Father of mercies

December 9

“The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death so also should a woman contribute
to the coming of life.’

-Lumen Gentium #56


For Reflection

After careful reflection, list the truths this paragraph contains in light of Genesis 3:15, the Immaculate Conception, and the Annunciation. How do they point to God’s reality as the “Father of mercies?” Given this paragraph, why do you think Mary is the perfect one to teach us about our feminine call and mission? Consider the time of Mary’s pregnancy. Based on Scripture and your own insights, how do you think this, Our Lady’s “advent,” reflected a continued attitude of surrender? Journal your thoughts. We will consider this time in Our Lady’s life through the next few GraceLines.

Mary Immaculate

December 8
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

Mary Immaculate
“Pure as the snow,” we say. Ah! never flake
Fell through the air
One-tenth as fair
As Mary’s soul was made for Christ’s dear sake.
Virgin Immaculate,
The whitest whiteness of the Alpine snows,
Beside thy stainless spirit, dusky grows.

“Pure as the stars.” Ah! never lovely night
Wore in its diadem
So pure a gem
As that which fills the ages with its light.
Virgin Immaculate,
The peerless splendors of they soul by far
Outshine the glow of heaven’s serenest star.

-Eleanor C. Donnelly


For Reflection

Dear Mother,
You were kept free from the stain of original sin so the Word of God could make His abode in you.
Today, on this feast which celebrates your Immaculate Conception, I ask you to obtain for me the grace I need to resist sin and to live for Christ alone (NAME THE SIN MOST DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO RESIST AND ANY OTHER FAILING OF WHICH YOU ARE AWARE).
Be the mother of my soul, Mary. Nurture me in your tender heart. Take my hand and lead me to your Son. Amen.

Feminine principle

December 7

“Within the sphere of humanity and in the natural world, there had to be a pure and spotless being capable of receiving the divine element, a feminine principle enlightened by grace.”

-Nicholas Berdyaev


For Reflection

Meditate on this quote in light of the Blessed Mother. Think about it with regard to God’s initiative in her life and her capacity to surrender to His Holy Will. Consider the words “pure” and “spotless.” Why do you think these qualities would be essential to receive the “divine element?” Read paragraphs 490-493 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. How does this increase your understanding of Mary as woman, as disciple,
as who she is in the plan of God?

Advent and Weekday Mass: A Marriage Made in Heaven

As the liturgical season of Advent gets underway, it is good to consider various ways to make this time of anticipation worthwhile and spiritually fulfilling. Daily meditations in print or electronic form certainly can be helpful, but nothing can outdo the efficacy of daily Mass.

Read the rest…


December 6

“God the Father communicated to Mary His fruitfulness, inasmuch as a mere creature was capable of it, in order that He might give her the power to produce His Son and all the members of His Mystical Body.”

-St. Louis Grignion de Montfort


For Reflection

How does this quote illustrate the efficacy of Mary’s surrender? What aspect of His own power has God entrusted to her? What does this say to me about the potential efficacy of my surrender to God and my call to spiritual maternity?

Surrender to God

December 5

“Surrender to God is the only absolute power with which creature is endowed.”

-Gertrud von le Fort


For Reflection

Why do you think surrender to God is “the only absolute power” we have? In another place, Gertrud von le Fort says that when we surrender to God, we share in His own power. In my own life, how have I experienced the power that comes through surrender to God?


December 4

“Mary is the attentive Virgin, who receives the word of God with faith, that faith which in her case was the gateway and path to divine motherhood, for, as St. Augustine realized, “Blessed Mary by believing conceived Him [Jesus] whom believing she brought forth.”

-Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus


For Reflection

Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation. How do you see both of these attitudes of heart implicit in the statement, “Mary is the attentive Virgin?” What virtue underscores Mary’s reception of the word of God – from the moment of the angelic message to her impregnation? What do you make of St. Augustine’s words as given in the quote? Journal your insights and reflections, and consider your receptivity in light of Mary’s attentiveness, her faith,
and her trust.

A field for the word

December 3
“To be a field for the word means to be earth which allows itself to be absorbed by the seed, which assimilates itself to the seed, renouncing itself so as to make the seed germinate. With her motherhood Mary transfused into it her very substance, body and soul, so that a new life might come forth…Mary makes herself completely available as the soil, she allows herself to be used and consumed so as to be transformed into him.
-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)
on Mary’s motherhood
For Reflection
Underline the words in Cardinal Ratzinger’s quote which characterize Mary’s evangelical surrender. Are these action words or passive words? What does this indicate about surrender and the spiritual life? To what extent am I seeking, or even willing, to be such “earth?” What presses me on? What holds me back? Mary, help of all Christians, pray for me. (See tomorrow’s GraceLine for a key to Mary’s success).

Evangelical surrender

December 2

“Evangelical surrender is directed towards receiving God’s word. It is like the ploughing which enables the soil to be ‘good soil’ capable of receiving the divine seed, the seed of life.”

-Father Marie-Dominque Philippe, O.P.


For Reflection

According to Father Philippe, what is the relationship between surrender and reception of the “divine seed, the seed of life?” How does Mary demonstrate evangelical surrender to God after Angel Gabriel’s announcement? On a scale of 1-10, how do I rank my evangelical surrender with 1 being “unyielding” and 10 being “Marian?” How can I work to move myself forward this Advent season? (Tomorrow’s GraceLine may give you “Mary-like” insights).


Fullness of glory and grace

December 1

“… [Mary] was predestined first of all to be Mother of God. And the precise reason why the fullness of glory and grace was given her was to make her of it to be the mother of Christ, as St. Thomas expresses it.”

-Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.


For Reflection

When in Sacred Scripture do we first learn of Mary’s predestination to be the Mother of God? (Hint: It is in the Old Testament in the first book.) What does this suggest about God’s own preparation for the coming of Jesus? What aspect of this preparation does the quote detail? Consider this in light of Angel Gabriel’s salutation to Mary, “Hail, full of grace… (Lk. 1:28). What sacrament was both my preparation for Christ as well as my initial reception of Him? As a chosen daughter of the Most High God, I, too, have been called to be a Christ-bearer. How can I cooperate with grace to prepare for Jesus and to receive Him anew this Christmas?