Two Angels and Two Women who Changed the Course of History
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
The Fallen Angel and the First Woman
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman,
‘Did God say, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden”?’
And the woman said to the serpent
‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”‘
But the serpent said to the woman,
‘You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
For unto us a Child is born . . .
. . . to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-8)
How late this newsletter is coming to you this Christmas!
Alas, to much of the world, Christmas is now long over. The thrill of the season, the anticipation of uniting with friends and family, of gift giving, of home-cooked Christmas traditions, decorations, music – the bells, lights and glee of the season – is, for many, a season past. I remember as a young Jewish woman in New York being enthralled by the beauty of the season, the Salvation Army bells, the hot pretzel and chestnut stands, the lights, the glimmer, the sense that there was purpose on earth for mankind. Certainly it wasn’t my holiday, but something was in the air, something magical it seemed, something that contained an answer to the misery and the mystery of life.
But what was it? How could the human heart ever be filled with what was simply passing on earth?
Prayer of Jesus of Nazareth:
“O Father, here I am…I come to do Thy will.”
Oh that every breathing soul would echo our Lord’s words. Oh that His will would be our food!
I am writing to you, dear Family, after so so long (the first since our Christmas newsletter!), and on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling on so-called “same-sex marriage.” I highlight “so-called” because that is what it is – simply “called” marriage. But, we know, in fact, that there can be no marriage between two parties of the same sex.
What a tragic day for the (again “so-called”) United States of America – which are hardly “united” in this imposed, Godless, evil decision to turn our nation yet further from God and put countless souls on the road to perdition. The Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans might have been written today:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles…
A letter from Mother Miriam…
Dear Beloved Family,
A most blessed and holy Advent and Christmas to you all! Finally and most happily, I have taken the opportunity of this Christmas newsletter to display my most beloved image of the Lamb of God – the two Lambs – on the cover. The picture took my breath away when it was first given to me by a dear friend some years ago. I later learned that it is an inset from a larger painting, Lorenzo Lotto’s ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’, believed to have been painted around 1530. It is a portrait of the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world – not only by taking upon Himself our nature and flesh, but by becoming the Lamb – the Lamb of lambs. He, the very Son of God, who knew no sin, became a sin offering for us, offering to God what no Old Testament four-legged creature could – the only acceptable sacrifice for sin, that we might be reconciled to God.
Greetings from Mother Miriam from France!
Christ is risen, risen, risen, risen. He is risen indeed!
I know that you know and believe that! And I know and believe it. But I don’t know that I will ever get over it. How can the finite (and sinful) mind of mere creatures conceive of a God who would become one of us – knowing that, in becoming vulnerable to our depravity, we would nail Him to the Cross?
But He rose, He rose, He rose – from the dead to give us life. He knew the Father would raise Him from the dead – He came to die (as we wrote over and again in our Christmas newsletter). Yet that “plan from all eternity” did not lessen His sacrifice for us, nor the unfathomable truth that “For our sake (God) made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Salutations de France! (Greetings from France!) We send our boundless joy, our hope for all that lies ahead in the One who works all things together for good, and our ceaseless prayers for you this Blessed Advent and Christmas.
Indeed we miss you all! Yet our Blessed Lord has confirmed over and over again His generous and perfect will in bringing us to this most excellent community of Benedictine Sisters in Angers, France. I am more confirmed in my heart than ever before that our coming under the guidance and example of the Servantes des Pauvres (Servants of the Poor) this year will give us the formation in religious life necessary for the building of our new foundation, and in a way that will bring honor to the One to Whom all honor is due. From time to time, we are able to connect to the internet and to see what is taking place in the United States. Our beloved country appears to be taking a most grievous path, and with increasing speed, toward the destruction of the family, the country, and even our very faith.
What to do? How do we remain faithful in the midst of such evil and even apostasy? And how can we make a difference?
Look what our Blessed Lord has done – He has given our new community the inestimable gift of being formed by a wonderful Benedictine community in France, the Servantes des Pauvres (Servants of the Poor) who have graciously invited us for a year of formation.
But Mother Miriam, what about all you have planned to do in Tulsa – helping families, teaching the faith, reaching out through the streets?
I know, dear Zelda. We wish indeed to do all that, to help families to know, love and live the faith at home, to help parents to impart our very identity and vocation as Catholics to their children, and to reach out to every soul. And our blessed Savior is leading us to do just that, even more wonderfully than we had imagined, through the building of a solid and deep foundation.
Dear Mother Miriam, I know that Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church, but I was taught also that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ on Calvary. Can it be both?
Perhaps in a sense, dear Zelda. Just as with human birth, life begins at the moment of conception in the mother’s womb. Yet the fullness of its manifestation, so to speak, takes place nine months later at the birth of that child from its mother’s womb.
In his encyclical, Mystici Corporis Christi (the Mystical Body of Christ), Pope Pius XII, quoting Leo XIII, writes: “The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the Cross, first showed Herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost.”
Saint John Chrysostom, in his teaching on the power of Christ’s blood, writes: There flowed from His side water and blood…symboliz(ing) baptism and the Holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Eucharist. ( Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. II, p. 474)
How wonderful it is to be able to send you this Advent-Christmas newsletter after so many months and so very many happy developments here in Tulsa at the new Priory of Our Lady of Guadalupe! And what blessed joy it is to share with you the glories of this most miraculous season and the never-ending wonder of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who entered time and history – and became Man.
Oh, if only the whole world knew. If only they knew the Heaven that has been given to us on earth. In looking for a cover for this newsletter, I came across the one before you in my new home Cathedral – Holy Family Cathedral – in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The image in stained glass is, of course, The Nativity. But it is so much more. Here is a brief description sent to me by Mike Malcom at the Cathedral:
No… could it be true? The Tomb is empty? He’s not there? What happened?! What does she mean, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb.”?
Wait! …didn’t He say something about rising on the third day? But it’s impossible, isn’t it? How could He be alive? They crucified Him. And they buried Him – we know that. Oh our hearts… John, wait up!
They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying and the napkin which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that He must rise from the dead (John 20:4-9).