A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Revelation 12:1
This is the transcript of a talk I was supposed to give today at the Carmel Center in Liberty, TN. Unfortunately due to a pretty severe back injury from lifting my mom, I was unable to give it. Please pray for my quick recovery. So much of what I wrote and was to speak, I think is meant for myself as much as anyone else. Live in gratitude everyday for the gifts you have been given because in the blink of an eye everything can change.
The Woman Clothed in the Sun: Her Message Today
The topic that was given to me to speak on is “The Woman Clothed in the Sun, Her Message Today.” An important, if not overwhelming topic given all that is going on in our world.
It may seem strange, but I would like to begin with the definition of what a Sacrament is. For the sake of clarity and brevity I will use the definition of a Sacrament from the Baltimore catechism.
“A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by God to give grace.”
And so in pondering that meaning, I now want to take you all the way back to the beginning of time, to creation. I promise, I will bring it back around to the message for today.
Prior to the fall of man, all of creation was in union with God. Adam and Eve were in union, with God, and the created things were in union with them and God as they held dominion over creation. We know, because scripture tells us, that they were naked and unashamed. They were full of grace. In essence, all that they were, could be described as sacrament because all that they were, held the grace of God from within. As the keeper of the garden all that Adam and also his wife Eve consumed was the food of God. They could tell a fig tree to produce fruit and it would, as all things in the garden were ordered to their purpose. It is why we see later in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus curse a fig tree, because it was not doing what it was made for. That unproductive tree is a product of the fall of man. In the garden, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in need of no garment other than the sun that lit their way because there was no perversion. It was peace and harmony. They were clothed in the sun. Eden was a temple and they were tabernacles that housed the Lord inside of them. All of creation was an outward sign of God’s grace.
It is worth pondering what this would look like, being clothed in the sun. We can actually see things in the darkness that we cannot see in the brightest of light. If the sun shines brightly upon something at first you may see the flaws more clearly, but the brighter the sun gets, the more the flaws fade away in the brightness of the light until all you can see is the brightness and it can seem that you do not know where the thing begins and the sun ends, even as you know that the two are distinct. So it was for Adam and Eve that their purity and hearts shone so brightly that they were clothed in the sun and held dominion over creation. There were no flaws for the sun to blot out back then, it was just purity.
But then they fell. It occurs to me from reading scripture that the first capital sin that entered in their hearts was sloth or what is known as acedia. Why do I say this? Well, there are two reasons. First, the command of God to Adam was to “keep” the garden. So if his job is to keep it, it begs the question of how the serpent got in in the first place. It makes me wonder if Adam was resting in contemplation with God on the 7th day, thus was he, “keeping the Sabbath”, a foretelling of the third commandment? If he wasn’t, it is no wonder the serpent was in the garden in the first place. And Eve, well we know from her conversation with the serpent that she wasn’t listening to God, for when the serpent asks her about the trees in the garden, she answers with something God didn’t say.
God said, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Genesis 2:16-17
But when the serpent questioned Eve about what she was not allowed to eat, she answered;
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” Genesis 3:2-3
Eve adds in something that God did not say. It is here one can glean that the devil himself had flung the idea at her “not to touch it” and when she answered with what he had suggested, he knew Eve believed his lies. He could show God how lowly these human beings really are.
Perhaps Adam and Eve did not feel the need to pray because everything in the garden was good. What need does one have to pray when everything is going well and is good? Comfort can be a plague that keeps us from thanksgiving and gratitude.
And so we know the rest of the story of how Eve grasped at the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Adam caved too. We know that this was a mortal sin because the council of Trent defined it as such. It was a grave matter, they knew it was grave, and they did it anyway. The enemy, who invaded the walls of the temple of Eden through their sloth and acedia, had trained them how to think, planting a seed of envy to be godlike in their unguarded minds.
And in a flash, they were naked and ashamed. The light that had once lit their hearts so brightly became dim and the darkened knowledge came upon them. They could see evil, which is to say their view became perverted. No longer was goodness all that they knew. I would venture to say that envy to be godlike as the serpent promised, breaking their trust in God, entered in through sins of the flesh, like gluttony and lust. For Satan cannot possess our soul, but our bodies he can wreak havoc with. While we may never know exactly what the sin was we do know that this was not the end of their wrongdoing.
