Dedication of S. Mary Major Basilica (Our Lady of Snows)| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica
First raised at the order of Pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century, the Liberian basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III shortly after the Council of Ephesus affirmed Mary’s title as Mother of God in 431. Rededicated at that time to the Mother of God, St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary. Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it has survived many restorations without losing its character as an early Roman basilica. Its interior retains three naves divided by colonnades in the style of Constantine’s era. Fifth-century mosaics on its walls testify to its antiquity.
St. Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centers of the Church. St. John Lateran (November 9) represents Rome, the See of Peter; St. Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, allegedly the see presided over by Mark (April 25); St. Peter’s, the See of Constantinople; and St. Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is supposed to have spent most of her life.
One legend, unreported before the year 1000, gives another name to this feast: Our Lady of the Snows. According to that story, a wealthy Roman couple pledged their fortune to the Mother of God. In affirmation, she produced a miraculous summer snowfall and told them to build a church on the site. The legend was long celebrated by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the basilica’s dome every August 5.
Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!"
“From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, in whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the People of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation...” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 66).
The Right Direction:
Sometimes we might not know specifically where we are headed. If we stay close to the Lord, we will get to where he wants us to be. He will show us the path he has in mind for us. All we need to do is follow.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
I thank the Lord ... that despite the fact that, particularly, in certain contacts with others, I suffer moments of real anquish, I am for the most part invariably very cheerful ... and it seems to me that fresh courage is gently invading my heart.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236
We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!
Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.
The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!
Reflection 217: The Lazy and Idle Soul
We please the evil one when we allow our souls to become lazy and idle in the things of God. An idle soul is one that does not seek to engage the life of God. An idle soul is one who is passive in spiritual things rather than active. Being “passive,” means that the person is somewhat indifferent to matters of faith and morality. There is little interest in these areas and, as a result, very little effort is given to them. Do not delight the evil one by being idle in your spiritual life. Become zealous, passionate, hard working, diligent and committed to the path of holiness. Seek to meet our Lord, personally, through a life of generous self-surrender to Him. And never tire of doing so with all the powers of your soul (See Diary #1127).
What are you passionate about? For example, do you have some hobby or pastime? Do you have some activity that you love doing and spend much time with? Though a hobby can be healthy, your greatest “pastime” should be that of seeking God and serving His holy Will. Nothing in life should take up more time and focus than your love of God. Reflect upon how determined you are in your life of faith. How committed are you to building a relationship with your merciful Lord? Are you idle or lazy in this area? Renew your zeal for God and allow that zeal to guide you into an ever deepening relationship with your Lord. Give Him more than an hour a week and you will reap the blessings of your commitment.
Lord, I want to be holy. However, I realize that I do not desire holiness enough, preferring instead to be idle and lazy at times. Please increase my zeal and my desire to come to know You more. And as I grow in a deeper love for You, magnify that love and help it to continue growing in an exponential way. May I never tire of seeking You and loving You, dear Lord. I give you my life. Jesus, I trust in You.