Flee to Adore Him

Joy of Mary: Adoration of the Magi
By Thomas Conroy

The Adoration of the Magi, Fra Angelico

“Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
Colossians 3:2

“After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Mattew  2:9-11

Blessed be God!

In the adoration of the Magi we see the splendor of faith, three kings, princes of their people, bowing down before a plain child in a manger. Their view was not of earthly goods and power, but those of above. As St. Thomas says in his commentary on the gospel of St. Matthew: “seeing worthless things, and considering the things most high, they were moved to admiration, and adored him.”(Commentary on Matthew)

It was not earthly riches that they sought, not looking for an ostentatious display of wealth and luxury. They found not the lavishness of Herod’s palace or the splendor of Caesar’s abode but a humble dwelling and a poor woman tending her child. The treasure they were seeking was infinitely more precious than anything this poor earth could offer. “Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand.” (Wis 7:9)

It was not worldly show or honor that they sought, for they found that in Jerusalem, with Herod the Great and all his counselors, and all the pomp and circumstances that befits royal dignity. For what this King desired was not titles but humility, not worldly esteem but rather true love. And it was this glory, the glory of God Incarnate, that they sought.

It was not earthly wisdom that they sought, there was no Solomon the Wise with his majesty and splendor, whose regal wisdom people from lands far away came to hear. They may have heard of the wisdom of the Greeks, of Athens and the Areopagus where truly wise men come to hear words of erudition from silver tongued philosophers. Instead, they found their wisdom on the lips of a stammering babe.

It was, perhaps, the greatest deference and respect any worldly authority or figure of importance showed Him over the course of his entire written life. All the other great kings and rulers either dismiss Him or let Him be killed. But it was these pilgrims who saw and recognized the true King, coming in humble form.

His first coming was in poverty, ignored and hated by the world and recognized by only a few who were given true knowledge. His next coming will be in glory and seen by all, and He will be surrounded by angels and the powers of heaven.“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev 22:1) Come, Lord Jesus!

 

The Flight into Egypt, Fra Angelico

Sorrow of Mary: The Flight into Egypt
By Victoria Clarizio

“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.”
Habakkuk 2:3

 

Our faith is full of paradoxes. The ways of God are so mysterious and our vision is so limited. How often are we baffled by the way He allows things to unfold, only to discover why months or years later? The irony of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt could not have been lost on Mary, whose faith was greater than ours. She must have had a clearer sense of the way God had been working, putting everything into place throughout the history of her people, to be fulfilled by the birth of her Son.

When in a dream, Joseph was told to take his family into Egypt, how could they not think of the significance of this command? Their people had fought so hard, suffered so much at the hands of the Egyptians, and had finally escaped. Yet, God was telling them to go back.

Even how the Israelites had ended up in Egypt in the first place is significant. In the story of the first Joseph we see how God allows certain things to take place to fulfill His plan. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. But when a famine struck Egypt and the surrounding lands, Joseph was given supernatural wisdom to know how to preserve grain so that the people would not starve. When Joseph reveals to his brothers that he is alive and well, he tells them not to regret what they did. God worked a greater good out of their sinful actions. As the first Joseph preserved the earthly grain, so Joseph, the husband of Mary, preserved the heavenly grain which would become the Eucharist, the bread of life.

The first Joseph brought his people to Egypt but many years later the Pharaoh became afraid that the Israelites would rebel, so he killed all of their first born sons. Out of fear of Jesus, Herod made the same decree as the Egyptian Pharaoh – that all male Israelite infants in Bethlehem should be murdered.

In Matthew’s gospel the phrase is often repeated, “so that the scriptures would be fulfilled.” This phrase points to the fact that God allows certain things in His wisdom to fulfill His plan of salvation. Mary pondered all of this and must have wondered at the strange and mysterious ways that God chooses to save us. She is the only one who can perfectly balance immense sorrow for the death of these innocent babies with complete trust that God brings good out of every tragedy and uses them to bring about the fulfillment of His plans.

When we are faced with trials and wonder why God is allowing a certain suffering in our lives, let us have the faith of Mary, who “believed that what was spoken to [her] by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Born in Love

Joy of Mary: Nativity of Jesus

The Nativity of Our Lord
By Patrick Kelly

“You will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and he will be named Jesus” ~ Luke 1:31

The Nativity, Fra Angelico

When we contemplate the Blessed Mother’s role in the Nativity of Our Lord, we witness the joy that it is to be found when we cooperate and surrender to the will of God as opposed to being forced arbiters of our own will.

Mary, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, possessed all the grace necessary to bring God’s Son into the world. This of course is revealed by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and he will be named Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Surely there were things Mary was concerned about: When will the baby be born? Where will the baby be born? Where will the baby sleep? What will the baby wear? All of these concerns are all practical and understandable. Surely the angel sensed this when he told her: “Do not be afraid.” (Luke 1:30). Like any mother, Mary wants to make sure that her child is well cared for throughout her pregnancy and after His birth.