God came looking for them. The God of the Universe who is love came looking for them. Are we to believe that he didn’t know where they were? And instead of seeking Him out and trusting His love, they hid. Then God questions them and they begin to blame one another. It is here that we see something unforgivable, they did not ask for the mercy of God. They chose pride, judgment and justification, over admitting their wrongdoing and asking for the mercy of God. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if they just asked for mercy? This rejection of the mercy of God when you commit a mortal sin is known as the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I used to not know exactly what Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit meant and I hoped I had never done it, but then I realized how many times I had in my past. How many times I didn’t go to confession in my past for mortal sin committed. God cannot give us His mercy if we don’t ask for it. This is something we choose to reject and it keeps grace from living within us. And if we die that way, it gains us hell. Thankfully, as long as there is breath in our bodies, we have a chance to turn back and repent and ask for mercy. God forgives when mercy is asked for.
It is in this moment for Adam and Eve, in the rejection of His mercy, that their offense against the infinitely good God, who is love, echoed through the generations, a sin of infinity because it is against infinite goodness and so it marks generation upon generation with original sin and concupiscence, which is our tendency towards sin.
Eden, their bodies, creation, had been stolen. His house had been a house of prayer but they had turned it into a den of thieves. They had let Satan steal the gift that had been given to them. They were no longer an outward sign of God’s grace. The Spirit no longer dwelt within, instead it in scripture we hear of the Spirit – “falling upon” people – as if clothed from the outside, like a garment of skin, which is what Adam and Eve were clothed in after the fall – waiting for the Son of Man to restore what they had torn in two. Waiting for Jesus so the Holy Spirit could once again dwell within instead of God holding everything together from the outside. How do we get back to being clothed in the sun? How could man possibly undo this offense of infinity? How do we get back to Sacrament? It is in pondering all of this that we can come to understand the importance of Sacrament, for it is not enough to simply say, “God is everywhere” and believe we don’t need the church. For though God holds everything together in His love, we have to choose Sacrament, to choose to consume holiness, for grace to dwell within us.
We can see the effects of the fall in the infinite marks we have for offending the goodness and mercy of God. It marks us in our minds, where Satan trains us to think, and in our hearts, where sin takes over, and in our hands and feet, when we act on disordered desire and sin. These are the wounds of Christ, and try as we may, before he came all of our meager attempts atonement fell short and covenant after covenant was broken.
But God in His infinite goodness and mercy, has a plan, one that is still in motion today. This plan was to include a “woman clothed in the sun,” as the Book of Revelation calls her, in order that we may be redeemed. He wanted for the participation of this humble human person in cooperation with His Divine person for our salvation.
God in His Divine providence, knew that only God Himself could atone for the infinite offense. Atonement is the reconstruction of the damaged relationship, a way if you will, for the Spirit to dwell within once again. So the second person of the Blessed Trinity came in the form of the Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sin. That is, He came to reconcile us to Himself. He did this through His death on the cross and His resurrection. But he entered into this world through the waters of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary being birthed and taking on our limited human nature.
He didn’t do this without her. Though God could have just restored us to the state of original justice, He did not. In His Divine Providence, through the prevenient grace of the Cross and Resurrection, God created the Immaculate Conception. A woman, who like Adam and Eve in the beginning, is full of grace. Clothed in the sun, the Holy Spirit dwelling within her. The remarkable thing about Mary, the singular thing, is that though she is conceived as they were, she actually does know of evil in the sense that she can see it around her, she can touch it, if you will, but she never consumes it. She touches it with the sorrow of suffering for us. She can see it in other people. She knows she can be killed for saying yes to this pregnancy, which would be an evil. But because of her posture of constant prayer, she knows no evil in her heart or mind. She thinks no evil, speaks no evil, and acts no evil. Her body and soul are a house of prayer, one that the Lord Himself has “kept” in order that we may be saved. Still, she has free will to choose, and she gives her FIAT, her yes and her soul Magnifies the Lord.
This woman clothed in the sun, has full dominion. And it is truly remarkable to think about what she did. Because no evil is housed in her, all of these gifts she chose to use for love of us. She chose to repair the damage we had done with her Son. Her yes to God, agreeing to bring God into the world, caused her much suffering, suffering that would make most of us flee. But for Mary, it is the remarkable trust in God that she demonstrates. Adam and Eve didn’t trust the goodness of God because they didn’t ask for mercy, but Mary, she trusts completely and she becomes the Mother of Mercy. The Divine dwells within her, not only in her soul, but physically makes His home in her womb and in her Immaculate Heart. She will be fruitful and multiply so all generations call her Blessed. She is our Mother.
Jesus came through Mary to sanctify all that we had given away to the enemy. He came to destroy the works of the devil. And He did this by sanctifying the things that had been stolen from us. He gave us a place, and outward signs, instituted by Him to give us grace, so that ultimately in the end, the end of our lives and the end of time, we would be sanctified, we would be clothed in the Sun at the resurrection of the body once again, creation itself would be healed. While we still see the devil at work today there truly is a message to pay attention to in the life of Mary and her relationship with Jesus.
