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Posts tagged ‘Mary’

Lazarus, come out!


I invite you, while considering the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, to reflect on this image. And meditate on how Christ (1) is inviting each of us to healing; (2) can raise us each from our little deaths; and (3) wants to enlist us in bringing others to His healing love.



Make Haste: The Visitation

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Haste.  Praying the Scriptural Rosary for the Joyful Mysteries, that word caught my ear.  I never noticed it before.  In the past, when I meditated on the second Joyful Mystery, I tried to picture Mary making her way to her elder cousin.  But when I paid closer attention, my ear snagged on that word:  Haste.

When I pray the Rosary, I try to focus on one or more images related to each Mystery.  Like with the Wedding Feast at Cana, I can picture Mary telling the others, “do whatever he tells you.”  And I try to take guidance from this wisdom:  obey her son, Jesus.

With the Visitation, I would usually focus my mind’s eye on John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb.  What joy he must have felt in the presence of the Lord!

But now, with this new realization–haste–I added a new image:  Mary, making haste to her cousin, Elizabeth.  I wonder: what was her hurry?

I think a big reason for her haste has to do with our social nature.  I think Mary had at least three motives for making haste.  She wanted to share her news with her elder cousin–she (Mary) was pregnant!  She wanted to seek her elder cousin’s wisdom as Mary began this new chapter as a mother.  After all, Mary was still very young and she probably still had a lot to learn about the whole process.  She probably was nervous.  And finally, she wanted to help Elizabeth through her pregnancy.  Elizabeth was “advanced in years“–pregnancy at her age would be difficult.

And so, when I imagine Mary’s hasty journey, I see in her rush her desire to share with Elizabeth three things:  their shared joy at each pregnancy, Elizabeth’s wisdom that she acquired through years, and Mary’s love that she acquired through grace.  And so, as I pray the Joyful Mysteries, I hope I am motivated, as Mary, to make haste in my efforts to share joy, wisdom and love with others.

As I finished writing this post, I learned of the passing of my pastor, Monsignor William H. Easton.  I only was in his parish (the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan) for a little over a year, and yet I learned how blessed we have been to have such a wonderful shepherd as Monsignor Easton.  I know we will miss him, but I can see Mary making haste to welcome him to her Son’s kingdom.

Eternal rest grant unto Monsignor Easton, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Monsignor Easton

Not of This World

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”  John 18:36.

My reward is not in this world.

My ultimate goal is not of this world.

My hope is not in this world.

If they were, I would utilize every ounce of energy, all my strength, and every resource to protect them.

But, as it is, I am after a much greater reward.  I am hunting much better game.  So I am content to let the pleasures, benefits and comforts of this world slip away.  

I don’t claim any theological support for this notion.  But as I was praying the Scriptural Rosary this morning, I heard the Gospel conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate when Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world.  And as I listened, I heard the words Jesus said in a different light.

I heard, “I am not invested in this world, so why put enormous efforts in retaining its gains?”

I was recently traveling in west Africa.  As I’ve noted before, I am not always the greatest traveler especially in the transition days which have the highest potential for things going badly—those days of travel and adjustment to new surroundings.  In those times I am most vulnerable to fears and anxieties, and I’m particularly susceptible to what-if-itis, the inflammation of that part of the imagination that conjures up horrible hypotheticals.

I have to admit:  a major part of any fear of mine, especially fears of my earthly demise, is the question of legacy:  what if no one finds me or my body?  What if no one knows I died?  What if no one remembers me?  What if I am left rotting in a hole and no one knows where to find me?

In the past, when facing such fears, I have found great relief in prayer and particularly in praying to His Mother, Our Mother.  But on this last trip, I added a twist, a new attitude when praying:  I thought, “whatever happens to me, He has something much better for me.  If no one remembers me, He still holds me.  I live for Him.”

That’s not completely accurate.  I didn’t so much think these words as much as I held the attitude those words represent, a sense of faith and hope.  And when I added this twist to my prayers, I felt more than peace.  I felt joy.  I felt bolstered by the Spirit.

And so, when Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”, I wonder if Pilate is taunting Jesus: “where are your loyal subjects now?  Who will come to rescue you?”

And when Jesus responds with “my kingdom is not here”, I wonder if He is encouraging us to say to our tormentors, “I don’t need assistance to keep my toehold on this world.  My reward will be greater in Heaven.”

The Gospel of the New Covenant

On this Holy Saturday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Jesus calls us all to Him, but not only to be followers.  He draws us personally into His family.  He calls us to be His siblings.

He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”  Heb. 2:11.

And, as His brothers and sisters, we share the same divine Father.  Jesus extols us to acknowledge this in prayer:

“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matt. 6:9-13.

How wonderful that I can call our Creator “Abba”, or “Dad!”  Just as Jesus cried out to the Father in agony, I can also call to Him.

Jesus doesn’t stop there.  He also adopts us into His human family, giving us His Mother as ours.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”  John 19:26-27.

By these words, Jesus entrusts His Mother to the care of John, but even more significantly, He entrusts us in His Mother’s care.

Throughout these millennia since Christ’s death and resurrection, Mary has been faithful in helping the Church.  More personally, I have found great comfort in seeking her aid.  She has never let me down.

Day 46-1

Recognizing how pure and holy Mary is, I am grateful to have such a strong advocate of chastity in today’s age of lust saturation.  It’s impossible to watch TV or drive an expressway without being visually assaulted by something catering to our base prurient interests.  Being a man, I am familiar with the whiplash I can experience walking by a pool, for example.  I am grateful that I can turn to Mary when tempted by visual impurity.  Just as the Israelites turned to the bronze serpent to protect them from the seraph serpents, I have learned to avert my eyes from visual temptations and venomous images, turning to Mary in prayer, Day 46-2

Ave Maria

Play “Ave Maria” while you read.

Those of you who know me may think of me as a worldly traveler, a globe trotter of sorts.  After all, my Navy duties have me traveling annually to exotic places such as Gabon, Trinidad and Germany.  But in all honesty, I’m not very good at dealing with the stress of travel.  In the hustle and bustle of air travel, with the risk of missed connections, lost luggage, third world accommodations and puddle-jumping turboprops, I have difficulty handling the anxiety and stress.  Once I’ve settled into a location for a couple three days, I’m hunky-dory and have a blast!  Until then, my nerves are frazzled.


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