As our readers undoubtedly know, the Extraordinary Year of Mercy comes to an end this December, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. As he draws to a close his letter to introduce the Year of Mercy, our Holy Father turns to Mary, and prays that
...the sweetness of her countenance watch over us... so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God's tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the Incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh...because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love.
The season of Advent, which begins this year on November 27th, is truly the time for Catholics to celebrate - and for an extended period - the comforting presence of Mary in our lives. These days are a time to consider how - like Mary - we may take God's word into our hearts and there allow it to assume flesh and blood, so that we, too, may touch the world with our merciful God's human face, human hands, and human voice.
When we gather to celebrate the Mass, our prayer opens a window onto eternity that destroys the two thousand years and the thousands of miles that separate us from Calvary, and allows us to stand with Mary, listening to Jesus' words of forgiveness. Mary's Rosary enables us to keep the mystery of the Eucharist alive in our hearts. The prayers of the Rosary unite us with Mary, as she participates - like no one else - in nearly every one of the saving events in the life of Jesus and the early Church. We must not be surprised, then, that our Holy Father urges us:
Let us address her in the words of the Salve Regina, a prayer ever ancient and ever new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes upon us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her Son Jesus.
With the arrival of Advent we look forward to Christmas, when we celebrate God's great gift to us in the Incarnation of His Son. Our Christmas presents should remind us of this immense blessing, so if you are seeking appropriate Christmas gifts, let us suggest the following.
A perennial favorite among the Rosary Center's friends is the children's book, CHRISTMAS MOUSE. The story relates the adventures of a little mouse who is being chased by a cat. He finds himself inside a home, gazing at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. He then comes upon a book and falls into it. To his surprise, he is in a stable, and Jesus has just been born.
LITTLE STAR, by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliot, is certain to become a Christmas classic. This delightful tale connects the star atop the Christmas tree to the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus.
MOTHER MARY COLORING BOOK is a Catholic contribution to the new wave of coloring books for grown- ups. Here's a pleasant - and prayerful - tool to help one escape the demands of a world of busyness and noise, and spend some quiet moments alone with the Mother of Our Savior.
CHAMPIONS OF THE ROSARY has been published, at last. Fr. Donald Calloway's book explores the history of the Rosary and its "champions" who have promoted it over the centuries. Fr. Reginald Martin observed, "Champions of the Rosary is remarkably accessible, and the content in these pages will help all of us become champions of the rosary."
2 Novenas of Masses in honor of
The Rosary Center
PO Box 3617
Portland, OR 97208 USA