Dec 10 — Our Lady of Loreto
Tradition holds that a small house in Loreto, Italy, originated in Nazareth and is the actual home of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dimensions are very small, one-room measuring 30 x 13 feet. It is composed simply of stones and mortar found in Palestine and hand-chiseled in a style consistent of the time of Jesus. This was thought to be the home of Saints Anne and Joachim, Mary’s parents. The Immaculate Conception occurred in this house. It is here that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and with her ‘Fiat’, the Incarnation happened in this very house. This was also the house that the Holy Family lived in Nazareth after returning from their time in Egypt. Jesus lived here until he was 30 and began his public ministry. Here also is where St. Joseph died.
Whether we doubt the true origin of the house, or dispute the miraculous traveling of the house to Loreto, and/or dislike the image of the statue of Our Lady of Loreto, this feast day is still pertinent to us. This feast of Our Lady of Loreto is a bridge of the Advent season to Christmas.
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy points out that the Advent liturgy celebrates Mary “in an exemplary way…it exalts her faith and humility with which she promptly and totally submitted to God’s plan of salvation; it highlights her presence in the events of grace preceding the birth of the Savior.” We just celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a feast that celebrates Mary’s preservation from original sin at the moment of her conception. Her sinlessness was a necessary preparation for being the Mother of God, which “harmonizes perfectly with many of the salient themes of Advent (Dir. Pop. Piety).” For the feast of Our Lady of Loreto, we are remembering the Blessed Virgin Mary in this Holy House, where the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation both occurred.
If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!
My parents recently began using headphones to watch Netflix and I began to realise that I had to raise my voice a few decibels higher in order to speak to them. I did ask them to consider using the speakers on the computer, but it turns out that the volume will disturb the entire household. This occurrence made me discover how tough it has been for God to speak to us because the ears of our heart have to be very silent.
There is a certain obstinacy within me which requires me to want to take on a certain way of doing things when I know that it is probably better for me to take an alternate path. God calls us to a route which some of us might find difficult to follow, and this is indeed a challenge for each one of us as I feel that my way is the right way of doing things. This has inevitably hurt my relationships with the people around me, as there is often a tension in what I desire and what the other party wants. This results in an unnecessary amount of tension in my life, which is something I can work on. I believe that it is pride which is subtly acting in my behaviour as there is an innate desire to be proud of the actions which I undertake.
Today’s memorial of Our Lady of Loreto highlights the importance of remaining humble before God and to submit to his Holy Will. This might mean putting down the plans which are within us and, instead, to discern with the help of wise individuals on the signs in our life and what they mean to us. I often fear this process, because it could cause me to take a route which I may not want to go down. There is an example of Mary which I can follow — to trust in God completely and that the plan which he has for us is good and allows us to grow in love with him, and receive our eternal reward in the next stage of our life.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for all who are struggling in life — that you allow them to make meaning in all that they do.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the people who love us.
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