Mary’s love and cooperation with God’s will, brought forth Jesus into the world: “and the word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Because of Mary’s hope in God’s will, Jesus was born and brought forth the world’s redemption. If we are like Mary and surrender ourselves to God’s will, what can Our Lord accomplish through us?

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary

The Crucifixion, Fra Angelico

The Hill
By Gretchen Erlichman

“And when they came to a place called Golgotha, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.” ~ Matthew 27:33

At the Nativity, Christ was born into the world to save it: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17) Christ came into the world to save it by the Cross and, through His Death and Resurrection, He merited salvation for all mankind. He came into a broken and sinful world to save it and it was the world that condemned Him to death on the Cross. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 ) It was by Love that we have been saved. Let us unite our hearts to that of the Blessed Mother and reflect on this Love:

The Hill
By Gretchen Erlichman

He walked the hill with the weight of a cross;
The hill that felt more like a mountain,
Under the weight of my sin.

Here I lay, crumpled at the foot of Him who is the Godhead,
I can smell the loam,
As my salty tears mingle with the freshly dug clay.

Salt and earth;
The Salt of the Earth,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

I look upward and He gazes downward.
The space so great between the Creator and His creature,
Diminished by the emptying of Himself into humanity.

Creator become human;
Creator of all Humanity,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

Both of our faces are stained with droplets,
Sparkling tears upon my cheek,
Crimson blood upon His brow.

Water and blood;
Blood and Water which flows from the side,
Of Him who hangs on the wood of the Cross.

Our eyes meet,
I cannot bear His piercing gaze;
His eyes so full of mercy,
My eyes so full of shame.

Shame and mercy;
He who is Mercy for the shameful,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

And in that gaze so full of light,
My darkened soul,
To day from night.

Darkness and light;
He who turns all darkness to light,
Hangs on the wood of the Cross.

And as my heart cries out in silence,
And as my God cries out in pain,
I cannot bear the love He bore,
For love of me.

“It is finished.”

 

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Announcements of Joy & Prophecies of Sorrow; Declarations of Love

Joy of Mary: The Annunciation

An Announcement of Renouncement; Sanctity, Surrender, and a Little Bit of Skepticism
By Gretchen Erlichman

“’Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” ~ Luke 1:38

Annunciation, Fra Angelico

The Annunciation is one of the most profound mysteries of our faith. Yet, as we ponder in awe at this beautiful doctrine, we may consider that even the Blessed Mother was filled with wonderment at the mystery of her virginal motherhood. Mary was chosen by God to be His mother; she was immaculately conceived and was sanctified by the gift of grace bestowed on her by the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel greeted her with respect for her sanctified predilection and announced her miraculous maternity: “‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you’…you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:28-32) Upon hearing these words, even the Blessed Mother herself could not help but humbly question this mysterious truth: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34) This is not a question of doubt, like that of Zechariah, but a question of understanding the power of God, a clarifying inquiry into her already strong belief in His almighty power. She was concerned, confused, and probably frightened at the thought of bearing a child with seemingly no explanation. In response, Gabriel simply replied: “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you…for nothing is impossible with God.’” (Luke 1:35-37) And at this, Mary replied with total and utter surrender: “‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)

How was Mary able to respond with such swift sincerity and joyful submission? How did she so meekly conform her intentions and calmly avert her skeptical fears? Yes, she had received immeasurable graces from God to be His mother, but she also surrendered her will to the workings of the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which she committed a beautiful and selfless act of faith. It was by this faith that she entered into the mystery of her divine motherhood. So too, it is by an act of faith that each of us can enter into the mysteries of our faith. St. John Chrysostom speaks to this necessity of faith: “We know this is a mystery through faith, not one that can be studied in various ways. We venerate the mystery, not a joining together. We theologize a mystery, not a study. We confess a mystery, we do not count it.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on the Annunciation) Therefore, in our efforts to be ever more like the Blessed Mother in our conformity to God’s will, let us pray to the Holy Spirit that He may grant us the gift of faith. Let us implore the Lord for the faith necessary to renounce our own will and open our hearts to the announcement of His love; for in setting aside our skepticism and self-interest, we may receive the grace to enter into a sanctified life of surrender and, in joyful submission, our souls will sing and our ‘spirits will rejoice in God, our Savior.’ (cf. Luke 1:47)

 

Sorrow of Mary: The Prophesy of Simeon

“And You Yourself a Sword Will Pierce”
By Patrick Kelly

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” ~John 3:16

The Presentation in the Temple, Fra Angelico

Our Lady’s first sorrow comes from the Prophecy of Simeon which occurred forty days after Our Lord’s birth. Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus to be presented to the Lord in the temple, as was the custom. Saint Luke’s Gospel tells us that while the Holy Family was in the temple, Simeon identifies Jesus as the Messiah. Simeon then says to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)

Nobody likes to see or experience suffering. Moreover, nobody likes to be told that they are going to suffer. However, we as Christians know all too well that suffering goes hand in hand with love. This comes directly from God the Father, who sent His only begotten Son into the world in order to redeem the world: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) In order to redeem the world, the Son suffered the intense physical agony and pain of dying on the Cross. The anguish of Our Lord’s Passion, precedes His triumph over death.

