Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Solemnity of Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God "Our Mother Knows the Song of the Angels"

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are my friend, my Father, and my protector. I come to you on this new day confident in your presence. I renew my love for you, trusting in your guiding hand.

Petition: Lord, I want to hear the angels sing. Help me learn to listen.

1. Sometimes We Need a Little Help: Would the shepherds have been impressed to find Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus if the angels had not explained what was happening? They would have just thought it was a poor, vagabond family—unimpressive and unassuming like their own lives as shepherds. Yet the angels opened them to a reality that they would never have imagined or perceived. In my life God has also sent me angels who help me discover him: the faith of a parent or grandparent, the sweet, innocent faith of a child, the good example of a friend, a teacher, a priest or a nun, the example of our Holy Father. Mary also teaches me to discover God in her Son. Do I thank God for these angels that he has sent me? Do I follow their advice and look for Christ in the simple, ordinary circumstances of my life?

2. Hints of a New Song: In a symphony, the first movement only hints at the central theme. Mary had first heard this theme from the angel Gabriel. Now the shepherds take up this theme—the hymn of the angels—and even though the shepherds play their part with great enthusiasm, it probably makes very little noise outside the little town of Bethlehem.

Yet the song had begun, and it would grow to a crescendo as Christ lived out his mission. History unfolds God’s mysterious plan of salvation. I am part of that history, of that symphony. Do I do my best to continue Mary’s song, God’s song, by living my commitments and taking part in apostolate?

3. And His Name Shall Be “God Saves”: Mary and Joseph take up the hymn. They know the secret: this child will save Israel and will save all mankind. They begin to explain to the world, using an ancient name, Joshua (Yeshua), a name that now becomes not just a promise but a person. This is God’s new name. This is Our God: God Saves. He is not merely a God who is the source of everything. Our God is intimately committed to us, and he puts himself “in the line of fire” to save us. Man had suspected that God was Creator, and the Jews had received the surprise of his friendship, but neither Gentile nor Jew dreamed that God was also this type of love. Do I dare to dream of God’s goodness? Do I let Christ give me peace and hope in the midst of this despairing world?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have heard something new today. You remind me this Christmas that it is time for a new song, a song of confidence and hope. Mary teaches me this song, this good news. I want to bring this good news more deeply into my life. I know that you are helping me to discover you more each day. Help me also discover you to others.

Resolution:In Mary’s presence, I will strive to “sing this new song” (the Christian virtue I have determined to cultivate) today by making a special effort in one aspect of living this virtue.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas "Looking for You"

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man´s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father´s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, ´The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father´s side, has revealed him.

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I believe that you are the Word come into the world. I know you speak to me of the Father, of his truth and love. I know that I can trust you to bring me to the Father. In spite of the smallness of my heart, you come in search of me. Thank you for coming to look for me.

Petition: Help me look for you more today, Lord.

1. He Came to His Own: Our God came looking for us. “It is not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us” (Cf. 1 John 4:10). What is it that so attracts God to us? The Bible uses images of the love of a spouse or a parent to help us understand how deeply God desires to make us his own. He knows that this is where our true happiness lies. Often, he looks for man in mysterious ways, but in Jesus Christ he plainly shows himself and his desire to be with us. Do I appreciate the gift of the Incarnation? Do I understand a bit better each day how humbly and powerfully God looks for my love?

2. Born of God: Our transformation into Christ is a gift. God offers us this gift, and if we are open to it, he deeply changes our relationship with him. Through Christ we have confidence to come before the Father and call him our “Father,” not just our “Creator.” Through Christ we have the power to lay aside sin and put on the holiness of God. Through Christ we have the possibility of leaving a mark on the history of salvation, helping to bring his Good News to the world. This comes from God’s goodness and mercy. Do I appreciate the gift of my divine adoption? Do I try to live as a new man or woman, born of the Spirit?

3. Full of Grace and Truth:Jesus Christ shows us what it is to be truly human. The power and beauty of his life, the unselfishness of his total love, help us see the heights to which we are called. He shows us that it is possible to be holy. He leads the way; we have only to follow in his footsteps. With him we can be confident that the good we have done in our lives will last forever. Do I let myself fall in love with Christ each day? Am I fascinated with him to the level that I discover something new in him each day? Can I say that each day he wins me more and more for his cause?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for coming to look for me. Today I want to look for you, too. Help me to discover you in faith. Help me to see the signs of your presence in the Church, the sacraments, and the good you sow in those around me. Give me new ears and an open heart to listen to your Word, and to welcome you into my life.

Resolution:Today I will speak with someone about Jesus’ love for us as demonstrated through his Incarnation.


Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas "A Child and Wonder"

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter ofPhanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was 84. She never left the Temple, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I come like Anna today to live the one thing necessary in my life: my relationship with you. I believe that you are faithful to your promises. I believe that you will triumph over sin and death. I love you, Lord.

Petition: Lord, help me to see how I can better witness to you.

1. She Worshipped: We all have something we worship. Wisdom teaches us whom we should truly worship: God alone. God deserves our full hearts, because he is the one who is our true Father. In worship we rediscover our greatest treasure, as did the Prodigal Son: “I will return to my Father’s house” (Luke 15:18). In worship we return to that place where we are most deeply welcomed and cared for, to that place where we discover our true friend, where we become more deeply our true selves. Worship also opens us to receive God’s graces. It helps us appreciate the gifts that God wants to give us. Do I strive to worship God with all my heart, mind and soul during the Eucharistic Celebration?

2. She Spoke about the Child to All: Prayer and worship here on earth do not end only in going to church. They allow us to discover the good news about God’s love, so that we can also share this good news with others. Prayer that does not lead us to evangelize is self-deception. Our Holy Father shows us this intimate connection between prayer and evangelization. He invites us to give to others what we have discovered in being close to Christ. He challenges us to bring others to Christ. Am I living this contemplative and active spirit?

 

3. The Child Grew and Became Strong, and the Favor of God Was Upon Him: Christmas is a message of hope. God is quietly preparing the future. A child and a young person are reminders that God does not give up on the world, that in each generation he can find new ways of bringing his salvation to all mankind. Am I youthful, spiritually speaking? Am I always trying to learn what God wants to teach me each day, striving to form those virtues that will make me a better instrument of God’s grace? As one who follows Christ, I should have confidence that God’s favor also rests on me; that he looks at my humble, often hidden efforts with great love; that in spite of my weakness he is helping others through me to see the good news that he is present and active in their lives.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for your presence and care. You have made me in your image, and in the presence of your Son I discover the depths of your love. Help me to grow in wonder at your love today, and help me to bring your good news to others.

Resolution: Today I will spend a quiet moment before the child Jesus and thank him for his presence here among us. I will also strive in a particular way to be cheerful and friendly to everyone I meet



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph "A Holy Family"

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called my son." When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more." When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child´s life are dead." He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazorean."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for becoming man for my salvation. Thank you for the gift of faith in this great mystery of your love and humility, which give joy and meaning to my life.

Petition: Jesus, my Savior and friend, help me to imitate the virtues that shine forth from the Holy Family!

1. Joseph, Obedient in Faith    The protagonist of today’s reading is St. Joseph. This is one of his two major appearances in the Gospels: The other is his engagement to Mary and his reaction to discovering her pregnancy. The virtue that characterizes St. Joseph in both passages is obedience in faith. Joseph was called to be the father of the Son of God, the Messiah who was to fulfill all the prophecies written of him. Although he would never see the plan fulfilled in his lifetime, Joseph took the utmost care to carry out the Father’s will as it was made known to him and to lay the ground for the ministry of the Son. One false step and the fragile life of the baby Jesus would be at risk. Only God knows how much of his plan depends on us doing his will out of faith, regardless of whether or not we see the results of our fidelity!

2. Mary, Trusting Mother   Mary is silent in this passage, but her silence speaks volumes. She does not protest Joseph’s decisions; she is entirely trusting in his discernment of God’s will. She is not jealous of the way God has revealed aspects of his plan to Joseph and not to her. From her own experience she knows that God works in each soul at different times and for his own reasons and that he uses human mediators to make his plan known. Often God will work in our own lives through other people. We are part of the Body of Christ, the Church; we cannot rely exclusively on our own judgment and insight all the time. We need to trust in the human instruments that God places in our lives. We need to learn to recognize his voice when he speaks to us through those around us, whether they be our pastor, friend, child or spouse.

3. Jesus, Vulnerable for Our Sake    Jesus has just been born, and he is as weak and vulnerable as any infant. The devil knows this, and he seizes the opportunity to attack Jesus through Herod’s unbridled cruelty. Thanks to Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus escapes, but many innocent children die in his place. If angels have emotions, the devil must have been filled with rage and frustration! Might this have something to do with the spread of the legalization of abortion in the world today, which perhaps can only be understood as “diabolical”? An abortive culture turns the mother-child relationship into the exact opposite of that seen in the Holy Family. Such a deficiency of love can be conquered only by an excess of love: prayer and commitment to defend the most vulnerable and defenseless.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, every person in the Holy Family lived the virtues they needed in order to fulfill their mission in life, but love was their ultimate motivation. I want to love like that! Strengthen my love for you and for every human being because of you! Help me to discern your will for me. Help me to have the strength to live the virtues that my mission, whatever it may be, requires.

Resolution: Today I will make a special effort to be humble and to be open to God’s will, made known to me in prayer and through those around me.



