Mary’s Desire for Virginity
And Mary said to the angel,
How shall this be, since I have no husband?
– Luke 1:34
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities, But ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Long before the Angel Gabriel brought Mary the
message that God had chosen her to be the mother
of his Son, she had resolved to give herself entirely
and exclusively – in the gift of perpetual virginity. 16 17
Mary knew that God had entered into a Covenant –
a family bond – with the People of Israel on Mount
Sinai. Although the Lord had remained faithful to
the Covenant promises, Israel had not. By repeatedly
breaking the Commandments of God, Israel had
shown herself to be an adulterous spouse. Mary,
painfully aware of the history of her people as told by
the Prophets, yearned to make reparation for the sins
of her people by loving God as his faithful bride.
Here is Pope John Paul II’s description of Mary’s
desire to remain a virgin throughout her life:
Mary herself wanted to be the personal image of
that absolutely faithful bride, totally devoted to the
divine Bridegroom, and therefore she became the
beginning of the new Israel in her spousal heart....
She confirms and strengthens a consecration
already in effect, which becomes the abiding
condition of her life. She in fact replies to the Angel
of the Annunciation: “How will this come about,
since I am a virgin?” (Lk. 1:34); as if to say: I am
a virgin devoted to God, and I do not intend to
leave my spouse, because I do not think that God
wills it – He who is so jealous of Israel, so severe
with anyone who betrays him, so persistent in his
merciful call to reconciliation! Mary is well aware
of her people’s infidelity, and she wants personally
to be a bride who is faithful to her most beloved
God sent the Angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth
to tell Mary that he had accepted her desire to belong
exclusively to him and, in fact, was the source of that
desire. Mary’s longing for a life of virginity was, in
fact, a response to God’s faithful love. The Angel tells
Mary that she would conceive God’s son as a virgin
through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. She is
to be simultaneously a virgin, bride, and mother. Her
freely chosen virginity allowed Mary to belong totally
to Christ as his mother and totally to each of us as our
loving mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary witnesses that
the beautiful value of virginity is always for the sake of
spousal love and motherhood!
Almighty and Ever-Living God, Mary gave herself to
you unreservedly through the gift of her virginity. As
she loved Jesus with an undivided heart, she continues
to love and serve all of her children on earth. Through
her example, instill in all the members of your Church a
deeper appreciation of the value of virginity. Help all to
understand that virginity is the perfect gift that spouses
give to each other on their wedding day. Inspire many
young men and women to embrace a life of consecrated
celibacy or virginity in the priesthood and consecrated
life. Teach us all the meaning of your Son’s words:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
(Mt. 5:8). We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Do as many
of the following acts as you are able:
1.) Attend Mass and receive Holy
Communion each day of the Novena.
Through the Eucharist, thank God for the
many blessings He has given to our Nation.
Express all your gratitude to Him for the
blessings He has given you. Thank Him
especially for the people He has placed in
your life to love.2.) Receive the Sacrament of Penance.
As you prepare for confession, forgive
anyone who has ever hurt you. Let go
of any grudges you may be holding. We
want to be fully reconciled with God and
all the people God has placed in our lives
through this heartfelt confession of our sins.
Invite family members and friends to go to
3.) Read the Scripture and Pray the Rosary
4.) Make a donation or do something
practical to help the poor.
5.) Encourage as many people as possible to
make the Novena.http://www.religiousliberties.org/novena/
Homily of Bishop-designate of Lincoln, Nebraska
The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God
You are wholly beautiful, my beloved, and without a
blemish. – Song of Songs 4:7
We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in
But ever deliver us from
O glorious and blessed
Since God creates an immortal soul through the
conjugal union of man and woman, the conception of
every human person is sacred. God loves every person
into being – even when the conception is an act of lust
When the Virgin Mary was conceived in the womb of
her mother, God created her immortal soul and filled
her with his divine life. In the Immaculate Conception,
God uniquely redeemed Mary by preserving her from
Original Sin through the foreseen merits of Christ, the
Savior. From the first moment of her life, Mary was
wholly beautiful, full of grace (Lk. 1:28), without any
trace of self-centeredness, any inclination to sin and
with unparalleled freedom to love God and all other
people. In her conception, God armed Mary to destroy
the kingdom of Satan (Gen. 3:15). The charity of Christ
filled Mary from the first moment of her existence – in
the safety of her mother’s womb.
Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Dogma of the Immaculate
Conception in these words: We declare, pronounce,
and define that the doctrine which holds that the
most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her
conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted
by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ,
the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from
all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God
and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all
The good news of the Immaculate Conception is that
there is more love in Mary’s sinless soul than there
is evil in the world. In her Immaculate Conception,
God empowered Mary to say yes freely to his plan
of salvation in Christ and to help us, her sons and
daughters, to say yes too.
God, Almighty Father, at the moment of our
conception you loved each of us into life. You
loved Mary wondrously in her Immaculate
Conception, preserving her from inheriting the sin
of Adam through the foreseen merits of the Savior.
You prepared Mary in her conception to be the Mother
and partner of your Son and our loving mother. Give
all people an ever deeper reverence for your presence
and creative action in human conception. Help all to
recognize the evil of abortion and contraception, and all
sins which offend our Creator God. In Mary’s maternal
embrace, may every American foster reverence for
human life in our nation. We ask this through Jesus
Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Catholics turn instinctively for help to the Mother of God in times of need. During the difficult years of persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, Christians prayed the Sub Tuum Praesidium. This simple prayer was written, it seems, in the East, likely in Egypt, before the year 250 A.D. It gives voice to the Christian’s confidence in the Blessed Virgin:
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
The prayer bears testimony to the Church’s faith that Jesus Christ is God and Mary is the Mother of God and the mother of Christ’s disciples (John 19:25-27). Her maternal relationship to Christ and to all the members of His Body is the foundation of Christians’ confidence in her ability to help her children on earth who face any danger.
From the foundation of the United States of America, our Bishops have expressed great trust in Mary’s motherly protection. In 1792, for instance, America’s first Roman Catholic Bishop, the Most Reverend John Carroll of Baltimore, chose the Blessed Mother as the Patroness of the United States and entrusted the newly created nation to her care. On May 13, 1846, the Bishops unanimously chose Mary, under the title of The Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of our land. When the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was dedicated in Washington D.C. in 1959, the Bishops again solemnly entrusted the country to her. Their prayer is well worth our consideration:
Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as Your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as Your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our President and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—on all who are in need.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness of our Land, we praise you and honor you and give ourselves to you. Protect us from all harm. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.
With these same sentiments, Catholics in 2012 turn to the Mother of God for help. Many of the values that shaped our Country from the beginning seem to be at risk. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI and the American Bishops have noted the erosion of religious freedom in the United States, the first value guaranteed by the Constitution. Other fundamental truths are also in danger: The God-given right to life of every unborn child, the value of virginity until marriage for our young people and the virtue of chastity for everyone, the very definition of marriage as the indissoluble bond between a man and a woman who are open to receive new life from God, and the responsibility of all to care for the disabled and the elderly until God calls them to himself. There are many other issues, but these alone point to the importance of prayer and discernment.
Mary helps us, as no other, to stand in awe before the mystery of human conception and birth, for God himself was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and carried in her womb for nine months with love beyond description. Mary gave birth to God-made-man and nursed him at her breasts. We see in Mary at one and the same time the beauty of virginity, spousal love, and motherhood – a motherhood that Christ extended to the entire human race. Throughout her life and most especially as she stood with him on Calvary, Mary cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 61). As such, Mary is the image and model of the Church as virgin, bride, and mother. She teaches all Christians the meaning of discipleship. Her passing from this life to Heaven was a sharing in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension and the promise of our resurrection on the Last Day.
It has rightly been said that there is more love in Mary’s heart than evil in the world. This is the meaning of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting: Rejoice, Full of Grace (Lk 1:28). Mary is the Woman chosen by God to be his mother and ours, but also to be the chief human enemy – the nemesis – of the Evil One (Gen 3:15, Rev. 12). From her place in Heaven, the Blessed Mother is eager to help her children in their struggles. The Bishops at Vatican Council II expressed this consoling truth:
Taken up to heaven the Blessed Virgin did not lay aside her 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 (Lumen Gentium, 62).
This Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation will remind us of some of the central truths of the faith, in particular, the Incarnation, passion, death, resurrection of the Lord and Mary’s unique role in our salvation. It will be, in a way, a catechism lesson that challenges us to a deeper conversion to Christ and a more generous life of charity. With these intentions in mind, we shall turn to Mary and meditate on the graces of her life:
Day 1: The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God
Day 2: Mary’s Desire for Virginity
Day 3: The Annunciation
Day 4: The Visitation
Day 5: The Divine Motherhood of Mary
Day 6: The Wedding Feast of Cana
Day 7: Mary at Calvary
Day 8: Mary and the Mystery of Easter
Day 9: The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
In 2012, the Novena will help us prepare for the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7. During these nine days of prayer which will begin on September 29, we shall encounter many friends who will accompany us and pray with us for our country: The Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (9/29), St. Jerome (9/30), St. Therese of Lisieux (10/1), All the Guardian Angels (10/2), St. Francis of Assisi (10/4), and St. Bruno and Bl. Marie Rose Durocher (10/6).
The proximity of the Novena to the 2012 Presidential Election will offer an opportunity to pray for all our government officials and seek Divine Assistance in the elections. The Novena will fulfill the mandate of St. Paul as stated in his First Letter to Timothy:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:1-4).
In future years, the Novena may be used to prepare for any Marian Solemnity or Feast: Mary, Mother of God (1/1), The Annunciation (3/25), The Visitation (5/31), The Assumption (8/15), the Queenship of Mary (8/22), The Sorrow of Mary (9/15), The Presentation of Mary in the Temple (11/21), The Immaculate Conception (12/8) and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of the Americas (12/12). Because of the pro-life motif that runs throughout the nine days of prayer, The Novena for the Nation may also be used to prepare for various Pro-Life activities such as the March for Life in Washington, D.C. in late January.
During these nine days of prayer, we encourage you to do five things, if at all possible. This is asking a lot and many of you will not have the time or the ability to do everything listed here. If all you can do is participate in the Novena on EWTN and posted on EWTN’s website, that is in itself good. Do as many of the following acts as you are able:
When Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830 at the Rue du Bac in Paris, she modeled the medal of the Immaculate Conception that is popularly known as The Miraculous Medal. Mary stood on a globe which Catherine understood to be the world. As Mary’s arms reached out to embrace her children, bright rays of light cascaded from her hands into the world. St. Catherine asked her: Please tell me, what is this light? The Blessed Virgin responded, the light is the grace of my son. Catherine was troubled because some rays of light did not flow into the world. She asked what this might mean. Mary said, those are graces people fail to seek from me.
- Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion each day of the Novena. Through the Eucharist, thank God for the many blessings He has given to our Nation. Express all your gratitude to Him for the blessings He has given you. Thank Him especially for the people He has placed in your life to love.
- Receive the Sacrament of Penance. As you prepare for confession, forgive anyone who has ever hurt you. Let go of any grudges you may be holding. We want to be fully reconciled with God and all the people God has placed in our lives through this heartfelt confession of our sins. Invite family members and friends to go to confession, too
- Read the Scripture and Pray the Rosary each day.
- Make a donation or do something practical to help the poor.
- Encourage as many people as possible to make the Novena.
Here is a wonderful secret of prayer: Christ wants us to go humbly to his mother in search of his help. This is precisely what we are doing in The Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation. Everyone who joins in these nine days of prayer has his or her own needs. Each person should remember to pray for the intentions of all. Through the charity of EWTN, a great multitude of people will gather with confidence to pray for the assistance of the Mother of God and, with her, to worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We await a powerful outpouring of the graces of Heaven through Mary’s hands.
– Rev. Frederick L. Miller, S.T.D.
Professor of Systematic Theology
Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Gary B. Selin, S.T.D.
Assistant Professor of Theology
Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary
Imprimatur: + Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama
August 7, 2012
The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are official declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.
Below is the full song by Mandisa with TobyMac-it is getting very good playing time on Christian Radio
"Dear children! When in nature you look at the richness of the colors which the Most High gives to you, open your heart and pray with gratitude for all the good that you have and say: ‘I am here created for eternity’ – and yearn for heavenly things because God loves you with immeasurable love. This is why He also gave me to you to tell you: ‘Only in God is your peace and hope, dear children’. Thank you for having responded to my call."
"A Christian's only relatives are the saints"- (Lucian of Antioch (240-312 AD), an early Christian martyr)