By Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M.
Imagine celebrating various feast days throughout the year – not only Christmas, Easter, saints’ days, etc., but also important events in your spiritual life.
That’s what our Mercedarian Order commemorates throughout the year. In our Liturgy – that is, Masses and the Liturgy of the Hours - we have more than one hundred such feast days particular to our Order.
Above, Icon of the Mother of God
There are not only saints, venerables and blesseds in our Order, but events, such as the Foundation of the Order of Mercy by St. Peter Nolasco (Aug. 10), and Our Lady of the Earthquake (April 28), which commemorates the protection of Our Lady against earthquakes in 1575.
Another celebration in our Order is the Expectation of the Virgin Mary’s Childbirth, held one week before the Nativity (Dec. 18).
This feast day is related to the arrival of our Mercedarian friars in Argentina in the 1500’s. Today we have a province, which is the Order’s territory, of Argentina. Its patron is Our Lady of Expectation, based on this mystery. The great seal of this province reads, Expectans expectavi Dominum, which is Latin for “with expectation I have waited for the Lord.”
Meditate on Mary and Joseph’s Expectations
And why not spend these last few days before the birth of Our Savior meditating on the Blessed Virgin as she prepared for the birth of her Divine Son?
Imagine the difficulty of her travels with Joseph toward Bethlehem, as they faced all the difficulties and discomforts of finding a room for the night, as the Gospel tells us.
Think of Mary in her conversations with Joseph, as they struggled to find a suitable place for the immanent birth of the Messiah. And their having to settle for a stable for animals. Where to find a comfortable resting place for a woman about to give birth? Where to find warm water? How to ward off the chill of the night?
Giving ourselves some mental space and time for this mystery is quite a good preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord.
As we meditate on this, let us pray the closing prayer from our Order’s liturgy for this day:
“O God, your Son took on the status of a servant so as to redeem
the human race from the slavery of sin;
Bestow on those who are captives
The liberty that you granted to all human beings to be your sons and daughters.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
A Calling to Become a Mercedarian Friar?
Men, have you thought that God may be calling you to become a Mercedarian friar?
The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, also known as the Order of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain. We have friars who are priests and brothers.
In the United States, Mercedarian friars serve in parishes, prisons, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Ohio, Pennsylvania New York, and Florida. As part of our charism of redemptive love, we have a sincere devotion to Mary and to the Eucharist.
Single Catholic men age 18 – 40 who think they may have a Mercedarian vocation are invited to visit the website of the Mercedarian Friars USA at OrderofMercy.org. Contact me, Fr. Daniel Bowen, vocation director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the Mercedarian Friars USA at these sites as well:
Test Your Call to the Mercedarian Friars.
YouTube: Mercedarian Friars USA