The Kings Daughter

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Glorious Mystery, The Assumption.

“All glorious is the kings daughter as she enters; her raiment is threaded with spun gold.” Psalms 44:14.

Like everything, excepting eternity and God and God’s love, the Assumption had its beginning and its end. In a way Mary’s Assumption had its beginning with her Immaculate Conception. Beyond this there were what we might think of as stages. The Annunciation, the Visitation, and etc. Of course breaking things down in this fashion is just a human way of understanding a thing, or an attempt at understanding. Time, and those of us who live in time, is (I think) a continuous flow. God, and those with Him, aren’t hampered by time and its limiting view. Anyway …

“All glorious is the kings daughter as she enters … ” Think about the word “glorious”. Compare it to, given Mary’s entry into Heaven, the word “ready”.

Do you think Mary was ready for the Assumption the day prior to it? We’d be tempted to say yes, and given her God-given perfection we could say she was always ready. But she wasn’t. Mary had given her heart and will over to God. Always. So she wasn’t ready the day before because He wasn’t. She was only ready in accordance with His timing. A “part” of her perfection (and I’m breaking things down here just for the sake of human understanding again, primarily my own understanding) is found in waiting on God.

Do we ever get ahead of God? Or do we try to hurry things up because that’s the way we want it or think it should be?

“Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.” Psalms27:14, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … There are, metaphorically speaking, a variety of assumptions. There’s an Assumption like Mary’s. It takes place in God’s time, not ours. And then there’s the all to human assumption of thinking that we know best when it comes to the timing of anything.

One Day at a Time

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.

“And take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

We get all caught up in future tense, don’t we? What if tomorrow … ? Or next week, or next year, or … I’ll share a little story here, told me by my Grandad years ago. It goes like this …

During the Great Depression my grandparents set up housekeeping in an empty cabin in the woods. They didn’t have much, but they did have a cured ham which my Grandad hung from a rafter, trying to keep critters away from it if any got in the house. Well, one day my Grandad came home to find Grandma setting on the side of the bed, holding their new baby, their first, in her arms bawling her eyes out. So Grandad asked her what was wrong. She said: “One day Naomi (the new baby girl) is gonna be all grown up and she’ll get married and have a baby of her own. And she’ll bring the baby over to visit and it’ll be playin’ on the floor …. SNIFFLE! SOB! … And, and that rope ‘ll break and the ham ‘ll fall on the baby and kill it!”

Well, now you know something about the folks that raised me. :-) Anyway, this meditation is short, direct and to the point …

“Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … The last time you worried about tomorrow, what changed? I mean other than the loss of today? Jesus never asked anyone to carry tomorrows cross today.

 

Piercings

A Rosary Meditation: the Fourth Joyful Mystery, The Presentation.

“And thy own soul a sword shall pierce … ” Luke 2:35a.

Mary did everything right, didn’t she? And in the long run she was rewarded. But in the short run, well, it was a hard row to hoe. She suffered a lot for love of God.

We try to do our best, we try to do everything right. It isn’t always easy. People cause us problems, sometimes they go out of their way to. The world around us, from the six o’clock news and the tabloids at the grocery store check out, throws stumbling block after stumbling block in our path. And sometimes we are our own worst enemy. All of this and the unseen forces of darkness too. All because …

In trying to do our best we’re trying to present Jesus to the world. Some, like Simeon, are anxious to receive Jesus into their bosom, into their heart. But most don’t seem nearly so open. So we have problems and it isn’t easy. Just like Mary. Well, at least we’re in good company.

In all of this it can feel as though our hearts are being pierced by a sword. Of course none of us will ever go through anything like what Mary did. But we each go through what we go through and God knows its enough or he’d allow more, for our cleansing and purification. Swords piercing cut out those things God knows we’re better off without.

” But he knoweth my way, and has tried me as gold that passeth through the fire … ” Job 23:10, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Operations are never pleasant. But they’re needed, sometimes being life or death. Our purification is a matter of eternal life or death.

“Open wide … “

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Glorious Mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak of the wonderful works of God.” Acts 2:4,11.

Ever been to a doctor? Silly question, we all have. Well, on the off chance you can answer that question with a no don’t worry. I’ve been often enough that you’re covered. Doctor visits are all pretty much the same unless its an emergency. But if its just your normal run of the mill visit it keeps to a fairly constant pattern. You get weighed, you might get your height measured, they take your blood pressure, and then the doctor raps you across the knee with that little hammer (I remember one doctor pulling his hammer back, getting ready to strike, and the hammer head flew off.), he shines a light in your ears, takes a tongue depressor and says, “Say ahhhh.”

