When I get to Heaven and I see Jesus busy talking with someone, I’ll quickly go open the water taps and all the earth will have water, and as soon as Jesus turns around I’ll turn the water off right away, I’ll leave, and he won’t know that anyone turned on the water…
Oh! but, the Blessed Virgin was the strong woman, the Virgin pure; Jesus filled her heart completely, which overflowed with fire and flames, she had Heaven within her… But this is the strong woman par excellence, and she hid all this in her heart, and nothing showed on the outside. Me, I am weak…
Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy) Cahiers Réservés, Cahier 5
Saint Mariam was canonized by Pope Francis on 17 May 2015 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A native Palestinian from Galilee, she was a foundress of the Discalced Carmelite monasteries of Nazareth and Bethlehem in the 19th century. Learn more about the Saint of the Bethlehem Carmel here.
Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.
Reading Luke 2:1-7
1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.
On account of the census, Joseph and Mary had to leave their Nazareth home at a time the child was to be born. A long tedious journey would have certainly caused much trouble and pain to Joseph and Mary.
How should we express our commitment to obedience and compassion in the socio-cultural context in which we live?
Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.
Hymn to St. Joseph
From David’s line came Joseph,
A just and upright man,
Engaged to Virgin Mary,
And startled by God’s plan.
An angel came and told him
What God’s love had in mind;
Obedient, he trusted,
Left all mistrust behind.
“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the Others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the Cross. When the blessed Virgin brought the Child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this Child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the Passion, the light between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib.
“In some years Candlemas and Septuagesima are celebrated almost together, the feast of the Incarnation and the preparation of the Passion. The star of Bethlehem shines in the night of sin. The shadow of the Cross falls on the light that shines from the crib. The light is extinguished in the darkness of Good Friday, but it rises all the more brilliantly as the sun of grace on the morning of the Resurrection. The way of the incarnate Son of God leads through the Cross and Passion to the glory of the Resurrection. In his company the way of every one of us, indeed of all mankind, leads through suffering and death to this same glorious goal.”
Advent concludes with the celebration of Christmas, it is true: but all through this season of expectation, the Church reminds us that we are awaiting the Second Coming of Him, who was born in Bethlehem twenty centuries ago. She tells us that, as quiet as His first coming was in a manger, so great and glorious shall be His coming this second time, that it shall break the Earth.
Advent is a privileged season, in which the Church prayerfully reflects and longingly sighs for her Spouse, who is the Christ, the Glorious King, coming soon to judge the world.
Saint Mary (Mariam) of Jesus Crucified was born of the Baouardy family, Catholics of the Greek Melkite Rite, at Abellin in Galilee in 1846. In 1867 Mariam entered the Discalced Carmelites at Pau in France and was sent with the founding group to the Carmel of Mangalore in India where, in 1870, she made her profession. Mariam returned to France in 1872. In 1875 she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began planning for another at Nazareth. Noted for her supernatural gifts, especially for humility, for her devotion to the Holy Spirit, and her great love for the Church and the Pope, Mariam died at Bethlehem in 1878.
From the common of virgins, or of holy women (religious)
(Cat. 16, 1, 12:16 (PG 33, 936, 939-942)
From the Catechesis of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good
The Holy Spirit, although he is one and of one nature and indivisible, apportions his grace as he wills to each one. When the dry tree is watered it brings forth shoots. So too the soul in sin: when through penance it is made worthy of the grace of the Holy Spirit, it bears the fruit of justice. Though the Spirit is one in nature, yet by the will of God and in the name of Christ he brings about multiple effects of virtue.
He uses the tongue of one man for wisdom, he illumines the soul of another by prophecy, to another he imparts the power of driving out devils, to another the gift of interpreting the sacred scriptures; he strengthens the self-control of one man, teaches another the nature of almsgiving, another to fast and mortify himself, another to despise the things of the body; he prepares another man for martyrdom.
He acts differently in different men while himself remaining unchanged, as it is written: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
His approach is gentle, his presence fragrant, his yoke very light; rays of light and knowledge shine forth before him as he comes. He comes with the heart of a true protector; he comes to save, to heal, to teach, to admonish, to strengthen, to console, to enlighten the mind, first of the man who receives him, then through him the minds of others also.
As a man previously in darkness, suddenly seeing the sun, receives his sight and sees clearly what he did not see before, so the man deemed worthy of the Holy Spirit is enlightened in soul and sees beyond the power of human sight what he did not know before. Although his body remains on the earth, his soul already contemplates heaven as in a mirror.
We contemplate your beauty, O Virgin of Christ: —You have received from the Lord a gleaming crown.
Nothing could bring you to surrender virginity;
nothing could separate you from the love of the Son of God. —You have received from the Lord a gleaming crown.
God of mercy and all consolation,
you raised Saint Mary,
the humble daughter of the Holy Land,
to contemplation of the mysteries of your Son
and made her a witness to the love and joy of the Holy Spirit.
Grant us, through her intercession,
so to share in the sufferings of Christ
that we may rejoice in the revelation of your glory.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.