The Divine person of Jesus, came through this grace filled human person to atone for our infinite offense in the garden that marked generations. Her womb, the space where the Divine Person and Human Person meet. Her Immaculate Heart, the consolation for His Sacred Heart. In Jesus and Mary we see the unity that we had lost in their gaze of love for one another. And all things they went through point to the church. Jesus is the Way and Mary is His Mother and Mother of the Church. The path of the Way set clearly before us.
Together, Jesus and Mary bring us back to Sacrament which purifies us to redeem us. We can see the path they laid out – and the reason it is a path instead of something instantaneous is because God wants our free will to participate freely. He wants us to choose. This is because you can’t really love unless you choose to. While the path is narrow, and the road is hard, when we hand ourselves to Jesus the yoke becomes easier and the burden lighter.
It starts with making your soul a house of prayer. It took me most of my life to figure this out. Though I had been raised Catholic, taught the truths of the faith, taught the prayers of the faith, I don’t know if I ever really knew how to pray in a way that converted me. I often said the prayers but without meaning, and if I ever really did try to converse with God, it was usually to beg him for something I wanted. It was actually through suffering that I got real with God and began to have a conversation. I began to no longer hide all my flaws and wounds. I became transparent with God. And His mother showed me how to pray.
One only need to look at Scripture and the few words that Mary spoke to understand that she is the pinnacle of Mount Carmel, like an unblemished cloud of needed rain, steadfast in prayer and belief. There are only 4 instances where Mary speaks in the Gospels. They are found in the Gospel of Luke and John.
The first instance is when the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her of the Divine Plan. In her innocence she asks one question to help her understand and once she does, her words of consent to the will of God are seared throughout the generations, “let it be done, according to thy word.” God speaks, and Mary receives. Can we say this of ourselves? I can’t tell you how many times God asked me to do something, from wearing a veil, to kneeling for communion, that I argued and fought with Him before I acquiesced. I used to only approach God in my own suffering and tell Him what I wanted. Now I know to ask Him what He wants. If only we all would try to understand what the church teaches and receive what God wants, the world would be transformed. We see in Mary, she only asks in innocence and immediately does what God asks. After the angel visits her, we see her leave from here to go to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Even in a situation where Mary could have remained troubled, she didn’t, the angel satisfied her question, and she turns to thinking of another when she learns of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Mary is not focused on herself.
The second instance of Mary speaking is her words to Elizabeth when she goes to visit her. And here she speaks the Magnificat. The beautiful prayer we all know and love. Her soul magnifies the Lord. Her spirit rejoices in God the Savior. This is a woman who trusts God completely. She even speaks of the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. Think about that for a moment. Abraham came 18 centuries before Jesus and yet Mary can proclaim confidently that the promises made to him will happen and are happening. She is not short-sighted as we often get. We often get stuck in our own little circumstances and world that we fail to miss the larger plan God is working. I don’t know how many times a situation with my kids or my husband has sent me into anxiety and worry. The devil keeps us busy looking down in distress, but Mary’s eyes are lifted toward heaven, never doubting in God’s promises. Can we say that of ourselves? I know I can think of many times when it’s only in hindsight I see His promises come true, but all along the way I doubted. I think this is why it is so important to take to heart the Words of Divine Mercy, Jesus I trust in you! Do we believe when we look at the state of the church right now that the gates of hell will not prevail? Or are we constantly scanning headlines to see which pit of despair we can fall into next. Are we so wrapped up in the day to day sufferings in our relationships that we forget to turn to the Divine Healer and let Him act? This trust Mary has extends even when she is distressed.
