Friday, November 7, 2008

Mary, A Queen? Why? Why Not?

Why is Mary a Queen? People often ask that, not only those from other religions but also inside catholic circles. Why would Catholics and Orthodox render Mary a Queen? Is it Biblical?

Simple logic only, if the Son is a king, then the mother must be a ruler like him. Closed family ties especially among royal blood compels every member of the family to possess a title or even a duty of rule. This is evident even in our own times in modern royal families whom distant relatives were given titles and special privileges.

Elizabeth called Mary this way, too:

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the
baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was
filled with the Holy Spirit.

"And she cried out with a loud voice and
said, "Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"

(Luke 1:41-42, emphasis mine)

Elizabeth calls the mother and her child "Blessed". True, the baby in Mary's womb is blessed indeed for He is the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2) and the Kings of kings and Lord of lords (Revelations 19:16). And Elizabeth called Mary "blessed" too, not only that, she called her blessed "among women". And are these Elizabeth's own words? No, because Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit at that time, the Holy Spirit instructed her to witness what was revealed to her.

If Jesus is a king, then He has a kingdom. The Angel also proved this, saying:

"He will be great and will be called the
Son of the Most High; and the Lord God
will give Him the throne of His father David;

and He will reign over the house of Jacob
forever, and His kingdom will have no end
(Luke 1:32-33, emphasis mine)

If Jesus has a kingdom, then Mary is a part of it, for Jesus had been a part of Mary in her womb. Inseparably, the Holy Spirit was right in calling the two "Blessed". If Mary, then, is blessed among women, then Mary is a queen, for in a kingdom what woman can be more blessed than a Queen ?

Also, scripture tells us that when we will reign with Christ when we endure suffering.

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
if we deny him, he also will deny us."
(2 Timothy 2:12, emphasis mine)

Did Mary suffered, too? Yes, according to the scriptures:

"And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary
His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and for a sign to be opposed--

"and a sword will pierce even your
own soul
--to the end that thoughts
from many hearts may be revealed."
(Luke 2:34-35, akin ang pagdiriin)

Mary did suffer, like a sword that pierced his own soul. And I doubt Mary denied her Son. She was there at the Cross, looking at her Son. Unlike the other disciples, Mary didn't flee. She remained a Mother.

Monday, November 3, 2008

She Surpassed Them All

"Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all."

(Proverbs 31:29)

She had surpassed all the Biblical women of faith, with her humility, virtue and firm belief.

Sarah bore the son of the promise, Isaac. Mary bore the Son of God, God's promise of redemption and salvation.

Rebekah by her charity made to drink the thirsty servant of Abraham and his camels. Mary, in her charity desired to provide wine in the wedding at Cana, and inform her Son about it, who is the source of all satisfaction.

Rachel cunningly guided her Son Jacob to outwit Esau, so is Mary, who reared her Son who became submissive to her and to his foster father in Nazareth. By this he grew in wisdom and is greatly favored by God and men.

The mother of Moses hide him three months. When she couldn't anymore hide him, she cared for it in an ark and let it drift in the river, while his sister watches on. Mary kept her son thirty years, and let him go in the start of his public mission, yet she still look after her son, even to the cross.

Rahab helped the spies in their hiding and in their excursion within the walls of Jericho. Mary helped the apostles and all the believers in their hiding by praying with them for nine days.




for guests


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Friday, October 31, 2008

With All the Saints

It is All Hallow's eve in the western hemisphere when I write this, and I presume that the western neighborhoods is now at full throttle with all of the Halloween stuffs, like the trick-or-treating, halloween parties and the like. here in the Philippines, we got a share of the American halloween spirit by watching scary movies at home. But most of the time, Filipinos never see Halloween as something horrifying at all, but holy and a special day for praying for the dead.

November 1 is a special day for all the saints. In many parts of the country, Filipino catholics (and even a huge number of Protestants) would go to the cemetery to visit the gravesites of their deceased loved ones and offer candles and prayers for them. It is queer that many do this visitation on November 1, while it is more proper to do this on the day afterwards (November 2, All soul's day). But logic prevails: offering prayer on November 1 can be very advantageable for prayers are directed to the saints in order for them to help the souls in purgatory.
De fide, the saints do offer their prayers today to all mankind for today is their feast day. Special favors are granted from all of them. It is a holy obligation to ask their assistance in this day. For me, praying to them entails the benefit of praying for yourself and your loved ones, alive or late.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mary Vs. Atheism

Did Mary encountered Atheism in her life, too? Scripture is vague about that, and will ever be if the mother of Jesus is concerned. But there are hints in the scriptures that Mary did faced tumultuous chapters in her lives which can vary from slight doubts, distresses and grave temptations to give-up. One of them is the drama of Calvary.

Mary was there. Scripture cited her being there with her kins and the apostle John (c.f. John 19:25-27) . If Mary was there all along, witnessing the sufferings of her Son, then maybe she, who has that godly attitude of humble discretion and keeping significant events in her heart, must have recalled what Simeon the Just had said to her at the time when Jesus has been presented to the Lord.

"... and a sword will pierce even your own soul..."(Luke 2:35a)

Mary must have kept this prophecy from that time on, and everything significant, from the annunciation of the angel to Jesus' ministry, Mary had kept all in his heart, pondering it until all became clear to her.

At the Calvary, Mary must have observed the irony of man, the insincerity and untruthfulness of men who applauded Jesus' entry to Jerusalem days ago. Mary, in his feminine tendencies, felt herself weak before the crowd, who shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!" hours ago. Mary must have felt that painful feeling in witnessing someone whom she knows so much, condemned before many and will be lost from her soon . Mary must have felt, hours ago, that she died before Jesus did, for the heart of a mother cannot take the misfortune of his children especially if they are death-bound.

