Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Apostles by Pope Benedict XVI

From March 15, 2006 to February 14, 2007, His Holiness gave a catecheses during his weekly General Audiences. These have been gathered together and placed in book form. I found this slim volume at my local library and snatched it up. I am so very glad I did.
The more I read Pope Benedict the more I love him. He writes clearly and beautifully. I'm only in the middle of Chapter 5, but he wrote some amazing things I want to share with you. (Both of you).
In Chapter 3 he writes about Communion in Time: Tradition. He writes that that by being in Communion with Christ and His Church "all believers of the past and of the future form with us a single great Communion". It made me reflect on the vastness of what we call the Catholic Church, that it is bigger than just here and now. Much, much bigger.

About Tradition itself he writes:
"Apostolic Tradition is not a collection of things or words, like a box of dead things. Tradition is the river of new life that flows from the origins, from Christ down to us, and makes us participate in God's history with humanity"
What an excellent image of Tradition: a living river flowing down to us to make the past present in a sense.
In his Chapter on the Apostle Peter he makes an interesting point. Peter wanted the Messiah to "impose His power and transform the world instantly." But Jesus took another way, one of suffering and humility. This spoke to me very loudly. We want God to change the world NOW! But that's not His way. He writes
"This is the great alternative that we must learn over and over again; to give priority to our own expectations, rejecting Jesus, or to accept Jesus in the truth of His mission and set aside all of our too human expectations."
How true! See, I just love this Pope!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus at the Temple

Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas is only 2 days away! I finally made it to the Traditional Latin Mass today, Deo Gratias! I just couldn't stand one more Novus Ordo Mass. I honestly think going to that Rite (or whatever you want to call it) was part of my problems in actually getting to Sunday Mass. It was also the first time I took the new car too. Okay last Joyful Mystery.

41 And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, 42 And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, 43 And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. 44 And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. 45 And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. 48 And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? 50 And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. 52 And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men. Luke 2:52

This is a joyful mystery, the joy of finding Jesus. Unfortunately, I concentrate too much on Mary and Joseph searching for Him. Any one who is a parent knows the panicky feeling they must have felt; mostly like multiplied a hundredfold. He wasn't just their Son, he was the Messiah. St. Alphonsus de Liguori says that Mary loves Jesus more than all the love of Mothers in the history of the world. For some reason, I focus way too much on this part of the mystery instead of the joy they felt at finding Him alive and well, and on top of that, He was astonishing all those smart guys in the Temple. Notice also, He was gone three days. The fruit of this mystery is, obviously, the Joy of Finding Jesus.

All the Bible quotations were taken from the Douay-Rheims version of the Holy Bible.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation

21 And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: 23 As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: 24 And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: 25 And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him.26 And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28 He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: 29 Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; 30 Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: 32 A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; 35 And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. 37 And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. 38 Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. 39 And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.

Luke 2:21-39

This mystery is probably the one out of all 15 that gives me the most trouble. Most likely because my meditations on it are so short. I imagine Mary and Joseph bringing the Baby Jesus to the temple. Then the old man, Simeon takes the Baby and recognizes Him as the Messiah. The the old lady, Anna who does the same. These just keep going over in my mind (if I'm lucky and don't start thinking about something else, like fixing dinner or what I need to clean etc). The fruit of this mystery is Obedience. Mary and Joseph were obedient to the Law. Now we must be obedient to Him Who surpasses the Old Law.

Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Christ

I know I've been slacking. I'm way behind on my Rosary meditations. Christmas is only 6 days away. I have no excuse other than I'm a lazy git. So on with it.

1 And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. 2 This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, 5 To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. 6 And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. 9 And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. 10 And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: 11 For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. 15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. 16 And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. 17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. 18 And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Luke 2:1-20

Sometimes, I have trouble with this mystery. I don't know whether to focus on Mary and Joseph, adoring their Child, or the shepherds who come to adore Him, or even the journey Mary and Joseph make and trying to find a room. Eventually, I realize that I've said all 10 Ave's. I do try to imagine, as in the picture, that Our Lord is the Light of the world; the Source of all Light. It's hard to fathom that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became a tiny baby, just like us. I look at my kids and marvel that Our Lord was once that age. (Although much better behaved, of course). And to be born is such a place. Not a warm cozy room but a cold cave where the animals are kept. The fruit of this mystery is Love of Poverty.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house. (Luke 1, 39-56)

If I haven't fallen asleep by now, I have a fairly easy time imagining this Mystery. Mary, having been told by the Archangel Gabriel about the pregnancy of her elderly kinswoman, immediately gets up and sets out to her house. She knows Elizabeth will need assistance in the last few months. The Bible doesn't say if Joseph went with her or not; I always imagine her alone on the journey. What was she thinking as she traveled? Practical things perhaps; or maybe wondering how she was going to tell Elizabeth about the Angel. No doubt she prayed too. And then she sees Elizabeth and calls out to her. That's when all the interesting things happen: Elizabeth's child (St. John the Baptist) leaps in her womb and being filled with the Holy Spirit calls Our Lady the "Mother of my Lord" and praises her for believing. Mary in turn praises God in her beautiful Magnificat for all the wonderful things He has done for her (and us). Her prophecy that the world shall call her Blessed has indeed come spectacularly true. has a great page about the Visitation. I particularly like the parallel between Luke and II Kings; that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.

The fruit of this mystery is charity towards our neighbor.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Computer Problems

I'm experiencing some computer troubles at the moment. I will try to post my meditation on the second Joyful Mystery tomorrow or Wednesday.