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.

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Joy

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

“For I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one shall take from you.” John 16:22.

We thought about the down times yesterday. That sort of thing can get to be pretty depressing. Christianity, despite what some seem to think, is NOT a depressing religion. And that’s because our God is not in possession of a depressing nature. The Divine Nature is one of Love. Real love uplifts us when we’re down.

Everything in the above verse is upbeat. When Jesus sees us and we see him we’ll experience a joy that no one can take from us. Its never ending. Its Heavenly. Literally. There’s a Godly joy in everything, it just takes a little (sometimes a lot of) effort, in this world, to find it. The next world? Our joy is confirmed for eternity. Like the Resurrection, its a new life.

But we’re not there yet, are we? (If YOU are there and you’re reading this I hope you don’t have dial-up internet access because I’d hate to see the long distance bill.) No, we aren’t there yet, but we are HERE and here can be a place of joy too if we look to Christ. I said yesterday ” … I knew it wasn’t OK, and it wasn’t going to be OK. Some things just are what they are. And they aren’t good.” I believe that’s true. Some things aren’t good period. But that doesn’t mean that we need to let these things hinder us from looking to Jesus, who IS always good. And, being the Resurrection and the Life, shares life and its attendant goodness and joy.

Our God is a God of love, and being a God of love He has placed the opportunity for joy in all things. Sin, original or otherwise, hasn’t blotted this out and made it (joy) impossible. Sin has made it harder to see the opportunity or possibility for joy but it hasn’t negated it. A resurrection, a new life, is always possible because with God all things are possible. And the God-given opportunity for joy resides in all of creation, from the complex, which is generally what so many of us (personal experience here) try to make it, all the way to the most simple. A rocket scientist, having perfected a space shuttle and its fuel, could take great joy in the accomplishment and give God thanks and glory. Rocket science is complicated, complex. But if you want to, you can get just as much joy from a well made sandcastle.

So we have the here-after joy to look forward to, and a here-and-now joy to experience if we will. A new life there and a new life here, a resurrection of sorts, if we’re willing. And no one can take either away from us if we’ll only take Jesus at his word.

8 And they read in the book of the law of God distinctly and plainly to be understood: and they understood when it was read. 9 And Nehemias (he is Athersatha) and Esdras the priest and scribe, and the Levites who interpreted to all the people, said: This is a holy day to the Lord our God: do not mourn, nor weep: for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. 10 And he said to them: Go, eat fat meats, and drink sweet wine, and send portions to them that have not prepared for themselves: because it is the holy day of the Lord, and be not sad: for the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:8-10, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … I’ve said before, with thanks to Henry David Thoreau for the quote, that I wouldn’t talk about myself half so much if I knew anyone else half so well. Joy. Lots of folks reading this know I just underwent major surgery. The past several months, the time leading up to the back surgery, were pretty miserable. They ain’t just real great right now, but things are a lot better. A one point I spent about three weeks in bed and on my pity pot. (I hate pity pots.) I finally got so mad at the situation that, regardless how I felt, I MADE myself get up, I MADE myself clean house, I MADE myself get on my exercise bike. It was all an effort. But I’ve promised myself that even though I know I will die (from the cancer) I WILL die trying. So, and I know this thought is getting a tad long but bear with me, I decided that if I could no longer do certain things, well, what COULD I do? There IS joy to be found everywhere because God is everywhere. So I may not be able to dance the Charleston but I now play a really mean kazoo and, having reverted willingly to a part of my childhood, I experience anew the wonders of Sea-Monkeys. If you don’t know what a Sea-Monkey is Google it. If you don’t know what joy is ask God about it. He knows, and He shares.