Just as Mary is "full of grace" and "highly favored", there is no room for the devil in her. But Satan wanted a foothold and that opportunity he seek in the humiliation of her dearly beloved Son. Mary felt that the temptation of Eve is crawling to her, saying "Don't believe in God anymore. See, here is your Son, downtrodden and dying before you. How can you trust someone up there if he cannot save your Son from this unbearable trial and shame?" The scripture drama of Eden is coming alive before her eyes. Satan is offering her the fruit of disbelief as the answer to her confusion. Yes, Mary is confused just as Eve has been confused. But unlike Eve, Mary had seal her answer already to God and not of the devil. Mary knows what he had answered to God that changed her whole life through from that moment.

"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word"(Luke 1:38)

The approval that she had commend to God is what she must have kept fromthe start. She had been praying from the beginning. This is her Son's hour, which her Son had said in Cana. "Why do you involve me Woman, and what does that have to do with us? My time has not yet come!" (cf. John 2:4) Yes, wine is not the drink that can replenish the thirst of the soul. His Son can give that true drink, and he will pour it in His own hour. And she'll see it being poured, she must witness it all, so that His Son may testify to her and say again "Woman!" to her, thus fulfilling the "hour" that Jesus had told her heart. Everything that Jesus had told she kept in her, and the 'Woman!" call in the cross finally terminizes her pondering over it. Yes, that is the hour. The hour when Jesus reproof finally gave way to Satan's scourge.

The victory of Mary over her personal doubts about God came from her complete dependence in her Son. She had been praying from the beginning, just as all mothers do, that his Son might be victorious in the end. Atheism has became Mary's scourge for a while, but Mary's faith is too much for atheism. They cannot harmonize just as oil cannot mix with water. The sword that peirced in her heart became her sorrow, a sword that opened her heart and poured out what was being kept there. It fulfilled the scriptures inside her heart, whom she had kept as a mother must. The living epistle of Mary, that is, her heart's recesses, is declared in that sword. It is through suffering that many hearts will be revealed.

At the end of the day, Mary hadn't stopped her devotion. As in the beginning, she was found praying again, now not alone, but with his Son's legacy, the infant church. And she wil always be praying for it. Disbelief hadn't got a toehold in her, all because of her simple words "let it be done" that dovetailed great faith.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Brief Explanation for the title "Mary Nodded".

I am planning to reveal the reason for this on December, but it seemed to be more adequate to tell it simultaneously with this web log's making. I decided to reveal it now. Nevertheless, I might make a deeper and elaborated explanation for this 'Mary Nodded" title this Christmas season.

I derived the title from the lyrics of the Christmas carol, "A Little Drummer Boy". It is a narrative carol whose main characters are the Wise Men (who said the lines "Come, they told me" and "Our finest gifts we bring"), Mary, The Baby Jesus, and the Drummer Boy. "Mary Nodded" was taken from the first line of the third stanza of the song.

What impressed on my mind is the way the phrase has been applied so to give way to a heartwarming scene afterwards. The carol's scene is simple. A new borne baby in the manger who is the Messiah, the mother who is Mary and the ox and mule around them. The drummer boy has been invited by the Wise Men, with all their gifts, too see the new born King. The drummer boy, aware of his own lack yet not his unworthiness, admitted his poverty before the babe by confessing it to Him. Yet, the boy did not lose heart and with innocence he wished to let him play his drum for the new born child. It is in that point that Mary nodded.

What is interesting about this is that after Mary's "nod", which is clearly the approval of the Blessed Mother, the child without much ado played his drum at his best. The tender scene of a child giving homage to another child in the way a child could give is a definitely simple yet profound picture. This had touched the heart of many when they hear this Christmas carol, and the gift of drumbeat the drummer boy had given the Messiah was gratified by the Babe's smile. That smile may have sparked in the heart of the drummer boy forever.

The story speaks for itself and has retained the essences of godliness: simplicity, child-like trust, innocence and humility. The child, who is God-made-man, has chosen to be a helpless weakling in the midst of that night's cold wind, and the boy, who has nothing but his drum, offered his talent of drum-beating as a simple gesture of faith and innocent selflessness. Mary, a mother of genuine simplicity and humility, had understood all of these and acting as the authority of the scene, granted the drummer boy the approval to let her Child be honored by him and by everyone, rich (the Magi) and poor (shepherds and the boy).

Though this story is apocryphal (and fictitious) in nature, it is wonderful to realize that this carol has been sung by many, Catholics and Protestants alike. With it's solemn and gracious tune this has been loved by people who loved Christmas. Protestants had learned many about Mary when talking about Christmas carols, and this carol is one of them, applying common sense that a mother is a child authority (even if it is God himself). For Catholics, it is even more profound than that. Mary has been recognized and is chosen by God in the first place to be the mother of his Son. This privilege last not only at Christmas but throughout eternity, for God is eternity even in the form of a babe. Mary belongs in the scene and her nod will be always at sync with God's approval, leading to God's own manifestation of glory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

First Words

Hi, I am the owner of this blog. I am a catholic Christian, and it is natural for us Catholics to expressively honor our Lord's Mother, Mary.

In this blog, we will talk about Mary, her privileges, the rightful honors that must be rendered on her, and her rightful place in the salvific plan of God.

Hope that you'll learn much from this blog, and may this enrich your ardent devotion to the blessed Mother. To our Mother who dearly loved her Son so much and who has been loved by her Son in return, may Her name be honored in all generations. Amen.