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Mercy, Mary, and the Advent of Christ

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Advent, Dr. Peter Howard, Mary, Mercy, Solemnity

Mercy, Mary, and the Advent of Christ

the-immaculate-conception-by-giovanni-domenico-tiepolo

 

Every sign of our times points to God doing something great and something new in the world. In practically every instance throughout the history of God’s people, God’s salvation does not come in the way people expect it. He uses the most unusual instruments at times, such as King Cyrus of Persia (an outsider of the Israelites, a Gentile), who liberated God’s people from their Babylonian captivity and even issued a decree that allowed the Jews to rebuild the Temple. God uses who He wishes to accomplish His plan as He did when He moved Caesar Augustus to shift an entire empire to fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. He didn’t have to do that to accomplish this, but it shows the world Who is really in charge of history and that God’s ways are not our ways (cf. Isaiah 55:8)

There seems to be a parallel in our moment of history, as there is tremendous change taking place these days. We are witnessing the collapse of a world order that has been so anti-Christ, anti-Gospel, anti-life. It is like the wailing cries of an exposed and wounded beast knowing its hours are numbered before it breathes its last, and in its desperation flails about in one last attempt to tout its strength and destroy its enemy.

This collapse signals also the coming dawn of a new beginning, literally a new renaissance, a rebirth — and with it a new hope if the world turns its hope to God and away from man. Is it mere coincidence that this is happening as the Church enters into Advent — an Advent that has been preceded by a historical and extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. What is God saying to the world and for what is this year of Mercy preparing the Church?

This year was given so that our hearts may once again be cleaned out and make space for the coming of Jesus Christ, Who came to deliver us from the evils of this world and give us the life that leads to true freedom — a deliverance and freedom that is only found and given to those humble enough to ask for it and receive it from Jesus Christ.

Magi5A perfect revelation of this truth is found in the “wise men”, the great kings of the east — kings of great power and wealth — who saw the signs in the heavens which spoke to the coming of a King of Kings. How were they able to find Him? Ultimately it was not by looking up, but looking down into a cave. They realized that in order to enter and see the King of Kings, they needed to stoop to enter. In other words, they needed humility to find and come before Wisdom Incarnate. And when they found Him, they found Jesus with His Mother.

This mystery playing out before the Magi, the shepherds and the Holy Family at Bethlehem, in the midst of an unknowing Roman Empire, is found perfectly explained in Mary’s Magnificat:

His mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.

What do take away from these historical events revealing God’s Wisdom Made Incarnate? It is what the Church puts before us during Advent. Mary is always the Advent of Christ, who prepares our hearts to be immaculate and humble like hers, so that we may be blessed to see God as the Beatitude announces to us. Like the unborn Christ, we place ourselves within the ark of Mary (while the world shifts all around us) and allow her to take us to the place where Christ can be born in our hearts. And, as the Advent of Christ and the Immaculate Conception, Mary actively sets out to “crush the head of the serpent” and everything that is at enmity with God, so that God may reign with His mercy and justice upon this wounded world. There is perhaps no better example of these truths revealed that in what took place on Tepeyac Hill in 1531 where Mary showed that she is ALWAYS the Advent of Christ and His Kingdom and that “wherever she enters,” as St. Maximilian Kolbe put it so well in his prayer of consecration to Mary, “she obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, for it is through [her] hands that all graces come to us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”  (Mary and the New Times of Noah, Mary, Ark of Salvation “Last Call! All Aboard!”, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization, Mary, Advent of Christ, In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph)

stomeradorationmaryandjosephbabyjesusnativityIn this Advent season, let us be like our Mother Mary and St. Joseph, and ponder these mysteries in their hearts along with all that we have been given in these times. Let us ponder why we have been given the extraordinary Year of Mercy and how our lives must never be the same as we look to a new reign of Christ in the world—a reign that will come only after it has been purified through the work of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Our Lady at Fatima has promised will happen. And as the Church in 2017 celebrates the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, may we contemplate the significance of her visitations in light of Mary always being the Advent of Christ. Let us especially “watch and pray” according to the critical message and warnings of Our Lady of Fatima as the Church brings its renewed heart and strength to a humiliated world that is being primed to receive anew its Savior, Who comes again through the merciful and sacrificial love of His Immaculate Mother. The renaissance of Europe and the Americas — as well as the restoration of all civilization — depends on how much we accept and incarnate these gifts in our own lives and in our families.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

This message of consecration of families to Mary’s Immaculate Heart is so important that I am offering parishes a special opportunity to bring this message to their communities. All they need to do is pay for my traveling costs (flight + lodging + transportation) and facilitate a free will offering to support the family apostolate Heroic Families. Parishes would need to agree to provide strong promotion for the event to increase attendance. The event would consist of one 60 minute presentation with Questions and Answers (Q&A). Contact me today at HeroicFamilies.com and let’s get this critical message to your parish!

***For those wanting a more intensive immersion on the special centenary of Fatima beginning in 2017, Dr. Howard is now offering a separate speaking series titled: “Fatima: 100 Years Later — Family Consecration at the Heart of the Triumph”. Dr. Howard is an expert in this topic and is very passionate in sharing how important it is for families today. He is currently booking speaking events for 2017. Visit HeroicFamilies.com today to learn more on how to bring this soul-awakening event to your parish or conference. Tremendous fruits have already been experienced from these events.

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Art for this post on Mercy, Mary and the Advent of Christ: Partial restoration of The Immaculate Conception, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, circa 1775, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less; Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar), Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant'Apollinare”; Nina-no (Nina Aldin Thune), 2006, own work, CCA-SA; Matthias Stom, circa 1635-1640, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less; all Wikimedia Commons. Logo for Heroic Families, used with permission.

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About Peter Howard

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Illinois with his wife, Chantal, and five children. Dr. Howard is a professor of Theology at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation (avila-institute.com). In 2015, Peter and Chantal founded HeroicFamilies.com dedicated to the mission of “awakening Catholic families to their critical call to live their faith with courage, passion and purpose.” He is also a Catholic videographer (MEDIAtrix.tv), author and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2015 American Chesterton Society Conference, 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas; the United States Air Force Academy; parish retreats and on Catholic radio programs such as Radio Maria. Peter earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard's theological expertise lies predominantly in Mariology and the teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He is the author of the 2014 book: The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. Like his spiritual mentor, +Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about evangelizing families by communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world. If you would like to invite Dr. Howard to speak at your parish or event, contact him at invite@heroicfamilies.com

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  • marybernadette

    I see the “Year of Mercy” as an extension of Our Lord’s “Divine Mercy” where he told St Faustina, this would be the last offer of Mercy before He comes as Judge. Our Mother of Mercy will cover all with her “Mantle of Grace” who turn to her with faith and trust, leading us to her Son. May we all take seriously the times we are living in, heeding the “warnings” which Our Mother gives us and have the hope in the “Triumph of her Immaculate Heart”Amen.

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