THE PRELUDE TO GLORY

“How awesome are you, Elijah! Whose glory is equal to yours?” —Sirach 48:4
 
The ministry of Elijah preceded the coming of Jesus at His Incarnation, is preceding Christ’s coming this Christmastime, and will precede His final coming at the end of the world. Elijah’s ministry is to reestablish God’s people (Sir 48:10) and to restore all things (Mt 17:11). Consequently, at this time before Christ’s Christmas coming, the following three prophecies of Isaiah are being fulfilled by new Elijahs:
  1. “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove the stumbling blocks from My people’s path” (Is 57:14).
  2. “The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up; ‘Repairer of the breach,’ they shall call you, ‘Restorer of ruined homesteads’ ” (Is 58:12).
  3. “They shall rebuild the ancient ruins, the former wastes they shall raise up and restore the ruined cities, desolate now for generations” (Is 61:4).
This is a time of hope and joy. New Elijahs are coming to do the miraculous. Then Jesus will come to do the divine. We are being overwhelmed with God’s blessings (see Dt 28:2) and amazed by His grace. The Lord is doing more than we can ever ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9). “Despite the increase of sin, grace has far surpassed it” (Rm 5:20). “Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Elijah is coming.
 
Prayer: Father, may I “rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory” (1 Pt 1:8).
Promise: “Till like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace.” —Sir 48:1
Praise: When the Holy Spirit opened Georgia’s eyes to the Truth of the Scriptures, she was reborn in Jesus.

Mary and the Church

From a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot
He became the Son of man and made many men sons of God, uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their human descent, but in him they are one by divine rebirth.The Son of God is the first-born of many brothers. Although by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many to himself and made them one with him. For to those who receive him he has given the power to become the sons of God.
  The whole Christ and the unique Christ – the body and the head – are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son. Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way, Mary and the Church are one mother, yet more than one mother; one virgin, yet more than one virgin.
  Both are mothers, both are virgins. Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to the body, for the sake of its head. Each is Christ’s mother, but neither gives birth to the whole Christ without the cooperation of the other.
  In the inspired Scriptures, what is said in a universal sense of the virgin mother, the Church, is understood in an individual sense of the Virgin Mary, and what is said in a particular sense of the virgin mother Mary is rightly understood in a general sense of the virgin mother, the Church. When either is spoken of, the meaning can be understood of both, almost without qualification.
  In a way, every Christian is also believed to be a bride of God’s Word, a mother of Christ, his daughter and sister, at once virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense of the Church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense of the individual Christian. They are used by God’s Wisdom in person, the Word of the Father.
  This is why Scripture says: I will dwell in the inheritance of the Lord. The Lord’s inheritance is, in a general sense, the Church; in a special sense, Mary; in an individual sense, the Christian.
  Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. He will dwell for ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.

“MARY” CHRISTMAS

“I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” —Isaiah 48:17
 
To have the Christmas God intends for us, we must simply obey God. Those who are like Mary will have a true Christmas. They hearken to God’s commands (Is 48:18) and let Christmas be done unto them according to God’s Word (see Lk 1:38).
The key to Christmas is not self-indulgence, but self-surrender in obedience to the Lord. We should not do our own thing but God’s thing. We should not try to feel good but please the Lord. If we want to follow Jesus to Christmas, we must deny our very selves, take up the cross each day (Lk 9:23), and obey the Lord.
To prepare for Christ’s Christmas coming, we should:
  1. Repent of any disobedience and go to Confession.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to alert us to opportunities to obey the Lord.
  3. Pray for the strength to obey.
  4. Obey.
The Lord has a wonderful Christmas planned for us. It is more than we can ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). We just have to follow instructions. “Mary” Christmas!
 
Prayer: Jesus, may I love You as Mary loved You at the first Christmas.
Promise: “Time will prove where wisdom lies.” —Mt 11:19
Praise: St. Juan Diego humbly took flowers to his bishop, obeying his mother Mary, and the world was changed. His persistent obedience to Our Lady of Guadalupe led to the conversion of eight million people in the next decade.