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Daily Catholic Question

What do the 12 stars in Mary's crown represent?

The book of Revelation teems with signs and symbols. It was written as a kind of insiders' book. The use of symbols made its meaning obscure to enemies and persecutors of the Church while those for whom the book was intended got the message loud and clear.

Chapter 12 in Revelation, containing the verse about the 12 stars, reflects the struggle between Satan and God's people in both the Old and New Testaments. The woman clothed with the sun represents—or is seen to represent&mdashboth the People of God pictured by the prophets (an ideal sign), and the Church of the New Testament. The dragon who seeks to destroy her is Satan, the devil.

In writing, John may have had in mind the dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:9-10 when he saw the sun, moon, and 11 stars (the other brothers or tribes) bowing down to him. And John almost certainly was recalling the woman in Genesis 3 whose offspring would crush the head of the serpent.

Over the centuries some commentators have believed that John also had in mind Mary, the mother of Jesus and God's people, when he wrote this passage in Revelation. Whatever John's immediate intention, the words are repeatedly applied to Mary in Christian writings and interpretations of Revelation.

On the first level, with the woman as the image of an ideal Israel and the Church, the sun can be seen to represent Christ or the light of Christ. The Church is clothed in the light of Christ; in and through the Church shines the light of Christ. The moon represents the presence of heavenly glory. The stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles.

The symbols have much the same significance when the woman in Revelation is seen as Mary or the passage is applied to her as the queen assumed into heaven, the queen of patriarchs, queen of prophets, queen of apostles and queen of all saints whose praises we sing in the litany of the Blessed Virgin.

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Monday, April 1, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/31/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/2/2013


Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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