mother of gods church

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as army set in battle array? -Song of Songs 6:10

Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass for the sins of the world and mine.
Jesus is the Word—to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth—to be told.
Jesus is the Way—to be walked.
Jesus is the Light—to be lit.
Jesus is the Life—to be lived.
Jesus is the Love—to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy—to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice—to be offered.
Jesus is the Peace—to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life—to be eaten.
Jesus is the Hungry—to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty—to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked—to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless—to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick—to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely—to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted—to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper—to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar—to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard—to listen to him.
Jesus is the Retarded—to protect him.
Jesus is the Little One—to embrace him.
Jesus is the Blind—to lead him.
Jesus is the Dumb—to speak for him.
Jesus is the Crippled—to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict—to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute—to remove from danger and befriend.
Jesus is the Prisoner—to be visited.
Jesus is the Old—to be served.

Jesus is my God.
Jesus is my Spouse.
Jesus is my Life.
Jesus is my only Love.
Jesus is my All in All.
Jesus is my Everything.

Jesus, I love with my whole heart, with my whole being. I have given Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to Himself in tenderness and love.
Now and for life I am the spouse of my Crucified Spouse.
Amen.

—  Mother Teresa, Meditations in a hospital in Rome 1983, “Who is Jesus to me?”
The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Holy Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Composed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Mr. Ibis reached into an inside pocket and pulled out a notebook, which he flipped through until he found the appropriate page, and he read out a summarized version of Mad Sweeney’s life. According to Mr. Ibis, Mad Sweeney had started his life as the guardian of a sacred rock in a small Irish glade, over three thousand years ago. Mr. Ibis told them of Mad Sweeney’s love affairs, his enmities, the madness that gave him his power (“a later version of the tale is still told, although the sacred nature, and the antiquity, of much of the verse has long been forgotten”), the worship and adoration in his own land that slowly transmuted into a guarded respect and then, finally into amusement; he told them the story of the girl from Bantry who came to the New World, and who brought her belief in Mad Sweeney the leprechaun with her, for hadn’t she seen him of a night, down by the pool, and hadn’t he smiled at her and called her by her own true name? She had become a refugee, in the hold of a ship of people who had watched their potatoes turn to black sludge in the ground, who had watched friends and lovers die of hunger, who dreamed of a land of full stomachs. The girl from Bantry Bay dreamed, specifically, of a city where a girl would be able to earn enough to bring her family over to the New World. Many of the Irish coming into America thought of themselves as Catholics, even if they knew nothing of the catechism, even if all they knew of religion was the Bean Sidhe, the banshee, who came to wail at the walls of a house where death soon would be, and Saint Bride, who was once Bridget of the two sisters (each of the three was a Brigid, each was the same woman), and tales of Finn, of Oísin, of Conan the Bald—even of the leprechauns, the little people (and was that not the biggest joke of the Irish, for the leprechauns in their day were the tallest of the mound folk) . . . All this and more Mr. Ibis told them in the kitchen that night. His shadow on the wall was stretched and birdlike, and as the whiskey flowed Shadow imagined it the head of a huge waterfowl, beak long and curved, and it was somewhere in the middle of the second glass that Mad Sweeney himself began to throw both details and irrelevancies into Ibis’s narrative (“. . . such a girl she was, with breasts cream-colored and spackled with freckles, with the tips of them the rich reddish pink of the sunrise on a day when it’ll be bucketing down before noon but glorious again by supper . . .”) and then Sweeney was trying, with both hands, to explain the history of the gods in Ireland, wave after wave of them as they came in from Gaul and from Spain and from every damn place, each wave of them transforming the last gods into trolls and fairies and every damn creature until Holy Mother Church herself arrived and every god in Ireland was transformed into a fairy or a saint or a dead King without so much as a by-your-leave . .
—  American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

+The Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
March 25/April 7

“Today is revealed the mystery that is from all eternity. The Son of God becomes the Son of man, that, sharing in what is worse, He may make me share in what is better. In times of old Adam was once deceived: he sought to become God, but received not his desire. Now God becomes man, that He may make Adam God. Let creation rejoice, let nature exult: for the Archangel stands in fear before the Virgin and, saying to her ‘Rejoice’, he brings the joyful greeting whereby our sorrow is assuaged. O Thou who in Thy merciful compassion wast made man, our God, glory be to Thee.”

By Theophanes
Tone 2; Theotokion of the Praises
Matins for the Annunciation

source

ASSUMPTION OF MARY

Today, August 15, Catholics of the Latin rite celebrate the Assumption of Mary. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition of the Theotokos (Mother of God) on August 14.  Like most of the Marian feasts, they were first established in the East and then adopted by the West at a later date. The feast of the Dormition dates back to the 4th century. The earliest celebration of the feast in the West is dated in the mid 7th century.

