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.

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Leading away …

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

“Now the soldiers led him away … ” Mark 15:16a.

I’ve wondered, in the past, what it must’ve felt like to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. “Branded” with a yellow star, packed into railroad cars, watching loved ones going you didn’t know where while you yourself were going in the opposite direction. Did the people being led away feel fear, disgust, hatred? All of these being led away by soldiers. Or how it felt to walk the Trail of Tears, going to a territory that was altogether foreign, watching as some of the people you were closest to died on the journey, no proper burials, no ceremony to mourn their passing, buried in forgotten graves. Did the brave warriors feel fear? Did they feel hatred? How did the old women and the young children feel? What did they feel while being led away by soldiers?

Jesus was led away by soldiers. They weren’t kind or understanding. They mocked him, placing the crown of thorns on his head. A fine jest. Did any one of them feel the slightest twinge of pity or guilt? Did the Nazi soldier feel anything? Was there any remorse at all? Did any of the U.S. Cavalry soldiers consider what it was they were doing to fellow human beings? Or was it just a job, the people only “things” less than human to be disposed of? Or was it a fine jest?

We’ve all heard people say things like, “No one gets out of this world alive”. That’s true. I think its just as true that no one gets out of this world without being crowned with thorns one way or another. At some point we are all led away by soldiers. The “soldiers” may take on a different guise, but the leading remains the same. And it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a Christian or not.

(And before someone takes it wrong and starts thinking I’m down on the military, I’m not. This is an allegory.)

So what does matter? If we’re Christian it matters whether or not we accept the crown of thorns we receive for love of Christ. Receiving a crown such as this outside the love of God no doubt counts, and it counts in a multitude of ways. But does it count for eternity? There’s the difference. And that difference does matter.

Pity and pray for the “soldiers” who do the leading. (Husbands leading wives astray, corporations that lead consumers “away” with less than healthy commodities, fellow high school student who … and etc.) “Just following orders, that’s all.” Not putting authority in its proper place, as in God and His commandments coming first with the will of men coming second at best, the “soldiers” that do the leading are being led by one crueler than they could ever be. When a Christian is led we’re led like lambs to the slaughter and regardless the crown we receive from men we receive a greater from Him. But the ones following orders, and it doesn’t matter who it is giving them, are the ones that receive a reward that’s dreadful.

“The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, … ” Revelation 4:10, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … “No one gets out of this world alive.” That’s true. As far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough because if you leave this life with the Life of Christ in you then you DO get out of this world alive. And you’ve a crown waiting.

Never stop looking for … (?) … Monday, September 16

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. Jesus got “lost”. Of course He knew right where He was and exactly what He was doing, but Mary and Joseph didn’t know that. So they had to go looking, with all the near-panic and worry that went with a lost Christ Child. It occurs to me that even Godly children can be a headache for their parents. Do you think Mary and Joseph were worried? They lived in a country over run with foreign invaders, under what amounted to martial law. They knew what it was like to be second class citizens in their own native land. (As an aside that I feel obligated to share, with being second class citizens in your own homeland in mind, you might like to take a drive through a U.S. reservation sometime. They don’t all have casinos.) They saw and experienced first hand the treatment that came with these circumstances. And then of course there were robbers, not to mention people, some of them their own people, who would steal a person if they could and sell them into slavery. Then, as now, there were accidents. People get sick suddenly, they get hit by cars. People no doubt got rundown by chariots. The list goes on. Were they worried? You better know they were. Being human goes right along with being a saint and having the faith it takes to move mountains. Which means that rather than set on our hands while wringing them in worry we go do what needs to be done anyway. Like Mary and Joseph did. It’s ok to be human, and its normal, up to a point, to experience things like worry. If we didn’t have emotions and reactions like this there would be something wrong with us and it wouldn’t be healthy any more than going off the deep end is healthy. So we’re human, which means there will be things we’ll need to work through. But for a Catholic working through these things in faith the “working through” always does one thing specifically. Or it can if we’ll let it. We’ll always end up finding Jesus in the Temple. Because while we’re looking and “working through” with faith, even if there’s some worry and panic involved, He’s waiting for us.

