Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Promises of Mary, Mother of God

Happy New Year!! Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. At Mass this morning, I encouraged all to pray the rosary every day. The following are the fifteen promises that Mary has given to Christians who recite the rosary (as found on americancatholic.org):

Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.

I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the heart of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify them- selves by this means.

The soul which recommend itself to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.

Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for
intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

All who recite the rosary are my son, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ

Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.


At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The simplicity of the following quote got my attention; Thank you Mary.

There is no secret about how the Blessed Virgin is related to the Holy Eucharist. It is very simple: except for the Blessed Virgin, we would not have the Holy Eucharist.
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question about purgatory. I believe the catechism teaches that nothing but the pure will enter into Heaven, but if we die in a state of Grace (with our relationship with God in tact), wasn’t the point of Christ’s death to save us from our sin? I understand that mortal sin breaks our relationship with God and therefore must be remedied, but since the church has made the distinction between mortal sin and other sin, I’d thought that all other sin was the sin for which Christ died. If we must be “purified” by something other than Christ’s death, then what was the point of His dying for us? What sin did He die for? Wouldn’t this make His death insufficient?

At 3:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The death and resurrection of Christ does not necessarily respond to any particular sin. His death is not a bargaining chip with which certain sins are automatically forgiven because of what he chose, as both Christ and Man, to do. Rather, Jesus’ death serves as an example of how we are to live our lives in a manner to be saved. THAT is the forgiveness Jesus offers through his death. His death therefore is not insignificant; without it we would not have what he gave us; a model of pure selflessness. Christ says, “I demand that you love each other as much as I love you. And here is how to measure it-the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends; and you are my friends if you obey me” (John 15:13-14). Christ’s death was the perfect EXAMPLE of how to live a pure life, one without mortal or venial sin and therefore cannot be insignificant. John of the Cross, a doctor of the church, further comments on the topic of selflessness in His book The Dark Night of the Soul. The gist of the book is that to be completely free-free of sin in order to find God- one must be willing to completely give himself or herself to someone or some cause above themselves. One must purge himself in the dark and arid night of all those things which lead to self absorption. Only in the dark and arid night can our souls be made dry of the sinfulness we often encounter every day so that they may be enkindled with the light and love of God. Thus, through his death, Jesus showed us how to completely give oneself. He gave himself FOR our sins- to show us how to walk through the arid night- in order that we may learn to live our lives to serve a greater purpose than our own personal success. The giving of his life shows us that we do not truly live (and therefore cannot enter heaven if we die) until we attempt to live as he did-for others.

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

I understand that mortal sin breaks our relationship with God and therefore must be remedied, but since the church has made the distinction between mortal sin and other sin, I’d thought that all other sin was the sin for which Christ died.

Christ died for all of our sins. It's only through His death that we become adopted children of His Father in Baptism, and that we can be rejoined to God if we subsequently commit mortal sin -- and also that the injury done to our relationship with God by even our venial sins can be repaired.

Forgiveness and purification are two different things. We need forgiveness of our sins, which are the choices we knowingly make to do things we shouldn't do or to not do things we should do.

We also need purification from our attitudes and dispositions that incline us to sin, and we need to repair the spiritual harm we do to ourselves when we sin.

We obtain both forgiveness and purification through Christ's death on the Cross. But they aren't obtained magically or automatically. That we may need to be purified after death no more makes His death insufficient than that we need to be baptized for forgiveness of sins.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger fran said...

With The Annual March for Life coming up in a few weeks, and the fact that abstinence has been a point of discussion in previous posts, I offer the following:

On December 28th, a letter which I wrote to the editor of the Washington Post, was printed. It was titled "The Wisdom of Abstinence." ( A title which the editors gave to the letter.) Today, January 3rd, a rebuttal was printed. It was titled, "Teens Will Be Teens." I would encourage any teen (or parent) who reads this blog to respond to today's letter of rebuttal with his/ her opinion.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I go to an Adoration chapel while my daughter has basketball practice near by. I usually bring my journal but forgot it yesterday. There is a small library there, so I grabbed what I thought was a small book of reflections, but it was a book about the beginning of one priest’s relationship with Mary. In reading it, I was a little taken back to realize I had things in common with this woman.

The book touched on this priest’s friendship with a young woman who was betrothed but became with child before their marriage. The young woman was stoned to death. This event prompted a series of discussions this priest had with Mary. He wrote the questions he posed to her and then wrote her responses to him. He asked about what it was like to have others look down on her for becoming with child before she married Joseph. He asked her about her fears in telling her parents and Joseph. He asked her about going to visit Elizabeth, and talked about the relief the opportunity to go had been to Mary and her mother, for they worried about Mary’s safety with the growing gossip.

In essence, I hadn’t thought too much about how Mary lived. For a portion of her life, she lived with ridicule. She lived in danger. Some of her family members felt shamed by her state.

