‘Mary’ Category Archives
by Arnold Jago in Faith, God, Mary, Mother of Jesus, Multiculturalism
In Pakistan, August 12 is “National Minorities Day”.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani yesterday reaffirmed his government’s “obligation to strengthen the bond of love and promote culture of tolerance”.
He quoted a government decision to reserve a percentage of minorities in the government and said, “Extremism is a serious threat to the fabric of our society . . . perpetrators of crime against minority communities anywhere in Pakistan must be brought to justice, and they will be.”
Sounds pretty good. But is it believable?
Australian politicians also make some hardly-believable claims . . . for example, that Islam is basically a peaceful faith; that terrorists are the exception – bad Muslims.
Was the Prophet Mohammed himself, therefore, a “bad Muslim”?
He personally ordered the annihilation of whole cities, and the beheading of those who failed to submit to his religion.
Such stories aren’t inventions of enemies of Islam, but are recorded in the writings of traditional Muslim authorities.
* * *
The Catholic faith teaches that there is one God, who is a Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Muslims are angered by such a suggestion.
Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was/is God’s only-begotten Son.
Muslims believe that “Allah has no son”.
So is there any point at which Muslims and Christians can come together?
* * *
Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, mentions the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY 37 times. It seems little interested in the mother of Mohammed.
* The Qur’an speaks of Mary as having unique dignity: “Remember when the angels said, O, Mary! Verily God hath chosen thee, and purified thee, and chosen thee above the women of the world.” (3:42)
* Mary’s sinlessness is also proclaimed by the Qur’an: “With goodly acceptance did her Lord accept her, and with goodly growth did he make her grow.” (3:32)
* Islamic writers quote the Prophet saying, “Fatima (his own daughter) would be the chief of the women of Paradise, were it not for Mary, daughter of Imran (i.e. the Mother of Jesus)”. (Ibn Hanbal, Musnad 3:80)
Something to think about.
Pope Benedict XVI spent last weekend in Croatia.
He made it clear that he favours Croatia entering the European Union.
The Pope sees it as an opportunity for Catholic Croatia to help reverse the drift of Europe towards becoming a dreary flatland of secularism, materialism, relativism and atheism.
And he insists that there can be no absolute separation of religion and political affairs.
* * *
At a prayer vigil attended by 25,000 young people he laboured that very point.
“Young friends,” he said, “Do not let yourselves be led astray by enticing promises of easy success . . . putting all your trust in possessions, in material things, while abandoning the search for the Truth that is always greater.”
He reminded those young friends of the words of Saint Paul who wrote to his friends, “Rejoice in the Lord always . . . .”
Reminding them also that Saint Paul wrote those words while in prison — in chains — the Pope proclaimed to those young Croatians that “the Gospel cannot be chained”.
* * *
He kept returning also to the importance of Catholics venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, rightly called “Mother of God”.
His closing words to the young people were, “I wish to entrust each of you to her, asking her to accompany and protect you and, above all, to help you to encounter the Lord, and in him discover the meaning of life.
“I leave you my blessing, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always!’
“May this joy, the joy of true love, be your strength.
“Amen. Praised be Jesus and Mary!’”
by Arnold Jago in Happiness, Jesus, Mary, Mother of Jesus, Sacraments, Suffering
We should all be happy about Christmas, the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The fact is that only Jesus can solve the real problems of mankind.
All real problems of men derive from sin (disobedience to God).
Health disorders, material, economic and political troubles – even bad decisions by umpires – all these are only really problems insofar as they affect our spiritual relationship with God.
* * *
That’s why Christmas is a good thing.
Christmas carries the message that there is a remedy for our troubles — the remedy being God’s forgiveness for our sins.
If we continue in unforgiven sin, we are a waste of both time and space – and can expect God to treat us as such.
So the problem of sin is serious.
The answer to that problem is NOT for us to make up our minds to do better.
That way we’ll merely discover that we’re incapable of persevering in “doing better” for any length of time — because we’re spiritually broken, and can only be repaired by supernatural means.
The supernatural means being found exclusively in the confessional at a Catholic Church.
We might think it would be nice if there were some other alternative remedy — but there is none.
* * *
Anyway we don’t need an alternative.
God loves us enough to have given us the way back to him that we need.
Do we hate ourselves so much as to not accept his loving gift?
God will forgive because the sacrificial death of the God-made-man, Jesus Christ, was so infinitely meritorious . . . .
So meritorious that it more than counterbalances all our attempts to make an enemy of God by disobeying him.