St. Cornelius

Today … St. Cornelius was Roman priest. Cornelius was elected Pope to succeed Fabian in an election delayed fourteen months by Decius’ persecution of the Christians. The main issue of his pontificate was the treatment to be accorded Christians who had apostasized during the persecution. He condemned those confessors who were lax in not demanding penance of these Christians and supported St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, against Novatus and his dupe, Felicissimus, whom he had set up as an antibishop to Cyprian, when Novatus came to Rome. On the other hand, he also denounced the Rigorists, headed by Novatian, a Roman priest, who declared that the Church could not pardon the lapsi (the lapsed Christians), and declared himself Pope – the first antipope. The two extremes eventually joined forces, and the Novatian movement had quite a following in the East. Meanwhile, Cornelius proclaimed that the Church had the authority and the power to forgive repentant lapsi and could readmit them to the sacraments and the Church after they had performed proper penances. A synod of Western bishops in Rome in October 251 upheld Cornelius, condemned the teachings of Novatian, and excommunicated him and his followers. When persecutions of the Christians started up again in 253 under Emperor Gallus, Cornelius was exiled to Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia), where he died a martyr, probably of hardships he was forced to endure. If the life of any saint ever sounded like fertile ground for drama this one’s does. But he worked through it all with faith, didn’t he. And Who was it that he found at the end of his journey?

The Path to Sainthood … Never stop looking for Love.

Published in: on September 16, 2013 at 3:00 am  Comments Off on Never stop looking for … (?) … Monday, September 16  
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Fear … Thursday, January 24

Fear Is the Mindkiller

Fear. Do we really have nothing to fear but fear itself? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.” Luke 1:30. Have you ever noticed how often God offers comfort to those in distress? “Do not be afraid, Mary.” I can see how being confronted by an angel could be a fearful moment. Or being confronted with an I.R.S. audit, or being called into the principles office (ah, the memories), or being sent to Afghanistan, or … My point being that whatever our circumstances or station in life we all have stressful moments, even bloodcurdling fearful moments. Some, like going to Afghanistan, are all to real. Still others, like going to see the principle, often get blown all out of proportion in our minds. When I was 7 I was given a note to take home. It was in cursive, I couldn’t read it. I duped a neighbor into reading it to me. When my grandparents got home from the store that afternoon I had stacked the furniture up against the door and barricaded my self in, and them out. It was a circus. The fear was obviously very real. As real as the stack of chairs against the door. But you know what? I actually lived through all that. Such is fear. Makes us do odd stuff. But there is something more real, and more powerful, than our fear. That’s God’s grace. “Do not be afraid.” If you’re a disciple of Jesus you can put your own name after those words. And what does He ask of us? Only our faithfulness, our love. Someone might say, “What right does He have to ask anything of us?” And the first thing that comes to mind is right of ownership. He created us, we belong to Him. Pity the “self-made man” who has no one to turn to but self. God could make it a lot more difficult for us if He wanted to. That we have it as easy as we do, and, yes, I understand that we often THINK we have it hard but we need to think again, but that we have the ease of His grace rather than a much deserved wrath is a personal miracle for each of us. “Do not be afraid” is announced to each of us through the Incarnation. Because Mary said “Yes” to God His Grace gives us His perfect love. And perfect love casts out all fear. 1 John 4:18.

Today … St. Messalina, Virgin martyr and disciple of St. Felician, who was the bishop of Foligno, Italy. She received the veil from him, and visited him in prison. Denounced as a Christian, she was ordered to sacrifice to the false pagan gods. Refusing, Messalina was beaten to death. Would sanding there before a pagan judge, being commanded to offer sacrifice to strange “gods”, with others standing close by with the objects to be used to beat her to death if she refused, be a fearful moment? Yes. Would a saint be afraid? Any human would. Did the fear matter? No, not in the long run. The long run, if the race is run correctly, leads into eternity. And in eternity, with God, fears and tears are unknown. With that as a fact of life, eternal life, can you hear what Messalina no doubt heard in her heart? John 16:33.