Sometimes in listening to and/or reading the Bible, I’m aware that I am listening as one would listen to a story- I don’t listen to a history being told. In thinking about the human person of Mary, a woman with whom I now understand I shared just a few common fears and unpleasant experiences, it changes the way I look to the Bible. It’s full of people who were real with full lives and had more in common with us than we, at times, realize.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger fran said...

I also wanted to add this...

Let all of us make it point to pray for our teens and young adults of today, who receive such a mixed bag of muddled messages regarding how to live morally fitting lives.

In Sunday's homily, Fr Greg spoke of families and the need for husbands and wives to respect one another, for children to respect their parents and for parents to respect their children. Similarly, teens and young adults who are dating or are in serious relationships, must also show respect to one another. If it does not begin here, I would think it may be more difficult to expect or establish respect for one another inside of marriage.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom said,
“We also need purification from our attitudes and dispositions that incline us to sin, and we need to repair the spiritual harm we do to ourselves when we sin.”

But the Bible says: “the wages of sin is DEATH” (Rom. 6:23). So if the penalty for sinning is death, not suffering for little while in Purgatory or forever in hell, didn’t Christ’s death pay that penalty for us? And if that’s true, wouldn’t the belief in Purgatory deny Christ as Savior? I’m not trying to be blasphemous or problematic, but I don’t understand.

As humans, we can only do the best that we know to do at any given point in time. The thinking that this isn’t enough, that we need to suffer more to be worthy, seems flawed- otherwise why make us incapable of perfection? We each have different challenges in our lives. If the human experience is all about how we handle all of that that here, wouldn't the spiritual experience in the afterlife be the cure (the reward even) for our humanness, not punishment for it?

At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

Your perplexity with the question of purgatory is not blasphemous in any way; in fact it makes perfect logical sense. However, try re-reading Romans Chapter 6 with a different lens- I think you are taking the words of the text too literally. Paul means to show that death is a result of being a “slave to sin” (Romans 6:16). However, he is not referring to a literal death; think of it as a death of the soul. A life of sin can lead on for years without reproach; we live today, according to the late Pope John Paul II, in a “Culture of Death”. The sins which encompass our society define it, but do not lead to the literal death of those who sin. The death which is implied is the death of the soul. Living in a sinful manner, whether it be to 30 or to 100 years of age, leads to the death of the soul. Living as “slaves to righteousness” means literally living in a world where the standard that Christ bore is visible and plain to see (Romans 6:18). We have the opportunity to save our souls in the every day lives we lead because Jesus died bearing this standard.
Christ’s death does not pay any penalty; his death does not make us exempt from our sinful ways. His death, which we believe in, signifies the beginning of the time when all on earth are finally able to follow in the footsteps of the true God. Because Jesus was exemplary of selflessness and was without sin, as said before, we are given the opportunity to enter heaven by following in his footsteps.
Yes, we are human and we are expected to do the best we can do at any given point in time-that is what makes us human. Of course we are not capable of perfection- if we were perfect we would not be free. Freedom lies in the fact that we make choices, some good and some bad. If we were perfect, we would not be free to make choices because all choices made would adhere to something greater. The love of God lies directly IN THE IMPERFECTION because God does not have a stranglehold on us that makes us choose the perfect choice! Our Imperfection is our freedom. It is truly beautiful how imperfect we are-everyone makes mistakes but the beauty of it lies in the fact that our God is one of forgiveness. We mess up because we are free- we can choose to love or not to love God because he has given us the freedom to do so. We can be as Paul stated, “slaves to sin” or we can be “slaves to righteousness”. Without the choice, we would be nothing but machines.
The spiritual afterlife is not a reward to the faults and imperfections we are prone to as humans. Our imperfections define our humanity, God created us the way he did because he intended for us to mess up. Nobody can determine who exactly is going to go directly to heaven and who is going to have to spend time in purgatory. The important thing about our life now is that we prepare our souls for the second coming. We must prepare our souls as best we can. God does not intend for us to be perfect, but he does expect us to try. If one simply gives up on trying, they fail to be human and therefore abandon Christ. Humans are naturally oriented towards the infinite because God created them. We are MADE to be curious- have you ever looked at the horizon of the ocean and wondered “what’s out there?” The answer lies in St. Anselm’s teaching that “God is that which nothing greater can be thought of.” God is what the horizon represents-the infinite. We are supposed to be curious about our lives and about everything in them- we are supposed to take chances and make mistakes so that we may figure out the true infinite nature of God. The idea of Purgatory does not seem fair- if we do our best to deal with our shortcomings on earth, why should we have to pay for them in Purgatory? Can anyone truly state that they have done their BEST. None of us are perfect and I highly doubt that any one person could stand in front of the gates of heaven and find themselves truly Pure. God knows when we have and have not lived up to the standards he has set for us; it is our Job simply to try our best to meet the bar. Jesus did not die so we could, for a lack of better terms, “slack off”. The Jesuits coined a Latin term, “Magis”, as a definition for this type of situation. “Magis” literally means “the more”-we can ALWAYS do more for each other and more for God- for we are oriented towards the infinite, towards “the more”, towards God.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger fran said...

