Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Life in Christ - Mary's Way

Tonight I am giving a presentation at my parish RCIA about "Life in Christ." The topic fills about 1/4 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so knowing what to say and what to leave out for purposes of summary - well, it's been difficult, let's say. Anyhow, since today is the Annunciation of the Lord (formerly called Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary), it seems fitting to use Mary's words spoken on that day.

(Fra. Angelico's Annunciation, in the Convent of St. Mark, in Florence)

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word," (Lk 1:38).

The shift of solemnity's title is not accidental. By changing it from "to the Blessed Virgin Mary," to "of the Lord," the Church has publicly emphasized just what, or better, who is being announced. It also opens the feast day to remembering the other annunciation. An angel of the Lord appears to Joseph, too, in a dream telling him not to fear taking Mary for his wife (Mt 1:20). Mary's "yes," was needed to give the Word flesh; Joseph's silent obedience was needed to give Him a safe and happy home, to train Him as a man, to prepare Him for His mission. By contemplating the heart of Mary, we will come to know Him who was germinated in her; by contemplating the heart of Joseph, we will honor her, and keep His presence safe in us. Their union, though virginal, was the most fruitful of any marriage because they nurtured, safeguarded, and brought Jesus to the world. Every married couple would do well to take their cue from Joseph and Mary.

Holy Mary and Joseph, pray for us.

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