Longing to see His Face — The Expectation of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Every expectant mother shares something with the Blessed Virgin Mary — the longing to see the face of her child.  The mother cannot yet kiss or caress her baby, she cannot hear the sound of a cry, or smell that baby-sweetness, so she waits in loving attentiveness for the stirring of the babe beneath her heart, that fills her with joy and knowledge of the baby’s presence within.

Virgin in Prayer Artist: Sassoferrato 1640-50
Virgin in Prayer
Artist: Sassoferrato
1640-50

During the 3rd week of Advent, on December 18th, in some places in the world the Church celebrates a beautifully contemplative feast which is called the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The feast has it’s origin in the year 656 in Spain and spread throughout the Middle Ages.  Because the ancient law of the Church prohibited the celebration of feasts during Lent, the Church transferred the Feast of the Annunciation from March 25th to the season of Advent.  The Tenth Council of Toledo assigned the feast to the 18th of December.  It was kept as a solemn octave, eight days leading to Christmas.  When the ancient laws regarding fasts were changed, the Annunciation was celebrated twice, on March 25th and December 18th.

On this day and the days leading up to Christmas we are invited to contemplate, together with Mary, the Divine Child within her womb, who is Our Savior.  We too, through sanctifying grace, bear the supernatural image of God within us. Like Mary, we desire to become a peaceful sanctuary for the living God. We are called to be attentive, in prayer, to the faint stirrings of His presence in our hearts, which will fill us with a deep longing to see His Face as we pray:

“Mary, your life with Jesus was one of the purest, most fervent, most perfect emotions of longing and most eager expectation of the Birth of the Divine Child! How great must have been that longing!  You were longing to see the Face of God and to be happy in the vision.  You were soon really to see the Face of God, the created image of divine perfection, the sight of which rejoices heaven and earth, from which all being derive life and joy; the Face whose features enraptured God from all eternity, the Face for which all ages expectantly yearned.  You were to see this Face unveiled, in all the beauty and grace as the face of your own child.  Most just indeed it is, O Holy Mother of God, that we should unite in that ardent desire which you had to see Him, who had been concealed for nine months in your chaste womb; to know the features of this Son of the heavenly Father, who is also your own; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which will give glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will.  Yes, dear Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to satisfy your desires and ours.  Make us re-double our attention to the great mystery; complete our preparation by your powerful prayers for us, so that when the solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our hearts.  Amen.” Prayer by Rev. Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D.

This prayer may be prayed as a Triduum from December 15th to the Feast Day on December 18th, or continue to be prayed on the days leading up to Christmas. 

 

The Mother of God – Her face is resplendent with grace

“How fair you are, O Virgin Mary, Your face is resplendent with grace.”
(from Carmelite Proper)

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Love your mother!

“Our Lady, in whose face–more than any other creature–we can recognize the features of the Incarnate Word.” –Pope Benedict XVI

January 1st is the Feast of Mary, Mother of God.  We are reminded that God the Father chose Mary from all eternity to be the Mother of His Son, Jesus. St. Pope John Paul II reflected upon this mystery of the Incarnation: “If it is The Father’s plan to unite all things in Christ, then the whole of the universe is in some way touched by divine favor with which the Father looks upon Mary and makes her the Mother of His Son.” Mary was created pure and perfect, without any stain of sin.  Jesus loves His Mother above all creatures.  She shared in His suffering and ignominious death on the Cross, from which He gave her to John and to each of us as our Mother.  As the moon reflects the light of the sun, we can see in her face the reflection of the face of her Son, who is God.

There are some who reject this most precious gift of His own Mother.  They slander, mock and revile her, just as they did her Son.  Below is a prayer of reparation for blasphemy against the Mother of God–if you would like to send her a kiss instead of insult, please pray it.

An Act of Reparation for Blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin Mary

Most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother, turn thine eyes in pity upon us, miserable sinners; we are sore afflicted by the many evils that surround us in this life, but especially do we feel our hearts break within us upon hearing the dreadful insults and blasphemies uttered against thee, O Virgin Immaculate, to which we are so frequently constrained to listen.  O how these impious sayings offend the infinite Majesty of God and of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ!  How they provoke His indignation and give us cause to fear the terrible effects of His vengeance!  Would that the sacrifice of our lives might avail to put an end to such outrages and blasphemies; were it so, how gladly we should make it, for we desire, O most holy Mother, to love thee and to honor thee with all our hearts, since this is the will of God.  And just because we love thee, we will do all in our power to make thee honored and loved by all men  In the meantime, do thou, our merciful Mother, the supreme comforter of the afflicted, accept this our act of reparation which we offer thee for ourselves and for all our families, as well as for all who impiously blaspheme thee, not knowing what they say.  Do thou obtain for them from Almighty God the grace of conversion, and thus render more manifest and more glorious thy kindness, thy power and thy great mercy.  May they join with us in proclaiming thee “Blessed Among Women,” the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God.

Hail Mary (three times)

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Our Lady of Czestochowa, with slash marks from the sword of a Hussite raider.

 

Happy Feast of The Expectation of The Blessed Virgin Mary

… Longing to See His Face!

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Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds. And blessed forever be his glorious name; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.

Today we unite ourselves with The Blessed Virgin Mary, in her longing to see the Face of her Son and her God.  Below is an excerpt from The Feasts of Mary by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, SVD:

“Mary, Mother of God, make my interior life of union with Jesus more like your own. After Holy Communion Jesus is with me as God and Man, with His Body and Blood, soul and divinity. Jesus is in me, too, through sanctifying grace, I bear within me the supernatural image of the Divine Sonship. He works in my soul by His grace. He forms Himself in me by supernatural principles, which He implants in my mind; by supernatural intentions and meritorious actions. He follows up in my heart also the aim that brought Him into your womb—He wishes to be born in me, to grow, rule, and reveal Himself. Thus my soul in sanctifying grace is always, in a spiritual manner, like your womb—a sanctuary of the living God!”

“I earnestly want to be filled with the dispositions in which you expected the coming of the Savior and thus prepare myself for His coming into my soul by faith and divine charity, as well as for His coming at the hour of my death and judgment. In union with you may my heart yield itself up to childlike confidence in Jesus so that the graces of His Nativity may be brought to my soul in abundance, and He may be born anew within my heart.”

Let us also remember to pray today for all expectant mothers and unborn babies.  O Jesus, whose Holy Face was formed and hidden for nine months in the womb of The Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother, have mercy on us!  Happy Feast Day!