A couple of passages on judgment and purgatory from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ:
either entrance into the blessedneess of heaven - through a purification or immediately, - or immediate and everlasting damnation.

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

Maybe it is not accurate to equate purgatory with further suffering and/or punishment. Not sure about that. But I would say this - if you've made it to purgatory, you have it made! Speaking for myself, I'll take further cleansing (even if it requires additional suffering) in purgatory, knowing that I am assured my eternal salvation and will someday enter into the "blessedness of heaven," over the alternative any day!

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

So if the penalty for sinning is death, not suffering for little while in Purgatory or forever in hell, didn’t Christ’s death pay that penalty for us?

Well, people still die, right? So whatever Christ's death might do for us, it doesn't cause us to avoid physical death.

The death we can avoid, the penalty which Christ paid for us, is the death of the soul, which is the separation of the soul from friendship with God.

That death is the "wages" of sin, not in the sense of an externally imposed punishment, but by the very nature of sin, in the same sense that a bruised thumb is the "wages" of hitting it with a hammer.

And if that’s true, wouldn’t the belief in Purgatory deny Christ as Savior?

No, because it is only through Christ that purgatory -- the perfection of the soul of those who die in His friendship -- is possible.

As humans, we can only do the best that we know to do at any given point in time. The thinking that this isn’t enough, that we need to suffer more to be worthy, seems flawed- otherwise why make us incapable of perfection?

Saying that Christ is our Savior means that the best we know how to do isn't enough; if it were, we could save ourselves.

We are incapable of perfection -- apart from Christ.

So don't think of purgatory as a matter of how "worthy" we are. The sufferings of purgatory don't make us any more worthy of heaven; there is only One worthy of heaven.

Purgatory makes us perfect, and perfection doesn't admit of more or less. When we die, we either love God perfectly or we don't; purgatory is what we call the way we (through Christ's merit) come to love God perfectly after we die.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Tom-

If we are all incapable of perfection, how can anyone love God perfectly in life? And purgatory makes us perfect, does everyone go to Purgatory (other than those who go to hell)?

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

If we are all incapable of perfection, how can anyone love God perfectly in life?

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

If you love God, and your neighbor as yourself, then you won't commit mortal sin (or if you do, you'll go to confession as soon as possible).

As you grow in love (by God's grace), you will eventually stop even wanting to commit even the smallest sin.

If you get to that point, then there's a good chance you won't need purgation when you die. (The Church makes it very easy for someone who is dying to obtain a plenary indulgence.)

Most of us, though, are probably better off trying to love God and neighbor a little more today than we did yesterday, rather than worrying about when or whether we'll love perfectly.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Maryann said...

Pope John Paul II has a chapter on salvation in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope and I found it helpful as I pondered the blog site’s question about purgatory. I hope I'm on the right track.

Christ died to offer those that believe in him eternal salvation. Immortality is not part of the world. It can only come to man through Christ. For us to join Christ for eternity requires us to be in a perfect state. Purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, faults for which there was no true repentance. Furthermore, the temporal penalty due to sin is at times not wholly paid in this life.

The sins Christ died for were multiple, originating from our first parents. As John Paul II states, for sin to be understood, the world had to be convinced of sin and for this to happen, conditions for salvation must exist. Christ's death is our salvation. Salvation requires awareness and confession of mortal and venial sins. God forgives us, yet, he knows us so well that even with a perfect confession, filled with sorrow motivated by love for God, we are probably not totally pure at heart. Upon death, the majority of us will hopefully not go to hell, the majority of us will probably not go to heaven and the majority of us will rest in purgatory, a state of existence, not limited by physical boundaries, but required for perfect purification.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031). (www.catholic.com)

My understanding is that man is inherently sinful while Christ is inherently perfect and pure. He NEVER sinned. Christ’s death offers us, inherent sinners, the choice of Him, inherent purity, which leads to everlasting love and peace. As I see it, Christ’s death was not insufficient or inadequate because we are left in a less than perfect state, left in purgatory for purification; rather, his life and death were the only one sufficiently qualified, the only being totally qualified to offer the vast world salvation, the perfect state of love and peace. He is so qualified, that only the purest of pure may spend eternity with Him. For the deceased not instantly placed in heaven or hell, purgatory becomes our temporary home, a suburb of heaven - it is close enough to heaven that we can smell the sweetness, hear the laughter and feel the warmth it offers, but it is far enough away that we know we are not quite there. We stay in purgatory until every imperfection, every attachment or blemish we possess is removed. Christ deserves to be surrounded by nothing less than the purest of pure at heart, those possessing the perfection of His love and His peace.


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