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.

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Twinkies, transmission fluid, and lard

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Joyful Mystery, The Presentation.

“According to the Law of Moses, they took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” Luke 2:32.

The directions on a box of Macaroni and Cheese calls for milk and butter. What do you think it would taste like if you used vinegar and lard instead? When you change the oil in a car it calls for new oil. How would it turn out if you used transmission fluid in place of the motor oil? I mean, think about it. Vinegar and lard are food stuffs so they ought to work, shouldn’t they? And transmission fluid is made to go in the car just like oil is so it shouldn’t make any big difference, should it?

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do anything. As Catholics we should be well aware of this. We’d be shocked if the parish priest tried to consecrate Twinkies and Pepsi. We’d know that wasn’t right, that it wouldn’t work any more than substituting vinegar for milk or transmission fluid for oil would. Even less so.

When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to God in the Temple how did they do it? According to personal whim? No, they did it the right way according to the Law of Moses. They understood that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do a thing. They made a wise choice and with good results.

Today and every day you’ll go out into the world and, like it or not because you can’t get away from this if you’re Christian, you’ll present Jesus to those around you. And trust me, they may not say anything about your manner of presenting him, at least not to your face, but they will be watching your method of presentation. They’ll see, and they’ll take notes. Which is a good thing. At least its a good thing if your presentation is a good one. But if it, your presentation, your life style, comes off as being no different than any non-Christian’s, well, they’ll be getting transmission fluid in their crankcase and a dish of macaroni and cheese that’s way less than appetizing. Even worse, they’ll be getting spiritual Twinkies and Pepsi instead of the real Jesus from you.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Twinkies and Pepsi. According to the bathroom scales I like ’em way to much. But there’s a time and place for everything. In our daily Christian walk there’s only a time and place for one thing primarily. That’s the correct presentation of Jesus, like Mary and Joseph correctly presented him in the Temple. Nothing else would have satisfied God then, nothing less satisfies Him now.

“So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … There isn’t a lot of nutritional value in Twinkies. The people around you won’t get that much out of a mediocre Christian presentation either. And that’s one of the reasons that the mediocre doesn’t satisfy God. He expects more from us for the sake of all those He loves.

Just another thought … OK, so I’m long winded today. 😉 This is Lent. Most of us either do something extra or give something up. That’s good. Lets try something else this Lent. At least for today. Along with whatever we’re doing that’s extra, or whatever it is that we’ve given up, lets do one other thing. Whatever it is we do? Lets try to do it according to God’s will. Just like Mary and Joseph did when they presented Jesus in the Temple.

The Communion of Saints … Monday, August 26

English: BABY JESUS

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. “I am the light of the world.” This is what, Who, Simeon held close in the Temple. When Mary handed Simeon the Baby Jesus he was holding everything that mattered. He was holding all of Life and Love and Grace and more than the Universe could, or can, contain. We might say, “How blessed he was! I wish I could be so blessed as to experience what Simeon did.” Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news first. You can’t have the experience that Simeon had. Ever. Mary isn’t here to present you with Him and you aren’t in the Temple. What happened to Simeon? Happened only once and for only one man. Sorry. OK, now for the good news. And this good news? You can take it as gospel. You can have a greater experience than Simeon did and you can have it every day of your life. You can have Jesus with you, hold Him closer than Simeon did, and not have to wait for years to have it happen the way Simeon did.

Today …

Bl. Zepherin Namuncura


 

 

Bl. Zepherin Namuncura

Zepherin Namuncura was the eighth of twelve children of the chief of the Araucano Indians of the Argentine Pampas, Chief Manuel Namuncura. Zepherin’s ambition was to lead his people to the religion of the one true God. When Zepherin was two, his father gave him to the Salesian priest, Father Dominic Milanesio, to be raised up in the faith. Zepherin was educated at the Salesian mission school in Buenos Aires. At the age of seventeen, he went into the seminary where he studied hard enough to become second in his class. Zepherin was also growing in virtue and was often found in front of the Blessed Sacrament. On September 24, 1903, with the permission of his Superiors, Zepherin organized a procession in honor of Our Lady of Mercy. That night he fell into bed tired from his day’s labor. He awoke coughing and spitting up blood. Zepherin had tuberculosis. In April of 1904, Zepherin accompanied Archbishop Cagliero to Rome where it was thought that the warm dry air might be good for his health. In March of 1905, Zepherin took a sudden turn for the worse. He lost weight alarmingly, and seemed to be often in pain. His director wrote, “He got worse day by day, yet he was never impatient. He suffered, but he held onto his cross generously.” In April, Zepherin was transferred to the hospital run by the Brothers of God in Rome. Here he bore his cross of suffering heroically, constantly praying the Rosary for his people. This saintly seminarian died on the morning of May 11, at the age of eighteen, surrounded by several of the brothers who were praying for him. He was buried in Rome, but at the insistence of his people, his body was taken back to Patagonia in 1924 and buried at the Salesian school of Fortin Mercedes. Zepherin was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1972.

