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Posts tagged ‘Rosary’

Second Sunday of Lent: the Transfiguration

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Spring is supposed to be here in three days.  I don’t know if this was one of the darkest winters in history, but it sure has been one of the coldest on record!  We might have even set some records for snowfall.  The snow is beautiful when it first comes down, covering the earth in a pure blanket of white.  But after months of cold, when the snow has turned to a dirty, slushy and crusty consistency, it’s easy to get sick of it all.  When I was in college, we called February the Dark Ages.  By this time each year, we were sick of the cold, the dark, and the overcast skies.



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.”

Crown of Thorns

20130212-072904-220130212-072826.jpgI usually find it very easy to feel slighted by my fellow sufferer.  Take this morning.  My typical morning route takes me on a road that expands and constricts along the route. At one intersection there are two lanes each way plus a turn lane, but a short distance beyond the traffic signal it quickly narrows to one lane in each direction. Most motorists seem to recognize this fact and patiently line up in the left of the two west-bound lanes. But occasionally—and it happened this morning—a car will pull up in the right lane when the light is red, obviously intending to continue forward and, at least from my perspective, cut in front of the patient motorists waiting in the left lane. This always irks me.

Or take last night.  I ran to the local drugstore for Tylenol for my ailing son.  It was ugly out.  I had just finished my evening treadmill run and was feeling dirty in my sweats.  I’m standing in the pain reliever aisle looking for something I later find out they don’t have when this woman cuts in front of me without so much as an “excuse me.”  Admittedly, I was already in a foul mood so it didn’t take much to get under my skin, but in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t vocalize my irritation.  But I was irked!


When I catch myself thinking bad things about the other motorist or the [marginally] rude shopper, I try to remind myself of the Lord’s Prayer admonition, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.not that I would call either “affront” a trespass. But this exercise isn’t always easy for me and the hard feelings don’t always disappear quickly.

But later this morning, while praying the Rosary, I snagged on the third Mystery, the crowning with thorns, and it forced my selfishness into a glaring spotlight. The reflection talked about Jesus’ suffering:

Think of the indignity, outrage, pain, and humiliation that Jesus suffered. They stripped Him of every dignity, He was treated as the guilt of our worst sins.

Imagine Jesus through the Sorrowful Mysteries:  He Suffered His Agony in the Garden, was Scourged at the Pillar and then Crowned with Thorns, all the while anticipating the long and arduous journey to His execution under the burden of the Cross and then, ultimately, Crucifixion.  And all for me.  It really puts things into their proper perspective.  So this guy gets to move ahead an extra four or five cars. So what!  And what if that woman—she had been sniffling—was in a hurry to take care of a child sicker than mine or had her own health issues?


In the light of Christ’s suffering, these minor inconveniences—tiny slights—should be easy to bear if I take on the mantle of humility and accept small bits of suffering.

Let us ask the gift of patience to accept all humiliations, thinking of how Jesus suffered for us.

Broken Sacramentals

Broken Sacramentals

Beads in my pocket, formerly attached;
Loosely floating orbs and chain links recently unlatched.
A crucifix and pendant—remnants and remains
Of things I use to garner graces, gifts and holy gains.

A patch of woolen fabric, a square with icon blessed
That used to hang consolingly, a comfort on my chest.
This scapular most holy. A rosary of wood.
Now sit inside a leather pouch instead of where they should.

And though they both are damaged,  and neither one is whole,
They each provide me blessings for my worn and weary soul.
These broken sacramentals,  though bruised and broken things,
Still serve their purpose, drawing me to Jesus Christ our King.

Their brokenness reminds me that even with my blame,
Even though I’m flawed and weak, He’ll use me just the same.
If only I allow Him, surrender to His will,
He’ll use me to draw people to his sermon on the hill.

This broken sacramental, though barren all alone,
He’ll take me—if I offer—to draw children to his throne.
And just like broken bead strings, when put to holy use,
My life can be a blessing in the ways that He will choose.

Vertical Mysteries

As I have grown more familiar with the Rosary and developed a stronger attachment to our Blessed Mother, I have begun to notice certain patterns and themes. Some are clearly intentional, and some I’m not so sure. For example, I noticed a pattern when praying the Glorious Mysteries: Up, Up, Down, Up, Down/Up. It’s all very vertical in its orientation. Let me explain.

  • Up. Resurrection. Jesus rises from the dead. Clearly a very vertical event.
  • Up. Ascension. Jesus ascends to His throne in heaven. Also very vertical.
  • Down. Descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples.
  • Up. Mary is assumed into Heaven, body and soul.
  • Down/Up. Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. This takes a little more imagination. For down, I imagine the crown being lowered on her brow. for up, I imagine her elevation to the lofty role of queen.
This vertical orientation reminds me of a higher calling — vocational, professional or personal — a calling to improve, to work harder, to be better, but also a calling to serve, to reach down as I reach up.  It reminds me to reach up to Him who made me, but also reminds me that I don’t have to close the  gap on my own or with my own wherewithal.  Christ has made the round trip for me.  He has sent the Holy Spirit down to me.  And His mother has his ear–I can always ask her for intervention.  Vertical rosary.  I lift up my petitions and praise, knowing that his mercies and graces rain down on me.

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