Which brings me to the next instance she speaks in Scripture where she expresses distress. This may seem baffling at first, but upon further examination we can see a reversal of what happened in Eden is already taking place before Resurrection. In Genesis, Adam and Eve hide because of their shame and God goes looking for them. In this instance, Mary who stands unashamed before God is with Joseph and they are looking for Jesus. They are looking for God. She stands in an understanding of what we go through in our hearts in suffering the feeling of absence, yet without sin. She expresses her distress straight to Jesus and Jesus points her back to the house of prayer, His father’s house, telling her, “did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?” In this exchange, again Mary is troubled. She doesn’t understand yet what is happening. Mary questions God, but always in a purity and innocence, not as if she doesn’t trust, never as if she doesn’t believe in His goodness. We learn from her how to converse with the Lord when we are distressed. Our questioning from lack of understanding is something the Lord understands. It doesn’t come from a place of pride where we think we know better, for that is when we get ourselves into trouble. I have had many conversations with the Lord in pride, and He always shows me just how wrong I am and it is always humiliating, but I know this humility is good for me. Our openness to correction is important, if we can’t hear correction, we are in trouble. In the situation with Jesus and Mary, Jesus points Mary back to the Father and the house of prayer. His question of her is actually an assurance, “did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?”, is a way of letting her know that though she felt He was gone, He was never gone, He was exactly where He was supposed to be and she as His Mother is always in His Heart. For God does not abandon us, even when it feels as if He does. This is a message for us. When we look for God, we find Him in prayer. Mary entered this situation in distress and left pondering these things in her own heart. How many times do we think God is missing in our lives, how many times are we in distress? Do we go to the Father’s house in search of him pondering what he tells us in our hearts? Or do we distract ourselves with worldly pleasures never searching for God in our lives at all? Do we fill our distress with worldly pleasures? Do we even read scripture to know what He tells us, or do we just look at that as some ancient book? Mary didn’t do that. We have so many distractions. We can even distract ourselves with devotions (which are good, by all means), never really having a true conversation with God, never bringing our fears or our wounds straight to Him so he can help us better understand.
The final time we hear Mary is at the wedding at Cana. She recognizes that there is an issue, “they have no wine”, and wanting to intercede for the wedding couple she advises the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Knowing that whatever He tells them will be the right thing to do. She doesn’t know for sure that this would be His first public miracle. She doesn’t try to tell Him what to do, she asks Him, and then she lets God be God and advises others to listen to Him. And Jesus responds to the heart of a Mother’s concern for others, even though “his hour has not yet come.” Her intercession hastens God’s plan. Their love for one another is on display. He sees the purity of intention in her heart and the love with which she asks. She lets Him be the Savior and do what God does. How many times in our own lives are we trying to twist God’s arm wanting Him to do what we want rather than letting God act? I could totally see myself in this situation trying to run to the nearest vineyard to “fix” the issue. Mary knows that Jesus’ action is far greater than anything she could accomplish with mere human means. We need to ask ourselves daily, are we trying to control that which isn’t ours to control, or are seeking God, asking God, and making room for Him to act? To be clothed as Mary is, we must be willing to step back from a situation and not try to control everything. Let Jesus perform the miracle in your life. In today’s day and age, one glance at the headlines, or at social media can send you into a tailspin. But we need not despair, instead we need to go to God and “Do whatever He tells you.”
In these 4 instances of Mary speaking we can also see a prefigurement of the Sacraments of Initiation and confession. This is because the message of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, is the message of the Mother of the Church. The Sacraments are the way back to transforming union.
When Mary says yes to the angel Gabriel, “let it be done,” the second person of the Blessed Trinity enters the waters of her womb. For us, our yes to our baptism, and our yes for our children, opens the doors for us to become the children of God once again, to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we too, like Mary, are saying, Let it be done!
Our willingness then to be Confirmed in the Spirit enables us to go out to others the way that Mary went to Elizabeth and proclaimed that her soul magnifies the Lord. It is a Christian witness of the Good News that God has brought to us. Our souls can magnify the Lord!
Like Mary in her distress we can go in search of Jesus. But for us, it is His mercy we need because of our sins. Jesus calls us to the Father’s house to reconcile. While Mary needed no reconciling, we can be assured that, she held close to her heart and pondered in prayer, all of us, who need the mercy of the Son more than we can imagine. The Finding of the Child Jesus is a sorrow and a joy for Mary. Her sorrow is a sorrow for us when we are lost. Her joy is a joy for us when we find Him and reconcile with Him.
And finally, the wedding at Cana, Mary’s complete trust in “doing whatever He tells you,” brings the best wine. We need only look at the chalice on the altar after the words of consecration to understand this Eucharistic communion that is the marriage feast of the Lamb. When we receive this Sacrament in a state of grace, we truly allow God to act, to purify our hearts, minds, and souls. Overtime we make our way back to being clothed in the sun, that is to say, totally transparent and unashamed before God so He can work Divine Life in us. You can all see this sunshine when you come across a Saint or when you know someone holy. It is the real sacramental grace at work. There is no perversion of thought, word, or action.
The words of Mary in Scripture are not to be outdone by her actions. In all that she did, in everyday life, she walked in the will of God, all the way to the Cross. In her purity, not having any sin on the cross of her own, she knew that the cross was needed for our sin. She knew that it was God’s will. She knew the human will needed to be nailed to a cross in order that we can be filled with the Divine Will. And she was given at the Cross to John, a Priest of Jesus Christ, through whom the Sacraments are brought to us. Every Priest has Mary as his mother, and all of us do too. The Priests through the power of Jesus Christ makes our food sacred again, so that we can once again consume God. And consuming God sanctifies us on our path back to union.