Think about it and pray …. The next time you receive communion, which is the blessing you have that’s bigger than the one Simeon received, pray for vocations. There is no Real Presence with out the very real presence of a priest.

The Hidden Life (both of them) … Monday, August 12

Jesus Found in the Temple

Jesus Found in the Temple … You know, if you go looking for a person a good place to start might be their work place.

 

 

 

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. “When the Holy Family returns to Nazareth after Herod’s death, there begins the long period of the hidden life. She “who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45) lives the reality of these words day by day. And daily at her side is the Son to whom “she gave the name Jesus”; therefore in contact with him she certainly uses this name, a fact which would have surprised no one, since the name had long been in use in Israel. Nevertheless, Mary knows that he who bears the name Jesus has been called by the angel “the Son of the Most High.” (cf. Luke.1:32)” 17, Redemptoris Mater, 1987.

 

“There begins the long period of the hidden life.” Finding Jesus leads to a hidden life, a life lived in private, a life that, while part of the whole Christian experience and Christianity as a whole, is very personal and one on One. Hidden. It consists of two simple parts. That hidden life of ours that is shared with Jesus, and that hidden life of ours that we hold back from Him. The part we share is the best part. It represents the joy of having found Him in the Temple. We see Him, the One we’ve been seeking, we run to Him and, breathless, ask, “Where have you been hiding? I’ve been looking all over for you.” And His reply is simple and direct, “Why were you seeking me in all those other things and places? Didn’t you realize I’d be here taking care of my Father’s business?” A personal. hidden, experience grows from here. The second “hiding”  isn’t so pleasant for us. It consists of those things, habits, thought patterns, personal sins, that we are ashamed to share. So we hold them back and they fester when all we really need to do is say, “Here, Jesus, You take these.” Of course over time we generally take them back. The point is to keep giving them. He knows we’re human. And He already knows all about what we hold back. Because nothing, good or bad, is hidden from Him. So we may as well share it all, letting it all be hidden IN Him and so be taken care of.

 

Today …

 

 

 

 

St. Jane Frances de ChantalOne way Jane shared her blessings was by giving bread and soup personally to the poor who came to her door. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let these people get away with this, Jane said, “What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?” Her daughter finally asked her for spiritual direction as did may others, including an ambassador and her brother, an archbishop. Her advice always reflected her very gentle and loving approach to spirituality: “Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you. Instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the time speaking words of love and trust to our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults God allows us to become aware of in ourselves, we must forget them and go forward.”

Think … Sharing with Christ, both our good and our bad, is nothing more or less than a relief.

 

 

 

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.

FREEDOM … Thursday, July 4

Constitution of the United States, page 1

The Constitution of the United States. Without God, your own willingness to stand up for what’s right, and prayer, paperwork, regardless how fine, guarantees nothing.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation in the Temple. MARY AND JOSEPH, EVEN UNDER THE HEEL OF AN OPPRESSIVE GOVERNMENT LIKE ROME, HAD RELIGIOUS LIBERTY! They were able to go to the Temple freely and worship God in the way He dictated. Offer today’s Rosary for religious freedom, wherever it is that you live. It is your God-given right and no man, no group of men, can take it away from you. They do not have the right. But despotic rulers will always try. Remember that no bit of paper, framed in a man-made hall, regardless how beautiful the words or it’s frame, or how impressive the building it hangs in, is what guarantees your rights. There are only THREE guarantees for any liberty, any right. God’s will FIRST, your standing up for yourself and others regardless the consequences, and prayer.

