Monday, November 12

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. “Not all the sorrows suffered by all the martyrs ever reached the height of sorrows of Most Holy Mary in this trial …” Think about one simple possibility in your life and the resultant sorrow. To lose Jesus. Here is Mary, sinless, separated from Jesus. If this could happen to her, and physically it did when He was “lost” in the temple and she had no idea where on earth He might be or what could’ve happened to Him, how much easier is it for us to lose Him, we who are so prone to sin. If she suffered so much how much more should we suffer when WE lose Him? But we don’t. We can’t. Because sin so numbs us to spiritual reality as to make us unfeeling, unaware, in the extreme. And this is a terrible and a dangerous thing. Its like someone with severe nerve damage in, lets say, their foot. If this person cuts themselves they might not notice it. They might bleed to death without ever knowing there was a problem. This is a good example of our modern-day dilemma of sin and the lack of awareness of sin. Dulled consciences. Pope Pius XII said, “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” When we lose Jesus what do we do? Agonize? Go looking? Repent? Pray? Confess? Ignore? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people. We all have a severely nerve damaged soul. It’s easy for sin to go unnoticed and for our life’s blood, His blood, to slowly seep away. What should we do? Well, nerve damage requires any number of things but there are three that come to mind at once. The first is vigilance. If I have nerve damage I need to check from time to time to see if I may be bleeding. An examination of conscience does this. And I need to let my doctor keep an eye on things as well in order to make sure my situation remains stable. Confession helps take care of my visits to the Great Physician. And I need to take care what I do so as to insure I don’t cut myself accidentally. Avoiding the near occasions of sin helps me with this. If my foot is nerve damaged I probably ought not to walk through broken glass, at least not knowingly. If I do these things I may still suffer from severe nerve damage but I won’t be as apt to suffer the consequences of it. And when my day is done? Chances are good, nerve damage and all, I’ll be with Jesus in the temple.

Today … St. Josaphat of Polotsk. An Eastern Rite bishop who died a martyr trying to heal the schism between the east and west. For centuries Constantinople and Rome had been at odds. Politics, culture, theology, and differences related to these things added to a damaged relationship. The Synod of Brest Litovsk was held in 1595-96. The bishops of the area known now as Byelorussia and the Ukraine, then Poland-Lithuania, wanted to return to communion with Rome. Others disagreed. There was bloodshed. It’s all a long and complicated story, too much to relate here. The short version? For working towards unity and healing at the end there was a cry of, “Kill the papist!” Struck with a stick, hit with an axe, and finally shot through the head, Josaphat was martyred. During all this the Catholics, out of fear, remained hidden. It was only the Jewish people of the area who rushed into the courtyard and rescued Josaphat’s friends from similar treatment. It was only the Jews who risked their own lives again by publicly accusing the murderers of Josaphat. But all of this violence actually worked against the schismatics. Due to the horror of bloodshed many thought twice about their posistion and returned to communion with Rome. Even the schismatic Archbishop Meletius Smotritsky, Josaphat’s rival, was united with Rome. Funny thing about nerve damage. Sometimes it works against itself and for the Glory of God. Josaphat became the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome in 1867.

John Paul II said … “Forgiveness demonstrates the presence in the world of the love which is more powerful than sin.” (No doubt a sure cure for nerve damage.)

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One Comment

  1. Wonderful insight, and a challenging post to remind us to be vigilant in our walk with Jesus, that we allow nothing to separate us from our vital communion with Him. God bless!


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