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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


Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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