SHARJAH & ABUDHABI RETREAT PREACHING :
Fr. Rudolf D'Souza recently preached a six days
retreat in Abudhabi. All his Retreat talks have been
published in the form of DVD from Sharjah and into
three cassettes( part one, part two and part three)
from Abudhabi. This will be available also in India
The themes are as follows:
Day 1: THE KINGDOM OF GOD; DAY 2: KINGDOM OF GOD AND
THE 8 BEATITUDES; DAY 3: KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE
SEVEN SACRAMENTS; DAY 4: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND
THE KINGDOM OF GOD; DAY 5: THE HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
AND MOTHER MARY; DAY 6: FAMILY.
MARY MOTHER OF GOD -
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010
An article in National Geographic several years ago
provided a penetrating picture of God's wings. After a
forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers
began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's
damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in
ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of
a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked
over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three
tiny chicks scurried from under their mother's wings.
The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster,
had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and
gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing
that toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to
safety, but had refused to abandon her babies. When the
blaze had arrived and the heat singed her small body,
the mother remained steadfast. Because she had been
willing to die, those under the cover of her wings
continued to live. "He shall cover thee with His
feathers and under His wings shall thou trust" (Ps
91:4). Learn to experience the warmth and protection of
life beneath the wings of the Almighty."
… a mother is an unskilled laborer.
"Somebody" never gave a squirmy infant a bath.
... you know how to be a mother by instinct.
Somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.
... that "good" mothers never yell at their kids.
Somebody's child never sent a baseball through a
neighbor's picture window.
... a mother can End all the answers to her
child-rearing questions in books.
Somebody never had a child stuff beans in his nose.
... a mother always adores her children.
Somebody never tried to comfort a colicky baby at 3 a.m.
... a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one
hand tied behind her back. Somebody never organized
seven giggling Brownies into a cookie-selling brigade.
... the hardest part of being a mother is labor and
Somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the
first day of kindergarten.
... your mother knows you love her, so you don't have to
Somebody isn't a mother.
On New Year's Day, the octave day of
Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the
Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood
of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event:
for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her
extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and
salvation because "through her we have received the
Author of life".
The solemnity of the 1 January, an
eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent
opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular
piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner
proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends
joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise
offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to
deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with
that which says: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us,
In the West, 1 January is an inaugural
day marking the beginning of the civil year. The
faithful are also involved in the celebrations for the
beginning of the new year and exchange "new year"
greetings. However, they should try to lend a Christian
understanding to this custom making of these greetings
an expression of popular piety. The faithful, naturally,
realize that the "new year" is placed under the
patronage of the Lord, and in exchanging new year
greetings they implicitly and explicitly place the New
Year under the Lord's dominion, since to him belongs all
A connection between this consciousness
and the popular custom of singing the Veni Creator
Spiritus can easily be made so that on 1 January the
faithful can pray that the Spirit may direct their
thoughts and actions, and those of the community during
the course of the year.
New year greetings also include an
expression of hope for a peaceful New Year. This has
profound biblical, Christological and incarnational
origins. The "quality of peace" has always been invoked
throughout history by all men, and especially during
violent and destructive times of war.
The Holy See shares the profound
aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has
been designated "world day for peace".
Popular piety has not been oblivious to
this initiative of the Holy See. In the light of the new
born Prince of Peace, it reserves this day for intense
prayer for peace, education towards peace and those
value inextricably linked with it, such as liberty,
fraternal solidarity, the dignity of the human person,
respect for nature, the right to work, the sacredness of
human life, and the denunciation of injustices which
trouble the conscience of man and threaten peace.
A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in
her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of
his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus
in both of these senses; because she not only carried
Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic
matter for his human body, since it was through her—not
Joseph—that Jesus "was descended from David according to
the flesh" (Rom. 1:3).
Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that
she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of
Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of
God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism, the
valid form of which has been recognized by classical
logicians since before the time of Christ.
Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his
mother in the sense that she is older than God or the
source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither.
Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the
sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus
Christ, God "in the flesh" (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and
in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to
the human form God took in Jesus Christ.
To avoid this conclusion, Fundamentalists often assert
that Mary did not carry God in her womb, but only
carried Christ’s human nature. This assertion
reinvents a heresy from the fifth century known as
Nestorianism, which runs aground on the fact that a
mother does not merely carry the human nature of
her child in her womb. Rather, she carries the person
of her child. Women do not give birth to human
natures; they give birth to persons. Mary thus
carried and gave birth to the person of Jesus
Christ, and the person she gave birth to was
The Nestorian claim that Mary did not give birth to the
unified person of Jesus Christ attempts to
separate Christ’s human nature from his divine nature,
creating two separate and distinct
persons—one divine and one human—united in a loose
affiliation. It is therefore a Christological heresy,
which even the Protestant Reformers recognized. Both
Martin Luther and John Calvin insisted on Mary’s divine
maternity. In fact, it even appears that Nestorius
himself may not have believed the heresy named after
him. Further, the "Nestorian" church has now signed a
joint declaration on Christology with the Catholic
Church and recognizes Mary’s divine maternity, just as
other Christians do.
Since denying that Mary is God’s mother implies doubt
about Jesus’ divinity, it is clear why Christians (until
recent times) have been unanimous in proclaiming Mary as
Mother of God.
origins of a feast celebrating Mary's divine maternity
are obscure, but there is some evidence of ancient
feasts commemorating Mary's role as
Around 500 AD the Eastern Church celebrated a "Day of
the Theotokos" either before or after Christmas. This
celebration eventually evolved into a Marian feast on
December 26th in the Byzantine calendar and January 16th
in the Coptic calendar. In the West, Christmas has
generally been celebrated with an octave, an eight day
extension of the feast. The Gregorian and Roman
calendars of the 7th century mark the Christmas octave
day with a strong Marian emphasis. However, eventually
in the West, the eighth day of the octave of Christmas
was celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision of
Jesus. The push for an official feast day celebrating
Mary's divine maternity started in Portugal, and in 1751
Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal's churches to
celebrate Mary's divine maternity on the first Sunday in
May. The feast was eventually extended to other
countries, and by 1914 was being celebrated on October
11. The feast of Mary's divine maternity became a
universal feast in 1931.
Let us celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, who can guide us
on the path of salvation.