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.

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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.

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.

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.

 

Carry the Message

A Rosary Meditation: The First Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation.

“When she heard him … ” Luke 1:29a.

The Angel Gabriel carried a message, didn’t he? The angel announced Christ to Mary. ( “You will have a child … ” ) Latter Elizabeth did the same. ( ” …  mother of my Lord … ” ) John the Baptizer announced Christ as well. ( “Behold the Lamb of God!” ) And then there was the Samaritan woman at the well. ( ” Come see the man who told me everything I ever did. Couldn’t he be the Christ?” ) The people that Jesus healed, even when he told them to be quite about what had happened to them, announced him to others. The Twelve Apostles announced him, the people they converted announced him, the Church he founded with Peter as its head continues announcing him to this very day. And all of these, from Mary to the woman at the well and everybody else, have something in common.

Its not everyone that gets the privilege of announcing Jesus to others. There is one, and only one, class of people who get to do the announcing. Oh, God uses anybody he pleases, this is true. As an example, even Lucifer announces Christ. He does his announcing via the hatred he has for God and His children. When Satan vents his anger it gets to be pretty obvious who Jesus is. Otherwise why go to all that trouble if Jesus only, well, something other than the Messiah? So in a way all things announce Christ. But only one class of people announces him with an invitation attached. John said “Behold!” The Samaritan woman said “Come see!” was

The people doing the announcing with the invitation included are the people who have encountered Christ and accepted the invitation themselves. And when others hear the Good News and respond to it, accepting the invitation, there’s one sure way to recognize them. They start announcing.

“Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … If we want what Jesus offers in the above verse, if we want him to announce us to his Father, we need to do some announcing ourselves. There are a lot of ways to do this. Support missioners, bankroll good seminaries, pray, volunteer, and the list goes on. But there is one BEST way. Its something else those folks I mentioned above have in common. After they accepted the announcement, accepted the invitation, accepted Jesus, they all did one thing by the grace of God, each person in the way God gave them. They changed. And people saw the change. There are lots of ways to announce Jesus to others, but a good example? Works wonders.

 

Loving Fear

A Rosary Meditation: The Fifth Glorious Mystery, The Coronation.

“I am the mother of fair love, and of fear … ” Sirach 24:24a.

Have you ever noticed just how many verses in the Old Testament fit the Blessed Virgin even though they aren’t a direct reference to her? Its a little hard for me to think this is all accidental or the product of wishful thinking. And I don’t think, even given eternity, we’ll ever really plumb the depths of God’s word. But then that’s no excuse for not trying, is it?

Mary is, and there can’t be any real debate about this, the Queen Mother. Her Son is King of Heaven and Earth, she’s his mother, there’s nothing else she logically could be. Every queen has her coronation, which means Mary’s Coronation is a given. So she IS Queen of Heaven and Earth. And that’s because she’s the Mother of Christ Jesus. So she reigns even now. That we haven’t yet seen this reality makes it no less real. I’ve never seen air molecules either but that doesn’t keep me from breathing.The Mother of Christ, THE Queen. As the Mother of our Lord the above verse from Sirach (I love Sirach) is very fitting. Jesus, being God, is Love. And in that He puts the fear of God in us, via the Holy Spirit, bringing us to conversion we might well think of Him as fear. Not the run and hide sort of fear. But that respectful kind of fear, fearing to offend our most Dearly Beloved. Which helps keep us on the straight and narrow. So its a wholesome fear. There are lots of “fears” or rather kinds of fears. Like the kind I felt the other night when, at the end of the old Vincent Price movie, “The House on Haunted Hill”, which I still watch with relish, Elisha Cook looks into the camera and says, “They’ll be coming for me next. And then … they’ll come for you.” I still get goosebumps at that point. Some fears are good, or fun, like the shiver I feel at the end of that movie. Some aren’t so good, like the unreasoning phobias some people suffer with. But then there’s the fear that’s best, and that’s the fear of God.

Think about the above verse as a message from our Queen Mother. Any good queen, and think here of the various queens down through history that have been rightly declared saints by Christ’s Church, would give her subjects a loving word, wouldn’t she? And that’s what Mary does for us by her example. A loving fear of God. We need to really listen to our Queen.

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars … ” Revelation 12:1, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Maybe the sun spoken of here is the Son. And the loving word she shares with us? Is the Loving Word.

Hide and Seek

A Rosary Meditation: The Fifth Joyful Mystery, The Finding in the Temple.

“And they did not understand the word he spoke to them.” Luke 2:50.

People all over the world are looking for something they think is hidden. They don’t seem to be able to find it. That’s because, well, that’s because …

Jesus was in the Temple taking care of his Father’s business. He was very much out in the open, he was not hidden, he was right where you’d think he would be if you took the time to give it real thought. But in the panic of searching people often don’t take the time to stop and think. They’re to busy looking. But its their vantage point, its where they are while searching, while looking, that’s the real problem. And I’m not talking about Mary and Joseph here. I’m talking about the rest of us, you and me and everybody else in this world. Because we’ve all been in this situation at some time, regardless where we may be now.

People run here and there, looking underneath piles of philosophies as though the truth were hidden there, searching through religions one after another as though the truth somehow got lost in the jumble, and looking inside them selves for answers when that’s where the problem is. Its that God-size hole in each of us that only God can fill. And we look in all the wrong places because He isn’t the one hidden. WE are.

When Adam and Eve sinned what was the first thing they did? They covered themselves with aprons made of leaves to HIDE their nakedness and then they went to HIDE in the bushes. Why can’t people find God? Its because we’re hiding behind bushes made of human philosophies and man made religions while we look rather than stop and think about the situation. Some honest thought would reveal to us that He isn’t hiding, WE are. And He is exactly where He’s ALWAYS been, exactly where He said He would be. But people don’t understand the word He spoke.

” … behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Matthew 28:20b, and, “And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.” Luke 22:19, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … If you’re looking for Jesus, or if you know someone who is, He is not the one in hiding. “God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.” St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Death holds no terror

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

“For he has so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men.” Judith 13:25.

Sometimes I think its best to let saints speak. So … From St. Alphonsus de Liguori …

“And now death came; not indeed clothed in mourning and grief, as it does to others, but adorned with light and gladness. But what do we say? Why speak of death? Let us rather say that divine love came, and cut the thread of that noble life. And as a light, before going out, gives a last and brighter flash than ever, so did this beautiful creature, on hearing her Son’s invitation to follow him, wrapped in the flames of love, and in the midst of her loving sighs, give a last sigh of still more ardent love, and breathing forth her soul, expired. Thus was that great soul, that beautiful dove of the Lord, loosened from the bands of this life; thus did she enter into the glory of the blessed, where she is now seated, and will be seated, Queen of Paradise, for all eternity.” Glories, p. 420.

Death isn’t always a terror. For the followers of Christ its a homecoming. That’s no terror. Its a release from the bondage of the world and a prelude to our resurrection. For Mary it all happened at once. I suppose the terror of death stems from a knowledge of sin and its rewards. There was nothing like this in death for Mary. For Mary death meant only to follow her son. She loved him, loves him, enough to want to follow him in all things. This would include death. It would also include her Assumption. He had ascended, under his own power. Remember that her only desire was to follow him. Mary couldn’t ascend into Heaven on her own, but being perfect her love reached Heaven and that left God with what choice? Mary, being sinless, could only be gathered up by God and taken to a Realm where no sin enters, neither can it reign. She couldn’t be left here, her body left to suffer the decay that’s only one result of sin and death. To ever think that there was no such thing as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is like saying God is not love. And we know better.

“In every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.” Judith 13:31.

Just a thought … “She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.” Pope Pius XII. Consider what a mother we have! So many go, sadly, to a mothers grave, leaving flowers on a birthday or Mothers Day. With Mary as our mother we’ll never be able to do that. There is no grave, there never will be. There is a knowledge that mother has gone on ahead of us. She waits there for us with Him. And death ought never hold a terror for the Christian.

 

The Blessing

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

“Now he lead them out towards Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.” Luke 24:50.

The culmination of 33 years, Christ’s life on earth, ends in a blessing. But then that was what he was all about, wasn’t it? Blessings were his business.

Jesus was always a blessing to those around him. Healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching the truths of the kingdom, offering forgiveness when no one else would. And he was willing to be a blessing to those who hated him if only they’d soften their hearts. It wasn’t Jesus who refused them the blessing, it was them who held it at arms length. God help us all. The crowd that screamed at Pilate, “Crucify him!”, and, “We have no king but Caesar!”, even these he allowed a blessing. They shouted, “Let his blood be upon us and our children!” Without realizing it, meaning to call down a curse upon themselves, they called down a blessing instead. What greater blessing than to be covered by the Blood of Jesus?

Here, in the above scripture, he is about to ascend into Heaven. But before he leaves his faithful few he blesses them one more time and then sends them into all the world to make disciples of all nations. One way of looking at that is this: He blessed them so that they could carry the blessing to others. And then he ascended, leaving them (us) to do his work.

Jesus was a blessing to others and still is. Through his Church. We’re supposed to be like him in all things. And if we’re a blessing like he was? Someday we’ll experience our own ascension, with our own resurrection bodies. Then we’ll be with him for eternity. Which was the plan all along.

“And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be.” John 14:3, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Looking forward to a resurrection (glorified) body? Me too. I think I’m overdue for a trade in. Yesterday my blood work all looked good. Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

A Mother’s Touch

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

“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary … ” Luke 1:41a.

Mary going to Elizabeth, knowing she needs help during and after her pregnancy. Elizabeth, probably having seen Mary coming down the path, goes out to meet her. Its a very touching scene. Two mothers, both in need. Elizabeth in need of help because of her advanced age and the bearing of her first born. Mary in need of acceptance and understanding, of faith and trust, because she’ll soon be showing and everyone will know she’s pregnant during her engagement and prior to her marriage.

Both of these women were putting someone else first. At first glance you might think that Mary was putting Elizabeth first, helping her when she herself was going to need so much help. And that Elizabeth, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to Mary’s position as mother of the Messiah, was putting Mary first because of Mary’s importance. And I think that all of this is true to an extent. Of course there’s a lot more to it all but these things are a part of the whole. But when it comes to putting someone else first there was much more to it.

They were putting one another first but more importantly they were both putting God first. And not just in certain areas of their lives, holding back others. There were no “compartments” in their living. No “This parts mine and this parts God’s”. They each gave God their all, which is one of the reasons they were both given such important positions. The mother of the forerunner of the Messiah and the mother of Messiah. I can’t think of two more important women in the history of the world. And they both put themselves after God and after others. Humility, service, love, self-sacrificing living. All for God.

These two righteous mothers set us a joyous example. Its touching. And it should be. It should be touching our hearts, yours and mine, that these two women, arguably the two most important women of all time, put God first, others (us) second, and themselves third. A mother’s touch can be a marvelous thing.

4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, 5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil: 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Douay-Rheims. 

Just a thought … The above scripture passage sounds like a good description of Mary and Elizabeth, doesn’t it? It reminds me of them. How much does it remind me of me, or you of you?