Friday, December 27, 2013

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs "Angel Wings"

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child, to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed for Egypt, and stayed there until the death of Herod, that what he had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time that he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, I come into your holy presence this day aware that you guide my life with love. I believe that nothing happens to me unless you will it. I renew my faith in your promise of heaven where every tear will be wiped away. Thank you for getting involved in our cruel world in order to heal it with your love.

Petition: Lord, may my presence today be a help to those in need.

1. Angels. We want to cry with these women who have had their children stolen from them in the most defenseless time of their lives. Human cruelty reaches so deep that it desires to maintain power by snuffing out the lives of others! Yet these children silently remind us of another reality. They remind us that there is a place where tyranny does not reign. There is a King who rules by love and whose kingdom cannot be defeated by cruelty. These children are messengers of that kingdom. They have been called to give a brief but powerful witness of the fight that this King will wage for love. They have gone ahead of him, and their mothers will find them and hold them forever one day in the presence of their King.

2. Prophets. Thy Kingdom cCome! This is the cry of these children. One day this new King will reign, but it will happen through a terrible fight with death and cruelty. These children are powerful prophets of the struggle of this King. They are prophets of the drama of human history where everything is at stake. Their cries are powerful prayers that will be heard by the Father. And their cries begin to stir in that special Child the desire to give his life as a ransom for souls. He will reign by pouring out his life as a gift for these children and for all souls.

3. Children. The Church has declared these children martyrs. The first saints of Christ are infants. Infants speak to us at Christmas, and their witness does not go unnoticed. These children inspire the Church and pray for her. A child speaks to us of goodness and innocence. A child reminds us of the attitude we should have before God. Christ will always live with a heart of a child, a heart that trusts trusting completely in his Father. He will show special predilection for children. He knows that often they are his most powerful apostles, inviting others to God’s house by the simplicity and intimacy of their love for him. How many parents have been converted or discovered a deeper relationship with Christ through the example of their children!

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, it saddens me so much to see how these children were taken from their mothers and killed. It tears my heart apart to see how today so many children are never given the chance to know their mother’s love because of the evil of abortion. I want to be a consolation to your heart, Lord. I want to give you the very best of myself today in order to offer you some of the love that these children wanted to give. Let my life be a witness of unselfish love. Let me be like you.

Resolution: I will write a small note to the mother of a young child, encouraging her in her love and faith.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Feast of Saint John, apostle and evangelist "Eager Heart"

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don´t know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, today I am reminded of the intensity of love that you stir in the hearts of your followers. I want to be your follower today. I believe that you love me. I believe that you have overcome sin and death. I believe that you walk with me.

Petition: Lord, give me the joy of discovering you as St. John discovered you.

1. Eager: St. John had been enthused by Christ from the very beginning. Early on, Christ had won his heart. In his Gospel, John would record many things about Christ in a very personal way, giving us special insights into Christ. Christ allowed him into his heart, and John’s faith gave him reason to hope in the Resurrection. That is why he runs with such eagerness to the tomb. He does not yet know that Christ is risen, but he wants to know. He wants to be where Christ is. Am I eager to be with Christ? This time of Christmas is a special time in which I can naturally feel attracted to Christ. Do I take advantage of this grace and try to converse more with him?

2. Fast: No hesitation; Get there as quickly as possible. John knows where he has to go. Nothing else is as important. He does not let anything get in the way. A saint lives his life quickly, even if his years are long. He lives it quickly because he lives each day, each moment, intensely for Christ and souls.

He lives his prayer life intensely—in spite of the natural fatigue and moments of dryness—because he knows the time spent in prayer is the most important moment of the day. A saint lives his service to his family and others with the intensity of love. Rather than tiring him, love brings him closer to God. Am I afraid to love and live with intensity?

3. Believing: John was rewarded for his faith. His Lord is alive! No amount of cruelty and evil—not even death itself—can defeat his Lord. John teaches us to believe in Christ, to discover with joy the signs of his presence. Am I using this Christmas season to reaffirm my faith in Christ’s presence in the world? Do I cultivate a supernatural outlook in the things I do, in the way I deal with those around me? Do I build up confidence in Christ’s victory in souls and discover the signs of that victory?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for St. John’s faith. He was close to your heart. Help me to place my heart in your heart. I want to run to you, Lord, throughout the ups-and-downs of my life, the good times and the bad. Today I will stay close to you in my heart. Stay close to me also.

Resolution: I will pray the Creed in front of a manger scene today and make a special effort to talk about God’s providence in my conversations with others.

 



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr "The Power of Witness"

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I open my heart to you on this new day. Because of your unfailing love for me, you deserve my deep gratitude and complete confidence in you, so I set my entire being at your disposal. Do with me what you wish. I know that you love me and that nothing that can truly harm me will happen as long as I keep striving to live in your love.

