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.

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. 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?

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Keep your eye on … what? … Monday, December 31

Holy Family of Nazareth

Holy Family of Nazareth (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “Now there was in Jerusalem a man named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel.” Luke 2:25. The first thought I had as I read this was to remember all those times Jesus said to watch and that Simeon was just and devout because he was doing just that. When Messiah came the first time He caught a lot of people off guard. But not Simeon. It occurs to me that we pay attention to a great many things. Some are good, like the water boiling on the stove or a traffic light. Others, like what a certain starlet had for breakfast or that new fad diet touted by Dr. Whoever on NBC/CBS/ABC/etc., well, maybe those aren’t as important as the world seems to think. As a matter of fact, paying attention to the wrong thing can take our attention away from better, more necessary things. And the water boils over, and we run a red light. So people, you and me, need to set priorities. Right ones. Nothing in this world is a bigger priority than what comes next, and by “next” I mean what transpires AFTER this world, this life. The priorities we set “here” in this life will directly affect “there” in that life, and, like Simeon, we need to keep that in mind. Because Simeon was faithful in waiting and watching, because he had his priorities straight, he was rewarded. He got to see the Messiah before he died. If we do what he did we’ll see Messiah too. If not in this life (Maranatha, come Lord Jesus) then in the next. Until then be glad that the starlet had a good breakfast, don’t let the water boil over, and pay close attention to what comes next. A good way to do this? By keeping your eye on Who, not “what”.

Today … St. Sylvester. Okay, I admit it. I picked this saint because I have seven cats and one is named Sylvester. Sylvester (the cat) is very smart. He watches the other cats, he looks both ways when he crosses the street ( I wish he wouldn’t cross it. ) and I watch him and wonder if he knows about the example set by Simeon. But on to our saint. St. Sylvester lived through a very rough period in our history. He saw the reigns of both Diocletian and Maximian. He saw persecutions. And he was there for the triumph of Constantine.  He was also Pope, watching over both the Church in Rome and the Church at large. It was while Sylvester was pope that the Council of Nice was convened. Nice was a turning point, something else, something important in the extreme, to keep watch over. His pontificate lasted 24 years and 11 months. That’s a long time. He had lots to watch, serious things too. But he was faithful in watching over Christ’s Flock, and patient in watching it persecuted. And he saw two wonderful things as a result. He saw the Holy Catholic Church triumph over Rome and its pagan emperors. And he saw, at the end of his watch, himself presented to the Messiah in glory.

And so … Its been said that they also serve who stand and wait. Never think that your watching doesn’t count just because you can’t do what you think of as great things for God. The greatest thing any person ever did was to utter one word, “Yes”. And that came out of the mouth of a seemingly insignificant little 14-year-old girl. And she spent the rest of her life quietly watching over Him and His sheep.

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Thursday, November 8

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “At the moment when the priest Simeon mentioned the sword and the sign of contradiction, which were prophetic of the Passion and Death of the Lord, the Child bowed Its head. Thereby, and by many interior acts of obedience, Jesus ratified the prophecy of the priest and accepted it as the sentence of the Eternal Father pronounced by his minister.” (“The Mystical City of God” by Mary of Agreda) Jesus was perfect and one outstanding evidence of His perfection, especially when compared to the rest of us, was His perfect obedience in all things. From conception to un-natural death He was willingly subject to rightful authority. In his rule St. Benedict explains obedience to lawful superiors. You can break it down into three simple steps. #1, You do it. #2, You do it now. #3, You do it without grumbling. And that’s inside OR outside grumbling. Obedience as a principle isn’t all that complicated. If a person, and continuing on with St. Benedict here we’ll talk about a religious under obedience so as to keep it simple and understandable, is given something to do, some work in the monastery, and they think that their superior is wrong in his judgement and they do it anyway and it turns out the superior actually was wrong the blame falls not on the obedient monk who did as he was told but on the superior who was wrong. But if the monk refuses to do the work because he knows the boss is wong then the monk is at fault for being disobedient regardless whether his superior was or not. Given the spirit of this example it would be well to read James 3:1 and Matthew 23:1-3. Obedience. Jesus gives us our example and His faithful followers, like St. Benedict, help us understand it. But you know, it was a long time back that Jesus said that and our good father of monks St. Benedict has been buried all these centuries. So, bluntly, whats it to ME? Look at the turmoil in the world, see the social and political trends, watch the apathy in the eyes of non-believers when you mention Jesus. Our world tends more and more towards anarchy. And how much of all that is the direct result of disobedience? Now, more than eve, we need to regroup and hold on fast. Hold fast to our Holy Catholic Faith. One of the best ways to do this? Be obedient. Be obedient to rightful authority regardless whether we think these supperiors right or wrong. Be obedient to the Pope and Magisterium always. See Luke 10:16 and John 14:21. Be obedient to governmental authority so long as it doesn’t contradict the Faith. See Romans 13:1-2 and Acts 5:29. Because if there was ever a time when this was needed more than ever the time is now. We can’t afford to give our naysayers any excuses to pounce. If they attack let it be because, while we willingly obey all JUST laws, we keep the laws of God first and foremost rather than the laws of men. Remember that the Light shines brightest in the dark. Remember that the Child bowed His head in obedience. Remember also that He bowed His head again, in obedience, 33 years later on the cross. John 19:30. And consider that, given trends and history, we may be called to do the same thing.

Today … St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. A Discalced Carmelite, her father had been a military man. She was born in a military camp. She was familiar with obedience, the giving and the taking of orders. She said, “I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying.” That’s because she did the dishes when told and prayed on time with the other nuns. She found Jesus in all these places and more because by being obedient there was no place else that she could be.

A Quote from St. Benedict … “The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.”

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