Mary’s message and the message of her Son is the Sacramental life and the life of prayer. These are the things that transform you into the likeness of Christ. These are the things that ultimately help you nail your own human will to the Cross so that you can be filled with the Divine Will.
In today’s society there are so many evils surrounding us. We can all see them. The evil of abortion. The evil of confusing male and female. The evil of disordered so called “marriage” where our bodies are used in a way in which they weren’t designed, not ordered to their purpose, like the fig tree that doesn’t produce fruit. This is the fruit of what Adam and Eve consumed. Eve consumed herself, Adam consumed Eve, what is wrought when we keep on this path is destruction. It is a devouring of ourselves. When we eat the Eucharistic communion without taking our sin to the cross but only show up in our own pride, we end up where we can’t even define what a male or a female is, where a woman has a right to kill a child, where confusion is a plague we feed our children. And the devil has stolen our identity, killed our life giving fertility, and destroyed the vestiges of truth. We are being devoured.
For those of us who do see, it is easy to find ourselves outraged on a daily basis. We wonder how we can fend off the attacks that seem to come from every angle. We watch as our children or relatives get sucked into the abyss of sin. We are standing at our own cross, not knowing what will happen. We have to be careful to oppose all this evil without wishing ill upon others, without judgment and condemnation that isn’t ours to convey, but God’s alone. We, like Jesus on the cross, have to be willing to forgive, and here me now when I say this, we must forgive, even if someone isn’t sorry. This kind of forgiveness isn’t done by focusing on the works of the devil, but by looking up at the one who can heal us and believing that His power is stronger than the devils, because it is. Make no mistake. There is nothing happening today that God cannot handle and handle in a way that the most souls are saved; including our loved ones.
Our souls must become houses of prayer in relationship with the living God and purified by His Sacraments. In Acts of the Apostles chapter 7, just before Stephen is killed for proclaiming Christ, Stephen says, “the Most high does not dwell in houses made with hands.” He goes on to say, “what house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is my place of rest?” It is a question for all of us. Is your soul a house for the Lord?
Mary, in all of her apparitions, in all of her words and actions, she lights the way, full of grace and clothed in the sun. She beckons us to look up to the Father of Mercy and to purify our own hearts. While she has shown hell to the children in Fatima and given warning of war and evil in so many places if we don’t repent, it isn’t because she wants us to focus on fear, but because souls are lost in real time, and she wants us to embrace love. She is asking of us prayer and sacrifice for poor sinners, but in order to be able to do this, we have to be living a prayerful Sacramental life ourselves. We have to pull the planks out of our own eyes and heaven will give us the grace to be able to do this. She is asking for us to repair for what is being done because heaven wants sinners to be saved. She wants us to be transformed into love because love changes everything.
While we try every human possible way to get people to do what is right and just we often don’t look up and don’t think big enough. God is way more powerful than Satan, and our worldly “prepping” is nothing compared to the plans of God. Mary says, look at my Son, imitate Him, and trust Him. It is something that happens inside a soul’s interior and each time a soul turns towards Jesus in prayer and takes Mary as his or her Mother and is obedient to the church, this is the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. We don’t have to wait for some future time to have her triumph in our own hearts right now. Why? Because when we embrace the church and all that she teaches and all of the sacramental grace, God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven, now, through us. This is the Triumph, this is the continual message. Mary, the woman clothed in the Sun, cooperated with God to bring His Kingdom back to harmony to the peace that was in the beginning. It is why she is Queen of the Universe.
Let me explain. Sin darkens everything. Our sin darkens not just our hearts, it tore everything in two. Our bodies and our souls, our relationship with God, our relationships with each other, and our relationship with creation. The only way to have true peace in the world is to follow the Way. It is the way Jesus made for us and it came through Mary to all of creation.
We see at Pentecost, Mary is in the upper room, praying with the Apostles when the Holy Spirit reigns down. After this the Apostles are performing signs and wonders like we have never seen before. They raise people from the dead. Creation responds because they are purified and they are walking in the domain that was given to them. The problems with our environment would go away if each and every soul sought to purify their heart of sin and walked the Way that Jesus left us in the church with Mary as our Mother.
We see Saints who are able to do amazing and miraculous things. This is how Mary wants us to live. She is so pure and so in union with God, she is the Queen of the Universe, but she doesn’t want to keep it for herself. It is always about giving. God wants all of us to share in it.
This requires though, this life I am speaking of, this Sacramental life, nailing our human will to the cross to be filled with the Divine Will. This hurts. Letting go of our selfish desires feels like great suffering. And often times suffering comes upon us in unexpected ways. Each time we can respond in love when suffering comes our way, we conquer evil. Instead of fighting suffering, fight sin, fight the devil.
