|Transportation of the Holy House of Nazareth to Loreto. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1743.|
The Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto, Dec. 10, 2019
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
On the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto we bring our focus to the Santa Casa or Holy House of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the site of the conception of Jesus Christ. On this day in 1294, the house was miraculously transported by angels 2,000 miles from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy, where it continues to be a place of prayer and pilgrimage to this day. Historical evidence states that the house was taken off its foundations in Nazareth and moved some time in the 13th century as Crusaders were being driven out of Palestine.
St. Anne and Joachim’s house was a place of prayer. There they taught their daughter Mary to pray, and there the Archangel Gabriel appeared. God asked Mary to be the mother of God in this context of a prayerful home. Clearly, it was a family where Mary felt secure, not only to listen for God’s voice but also to respond to Him and do His will (Luke 1:38, 8:19-21).
Thus, God chose to come at last to set His people free — beginning that mission within a family home. What a beautiful reminder that even today He wishes to come near to His people and to be welcomed, that He may set us free from sin and death, if we only are willing to say “yes” to Him, to all He is and asks of us.
The Gospel reading for this feast day (Luke 1:26-38) recalls the Annunciation, but this feast should also remind us of our obligation to seek holiness together as a people. As such, let us endeavor to have homes and parishes that allow for that same unwavering, undaunted, unending yes to God. And may we also seek that fiat within the dwelling of our own hearts. For it is in that true and faithful “yes” that we find the greatest fruit of God’s grace.
In this time of Advent, as we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming, may we consider the home of Mary. This sacred home allowed her to offer herself and her son to the will of God and to trust in Him fully. Let us pray that our homes and families may likewise be holy places of prayer and obedience.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
On the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto we bring our focus to the Santa Casa or Holy House of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the site of the conception of Jesus Christ.