All About Mary

Advent Calendar

During the first fourteen days of Advent, we will explore what the Scriptures say about fourteen women of the Old Testament and their parallels to Mary.

Then we will look more closely at Mary as chosen daughter of Israel, at the Annunciation, and at the Visitation.

Finally, we will concentrate on Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, as the Catholic Church anticipates his birthday in the so-called O'Antiphons.

Old Testament Women

Dec. 1

Eve's name in Hebrew means life. She is called Chavvah (in the Septuagint, Eva; in the Vulgate, Heva because she is the mother of all the living (Gn 3:20). Her initial appearance in the Hebrew Scriptures is one of beauty, goodness, wisdom, and life....

Eve
Dec. 2

It is Sarah, Abraham's wife, who brings the promise to fruition and helps Abraham to live out his faith in God. Sarai, the beautiful and dominant wife of Abraham, has her name changed by God thereby signifying her election and vocation to be the mother of Isaac and the mother of believers. Her story commences in Genesis 12 and ends with her burial in the cave of Machpelah (Gn 23:19; 25:10; 49:31).

Sarah
Dec. 3

Rebekah as a woman of Israel, in fact the mother of Jacob who is later called Israel, is presented as virgin the first time she is mentioned in Genesis. As her story continues and she is married to Isaac, we discover she is sterile up to the moment when she prays God to deliver her from this situation. She gives birth to Esau and Jacob, but has a special preference for Jacob. It is through her mediation and cleverness that she wins for Jacob the blessing of the aging and blind Isaac. Jacob has to flee from Esau, thus creating a separation of the mother from her preferred child.

Rebekah
Dec. 4

Rachel gains God's ear because she speaks of love and of family relationships. There is a healing of blood relationships because she not only speaks of love but has lived out of love and experienced it throughout her life.

Rachel
Dec. 5

Leah is an important mother of the Israelites. She stems from Terah of Mesopotamia through Nahor and Bethuel. Her father is Laban, son of Bethuel and brother to Rebekah. Leah is the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulus, and Dinah. The sons of her slave are Gad and Asher who are also reckoned as her sons. Leah through divine Providence is the ancestor of two great figures in Israel, namely, Moses and David. This gift to her is from God despite Jacob's preference for Rachel.

Leah
Dec. 6

Deborah, the prophetess, because of her leadership, courage, and prophetic-call is honored in the victory song over Jabin and Sisera, the Canaanite leaders. The victory song reference is one of the oldest pieces within the Hebrew Scriptures, perhaps going back to the epoch of the Judges (1200 BCE).

Deborah
Dec. 7

Jochebed is the mother of Moses the savior and liberator of Israel. Jewish tradition has her miraculously giving birth to him without pain. She also protects him from Pharao. She is considered as the Mother of Israel.

Jochebed
Dec. 8

Miriam, under Moses, her brother, was a prophetess, a leader of the people who brought them through the Red Sea and through the desert. Probably a desire for rebirthing the People Israel ... led Joachim and Anna to bestow this name, likewise the same for the parents of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary the mother of James, the mother of Mark.

Miriam
Dec. 9

Judith is the heroine of the deutero-canonical book with the same name. She exemplifies the ideal woman of later Jewish piety (150-100 BCE). In many of the events of her life she fits the description of a woman who was a Pharisee. In her victory over Holofernes she resembles Deborah and Jael in their victory over Sisera.

Judith
Dec. 10

Esther is the heroine and is the paradigm for a fully liberated woman who places all her confidence in God. Through prayer and fasting she is able to challenge the evil perpetrated by the Persians and to intercede for her people Israel before King Ahasuirus. Esther was involved in the fate of the Jews. She was subject to the decree to annihilate her people, although she may have been exempt due to her status. She joined the fast of the Jews for three days in preparation for going to the king resolute that if she would perish, she had to do what she had to do to save her people! There is both resignation and freedom inspired by courage in her fasting and a certain measure of confidence that the public outcry will be successful.

Esther
Dec. 11

Tamar is mentioned in Genesis 38. Judah, because of the death of two of his sons who were married successively to Tamar, fears for the third son Shelah. He sends Tamar away childless as a widow. Tamar, through a creative and deceptive disguise, has Judah, her father-in-law, solicit her as a prostitute. Before consenting, she makes sure she has several signs of Judah, his seal, his stick, and a cord, so as to vindicate herself and assure his pledge. She conceives. After first condemning Tamar, Judah realizes he is the offender of God's law

Tamar
Dec. 12

Rahab is worthy to be noted among the mothers of Israel. Though bound within the patriarchal structure of her culture and society, she goes beyond them by her faith, her creative instincts, and her reading of the signs of God's activity in Israel's warriors. Rabbinic literature extols her as the Mother of Israel from whom eight priests and eight prophets descend.

Rahab
Dec. 13

Ruth is personified as Israel while Boaz her husband symbolizes God. The rabbinic literature parallels her relationship with Boaz to that of Israel in relationship to God apart from whom there shall be no other god (cf. Ex 20:3) and Israel is to glorify God (cf. Ex 15:2). This is intimately bound up with the Covenant between God and Israel which is similar to Ruth's spousal covenant with Boaz. From such a covenantal union springs the Anointed One, the Messiah.

Ruth
Dec. 14

Bathsheba is essential to the genealogy in Matthew. The purpose is seen in what at first is an irregular marital union with David. After Uriah's death she is the wife of David, and in a certain sense Queen Mother or Gebirah, giving birth to four other sons after the death of her first son. Solomon succeeds David through her influence and that of the prophet Nathan (1 K 1:11-37).

Bathsheba

Daughter of Israel

Dec. 15

Lord our God, to fulfill the promises you make of old you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, the noble daughter of Zion; grant that we may follow her, whose humility won your favor and whose obedience brought us your blessing. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Jewish Identity of Mary

Annunciation

Dec. 16

We invite you to pray with the Church the following prayer from the seasonal Mass, The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Annunciation of the Lord O God, you chose that at the message of an angel your Word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grant that we who believe that she is the Mother of God may receive the help of her prayers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Advent Meditations

Visitation

Dec. 17

We invite you to pray with the Church the following prayer from the seasonal Mass, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lord our God, Savior of the human family, you brought salvation and joy to the home of Elizabeth through the visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the ark of the New Covenant. We ask that, in obedience to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we too may bring Christ to others and proclaim your greatness by the praise of our lips and the holiness of our lives. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Advent Meditations

O Antiphons

Dec. 18

O Antiphon I, Jesus Is Wisdom O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation. Based on Wisdom 9:17-18.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 19

O Antiphon II, Jesus Is Lord of Lords O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain, come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Based on Psalms 59:6, 103:7.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 20

O Antiphon III, Jesus Is Root of Jesse O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. Based on Isaiah 11:10.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 21

O Antiphon IV, Jesus Is Key of David O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom. Based on Isaiah 22:22.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 22

O Antiphon V, Jesus Is Rising Dawn O Radiant Dawn, spendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Based on Malachi 3:20.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 23

O Antiphon VI, Jesus Is King of Nations O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of the human family, come and save the creatures you fashioned from the dust. Based on Isaiah 28:16.

Advent Meditations
Dec. 24

O Antiphon VII, Jesus is Emmanuel O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God. Based on Isaiah 7:14.

Advent Meditations
Merry Christmas!

May the Christchild bless you!

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