We have a Great Physician, don’t we? Its advisable to go to Him for regular checkups. But that’s another post. Right now we’ll just concentrate on our Great Physician and us saying ahhhh.

The believers there on that first day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, were filled with that same Spirit. The Spirit of God. What happened next? They began to tell others about the wonderful works of God, didn’t they? They opened their mouths and out poured the witness of God’s love for humanity. They had no choice. They were driven by that same love.

When my doctor tells me to say “Ahhhh” I don’t really have a lot of choice in the matter. If this relationship with my M.D. is going to work as it should I need to open my mouth. (My doctor has never had a problem getting me to open wide. His problem is getting me to shut it.) We have a relationship with the Greatest Physician. When we’re cooperative we don’t really have much choice in what comes next. Oh, I know people can always stifle God in their lives or turn away from Him. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about people who are willingly under His influence. What comes next? We open our mouths. We have to. There’s to much that’s good that we have to share. Just like those believers at Pentecost way back then.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … When you go to your doctor and he says to say ahhhh why would you keep your mouth shut? Why would we keep it shut when there is so much of God’s goodness to share?

The Making of a Mockery

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Sorrowful Mystery, The Crowning with Thorns.

“And bending the knee before him they mocked him … ” Matthew 27:29.

Here we have Jesus, dressed by those who hate him, dressed as a king. Wasn’t a very impressive wardrobe, was it? The “kingly” cloak thrown over him, a reed for a scepter, a crown made of thorns. And the Roman soldiers, the ones without a true belief in Jesus (I say “true belief” because they obviously believed that he was real and standing there in front of them, but for them that was as far as the reality of Jesus went.) bowed their knees in mockery.

Lots of folks believe in Jesus. He lived, he breathed, he walked the earth … And that’s as far as their belief goes. Lots of folks who believe in Jesus make a mockery of him today. And some of these? They’re very “religious”.

Someone bows before the Tabernacle and then, after leaving church, cheat their employer out of an honest wage by being lazy on the job. Someone bends the knee in church and then latter lies about something. Someone genuflects and the next day … You get the picture.

When a person does things like this they dress Jesus just like those soldiers did. And its not much of a wardrobe. But it obviously comes from the heart, doesn’t it?

“By their fruits you shall know them … ” Matthew 7:16, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … We all are given opportunity every day to express our love for Jesus. The wardrobe, the crown we place upon his head, is it of gold or of thorns? Because these things are a reflection of our love for him. These things tell him, and the people around us, everything anyone needs to know about our relationship with God.

A Nativity Scene

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Joyful Mystery, The Nativity.

“And she laid him in manger … ” Luke 2:7.

Think about these few simple words, about the nature of Christ, and we’ll try to grasp just a little of what this means. Or can mean.

How did the Babe react to being placed in a manger? We aren’t told, but if we know something of Jesus’ nature, from study or personal experience or from whatever inner or outer source, we can imagine. I think, and this is just my thought, that he was peaceful, calm. The Creator of Heaven and earth, Author of Life, THE Perfect Being deserving of … He’s beyond deserving isn’t he? As though he lacks something and needs someone to supply him with fill-in-the-blank because he’s worthy. He is by nature eternally worthy whether we ever know it or not, and we can’t really give him anything he doesn’t already have. With the exception of a childlike heart, our heart, given by us to him. And here he is placed in a rough hewn box of sorts. But I see him reacting peacefully. Why shouldn’t he? What, really, could ever threaten him? Would he lose his self confidence because he was being treated as less than what he was? Of course not. That sort of reaction would more likely pertain to us, but not to him.

We are told that we must become like little children in order to enter into Heaven. We need to be innocent, joyful, trusting. Which means that we set the wrong kinds of ego and fear aside along with hardheartedness. And we can. With his help. When we’re laid in a manger of rough wood, when life becomes uncomfortable, we remain calm. Because we know he’s there in that “manger” with us. After all, is there any place, any set of circumstances when and where he isn’t with us?

“And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Accepting crosses is a part of our existence as followers of Christ. It takes a real Christan to carry a cross. And it takes a child-like heart to be content with rough hewn mangers.

Look up

A Rosary Meditation: The Second Glorious Mystery, The Ascension.

“And he was taken up into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for the people there, on that day when Jesus left, as he ascended into Heaven? I’m very sure it was a once in a lifetime experience. Beyond that statement, well, honestly its a little difficult to know just what to say given that there’s so much that could be said. So we’ll stand back for a moment and just take a look at the crowd.

