Mary and the Doves

Last night in my dream ‘I was releasing Doves into the air, One dove flew and spread it wings with the Sun behind it, was beautiful, another dove flew up like an eagle, wondrous to behold, the third dove was beautiful but landed at my feet.’ so in reflecting on my dream I will write a short poem titles ‘Mary and the Doves.’

In the Heart of Mary lives the Doves of the Holy Spirit
Mary holds the first white dove of peace
Mary is the New Noah announcing peace and hope
The Dove spreads its wings with the beautiful golden sun
A GOLDEN GLOBE of light holding the dove at it center
The wings of the dove touching the edges of the Golden Globe
The Second Dove Mary release flies to the sky like an Eagle
Soaring with powerful wings to the Heaven
The Third Dove Mary releases is as beautiful as the other two
But this Third Dove does not take flight but lands on the earth at the feet of Mary
Why doesn’t the third dove fly like an eagle to the Sun or Heavens?
What is wrong?
Than it occurs to me
The Third Dove staying on earth is the Dove that is given to you and me
The Third Dove is the Dove that announcing peace to all mankind
This Third Dove is the Dove of Peace that is given to all the Earth

Mary today is giving you 3 Doves
First Dove flies to the Sun
Second Dove Flies to the Heaven
The Third Dove Lands at your feet to give you peace

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Third Sunday In Advent Holy Spirit Gives Joy

Pope Francis writes, ” The Father is the source of joy. The Son is its manifestation, and the Holy Spirit its giver. Immediately after praising the Father, so the evangelist Matthew tells us, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30). “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1)

St Thomas Aquinas said that man cannot live without Joy. Religion is not primarily about following a bunch of rules. Religion is about fulling the deepest desires of the human heart. We are made for Joy. Jesus says to the faithful departed, “Enter into the Joy of the Lord.” Paul says, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy and Peace.” The Holy Spirit gives us a foretaste of the Joy that we will have in Heaven. Allow the Holy Spirit to pour his joy into you. The Holy Spirit is God’s Joy.

You are made for Joy. Following Jesus is meant to bring us Joy. We can think of St Theresa of Avila who experienced so much Joy that she could say to God, “Stop it I cannot take this much Joy.”

The Holy Spirit gives us Joy. Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Sober intoxication of the Spirit’ writes, ” In 1975, the day after Pentecost, at the close of the World Congress of the Catholic Charismatic, Pope Paul VI delivered an address to the ten thousand participants in St. Peter’s Basilica. After reading his official address, the Pope spontaneously added:

‘In the fourth-century hymn by St Ambrose that we read this morning in the breviary, there is a simple phrase that is difficult to translate: Laeti, which means ‘with joy.’ bibamus. which means, ‘let us drink’ sobriam which means ‘sober’ or ‘temperate’ profusionem Spiritus which means ‘the abundant outpouring of the Spirit.’ Laeti bibamus sobriam profusionem Spiritus. This could be the motto for your movement: its plan as well as the description of the movement itself.”

Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. May we drink of the new wine of the Holy Spirit. May the new wine be poured into fresh wine skins. Jesus fill us with the New Wine of the Holy Spirit.

St Cyril of Jerusalem tells the newly baptized ‘They are not drunk in the way you might think. They are indeed drunk, but with the sober intoxication which kills sin and gives life to the heart and which is the opposite of physical drunkenness. Drunkenness makes a person forget what he knows; this kind, indeed, bring understanding of things that were not formerly known. They are drunk insofar as they have drunk the wine of the mystical branch which affirms ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ (John 15:5)

St Ambrose says ‘Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said ‘ Do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit.’ (Ephesians 5:18) He who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces sobriety in the soul.’

George Montague in ‘Mary’s Life in the Spirit’ writes this prayer
‘Lord Jesus whenever I taste of the Holy Spirit. I know that I am drinking the better wine that you provide. Through the intercession of the woman who first received that Spirit when you came to earth, grant me a new outpouring at this very moment. Let me experience the sober intoxication of the Holy Spirit so that I may know you more deeply and be empowered, like Mary, to sing your praises and serve you more faithfully, Amen.

Fr Stefan working notes for his book on the healing of Family Tree Mary Song of Praise

George T. Montague in his book ‘Mary’s Life in the Spirit’ writes ‘God’s Faithfulness to His Promises. And that is what she said in the concluding line: ‘He has helped Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy (as he promised our fathers) to Abraham and his descendants forever.’ (Luke 1:54-55) God’s love for his people Israel, shown in the past and now brought to a climax in the sending of the Savior, means that he has remembered Abraham…When God remembered, he does more; he moves to save. So God’s remembered Noah floating on the flood waters and sent a wind to dry them up. (Genesis 8:1) God ‘remembered’ Abraham and saved his nephew Lot (19:29) God ‘remembered’ Rachel and enabled her to conceive (30:22) He ‘remembered’ his covenant with Abraham and sent Moses to lead his people to freedom. (Exodus 2:24) So God has now remembered his mercy and his loving kindness ti Abraham and has sent his offspring, Jesus to save his people.’

‘To-non-Jews-and that is most of us-it may sound off that sending Jesus is God;s remembering an ancestor lost in the midst of remote time. But the Jews had a keen sense of God’s fidelity, his faithfulness to his promise. Jesus is not just a savior suddenly sent to rescue a world gone amok; he is the fulfillment of a promise. This is a major theme of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. God has fulfilled his promise-has shone himself righteous to his covenant promise-by sending Jesus.