Feeling low? Then you’re blessed beyond measure! … Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Rosary Meditation: The First Glorious Mystery, The Resurrection. “Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20. When we read these lines we think about how sad the followers of Jesus would be when He was crucified, and how joyous they’d be at His resurrection. And that’s the primary thought in reference to this passage certainly. But is it the only one? It was a promise to the ones hearing it then, wasn’t it? Is it any less a promise for you and me? Do we ever feel sorrow? Is it ever replaced with joy? Isn’t that the natural course of events in life? Doesn’t the one always precede the other, while the other always comes after the first? While we know that Jesus is talking about His crucifixion and resurrection here is that all He’s doing? Or is He sharing a Divine Principle with us to strengthen our faith and supply us with hope? In the Garden of Eden, at the fall of man, there was sorrow.  And right after the fall God promised to make it right later, didn’t He? Wasn’t that joyful news? Abraham and Sarah  were childless in there old age with the time for childbearing a thing of the past for Sarah. It was a sad situation. Wasn’t there great joy at the birth of Issac? A child born to King David lay at deaths door. The child died. Do you think there was joy later when David held a small Solomon in his arms? Do we give up hope when we’re sad, or does the presence of sorrow give us faith and something to hope for? Do we cling to the apple or accept the Promise? Do we mourn our fruitless existence or take joy and comfort in the hope that a wonder will be born in our life regardless circumstances? Do we cling to the dead child or the newborn babe filled with promise?

” … I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: … ” John 11:25.

Just a thought … One of the best times in your life is the worst time of your life because it precedes the miracle.

You know, rolling stones are hard to count … Wednesday, September 4

English: Stones

OK, one, two, three … five thousand and eighty … Ratz! I can’t count ’em all!

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. New Life. Because Christ rose from the dead we will too. If He can get up and walk away from His own grave He can certainly raise us up. This body renewed, changed, made whole in every way, with an eternal guarantee. What more could you ask? The Resurrection is about more than just Easter Sunday, although you’d think that would be plenty. The Resurrection is both an offer and a promissory note to anyone willing. Willing to do what? Follow Jesus. f we follow Him in life we’ll follow Him in death. And the ultimate result? More rolled away stones than we’ll be able to count.

Today … St. John VianneySt. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day – August 4 Universally known as the “Cure of Ars),” St. John Mary Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. His life was one of extreme mortification. Accustomed to the most severe austerities, beleaguered by swarms of penitents, and besieged by the devil, this great mystic manifested an imperturbable patience. He was a wonderworker loved by the crowds, but he retained a childlike simplicity, and he remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ. He heard confessions of people from all over the world for the sixteen hours each day. His life was filled with works of charity and love. It is recorded that even the staunchest of sinners were converted at his mere word. He died August 4, 1859, and was canonized May 31, 1925.

And … “And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.” ~ St. Augustine. Some of the resurrection? Oh, it’s already started. Dead hearts made alive again.

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Believing in the Resurrection keeps our Faith Strong … Wednesday, July 31

Pope Francis met with media

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious  Mystery, the Resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25a. What else could God be? “Unfortunately,” he said, “there have often been attempts to obscure the faith in Jesus’ Resurrection and doubts have crept in even among believers themselves. Our faith is ‘watered down’, we might say; not strong faith. Sometimes this has been because of superficiality, sometimes because of indifference, because we are busy with thousands of other things that seem more important than our faith, or even because we have a limited view of life. But it is precisely the Resurrection that offers us the greatest hope because it opens our lives and the life of the world to God’s eternal future, to complete happiness, to the certainty that evil, sin, and death can be conquered. This leads us to ilving our everyday lives more confidently, to facing them courageously and committedly. Christ’s Resurrection shines new light on our everyday realities. Christ’s Resurrection is our strength!” From Pope Francis.

