Hearts ready to respond

Archbishop Aquila

During the entire liturgical year, there are only two saints whose birth the Church celebrates: John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Why these two saints and not others? It is because God gave them the mission of announcing and bringing Jesus to the world. Today, every believer is tasked with preparing for this same mission.

Birthday celebrations are a recognition of the fact that the world is changed by every birth; a completely unique person is added to the ranks of the living. But when we celebrate Mary’s birth on Sept. 8th, we are recognizing that the world was changed in an even more profound way and eternal way. In her, we witness the fulfillment of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 that the Devil would be crushed by the offspring of a woman.

This woman is Mary, the New Eve, whose role St. Irenaeus of Lyon beautifully described in the second century. “Just as the former—that is, Eve—was seduced by the words of an angel so that she turned away from God by disobeying his word, so the latter—Mary—received the good news from an angel’s announcement in such a way as to give birth to God by obeying his word; and as the former was seduced so that she disobeyed God, the latter let herself be convinced to obey God, and so the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve” (Against Heresies, V, 19, 1).

The birth of Mary was a turning point in salvation history. It was the moment at which the new Eve was born and because of her “yes” to being the mother of the new Adam, God became a man.

God also calls each of us to bring about the kingdom of God today in a way that is uniquely tailored to the gifts the Father has given us. We all have a part to play in the salvation of the world, and this coming October 13th could serve as a moment of grace in your journey to your true home in heaven.

The significance of October 13th is that it is the 100th anniversary of Mary’s appearances at Fatima. The central message of Fatima, which remains relevant today, is this: that Mary wishes to assist us, through her Immaculate Heart, in bringing the world back to God. Mary’s deepest desire is that the world come to know the mercy and love of her Son. That every human being may encounter him and put their faith in him.

Given the ever-present need for our hearts to be formed by Jesus, Bishop Rodriguez and I are inviting everyone to consecrate themselves and the whole archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica on Oct. 13th. Every parish is being invited to participate in this consecration, either with their own simultaneous ceremony or by following the cathedral liturgy via livestream.

The archdiocese is also making preparatory materials available at www.archden.org/heartofmary. Visit the site, and look at ways you can personally prepare for this consecration and participate in it more fully.

As we celebrate the birth of Mary, I pray that each one of you will open your hearts to hear the words, “Behold your mother,” that Jesus spoke from the Cross. Open your hearts to receive Mary as your mother and to grow in intimacy with her, for she will always lead you to her Son. Pray for a deeper faith and to have the faith of Mary, who was blessed for her confidence in God’s promises to her (Lk. 1: 45). Pray, too, for the conversion of the world, and that every human being may open their hearts to encounter Jesus and come to know his eternal love for them! May Mary place her mantle of love and protection over you!

COMING UP: Are you ready for consecration?

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Are you ready for consecration?

Archbishop to consecrate archdiocese to Immaculate Heart

On Oct. 13, 2017, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila is going to lead the Archdiocese of Denver in an act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and as an archdiocese, we need to be prepared.

The day he chose for this act is significant, as it will mark 100 years since the last apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children in Fatima.

“Mary wishes to assist us, through her Immaculate Heart, in bringing the world back to God,” the archbishop stated. “This is why I am encouraging people to join me in consecrating themselves, their families, parishes, and the archdiocese to her Immaculate Heart.”

The act of consecration will take place at the end of a Marian prayer service at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The event will be livestreamed so that parishes gathered together as a faith community may participate.

The archbishop encourages all individual Catholics to prepare well for the Oct. 13 consecration by learning more about Mary and her virtues, intensifying prayer, and imitating Mary in one’s daily life.

Learn

To help the faithful learn more about Marian consecration, the Archdiocese of Denver has launch archden.org/heartofmary with a series of questions and answers on Marian consecration.

The Archdiocese of Denver will also share a five-part video series beginning Sept. 21 that will explore five characteristics of Mary Our Mother. Mary is the Christian par excellence. If we want to follow Our Lord, it would do well to follow the example of Our Lady.

Pray

An act of consecration is a spiritual act, which means that you must make a daily commitment to prepare yourself spiritually. If you already have good prayer habits built up, preparation for the consecration could simply mean intensifying your Marian devotions.

Traditionally, a Marian consecration is preceded by 33 days of preparation. The number of days associated with preparation is hypothesized to represent one day for each day of Christ’s life here on earth.

The 33-day period of preparation is not obligatory, but for those wishing to abide by the traditional preparatory period, the date for you to begin in order to be ready for the Oct. 13 Marian consecration is Sept. 11.

Resources to lead you through a 33-day preparation period include the classic prayers outlined in St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, or the modern version by Father Michael Gaitley, 33 Days to Morning Glory. Other great resources include Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus Through Mary with Blessed John Paul II by Father Brian McMaster, and the website of the New Evangelizers, Jennifer and Greg Willits.

If you are not in the practice of praying every day, this is a perfect time to start small! Some good ideas include making a commitment to turn your mind and heart to Our Lady once a day. Could you commit yourself to saying a Hail Mary every day, or to pray the Angelus prayer every day at noon? One decade of the rosary takes three minutes, could you commit yourself to that once a day?

Imitate

Our Lady is the model of all Christian virtue. Pick the virtue or virtues that you most admire in Mary, and do one act each day that seeks to imitate Our Lady. Simple ways of imitating Our Lady include listening to a friend or family member who needs to talk, doing a hidden act of charity at work, being patient with a toddler, letting your spouse have the last word, or spending an extra five minutes after Mass to give thanks. The possibilities are endless. What would Mary do?

For more information, visit Archden.org/heartofmary.