Tag Archive: blessed virgin mary

On the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the Church throughout the world takes up the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary in praise of God.

Here in Ottawa we had an extra reason to sing for joy as we celebrated this great feast.  Today a group of five women said their own “yes” to the Lord as they received the habit of the newly established Queenship of Mary Community.  At 11am in the Archbishop’s Chapel underneath Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, blessed the habits of the new community.

Immediately following this ceremony, Mass was celebrated, during which the Archbishop read his decree establishing the Queenship of Mary Community as a private association of the Christian faithful.  The journey to becoming a religious institute in the Church is one that passes through many phases of testing and discernment, and today is yet another important milestone for the Queenship of Mary Community.

The archbishop then received the temporary profession of vows of four of the newly established community, and also assigned them religious names.  The fifth member will remain a novice for the moment, and make profession in the not-too-distant future.

A few photos follow, and more can be found on Flickr.

UPDATE 27 MARCH 2012:  See Archbishop Prendergast’s blog for his post on the occasion and more photos.

Homily for Mass – Deschatelets Residence

1 January 2012 – 10.30am

[Readings: Num 6:22-27; Ps 67; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21]


Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium says: The “maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into the happiness of their true home.”

Today, on the octave day of the feast of the Nativity of the Lord, the liturgy draws our devotion to the Mother of the Lord. Mary’s co-operation was an essential part of God’s saving plan: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. We know that the definition of Mary as God-bearer, the Mother of God, corrected any error that hesitated to accept the fullness of the incarnation.  As we will affirm in the Creed, in Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages … came down from heaven … and became man. Today’s solemnity is an important elaboration of the Feast of the Nativity: God didn’t hide in a human body;  God truly became human.  God the Son united himself with a human nature forever.  Humanity and divinity were so closely bound together in Jesus, son of Mary, that they could never be separated again.  [http://catholiclane.com/mary-mother-of-god/]

In the Gospel today we continue to linger at Bethlehem, and we see the Infant lying in the manger.  The Son of God, the Word become flesh, lies in the feeding trough of creatures – the Virgin Mother shows Him to the shepherds and those who come.  Various authors point out the Eucharistic theme here … not a manger, but on the altar the Son of God, the Word become flesh, will again lie before us.  As he gives himself to be our food, the bread of heaven, we feel the nearness of the Blessed Mother, who leads us to her Son.

As we begin a new calendar year today, may this great feast remind us that God is truly with us – He has bound himself to us in a bond that can never be broken.  Let us rejoice that we have a Mother who cares for us who are so often surrounded by dangers and difficulties as we try to follow the way of Her Son.

May we feel the love of the Mother of God today as we honour her, and may we daily feel the protection of her maternal intercession.


Hail, Queen of Heaven, beyond compare,

To whom the angels homage pay;

Hail, Root of Jesse, Gate of Light,

That opened for the world’s new Day.

Rejoice, O Virgin unsurpassed,

In whom our ransom was begun,

For all your loving children pray

To Christ, our Saviour, and your Son.


The Annunciation, Caravaggio

Homily for Mass – Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa

Saturday 17 December 2011 – 4.15pm

[Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16;  Ps 89;  Rom 16:25-27;  Lk 1:26-38]


In these final days of Advent, the Church’s liturgy draws us more deeply into the original Christmas … and in tonight’s Gospel we have the annunciation scene, nine months before Jesus was born.  We consider the extraordinary thing that Mary was asked to do.

When we think about those occasions when some request is made of us, sometimes its fairly easy to say, ‘no.’  Particularly if the request is outlandish … but even when it’s not outrageous, sometimes we can be asked to do something that is clearly beyond us – clearly beyond out capabilities.  It’s fairly easy to say, ‘no’ to those sorts of requests.  “No, sorry, I can’t do that.”  Other things are more within our capabilities, and so we have to weigh up, am I going to do this or not.

When the Angel Gabriel visited Mary, and told her that she would bear a son by the Holy Spirit, a son who would be called Son of God – I’m sure most of us being asked anything remotely like that would say: “No way, that’s out of the question!”

