REJOICE!

**

“O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbor of guilt, but pray to God that he be merciful to you both.”

— St. Nicholas of Flue

**

“This world is filled with many vulgar and dishonorable things that will claw and tear at your Christian purity if you allow them to. Don’t let them! Seek instead the things of God. He will purify you and free you from your slavery to profane and inconsequential things.”

— Patrick Madrid

**

“Following in the footsteps of the sinless One who took on our shame and guilt so that we need no longer carry it is the pathway every saint has walked and every aspiring saint must follow. When we are clean through the graces of the sacrament of reconciliation, remembering death becomes not a morbid preoccupation, but a sign of hope—for ourselves and for all those who look at us and see the likeness of the Savior.”

-from Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta

**

“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”

— St. Rose of Lima

**

“The queen bee never settles in her hive without being surrounded by her swarm, and charity never takes possession of the heart without bringing in her train all other virtues, exercising them and bringing them into play as a general his troops. But she does not call them forth suddenly, all at once, nor in all times and places. The good man is like a tree planted by the water-side that will bring forth its fruit in due season, because when a soul is watered with charity, it brings forth good works seasonably and with discretion.”

— St. Francis de Sales

**

Reading 1 Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

  1. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
    Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
    Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
    R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
    “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
    To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
    R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
    I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
    R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
    Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
    your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
    I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
    in the vast assembly.
    R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.'”

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 1:14b

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.

Gospel Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

 

**

The Annunciation of the Lord
Bishop Robert Barron

Friends, our Gospel today introduces the most important Advent personage: Mary, the Mother of God. The Church Fathers often made a connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw her as “the new Eve,” the one who undid the damage done by Eve.

The angel’s greeting to Mary is important here: “Hail Mary, full of grace.” Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive. And Mary’s reply is also significant: “How is this possible, for I do not know man?” There is nothing cowed about Mary.

The angel explains to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” At the heart of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you. The real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the one who loves us. Mary is someone who is ready for the impossible, and this makes her the paradigm of discipleship. “Let it be done to me according to thy word.” That’s an acquiescence to adventure.

“Fasting is not an end in itself but instead is, like prayer and the works of mercy, an expression of who we are before God and in relation to others. Fasting should make us generous, not self-righteous. Lord Jesus, show me the difference between what I truly need and what I may simply want.”

-from Peace and Good

**

“Pope Francis encourages us to recall during this Lenten season that our salvation lies in God alone. We can take comfort in the fact that Jesus himself was tempted by evil things. Seeing his battle with his adversary in more human and less cosmic terms can help us when we’re struggling with temptation.”

-from The Hope of Lent

**

 

“God of life, we are grateful for the many gifts that you have given to us. May we become prudent stewards of your many gifts and not thoughtlessly waste water, food, and other resources. May we respond to your Son’s cry of thirst with lives of peacemaking and just action. We make his prayer in your name. Amen.”

-from The Last Words of Jesus 

**

“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”

— St. Maximilian Kolbe

**

“When will the happy time come when the divine Mary will be established Mistress and Queen of all hearts, in order that she may subject them fully to the empire of her great and holy Jesus? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air? When that time comes, wonderful things will happen in those lowly places where the Holy Ghost, finding His dear spouse, as it were, reproduced, in all souls, shall come in with abundance, and fill them to overflowing with His gifts, and particularly with the gift of wisdom, to work miracles of grace.”

— St. Louis de Montfort

“Lord Jesus, as I travel through my Lenten journey, I confess that I still have far to go on the “road of reconciliation.” Give me the courage I need to follow you, as Saint Teresa did, even when the road is hard. Holy Spirit, work in me so that one day I too might be a saint! Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!”

-from Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta

**

“The Divine Heart is an ocean full of all good things, wherein poor souls can cast all their needs; it is an ocean full of joy to drown all our sadness, an ocean of humility to drown our folly, an ocean of mercy to those in distress, an ocean of love in which to submerge our poverty.”

— St. Margaret Mary

**

“If during vocal prayer your heart is drawn to mental prayer, do not restrain it, but let your devotion take that channel, omitting the vocal prayers which you intended to say: that which takes their place is more acceptable to God, and more useful to your own soul.”

— St. Francis de Sales

Holy Trinity, Blessed Mother & Saint Joseph

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“Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima, our dear Mother in Heaven, please pray for us. Please help our world! We are comforted knowing that your Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

-from Our Lady of Fatima

**

“We have close to us as much as Joseph had at Nazareth; we have our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, but our poor eyes fail to see Him. Let us once become interior souls and we shall immediately see. In no better way can we enter into the Heart of our Lord than through Saint Joseph. Jesus and Mary are eager to pay the debts which they owe him for his devoted care of them, and their greatest pleasure is to fulfill his least desire. Let him, then, lead you by hand into the interior sanctuary of Jesus Eucharistic.”

— St. Peter Julian Eymard

**

“When God breathed His Spirit into Adam, it was not only to make him a living creature. That same Holy Spirit also gave him insight into the things of God. We, as creatures, cannot hope to understand the mysteries of our faith on our own, but with the gift of the Spirit we have an insight into those mysteries from within our own hearts.”

— St. Francis de Sales

**

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“We need the cleansing water of life and of forgiveness. We need to clear the clutter from our hearts and minds. We need to accept pruning and nourishment to grow in God’s grace and perhaps make a fresh start on the journey.”

-from Sacred Silence

**

“Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.”

— St. Louis De Montfort

**

“Many try to fly away from temptations only to fall more deeply into them; for you cannot win a battle by mere flight. It is only by patience and humility that you will be strengthened against the enemy. Those who shun them outwardly and do not pull them out by the roots will make no progress; for temptations will soon return to harass them and they will be in a worse state. It is only gradually—with patience and endurance and with God’s grace—that you will overcome temptations sooner than by your own efforts and anxieties . . . Gold is tried by fire and the upright person by temptation. Often we do not know what we can do until temptation shows us what we are . . . This is how temptation is: first we have a thought, followed by strong imaginings, then the pleasure and evil emotions, and finally consent. This is how the enemy gains full admittance, because he was not resisted at the outset. The slower we are to resist, the weaker we daily become and the stronger the enemy is against us.”

— Thomas à Kempis

 

 

“Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for reward.”

—Prayer of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

**

“It is a lesson we all need—to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path.”
— St. Katharine Drexel

**

“Now there’s no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart who isn’t tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you don’t consent to them. Instead, bear them patiently and calmly with humility and longsuffering.”

— St. Albert the Great

“Living honestly before God and in relation to all creation lessens our sense about what we “deserve.” Gratitude becomes second nature. People are then not seen as competitors for scarce resources but as men and women loved by God as much as we are.”

-from Peace and Good

**

“My prayer is that the good God may establish His absolute reign in your heart and in the hearts of all.”

— St. Julie Billiart

**

“Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy. One can only imagine the shock and bewilderment the Apostles felt when the Lord told them he must go away. Though they could not understand it at the time, his departure was for their benefit. The same is true of the unexpected setbacks and tragedies we experience in this life . . . When I consider the times when I have been confounded by events that seemed so contrary to what I thought God wanted for me, I should be mindful that they were permitted by the Lord’s inscrutable providence for my own good, as difficult as that might be to fathom.”

— Patrick Madrid

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