By Mary Sayad

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    THE BIRTH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY - SEPT. 8

    AND THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

    Although humanly conceived, the birth of Our Blessed Mother was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Her parents Sts. Joachim and Ann were a childless, elderly couple. The Angel Gabriel appeared to St. Ann in a dream and informed her that she would conceive and bear the mother of the long awaited Messiah and that she should name her Mary. The Angel also told her to keep this in her heart and not reveal it to anyone. Indeed, even Joachim, her husband, was not to be told that their daughter, Mary would be the mother of the Messiah. St. Ann trusted and obeyed the Angel of the Lord. Her faith and love of the Holy Scriptures inspired her with strength and joy.

    The above is an icon of the Conception of Saint Ann. The Byzantine churches display beautiful icons of Saints, Angels and Apostles. *** "An icon is a window to the spiritual world, revealing the heavenly possibilities for each viewer on earth and providing models to imitate. The unearthly appearance of the icon subjects is intentional, pushing the viewer beyond the real world." ***Marilyn Bouvelas, "A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America"

    In 33 A.D. , 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ from the dead and ten days after His ascension, the apostles and the disciples received the Holy Spirit as recorded in the Book of Acts: "And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues of fire, distributed and restring on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:2-4) After this time, they began the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Saint Peter established the Church of Antioch (Syria). Saint Mark in Alexandria (Egypt), and Saint James in Jerusalem. Our Church dates back to these foundations. It was also in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

    Our Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted us to the special protection of His Most Holy Mother who watches over us and protects us along the frightening dark paths and many unknowns in our lives.

    ****"Ever since the year 911 A.D. Eastern Christians have been celebrating a special event commemorating the protection of the Mother of God. In that year, the City of Constantinople was under attack. The Faithful people prayed for God's intervention. In an answer to that prayer, a vision was seen of the Mother of God hovering over the city and draping it under the protective cover of her veil. It was then that the people knew they would be safe.

    We, too carry this same faith with us in our hearts even a thousand years later. "O Holy Mother of God, remember us who boast of you and who in noble hymns celebrate the memory that will ever live and never fade away!" (Saint Methodius)" ****Eastern Christian Bulletin

    Beloved Friends,

    Today, our world is plagued with disasters of epic proportions. We live in an age that plays with the truth. There are many false doctrines easily available and readily accessible that will darken our minds with falsehoods and inaccuracies. Sadly, secularism is dominating many countries with the unfortunate departure of what is everlasting and true.

    Moral issues and cultural wars are blinding our older and young generation from the basic truth of faith. Indeed, humanity is impoverished and distorted because of the assault of human life via abortion, euthanasia and mutual disregard of each other. Our age of technology is educated and arrogant and our pride in knowledge exalts the creature above the Creator. God our Creator is a God of life and love. We need to be stewards of creation, not to abuse it.

    The Blessed Trinity is the basic truth of our faith. God is the Truth, unchangeable and immutable. Everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. God is the Author of everything and His Truth is life and love which ennobles us.

    The meaning of life is to know, love and serve God. The only happiness we have on earth is the love of God and Jesus reveals the Father through himself. We can never have absolute assurance of salvation if we don't adhere to the Word of God and act on it.

    If we could live according to our faith, we could change society, one person at a time. Catholics are a vital part of the American scene and our charity, hope and strength need to reflect Jesus because he lives in us. Faith is a seed that grows by nourishing it, by learning about it, preserving it and also by following God's Commandments.

    The Katrina hurricane was a disaster beyond our control. Regardless of how dark situations are, we need to remind each other to trust in God for He is the Light of the world and He always keeps watch.

    Please pray for the victims of the Katrina hurricane and their families. Be generous and help in your capacity. Besides machinery, we will need a tremendous scale of rebuilding with hope, good-will and prayer. Let us also thank God for His many gifts.

    To quote Bishop Fulton Sheen, "If you believe the incredible, you will end up doing the impossible."

    Thank you for your prayers and rosary recitals for world peace.

    Your companion in prayer,

    Mary

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    CONSECRATION TO MARY

    Most Holy Mary, my Lady, to thy faithful care and particular protection and to the bosom of thy mercy "today and every day, and particularly at the hour of my death, "I consecrate my soul and my body "all my hope and consolation "all my trials and miseries "my life and the end of my life I commit to thee, and through thy most holy intercession and by thy merits, all my actions may be directed and ordered according to thy will and that of thy Divine Son. Amen.