Archive for the ‘Mary’ Category

I am slowly deciphering some of the written materials left by the late Msgr. William J. Awalt. For review and comments, they are being posted at my BLOGGER PRIEST site.


Msgr. Awalt was the pastor of St. Ann’s Church in NW Washington , DC for just over 30 years, retiring in the year 2000. I was honored to preach at the Mass celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest in 2007. His pastorate was marked by a deep devotion to the Eucharist and a never-ending preoccupation with preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith.

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If one were to compose a life of Mary, one could rightfully go back to the book of Genesis. Satan seems to have won the day in the Garden, but God will have the last word. Indeed, God will speak his Word to Mary, she will consent and receive it and then this Word will undo all the damage inflicted by the serpent’s temptation. This Word becomes flesh so that just as sin entered the world through the sin of a man and woman, now grace and redemption could be restored through a woman and her seed. The Good News of our redemption begins not in the New Testament writings at the end of the Bible, but in the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis.

God has no secret plan, he tells it in a straight-forward way right to Satan’s face. This is how sure God is that nothing can thwart his plans. He says: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel” (Genesis 3:15). God is going to win, that is all there is to it!

While we regularly give emphasis to Adam and his sin, the actual story seems to highlight Eve. She is the one intimidated and tempted by the serpent or dragon. Adam was merely seduced by Eve into tasting the forbidden fruit. The first father of mankind comes across as a first class wimp. I suspect the biblical author deliberately wanted to communicate this weakness on Adam’s part. His fall is not only a disgrace but an embarrassment to all the men who would follow him. He displays none of the traits which we hold in high regard for men. He is a weakling and a coward. The contrast with Jesus is drastic. Adam runs away and hides in the Garden, taking Eve with him. Christ waits for his betrayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and when he suffers his Cross and passion, Mary follows him to the bitter end. Adam makes excuses when he is questioned by God. Jesus proclaims the truth when he is interrogated by Caiaphas and Pilate. The parallels are many, including the living tree that brought death in the Garden and the dead tree on Calvary which brought forth the fruit of eternal life. Jesus is God but he is also a man, indeed, he is the most authentic specimen of manhood ever to walk the earth. Mary is entirely a creature of God, and yet as a human person, there is none of higher esteem in the human family. Mary is not simply “a” woman; she is “the” woman.

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The entire history of salvation is subjected to two poles: first and foremost, it is the self-revelation of God along with his desire to share his life with us; and second, man’s own graced movement toward God in seeking understanding and salvation. Of course, while it is not for finite creatures to completely understand or to exhaust the divine mystery, we are exposed to as much of the mystery as we can comprehend. When we enter into eternity, we will progress ever deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Trinity, knowing eternal joy and discovery. In other words, there is no boredom in heaven. God may be the Unmoved Mover but heaven is not static. The saints share the beatific vision and are ever in motion, drawing ever closer to the Infinite Goodness which called us into existence and which sustains us. Mary plays a significant role in both God’s self-revelation and our approach to the Almighty. So that we might know and love God more truly, in Jesus he takes to himself a human face. God and man will be joined, not simply on the level of the spirit, but in the flesh. God becomes one with his creation.

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Mary & Jesus are the Answer

We are all searching for meaning and answers. Mary and Jesus are at the core of this pursuit for Christians. Meditation upon the mysteries of the rosary helps us to access what we need to know and insures that we do not lose our bearings in a secular society filled with distractions. If the Church is a ship and the Pope is our captain, then we sail as pilgrims by the Mary star to that Promised Shore where Christ awaits us. While the Bible is a library of inspired books, the rosary is a collection of prayers. Along with the Eucharist, it is a great weapon in the Church Militant’s arsenal against sin and the powers and principalities which battle the saints.

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