29th September 2014 - That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ 
What a wonderful prayer!

God has made so many promises to us. The greatest of all of course is the promise of his own Son.

This promise was hinted at right from the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis 3:15. NRS “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head and you will strike his heel’.

God kept making this promise throughout the whole of the Old Testament - especially in the prophets.

God even tells us where his Son is to be born, “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2

Isaiah is the Prophet of this great promise - of this Messiah, this Saviour, this suffering Servant.

In Isaiah 7:14 specifically said that this person would be Immanuel, God among us. “… Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear son, and shall name him Immanuel”.

Who better to ask than Mary that we may be made worthy of this promise of her Son. Who better to ask that we may truly walk HIS WAY (and encourage others to do so as well), KNOW HIS TRUTH (and promote it among people) and SHARE HIS LIFE (and spread it wherever we can)? 

22nd September 2014 - Pray for us O Holy Mother of God Pt2
I want to say something else about Mary’s powerful prayer.

Mary is not just someone in an ‘i-cloud’ somewhere. She is intimately close to us in the Communion of Saints - in the Body of Christ - in the family of God.

For years I, like all Catholics and so many Christians, have said in reciting the Creed - “I believe in the Communion of Saints”.

It was only when my mother Rosa died, when I was about forty years of age, that the penny dropped and a light bulb was, as it were, switched on.

As I thought about her, in Faith I realised that she was with God. Because God is with me and us, then in Him Mum as spirit was also close.

It dawned on my then that the Saints like Peter and Paul, and all the Saints that I have learned about and prayed to, were real and live people also like my mother, and in this Communion of Saints, were close to us.

Mary who is ‘Our tainted natures solitary boast’*, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of God, is the most special of all these real and live Saints - and I repeat - her prayer for us is the most loving and the most powerful. *William Wordsworth

15th September 2014 - Pray for us O Holy Mother of God Pt 1
Many people of other Christian faiths wonder about us Catholics praying to Mary.

Of course we have many prayers to Mary, however this phrase of the Angelus shows us what in fact we are doing, even when addressing prayers to her. The Hail Mary likewise puts our approach very clearly. We ask Mary to PRAY FOR US.

Years ago a Baptist Minister I knew quite well asked to have a chat with me about something that was on his mind. He was truly puzzled about our praying to Mary.

A few weeks before this we had our Ministers Fraternal Meeting. We always pray of course, however at that particular meeting it was organised that as we sat in our normal circle, each one prayed for the other next to him. When one person was prayed for, he in turn prayed for the one next to him and so on until each one had been prayed for.

I recalled this event for the Baptist Minister and said that just as we pray for one another and ask the prayers of others, that it what we do in our prayer to Mary. We are actually asking her to pray for us.

As Catholics we know that because Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Mother of God, she is the most special and blessed of human beings (apart from Jesus of course)- and so her prayer, among all who pray for us, is the most powerful.

8th September - Mother of God and Mother of the Church
Mary’s place and role in the Church and therefore our lives, is essential and critical. This is because her role in God’s plan for saving the world was essential.

The Bishops of the Vatican Council did something quite significant. As they discussed and reflected on Mary and her role, they decided not to write a separate document on her, and instead decided to place her in the Document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, in chapter 8. In this way they taught that Mary’s role is in the heart of the Church. In fact they gave Mary the title “Mother of the Church”.

All the Bishops were doing was following on logically from our Faith of the centuries. Because Mary was the Mother of God, the Mother of Christ, she was also the Mother of the Church which, as St Paul teachers, the ‘Body of Christ’. 

As Mother of the Church, and therefore our mother, Mary has a great love for each of us. What child would there be, who receiving such love, would not have a special place in her or his heart for Mary.

1st September - Pray for us Holy Mother of God
We come to the final verse of the Angelus. I am not sure if I have mentioned it already but it bears repeating, because it is such a deep mystery - Mary as the Mother of God.

This has been the constant belief of, and teaching, of the Church. In fact the Church Council of Ephesus in 431 used the Greek word 'Theotokos' (God-bearer), which sums it all up. It was an actual decree of that Council.

What the Council was saying was that any mother is the mother of a person - not just a body. So too Mary was the mother of the person Christ - not just his body. That person is the second person of the Blessed Trinity - the Son of God.

St Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century pondered what this meant. He came up with two special lines:-
“You became the mother of your Creator.”
“He whom the whole world cannot contain, enclosed himself in your womb.”

Bernard’s words put ‘flesh’ on our belief. Like him we need to ponder what it means to be the ‘Mother of God’. We could do no better, I believe, than ponder his words.