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Daily Catholic Question

What is Mary's relationship to Catholics living today?

Before the Second Vatican Council, Catholics kept Mary on a pedestal, emphasizing her privileged uniqueness. We were so busy craning our necks to look up to her that we missed out on her presence at our side. But the Fathers of Vatican II offered new advice. Paraphrasing Lumen Gentium, they said: "Look again. Mary is a human being who, like us, needed to be redeemed by her Son. She is a model who goes before us, guiding our pilgrimage of faith. She assures us that we too are capable of fidelity to God's call."

We know from Mary's experience as well as our own that hope does not immunize us against doubt, suffering or spiritual setbacks. Her humanity left her vulnerable to misunderstanding Jesus' mission, enduring the stress of his conflicts with religious authorities, bearing the devastation of his humiliating death. Can any parent who has witnessed his or her child's violent death doubt that the green shoots of hope in Mary's heart were trampled and nearly extinguished at Calvary? Yet she endured. And when the early Church gathered to pray for the Spirit's coming, she poured out that same heart in confident expectation.

If we see ourselves as God's works of art ("I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;/Wonderful are your works"-Ps 139:14), we will honor Mary as God's masterwork. We will treasure the mystery by which she is "potentially every woman, every man." We will emulate her interiority, her prayerfulness, her trust, her hope. For she is an accessible model for all ages.


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Saturday, July 6, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 7/5/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 7/7/2013


Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Trust always and a great deal in divine providence; never, never must you let yourselves be discouraged, despite contrary winds. I say it again: trust in God and Mary Immaculate; be faithful and forge ahead! <br />-Paulina do Coração Agonizante de Jesus

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