceses, and our nation from all demonic influence and
day will be broken into prayer, reflection, and reparation.
(rotating from Fr. Peckman, Fr. Altman & Fr. Heilman) will be written for
each day on a particular manifestation of the demonic and the sin it leads to.
It will commend a corresponding virtue to cultivate.
reparation and exorcism will be followed by a litany
Litany of Humility
Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Litany of St. Joseph
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Litany of the Blessed Sacrament
Reparation and Penance:
this will be variables of age, ability, and availability.
To pray a Rosary for the Intention of exorcism of the day's area of
To pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet in reparation for the sin caused by the area of
the day's reflection
To commit one act of either a spiritual or corporal works of mercy for either
one who has been harmed by our sin or who has harmed us by their sin.
To commit to fasting or abstinence days as prescribed below.
To commit to a prescribed time of exercise based on one's abilities
To commit to going to confession once a week (where available)
To refrain from all use of the conventional media throughout the 40 days and to
limit one's use of social media to one hour a day for non-business or evangelical
that age, health, and the Covid 19 pandemic are current factors...
level: (For clerics)
of reflection and prayer remain intact. Added is a commitment to a Holy Hour
commits to fasting 3xs a week (unless age or medical condition is an issue).
commits to abstaining from sweets, soda, junk food, and fast food for all 40
with medical conditions and over the age of 65 commit to a half hour of
exercise. Otherwise they commit to one hour of exercise, with the
understanding that one can exercise and pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy
Chaplet at the same time.
also commit to making more time for the confessional, daily Mass, and praying
the entirety of the Divine Office (all hours) for the 40 days.
prayer, reflection, some acts of reparation can be done during Holy Hour and/or
commit to confession once a week. Clerics, in a special way, should offer the
prayers for those placed under their pastoral care and do their acts of
reparations for those harmed by the actions of any cleric, including
level: Recommended for those called to go "All In!"
of Reflection and prayer remain intact.
commits to fasting 3xs a week (Wednesday, Friday, and any other day, save
from sweets, soda, junk food, and fast food for all 7 days.
hour of exercise with the understanding that one can exercise and pray the
Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet simultaneously.
Level: Recommended for those who do not think they can do the blue level:
of Reflection and prayer remain intact.
commits to fasting 2xs a week on Wednesdays and Fridays.
from sweets, soda, junk food, and fast food for the other four days.
hour of exercise, with the understanding that one can exercise and pray the
Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at the same time
Level: Recommended for pregnant women, senior citizens, those with serious
of Reflection and prayer remain intact.
3xs a week from sweets, soda, junk food, & fast food instead of fasting.
hour of exercise instead of an hour. That other half hour can be used to do
should be noted that praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet can be done
Prayer for Freedom from the Devil
(We will all pray
the following prayer each day)
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, at
a word from You the devil and his minions flee in terror. You are the source of
all truth. You are the source of all strength. By the power of Your Cross and
Resurrection, we beseech You, O Lord To extend Your saving arm and to send Your
holy angels to defend us as we do battle with Satan and his demonic forces. Exorcise,
we pray, that which oppresses Your Bride, the Church, so that within ourselves,
our families, our parishes, our dioceses, and our nation We may turn fully back
to You in all fidelity and trust. Lord, we know if You will it, it will be
done. Give us the perseverance for this mission, we pray.
Our Lady of the
Immaculate Conception ... pray for us
St. Joseph ...
pray for us
St. Michael the
Archangel ... pray for us
(the patron of
your parish) ... pray for us
confirmation saint) ... pray for us
Freedom Ring: Freedom from Fear-Day 1
Fr. Bill Peckman
the Garden of Eden, the Devil tempts Adam and Eve. He lies to them. His lie is
effective because it taps into fear. The fear is simple: God does not want what
is good for you. The Devil sells a fear to Adam and Eve that God wishes them to
be perpetually ignorant of good and evil (even though they already knew the
good), that they are missing out without that knowledge. Fear finds its roots
in a disbelief in God's providence and care. God knows this and in the
Scriptures. He tells us 365 times to not be afraid. Overcoming fear is trusting
rules our nation now. It used to be that the American Dream was the ability to
act rightly and freely and set one's course independent of one's socioeconomic
status. In the last 100 years the American Dream transformed into accumulation
of possessions and status. Now the American dream had turned into a nightmare
of anarchy by which the dream is complete autonomy and self-determination
independent of God, science, or reason. The fear comes from a belief that this
life is all that there is, and we must create a reality conducive to my
personal truth. Anyone who challenges this is to be feared and despised.