Petition: Lord, help me to experience your forgivenessand learn to forgive in return.

1. “Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them!” These words of St. Stephen (Acts 7:60) repeat Christ’s last words on earth. He has entered into Christ’s heart. He is on fire for his Lord. This fire is making him pass through the same crucible of rejection and death that Christ passed through. And he is walking in the fire without being scorched. His heart burns so much for Christ that it cannot fester with hatred and despair. Like his Lord, he wants only the salvation of his persecutors. Am I letting my heart to be ignited with the flame of love that burns in that Child in the manger? Am I showing the zeal of love that is selfless service?

2. The Case of Saul: The Acts of the Apostles records the approval of Stephen’s martyrdom by Saul. Saul was a man who thought he understood everything. He thought he knew how evil Stephen was and what a threat his teaching brought. His intentions seemed correct, but he was dead wrong. Saul will later speak of himself as someone born dead. He was dead –– dead in his soul – because he had missed the point. Yet God is merciful. Saul soon becomes St. Paul. Jesus accepts the prayer of Stephen just as the Father accepts the prayer of Jesus. We do not need to be afraid. God accepts our prayers, too. He will do marvels if we persevere in prayer and service.

3. Hard of Heart: We’re often pushed out of our comfort zone by Christ’s message. We are ready to be forgiven by Christ and by others, but it is not so easy to take the logical next step of quickly and easily forgiving others. To become a forgiving St. Stephen we need to keep in mind that we, too, are Sauls. The Christmas Season is a perfect time for a change of heart. By contemplating today the loving face of God in that child in the manger we can experience his tender, infinite love for us. Anchored in his friendship we can gain the magnanimity of heart to set aside any ill will from past injuries and desire for everyone to find the peace and joy that only comes from knowing the Word Incarnate.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the example of St. Stephen, the first martyr of your young Church. On this day after your birth, you also show me the birth of total courage in love. I believe that I am safe in your arms no matter how hard the difficulties. I believe that you entrust me with your mission. Today I renew the commitment to be faithful to my mission as a Christian and an apostle “till death on the battlefield.” Jesus, you are my Lord. I will follow you.

Resolution: Today I will look for the positive side in everyone I meet. I will look beyond their limitations. I will forgive anyone who might offend me.

Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.

Solemnity of the Nativity of The Lord "Flesh, Glory, Grace"


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man´s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father´s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This is he of whom I said, ´The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me
" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father´s side, has revealed him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this Christmas day. I believe that you became a little child to redeem me and show me the Father’s love. I love you. Your birth shows the depth of your love for me. I choose to recommit myself today to be a Christian in love with you.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in wonder at your love.

1. Flesh: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” For most families, Christmas is a day of special closeness. We take time to be with each other. We also know that God is close. He is that “someone” who unites us in love. Today, in astonished silence, we contemplate the Christ Child. Amid all the excitement and emotion of our Christmas day we cannot help but stop in amazement: My God lets me put my arms around him. Here is an amazing mystery of closeness. Here is where all human closeness finds its greatest expression. It is God’s initiative. He became flesh. He lives among us. Do I let myself draw close to Christ? Do I allow him to love me? Do I allow myself to love him?

2. Glory: “And we saw his glory.” For John, the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ is the glory of love. Jesus glories in being able to love — in being able to love us. What an amazing God we have! He defies our reason. His Christmas glory lies in making himself so humble that he becomes a tiny child dependent on our love. His glory will later consist in embracing his cross and dying out of love for us. Do I appreciate this glorious love? Am I ready to enter into its mystery? Am I ready to make my heart today shine with this glory of God’s love?

3. Grace: “…Full of grace and truth.” The grace spoken of here is the Father’s loving glance. Jesus brings the Father’s loving glance to our world, to our lives. He transforms our world into the very place where the Father finds his Son. The Father is pleased; Christ lives among us. This is the grace that is Christ: God’s initiative of love. Grace is a gift. It does not depend on me. I simply have to receive it. I simply have to appreciate it, as John did. Do I appreciate Christ? Do I try to make my life a gift like his was?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, thank you for this Christmas day. I know it may be busy, but I also know it is very beautiful. It is beautiful because you are here, Lord. Thank you for being here this Christmas day. I want to love you as Mary did. I want to bring your grace and glory to those around me.

Resolution: Today I will strive to show special joy and goodness in my relations with others, especially with my family. I will look for an extra way to make each of them happy today.



Someone ask me to share the homilies of Christmas Eve and Midnight masses.