When we are faced with any kind of suffering, how are we to respond? Let us look to Our Lady, who listens and trusts in the Lord while uniting her sufferings to those of her Son, who renews all things.

 

About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick

 

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 

 

 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Institution of The Eucharist: In the Presence of Christ

Satiated By Love
By Gretchen Erlichman

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

The Eucharist is the gift of Christ Himself to the Church. Ah, and what a gift He is! The God of all creation, condescended to humanity, suffered, died, and was buried, before gloriously rising, all for the purpose of our salvation. Yet, this act of love did not cease in Christ’s  great sacrifice on Calvary, but has eternal union with the re-presentation of His Passion in Sacrifice of the Mass, in which bread and wine are changed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord  Jesus Christ.  The Catechism of Catholic Church states that, “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” (CCC 124) Indeed, it is through this gift of Himself in the Eucharist that Christ satiates our hunger and thirst for Him. As human beings created in the image and likeness of God, our very essence was created in such a way that we are inclined toward Him in love. Yet, by the consequence of our concupiscence, we often blindly stray from that which will satisfy us. In doing so, we become lacking in the fullness of our humanity and become numb to our spiritual needs. In John’s Gospel, Christ tells us: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35) Yet, if we deny our desire for Him we become as those who St. Augustine describes as refusing this invitation to life: “They had the jaws of their heart languid; with open ears they were deaf, they saw and stood blind. This bread, indeed, requires the hunger of the inner man…” (St. Augustine, Tractate 26 on the Gospel of John). Let us then respond to our hunger and thirst by taking part in the Paschal Banquet, by which we eat Christ’s Flesh, which is true food, and drink Christ’s Blood, which is true drink. (cf. John 6:55)

The Last Supper, The Church of St. Mary and St. Lambert – Stonham Aspal, Suffolk

For in this sacrament of the Eucharist, we partake in Christ’s great act of love, which is His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. The institution of the Eucharist is intricately inseparable from this act of love in that it occurs in harmony with the trajectory of our salvation. St. Thomas states: “The Eucharist is the perfect sacrament of our Lord’s Passion, as containing Christ crucified; consequently it could not be instituted before the Incarnation; but then there was room for only such sacraments as were prefigurative of the Lord’s Passion.” (ST III, Q.73, A.5) It is through this Sacrament of Love, it is through the Eucharist, that we participate in the love of the Trinity, extended to us by the reception of Christ in Holy Communion. The sacrifice of the Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice on the Cross, in which there takes place an offering of the Son, to the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In receiving the Eucharist, we receive this Love, in which “the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC 1374); we receive into our human bodies the gift of God Himself. He is truly present to us in this Sacrament and He joins us to Himself by our reception of Him. Let us pray for the grace to receive Him in faith and realize that our hunger and thirst will be satisfied; that, in receiving and adoring the Eucharist, we will be satiated by Love.

 

 

The Bread of Life
By Phillip Baker

“I am the bread of life… whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:48, 51)

At every moment of the day on altars throughout the world, Our Lord becomes Incarnate in the Eucharistic offering. As once of old He stood on earth and was Incarnate in the womb of the Virgin, so He is Incarnate in the hands of His priests now.

We rightly call the Eucharist the Bread of Life and the offering of our salvation, but it is these things because it is the Body and Blood of Christ. “For unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you,” and it is “the blood as life that makes atonement” (Jn 6:53, Lv 17:11). And surely the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of God because Jesus Himself took bread and wine and said “this is my body which will be given for you… this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you” (Lk 22:19-20). As no covenant is established without blood, so the Eucharistic cup must be the Blood of Christ – “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (cf. Heb 9:18, 1 Cor 11:26). What does it mean to “proclaim the death of the Lord” but that His one sacrifice is made present again on the altar?

Truly His Body and Blood, Jesus intended for us not just to reverence Him, present in the Eucharist, but to eat Him, too. “For my flesh is true food,” He says, and food is meant to be eaten (Jn 6:55). Our Lord does not give us mere food, mere manna, though, but His very life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood;” therefore Christ is alive in the Eucharist because it is His flesh and blood (Lv 17:11). And because we consume the Body and Blood of Christ, we consume Him, fully alive, and He thereby gives us to share in His life.