‘Thus, Mary’s mention of Abraham at the finale of her song is significant. She see her blessing not just in cosmic hues for the future; she see it a climaxing a love story that had begun thousands of years earlier when God chose Abraham and made him the father of nations. (Genesis 17;4-6) Moreover, God blessed Abraham because of his faith in God’s incredible promise. (15:6) Mary, too, unlike Zechariah but in perfect sync with Father Abraham, is blessed for her faith in an even more incredible promise. (Luke 1:45)

Our lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe had this to say to Juan Diego:

“Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of heaven and earth. It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”

George Montague in his Book ‘Mary’s Life and the Spirit’ writes ‘Notice how she always appears as a woman of the ethnic stock of the people where the apparitions happen. At Lourdes, she appears as a beautiful French woman, In Kibeho as a Rwandan, in Mexico as a mestiza…The point is this that the Holy Spirit, who continues the work of Jesus in the Church, uses Mary as the great evangelizer.’

Mary is your mother. Mary will ‘hear your weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.’

Today bring your payers to Mary. And may you come to know in a special way that Mary is your Mother.

Father Stefan Reflects on the Reading from First Sunday of Advent

"Let the Fire Fall"

This coming Sunday we will read from the prophet Isaiah, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

This is what I got in prayer. What does it mean to beat swords into plowshares and turn spears into pruning hooks? Well the sword and the spears are weapons. The sword and the spear can be all the ways that we protect ourselves and keep Jesus and others away from us. 

We are called to turn the sword into a plowshare and the spear into a pruning hook. The very weapons that we use to keep Jesus and others away from us can now be turned into tools that can break our hearts of stone. These new tools can now be used to turn our hearts of stone into fertile soil. The fertile soul that can now receive the grace and love of God.

Advent is…

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Fr Stefan Reflects on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

"Let the Fire Fall"

St Therese the Little Flower said, “most homilies about Mary leave me feeling cold…Mary is more a mother than a queen.”  She would  ask,”where is the simple woman of faith?”  

So often we present Mary as so special that we lose her closeness with us. We feel we are honoring her by adding more and more titles to her litany. This approach to Mary is why St Therese would say, “most homilies about Mary leave me feeling cold.”

St Therese saw in Mary a woman of faith. Elizabeth said to Mary, “blessed are you who believed what the Angel said to you would come to pass.”  One of the reason that Our Lady of Guadalupe is so loved is that she appears so close and personal to her children.

St Therese asks this question, “what mother wants to be distanced from her children? A mother is not honored by…

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Fr Stefan more working notes for his book on the Theology of the Healing of the family tree ‘Thoughts and ideas from Scott Hahn ‘First Comes Love Finding Your family in the Church and in the Trinity’

‘Ancestors were revered in ancient cultures. Reverence was owned especially, but not exclusively to the patriarch. The tomb of one’s forbears was considered a second home.’ (19)

‘Social scientists have developed many models for understanding this family arrangement. The one I’ve found most useful is that of Carle C Zimmerman of Harvard University who spoke of ancient families as ‘trustee families’ In his monumental work: Family and Civilization Zimmerman explained: ‘The trustee family is so named because it more or less considers itself as immortal, existing in perpetuity and never being extinguished. As a result the living members are not the family, but merely ‘trustee’ of its blood, rights, property name and position for their lifetime.’

‘The trustee family envision the family primarily in religious terms. It’s is not the nuclear family, or even the extended family, but all the members of the family in the past and the future as well as in present generations. A sacred bond unites members in the present generation with the ancestors who gave them life; the same bond unites them with their future descendants; who will perpetuate the family name, honor and worship.’ (21-22)

If you counted yourself among the sons and daughters of Israel, you numbered your ‘brothers and sister’ in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, or millions.’ (23)

‘The nation of Israel itself was such a family, since it was populated mostly by those who claimed descent from the patriarch Jacob (also know as Israel) Jacob’s twelve sons in turn, provided the family identity for the ‘Twelve Tribes’ of Israel. Each tribe, then was a distinct family whose members called one another ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ children of a common father, the long-ago patriarch. So even distant cousins were considered siblings.’ (18)

‘In Israel, the Twelve Tribes understood themselves collectively to be the ‘Family of God’ but in something more than a metaphorical sense, because God created them guided them, protected them, and provided for them-as a father begets, guides, protects and provides for the family. God then acted as a father to the nation of Israel. (Dt 32:6 Jer 31:9) (28)

‘God is One, but not Solitary’ God is a communion of persons. God is a family. Genesis God says let ‘Us’ create man in our image. ‘The royal we’ what John Paul called the ‘Divine We’ (40)

‘God then, is three; yet God is one. This is the mystery of the Trinity, ‘the central mystery of Christian faith and life…the mystery of God in Himself…the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlighten them.'(CCC 234)

‘The Terrestrial Trinity’ ‘John Paul II ‘The only-begotten Son…entered into human history through the family.’

( Check out ‘the divine mystery of the incarnation’ John Paul II letter to families p 7…..also Whereas Adam and Eve..See Pope John Paul II Redemptoris Custos (on the Person and mission of Saint Joseph in the life of the Church p 14)

‘Within His Holy Family, Jesus lived a life that was an earthly image of the eternal Trinity, How fitting that devotional writers and artists have often portrayed the Holy Family as an ‘earthly trinity’ which again in the words of Pope John Paul II ‘so admirably reflects the life of communion and love of the eternal trinity.'(46)