Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
“Blessed among women”
December 3-9, 2018
MARY: Mother’s presence
To recognize Mary as the mother of God and our mother as we end the year towards the greatest proofs and extremes of love
Objective of the week:
To learn from the living faith of Mary in God as she accompanies us in our missionary endeavor
Mary, without any merit on her part, was full of grace. She did not conquer grace, rather she received it. She knew she was only human, with her limitations and weaknesses. Yet, loved by God, she loved Him in return. She took this as the basis of her response to God with her whole life, both in good and bad times. She rejoiced and trusted in His love amidst the confusion and ambiguity of His message. She gave joyful thanks to God for the great things He has done for her, leading others see how blessed she is.
“The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that "with God nothing will be impossible." It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.” CCC 148
Her willingness to surrender to God’s will is what made Mary our mother. It is her unyielding faith in God’s unfolding plan that inspires us in our mission. “It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ." CCC506
This week, let us learn from the faith of our Mother Mary, how she lived up her yes to God every day, accompanying Jesus and his disciples, until the end of her life. To have a faith that is living is to have it renewed every day.
St. Francis Xavier
“Full of Grace”
The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you! Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant.
The angel said to her,
“Don't be afraid, Mary;
God has been gracious to you.
Mother Mary received grace from God by the way she was living, a simple handmaid of the Lord. It is by this event that we can see how blessed we truly are. Blessed not because we are mighty, but that we serve in the mission.
Have I been thankful to God for the graces I receive every day? Do I allow God's grace to work in me?
St. John of Damascus
“Looked with favor”
My soul is glad because of God my Savior, for he has remembered me, his lowly servant! From now on, all people will call me happy, because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me. His name is holy.
Mary found favor with God by her humility and trust in Him. Her life is an example for us that we do not need to accomplish mighty deeds to find favor with God, for the Lord looks at us not by our accomplishments but by the authenticity of our deeds. In the same way Mary was chosen, God has chosen us too. He calls us to be His instruments to bear Jesus, the Good News to the world.
Do I allow myself to be made low to magnify the work of the Lord in my life?
“Cause of our joy”
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, will always occupy a unique, decisive, indispensable and irreplaceable place in Verbum Dei. Mary, “cause of our joy,” impels and guides the growing rhythm of our life of prayer and apostolate. She directs and determines the development and configuration of our Fraternity in both its ecclesial and universal dimensions.
Mother Mary’s faith in God is an assurance for us that there's hope in what we believe in; that the way we follow is truly where we find joy in God working in our lives. Mary's presence reminds us of the joy of bearing Christ to those we accompany in the mission.
Do we follow with joy? In what moments of our life do Mother Mary help us to find hope and joy?
“Maturity in faith”
How happy you are to believe that the Lord's message to you will come true!”
Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Uncertainty and fear of the future are what drives us down the road of doubt. Mary’s trust in God’s fulfillment of His word assures us that whatever the future brings, we will move onward in the mission with joyful hearts. It is by her faith that we came to know the joy of Christ. God is with us all through the different moments of our life.
How is my attitude toward my faith in the mission? In what ways can I continue to let my faith grow?
“Mother of the living”
2 Kings 4:30
Then the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her.
FMVD Const. 80
Mary, completely and only love, engenders, forms, educates and accompanies along the same steps of Jesus, those willing to follow Him to the greatest proofs and extremes of love. Truly, the substantial change in the life of the person, of being reborn or dying in order to resurrect, passing from selfishness to love, from hatred and individualism to community and fraternity, from the ego to Christ, is impossible to accomplish alone.
As our mother, she accompanies us leading us by the hand towards a new life in following Jesus. She stays with us throughout our lives. Her maternal warmth and devotion resurrects in us our relationship with God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—the Holy Trinity.
Which moments in my reality now am I called to renew or deepen my relationship with God?
Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“Model of the Church”
Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.
Redemptoris Mater 42
As Virgin and Mother, Mary remains for the Church a "permanent model." It can therefore be said that especially under this aspect, namely as a model, or rather as a "figure," Mary, present in the mystery of Christ, remains constantly present also in the mystery of the Church.
The living faith of Mother Mary has inspired us to follow Jesus, not just as disciples but apostles giving ourselves out of love.
In what way does Mother Mary, our model in faith help you to follow with patience, humility, trust, and obedience?
1st Reading – Baruch 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 126
2nd Reading – Phil 1:4-6, 8-11
Gospel – Luke 3:1-6