VIGIL MASS

"Jesus comes at the Incarnation out of LOVE, with sorrow for our sins but also and above all with compassion for our miseries and sins" 

Brothers and sister: Merry Christmas! This is very special and unique celebration and with the Help of The Holy Spirit I want to share with you what I have in my heart as a priest and pastor (shepherd) but also like any of you here tonight I am also part of this Community as a sheep, knowing that I also have and need a SHEPHERD, I also can't live without a PASTOR, our Lord Jesus Christ who comes to us this Christmas for you and for me.

How can we say Merry Christmas or happy holidays (some get it wrong) if we see around almost everywhere in society is corrupted and doesn’t look Christian anymore. How can we talk about Christmas if there is bad news everywhere?

What kind of celebration is this in where regardless of how bad we are we can still say MERRY CHRISTMAS OR IN SPANISH FELIZ NAVIDAD (Happy Christmas) Let's say it clear brothers and sisters, Jesus comes at the Incarnation out of LOVE, with sorrow for our sins but also and above all with compassion for our miseries and sins.

Christmas is not the celebration of something that has being a success, a clap of the hands of the Angels or Gods hands. It is not a prize for our good behavior, it is not a medal that God gives to our world... Christmas, the proclamation of Good News of The Coming of Jesus is not a prize... the Incarnation is the announcement of the coming of the medicine for the whole world, for a messed up world in dire need of Gods forgiveness and grace. Believe me my fellow sinner, God knows how many needs we have in our hearts.

And if the Angels sing the glory of God it is because He has shown His greatness by showing himself compassionate with us sinners. His is proving in the Incarnation that His hands are so powerful that are capable to reach and touch the rich and the poor with power and compassion.

If we are happy and joyful in this Christmas is because God, the Emmanuel, God became flesh and in the Eucharist , because God with us wants to become food and medicine for us... Because brothers and sisters, it will be a terrible mistake if we separate Christmas from Easter and what happen in between. We can't forget that the same baby born in Bethlehem is the one that dies on the cross and rose to save us. We say it every Sunday: FOR US AND FOR OUR SALVATION, HE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN... And WAS INCARNATE of THE VIRGIN MARY. The cross is just the culmination of what started at the first Christmas in Bethlehem: The Incarnation. If we are joyful brothers and sisters is also because all of these in not a fairytale. God wants to be our protection and new divine life.

For all the ones that feel that things at home or in the members of my family, in the neighborhood, at work, in my friends... For all of us, let's thank God for this great gift, The gift of His Son. He has never forgaten you or your necessities (needs)

Once again, the joy of Christmas will be hard or impossible to understand the ones without problems. But if you, like me, like us at St. Mark Family are Fighting with our struggles and challenges, if we are still trying and trying again to improve in rejecting our temptations, miseries and problems... Brothers and sisters, the help has come, the medicine has arrive in The Incarnation with the coming of this baby at Christmas for you and for me. Let's also pray for those that are fighting against all of these but without the help and grace of God, for those suffering depression, let's pray hard this night my family for those that are suffering loneliness and in the midst of that, don't know what to do with their lives... So that they can also raise their eyes like us and grab the strong hand of Jesus our Savior, so that they can see the merciful eyes of our God and Savior and find a door to a new existence and the joy, the real joy we can't find outside of God.

I need you Jesus, I need you because I need the Joy that you bring on Christmas for me and everyone, You said that you cam for the sick, came I heal me.

Lord, we thank you for this Christmas day. we believe that you became a little child to redeem us and show me the Father’s love. Come and Save me Lord! Your birth shows the depth of your love for me. Teach me to love you more. I choose to recommit myself today to be a Christian in love with you. Lord, help me to grow in wonder at your Incarnation this Christmas. Thank you for your Incarnation. I know it may be busy, but I also know it is very beautiful. It is beautiful because you are here, Lord. Thank you for being here this Christmas day. I want to love you as Mary and Joseph did. I want to bring your grace and glory to those around me.
God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it, grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

MIDNIGHT MASS

Dear brothers and sisters so many changes from yesterday to today we have even a white street, but most importantly: a Baby. This has to have a deep meaning for us. To our help comes our Mother The Church with special readings so that we can grasp the meaning of this beautiful EVENT that we are celebrating. What does the event of the birth of Jesus mean to us? 