Today …

Founder of the Jesuits

St. Ignatius Loyola<br>Founder of the Jesuits

St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, the religious order that our current Holy Father is a member of. St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipúzcoa, Spain, the youngest of 13 children, and was called Iñigo. When he was old enough, he became a page, and then a soldier of Spain to fight against the French. A cannon ball and a series of bad operations ended his military career in 1521. While St. Ignatius recovered, he read the lives of the saints, and decided to dedicate himself to becoming a soldier of the Catholic Faith. Soon after he experienced visions, but a year later suffered a trial of fears and scruples (scrupulosity is one of the most dire evils any believer can be faced with), driving him almost to despair. Out of this experience he wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises“. After traveling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his degree at the age of 43. Many first hated St. Ignatius because of his humble lifestyle. Perhaps our saint, like our Pope, had a love for our good Saint Francis and his example of humble living. Despite the hatred aimed against him, he attracted several followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started his order called The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. There are 38 members of the Society of Jesus who have been declared Blessed, and 38 who have been canonized as saints. (We may well be living under the Papal reign of yet another one.)He died at the age of 65.

Think … “I don’t care to inquire why they cannot believe an earthly body can be in heaven, while the whole earth is suspended on nothing.” ― Augustine of Hippo, City of God.

The “I want to be like Jesus” Rosary

Rosary...

Every Christian wants to be like Jesus. He is our Goal. To be like Him, to be with Him. Sometimes we look at ourselves and see how far away we are from our Goal. Sometimes it helps to remember the things we have in common with Jesus, even if they’re just little things. Knowing we have things in common with Him may not make us any more like Him but it does help make Him seem not so far away. He doesn’t want to be far away. He came here, lived with us, walked with us, ate with us, to be close to us. And we can be as close to Him now as our hearts will let us.

I want to be like Jesus …

1st Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. When it was known that I was on my way into the world there was an announcement too. I am like Jesus.

2nd Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. My mother went visiting, sharing me with others before I was ever born. I am like Jesus.

3rd Joyful Mystery, the Nativity. When I was born folks came to see me, and they were glad to see me. I am like Jesus.

4th Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. After I was born my parents were thankful to God for me. I am like Jesus.

5th Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. When I was little I’d hide away and no one would know where I was. I am like Jesus.

1st Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. I’ve prayed when my heart was heavy and felt like it was about to break. I am like Jesus.

2nd Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. I’ve been hurt by people. I am like Jesus.

3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. People have made fun of me and misused me. I am like Jesus.

4th Sorrowful Mystery, Carrying the Cross. I’ve fallen more than once under a burden to heavy for me to bear alone and God has sent me help. I am like Jesus.

5th Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. I’ll die someday and I’ve had my heart-broken. I am like Jesus.

1st. Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. When the priest baptized me I was born new in Jesus, raised up from the death of my sin, my own resurrection. I am like Jesus.

2nd Glorious Mystery, the Ascension. I am with Jesus in His Heart right now, there where He is, so in a way He has already taken me to Heaven. I am like Jesus.

3rd Glorious Mystery, the Decent of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended on Jesus, on His Church, and on me too when I was confirmed. I am like Jesus.

4th Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. Jesus’ Mother is in Heaven and she is my Mother so my Mother is in Heaven too. I am like Jesus.

5th Glorious Mystery, the Coronation. Jesus made our Mother Queen and that means she is His Queen and my Queen, she is our Queen. I am like Jesus.

I am human, God is my Father, Mary is my Mother, the Saints (living and dead) are my family, Christ’s Church is His Body and I am a part of all this. I want to be like Jesus. And in being like Jesus I need to remember those things we already have in common and prayerfully work on the rest.

Living … Saturday, July 13

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection of Christ.

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. “And whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die.” John 11:26. It is Jesus, the RESURRECTION and the Life, speaking to us here. If you want to be among the Living its obvious you yourself need to be alive. Real life comes from only one source, and that’s THE Source. Jesus. Every time we go to confession or receive communion, every baptism, every confirmation with its gift of the Spirit of Life, every marriage that creates a new life by making two one and this union a fruitful source of children and family, in short, EVERY sacrament tends to life. Every sacrament is a “miniature” resurrection, every sacrament is a partaking of THE Resurrection, because every sacrament originates in the One Who IS the Resurrection and the Life. The Resurrection is a Mystery. Taking part in it is no mystery, it is a fact of Life. Or it can be, it should be, a fact of life. Because the fact is that the Author of Life makes life available to us everyday. All we need to do is receive. But, sometimes, we forget and go looking for the Living (Jesus) among the dead (the world and the things of the world). How not to forget? Be single-minded. Keep eyes, mind, and heart fixed on Jesus. Always. Then there will be no alternative but to live.

