Tag Archives: Mary Mother of God

The Annunciation – Say Yes

Silence. Listening. Emptying. Filling. Receiving. Giving.

Today I offer you something that I put on my personal blog, There Will Be Bread, a few years ago, with some new questions about what this day might mean to us as God’s people.  What seemingly impossible things are we called to say yes to today? What is in the space between God and our yes that makes for miracles? How will we each bring Christ into the world without reservation?


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Filed under Annunciation, Lent, Lent 2015, Mary Mother of God

Mary, Our Model in Advent – by Bill Thornton

Immaculata2-1 [This was originally given to be a spoken sharing at an Advent evening prayer liturgy at St. Edward’s On Tuesday December 9. The liturgy was snowed out, so I am publishing it here. Most of the people who customarily attend this liturgy know me quite well and make allowances when I tend to ramble and run on. So I thought that I would “tighten it up” before I published it, but, on second thought, I decided to leave it alone. Here it is “warts and all.”]


When I agreed to give this little talk tonight, I noticed that today is the feast day of St. Juan Diego, the person who saw the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also, Friday [Dec. 12] is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and, of course, yesterday [Dec. 8] was the Immaculate Conception. It seemed clear to me that this week was Mary’s week, and that I should talk about Mary. Later, while I was sorting books donated to the parish library, I came across this one, “Mary Today,” by Basil Pennington. You probably know Father Pennington as the Trappist monk and priest who was the author of several books, most particularly the popular book on Centering Prayer. What especially caught my eye with this books, was the subtitle, “Model for Maturing Christians.” Anybody here consider yourself Maturing Christians? So here was a slant on Mary that I could write on.

In his book, Fr. Pennington asks, “Who is Mary? And who is she in my life? Who ought she to be in my life as a disciple, follower, friend, and lover of Jesus Christ?”   Neither Fr. Pennington nor I have any answers to these questions, rather we both set out to raise some thoughts for you to ponder.

As I began to work on this talk, I was drawn to Pennington as a person primarily because of some interesting parallels in our lives.

Pennington entered the Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1951 at the age of 20. I entered the Paulist Fathers minor seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, in the following year at the age of 13. He made his vows on September 8, 1956. I made my first temporary promises on the same date, three years later. It was customary in many religious orders to make vows on September 8 because it is the birthday of Mary. [In case you Continue reading

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Filed under Advent, Advent 2014

December 9, 2013 – Advent Reflection – Yes

hopperHappy and Blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

What, you may ask, does this Grace Hopper quotation have to do with the Feast of the Annunciation?

I do not know why this struck me this morning, but it did. Today’s Google Doodle is for Grace Hopper, and it derailed my original post, which was almost complete and ready to go. That post was about interruption and grace… so I will take this interruption and redirect as a gift of grace as well.

The thing that hit me when I saw the Google Doodle was this – Mary, because of her nature, understood inner authority and the authority of God. She never paused to consider that she might want to talk to her parents about this or bring them in. Yes, that is a contemporary cultural overlay, but aren’t we called to understand catechesis in that context?

945252714b44f4eeb0cdf58b16d9b4b2Anyway, Mary says yes, without apology. Mary did not ask permission from her parents, she may have been startled, but in the end she simply said yes.

In today’s readings today’s readings, we can take note that Adam and Eve did not understand inner authority nor hearing the voice of God as well as Mary did. My hope and prayer is that we can get ourselves to a different place in regard to the long-standing exegesis that makes all of this about sex alone. This day is about the deeper, wiser, understanding of how God interacts with us, and about who we are in responding to God. Saying yes isn’t the thing alone, it is knowing who to say yes to and when to do so.

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Christmas Reflections – Mary, Mother of God January 1

Mary, Mother of God – January 1, 2013
(This homily was written for and first published in the book, Hungry and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C.)

Many years ago, I befriended a woman with whom I had nothing in common. In fact, we were far apart in many ways. She was one of the “cool people” that a self-professed nerd like me might never get to know. However, academic circumstances brought us together, and we became good friends. What struck me the most about her, when we first became more closely acquainted, was how “human” she turned out to be. From my original point of view, this woman seemed to have it all; she appeared completely self-confident and self-possessed, she was remarkably beautiful, and she maintained an aura of perfection that seemed unattainable to us mere mortals.

Over time we got to know one another, and a real friendship began to develop. This woman began to reveal just how challenging things were for her. First of all, she was not perfect, although I found that hard to believe. At that age, I believed that we were all socially divided into some “have/have not scheme” when it came to perfection. To that end, I was Continue reading

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Filed under Christmas, Christmas Reflections 2012, Homilists for the Homeless, Hungry and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C, Mary Mother of God