One thing is obvious. They all have their eyes on Christ. Now that’s a good example. Keeping their eyes on him they couldn’t go wrong, could they? Keeping their eyes on him insured they wouldn’t miss anything of importance, didn’t it? But what if …

What if, and I’ll use me now so I’ll not be accused of picking on anyone ;-) (most of the time I pick on me just for the fun of it anyway, saving my doctors the trouble … long, and funny, story, covering six and one half years, so just trust me here), I’d been there and I’d had my eyes on, oh, lets say the Apostle James? What would I have seen? I’d have seen James, a follower of Jesus and a good example. Now that’s a good thing isn’t it? Sure it is. Now, by watching James what would I have missed? Nothing if I was really watching James, or a lot if I’m not careful. I could have missed witnessing the ascension of Jesus if I was focused on James in the wrong way. I could have missed watching Jesus, I could have missed the main event wouldn’t I?

We all want to go to Heaven. Our dying in the Grace of God and making Heaven is a kind of personal spiritual ascension, isn’t it? And God gives us good personal examples, like James, to help us get to Heaven. So its OK to watch James so long as I have the right mind set and know WHY I’m watching James. But lets look at me standing there again, with my eyes on James but not paying the right kind of attention. I’m human so for a while I’m so caught up in watching James that I forget WHY I’m watching James. (I should be watching James because he is a good example of JESUS.) I’m missing the Ascension but I am watching a godly example. I’m watching a saint. But am I really? Because if I’m really watching St. James I’d see where it was he was looking and I’d look there too, wouldn’t I? And then I wouldn’t miss anything, would I?

We can watch the people around us. Depending on our intent and their actions watching them is a good thing or its not. Maybe we’re getting a good example out of the deal. We’ll hope so. We’re getting a good example if they’re looking up because we’ll be prompted to look up as well.

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these things … ” Isaiah 40:26a, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … What ever else we do our primary focus needs to be looking up, looking up to Jesus.

P.S. … I may or may not miss a few days soon. I don’t think I will, but I might. I’m kinda in a rather intense study mode right now and I loose myself and all track of time as well. Short version: I forget everything, eating, sleeping, etc. except study. So if I come up missing for a day or two you can put it down to … A, Extreme focus (being the kind view) ~ or ~ B, Senility (being what’s probably the more correct view) … Once again saving my doctors the trouble of kidding me. (Amongst other things I had at some point, although I don’t remember it, a brain scan. My doctor tells me the results didn’t show any thing. ;-) )

Understanding our place

A Rosary Meditation: The Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar.

“This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37.

There was never any doubt in the mind of Christ as to his place in the scheme of things. He knew why he was born, why he was here. He understood completely his vocation.

Vocation. Our place. It can be a little tricky for us, can’t it? Things that are hard for us to spot, for whatever reason, can cloud issues. We are, after all, only human. And that’s the truth. Sometimes trying to figure out our God-given place in life can be a painful experience. Look at what so many of the saints went through trying to find God’s will for themselves. Its like a kind of scourging. But that’s why God has given us people in authority, people with training, friends and family, spiritual advisers, our confessors, people with insight. They often see in us the obvious, things that, again, we may over look.

I remember years ago working with a guy who had, well, lets just say issues. I liked him, we worked well together, and we talked. He was divorced and had been for a long while. The marriage had ended badly. He had a daughter that he hadn’t seen in years and years. When she was old enough she found him. And after all that time they began forming a relationship. He was happy about it and I gathered she was too. Then she decided she was going to get married. She was 16 and I think her boyfriend was in his twenties. My friend tried to talk her out of it, to convince her it was a bad idea (lots of details, it WAS a bad idea). Her reply was always, “Mamma was my age when you married her!”  And she had him. Now his time of pain, his own scourging, began. He had no reasoning to come back with. What she said was absolutely true. How could he combat an obvious truth? He was telling me all this. Exasperated, desperate, he stopped talking, looking dejectedly at his feet. I just looked at him. To me it was obvious. So I said, “You know what the answer is to that don’t you?” “Well, no.” I looked at him and said, “The next time she tells you her mom was her age when you married her you tell her, ‘Yeah, and you see how THAT turned out.’ ” In his eyes I could see the light come on. “Yeah, yeah! You’re right. That’s what I’ll tell her!”

He was actually trying to help his daughter with her vocation at that stage of her life. And probably help her avoid a scourging all her own that was completely unnecessary. They were both missing the obvious. A disinterested party had a clearer view, emotions and history not getting in the way.

We all have a place in the scheme of things. Jesus knew his.

“But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Some one says, “Just because Jesus knew his doesn’t mean I know mine.” True. That’s why Christ provides guidance. He has people here to take care of issues like not knowing our place. He will speak to us through them. (Anyone not believing this, please explain away the First Vatican Council and Papal Infallibility for me.) So you don’t know, so what? That doesn’t mean you can’t know. And the fact is that you CAN know because HE already does.