Image: The Assumption or The Dormition,  a fresco in the Cathedral of San Pedro de los Milagros (Saint Peter of the Miracles) in Antioquia (Colombia)

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Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo by Michael Christopher Brown

Hamida, 26 a sex worker living in the Benghazi neigbourhood 

During the Congo wars these past two decades, involving dozens of armed groups, and in an economy that largely relies on aid from the UN and NGO’s, some women, such as Hamida, who has four children, become somewhat forced to prostitute themselves in order to survive.
Hamida, 26, is a sex worker living in Benghazi, a neighborhood in the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.). She moved there in 2002, when nearby volcano Mount Nyiragongo erupted and destroyed her home in Berere. Benghazi, a slum of wooden shacks built atop lava rock, was named after the city of Benghazi, the Revolutionary base during the Libyan Civil War, as it is a place of “fighting and crying.” Many residents are prostitutes and their families. Upon arrival, she roomed with other sex workers to save money. She now has two rooms and pays $30 per month.


In 2000, when Hamida was 13, she went to the airport looking for water and was kidnapped by a FARDC soldier, who held and raped Hamida at a FARDC base for six months, calling her his “wife.” Hamida could not leave the base and though she did not have to cook or shop she was required to sleep with the soldier everyday. Her mother looked for her but received no answers until the soldier was sent home to Kinshasa and Hamida was set free. Shortly after, some sex workers learned of Hamida’s experience and gave her small things like clothing and brought her to nightclubs and found men for her, though Hamida was given no money. Eventually the women gave her money and Hamida would give it to her mother.

Hamida has four children by four different men. Several of her clients are UN soldiers and one of them, a South African, fathered one of her children. Another father is also South African and two are Congolese. The Congolese do not come to see the children but the South Africans occasionally do. Her oldest, Israel, is 13. “I see many people who have riches, money and cars, but they have no children. To keep a newborn in my body for nine months is not expensive, and it is something I can do. I have the kind of body that God gives children to. Sometimes I have used nine months to wake up in the road, so having children is something I can do. I have never studied, so maybe these children will help me one day. Yes, I could kill a baby and have less responsibilities, but I am afraid of the God of my mother.”

Hamida occasionally attends the Pentecostal Sepac church with her children and mother, who works at the church. “I have to go to church, to hear the preaching and the singing. When I was young I sang in the church. I respect the God my mother prays to. My mother was a muslim and converted to Christianity. My father is still a Muslim and when she converted they began having problems. He stopped helping to support her, saying she had ‘become the wife of Jesus.’”

“I have a difficult life. I live this way because I have many problems to resolve. I have no education or opportunities to study, but one day if I can have a job I can improve my situation. If God gives me a man to marry and who supports my children, I can also be happy. Because no woman can receive so many men in this way and be happy, it is only out of necessity. In Congo we do not have many men, the many wars here killed them. So have many women and to stay married is difficult. Often if we marry the Congolese man, we have a child after six months or a year and then he leaves. Sometimes the South African men forgets you and his child but sometimes he has a good heart and sends money. When we ask the South African UN soldiers, who say they come here to give us peace, why we do not have peace they can not tell us why. Sometimes they just cry and ask us why there is no peace in Congo.”

FAITH

I want to start this body of text by saying that this is not going to be me giving mass and inserting texts from the Bible haha; I just want to speak out about my faith, religion and how I deal it with my sexual orientation. Well, I’m Catholic and I LOVE being Catholic; you have no idea how much I love my religion, and all these years it has being a tough subject, since I’m gay and Catholic. It’s difficult when in a place where you should feel safe, hopeful and happy you feel attacked and uncomfortable sometimes. This year (2017) I made my confirmation and learned so much; God is here with me and I know it, through people he has shown me that he loves me no matter who I love, because God revolves around LOVE. So loving who I love won’t stop me from going to church and approaching to God, His beautiful Mother and the beauty of it all. For all of those people who love their religion like me and are trans, gay, bisexual, etc. God LOVES YOU NO MATTER WHAT, don’t let humans stop you and put untrue thoughts into your head. I’m not telling you: “Go against the Church and be a liberal.” But remember that everything revolves around LOVE. And if you’re a girl who loves another girl, FANTASTIC, you’re a boy who loves another boy, GREAT. Love you guys. God is love. :) 

Armenian Church of the Holy Mother of God - Aleppo, Syria