thank you Leandro for reminding me of the importance of the feast of the Annunciation in England. The Pope made some very pertinent reflection in his mornings homily which I want to reprint here. Also, I want to attach the Sunday reading reflection guides. There is always time for spiritual enrichment.
‘For nothing will be impossible for God.’
Pope Francis gave this reminder today, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, which so far has claimed over 7000 lives in Italy, and spoke about Mary’s complete trust in God when the Angel Gabriel told her what would be in her future, reported Vatican News.
“The evangelist Luke could know this only from Our Lady’s account,” Francis said, noting that in listening to Luke, we have listened to Our Lady who recounts this mystery.
“The best thing we can do now,” Francis reflected, “is to reread this passage, thinking that it was Our Lady who recounted it.”
Mary, the Holy Father acknowledged, was perplexed by the news, and especially since she had no relations with a man, but trusted and consented to the Lord’s will for her and her life.
When “she was greatly troubled,” Francis recalled, the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
Gabriel stressed that her baby would be great and be called the Son of the Most High, and how since the power of the Most High would overshadow her, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”
Moreover, the angel told her, that Elizabeth in her old age, “has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.”
“For with God,” he said, “nothing will be impossible.”
Mary–the Pope reminded–responds to this, saying: “’Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
“This is the mystery,” Pope Francis said.
Before concluding the Mass, the Pope exhorted faithful to partake in Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, and ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.
Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation.
It was announced in recent days that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time.
This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, until at least April 3rd, following guidelines put out by Italian authorities.
In addition to Santa Marta, the Vatican has taken other steps to keep people safe and to stay close to the Pope, even if from a distance. They are televising the Pope giving privately, from the papal library, his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.
The Vatican Museums are now closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
To date, four people have been tested positive for Coronavirus in the Vatican, and those who were in close contact with them are all being quarantined at home.
By this evening in Rome, Italy’s civil protection agency will confirm that more than 7,000 Italians have died from the virus.
And you gotta smile, OK?
The Psychiatrist’s Test
A mother was worried that her three-year-old son was unusually precocious, and took him to a psychiatrist.
“Right,” said the shrink, “We’ll just try a few simple tests.” To the boy, he said “Say a few words – anything that comes into your mind.”
The boy turned to his mother and asked, “Does he want logically constructed sentences or just a few random and purely isolated words?”