The Cup of Sugar

A Rosary Meditation: The Second Joyful Mystery, The Visitation.

“And she cried out, ‘Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’ ” Luke 1:42.

Elizabeth sees Mary coming up the walk, runs out to greet her, and bubbles over joyfully with the above statement. Inspired by the Holy Spirit of course.

I remember being told about a monk, a Benedictine, and this is a factual story, who had been given the task of offering hospitality to any guests that might arrive at the monastery. But he had other things to do as well. As he was knee deep in alligators given all these other duties he wasn’t all that geared up for guests. Of course someone showed up. He heard the door and knew he had to stop what he was doing and go take care of this person. In exasperation he said: “!#@%! Now I’ve got to go do hospitality!” :-) Monks are human too.

With hospitality, Elizabeth’s greeting of Mary, and being human in mind …

Have you ever seen someone, maybe a next door neighbor, walking towards your door and muttered, “Oh great. What do they want now?” Hey, you’re knee deep in alligators and don’t have the time, or inclination, to dole out a cup of sugar. You’ve got enough to do all ready and now you have to stop and take care of someones needs. Just peachy, ain’t it?

When Elizabeth saw Mary coming down the path she had no way of knowing Mary was there to help her in her time of need. It could’ve been a logical assumption on Elizabeth’s part that Mary was there because she needed something from Elizabeth. But rather than say something like “Ratz! Now what?” Elizabeth went to meet Mary and was, lets just say, hospitable.

OK, whats the difference between Elizabeth and our monk? (We’ll leave ourselves alone and out of this for now. If we see ourselves in one example or the other, well, it’ll be food for thought on the individual level.) And the answer is really simple. When Elizabeth spoke she did so under the influence of the Holy Spirit. God had control because Elizabeth faithfully gave herself over to God. Now when the monk spoke what influence was he under?

Back to that neighbor walking up our walk. We see them and have an immediate reaction within ourselves. And …

“And hospitality do not forget; for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Abraham saw three strangers coming towards his tent and ran out to implore them to eat and rest at his camp. When the meal was ready he even served them himself. The above verse references his actions. You know, honestly, I’ve never seen anybody walk by my place and gone running up to them saying, “Here, let me give you a cup of sugar!” But, metaphorically speaking, that’s just what Elizabet did, isn’t it? Most of us can probably identify, if we’re honest about it, with the monk. The question is now: “What need’s to change so that I give hospitality to neighbors and strangers alike? What cuts me off from that right attitude?” Because whatever gets in our way in serving others also gets in the way of our relationship with God.

 

“Be ye always ready”

A Rosary Meditation: The First Glorious Mystery, The Resurrection.

“At early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.” Luke 24:1.

“Be ye always ready” is the motto of the Knights of the Round Table. Its from this motto that the Boy Scouts got “Be prepared”. And then there was my Grandmother’s version of always being prepared that was based on the reality of the Great Depression rather than Camelot. “Its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”. And all of these have their time and place in life.

The folks coming to the tomb that first Easter Sunday morning were ready, weren’t they? They brought the things necessary to give Jesus a proper burial. With the fast approach of the Sabbath there hadn’t been time Friday. But now? They were ready. They didn’t know yet that these things weren’t needed. They were doing the next right thing, certainly. They were doing the best they could with what they had. But they were doing it without full knowledge. That was OK. The knowledge was coming.

Its important for us to always be ready. As ready as we can be given our own lack of perfect knowledge. We don’t always have all the details about any given situation, do we? But its still important to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Like Christ’s parable about the servants who were each given a talent of gold by their master before he went on a journey. Two did the best they could with what they had and were rewarded accordingly. The other servant, the one who didn’t do anything with his talent, well, he got anything but a reward.

What happened to those folks that Easter morning? Were they rewarded? Certainly. They were the first to have a part in the miracle of the resurrection weren’t they? They didn’t understand it all but they were prepared and they experienced a miracle as a result. A miracle that far outweighed their preparation. But there were a few others there that morning. There were the guards at the tomb. Were they ready, do you think? And their reward was? We’ve leave that. Its ultimately between them and God. Because we don’t have full knowledge and can’t say.

If we do the best we can with our talents and limited knowledge we can rest contentedly. We don’t need to know what’s in store for us. God’s got that covered.

“His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Its important to be ready in God’s service. Like those going to the tomb that Easter morning and like the servants in the parable were ready without knowing when their master would return. They didn’t know it all. We don’t either. But they were ready and rewarded. This is Lent. Its a time to get ready. In some ways our lives ought to be a perpetual Lent. And we’ll be surprised in the end by the generosity of God. Being ready can be the beginning of our miracle.

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