Shepherd of Faith

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The beauty of the Rosary

 

the beauty of the rosary

Rosary Devotion

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, my trip to Lourdes, France resulted in my having a deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother and a desire to pray the Rosary more often.  Although there are many misconceptions about the Rosary, what I love most about it is it gives me the opportunity to meditate on the pivotal moments of Jesus’ life and ministry.  You see, the Rosary is more about contemplating Jesus than about “worshiping” Mary.  In fact, devotion to Mary is NEVER about worshiping her but it IS about acknowledging the fact that she played an extremely important role in bringing about the salvation of the world.  Because she said Yes Jesus Our Savior, The Word was made flesh!

When prayed genuinely and with intention the rosary invites us to meditate on each mystery while the melody of the prayers we’re reciting play in the background.  The rosary should never become rote prayer that we rush to “get through.”  It should be an event we earnestly prepare for because through it flow many graces we must be prepared to receive.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the distraction of everyday life cause me to lose sight of the beauty of the rosary.  Despite my effort to remain aware of its beauty and benefits and my desire to make it a regular part of my life, there are times when I claim I don’t have the time or energy.  There are also times when my focus is just not there.  However, just like in meditation we have to bring ourselves back to the moment and our intention.  Back to the “word” in meditation and back to the “mystery” of the Rosary.  Awareness is the key to getting back on track.

As I meditated on the Glorious Mysteries the other night, I was moved by the Mystery of the Ascension.  Just imagine the sense of loss the disciples must have felt.  First, their leader, friend and strength dies on the cross.  They lose Him once and  bury Him.  Three days later they are elated when they realize He has risen from the dead.  Can you imagine?  The relief, the awe, the comfort and then………..He’s gone again.

They’re told not to worry.  He promises to send an advocate, but who could have known what that really meant?  What or who would it be?  Would it be enough? Could this so called advocate ever take His place? It must have been heartbreaking for them to experience this loss for a second time.  It was for good this time or so they thought.  Who could have known what Jesus had in store for his disciples.  Despite the pain and uncertainty, they trusted in His promise and they waited.  Amazing! Do we possess that same sense of trust?  It’s certainly something we should strive for.

While pondering the mystery of the Rosary I tried to imagine my life without Jesus.  Of course, Jesus is not physically present to us today as he was to His disciples.  However, He is present to us spiritually and stillness helps us to feel that presence more profoundly.  Life without Jesus……..what would that look like?  For me it would be depressing, devoid of hope, difficult to cope with.

As I imagined what life would be like without Jesus I was saddened to think of non-believers and all  who keep Jesus on the periphery (like a good luck charm they pull out when they need it) and not in the center.  I can imagine the lack of hope, depression, despair and cynicism that resides in their minds and hearts because I’ve been there before. It’s what is wrong with the world but it doesn’t have to remain that way.  Prayer and God’s graced helped transform me.  I pray that somehow, some way hearts will be opened to receive the graces God is so ready to shower down upon them.  The graces that will move Jesus from the periphery to the center.  THAT’S the only way our world will become a better place.

Prayer truly changes things.  The Rosary is an awesome form of prayer.  Make it a part of your life.  Use it as a form of meditation, meditate on scripture using it.  Receive the graces it has to offer and pray that others will be open to it too!  God bless you!

Links for further reading on the Rosary

Here is a post on the Rosary by Dr. Edward Sri – more good points.

Click here for a short explanation on why we pray the rosary.

Here is a list of the 15 promises made by the Blessed Mother for all who pray the Rosary.

Confessions of St. Augustine

Confessions of St. Augustine

Your immutable light!

The Confessions of St. Augustine – therein lies our hope.  Here was a man whose younger years were spent on dissipation and sin.  Many a time he disregarded the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  One of the lines attributed to him went something like this: “Lord make me chaste, but not yet.”  Despite all of this and thanks to many many years of motherly love and prayer, St. Augustine experienced a conversion and became a pillar of the Catholic faith. Today, on his feast day,  I want to share some words from his autobiography, Confessions.  Ponder his words, savor the description of his experience.  It’s something we should all aspire to – growth and deeper union with God!

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul.  I was able to do so because you were my helper.  On entering into myself I saw, as it were, the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit:  Your immutable light.  It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity.  No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above earth.  This light was above me because it made me; I was below it because I was created by it.  He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God.  To you do I sigh day and night.  When I first came to know you,  you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them.  Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread.  I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high:  “I am the food of grown men, grow then, and you will feed on me.  Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you.  But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.  He was calling me and saying:  I am the way of truth, I am the life.  He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh.  For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they have not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for me.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Such deep, beautiful, inspiring words!  I recently read something which described a “spectrum” of spirituality.  It described fundamentalism and mysticism as  opposite ends of the spectrum.  Fundamentalism is defined as a religious movement characterized by a strict belief in the literal interpretation of religious text.  Mysticism is defined as a doctrine of an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding, or of a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation or ecstasy. There’s no question that what St. Augustine is describing here is a mystical experience.

Where are you on the spectrum?  Where do you want to be?  What are you doing about it?  God bless you!

 

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