rules within most churches now. Fear has reduced the evangelical call of the
Great Commission to a call for the comfortable and non-challenging. It has
stilled out tongues on moral issues. It has gutted our catechesis. It has
emptied our seminaries and decimated the priesthood. Being Catholic has always
carried a stigma in this country. With the scandals in the Church, fear of
being accused of things one would never do is a strong deterrent to answering
God's call. It was for me. When the purveyors of fear have raised their voices,
in fear we Catholics have allowed ours to be silenced. A fearful person who
will not stand up against the lies of a human being will never stand up to the
lies perpetrated by the father of lies, the Devil. We would do well to heed
Jesus's rebuke of His apostles in Mathew 8:26, "Why are you fearful, ye of
little faith?" He says this as they are being tossed on the sea by a
might be said that courage is the virtue to cultivate to fight fear. It goes
deeper. The virtue to cultivate is the theological virtue of faith. To
countermand the Devil's use of fear, in believing that God does not want what
is good for us or will abandon us if we follow Him, we must cultivate faith so
as to be able and willing to put our trust in His goodness and plan.
it is a theological virtue, the virtue only grows with the assistance of the
grace of God. We will not be able to cultivate faith without the sacramental
life of the Church. Even when circumstance prevents our participation in the
sacramental life of the Church, the fervent desire to participate in the
sacramental life of the Church allows that opening for God to flood us with the
grace to grow our faith. Such desire has aided the imprisoned, the ill, and the
must lead to conversion. If not, then the grace of God is squandered. We shall
have to answer for this. Conversion is an outward and inward sign of the trust
we faith we have in God. Conversion sets the devil on his heels. It calls out
his lie. Faith will lead us to a place where we can stand out against the
rising tide and fight against the diabolical. Dead men flow downstream, weak
men float downstream, but live men can walk against the current and move
forward. Faith is the power train to give us such abilities.
Lord and my God, we have allowed the temptation of the devil to move our hearts
to doubt in your goodness. We have still our tongues in the face of evil. We
have been too fearful to stand out in our culture, allowing the strong storms
to quell our trust in you. In our fear, we have allowed the ancient foe to
advance. We turn to you Lord, in our sorrow and guilt, and beg your forgiveness
for our fear and timidity. We beg for the grace of your goodness to build up
within us what you sought to build up in your apostles in that tempest tossed
know, Lord, if you will it, it will be done.
in you, we offer our prayer to you who live and reign forever.
God of Heaven and Earth, in your power and goodness, you created all things.
You set a path for us to walk on and a way to an eternal relationship. By the
strength of your arm and Word of your mouth cast from your Holy Church every
fearful deceit of the Devil. Drive from us manifestations of the demonic that
oppress us and beckon us to faithlessness and fear. Still the lying tongue of
the devil and his forces so that we may act freely and faithfully to your will.
Send your holy angels to cast out all influence that the demonic entities in
charge of fear have planted in your church. Free us, our families, our parish,
our diocese, and our country from all trickery and deceit perpetrated by the
Devil and his hellish legions.
in your goodness Lord, We know if you will it, it will be done in unity with
Your Son and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen.
Litany of St. Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, …
Light of the patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most valiant,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen ,
Glory of domestic life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,
God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who
takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who
takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
He made him the lord of His
And prince over all His possessions.
Let Us Pray.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable
providence didst choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy
Mother, grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve
to have him as our intercessor in Heaven, Thou Who livest and reignest forever
and ever. R. Amen.
Friday-The 5 Switches of Manliness: Physicality
This post begins our series on the five switches of manliness. The five switches of manliness are the power switches that are connected to our primal man and deeply ingrained and embedded in the male psyche. When they’re turned off, we feel restless, angry, and apathetic. When they’re turned on, we feel alive, invigorated, motivated to be our best, and just plain manly. The two principles behind these posts that must be adopted in order for the recommendations to be successfully integrated are: 1) the switches are simply either on or off, and 2) turning them on requires only small and simple changes in behavior. The biggest obstacle to flipping the switches will be pride–the belief that firing up our masculinity requires arduous, mystical, and/or perfectly “authentic” tasks. Just because you cannot do everything, does not mean you cannot do something. The maxim to adopt is this: “By small and simple means I will flip the switches of manliness.”
seeking to activate the deeply encoded parts of primitive masculinity, there is
no better place to start than physicality. Primitive man used his body all day
every day: building, hunting, walking, dancing, fighting.
modern man, these activities have been replaced with sitting. Many of us
sit for twelve hours or more a day. Sit down for breakfast, sit in the car on
the way to work, sit at your desk all day, sit in your car on the way home from
work, sit in front of the tv at night….Rinse and repeat.
represents the ultimate in passive living; it practically shuts your body
down–your heart rate, calorie burn, insulin effectiveness, and levels of good
cholesterol drop as your risk of obesity and diabetes goes up. Or, as Dr. James
Levine, leader in the emerging field of “inactivity studies,” puts it: when you
sit, “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse.”
sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.” And he’s not kidding. A study
found that men who sit for more than six hours of their leisure time each day
had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. The
epidemiologist who conducted the study, Alpha Patel, concluded that excessive
sitting literally shortens a person’s life by several years (not to mention the
years that are simply wasted from sitting as opposed to doing anything).
showed that men who sat for 23 or more hours a week had a 64% greater chance of
dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours per week or less.
only is sitting around literally killing us, it’s also throwing a wet rag on
Catechism of the
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION
TWO-I. THE CREEDS
BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
Article 3-"HE WAS CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
AND WAS BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY"
Paragraph 2. "CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND
BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY"
CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. . .
