Angelic Joy … Thursday, July 11

Duccio angel gabriel

The Angel Gabriel.

A Rosary Meditation … The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. “The angel Gabriel was sent from God … ” Luke 1:26. Angelic joy. We think a lot about Mary and how she reacted, how she must’ve felt, when approached by the angel Gabriel. Here was announced the culmination of an eternal plan. God was to become man and the human race given the opportunity, if they would accept Him, of redemption. This was no small announcement. There was no doubt joy, bewilderment (“Me?”) and a host of other emotions going through the heart of Virgin Mary. But what about Gabriel? Angels being pure spirit I don’t suppose, strictly speaking, that they have “hearts”s as such.But certainly they have heart in so far as feelings are concerned. What joy he must have felt to be so blessed as to deliver this message! Now, we’re not angels you and I. A human life proves our un-angelic nature. (Un-angelic? Well, it’s a word now. 😉 ) But you know what? Even without being angels we CAN experience angelic joy. How? Simple. Right now Gabriel isn’t here to deliver the message that the Christ is coming. We are. Gabriel got to announce the first coming. We get to announce the second. The Second Coming, with its judgement and all of the finality that goes with it, can be a fearful thing. But that’s only if a person isn’t ready. In making the announcement we can help others, and ourselves, be ready. And there is joy in that just as there is joy in knowing He’s coming back.

Today …

St. Bendict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia, the Father of Western monasticism and brother of Scholastica, is considered the patron of speliologists (cave explorers). No doubt because, as a hermit, he lived in one. He was born in Nursia, Italy and educated in Rome. He was repelled by the vices of the city and in about the year 500, fled to Enfide, thirty miles away. He decided to live the life of a hermit and settled at the mountainous Subiaco, where he lived in a cave for three years, fed by a monk named Romanus. Can you imagine how blessed this monk was to be able to have a hand in Benedict’s formation? Despite Benedict’s desire for solitude, his holiness and austerities became known and he was asked to be abbot by a community of monks at Vicovaro. He accepted, but warned them that their ways weren’t his. When the monks resisted his strict rule and tried to poison him, he returned to Subiaco, which became a center of spirituality and learning. He left suddenly, reportedly because of the efforts of a neighboring priest, Florentius (who came to a bad end), to undermine his work, and in about 525, settled at Monte Cassino. He destroyed a pagan temple to Apollo on its crest, brought the people of the neighboring area back to Christianity, and in about 530 began to build the monastery that was to be the birthplace of Western monasticism. Soon disciples again flocked to him as his reputation for holiness, wisdom, and miracles spread far and wide. His take on spirituality is still spreading. He organized the monks into a single monastic community and wrote his famous Rule prescribing common sense, a life of moderate asceticism, prayer, study, and work, and community life under one superior. It stressed obedience, stability, zeal, and had the Divine Office as the center of monastic life; it was to affect spiritual and monastic life in the West for centuries to come, not to mention European civilization as a whole. While ruling his monks (most of whom, including Benedict, were not ordained), he counseled rulers and Popes, ministered to the poor and destitute about him, and tried to repair the ravages of the Lombard Totila’s invasion. He died at Monte Cassino on March 21 and was named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

Remember … “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ― Mark Twain