* * *
Let us thank God for his plan for our salvation, and for that first Christmas Day when it began to make itself apparent here on earth.
Let us also thank the Blessed Virgin Mary for her part in the birth — and in the Passion and death — of our Saviour.
by Arnold Jago in Beauty, History, Jesus, Mary, Multiculturalism
Even the ruling classes, and the media with which they manipulate us, have a soft spot for Christmas.
They permit, in small controlled doses, some mention of “the true meaning of Christmas” – a baby born in a stable somewhere, choirs of angels etc.
The reason they tolerate it is that they do not understand it.
To them Christmas is a kind of “Coca Cola of the people” – giving a sensation of sweetness, while leaving you with no teeth.
They understand Easter better — which is why at Easter time we are under pressure every year to focus exclusively on raising money for charities, family get-togethers, bunnies . . . .
And, above all, chocolate.
* * *
But the messages of Easter and of Christmas are the same message.
A message that:
* God entered in Person into human history
* he came to save us from our sins.
* we must put him first in our lives.
* we must detach ourselves from everything not essential to our union with God.
* religion is everything in life, trumping every other concern.
* * *
Yes, once Christ arrived on earth at Christmas, Good Friday and Easter were inevitable.
Inevitable that he’d be persecuted and butchered by the trend-setters of his day (only to triumph by rising from the dead).
Christ’s message was hated in his lifetime — and it’s hated now.
If we attend to this world’s consumer items and fashion statements, while finding no time to focus, long and unhurried, on Christ’s life, Passion and death . . . .
Then we have succumbed/surrendered – such things being for us, idols, false gods, fetishes and perversions.
Anything that takes your mind off God is a tool of the devil.
by Arnold Jago in Australia, God, Mary, Mother of Jesus
The Australian Retailers’ Association reports that the 2010 pre-Christmas spending got off to a slow start.
Consumers simply have not been spending as much as expected.
Many were carefully seeking out discounted items.
Rainy days have been worst — making shop incomes patchy.
Will this apparent downturn be maintained? Or will there be a last minute catch-up?
* * *
The important thing to remember about the downturn is that it is not very important.
Christmas does not depend for its meaning on buying and selling consumer items.
What Christmas WOULD be meaningless without is the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Many people seem not to really know much about the Mother of Jesus . . . .
Or what the Church really teaches about her . . . .
* * *
For a start, in the Catholic religion, Mary is NOT worshipped.
That would be absurd. Worshipping a human being would be disobedience to the first of the Ten Commandments, and a mortal sin.
But Catholics do honour Mary – in exactly the same way that God honours her.
Mary is a unique human being – but a human being only. There is no notion of her being a “goddess”.
Mary is called “Mother of God” because the Catholic religion accepts that her son, Jesus Christ, is God.
He is both truly God and truly man.
This concept is not as easy to understand as we might like it to be – but that does not stop it being true.
* * *
Catholics address Mary in certain prayers, asking her to pray/intercede to God on our behalf.
In much the same way that you might ask your own mother to pray for you.
Jesus came to us through Mary at the first Christmas.
He wants us now to come to him through Mary today . . . .
by Arnold Jago in Australia, Contemplation, History, Jesus, Mary, Modern Church, Politics
Today, Sunday 28 November 2010, is the First Sunday in Advent.
“Advent” as in an arrival or a coming.
In Australia, by coincidence, we seem, this day, to be looking at the “advent” of a new Victorian Premier — the result of yesterday’s state election.
* * *
For Christians, however, today is significant as being the first day of the Church’s traditional season of Advent — the four-Sunday period leading up to Christmas Day.
Advent is a time for preparing one’s mind and soul to celebrate of the birth of Jesus Christ 2010 years ago . . . .
Literally the advent of God himself into this world in a particular place, at a particular time, in the person of a particular baby, Jesus, the son of Mary.
* * *
It is advisable to attend Church every Sunday during Advent.
You will notice that there are three advents referred to in the Bible readings at Mass during the Sundays between now and Christmas.
(1) The first advent of Christ was the birth of the baby in the stable at Bethlehem in the historical past — God making his advent amongst us in humility and weakness.
(2) The second advent is the presence of Christ Our Lord in the Holy Communion received by believers at Mass in the historical present.
(3) The third advent is yet to occur — the final coming of Christ in almighty power at the future end of history.
* * *
Each one of these advents makes it easier to understand the other two.
The practical point for us today is this:
God offers us, through these advents of his Son, a supernatural relationship with himself . . . .
A relationship which promises to revolutionalise us personally . . . .
And to change the world . . . .
More than any election result can change it.