And while it is good to read prophecy, as Scripture tells us not to despise it, if it turns us inward on ourselves where we want to save only ourselves (and our physical being) at all costs, if we fill up our own barn when we see the storm coming with no thought of others, if we judge and condemn other souls and wish harm on them, then the point has been entirely lost. Rage and condemnation have no place in the Christian heart. It is not what we see Jesus doing on the cross. He forgave everything. Mary’s response to souls that are lost and opposed to her Son is sorrow and reparation, not resentment and rage.
What does this path look like in your life? Well I can tell you what it looks like in mine. I can tell you that 10 years ago if I had been asked to take my parents in to care for them in their old age while raising teenagers, I probably would have ended up in a mental institution or just flat out said no I won’t do it. Though I am still on the path and have such a long way to go in my journey with the Lord, I can say that because of prayer and the Sacraments and seeking the Lord with all my heart, that the difficulty of this situation has been lightened by God. The grace is there. Suffering is not something I fight against, instead my focus is fighting against sin. When suffering comes, because it always comes, I try to look up and Praise God in the middle of it. I would be lying if I said I don’t complain, but I do have a realization that complaint doesn’t make suffering stop, but praise, well it transforms the suffering into something beautiful. I have let go of trying to control the outcome of everything and started praying that God works through me and in the situations.
The message of the Woman Clothed in the Sun is to desire Sainthood. As humans this can seem impossible. And on the human level it is impossible. But with God all things are possible.
Way to long . Got point earlier on.
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Sorry you feel that way. Peace.
Powerful gives you a lot to think about and digest. Thank you so much very ihelpful. God Bless you.
God Bless you too Penny.
Beautiful! I love seeing how you have opened yourself up in humility so that God could work wonders in you. This is rich and deep. Letting His Divine Will shine through you! The contemplation you make at the end is so needed by all of us right now in these times. How is God asking us to pray, love, forgive, witness in these times – especially with the threats to our churches because of the recent leaked documents on the Supreme Court opinion. Love this! Thanking God for you. Fiat.
Thank you so much!
Beautiful. I think your divinely inspired “talk” will bear good fruit in most people who read it. Well done, from beginning to end. Prayers for you and your loved ones.
Thank you so much. God bless you.
I always look forward to reading your posts – they are filled with such holy insights. Today’s post is just such a blessing. It inspires me to greater gratitude, repentance, trust, mercy and prayer …there’s so much here to take to meditation (the section on the four instances when Mary speaks is a beautiful reflection for First Saturday!). You have enriched my understanding of the call to the Sacramental life – thank you so much!!!
Please be assured of my prayers for your quick and complete recovery, and for all of your intentions. God bless!
Thank you and God Bless you!
The thought that occurred to me in reading this treatise is that IF Adam and Eve were “full of grace” in the beginning just like Mary, why would they have not seen the “evil all around them”, which Mary would have clearly seen? I would think that they must have had some sort of insight as to the full consequences of their sin (which is ‘death’ or ‘evil all around them’), equal to Mary’s?
It’s interesting that scripture does not make that very clear. However, it does shed light on two of the titles that St Louis de Montfort chose for his writings: “The Secret of Mary” and ” The Secret of the Rosary”… leading up to his greatest work: “True Devotion”. Mary truly IS God’s secret weapon!
John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila state that there’s a period on the trajectory towards transforming union that one does not recognize evil. Its a state of purity so pure that the “knowledge of evil” doesn’t exist. They refer to it as something passed through for a period of time. But that later you come to recognize it again.
One other thing – these two Saints Teresa and John disagree on whether once one reaches the state of transforming union in prayer if you can lose it that state. Teresa says yes and John says no. I think they’re both right for reasons you touched on. Obviously Teresa is right because Adam and Eve lived in union and fell, but it was their inability to perceive evil that perhaps led them to think that the serpent wasn’t tricking them. But for those of us who do have knowledge of evil – I think perhaps John is right – because there would be a “knowing” or residual memory of what you once knew to prevent you from falling back once union has been reached again.
Didn’t you speak to a possible difference in your post: Mary – the one in a “posture of constant prayer” – as opposed to Adam and Eve – who perhaps “did not feel the need to pray because everything in the garden was good.”? Could it be that a constant disposition of prayerful gratitude is needed regardless of your degree of union with God? Or are you speaking of something else?
I think it is the difference. Mary always fully participated. Adam and Eve, it seems to me, did not fully which made them susceptible to being trained how to think by the enemy. They didn’t “keep” the garden, which is to say guard their hearts.
