Marian Apparitions

A part of our Catholic tradition includes appearances (apparitions) of the Blessed Virgin Mother, most famous of the many are Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fátima, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, to name a few. These appearances can be approved as “worthy of belief” by the local bishop or by the Vatican. The Church does not require belief in any apparition or other private revelation. However, she does exercise her maternal judgment for the protection of the faithful in declaring some apparitions to be inauthentic, others to be “worthy of belief.” Investigations into alleged apparitions are rigorous, and not done lightly. Continue reading

The Assumption of Mary

Much of our religious consciousness is affected by art; we have inherited specific images that are more artistic than biblical.  For example, we always imagine St. Paul being knocked from a horse on the Damascus Road.  There is no mention of the horse in scripture.  Is that a bid deal? Perhaps not.  But when Caravaggio placed Paul on the horse, a sign of privilege or royalty, he removed Paul from the midst of Corinth, the hard-scrabbled sea port town, from among the drunks, slackards, ner-do-wells, and people who sorely needed salvation. Continue reading

Pope Francis on Mary, Mother of God

popeHere is the full text of Pope Francis’s homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days.  Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.  Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history.  She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son.  In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God.  With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise.  With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people. Continue reading

The Solemnity of the Assumption

Much of our religious consciousness is affected by art; we have inherited specific images that are more artistic than biblical.  For example, we always imagine St. Paul being knocked from a horse on the Damascus Road.  There is no mention of the horse in scripture.  Is that a bid deal? Perhaps not.  But when Caravaggio placed Paul on the horse, a sign of privilege or royalty, he removed Paul from the midst of Corinth, the hard-scrabbled sea port town, from among the drunks, slackards, ner-do-wells, and people who sorely needed salvation. Continue reading