Fear … Bravery is doing what needs to be done in spite of fear and not because it, the fear, isn’t there. Cowards run in fear. Hero’s, regardless of their fears, stand their ground. And the ground they stand on? For the follower of Christ its solid rock. Matthew 7:24.

Published in: on January 24, 2013 at 5:11 am  Comments Off on Fear … Thursday, January 24  
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Christmas

The angel told Mary not to be afraid …

The angel told Joseph not to be afraid …

God is love.

Perfect love casts out all fear.

Only God is perfect, therefore only God’s love is perfect.

God knows no fear, therefore it is my fear that is cast out by His love.

We love God because He loved us first.

How do I allow His Love to cast out my fear?

I allow His love to cast out my fear by accepting it.

How do I accept His love into my heart so that the fear is cast out?

By opening the door of my heart and letting Him in.

Behold, He stands at the door of my heart and knocks.

Welcome. Welcome Jesus. Welcome to conversion. Welcome to the Eucharist.

Welcome to the manger and the Babe.

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Like 2:10-11.

MARY CHRIST MASS! 🙂

Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm  Comments Off on Christmas  
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The Healing Moment of Grace

I really enjoy the internet. I do, it’s a safe haven. Oh, I know that there’s a downside but there’s the upside too. The upside, for me anyway, is the anonymous nature of the web. There are only a couple of people who follow my blog or subscribe to my Facebook updates or have liked my Facebook page and so get the things posted there that really know who I am. Only a couple of people who could get in the car, drive over and knock at my door. That’s good for me. It’s good because I can share just about anything here without concern. The folks who read what I write hopefully get something out of it, that’s why I share, to be an encouragement to someone else. With help and encouragement in mind please scroll down real quick and check the time-stamp on this post. Because what I’m about to share happened just a few minutes ago …

 

I just finished evening prayer. People go through cycles or periods of what I’ll call “stuff” for want of a better term. Immediately, with just the simple word “stuff”, you know exactly what I mean. Lately I’ve been dealing with stuff. To be specific, and honest, the stuff has been anger. But I haven’t been able to figure it out. I mean, I don’t feel anger at anyone or anything in particular and I haven’t taken it out on anyone, which means I’ve stuffed the stuff, but its been an underlying current that has become more and more visible to me on a daily basis. And so I was thinking as I prayed. I understand, having learned from the people I’ve lived around most of my life (long story, just believe me), that most if not all anger stems from fear. A fearful person strikes out in order to protect themselves. Fight or flight, in this case its fight. Rather than run away scared, to take flight, some, perhaps feeling cornered in one way or another with no place left to run, fight. And as I had that thought two things happened. I remembered how frightened I’d been at age five. I’ve shared here in the past, without going into any real detail which thing I won’t do, that I was trapped in an abusive environment as a small child and was rescued at age five. Right after my fifth birthday as a matter of fact. I remembered that fear and just then, a I prayed, I looked up and saw my little statue of the Infant of Prague. He looks about five years old. And I knew. It wasn’t about anger. The anger was a screen hiding the fear. It was/is about fear. And I knew I needed a big brother to keep me safe so I wouldn’t need to be scared anymore. And I knew Who that Big Brother is. At that point there was the gift of a healing moment of grace. Normally it takes time to heal, sometimes a long time. Sometimes healing is instantaneous. This ones going to take time I know. But now the healing is on a new, a better, a higher level. Awhile back I realized I needed a Mama and God gave me one. That helped a lot, a wonderful step in the healing process. Now? More help.

 

Why do I share this? Because someplace out there at the other end of cyberspace is someone with a frightened five-year old hiding inside. And I want you to know that you have a Big Brother. He will keep bullies away, hold your hand when you cross the street, and watch out for you so that you will be safe. You don’t need to be afraid anymore because you can count on Him.

Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm  Comments (2)  
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