This truth – that Jesus Christ, God and man – is present in the Eucharist, is not something available to our senses. “Seeing, touching, tasting are in Thee deceived,” St. Thomas prays, for we cannot sense our Lord present in the Eucharist (“Adoro Te Devote”). While some people are given the grace to sensibly know the presence of God in the Eucharist, most are not. Therefore, when our senses are scandalized that we worship what appears to be a piece of bread, Our Lord opens our soul to see that what many wrongly say is just a symbol and mere bread and wine is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus and therefore the Real Presence of God among us. It is in this way that Jesus is “with [us] always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). The Eucharist itself is an open invitation to have faith in God, for when our senses misconstrue that what we see is bread and wine, we can, instead, devoutly fall to our knees before our Eucharistic God and proclaim from the depths of our soul “my Lord, and my God!”

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Transfiguration: Transfigured By Light of Love

The Mountain of God
By Phillip Baker

“When Christ appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (cf. 1 Jn 3:2).

Mountains, in Scripture, are places of encounter with God. Moses went up Sinai and saw the Glory of the Lord, and the Glory of the Lord passed by Elijah, hid in a cleft on Mount Horeb (cf. Ex 24:12-18, 1 Kgs 19:9-18). When Jesus goes up Mount Tabor, there is a theophany, or a self-revealing of God. The Luminous mysteries reflect on, to some extent, revelations of Who Jesus is – He is God’s Beloved Son, the Bridegroom Who provides new wine in abundance, the long-awaited King of Israel, and here, in the Transfiguration, He shows us that He is God Himself. On Tabor, Jesus reveals that He possesses the glory proper to God – this is what Luke means when he says the Apostles “saw His glory” (Lk 9:32).

Jesus is God, “the fountain of life” in Whose light “we see light” (Ps 38:10). That light changes and transfigures us, fixes and transforms us in God; that light is Jesus, “the true light, which enlightens everyone,” for “what came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race” (Jn 1:9, 3-4). Jesus reveals Himself as God, sharing in the fullness of glory proper to God alone. He exudes light and life, and in His light He shows us the pathways of His commandments and changes us to be like Him.

For Jesus is not just another Moses, nor is He just another prophet. Rather, He Who is transfigured in a cloud on the mountaintop is the same One Who gave Moses the Law from a cloud on Sinai. He Who is speaking to Elijah is the One Who passed Elijah by on Horeb. He is God and God with us, God become Man. Therefore, He is not a distant and unsympathetic God. The god who makes the world and abandons it to run on its own is a definitively non-Christian misconception, for this God of ours is one Who touches His frightened disciples and says “Rise, and do not be afraid” before leading them down into the plain (Mt 17:7). Jesus is God, and He is our Lover, Who stays with us, even as He leads us unto the Cross. Jesus prepares His apostles for “His exodus,” wherein He will free us from slavery to sin. By showing them His glory in this moment, He reassures them that His Passion will end with His glorification (Lk 9:31).

That message is the same for us. Our Lord, our Love, gives us a message of hope in this mystery: the journey up the mountain is hard, but, if we ascend the mount of Calvary with Him – if we “deny [ourselves] and take up [our] crosses daily” – we will see His glory (Lk 9:23). Not only that, but we will see that glory He revealed to His apostles on Tabor and share in it ourselves. For the Lamb is the light of the City of God, and His people “will look upon His face… night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light,” the light of the Son (Rev 22:4-5).

 

 

Transfigured in Trinitarian Love
By Gretchen Erlichman

“About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” ~Luke 9:28-29

The Transfiguration, though veiled in mystery, sheds great light on our sharing in Christ’s glory. By Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection – which all coalesce in the greatest act of love – we are invited to partake in the transformative grace of Baptism, by which we come to dwell within the love of the Trinity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church brings to our attention the way in which Christ’s own life reflects this mingling of mystery and love: “On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus’ baptism proclaimed “the mystery of the first regeneration”, namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration “is the sacrament of the second regeneration”: our own Resurrection. From now on we share in the Lord’s Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he ‘will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body.’” (CCC 556 ) St. Thomas beautifully details how the Holy Trinity was made wonderfully manifest in this mystery: “The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud.” (ST III, 45, 4, ad 2.) Christ “went up the mountain to pray,” taking Peter, James, and John, and His glory as the Second Person of the Trinity was sensibly made known to them; they were given a foretaste of the sweetness of this love of the Trinity. So too, in our faithful witness to the truth of this mystery, we can begin to taste the sweetness of the spiritual life by uniting our hearts to this Trinitarian love through prayer.

At the Transfiguration, Christ ascended the mountain, away from the chaos of the crowds and the exhaustion of preaching, and entered into the silence and solitude of prayer in manifest union with the whole of the Trinity. We are also invited into this union of Love and are given the opportunity to be transformed, if we but only retreat from our frenzied existence and rest in the simplicity of the Lord. In a homily on the mystery of the Transfiguration, St. Augustine reflects on how Peter must have reacted to the sweetness of this restful love in comparison to the bitter-sweet activity of his apostolate: “He had been wearied with the multitude, he had found now the mountain’s solitude; there he had Christ the Bread of the soul.” (St. Augustine, Homily on the Transfiguration) In prayer, when we seclude ourselves from the diversions of the  world and enter into the contemplation of spiritual goods, we begin to taste the love of God, which is true food for our souls; we become satiated by the love of the Trinity. Let us then pray for the grace and the strength to go “up the mountain to pray.” Let us follow in the footsteps of Christ so that, when, by His grace,  we reach the precipice, we may be transformed by the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

Support future Dominicans!