484 The Annunciation to Mary
inaugurates "the fullness of time", The time of the fulfilment
of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom
the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily". The
divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not
man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will
come upon you."
485 The mission of the Holy Spirit
is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son. The Holy Spirit,
"the Lord, the giver of Life", is sent to sanctify the womb of the
Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son
of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.
486 The Father's only Son,
conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is
to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence,
though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the
shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the
whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of
Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."
II.... BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY
487 What the Catholic faith
believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it
teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.
488 "God sent forth his
Son", but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation
of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son
a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a
virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the
virgin's name was Mary":
The Father of mercies willed that
the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined
mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also
should a woman contribute to the coming of life.
489 Throughout the Old Covenant the
mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning
there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a
posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise
that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise,
Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human
expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show
forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah;
Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary "stands out among
the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation
from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the
exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."
The Immaculate Conception
490 To become the mother of the Savior,
Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." The
angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of
grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent
of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be
wholly borne by God's grace.
491 Through the centuries the
Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through
God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the
dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was,
from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of
almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human
race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
492 The "splendor of an
entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first
instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is
"redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her
Son". The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person
"in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and
chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and
blameless before him in love".
493 The Fathers of the Eastern
tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia), and celebrate
her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit
and formed as a new creature". By the grace of God Mary remained free
of every personal sin her whole life long.
"Let it be done to me according to your word. . ."
494 At the announcement that she
would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man,
by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith,
certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I
am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your
word." Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the
mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly,
without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person
and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of
redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace:
As St. Irenaeus says, "Being
obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human
race." Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .:
"The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the
virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith." Comparing
her with Eve, they call Mary "the Mother of the living" and
frequently claim: "Death through Eve, life through Mary."
Mary's divine motherhood
495 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 "Mother of God" (Theotokos).
496 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. Thus
St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:
You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.
497 The Gospel accounts understand
the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human
understanding and possibility: "That which is conceived in her is of
the Holy Spirit", said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee. The
Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet
Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son."
498 People are sometimes troubled
by the silence of St. Mark's Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus'
virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends
or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond:
Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition,
mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; so it
could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to
the ideas of the age. the meaning of this event is accessible only to faith,
which understands in it the "connection of these mysteries with one
another" in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from his Incarnation
to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this
connection: "Mary's virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord's death
escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of
proclamation were accomplished in God's silence."
Mary - "ever-virgin"
499 The deepening of faith in the
virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual
virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In
fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but
sanctified it." and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as
Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".
500 Against this doctrine the
objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of
Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to
other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of
Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St.
Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary". They are close
relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but
her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save:
"The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born
among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation
she co-operates with a mother's love."
Mary's virginal motherhood in God's
502 The eyes of faith can discover
in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his
saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on
the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave
that mission on behalf of all men.
503 Mary's virginity manifests
God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father.
"He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which
he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally
son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both
504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy
Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates
the new creation: "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the
second man is from heaven." From his conception, Christ's humanity is
filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without
measure." From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed
humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace."
505 By his virginal conception,
Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy
Spirit through faith. "How can this be?" Participation in the
divine life arises "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the
will of man, but of God". The acceptance of this life is virginal
because it is entirely the Spirit's gift to man. the spousal character of the
human vocation in relation to God is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's
506 Mary is a virgin because her
virginity is the sign of her faith "unadulterated by any doubt", and
of her undivided gift of herself to God's will. It is her faith that
enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: "Mary is more blessed
because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of
507 At once virgin and mother, Mary
is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church
indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By
preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy
Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin,
who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse."
508 From among the descendants
of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. "Full of
grace", Mary is "the most excellent fruit of redemption" (SC
103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from
the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin
throughout her life.
509 Mary is truly "Mother
of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is
510 Mary "remained a virgin
in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying
him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St.
Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is "the
handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38).
511 The Virgin Mary
"co-operated through free faith and obedience in human salvation" (LG
56). She uttered her yes "in the name of all human nature" (St.
Thomas Aquinas, S Th III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve,
mother of the living.
6-15 San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
Run for your life! Join
hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists who flock to the northern Spanish
city of Pamplona for the annual San Fermin Festival.
At 8 a.m. on July 7, the celebration unfolds with six bulls and another six
steers running down a half-mile stretch of narrow streets. The week-long event
culminates in a final, grand fight in a bullring.
Our "Neighbor to the
North" marks its birthday this month. Get in on the festivities during the
Calgary Stampede! This 10-day event is Canada’s largest annual rodeo,
and one of its largest festivals to boot. Billed as the "Greatest Outdoor
Show on Earth," the rodeo draws more than 1 million visitors each year.
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus