You are all beautiful, Mary

8 12 2018

Would you like to read (and hear) a beautiful prayer written about our Blessed Mother Mary? Tota Pulchra Es dates back to the 4th century. Its original Latin text, given below, along with the translation, has been set to music by such noted composers as Robert Schumann, Anton Bruckner, and Maurice Duruflé,

It is a wonderful prayer of praise and petition to Mary that also refers to her Immaculate Conception, an important dogma in our faith, in the line below in the English translation which reads “the original stain [spot] (of sin) is not in you.”


Tota pulchra es, Maria.
Et macula originalis non est in Te.
Tu gloria Ierusalem.
Tu laetitia Israel.
Tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tu advocata peccatorum.
O Maria, O Maria.
Virgo prudentissima.
Mater clementissima.
Ora pro nobis.
Intercede pro nobis.
Ad Dominum Iesum Christum.


You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [spot] (of sin) is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem,
you are the joy of Israel,
you give honor to our people.
You are an advocate of sinners.
O Mary,
Virgin most intelligent,
Mother most merciful.
Pray for us, plead for us,
To the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma (a significant truth) of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th 1854. In a papal letter he wrote of Mary as having been conceived without the stain of Original Sin.

[As he put it more eloquently “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of Original Sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.”]

As such, our Blessed Mother was shielded from having the sinful proclivities that have befallen Humanity ever since our first parents Adam and Eve committed the fateful act of disobedience in eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, which in turn drove them out of paradise.

Mary’s role in salvation history is truly unique, although a large number of our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters feel sadly uncomfortable when her name comes up, as if we were treating just some woman like a Goddess.

Many Protestants and evangelicals tend to bristle at the mention of Mary’s name. It’s as if they’re saying “why do you have to bring her into this”? When the movie Heaven Is for Real came out not long ago, about a 3-year-old boy who had a near-death experience, the boy’s father reacted uneasily to his son’s account of seeing Mary by Jesus’ side.

Nonetheless, we cannot stress enough that we do not worship Mary in our prayers and devotions to her, especially the rosary. We honor her in her unique role in our salvation as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. She was the one God spoke of after the serpent tempted our first parents into their calamitous fall from sweet unity with their Creator.

You may recall that famous line in scripture: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen 3:15). (By another interpretation, Jesus is the one who crushes the head. The heroic hatred towards Satan still stands from both Mother and Son in any case!) Indeed, Mary’s “seed”, her offspring, our Lord Jesus Christ, made a heel of the devil through His Passion, death and resurrection!

But it’s important to stress again as a reminder that when we speak of the Immaculate Conception we are talking not of Jesus but of Mary. Her being conceived without Original Sin was essential, not just from some abstract theological perspective but from a quite practical one as well!

We see in sacred scripture more than a few people with feet of clay. Jesus’ genealogy, the tongue twisting Gospel reading we hear mostly at Christmastime (Mt 1:1-17) includes some whose reputations were less than stellar, along with those who were more Godly.

Clearly, the mother of the long awaited Messiah would have to be someone whose soul could be as pristine as that of her child, our Savior. She was, after all, carrying God’s most precious gift to us in her womb!

And her life with Jesus was turbulent almost from the start. First Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave in Bethlehem, not in the Temple in Jerusalem, not even in an inn! (It seems like God wanted to show us an example of true humility in service.)

And soon afterwards, she and St. Joseph had to “get out of Dodge” and flee to Egypt to protect baby Jesus from being killed by the homicidal King Herod, who saw the Christ child as a threat to his sovereignty.

A lesser woman might have been filled with resentment about giving birth in such humble surroundings instead of in the Temple. Or perhaps she would have been puffed up with pride and glorified herself rather than her divine Son.

Or maybe she might have somehow tried to bail out on her responsibilities towards Him as a member of the Holy Family when she became aware of the suffering He (and she by extension) would have to endure!

But being conceived without sin, Mary epitomized love and caring for Jesus up until the very end of His earthly ministry following His death at Calvary, and even beyond that dreadful Good Friday.

We see Mary’s single minded devotion to serving her Divine Son in scripture, as well as in various church approved private revelations and Sacred Tradition. She rejoices in magnifying the Lord in the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55). In sincere humility she gives all the credit to God for the joy in her spirit in that prayer! And interestingly enough, her last words in scripture are “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you” (John 2:5).

Our Blessed Mother has also made her presence known through numerous Church approved apparitions on behalf of her Son that have been thoroughly vetted for their veracity.

While Mary’s Immaculate Conception is not mentioned in scripture, it does come up in a rather touching way in one such vision. In 1858, Our Lady of Lourdes told Bernadette Soubirous, a peasant girl in France, to inform the local bishop that she was the Immaculate Conception.

This wasn’t meant to be boastful, but rather to affirm her presence at the grotto in the French town of Lourdes. There was no way little Bernadette could have known about Mary’s being the Immaculate Conception, after all!

For a good example of Mary in Sacred Tradition, the church has feast days honoring Mary’s coronation as Queen of Heaven (every August 22nd) following her Assumption into heaven (every August 15th).

As the queen of heaven, our Blessed Mother doesn’t just sit on some royal throne looking down on all of us like some caricature of Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake”!

Rather Mary seeks to give us graces entrusted to her by Jesus to help us be better Christians. These include various inclinations towards sanctity and away from sin for each of us, that includes you. And she is more than ready to be “an advocate of sinners”, as she is described in Tota Pulchra Es.

And as far as asking her to pray for us to her divine Son as we do in the end of this prayer, there’s nothing wrong with that! Protestants often misinterpret St. Paul’s famous comment to Timothy (1 Tim 2:5) that there is one mediator between God and man, Jesus. That doesn’t mean we can’t have others praying to God on our behalf!

Haven’t you ever asked anyone to pray for you? That’s what we’re doing with the blessed Mother, asking her to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death” in the Hail Mary, for example. Doesn’t it stand to reason that her intercessions to Jesus for us would be quite powerful?

And acknowledging Mary’s part in salvation history on our behalf (and that means yours as well) is a wonderful component of Catholicism! She wishes nothing for us that would go against the wishes and indeed the ardent desires of her Divine Son.

But, like Him she cannot force us to partake of His graces for our salvation. And indeed her love and devotion for Jesus is such that like Him, she mourns the loss of souls! Indeed when she first appeared as Our Lady of LaSallette she was weeping! We can honor and comfort our sorrowful mother through our love, prayers, (especially the Rosary) and obedience to God!

Speaking of prayers to God and our Blessed Mother’s prayers for us, note the poignant tone of the simple last lines of Tota Pulchra Es as reflected quite beautifully in this rendition in Gregorain Chant in this clip below. May it inspire thoughtful meditation in your soul!

Article courtesy of

Jesus and Mary share an organ?

7 12 2018

I was recently caught by an article on titled, “Do you know that Mary and Jesus shared an organ? “

Intrigued, I began reading.

Yes, Mary and Jesus literally share an organ! The PLACENTA!

Have you ever thought about the placenta — what it meant to Jesus and Mary, and what it means to us? asks Anna O’Neil, the author.

Quick refresher, if you’re foggy on what a placenta is and does: It’s the organ that connects an unborn baby with his mother. The baby’s umbilical cord attaches to the placenta, and the mother’s body sends oxygen and nutrients through it to the baby. It also filters waste out of the baby’s blood, regulates the temperature of his environment, and produces the hormones that make the pregnancy possible.

Here’s the best part, though the placenta is an organ that the mother and baby build together. We can’t say the mother’s placenta belongs to her in the same way that her womb is hers; the placenta belongs to mother and child both. Part of it is built by her body, and part by the baby’s body, but it’s one single organ — with both of their DNA.

So Mary didn’t only carry Jesus in her womb during those months leading up to Christmas day. She and he were actually attached — by a human organ that belonged to them both.

Later, when Jesus was preaching, somebody calls out to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!” Luke tells us that Jesus answered: “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Here is a God who wants to be so close to us that he became man — not just showing up out of the blue as an adult, but growing inside of his mother’s womb, sharing an organ with her, letting their two bodies be so intimately united — and now he says to us that those who hear the word of God and observe it can be united with him like his own, immaculate mother was.

We’re not immaculate, but that’s not the point. Jesus wants to share his life with us. We talk like he just wants proximity. He wants more. We talk about bringing Jesus into our life, making room for him in the inn, remembering him through the season, and all of that is good. But Jesus wants to be closer.

Jesus started his human life as every life starts, burrowed into the lining of his mother’s uterus. As he grew, their bodies worked together, God’s body and her immaculate one, building the placenta that attached them until he was ready to be born.

Some of us are mothers, and we remember sharing our body with our children. But all of us have mothers, and even though we don’t remember it, we began our lives connected to them in the most intimate way imaginable. If you’ve ever doubted that Jesus truly wants to be with you, remember that the unity in which your own life began is only a shadow of the unity that Jesus is hoping to have with you.

Worth keeping in mind this Christmas

The Great Discovery of this Honest Couple

2 12 2018

Ulf Ekman and his wife, Brigitta, were very successful Protestants, richly blessed by God and founders of the World of Life world wide network of churches that spans the world. From their native Sweden all the way to Russia with a strong following of more than 100,000 people. Yet, when they saw clearly that the Catholic Church is the true Church founded by Jesus Christ, they did a very honest thing. They joined the Catholic Church. This was  very unusual and even shocking, given that they were very anti-catholic. In fact, Ulf wrote very critical articles attacking Pope John Paul 2 during his visit to Sweden.

Yet when truth confronted them, they followed it and made the greatest discovery of their lives.
It all began when Brigitta came across a book of the life of St. Brigitta, her namesake. The only problem was that this was a Catholic Saint. More than slightly annoyed that a Catholic Nun could bear her name, nonetheless, she decided to read the book. The story would go on to open a flood gate of the history of the Church that they never heard about. In their book, “The great discovery” they attributed their great ignorance of Church history to the endemic fear and preconceived ideas about the Catholic Church often prevalent in Protestants circles that leads Protestant to read about what the Catholic Church teaches from books written by Protestants without bothering to read the book written by Catholic Church herself about what she teaches and holds to be true: Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The video below is worth 30mins of your time. It is the account of their journey by Ulf and Brigitta Ekman.

Mom Loses Leg Jumping from 3rd Floor to Save Baby

25 11 2018

Sometimes people think that true love is when two people have flowing hormones and racing hearts when they are together. But the ancients say that true love is sacrifice and that to love is to suffer. And the Holy writ says that greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for another.

A most striking example of this true love happened in Massachusetts last week.

Christina Simoes, a 23-year-old mom from Massachusetts, was left unable to use her legs after jumping from her home – on the third floor of her building – to save her 18-month-old son from a raging fire.

According to aleteia. org, She and her son Camron, 18 months old, were trapped in her bedroom when a terrible fire broke out in their building. She could not wait for help to come; there was no time. She realized immediately that the only possible way out was through the window.

She took the child in her arms and jumped. The fall was more than 30 feet, so Christina tried to cushion the fall with her body, using her arms to protect her son. The little one was unharmed, but Christina broke several vertebrae and lost feeling in her legs immediately upon impact. With superhuman strength, in her injured condition, Christina managed to drag the little one out of reach of the burning debris that was beginning to fall. Shortly after, the two were found and taken to a nearby hospital.

Asked how she had the courage to do it, she affirmed that she could think of no better way to make sense of her life than to save her little one’s. She has given him life, for the second time.

“I kissed him, I told him I loved him and I jumped with him out the window.”
“I would do it again, of course. All the pain I have to go through now is worth it to see my son run around safe and sound,” she told interviewers.

This not only the best description of true love, but also a powerful pointer to how God’ s love is explicit in Jesus Christ who gave his life on the Cross to save mankind from eternal damnation.
You can read the entire article here

Grandpa Paid to Abort Pretty Girl: Brooke Shields

23 11 2018

In a world gone mad, it’s not uncommon for parents to pay for their children to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The recent revelation by superstar, Brooke Shields that her grandfather paid her mom to terminate her is insane.

According to Life, Shields writes in her book that, when her mother became pregnant, her boyfriend did not appear ready to assume the role of father. He told his own Dad, who in turn, decided to convince her mother to “terminate the pregnancy.” Her grandfather explained to her mother how an out-of-wedlock birth could jeopardize her father’s standing on the “Social Registry.” Her granddad even went so far as to give her mother money for the abortion (This was pre-Roe v. Wade).
Instead of visiting an abortionist, her mother went to an antique store and used the money to buy a coffee table.

Shields remarks that the table ironically became a favorite of hers, which she used to pull herself up from the floor as a toddler.

She writes, “The table saved my life and helped me to stand.”

It is hard to imagine the pop culture landscape without Brooke Shields. To think someone of such beauty and grace could have had her life ended before birth is so mind-boggling. Shields is a mother herself, so an entire family could easily have been swept away if her mother had chosen to cave into pressure and abort.

How many stars have been lost to abortion? You might think it’s impossible to count, but actually the number is more than 56 million. For every child who is aborted is a star in God’s galaxy—every single life has value and dignity.

We now just have one more beautiful face to remember as we contemplate the thin line between life and death in our world today.

To every, parent or grandparent who has a granddaughter pregnant out of wedlock or a son who has got some girl pregnant out of wedlock: that, pregnancy… that child may be the greatest blessing and support in your old age. Help her keep it and find out.

Man Accused of Assault by Ex-girlfriend Saved by a Selfie!

18 11 2018

Bearing false witness against a neighbor is expressly condemned by Holy writ because of the grave consequences and injury to a good name. The saga that happened in Texas last week confirms the wisdom of Holy book in condemning this sin, and brings out in a graphic way the terrible consequences of calumny.

According to the Washington post, when 21-year-old Christopher Precopia met with a recruiter to enlist in the U.S. Army in October, he was rejected because of the violent offense for which he had been charged last year.

Precopia, of Williamson County, Tex., was arrested Sept. 22, 2017, after his ex-girlfriend told police that he’d broken into her home and assaulted her — using a box cutter to carve an “X” just below her neck, Texas ABC affiliate KVUE reported.

Except there was one problem: Precopia didn’t do it.

In oral and written statements to police, his accuser detailed how Precopia had forced his way into her home, pushing her to the ground before punching her in the face and slicing her with the box cutter.

That was news to Precopia.

He was given minimal information when police took him into custody, according to defense attorney Rick Flores.

When Precopia asked police why he was being arrested, Flores says police told his client, “Don’t act like you don’t know.”

And when police said they had a warrant for his arrest in Bell County, Flores said Precopia’s response was: “Where is Bell County?”

He was charged with burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit other crimes, a felony offense that carries the possibility of a life sentence.

“I had no idea who accused me of this; I had no idea why everything was happening,” Precopia told KVUE. “I was constantly fearful as to what could happen the next day . . . I was going to sleep hoping I wouldn’t wake up, just to get away from it.”

After he spent more than a day in jail, Precopia’s parents took out loans to post his $150,000 bond and pay for a lawyer in an effort to prove their son was innocent, Flores said.

As Precopia’s family worked to clear his name, his mother, Erin, realized she possessed a piece of evidence that could exonerate him: a selfie taken at 7:02 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2017, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel.

His accuser had told police that she was attacked by Precopia at 7:20 p.m. that same day in her Bell County home, nearly 70 miles away in Temple. Cellphone towers also helped pinpoint Precopia’s actual location, Flores said.

“He was very fortunate that she chose a date and time that he just happened to have a rock-solid alibi for,” Flores said. “He and I have talked many times about how lucky he is, whether you believe in a higher power or good old-fashioned luck.”

If his accuser had claimed that the attack had taken place the day before or after, Flores said, his client’s only excuse would have been that he was sitting at home watching TV — a much less convincing alibi.

The charge was dropped on June 21 after Flores took the evidence to the Bell County District Attorney’s Office, he said.

“We were able to corroborate the basis of what was presented to us, and in due course, we determined the proper action was to dismiss the charge, and that’s what we proceeded to do,” Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said in an interview Thursday.

Garza added that the Bell County Attorney’s Office will ultimately determine if charges will be made against Precopia’s accuser for making a false statement. KVUE reported Tuesday that Precopia’s accuser has not been charged with a crime.

The Temple Police Department did not return a call Thursday afternoon requesting comment on the case.

Up until the charge was dropped, Flores said Precopia and his family were terrified for his future. While they are not planning any civil action against the police department, Flores said the family is exploring lawsuit against his accuser.

His accuser told police that the two had a “troubled” relationship in high school, which she cited as the reason she reported that Precopia assaulted her, according to KVUE. Flores said he had not spoken with the accuser and could not comment on this allegation.

“His entire family had trouble sleeping at night, wondering what was going to happen, if anyone would believe them, if there would be a trial, prison time or a life sentence,” Flores said, adding he doesn’t blame police for taking action on the accuser’s allegations.

“We’re more upset with this person that blatantly made up a lie and got him in this mess to begin with,” he said.

Even though Precopia’s name was cleared, he and his family now wonder how the accusation will impact him moving forward.

“While [his family] is happy it ended up with a dismissal, and that it will be expunged from his record, the damage is kind of done,” Flores said. “Nothing will ever be completely scrubbed from the Internet.”

Flores pointed to Precopia’s encounter with the Army recruiter as “a small example of how this will follow him around forever.”

He added that Precopia’s application to enlist is “currently being reviewed by someone higher up at the U.S. Army.”

This young man’s life was about to go south but for the hands of God or luck if you like. Yet many people aren’t that lucky and have had their good names irretrievably damaged by false accusations. So when next you hear someone bad-mouthing another without any evidence, please do not hesitate to shun that person and teach him that bearing false witness harms others.

Lessons from the Boy who died after swallowing a snail

11 11 2018

To impress his mates, a young boy swallowed a garden snail and died.

According to Fox News, the teenager from Sydney’s upper north shore was having a laugh and some red wine with mates in the backyard, “trying to act like grown-ups”.

It was 2010 and it was a night that would change his life, and the lives of everybody around him, forever.

A slug crawled across the concrete patio and, teens being teens, a dare emerged for Sam to eat it.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment.

“We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across here,” he said.

“The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”

He didn’t become sick immediately, but complained of serious pain in his legs in the days after.

He was worried it might’ve been a symptom of eating the slug, but his mother told him not to worry: “No one gets sick from that,” she said.

Sam was worried he might have developed multiple sclerosis, like his father, but that was ruled out.

Doctors later determined Sam was infected with rat lungworm.

The worm that infected Sam is usually found in rodents, but snails and slugs can also become infected when they eat rat feces.

Sam contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which many people recover from. Sam didn’t.

He fell into a coma for 420 days and, when he woke, he had acquired a brain injury.

Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Sam died. “The Sunday Project’s” Lisa Wilkinson broke the news during a somber but brief segment.

“We have some sad news for you now. Earlier this year we brought you the story of Sam Ballard who, on a dare from his mates, ate a slug. He contracted rat lung disease with devastating effects,” Wilkinson said.

“His friends have stuck by him ever since. On Friday, Sam passed away surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates.

“His last words to his mom: ‘I love you’.”

Katie Ballard, Sam’s mother, described how hard life had been for Sam. He couldn’t eat for himself and needed help going to the bathroom.

While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.

Katie had said “he understands” everything, and his mates know that was true.

Galvin said he apologized to Sam for not stopping him that night in 2010. When he did, the former rugby standout “just started bawling his eyes out”.

In a way, Sam’s story bears a sad similarity to the way sin acts in our lives. We often do what we know we ought not do because we want to be rich and famous or desire to stand out and have our way, pushing aside the laws of God and good sense, yet it ultimately leads to our death. Sam’ s reckless action, spurred by pride and vanity, kicking aside good sense of hygiene, took his his life. Yet, friends who challenged and cheered him on, were hopelessly unable to help as his life ebbed away. Sad for his parents, life has played a very dirty trick on them; a lesson for all about the dangers of pride and honor seeking, contrary to good sense.

Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba


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