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Mary Eclipsing the Eclipse

Thank you dear Mother for taking me to where you wanted me on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. You always let me know where you want me with you on each of your feast days. This time, on April 8, 2024, it would be St. Patrick’s Basilica. What I learned only a week before is that a total solar eclipse would be happening the same day. That’s no coincidence. Comets, binary stars, galaxies, black holes and quasars. God created it all, beautifully made to display his infinite power. Within such majesty, He loves to play for us so we can gaze with constant childlike awe. It’s a never-ending abyss of intense grandeur. Carl Sagan said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” This time, close to home, He wanted His mother to eclipse the eclipse on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The anniversary of your hearing Gabriel tell you, a virgin, that you would conceive by the Holy Spirit’s power, God’s Son, our Saviour Jesus, made a solar eclipse seem insignificant by compariso

St Gregory of Nyssa

The power of God is capable of finding hope where hope no longer exists, and a way where the way is impossible.

2 Cor 4: 16-18

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

Our Advent Journey To Bethlehem

It’s a familiar route we take every year. Four weeks, eyes fixed on the birth of our Lord in Bethlehem.

Perhaps, we yearn more for God’s reign when He comes again in glory, but always we should yearn for his reign in our hearts, now as Father Almighty, Prince of peace.”

The Church provides some powerful stops in our Advent journey to help us draw close to the Redeemer.

Mary’s Immaculate Conception

December 8 is our first major stop. Mary's Immaculate Conception in her mother’s womb is actually where her journey to Bethlehem began, conceived by the Father’s will to be untouched by the infection of original sin.

John Paul II: “The first to be redeemed by her Son, she shares to the full in his holiness; she is already what the entire Church desires and hopes to be.”

She is the dwelling place prepared for the Son of Man for the restoration of life lost through Eve’s revolt. That extraordinary moment in God's plan for our salvation, celebrated on December 8, gives us time to reflect on this beautiful gift and turn to Mary, “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.”

As an adolescent in her journey, she was presented in the Temple according to the Law, in the same way she would one day present Jesus.

Precious Gift

In your holy Temple
A daughter Immaculate
Presented meek and humble
All angels waiting at the Temple gate.
In the depth of her heart
Is your law, her delight
No sin will render her apart
While she awaits the dawning of eternal Light.
Her food is your precious will
Unaware of being chosen
Will wait in silence for Gabriel
Soon with the Word sublime from heaven.
Word Of God For The Journey

All the Advent readings water our hearts parched by the cold winds of trials and tumult. We are reminded that God has come to dry tears, heal the broken-hearted, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and destroy death, his last enemy.

“On this mountain, he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations. He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken. On that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"(Isaiah 25:7-8)

Advent Saints Accompany Us

St Francis Xavier

Speak to them of the great mercy of God. Sometimes people are helped by your telling them of your lamentable past.

Peter Chrysologus

It is intolerable for love not to see the object of its longing. That is why whatever reward they merited was nothing to the saints if they could not see the Lord. A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on its side, but it is the evidence of filial love.

Ambrose For Advent

Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies.

There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.

John Of The Cross

“What we need most to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.”

Gaudete Sunday

Gaudete Sunday should stir a profound joy in us experienced through a humble turning to the One who was born for us.

Pope John Paul Angelus, Dec 14, 1997:

The liturgy for the Third Sunday of Advent, also called “Gaudete” Sunday, invites us to intensify the interior pace of our pilgrimage to the Lord who comes to save us. Jesus, source of our peace, is coming. For this reason, despite difficulties and problems, we must all be full of holy optimism. St Paul urges us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4: 4)

Final Stretch

For the final and fourth week of our journey to Bethlehem, the exaltation of two mothers fills the rural, urban, and island churches at Mass, celebrating the last Sunday of Advent.

Mary, pregnant with Jesus travels to the hill country to stay with her cousin Elizabeth who carries John the Baptist in her womb. Mary has conceived her Creator, our Saviour and Elizabeth carries the future voice in the wilderness announcing the birth of Salvation.

Luke’s Gospel passage spills with joy. “Mary went with haste…When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the child leaped in her womb…Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Loudly, she cried to Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Our joy then is complete, fulfilled, pushing aside everything that threatens it. Because the Prince of Peace is our sure hope, who has dominion over sin and evil.

Gaudete, gaudete!
Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine,

Rejoice, rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary

ACTS 4:11-12

"This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among human beings by which we must be saved."