Spiritual Crusade – Day 16

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This is day 16 of our spiritual crusade. Please join us in prayer for the protection of unborn children in Ireland and in your own country. 

Intention: to obtain from God, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that Ireland may be entirely delivered from the evil of abortion and that the bishops may be granted the grace to preach the gospel fearlessly and to defend unborn children with all their strength.

Prayer: Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

A reflection on the First Joyful Mystery – The Annunciation

“When the Eternal Word decreed to come on earth, He did not purpose, He did not work, by halves; but He came to be a man like any of us, to take a human soul and body, and to make them His own. He did not come in a mere apparent or accidental form, as angels appear to men; nor did He merely over-shadow an existing man, as He overshadows His saints, and call Him by the name of God; but He ‘was made flesh’. He attached to Himself a manhood, and became as really and truly man as He was God, so that henceforth He was both God and man, or, in other words, He was One Person in two natures, divine and human. This is a mystery so marvellous, so difficult, that faith alone firmly receives it; the natural man may receive it for a while, may think he receives it, but never really receives it; begins, as soon as he has professed it, secretly to rebel against it, evades it, or revolts from it. This he has done from the first; even in the lifetime of the beloved disciple men arose who said that our Lord had no body at all, or a body framed in the heavens, or that He did not suffer, but another suffered in His stead, or that He was but for a time possessed of the human form which was born and which suffered, coming into it at its baptism, and leaving it before its crucifixion, or, again, that He was a mere man. That ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,’ was too hard a thing for the unregenerate reason.”

“Now, if you would witness against these unchristian opinions, if you would bring out distinctly and beyond mistake and evasion, the simple idea of the Catholic Church that God is man, could you do it better than by laying down in St. John’s words that ‘God became man’? and again could you express this more emphatically and unequivocally than by declaring that He was born a man, or that He had a Mother? The world allows that God is man; the admission costs it little, for God is everywhere, and (as it may say) is everything; but it shrinks from confessing that God is the Son of Mary. It shrinks, for it is at once confronted with a severe fact, which violates and shatters its own unbelieving view of things; the revealed doctrine forthwith takes its true shape, and receives an historical reality; and the Almighty is introduced into His own world at a certain time and in a definite way. Dreams are broken and shadows depart; the Divine truth is no longer a poetical expression, or a devotional exaggeration, or a mystical economy, or a mythical representation.”

“And hence it was, that, when time went on, and the bad spirits and false prophets grew stronger and bolder, and found a way into the Catholic body itself, then the Church, guided by God, could find no more effectual and sure way of expelling them than that of using this word Deipara [Mother of God] against them; and, on the other hand, when they came up again from the realms of darkness, and plotted the utter overthrow of Christian faith in the sixteenth century, then they could find no more certain expedient for their hateful purpose than that of reviling and blaspheming the prerogatives of Mary, for they knew full well that, if they could once get the world to dishonour the Mother, the dishonour of the Son would follow close. The Church and Satan agreed together in this, that Son and Mother went together; and the experience of three centuries has confirmed their testimony, for Catholics who have honoured the Mother, still worship the Son”

– Bl. John Henry Newman, “The Glories of Mary for the Sake of Her Son”, Discourses to Mixed Congregations