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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

Francis of Assisi: Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a sense of self-importance. 
<p>Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy." </p><p>From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman. </p><p>He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up all his possessions, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, evokng sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking. </p><p>But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (Luke 9:1-3). </p><p>Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity. </p><p>He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade. </p><p>During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44), he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side. </p><p>On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Gospel is not just any joy. It consists in knowing one is welcomed and loved by God…. And so we are able to open our eyes again, to overcome sadness and mourning to strike up a new song. And this true joy remains even amid trial, even amid suffering, for it is not a superficial joy: it permeates the depths of the person who entrusts himself to the Lord and confides in him.


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