I will like to focus myself with the help of the Holy Spirit in two words: Night and Grace

When Christmas comes different feelings come to visit our hearts. Some are joyful because Christmas brings to mind beautiful memories that link to beautiful childhood, some want to pass Christmas as fast as they can and return to their “normal” life (work, studies, etc). They want to be BUSY and not to think of GOD too much… because it might bring to mind bad memories from childhood. Today I want to share with you two words. One from the context of what we are celebrating. When Jesus came it was NIGTH. Jesus came and had HIS birth at night. It was night in many ways. Night of the earth without the light of the sun, night of the sinner far away from the clarity of grace, far from being in state of grace, the night of sin that make of us prisoners of horrible prisons. Night of fear of the Roman Empire homicide, that tried to find glory at the prize of human flesh, murdering babies. Jesus comes into the night of ignorance. Jesus break all of that and bring joy to the shepherds, a joy that they were not expecting. The Glory of heaven visits the earth; an earth darkened wit sin. It wasn’t a bad idea for God that the splendor of His Son will bring light to a messed up world. Jesus come in the middle of the night. What is night in me, my family or my generation. What are the signs of light
that are out there  in the night: Mary, Joseph, The shepherds, the star. Please lets stop cursing the night and Pay attention to the signs of light and thank God for His incarnation.

Now lets focus for a little while in the second reading we have today: it was taken from the book of Titus. And there is one word that I suggest we must underline from this reading. GRACE. This is an important word. If we go deep into the meaning of this word I assure you we are going to find abundant fruit in this celebration.

Grace is a very important word in the New Testament. It is a word that captures the essence of our faith. Grace comes from JARIS a word in Greek that is connected with JARISMA, origin of CHARISM. (Means gift)

We give and receive gifts in this time of the year, but grace is the attitude that moves you to give; impels you to give. It is a very profound feeling. Most of the time we are in the mood of receiving. Only once in a while we feel the impulse to give… specially when we are in love, when someone is important for us. 

For example, parent feels compelled to give and to rejoice in the joy of a different person. That’s kind of a miracle. That kind attitude we can call it grace.

Another example. Someone won the grace of the King, or today we’ll say the grace of the president … The king or the president will do something special for that person because that person WON the favor of the king or president. 

Today, brothers and sisters we all received a powerful and very beautiful message. That we , sinners as we are, we have won that special attitude from God… God is not retaining what is HIS (lets call it feeling; LOVE) for Himself. He is showing it up, He is telling us: you are so important for me that I want to have the most favorable attitude towards you. And as a prof that I love you so much, I have sent my only begotten Son in order to be with you, live with you, died for you and rise for you so that you can be saved. My Son will give you LIFE TO THE FULL, Life in the most positive and meaningful way. 

That my brothers and sisters is what we have heard today: “The grace of God has appeared”, it is not hidden, has appeared in the face of this beautiful (adorable) BABY. 


Brothers and sisters, this is the gift of gifts, this is the best possible gift anyone can receive: Jesus our Savior.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent "God Remembers His People"

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Introductory Prayer:Lord, you loosed Zechariah’s tongue to remind us that you have not forgotten us. Help us to turn to you, knowing that you have a plan for us to fulfill.

Petition:Lord, increase my faith in you.

1. “Blessed Be the Lord.” The Lord will never forget us. From the moment of Adam and Eve’s fall, God indicated that he would send someone to redeem us, namely, his Son. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Even after centuries had passed, and it seemed like all was lost and man was left to suffer in his own sin, Jesus Christ entered the world. Zechariah had doubted the plan of God when Gabriel appeared to him in the temple, when he said: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). Gabriel closes his mouth to speech to show him and the others in Nazareth that “what was spoken…by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Luke 1:45).

2. He Has Set His People FreeThe Lord God hasbrought freedom to his people. Long before John the Baptist’s birth, God had brought his people physical freedom, first from the Egyptians and then from rival peoples and the Babylonians. Now, through John the Baptist, he seeks to bring them spiritual freedom, freedom from sin. John will proclaim: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his path” (Mark 1:5). The preparation that John seeks is spiritual preparation, one where people seek to cast aside sinful ways of life and attitudes contrary to holiness. The freedom that he desires is a freedom from sin, a freedom where one chooses to do what is good. When one is free from sin, then one can truly worship the Lord. God has set us free so that we may give him the love that is his due.

3. God Is With Us. He is really with us. He is not with us only in spirit, but now also in person. God enters history, taking his place in space and time. He has taken on flesh, and he is with us. The person he is, God the Son, made man for us, is no less God than the Father. Yet he loves us so much that he will walk upon the earth with us. He is Emmanuel, and now Emmanuel takes on a real physical meaning in the person of Jesus Christ. He has come to us so that we may participate in his plan. He wants us to be with him forever, and so his Son enters the world to remind us of our destiny in life––heaven.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, you have not let us down. How great you are, and how little we recognize your greatness. You have loved and looked after us so that we might have eternal life. Prepare me for your coming.

Resolution: I will arrive at least five minutes before Christmas Mass starts to thank the Lord for not forgetting us and for sending his Son to save us.



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent "Hark, the Herald"

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I humbly kneel before you in prayer, I recognize your power and glory. Without you, I am nothing, but with you I can do all things. With this trust, I implore you to help me make good use of this time of prayer as an expression of my deep desire to love and imitate you. I am here to please and glorify you.