Prostration during solemn professions.

Greetings in Christ Jesus!

I hope you are well and staying healthy during this pandemic. Despite the upheaval in our daily routines, the flow of prayer and work in the cloister has continued for the salvation of souls. Know that you have remained in my prayers during this difficult time!

I am writing to ask for your support again. The current Labouré Class can use a final push in these last weeks of their campaign, which ends in only 2 weeks on June 30. Four of the candidates are aspiring to be future Dominicans in the Eastern Province! Below you will find videos and links that will introduce you to a few of these hopeful Dominican aspirants.

Just as you supported me in my vocation, would you consider supporting these men with a monetary gift? 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Know of mine for you as we continue to offer the praise of the Church to God in the liturgy and in our study.

In St. Dominic,
Br. Vincent


Support future Dominicans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Proclamation of the Kingdom; Proclaiming the Life of the Gospel

The Gospel of Peace
By Gretchen Erlichman

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace…” ~Romans 10:15

At first blush, the Proclamation of the Kingdom may seem to be a somewhat expansive mystery upon which to meditate. This assumption would be correct, as this particular mystery covers the entirety of Christ’s public ministry, but, even more so, the entirety of Christ’s humanity. The mystery of the Incarnation, itself, proclaims the Kingdom of God and beckons us to share in the light of the living Word. The very first words that Our Lord utters in the Gospel of Mark proclaim this very fact: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Although there is no exact historical timeline that aligns all four Gospels, this moment of proclamation in Mark’s Gospel was made at the very beginning of Christ’s public ministry in Galilee. Even before He performed many public miracles, by which word of Him spread far and wide, Christ proclaimed that the “kingdom of God is at hand,” that He, who is God, has come as ruler over all.  Proclaiming this at such a moment during His ministry draws our attention to the consideration that His sovereignty in the Kingdom is not wholly defined by His wondrous miracles or His vibrant words, but that these things blossom from the act of love that is His humanity; that He is the ‘Word made flesh Who dwelt among us’ (cf. John 1:14)  and it was in condescending to our  humanity that Christ fully proclaims the Kingdom of God; it is in this act of love that He invites us to change ourselves and embrace His gospel of peace.

Sermon on the Mount, Credit: depositphotosIn the letter to the Romans, St. Paul proclaims the wondrous mission of living out Christ’s teachings and spreading the joyful news of His love: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15) St. Paul is referring to the very same gospel that Christ preached to His disciples. During His earthly life, Our Lord, as the second person of the Trinity, acted in the fullness of God, with the Holy Spirit and the Father, to proclaim this peace: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) These words of Christ encapsulate the gospel of peace that was preached by His every thought, act, and spoken word. In mediating on the whole of Christ’s life, we come to see that He proclaimed His kingdom by simply living His Divine life here on earth. He lived to the fullest the greatest commandments that He preached: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31) This is the fullness of the Christian life! It is in following Christ’s example that we are called to change ourselves and conform ourselves evermore to Christ in order to live out this gospel of peace. Particularly in the struggles that plague our world today, we are called to follow Christ’ example and go out as ‘sheep in the midst of wolves’ to proclaim the gospel of peace with our lives. (cf. Matt. 10:16) Therefore, let us go forth and share the good news of the Gospel; let us go forth and share the good news of Christ!


Metanoeite
By Phillip Baker

“A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit” (Ps 51:12)

After His Baptism, St. Mark recounts that Jesus “came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: … ‘The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel’” (Mk 1:14-15). The word which we translate as “repent” in Greek is “metanoeite,” or “metanoia” – according to Merriam Webster, this means “a transformative change of heart” (Merriam-Webster.com). So when Our Lord calls us to repent, He does not call us to mend just our ways, but our whole way of being. He does not call us to mere ritual observance of the rules of the Old Covenant, but to a complete change of heart. He calls us to beat our breasts and, like a tax collector, say, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk 18:13). Our hearts of stone must break and must be turned back to our Father – as the Lord says through the prophet Malachi “return to Me, that I may return to you” (Mal 3:7).

For “the kingdom of God is at hand” but it “is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit” (Mk 1:15, Rom 14:17). What St. Paul means is that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of keeping ritual laws, but of having new hearts – of love of God and faith in the Son, which leads us to keep His commandments, for “whoever loves me will keep my word” (Jn 14:23). It is obedience that the Father wants, after the image of His son, who “though He was in the form of God did not regard equality with God something to be grasped” (Phil 2:6). This is a change from the decay of sin in our hearts which leads us to pride and disobedience, that we might wish to become “like gods” (Gn 3:5). Only in this way – by a complete change of heart and willing obedience to the Father’s Will – can we live as children of light.

