SATURDAY HOMILY: A Most Amazing Grace
lyrics of a popular Protestant hymn, that the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was wrought by a "most amazing grace."
Sin makes us enemies of God. The name "Satan" means "adversary" or "enemy." We may not think of it in these terms but every sin, even the smallest of sins, makes us, in some sense, adversaries or enemies of God. When one sins, one is opposing God and His divine will.
God chose Our Lady and made her Immaculate so that He would have a most faithful ally in carrying out His plan of redemption. She was not, as some might be tempted to think, a mere passive instrument in the hands of God, a kind of disposable incubator for the Word Incarnate. On the contrary, she was a real, flesh and blood, human being, who cooperated freely with God's plan of salvation.
In the prayers of today's Mass we ask God our Lord through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary that we may be "cleansed" and "delivered from all our faults," and "healed" of the wounds caused by our sins. In the Preface, she is called an "advocate of grace and a model of holiness."
In our own struggle to be "holy and without blemish before God" we have no greater aide than Mary Most Holy who by her free and total "yes" to God crushed the head of the ancient serpent, the devil, and opened the door of the world to the Word made flesh, our Redeemer.
In closing, let us turn to Immaculate Mary, our Mother, in the words of the ancient prayer, Alma Mater Redemptoris, and say to her:
Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel's joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners. Amen.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Fr. G. Peter Irving III, Holy Innocents Long Beach, Immaculate Conception, Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the United States of America, Marian, rosary,
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