Today … Bl. Thomas Tunstal. English martyr. Born in Whinfell, near Kendal, Westmoreland, he studied for the priesthood at Douai, France, and was ordained there in 1609. The next year he returned to England but was arrested almost immediately upon his arrival. Escaping, Thomas was recaptured and taken to Norwich where he spent six years in confinement until finally being hanged, drawn, and quartered. While in prison, he joined the Benedictine Order. He died in 1616.Today? He lives.

We are not alone in our life’s journey … “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”

Saint Teresa of Avila

Tombs were made to be empty … Wednesday, June 26

Empty Tomb

The Empty Tomb. Lets keep it that way.

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. “And they departed quickly from the tomb in fear and great joy.” Matthew 28:8. Some of the folks on that very first Easter Sunday had a pronounced reaction when confronted with the empty tomb. True, certain unbelievers made excuses and even paid the guards that had been on watch to lie about what had happened, but the people who believed, REALLY believed, had a resurrection all their own. They saw, they knew, they believed, they hoped. These things lay dead in most of us prior to faith. Given faith, when confronted by that empty space, these things came to life in their hearts. And their reaction proves it. They departed the tomb QUICKLY. Having been given new life in Christ we ought to be anxious to leave the death that is sin behind as fast as we can. They departed the tomb, leaving death behind, with a holy fear. A fear that drove them away and put the desire in their hearts never again to return to the ways of death, to sin. And all of this was accompanied with GREAT JOY. Leaving death behind and being brought face to face with THE Life, being given a portion of that life (and what is life without love?) they experienced joy. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that is a right, a true relationship with the Risen Christ. Life being what it is it’s an easy thing to get sidetracked. That’s normal enough. What’s more important than being sidetracked is getting back on track. Always remember the empty tomb, always flee death, always work out your salvation in fear and trembling, and always, ALWAYS experience the joy.

Today …

Bl. Teresa Fantou

Bl. Teresa Fantou

French martyr, she died in 1794. A member of the Sisters of Charity in Arras, during the French Revolution, she was arrested by republican authorities and guillotined at Cambrai. Teresa and her three companions, Francoise Lanel, Madeleine Fontaine, and Joan Gerard were beatified in 1920.The world is intent upon death, ours and its own. It doesn’t realize that martyrdom, by guillotine or pin pricks, is just another doorway to life for us. Teresa? She knows.

Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI … “Joy is the gift in which all the other gifts are included.”

“Are you really alive again, Lord?” … Saturday, June 8

The Resurrection

The Resurrection. “Are you really alive, Lord?” … “I AM.”

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even if he die, shall live.” Matthew 28:8. In the Old Testament Moses met God at the burning bush. God commissioned him to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt and take them to the Promised Land. That was a tall order. Moses knew his people well. Their first question would be, “Who says?” And that’s logical, reasonable enough. The Israelites knew the Egyptian gods. Who was this New Comer? And God told Moses that His name was “I Am.” Have you ever noticed how often Jesus says “I am”? When the Temple guards came for Him in the garden and wondered which of the group was Jesus He said “I am he.” And the guards fell back to the ground in shock. When the High Priest, at Jesus’ trial, commanded Him to tell them if He was the Christ, the Son of the Most High, He replied, “I am”. At which point the High Priest tore his garment and cried out, “You have heard the blasphemy!” Things often get lost in translation. The New Testament was written in Greek but the conversations were in Aramaic. So what we read was spoken in Aramaic, written down in Greek, translated into Latin, and then translated again into English. And all of this can be, and is, dogmatically sound but that doesn’t mean every subtle nuance is brought out in translation. Why did the Temple guards fall back in shock? Why did the High Priest tear his clothing and shout “Blasphemy!”  Simple. When Jesus said “I am”? He used the Divine Name in these instances. Or at least I believe He did. Others may hold a different opinion, that’s OK, this isn’t dogma. But He was claiming to be God. That’s a shock, and if you don’t believe it that makes it blasphemy too. A person can claim anything, can’t they? Proving it is another matter. Only the Creator, only the I Am, has life within Himself and can give life, create life. The proving that He was and IS I Am came on Sunday morning. If you’d been there to see Him come out of the tomb a logical question would have been, “Is it really you, Lord? Are you really alive?” And His answer would no doubt have been, “I AM”.