We can be trained in perversion of thought, but when our thoughts are constantly on the Lord our minds and hearts are “kept” for Him. And He makes our rest in us.
It is a place where there is no jealousy or envy, where we are happy when things go well for others, where we are ordered for our purpose. It is everything our society is not at the moment. But when we commend ourselves to Mary’s heart – it hastens Gods plan because she has the human person in this cooperation with the Divine is the heartbeat of the Mystical Body for which Christ is the head. Their hearts are in unison making the blow flow to us in a doubly powerful way.
This idea was actually floating in my mind: did Adam and Eve ever conceive of what evil was before the Fall? The Book of Wisdom says that death came into the world through the envy of the devil. (cf Wisdom 2:24) Was evil present in Eden prior to their Fall?
I will reread the article to see if Susan did address this question.
Very timely piece. Thank you for sharing, Susan. Your inability to go to your commitment was necessary so that you can share this far and wide.
Thank you Domingo.
Thank you! Your response(s) – in addition to the treatise itself – remind me of the truism that the real battle is about free will, waged between God and Lucifer (originally) and that our souls (lives) became the battleground (target). It is a fierce battle in which we can either become consumed with self (self pity) blaming God for our woes and suffering, seeing ourselves as victims of someone else’s war, or become truly grateful for our very existence, becoming “willing” victims once we BEGIN to KNOW God, Who IS Love. “Where is thy sting, oh death?” Of course, since it is ultimately His battle, we would be foolish not to USE the tools and weapons that He provides, ESPECIALLY His Own Momma! Happy Mother’s Day all you moms!
Thank you and God Bless you!
Susan, thank you. All the examples you gave from your own life are eminently relatable. I have a long way to go in accepting the suffering in my life, instead of begging God to take it away. Please pray for me. Thank you, and I wish you a quick recovery as well. Happy Mother’s day.
Thank you. I will pray for you.
The sin of blasphemy is not forgiven ever!
Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.  Either make the tree good and its fruit good: or make the tree evil, and its fruit evil. For by the fruit the tree is known.  O generation of vipers, how can you speak good things, whereas you are evil? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of a good treasure bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of an evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
 “The blasphemy of the Spirit”: The sin here spoken of is that blasphemy, by which the Pharisees attributed the miracles of Christ, wrought by the Spirit of God, to Beelzebub the prince of devils. Now this kind of sin is usually accompanied with so much obstinacy, and such wilful opposing the Spirit of God, and the known truth, that men who are guilty of it, are seldom or never converted: and therefore are never forgiven, because they will not repent. Otherwise there is no sin, which God cannot or will not forgive to such as sincerely repent, and have recourse to the keys of the church.
right because it’s a rejection of mercy. Mercy rejected isn’t forgiven.
The Scripture for the quote on blasphemy is Matthew 12:31-32 Douay-Rheims Catholic Online Bible
Thank you for the beautiful article on Blessed Mother Mary!
What a great message you shared! Thank you. And I will pray for healing for your back. 🙏
Cathedral of the Incarnation
Thank you so much!
Every higher being is “tested”. All the angels were tempted to rebellion when the Lord revealed His intentions to become incarnate as the “Lower” form of a man. The Two-thirds repented when Micheal claimed “Who is like God” even though they could not fully understand this mystery but the Third rejected this and became confirmed in their temptation to “not serve” and they permanently fell from grace.
Adam and Eve where equally “tests” by Satan. This weakness was always known by the Lord since He is omnipresent and it was His will for them to be shown their weakness. This is the “gift” of temptation and even sin, the revelation of our weaknesses and need for God. The Good Angels recognised this need in Micheal’s “Who is like God” while the fallen angels rejected this need. Adam and Eve repented but did the blame-game to try and lessen their culpability with Adam first blaming Eve and then by Eve blaming Satan.
Mary was tested in her first moments of existance according to some Mystics. She was asked, in a similar way as Gabriel did, if she would be “willing” to accept God’s desires for her. Her “fiat” was given then and again during the Incarnation.
As you so aptly put it, her will was and is always in perfect alignment to God’s will, which kept her from even being tempted to sin by any selfish desire. Nore is she tempted to despair or doubt as her confidence in God’s will for her is so perfect that she considered ANY event in her life to His will.
A priest told me when I asked the difference between Adam& Eve and Mary and he said grace she was full of grace and they were not.
Interesting. If they were not, they would have been created in sin. To be full of grace is to be without sin. I don’t think that Priest was correct. God did not create sin.
Your own words from your newest message, “ a Priest who was given to us to bridge the gap between heaven and earth”
Did you dismiss the priest’s words too quickly. Without allowing his thoughts…. He is Our Lady’s Son of Predilection…. Chances are good that he had a reasoning for his response…
This has been on my mind for a while now…. Better to follow through than to ignore the Holy Spirit…
I am not sure what you’re talking about. What words are dismissed? I am sorry what you are trying to say doesn’t make sense to me.