Petition: Lord, help me to appreciate more deeply the role of parents and families as domestic churches.

1. Amazing Grace: Elizabeth and Zechariah received the great grace of a child in their old age. And not just any child: he was John the Baptist. To ready him for his great vocation, he would need the love and guidance that are unique to parents. Great people often trace their path from the love of a mom or dad (frequently both), who might remain hidden from the world. Am I grateful to my parents for what I received from them? Am I regularly seeking what is truly best for my spouse and children and not just what seems best in the eyes of the world?

2. God’s Call: The child would not be named after his father, but rather would receive the name God chose. The great tension in the life of a child (and sometimes an adult) is the close identity they have with a parent ― or with a parent’s plans for their life. In truth, our identity rests in our heavenly Father. God alone gives us meaning and a vocation in life. Could there be expectations of a parent or other family member that hold me back from God’s plan for me? Or, if I am a parent, do I unjustly impose my plans on my children? Do I interfere in their vocation? In their marriage?

3. Zechariah’s “Yes”: Zechariah’s voice returns only after he acquiesces to God’s plan and agrees to the child’s name. When we finally say “yes” to God in our life, that’s when we find the deepest meaning of our lives. That’s when we can express ourselves the best. Am I keeping God waiting?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, Zechariah took a long and winding road on his path over nine months. Let me see my own life as a path, and have patience with those who are still on their path.

Resolution: Today, I’ll say “yes” to one thing that God has been asking of me.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunday, 4th Week of Advent "God’s Plan vs. My Plan"

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home. For it is though the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife into his home.

Introductory Prayer: As I kneel before you, I humbly recognize that you are my God and my All. I trust in you, though sometimes my confidence is weak and wavers. Sometimes I want to do things my way, and I even brush you aside as if you were getting in the way. Please forgive my selfishness and pettiness. I want to show my love for you by learning to hand you the steering wheel of my life and putting my plans in the back seat.

Petition: Help me to lovingly fulfill your will in all of the specific details and activities of this day.

1. Preconceived Ideas    I believe that it happens to all of us from time to time. It happens that we plan an event or even just our schedule for the day. We work out all of the details, and we get excited about all of the good that is going to come about because of this preparation. Then, as we begin to execute our plans, things start going awry ; nothing works out right. This can be both frustrating and depressing. We begin to ask ourselves, “Where did I go wrong?” Thomas à Kempis once wrote: “Man proposes but God disposes.” (Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 19). This is exactly what happened to Saint Joseph. He had his plans for forming a marvelous family. He had chosen a beautiful wife, and they  were betrothed. Everything was fine until she returns from a four month visit to her cousin’s house, and he discovers that she is pregnant. God’s plans and his plans did not seem to coincide. Do I have preconceived ideas for my own life that aren’t matching God’s plan for me? Am I able to adjust to his way? What holds me back?

2. Endless Searching for Signs     In my priestly ministry, I have met many people who tell me that they want to do God’s will but simply don’t know what it is that he is asking of them. Here, I am referring to everything from discerning a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life, to making a vital business decision, to   trying to balance the amount of time they should spend at work and with the family. In searching for God’s will, they begin an endless rummaging for signs instead of increasing their love and trust of God. These processes of discernment can fill us with uneasiness and rob  us of all our enthusiasm. God’s will is not a guessing-game. He is the first one interested in letting us know what he wants. What we have to do is learn to let go of our plans and comfort zone in order to embrace whatever God wants of us –, be it difficult or easy, pleasing or unpleasant.

3. Wake up!  “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” The key here is the “wake-up”. He awoke from his daydreams about what he had hoped his future family life would be like, he accepted God’s plan, which was far better and he cooperated fully. We need to break off the shackles of slavery to our egotistical plans! We need to open our hearts to God’s marvelous plan! Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors of your heart to Christ! Today he is begging you to cooperate with him in bringing about his plan of salvation for all mankind.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I feel insecure and fearful. What the future holds for me is uncertain. I am tending to rebel interiorly against the way things are working out. I fail to recognize that you hold the strings of my destiny in your tender, loving and fatherly hands. Help me overcome my egotism and lovingly embrace your plan, whatever it may be. Then I will truly be able to hear that song of the angelic choir as they proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will.”

Resolution: Today I will make a visit to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament asking him to help me open my heart to accept his will over my life.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent "A Journey of Faith and Love"

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary´s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, help me to settle my mind and my heart. I know that you are present in this prayer. I want to turn aside all distractions. Increase my faith in your action in my life. You are leading me to yourself. Help me to place myself more fully in your hands. Increase my faith so that I will do anything and suffer anything for you. Use me as an instrument of your grace in the lives of those I meet today.