Today …

St. Ulric

St. Ulric

St. Ulric. Patron against birth complications (and a host of other things). Being the patron regarding birth complications, considering that so many people now days consider pregnancy itself a complication and remedy the “problem” via abortion this saint might be a good prayer partner as regards the religious freedom of the unborn. Ulric was born at Augsburg, Germany. He was educated at St. Gall Abbey in Switzerland and by his uncle, St. Adalbeo, bishop of Augsburg. Ulric succeeded to the See as bishop in 923, and when Augsburg was plundered and ravaged by the Magyars, he led its inhabitants in the task of rebuilding the city and its cathedral. In his old age, he retired to St. Gall, named his nephew as his successor, and was accused of nepotism for his action. His canonization by Pope John XV in 993 is the first recorded canonization by a Pope. His feast day is July 4th.

The Fourth of July … “The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people’s awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America’s official faith. And it is vitally necessary for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions which sustain it.” Blessed John Paul II, 1995 Baltimore, Basilica of the Assumption.

Love is blind … Monday, June 17

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation in the Temple. In looking for a papal quote concerning the Presentation I found the following, and I liked it so much I thought I’d share it here. …

At the end of the fourth century, a woman named Etheria made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her journal, discovered in 1887, gives an unprecedented glimpse of liturgical life there. Among the celebrations she describes is the Epiphany (January 6), the observance of Christ’s birth, and the gala procession in honor of his Presentation in the Temple 40 days later—February 15. (Under the Mosaic Law, a woman was ritually “unclean” for 40 days after childbirth, when she was to present herself to the priests and offer sacrifice—her “purification.” Contact with anyone who had brushed against mystery—birth or death—excluded a person from Jewish worship.) This feast emphasizes Jesus’ first appearance in the Temple more than Mary’s purification.

The observance spread throughout the Western Church in the fifth and sixth centuries. Because the Church in the West celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25, the Presentation was moved to February 2, 40 days after Christmas.

At the beginning of the eighth century, Pope Sergius inaugurated a candlelight procession; at the end of the same century the blessing and distribution of candles which continues to this day became part of the celebration, giving the feast its popular name: Candlemas.

Today …

St. Harvey

St. Harvey

Patron of the blind; bards; musicians; invoked against eye problems, eye disease; invoked to cure sick horses. St. Harvey was blind, but became abbot of Plouvien; later he transferred his community to Lanhourneau, where he passed the rest of his days and was famous for miracles. Sixth Century.  His feast day is June 17th.For what it’s worth? I think it altogether suitable that someone blind be the patron of poets and musicians. So much of music and poetry is concerned with love and love is blind.

Quote … “We make Idols of our concepts, but Wisdom is born of wonder” ― Pope Gregory I

Holiness as our duty … Thursday, May 30

Monument to Pope John Paul II in Poznań

Monument to Pope John Paul II in Poznań. Holiness isn’t something we’re just supposed to look at wishfully and appreciate from a distance. It’s supposed to be what we are. 

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “Holiness is not the privilege of the few, but it is the duty of all.” – Bl. Mother Teresa. At eight days of age a male child was to be circumcised. Offerings were to be made. The child was to be presented to the Lord. These things were religious duties commanded by God. It wasn’t something meant just for Jesus. It was for all the males in Israel. “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.” Exodus 13:2. This is the Old Covenant. We live under the New Covenant. Now we have this: “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28. Now? We are all, regardless of race or ethnicity or gender or social position or lack of social status or age or education or etc., called to a personal presentation. “Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” Matthew 11:28. Prior to Christ the “presentation” brought with it a burden of over 600 precepts and much sacrifice. The New Covenant, by way of the death of Jesus, releases us from this. It brings another type of obligation, one that, when done, lightens burdens. Our “presentation” brings us to God as a personal sacrifice. In the Temple people offered animal sacrifice. Now we offer, fully, our self. No other presentation is fitting, no other presentation is enough. He gave us and gives us, presents to us, all of Himself. We should do the same for Him.

Today …

St. Ursula Ledóchowska

St. Ursula Ledóchowska. 1865 – 1939. Beatified: 20 June 1983, Poznan, Poland by Pope John Paul II. Canonized: 18 May 2003, Vatican by Pope John Paul II. Sister Ursula Ledóchowska (1865–1939), was an Austrian-born religious leader. She became a Roman Catholic nun and founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus. She is a prominent member of the Ledóchowski family.