I was referring to this comment you made to cKelly’s statement just above here…
God bless you for all you do and are…🤗♥️
I think perhaps the priest meant perfected in grace as the difference. Mary was perfected, she made it from the Incarnation to the Cross. Adam and Eve were not perfected as they could make the one sacrifice they were asked to. But all three were created in grace sinless.
I apologize for any confusion.
You seemed to dismiss cKelly’s priest’s response—(just above your response here —May 11). He may have had excellent insight that his response took into account… Just a thought that keeps coming to me. God’s Blessings on you and yours🙏🏻
Thanks. I don’t get notifications of the whole chain reply, just the latest comment, as it has been awhile I didn’t remember the above comment. God Bless you too.
I am struggling with the idea that Mary had “seen the beatific vision” as you said. Can you elaborate on that a little? How could she see the beatific vision? It seems to me that the “advantage” that she had was “seeing evil all around” as you said before, which would have allowed for her “fullness” of grace upon her expression of her fiat – as compared to the state of Adam and Eve who had but “sufficient” grace to be obedient to God and yet wandered. Mary also had in depth schooling in the Torah that had been developed over time, as God (opted to) relied on “human cooperation” to bring about our salvation. In other words, her arrival was at the “exact” moment to effect salvation for ALL of mankind. The indisputable greatest attribute of God would be His Mercy (I think you would agree), which would not have been manifested so greatly were it not for the “sin of Adam” which is acclaimed at the Easter vigil. Your thoughts?
I did not say that she has (at least not until her Assumption). I was trying to figure out what the Priest meant when he said Adam and Eve weren’t full of grace. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. My understanding is the same as yours. I actually deleted my comment because it wasn’t clear. And yes my understanding is the same as yours.
Thank you so very much. This was a most beautiful explanation of what I need to hear today. GOD is good indeed and answered my prayer through what you have written. God Bless You.
God Bless you too
Really an eye opener! The above gives me something to strive for since prayer sometimes is just words not true love and praise. Keep writing you are touching souls who will touch others. You writing is like spilled water running everywhere and seeping into the cracks of hearten hearts to soften them and open them to Gods love !
Thank you so much.
ROMANS 9:16 – “So then, everything depends, not on what we humans want or do, but ‘ONLY’ on God’s Mercy.” – Reference: Good News Bib;e GNT
ROMANS 9:16 – Gpd’s Mercy
Truly inspiring!! Thank you !! Will read this a few times and slowly, the Lord spoke too me through your words. Blessings always too you and yours
God Bless you too.
“They could tell a fig tree to produce fruit and it would, as all things in the garden were ordered to their purpose. It is why we see later in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus curse a fig tree, because it was not doing what it was made for.”
Note that Jesus was looking for figs, though it was not the season of fruiting. If the first Adam had power over the fruiting of the trees, so much the New Adam. However, our Lord cursed that tree and it withered away. Was it an outburst of irrational anger? It is impossible. Through this heppening, the Lord Jesus gave a strong sign that circumcision was no longer necessary. That is, mankind has already been so psychophysically improved after Adam’s sin that it is fit for the restoration of original innocence and the fullness of grace. The fig leaf was used to cover the private parts, so if Jesus caused the tree to wither, it means that no more fig leaves are needed.
The Most Holy Virgin and Most Holy Savior are the first couple of a renewed human race. Their children, that is, God’s Children, are capable of receiving the fullness of grace. This is the greatest mystery of the New Adam and New Eve.
The above illustration shows the characteristic props of Our Lady of Fatima, that is, a rosary, a small golden ball on a long chain and a star at the bottom of her dress. I was most intrigued by this little ball, and since I couldn’t find any information on this matter anywhere, I just asked Our Lady. I got the answer after many months and I immediately understood where the delay came from. This ball is the reliquary that contains the only relic of Our Lord’s physical body: the foreskin of the Baby Jesus!
Why did Our Lady appear with this relic in Fatima? Because among the three children there were siblings Jacinta de Jesus Marto and the uncircumcised Francisco de Jesus Marto. These two innocent children represent another couple depicted in Revelation to John, namely the Sun-Clothed Woman and her Man-Son. It is not the Lord Jesus at all, because He is circumcised. So who is it? As a hint: Francisco Marto was born on June 11-th (1908), the day of the commemoration of St. Barnabas the Apostle called ‘Hyios Paraklēseōs’ means the Son of Consolation.
May 13th, feast of Our Lady of Fatima
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