Sunday, January 30, 2011

At the School of Mary's Silence

Mary had learned to listen to God's word. By her side, John in turn learned to listen and hear. As music finds no better echo than in silence, the words of Jesus resonate the best in quiet hearts.The quietest heart of all, that of the Virgin, gathered and meditated all of them. This is why all John needed to do was to live near her so that his disciple's soul gradually opened up to the interior opportunity of receiving and « hearing » everything that the divine words held.

Thanks to Mary, John’s knowledge of Christ also increased. Mary, who had forgotten nothing of Christ’s childhood, his familiar gestures, his way of being, had kept everything in her heart.

These memories illuminated a specifically human personality, at least in appearance, for « a man is always a child for his mother. » Jesus, whilst being God, did not wish to escape this law. He wanted to owe his weakness and his fragility as a man, to a woman and a mother. Who better than Mary could testify?

And yet, such was her testimony and such was she herself, that these human traits which could have discouraged John's faith in the divinity and form an insurmountable ordeal, were instead a source of enrichment and strength. The deeply human facts that he learned from Mary rooted him in his faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Incarnation eventually became for him, through Mary, a totally positive reality.

In the privileges of her motherhood, as much as in the sufferings that it occasioned, Mary was so often presented with the « inner side » of things...and she never ceased to go beyond mere appearances in order to reach the divine message and the deeper meaning of God. She lived this to such an extent that she was found worthy, at the foot of the Cross, to become their depository custodian and dispenser. 

There is no doubt that John profited from this treasure and that he was the first to have this privilege.
(Fr. Paul Marie de la Croix, OCD -The Gospel and its Spiritual Testimony)

Text after 'A Moment with Mary'
Picture of Our Lady with the Child taken at the Museum of Art in Washington.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

The mystery of vocation

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted  and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: (he appointed the twelve:) Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. (Mark 3:13-19).

I'm going to be doing only one thing: I shall begin to sing what I must sing eternally: "The Mercies of the Lord!» (Ps 89[88],1)... Opening the Holy Gospels my eyes fell upon these words: "And going up a mountain, he called to him men of his own choosing, and they came to him." This is the mystery of my vocation, my whole life, and especially the mystery of the privileges Jesus showered upon my soul. He does not call those who are worthy but those whom he pleases or as St. Paul says: "God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will show pity to whom he will show pity. So then, there is question not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God showing mercy" (Rm 9: 15-16).

I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don't receive an equal amount of graces. I was surprised when I saw him shower his extraordinary favors on saints who had offended him, for instance, St. Paul and St. Augustine, and whom he forced, so to speak, to accept his graces. When reading the lives of the saints, I was puzzled at seeing how Our Lord was pleased to caress certain ones from the cradle to the grave, allowing no obstacle in their way... Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers he has created are beautiful... And so it is in the world of souls. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but he has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when he looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what he wills us to be. (St Therese of Child Jesus)

Text after DGO
Picture represents painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio "Jesus calling the first Apostles" 

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Epiphany of Our Lord

From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever," "the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.

Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary "the Mother of the King" and "the Mother of the Lord," basing their stand on the words of St Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever, and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her "the Mother of my Lord." Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.

So it is that St Ephrem, burning with poetic inspiration, represents her as speaking in this way: "Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is her mother." (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam)

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