And yet, we know Mary’s response: Here am I, – she said – the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.  Mary shows an attitude of hospitality.  She makes room for the Lord.  She opens herself to receive the Lord … in her own body she prepares a place of welcome.

In God’s design, Mary was immaculate … she was not encumbered in any way with sin, and so she is able to fully put her freedom at the disposal of God’s plan.  We are as free as Mary was to accept God’s will, the difference for us is that we are encumbered by our sins.  Its our selfishness that closes us … that turns us in on ourselves … that doesn’t make us want to prepare a place for the Lord in our lives.

This lack of hospitality is seen in the first Christmas in that element of the story when Mary and Joseph can’t find room where she could have her child.  Eventually someone makes room for them, even if it’s where the animals slept.

As we consider this idea of making room for God, of preparing a space to welcome him, we should remember that just a few weeks ago in the Sunday Gospels Jesus painted the scene of the final judgement.  He said that the good and the bad that we’ve done to other people, we have done to him, himself.  What we do to others we do to God.  If we make a space for others in our life, we make a space for God.  If we are inhospitable to others, we are inhospitable to God.  And Jesus’ own words tell us that there are eternal consequences for that.

As we look at the nativity scenes on display in churches and other places, we look at the infant in the manger.  We might perhaps think that its easy to welcome a baby.  But we know that that’s not true … its not always easy to welcome a baby – why else, tragically, would so many abortions occur?  And if its difficult to welcome innocent human life in the form of a defenseless baby, incapable of causing any harm to us … how much more difficult is it to welcome God when he comes to us in the form of our neighbour who irritates us;  when he comes to us in the guise of the person who offends us, of those who ignore us or even oppose us.

Making space for the Lord in our lives is no small challenge!  First we have to repent.  Our sin closes our hearts and makes us inhospitable.  It makes us unable to recognize when God is drawing near.  We need our saviour to come to us to free us from that sin – to heal us, and to open us.  Our saviour, redeemer and healer comes to us in our prayer, through His Word, and especially through the sacraments he has given us.

And we have the help of his Mother and our Mother.  Mary’s openness to the Lord and His ways she expressed so beautifully when she said, “I am the servant of the Lord.”  I am.  We can ask her to help us say that now, and every moment: “I am the servant of the Lord.”  With that statement comes a trust in God.  Mary could say “Yes” to the outrageous thing that was being asked of her because she trusted.  She trusted “right now” and she believed that if she kept trusting in every new moment, God would give her the grace she needed to keep saying “yes.”

That, I think, is the challenge for us.  Our minds skip too far into the future and we see all the ways that we might fall short, and fail, and not live up to what’s being asked of us.  And so we say ‘no.’  But if we can be like Mary, and right here in this moment, trust God and say “Yes … I am the servant of the Lord … let it be done to me according to your word”  and then in each new moment, renewing that trust, and that ‘yes’ to the Lord.

Mary is not just our model, but she is our constant companion and intercessor in the Lord’s presence, even giving us her own strength, and faith, and love, and trust … so that we can prepare a space in our hearts and in our lives to be able to welcome the Lord as he comes to us, in grace, in the sacraments, and in His people.



The following is from a beautiful reflection for the Feast of Our Lady’s Birth, celebrated today:

How amazed, then, was the whole of creation at the Birth of this creature, the most amiable in the eyes of God, because She was the one most full of grace and merit! Hugo of St. Victor affirms that the Virgin Mary can be compared to the dawn which ends the night, because the centuries which preceded Her had been in darkness. Mary Most Holy is the true forerunner of the light of grace: She is the Star that announces the Sun of Justice, Who will be born from Her womb. In fact, “all the time which passed from the fall of Adam to the Birth of Our Lady, was an endless darkness, a long, deep, icy night. And yet at timers a star rose to brighten up those times: it was the holy Patriarchs and Prophets who enlightened the ignorance of those people by their virtue.” But the holiness and virtues of all the Saints turn pale compared to the Mother of God. “The Virgin Mary is the most refulgent dawn, Whose magnificent splendour obscures that of the ancient Fathers.”

Read the whole reflection over at Rorate Caeli.