Revealing the Hidden God

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_AnnunciationToday we recall a moment so incredible, so unique in the history of the world, so all-changing that we genuflect when we speak the words.

And the Word was made flesh.  And dwelt among us.

The invisible Word of God took on human flesh, though He was still hidden from our eyes, microscopically small in the womb of Our Lady.  The Son of God began His work of redemption, our redemption, without anyone, except a poor Virgin, knowing He was here among us.  This has to be one of the most painted moments in all of history, depicted by artists in every age.  And since Our Lord took His human body from only one parent, Mary of Nazareth, they must have looked very similar.  Someone told us once that the artist William Bouguereau would use the same model’s face when painting Our Lady and Jesus, for this very reason.

Both Our Lady and her Divine Son have been imagined by artists for two thousand years.  But what did they really look like?  Is there any way to know?  Today on A Good Habit we will be talking about an ancient relic, which is not without controversy, which may tell us what Jesus actually looked like: The Shroud of Turin.  We will be joined by Jose Juan Garrigo, director of the Shroud Exposition which has been touring the US and is currently in San Antonio.  Please tune in to learn more about the history of the Shroud of Turin, and how science continues to unlock the mystery behind it.  And make time to visit the Shroud Expo while it’s here in town, it’s a great preparation for Holy Week.

God is in love with our smallness

457f48651fa02f2038f24e32db4b11ccMerry Christmas, everyone! With grateful hearts, we are praying to Our Infant Savior for each of you on this joyful day.  Thank you for reading our blog, listening to our radio show, supporting us through our Nonnavita Soap, and, most especially, thank you for praying for us.  May the joy and wonder of the Nativity, which filled the hearts of Our Lady and St. Joseph, fill your hearts, too.

Here is Pope Francis’ homily from Midnight Mass:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Is 9:1).  “An angel of the Lord appeared to [the shepherds] and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Lk  2:9). This is how the liturgy of this holy Christmas night presents to us the birth of the Continue reading

A Model of Joyful Praise

 

Our best model of prayer, praise, and joy is Our Lady, and today we celebrate the feast of her Queenship.  She is the model of true joy, for she was the Mother of Our Lord, Who is the source of all our hope and joy.  Her joy and gratitude to God overflow from her soul so beautifully in the Magnificat that Christians have repeated her words in praise of God since the earliest days of the Church.

Our beautiful Mother is a Queen because she is the Mother of the King of Kings, and she loves to teach us how to praise her Son.  Today we want to share this video from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament’s Facebook page (our old home) – it is guaranteed to lift your spirit and bring joy to your heart.  Like Our Lady with her hymn of praise to God, these radiant ladies are overflowing with love for Jesus.  They made our day, and we hope you enjoy them, too.

The Mirror

According to Matthew 5:8, the “immaculate heart” is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore “sees God”. To be “devoted” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat—“your will be done”—the defining centre of one’s whole life. It might be objected that we should not place a human being between ourselves and Christ. But then we remember that Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: “imitate me” (1 Cor 4:16; Phil 3:17; 1 Th 1:6; 2 Th 3:7, 9). In the Apostle they could see concretely what it meant to follow Christ. But from whom might we better learn in every age than from the Mother of the Lord?  

-From Cardinal Ratzinger’s Theological Commentary on the Third Secret of Fatima

Today let us honor the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady, the only heart in which Our Lord ever found a perfect return of His Love. Her Heart is like a mirror of purest, clearest glass, which most perfectly reflects, without any distortion, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Hers is the heart of a Mother – but not just any mother, God chose her to be the Mother of His Son and our Mother, too.  She never tires of consoling our wounded hearts.  Today, we can love and console Her Heart, as well.

If you’d like to listen to a beautiful homily about Our Lady, though it’s not specifically about today’s feast, click here.

Without Stain


Immaculate Conception engraving

Happy Solemnity!  Even though it’s Monday and most of you have to work, we hope you will find a way to celebrate Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception today.  The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States, and she is also the patroness of our order, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (our order was founded on the very same day that Pope Pius IX defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception – December 8, 1854).

We’re very excited to share a fantastic talk about Our Lady, given by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. We heard this talk live at the Fullness of Truth Conference in San Antonio in August.  We loved it, and we think you will, too.  As an Advent gift Fullness of Truth Evangelization Ministries has made five talks available for free download.  Please pray for them and their success.  It’s been a huge blessing to attend the San Antonio conferences since we moved here, we learn so much from every speaker.

Click below to listen to Fr. Donald Calloway’s talk: The Virgin Mary: The Trinitarian Masterpiece

If you’d like to hear more wonderful talks like this, click here.

In the Cross we find the story of God

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Below are highlights of Pope Francis’ homily for today, courtesy of Vatican Radio:

At the Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Pope Francis said the mystery of the Cross is a great mystery for mankind, a mystery that can only be approached in prayer and in tears.

In his homily, the Pope said that it is in the mystery of the Cross that we find the story of mankind and the story of God, synthesised by the Fathers of the Church in the comparison between the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in Paradise, and the tree of the Cross:

“The one tree has wrought so much evil, the other tree has brought us to salvation, to health. This is the course of the humanity’s story: a journey to find Jesus Christ the Redeemer, who gives His life for love. God, in fact, has not sent the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. This tree of the Cross saves us, all of us, from the consequences of that other tree, where self-sufficiency, arrogance, the pride of us wanting to know all things according to our own mentality, according to our own criteria, and also according to that presumption of being and becoming the only judges of the world. This is the story of mankind: from one tree to the other.”

In the Cross there is the “story of God,” the Pope continued, because we can say that God has a story.” In fact, “He has chosen to take up our story and to journey with us,” becoming man, assuming the condition of a slave and making Himself obedient even to death on a Cross:

“God takes this course for love! There’s no other explanation: love alone does this. Today we look upon the Cross, the story of mankind and the story of God. We look upon this Cross, where you can try that honey of aloe, that bitter honey, that bitter sweetness of the sacrifice of Jesus. But this mystery is so great, and we cannot by ourselves look well upon this mystery, not so much to understand – yes, to understand – but to feel deeply the salvation of this mystery. First of all the mystery of the Cross. It can only be understood, a little bit, by kneeling, in prayer, but also through tears: they are the tears that bring us close to this mystery.”

“Without weeping, heartfelt weeping,” Pope Francis emphasized, we can never understand this mystery. It is “the cry of the penitent, the cry of the brother and the sister who are looking upon so much human misery” and looking on Jesus, but “kneeling and weeping” and “never alone, never alone!”

“In order to enter into this mystery, which is not a labyrinth but resembles one a little bit, we need the Mother, the mother’s hand. That she, Mary, will make us understand how great and humble this mystery is; how sweet as honey and how bitter as aloe. That she will be the one who accompanies us on this journey, which no one can take if not ourselves. Each one of us must take it! With the mother, weeping and on our knees.”

A forceful and urgent call from Pope Francis

Pope Francis is urging Catholics, Christians, and all people of good will to dedicate tomorrow, Saturday September 7th, to prayer and fasting for peace in Syria.  He has been very clear about the gravity of this situation, and we encourage you to join with him, and the faithful around the world, in beseeching God to provide a peaceful resolution.

Click here for the full text of his Sunday Angelus address.