Petition: Lord, help me to follow Mary’s example of faith and love and bring you to others this Christmas.

1. Mary, Our Advent Model: Mary is truly the model of how we should be living Advent in preparing for Christ’s arrival. God the Father prepared her from the first moment of her conception to be the worthy mother of his Son. Like a faithful daughter of Israel, she had prayed throughout her youth for the coming of the Messiah. When she was a young lady, she discovered that she was part of God’s answer to that prayer, but in a way that would have far exceeded any Hebrew maiden’s prayers: not only would the Messiah be her son, but her son would also be God. Her “fiat”, her wholehearted “yes!” to the Archangel Gabriel, launched the proximate preparation for the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Let us enter into Mary’s response of faith, which is a guide for us along our own pilgrimage of faith. Let us listen to the beat of Mary’s contemplative heart, so that our Christmas may be as fruitful as that first Christmas.

2. Someone Who Loves Takes Notice of the Details: No sooner had the Archangel left Mary in Nazareth after announcing her important role in God’s incredible plan of salvation than Mary herself made plans to depart. She went with haste to help her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth who was pregnant for the first time. Gabriel had not instructed Mary to go to Elizabeth’s aid, nor did he suggest it.

Mary’s great love was sufficient to cause her to spring into action and embark upon the long sixty-mile journey to Elizabeth’s hometown outside Jerusalem.   In undertaking this challenging and potentially dangerous journey, Mary showed — as she did at the wedding feast in Cana — that someone who loves takes notice of the details.  She showed that someone who loves does whatever possible to lend a helping hand, even at the cost of considerable sacrifice. We can imagine that this was Mary’s attitude from her earliest childhood.

3. Be A Missionary — Bring Christ! By going to Elizabeth’s aid, Mary — carrying the tiny Jesus in her womb — became the first missionary, the first bearer of the Good News that would change all of human history. Mary was able to bring incredible joy to both Elizabeth and John the Baptist in her womb precisely because she was bringing Christ. And Mary was able to burst out with her beautiful Magnificat for the very same reason. To bring joy to others this Christmas, we really have to bring them Christ. He is the greatest gift we could ever bring to someone we love — all the material goods in the world fall flat in comparison. Without sharing Jesus, we are not giving our loved ones anything that is truly lasting. Bring Christ and you bring everything.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, it is clear that your mother wants me to learn from her example. She inspires me to bring you to others this Christmas season. I know plenty of people who desperately need you in their lives, who need your forgiveness, who hunger for your love and presence, perhaps without even knowing it. I know that my loving relationship with you is never meant to be kept to myself; it is a gift meant to be shared. Your mother’s example shows me the way to live Advent well and explicitly challenges me to be a missionary by bringing you to the world.

Resolution: I will share my faith this Christmas season with a friend or relative in need.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday of the Third Week of Advent "Mary’s Fiat"

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I contemplate the example of Mary’s simplicity and generosity, my heart burns within me. If only I could be as docile as she was. In my desire to improve, I trust in your help and mercy. As I begin this prayer, I humbly place myself in your presence. I come, Lord, to do your will.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, a love for the example of Our Lady.

1. A Personal Call: We notice the very human details of the Annunciation. It happened in a specific place, to a specific person. So it is with God’s plan. He doesn’t call us en masse. He calls each one of us personally, because he loves each of us as a son or daughter. The Catholic faith is a personal relationship with Our Lord. Do I ever feel the opposite? Do I ever feel like just a number? That’s not how God intends my faith to be. My vocation is personal. Do I respond likewise in a personal way to God?

2. Beyond All Hopes: God’s people had long awaited a Messiah. Mary also would have looked forward to a Savior. Yet it likely would not have occurred to her that she would ever be the mother of the Redeemer. We too might wonder: When will God send someone to save the world in our time? In fact, he tries to do just that ― through each one of us. Each of us can be a saint; each of us can help save the world, with God’s grace. Likewise, each of us is called to a great and unique vocation, whether ordained, consecrated or lay. To what great mission is God calling me? Do I realize that my life can be great, if lived with sufficient love?

3. Let It Be: Mary’s fiat  “Let it be done to me” wasthe response that brought joy to the angels in heaven. A 14- or 15-year-old, by her openness to God’s plan, would help to change the course of history. We, too, are called to say, “yes” to God and to build little civilizations of love. Each generation can contribute to building the Kingdom. Do I see the young people in my life as potential apostles? Do I respect them as persons called to great things? Do I see my friends in the same way?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, your great plan for sending your Son into the world hinged on Mary’s “yes.” Let me learn from her openness; let me say“yes” to what you ask.

Resolution: I will pray for a young person to have the strength to follow a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.


Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.