We are often overwhelmed by the darkness of the world, but we cannot overcome it on our own. “Thoughts and prayers” are not enough to overcome the darkness. This is not because prayer is insufficient, but because our “thoughts,” no matter how well-intentioned, have no potency in themselves. Where do our thoughts take us but back into our own sinfulness? Our problem is not that we pray too often, but that we do not pray enough, for it is God alone Who, by His grace, can “create a clean heart for [us]” (Ps 51:12). “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:14). “So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees;” “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Heb 12:12, Mk 1:15). Only in this way – through humbly coming to God through His Church and His sacraments – can the Kingdom of God be inaugurated in our hearts and we finally live as children of the light.

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Wedding at Cana; Feasting with Christ

An Abundance of Blessings
By Phillip Baker

“The mountains shall drip with the juice of the grapes, and all the hills shall run with it.” (Am 9:13)

The Synoptic Gospels’ account of the Baptism of Our Lord reveal Who Christ is as the beloved Son of the Father; however, John does not have an account of Our Lord’s Baptism. Instead, St. John recounts the Wedding Feast at Cana, where Jesus turns 120 to 180 gallons of water into wine. The overabundance of this miracle recalls the prophecy of Amos, who says to a falling House of Israel: “the days are coming (when)… the mountains shall drip with the juice of the grapes, and all the hills shall run with it. I will restore my people, Israel…” (Am 9:13-14). This prophecy comes after God promises through Amos that although He will scatter Israel into exile for their sins, He will call them back and re-establish them under a King from the house of David.

The Wedding at Cana, Stained-Glass Window – St. Mary’s Church (Dayton, Ohio)

Jesus is that King, “the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star” Who leads God’s scattered people back into one fold (Rev 22:16). He is the Good Shepherd Who gathers God’s scattered brood under His wings so that “there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus expounds again and again what He reveals first at Cana: He is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies, and He has come to establish a New Covenant.

The Covenant that Our Lord establishes is a marriage covenant between man and God – Jesus shows this in revealing Himself at a wedding. For by sending His Spirit upon the Church, He incorporates His disciples into His Body, His Bride, so that the Church is “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:6). In the abundance of wine our Lord transfigures, He shows the abundance of the blessings He will shower upon His people. And the greatest blessing He will lavish upon us will be the blood He will shed in abundance upon the Cross. For no covenant is established without blood, and His is the blood of the new and everlasting covenant (cf. Heb9:18). The wine at Cana foreshadows His blood that will appear as wine upon the altars of the new covenant, in Masses throughout the world even until the end of the ages. What shall appear fully in time is foreshadowed in Cana.

The jars that carried the water were jars for ceremonial washing. In the Old Covenant, a number of things could make a person unclean, which meant they were unfit for participation in communal worship. By changing the water into wine, which is a symbol of His Blood, Jesus shows that the ceremonial washing of the Old Covenant is done away with. “For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings;” what good are our sacrifices and offerings if we worship with unclean hearts (Hos 6:6)? Yet washing with mere water cannot purify our hearts for God. What shall purify our hearts but the blood of Christ, given in abundance, the abundance of “blood and water flowing” from His side (Jn 19:34)?

 

 

Water to Wine & Wine to Blood; A Prefiguration of Salvation
By Gretchen Erlichman

“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.”  ~John 2:11

The event of the Wedding at Cana wonderfully prefigures Christ’s offering of Himself for our salvation and His invitation to the faithful to share in His Divine Life. Not only was this event Christ’s first miracle of His public ministry, but this miraculous occurrence plays into the whole of understanding His glory and the way He has made an eternal offering of Himself for the salvation of mankind. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.” (CCC 1335) It is through this miracle that Christ realizes the invitation to His eternal mercy and love. It is in this invitation that He speaks to our hearts saying: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:56)

The miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana is incorporated into the whole of Christ’s salvific act of love in that it speaks of His glory and omnipotence over all of creation. At Cana, Christ, in a singular moment, turned water into wine, which was usually something that happens over a longer period of time. In the usual course, the grapes are grown, pruned, and collected, all the time being nurtured by the care of the gardener and nature, and are eventually crushed and fermented to make wine. However, at the wedding feast, Christ displayed His command over all things in that, in an instant, the water became fine wine. St. John Chrysostom says: “But now to show that it is He who transmutes water in the vine plants, and who converts the rain by its passage through the root into wine, He effected that in a moment at the wedding which in the plant is long in doing.” (Homily 22 on the Gospel of John) Just as the water was turned to wine in a singular miraculous moment at Cana, so too did Christ merit our redemption in a singular act of love. At the wedding feast, Christ turned water into wine to publicly invite us into the mystery of His life; at the Last Supper, Christ turned wine into His Blood to invite us into the abundance of His mercy; on the Cross, blood and water poured out of His pierced side to invite us to share in His Divine Life.

