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On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady:
A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
by Rev. Fr. OMER PRIETO
Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Sunday’s “gaudete” was just the beginning. Each day, we discover in our liturgy more and more reasons to rejoice. On Sunday, the Annunciation story not only announces the birth of Jesus, but also unfolds to us God’s marvelous plan to restore grace to man. St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading that it is a “mystery kept secret for long ages” (Rom. 16:25-27). In her message, Our Lady describes this marvelous plan as the new era of grace. It was given to her so uniquely at the very beginning of her life; but this was not exclusive to her, because God prepared this for all humanity. We will read “The New Era” (Message No. 453), taken from the book, “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (Luke 1:26-38)
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Points for Reflection
1. “Hail, full of grace!”
As we heard in the story, Mary was “greatly troubled” by this greeting. At that time, Eve was the only woman known to have been “full of grace,” who, together with Adam, lost this gift because of disobedience. Pondering on “what sort of greeting this might be,” Mary must have thought that God wanted her to be the “new Eve;” the new “ mother of the living,” through whom He would bring back supernatural blessings to man. It would be a new era of grace. Here, we see the unfolding of his marvelous plan for humanity.
2. “You will conceive and bear a son.”
This pronouncement was not at all surprising to Mary. For at that time, the coming of the “woman and her offspring” who would “crush the head of the serpent,” as God promised right after the fall (Gen. 3:15) was already a highly anticipated event. Having known this and having surmised that she, apparently, would be the “new Eve,” Mary must have realized that she was that “woman” whom God spoke about in Genesis. But, “how can this be?” Unlike Zechariah’s “disbelief,” her reaction was merely a query on how God would do it. The angel explained that it would all be the work of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling God’s covenant promise made to David in the First Reading (2 Sam. 7:1-5,8- 11,16). Thus, her offspring would be called the Son of God. “For nothing will be impossible for God.” These words say it all.
3. “Be it done to me according to your word.”
This was Mary’s response. She chose to submit herself in total abandonment to God’s Will, letting go of her own. Her “fiat” opened her to a world of complications, risking the possibility of shame and condemnation. With her obedience, however, she found happiness, unlike Eve who found only desolation with her disobedience. With Mary’s “fiat,” she became the new Eve, the “woman” whose “offspring” would crush the serpent’s head, the “new mother of the living” who would usher in the new era of grace. Her “yes” was the start of the marvelous unfolding of the “mystery kept secret for long ages, but now manifested through the prophetic writings” in order to “bring about the obedience of faith.” As Mary did with her “yes,” let us live in obedience and faith, from which comes true blessedness.
II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: “THE NEW ERA” (MESSAGE 453)
August 15, 1991
Solemnity of the Assumption
Rubbio, Vicenza, Italy
a. Contemplate me in the splendor of my glorified body, assumed into the glory of paradise. Live in joy and confidence the last times of this, your Second Advent, by looking to me as to the sign of sure hope and of consolation.
b. The new era, which awaits you, corresponds to a particular encounter of love, of light and of life between paradise, where I am in perfect blessedness with the angels and the saints, and earth, where you, my children, live in the midst of many dangers and innumerable tribulations. This is the heavenly Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven upon earth, to transform it completely and to thus shape the new heavens and the new earth.
c. The new era, toward which you are journeying, is bringing all creation to the perfect glorification of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father receives his greatest glory from every creature, which reflects his light, his love and his divine splendor. The Son restores his reign of grace and of holiness, setting free every creature from the slavery of evil and of sin. The Holy Spirit pours out in fullness his holy gifts, leads to the understanding of the whole truth, and renews the face of the earth.
d. The new era, which I announce to you, coincides with the complete fulfillment of the divine Will, so that at last there is coming about that which Jesus taught you to ask for, from the Heavenly Father: “Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:10). This is the time when the divine Will of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is being accomplished by the creatures. From the perfect fulfillment of the divine Will, the whole world is becoming renewed, because God finds there, as it were, his new garden of Eden, where He can dwell in loving companionship with his creatures.
e. The new era, which is just now beginning, brings you to a full communion of life with those who have preceded you and who, here in paradise, enjoy perfect happiness. You see the splendor of the heavenly hierarchy; you communicate with the saints of paradise; you relieve the purifying sufferings of the souls who are still in purgatory. You experience, in a strong and visible way, the consoling truth of the communion of saints.
f. The new era, which I am preparing for you, coincides with the defeat of Satan and of his universal reign. All his power is destroyed. He is bound, with all the wicked spirits, and shut up in hell from which he will not be able to get out to do harm in the world. Herein, Christ reigns in the splendor of his glorified body, and the Immaculate Heart of your heavenly Mother triumphs in the light of her body, assumed into the glory of paradise.
g. This feast of mine, which bids you to look to your heavenly Mother, assumed into heaven, thus becomes for you a reason for deep joy and great confidence.
h. In the midst of the innumerable sufferings of the times through which you are living, you look upon me as a sign of sure hope and of consolation, because I am the luminous door which opens upon the new era that has been prepared for you by the Most Holy Trinity.
Points for Reflection
The fulfillment of God’s marvelous plan to restore grace to man is the new era of grace. While it was given so uniquely to Our Lady at the very beginning of her life, it is not exclusive for her, because God prepared this for all. “That which is being prepared is so great that its equal has never existed since the creation of the world” (435 d). She describes some of its facets.
1. It is as if heaven and earth meet.
The new era corresponds to a particular encounter between paradise (where she is in perfect blessedness with the angels and the saints) and earth (where we live in the midst of dangers and tribulations. “This is heavenly Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven upon earth, to transform it completely and to thus shape the new heavens and the new earth” (453 b).
2. It brings all creation to perfect glorification of God.
The new era brings all creation to the perfect glorification of the Most Holy Trinity. “The Father receives his greatest glory from every creature, which reflects his light, his love and his divine splendor. The Son restores his reign of grace and of holiness, setting free every creature from the evil and sin. The Holy Spirit pours out in fullness his gifts, leads to the understanding of the whole truth, and renews the face of the earth” (453 c).
3. It is the complete fulfillment of the Divine Will.
The new era is the period when all creatures live perfectly in the divine Will - “Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). This way of living renews the whole world, wherein God finds, as it were, his new garden of Eden, where He can dwell in loving companionship with his creatures (453 d).
4. It brings us to live the communion of saints.
The new era brings us to a full communion of life with the saints in glory and in purgatory. “You experience, in a strong and visible way, the consoling truth of the communion of saints” (453 e).
5. It is about the defeat of Satan.
The new era coincides with the defeat of Satan and of his universal reign. Bound and powerless, he is chained in hell from which he will not be able to escape to do harm in the world. Christ alone will reign. This is the triumph of her Immaculate Heart (453 f). In the midst of the sufferings of the times through which we are living, Our Lady invites us to look upon her as a sign of sure hope and of consolation. “I am the luminous door which opens upon the new era that has been prepared for you by the Most Holy Trinity” (453 h). Her coming to us is the sign that this triumph is near and we have all the reason to rejoice daily.
A blessed Christmas to all! Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
Note: This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy. Imprimatur: Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998 Abp Francesco Cuccarese, 2007