We find Mary throughout the Gospel of Luke contemplating the birth and childhood of Jesus. When the shepherds tell her about the angels’ Gloria in Excelsis Deo, she continues this incident in her heart and studies on it.
She does the same thing after encountering the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple, who was discussing profound religious subjects with the educators there. The Church may have received the Rosary in its present form from St. Dominic in 1214, who, in turn, received it from Our Lady, but the Mother of God was mulling and participating in the Joyful Mysteries from the very beginning.
In fact, it is not a pull to see a weave ranging through the Scriptures of her beholding and admiring her Son. The bitterness at the foot of the cross is followed, 40 days later, by the sweetness of Pentecost, and that sugared meditation increases now into eternity with the Beatific Vision and her persona as the Queen of Heaven.
Mary fulfilled what is written in the CCC # 2715: “Contemplation is a gaze of sect.’ I look at him and he looks at me.’: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of the holy cure were saying while crying before the tabernacle.”
I hear stalwart Catholics lament the ineffectiveness of the American Catholic Church in reaching our nation’s youth, but, even with the ones who do convert, there is the problem of them being readily amused and having short attention spans. This is rooted in their show to internet and digital technologies and entertainment like MTV.
This starts a large stumbling block to the pensive life, which requires extended periods of stillness and silence, and the pensive life participates a major role in our sanctification: “And we all, with unveiled face, seeing[ a] the honour of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one stage of glorification to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”( II Cor. 3:18; emphasis mine ).
We behold him and we are changed.
In another piece, the apostle Paul says that we “are changed by the renewal of our minds”( Rom. 12:1, 2 ). This often happens in the contemplative life and is not as spiritual and elusive as you may think.
Sometimes contests come into my life that cause me to become moderately tight-fisted with my period, endowment and wealth. Money is tight; I have little spare time; and I’m not in a afford mood.
The next morning I get up and the Gospel reading for the day is about the widow’s mite and how she held all “shes had”. The Rosary that day is centered on the Sorrowful Mysteries and the self-donation of the Son of God.
So between the Gospel reading and the Rosary, I’m given a pensive canvas that revives my head and facilitates an open-handed generosity in “peoples lives”. Again, the pensive life-i.e. gazing him and being in his presence-is inextricably linked to sanctification.
When Isaiah was in the presence of God, he said, ““Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I inhabit in the midst of a people of defiled cheeks; for my sees have discovered the King, the Lord of multitudes! ”( Is. 6:5 ). At the order of the first followers and after a great and magical catch of fish, Peter descended at Christ’s feet and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful lover, O Lord”( Lk. 5:8 ).
This should impel us all the more devoted to the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. As Justice Louis D. Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants…”
In the Real Presence we ascertain the Holy God and the infinite qualitative difference between us and him. Our sin is revealed; however, that’s not the end of the story, because, in the Holy Hour, we have also come to the Throne of Grace: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of forgivenes, that we may receive mercy and find charm to help in time of need”( Heb. 4:16 ).
Those who humble themselves and come to the Throne of Grace will not be denied. God opposes the proud but utters goodnes to the humble( I Pet. 5:5 -7 ). Remember what our Lord told St. Faustina: “I pour out upon them[ the humble] totality torrents of prayer. Merely the humble spirit is capable of receiving My grace. I favor humble people with My confidence.”
Moses is currently in the Real Presence for 40 days and forty nighttimes and came here to from the mountain with stone tablets written on by the hand of God merely to find the Israelites dancing around the golden calf( Ex. 32 ). The golden calf represents idolatry and can be seen in the Seven Deadly Sins or the major drawbacks of humanity that Aquinas discusses: money, fame, solace and power.
The contrast could not be starker: Moses, the most humble man on the earth( Num. 12:3) and the revelry of the children of Israel. One has the “disinfectant” of the Real Presence; the other is “following their hearts” and is easy prey for the foe of their souls.
Dancing around the golden calf continues to this day in our secular culture and with many lay parishioners, priests and prelates in the Church participating. When we humbly throw ourselves over to the contemplative life in the presence of God, we become Mary’s Heel that will crush the serpent’s head.
If you’re like me, your work schedule draws it difficult to go to Adoration as much as you’d like. Fr. Edward Looney has some urging penetrations coming from St. Faustina’s diary 😛 TAGEND
“What a disclosure I found in her diary! Her goes of worship were both in the convent chapel before Our Lord in the Eucharist and’ in private, ’ in her apartment and even on her sick bunked. God knows we can have very good reasons for not visiting him[ in] a religiou or chapel. Family responsibilities, responsibility, state, interval from the church, and so on. But … we can do “spiritual adoration”–anywhere, anytime.( Including setting up our own “adoration chapel” — if only a specified angle or chair — at home !) ”
The contemplative life and soaking in God’s presence not only play a major role in the believer’s sanctity but also can facilitate the healing of damaged passions. Teresa of Avila said, “Contemplative prayer is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it represents taking time to be alone with him who we know desires us.”
In the Holy Hour or in our “adoration chapel” at home, we are able to, by the eyes of religion or in our mind’s eye see the caring sees of Christ. For numerous from bad genealogies and/ or who have had a string of bad ties-in, it is possible to highly mending to the wounded feel of rejection that they have sustained.
The words of Zephaniah the oracle for Jerusalem and Zion are for us today, the New Jerusalem, and become solace for the meander of abandonment: “Do not panic, Zion; do not let your hands hang hobble. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer berate you, but will rejoice over you with singing”( Zeph. 3:16 b, 17 ).
Many practicing Catholics are intellectually catechized( they know the faith ), spiritually catechized( they have consistent devotional practises ), but they aren’t emotionally catechized: concerns from dysfunctional families of origin and past affinities continue to wreak havoc in their daily lives. As they follow Mary’s example and hug the introspective life and spend time in his existence, may they recognize the kindnes gazes of Christ and confess “By his stripes we are healed! ”
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