Furthermore, the wine that was served at the wedding feast at Cana was the finest wine the wedding master had ever tasted; it was the wine of nature perfected by the intervention of the Savior. St. John Chrysostom says that “for such are the miraculous works of Christ, they are far more perfect and better than the operations of nature…it was wine then, and the best of wine, that had been made, not the servants only, but the bridegroom and the ruler of the feast would testify…” (Homily 22 on the Gospel of John) So too, it is through Christ that we are raised to perfection, despite the weakness of our human nature and the effects of our concupiscence. Christ offers Himself in such a way that we are perfected by His love and mercy. Thus, in reflecting on the Wedding at Cana, let us consider how the miracle of the wine at the wedding feast prefigures Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into His body and blood at the Last Supper, by which we are perfected and given a share in His Divine Life.

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

The Baptism of the Lord; The Father’s Beloved

Changed By Christ; Baptized With Water, Marked With Love
By Gretchen Erlichman

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.” ~Matthew 3:13

Through baptism we are incorporated into the love of Christ and the life of the Church. In being washed by the waters of Baptism, we are forever changed and are sealed with an indelible spiritual mark, or character, that enables us to participate in a full sharing in the life of the Church. It was in Christ’s own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan that this sacrament of initiation was instituted to enable us to share in the Divine Life of the Trinity and to conform ourselves evermore to Christ. St. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the early Church Fathers, puts this beautifully: “…we in receiving Baptism, in imitation of our Lord and Teacher and Guide, are not indeed buried in the earth…but coming to the element akin to earth, to water, we conceal ourselves in that as the Saviour did in the earth: and by doing this thrice we represent for ourselves that grace of the Resurrection which was wrought in three days: and this we do, not receiving the sacrament in silence, but while there are spoken over us the Names of the Three Sacred Persons on Whom we believed, in Whom we also hope, from Whom comes to us both the fact of our present and the fact of our future existence.” (A Sermon for the Day of the Lights) Indeed, by our Baptism, we are initiated into an eternal sharing in the Divine Life of the Trinity and participate fully in the life of grace.

(Pixabay)

Matthew’s Gospel records the account of Christ’s baptism, which we imitate by our own reception of the sacrament: “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove coming upon Him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” (Matt. 3:16-17) The Three Persons of the Trinity were present at the Baptism at the Jordan, just as we, at our baptisms are sealed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At our baptism we are invited into the life of the Trinity, through the sacrament instituted by Christ at the Jordan, which the Father found pleasing, and by which the Holy Spirit seals our souls with an indelible sacramental character. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, in being washed with the waters of Baptism, “the Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”).” (CCC 1274) In receiving this character, we are forever changed in conformity to Christ and we are ‘reborn’ into this new sharing in the life of the Trinity. The Catechism states that this sacrament “signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ.” (CCC 1239) Thus, let us strive to live out our baptismal vows by allowing our lives to be a testament to the way that we have been changed by Christ and marked by Love in our sharing in the Divine Life of the Trinity through Baptism.

 

 

Cleansed With Water, Salted With Fire
By Phillip Baker

“But the one who is coming after me is mightier than I….He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11).

There is nothing Jesus tells us to do that He has not done first Himself. He says “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must…take up his cross daily,” so He first carries His cross all the way to Calvary (Lk 9:23). The first step on this way of the Cross is baptism, for He says “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). Therefore, He is baptized first Himself. No one should be afraid to follow Christ, for Christ, “the Way,” has first walked that way Himself.

And, as Jesus accepts Baptism as the first step on His journey, so He shows us that if we would follow Him, we must first be baptized. When our Lord was baptized, He “[sanctified] the waters of the Jordan,” as St. Jerome says, so that the waters, purified, are no longer a “removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21). Because the Lord first baptized the water, now the water of baptism saves us – not because water washes away sin, but because the Holy Spirit, the same which swept over the waters at Creation, descends upon us in our baptism and recreates us (cf. Gn 1:2). Being born of the Spirit in baptism, we come out of the regenerating waters and hear the Father say to us “this is my beloved son,” for the Son has made us such by sending the Spirit upon us in Baptism (cf. Mt 3:17).

As the Spirit dwells in us, it is truly said “Beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 Jn 3:2). But Jesus’ “winnowing fan is in His hand,” and, as we are baptized with the fire of God’s love, the Holy Spirit, we are being purified – as He says “everyone will be salted with fire” (Mt 3:12, Mk 9:49). Fire both refines and purifies, and so our baptism is both a gift and a challenge. Having been so purified by our baptism in the Holy Spirit, shall we live lovingly, as children of the light, and deserve to hear the Father say “well done, my good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:23)? Or shall we scorn the gift of our baptism and, living as children of the dark, be thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (Mt 25:30)? This is the gift and challenge of our Baptism which our Lord calls us to. We have been salted with fire; may the fire of the Holy Spirit, then, preserve us in our Baptism unto eternal life.