Today …

St. William of York

William of York was the son of Count Herbert, treasurer to Henry I. His mother Emma, was the half-sister of King William. Young William became treasurer of the church of York at an early age and was elected archbishop of York in 1140. William’s election was challenged on the grounds of simony and unchastity. He was cleared by Rome, but later, a new Pope, the Cistercian Eugene III, suspended William, and in 1147, he was deposed as archbishop of York. William then retired to Winchester where he led the austere life of a monk, practicing much prayer and mortification. Upon the death of his accusers and Eugene III, Pope Anastastius IV restored William his See and made him archbishop. However, after one month back in York, the saintly prelate died in the year 1154. Some claim he was poisoned by the archdeacon of York, but no record of any resolution in the case remains extant. Pope Honorius III canonized William in 1227. Our saint went through a lot. He had a hard time of it. His life as a Christian was constantly being called into question. Was he a Christian or an opportunist?And to the question, “Are you a Christian?” he always answered, “I am”.

Quote … “Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.” ~ Pope John XXIII ~

Published in: on June 8, 2013 at 4:50 am  Comments Off on “Are you really alive again, Lord?” … Saturday, June 8  
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Get out your map … Wednesday, May 22

Lemon Orchard in the Galilee, Israel

Galilee, Israel.

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. “And behold, He goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him.” Matthew 28:7. Over the years, given the various jobs I’ve held, the bosses that I liked the most were the ones that didn’t mind getting their hands dirty, the ones that would never ask you to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves. You don’t mind following someone like that. And in Christianity Jesus leads the way, doesn’t He? “Christian”, strictly speaking, means a person who follows Christ. “Catholic”, meaning “universal”, indicates that the opportunity to follow Jesus is open to all, Jew, Samaritan, Greek, Gentiles in general, the good and the bad. Especially the bad because they need Him the most. During His earthly life how many prostitutes and thieves followed Him? The people I see in Church, the ex-drunks, the ones that lived loose and so-called free, the ones that had an abortion, the ones that were atheistic and actively, openly against fought the Church, these are the ones who need Him most. And mostly they’re the ones I like the best. The ones, thankfully the few, who don’t mind letting you know that butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth now and never has, well, I worry about them. “Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners.” Mark 2:17. And Jesus leads the way. “For we have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.” Hebrews 4:15. And what is the result of our following Jesus? Whether He leads us to Galilee or a martyr’s death or the voting booth? “Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. And this is what makes the trip worth while.

Today …

 

 


St. Bobo

St. Bobo was a Crusader and hermit, also called Beuvon. Bobo was a knight of Provence, France, who fought against the invading Saracens and then became a hermit. He died at Pavia, in Lombardy, Italy, while on a pilgrimage to Rome. This guy made a lot of trips following after Jesus. As a knight who knows where he went. Rescue maidens from dragons? Probably not, but I’m sure there was adventure. As a Crusader there was no doubt a lot of traveling, a great deal of following. And as a hermit?  He probably traveled further as a hermit than he did as a knight or Crusader put together. I’ll let you think about that one. When we get weary of the trip, and weariness happens, Bobo might be a good one to turn to for prayer help. Like Jesus, the One he followed, he knows what this trip is like.

Think … “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.”―Pope Benedict XVI.