24th February The Angelus - And she conceived by the Holy Spirit Pt1
Here we have another person involved in the Incarnation - the Holy Spirit. Again the Holy Spirit is much more than a medium. This person is critical in order for the Incarnation to take place.

The Holy Spirit is God'€™s own self. The Father'€™s plan of salvation - to send his Son into our world - was brought about by another person in the Trinity.

We say that it was by the cooperation of Mary that the Son of God took flesh, however it was by the Power of the Holy Spirit that it could and did happen.

Yes the Holy Spirit is powerful beyond words and imagination.

It was the same Holy Spirit that was there at creation, hovering over the chaos of matter to bring forth life.

The more the knowledge and discoveries of science and the universe progresses, the more we can only wonder at the power and the beauty of the Holy Spirit.

That Power continues to work and, as it were, to create in the Eucharist, since it is by the Power of the Holy Spirit, through the medium of the Priest, that the Son of God comes among us in a much humbler form - in the form of bread and wine.

Regularly we celebrate the Eucharist - daily we experience creation - moment by moment Jesus lives within us - how close is the Holy Spirit and the Power of that Spirit for us!

17th February - Mary 'Mother of God'
A few more thoughts on the specialness on Mary and her role, adding to what I said last week.

The dignity of Mary given to her by God is beyond comprehension. The Council of Ephesus referred to Mary as '€˜Theotokos'€™. This literally means '€˜The God bearer'€™. She was this in a truer sense of being as we rightly say '€œMother of God'€.

When we say '€œMother of God'€ we mean what we say. A mother does not just give birth to human nature but to a complete person. Mary bore the complete person of Jesus Christ - who happened to be the Word of God who took flesh. His flesh (from her) united totally with His Nature (from God the Holy Spirit). So Mary is truly the Mother of God.

We can turn to the poets. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) called Mary '€œOur tainted nature'€™s solitary boast'€. That bears a lot of reflection.

We can turn to the saints as well. St Bernard (1091-1153) said of Mary '€œHe whom the whole world cannot contain, enclosed himself in the womb of the Virgin Mary'€.

This leads one to think - which is the greatest - God becoming a human being or a human being becoming the Mother of God her maker (the Word in whom all things were made Jn 1:3)?

Whatever about that, the words call us to stop and ponder and wonder about all this and about Mary and her special role in God'€™s plan of salvation.

10th February - Hail Mary
It was Mary who received this momentous declaration from the Angel so let us focus now on Mary herself.

Was she like the Angel - a messenger, a medium? No, her role was much, much more. In fact her role is indescribable.

In the Litany of Our Lady, Mary has many titles and is described in many ways. I love the title '€œArk of the Covenant'€. There is so much richness in this title. The Jewish people could write books on it.

God loved his people and wanted to be close to them and so chose to do so in a very special way. God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle surrounded by heavy curtains (cf. Ex 25-27). Within the tabernacle he was to place an ark made of acacia wood covered with gold inside and out. Within the Ark of the Covenant was placed a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron'€™s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant (cf. Heb 9:4). When the ark was completed, the glory cloud of the Lord covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35; Nm 9:18, 22).

The Ark was reverenced and it was (moved from the tent of meeting and) kept in the Holy Holies in the Temple (when it was built). The People believed that God'€™s presence was there so that in the Ark God dwelt with His People.

What a beautiful title for Mary. If anyone was the Ark of the Covenant it was Mary. She carried for nine months our God Incarnate within her womb. It was Jesus who was to bring about a new and everlasting Covenant with all mankind.

What a special woman - what a special person God made and chose Mary to be!

"The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary" Pt3
I have just returned from holidays so it is time again to take up my pen - and my Secretary, Helen, the computer keyboard.

I trust each of you had some special time to be with family and friends around Christmas and the ensuing holidays over New Year and the Australia Day long weekend.

As 2014 begins and ticks away I offer you my very good wishes for you and a very fruitful year.

3rd Feb The Angelus continued - The Angel of the Lord Pt 3
We continue our reflection on the Angelus. How appropriate it was in Advent and at Christmas - and yet it is, I believe, appropriate everyday - especially at the beginning of each day, to help us remember to start afresh with Christ, our Incarnate God who walks with us throughout the day.

We are still on the first line of the Angelus having had a few thoughts on the Angel.

We note that the Angel just didn'€™t deliver a message to Mary. In fact the Angel DECLARED it to Mary.

Declarations are also important things. For example the Declaration of Independence is a critical document in the United States of America. A couple who are about to marry, and who stand before God and the Community on their wedding day, declare their consent and their vows to one another. War just doesn'€™t happen. It is declared.

Well in the Annunciation the Angel made a declaration - in fact the most momentous declaration and world changing one - that God himself would come and save us.