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

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The Coronation of Mary; Queen of Wisdom, Mother of Love

Obediently Crowned
By Phillip Baker

“Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11:28).

God graced Mary with a number of unique and extraordinary graces. However, neither the Immaculate Conception, nor the Assumption, nor any other particular grace God bestowed upon her crowns and honors Mary so much as her humble obedience to the will of God. Mary’s unique participation in the glory of her Son is given to her through the merits of Christ, so Mary’s glory is, as with all God’s saints, a sharing in Christ’s glory. Mary’s “fiat” mirrors the obedience of her Son, Who “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him…” (Phil 2:8-9) In His life and by His death, Christ showed the way for all His disciples to be raised to glory through obedience to the Father’s Will – as He said “I have given them the glory You gave Me” (Jn 17:22).

“The Coronation of the Virgin” -Fra Angelico, c. 1434-35

Mary was obedient to God’s will throughout her life, and in this way she preeminently shares in her Son’s glory. As our Lord says, “blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it,” and none kept it better than Mary who said “be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk 11:28; 1:38). By her constant and ready obedience to the will of God, Mary, already preserved free from the stain of original sin, also never committed or consented to even the smallest sin throughout her entire life (cf. CCC 411).

For we who are “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” Mary is both hope and exemplar. Would we keep from sin and hold on to the hope of Heaven? Then let us follow Mary’s example and pray that we might receive from God the grace to be as obedient to His will as she was. For the life of Mary testifies to the truth that “sacrifice and offering you do not want … so I said, ‘see; I come… I delight to do your will, my God'” (Ps 40:7-9).

Indeed, God wants nothing from us but ready obedience to His will. God made us to be happy, not necessarily in this life, but in eternity with Him. Our sure way home, then, is to do His will. Mary’s obedience is her crowning glory and her lowliness is her crown, for “the humble of spirit acquire honor,” and “the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Prov 29:23; Lk 14:11). Who of all God’s saints has been exalted more than Mary, who we venerate because God has made her so venerable as Queen of Heaven and Earth? Indeed, “He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness,” so Mary, who always heard the word of God and kept it, proclaims forever: “…behold, from now on will all ages call blessed” (Lk 1:48).

 

Mother Mediatrix; Excellent Exemplar
By Gretchen Erlichman

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel. ~Genesis 3:15

The Blessed Mother, since the moment of her fiat, surrendered the entirety of herself to the will of God and, in doing so, consented to her role as Queen of Heaven and earth. In submitting her will to that of the Creator, she became the Queen of Creation and the Mother of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “By pronouncing her ‘fiat’ at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.” (CCC 973)

It is this total surrender to the will of God that raised the Blessed Virgin Mary to reign as Queen of Heaven and earth, and it was her “yes” at the Annunciation that has allowed her to play an integral role in conquering sin and death for our salvation. In agreeing to be the Mother of God, she became an instrument of salvation by bearing Christ in her womb; from the moment of her immaculate conception, God chose Mary to be His mother. St. Irenaeus, in his work Adversus Haereses, states that “He is one and the same, who formed us at the beginning, and sent His Son at the end, the Lord did perform His command, being made of a woman, by both destroying our adversary, and perfecting man after the image and likeness of God.”  (AH 5.21.2) Being born of a woman, namely the Blessed Mother, Christ became man and gained for us our salvation. In giving birth to our Savior, Mary crushes the head of the serpent; Mary joins her Son in conquering sin and death and becomes both our Mother and our Queen.

Indeed, Mary is our Maternal Queen, who guides us ever closer to her Son through her intercession and example. Pope Paul VI’s 1964 constitution Lumen Gentium exalts Mary as “‘the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.’ Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity.” (LG 53 It is by the graces merited through her intercession and by closely following her example that we, ourselves, can rise above sin and death, striving to live a life of virtue that leads to eternal life. It is through the Blessed Mother’s example that we can be ‘perfected in the image and likeness of God.’ Mary, Queen of Wisdom and Mother of Love, pray for us!

 

COME PRAY WITH US!

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20

Right now, more than ever, we called to come together as a Church to pray and to engage with the beautiful mysteries of our Catholic faith. As a response to this invitation, we are launching a weekly prayer and discussion group called Quarantine Conversations, which will follow the theme of the reflections of the Quarantine Contemplation series. Each week, we will meet on Friday evenings at 6:30pm CST/7:30pm EST to pray a decade of the Rosary followed by a short reflection and time for discussion. Please join us for all or part of these meetings, so that we may join our hearts in praise of our glorious Creator!

Sign Up Here!

(After signing up, you will receive an email with more information about how to download Zoom and information about receiving weekly links to connect to the Quarantine Conversations.)

About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Phillip Baker 

Hi! My name is Phillip Baker and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where I currently reside as I work to pay off student loan debt from my time at Syracuse University. This is my first 6-month class with the Labouré Society, and I anticipate entrance to religious life with the Friars this July.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact 

HELP RESCUE VOCATIONS

leave a legacy of faith

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