Our Lady of Loreto

Matthew 11:11-15 

A greater than John the Baptist has never been seen

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm. Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading; and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!’

Isaiah 41:13-20 

I, the Holy One of Israel, am your redeemer

I, the Lord, your God,

I am holding you by the right hand;

I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid,

I will help you.’

Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm,

Israel, puny mite.

I will help you – it is the Lord who speaks –

the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.

See, I turn you into a threshing-sled,

new, with doubled teeth;

you shall thresh and crush the mountains,

and turn the hills to chaff.

You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away,

the gale will scatter them.

But you yourself will rejoice in the Lord,

and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none,

their tongue is parched with thirst.

I, the Lord, will answer them,

I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

I will make rivers well up on barren heights,

and fountains in the midst of valleys;

turn the wilderness into a lake,

and dry ground into waterspring.

In the wilderness I will put cedar trees,

acacias, myrtles, olives.

In the desert I will plant juniper,

plane tree and cypress side by side;

so that men may see and know,

may all observe and understand

that the hand of the Lord has done this,

that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Psalm 144(145):1,9-13a 

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

I will give you glory, O God my king,

  I will bless your name for ever.

How good is the Lord to all,

  compassionate to all his creatures.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,

  and your friends shall repeat their blessing.

They shall speak of the glory of your reign

  and declare your might, O God,

to make known to men your mighty deeds

  and the glorious splendour of your reign.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Yours is an everlasting kingdom;

  your rule lasts from age to age.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Spirit of Christ in the Fullness of Time

John, precursor, prophet, and baptist

717 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.

718 John is “Elijah (who) must come.” The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of “[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

719 John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.” In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.” In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God…. Behold, the Lamb of God.”

720 Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of “the divine likeness,” prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John’s baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth.

“Rejoice, you who are full of grace”

721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.” 

In her, the “wonders of God” that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:

722 The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” should herself be “full of grace.” She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the “Daughter of Zion”: “Rejoice.” It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.

723 In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father’s loving goodness. With and through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful.

724 In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known.

725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God’s merciful love, into communion with Christ. and the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.

726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve (“mother of the living”), the mother of the “whole Christ.” As such, she was present with the Twelve, who “with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,” at the dawn of the “end time” which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.