Think … How to be a saint? Present yourself fully to the Lord.

Living in Nazareth … Monday, May 12

Nazareth

Nazareth. We all live there.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “And they returned to Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:39-40. Nazareth. Nazareth was the “other side of the tracks.” It didn’t seem to have a very good reputation. John 1:45 “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth. 46And Nathanael said to him: Can any thing of good come from Nazareth? Philip saith to him: Come and see.” Sounds like a place you might not want to be from. But Jesus lived there, both before and after His presentation in the Temple. When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple it was for the required Mosaic sacrifice, to present Jesus to God. At some point we all, if we are Christians, are presented to God. As children, babies, if we’re born and raised Catholic, it happens when our parents have us baptized. As adults it happens when we convert as adults if we weren’t born into the Faith. Either way, when we come to God, when we’re “presented”, we all come from our own Nazareth, our own wrong side of the tracks, our own sinful nature. And after the Presentation? Jesus returned to Nazareth and spent almost His whole life there. And after OUR presentation? Well, we go back too. We go back to our own Nazareth, our own job, home, circle of friends, and other things like that. By being “presented” we change but the world around us, Nazareth on the wrong side of the tracks, stays the same. Maybe we think we ought not go back. After all, if we’re changed shouldn’t we go to a better environment? Did Jesus? No, and neither should we. It’s BECAUSE we’ve been changed that we MUST go back to Nazareth. You can be “in” Nazareth and not be “of” Nazareth. ” … you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world … ” John 15:19. So, why MUST we go back? And the answer is simple. Simple, not easy. Nazareth needed Jesus. The world still needs Jesus, YOUR Nazareth and MY Nazareth needs Jesus. And that’s why we still live in Nazareth, because it needs Jesus and if we’re not there to show them Jesus, by word and deed, why were we ever presented to God in the first place?

Today …

St. John the Silent

St. John the Silent

Bishop of Colonia in Palestine and a hermit. Born in Nicopolis, Armenia, he established a monastery at the age of eighteen. Appointed a bishop at the age of twenty-eight, he spent nine years in his office before retiring to Jerusalem to embrace the eremitical life. Through a vision, he found his way to the monastery of St. Sabas, asking to be walled up and living for seventy-five years as a silent recluse. Consider. Even walled up, seemingly away from the eyes of the world with all its fuss and fumes he was still a witness for Jesus in Nazareth. How do we know this? Because we still read of his example and we’d know nothing about it if people during his time hadn’t paid attention and passed his witness on. Nazareth pays attention, even when it looks like they can’t see us.

Quote …What do magnets do? They either attract or repulse, don’t they? So, what kind of magnetic effect do we have in Nazareth?

“Profound joy of the heart is like a magnet that indicates the path of life.”

Mother Teresa

Where were YOU at the Presentation? … Thursday, April 25

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Presentation of Jesus, and more, at the Temple.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:35. It wasn’t just Jesus who was being presented to Simeon and Anna in the Temple. Mary was too. It wasn’t only Messiah but His mother also, the Queen Mother. And because the prophecy of Simeon was true, well, have you ever poured out your heart to Mary, knowing that because she suffered she’d understand your miseries as well? Knowing that, as a good Mother, she would take your problems to the Throne of God and there, before Jesus, pray for you and your needs? It wasn’t just Jesus being presented there that day. And it wasn’t just Mary either. They both brought with them something else, another sort of presentation. Because there with them were all of our needs, all of our prayers even before we were born. And if this is true, if we were there in need and, in a sense, “spirit”, it’s just one more reason to believe that life, real human life, begins prior to a purely physical birth isn’t it? All life begins in the mind and heart of God, the Author of all life. There at the Temple more was being presented than first meets the eye. God is Holy. So is the life in Him.

Today …

 

 


St. Mark

St. Mark

The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother’s house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there.

St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark’s cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria.

St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D.; he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requested by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in his Gospel. In this way the second Gospel is really a record of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter. St. Mark is patron saint of notaries.

Think … Life is more than breathing on our own. St. Mark lives to God hundreds of years after his physical death. All of us lived to God hundreds of years, even an eternity, before our birth. Life resides with the God that gives it. Who has the right to pluck it from His hand?

Published in: on April 25, 2013 at 4:01 am  Comments Off on Where were YOU at the Presentation? … Thursday, April 25  
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