Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Secret of Meditation

Our Lady gave an interesting instruction to the Children of Fatima-- one that is often overlooked: She said: Learn to read and then I’ll tell you what else I want. Implicit in that statement is a call to read the Scriptures, the living word of God. One of the great sources of the divine healing is the life-giving word of God. Take one of the quotations below and ponder it in your heart. You could spend the whole time of prayer, simply turning one of these sacred words or phrases over in the silence of your heart. This is the secret of meditation.

Perfect love casts out fear. 1 Jo.4:18

Abide in my love Jo.15,10

Those who love me... my Father will love them
and we will come to them
and make our home with them. Jo.14,23

Know that I am with you always:
yes, even to the end of time. Mat. 28.20

With God all things are possible. Mk. 10:27

Cast all your care upon Him,
for he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5: 7

Come to me, all you who labour
and are heavy laden
and I will give you rest. Mat.11 :28

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me
according to your word. Lk.1.38

My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and for evermore. Ps.131

The Dominican Mass of the Rosary

The Rosary in former times was understood as a Proclamation of the Gospel. Lacordaire, the famous French Dominican Preacher spoke of the Rosary as L’evangile a genoux,-- The Gospel on its knees!

Up to the reform of the Liturgy that went with Vatican 2, the Dominican Missal had a special Votive Mass text, known as The Privileged Mass of the Rosary. The particular Gospel for that Mass seemed at the time, perplexing to some. They would have thought it should have been the Annunciation story or something like that. As is being stressed once again in these days, the mysteries of the Rosary are scripturally based and are the seeds that produce a harvest, one hundred fold.

Commenting on the Gospel text, Jesus addresses his disciples in these words: "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…” Dominican friars known as the Order of Preachers, would have been mindful of this text as they used the mysteries of the Rosary as a means of proclaiming the Gospel.

Any authentic Rosary apostolate should lay claim to the old adage: The Rosary is a method of preaching as well as form of prayer. The Latin phrase to be found in older works is delightfully precise: Rosarium magis est modus praedicandi quam orandi. Little wonder that a Dominican at profession is solemnly clothed with the beads and reminded in the words of Our Lady to St.Dominic: Go, preach my rosary.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make my House a house of prayer

One of the strongest words spoken by Jesus, was: My house will be a house of prayer. Lk19:46 He said it as he drove the traders from the Temple in Jerusalem. But we can apply the words to our own house or to the home of our heart.

Before leaving Ireland, Pope John Paul made this fervent plea: My wish is that every home would once again be a home of prayer. We are more than willing to make provision for those of our household. We see to it that our children have adequate shelter, food and education. We would not neglect anything that was for their material welfare.

What of the spiritual food and formation they hunger for? A house without prayer is a house without heart. Let’s put new hearts into our homes.

Below are set out a few ideas that may be helpful in providing for the hunger and thirst that must be satisfied. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Stepping stones to Stillness
It is not necessary to be all the time saying prayers aloud. With all the bustle and noise that fills so much of our lives, there is a great need for silence. This can prove a healing remedy for mind and heart and soul and it can be a precious means towards building unity and peace in the home

The prayer on which all prayer rests is the Lord’s own prayer. Each phrase is a stepping stone to the Father who cares for us. It might be good to take one word at a time and rest in it. Father, thy name, thy kingdom, thy will. Cease thinking of your own name. Let go of the concerns of your personal kingdom. Surrender your will to the gracious will of the Father. Be still and know that I am God. Do not try to think things out. Do not try to read other people's thoughts, or trouble yourself with plans for the future. Do not burden yourself with disturbing and distracting detail. Leave those things for their own time, and to those whose task it is to care about such matters.

Likwise in the Hail Mary, you could find rest in the words of acceptance that Our Lady spoke: Be it done unto me according to your word. And in the Glory be you let the glory of God take over the little glory that yoo so often cling to. What is being suggested here, is that you find time to be silent and still. Rest from simply saying prayers to enjoying the Lord and delighting in his presence. Just as we long to sit in silence with those we love, so should we find delight in being still with the Lord.

This lingering in love with the Lord is the secret of meditation. Rest in my love and lose yourself in my presence. You know how friends linger in love, and long to sit in stillness and silence. When you turn to a mystery of the Rosary, be silent and still before you say the decade. Let its fragrance fill your home and your heart with its grace.

Mary our Advocate

I will send you another Advocate: The text refers primarily to the Holy Spirit, but it is applied to Mary as the Bride of the Spirit and the intercessor with the Lord on our behalf. Like the role of a Barrister who pleads one’s cause before the judge and jury, the most ancient title for Mary is that of Advocate. St. Irenaeus-the first half 2nd century writes: Whereas Eve had disobeyed God, Mary was persuaded to obey God, that the Virgin Mary might become advocate of the virgin Eve."

This role is foreshadowed in the OT. The mother of the king the Gebirah, literally, Great Lady held the exalted office of Queen Mother. Because the kings of Israel normally had numerous wives, the mother of the king was chosen to be the queen. The Gebirah or First Lady of the realm assisted the king in ruling the kingdom. The office and authority of the queen mother in her close relationship to the king made her the strongest advocate to the King the prime intercessor. No one had more intercessory power than the queen mother, who had her own throne at his right side. She it was, who enjoyed the role of choosing the successor to the king, so that this was no mere honorary title. It was one of authority and immense power.

Observe the response of King Solomon (who had 700 wives,) to his mother Bathsheba: The king bowed down to her and had a seat brought for her. She sat on his right. He said to her, Ask anything you wish. I will deny you nothing”1 Kings 2: 19-20) What encouragement for us, to know that the Lord of Heaven speaks such words to the Mary our Advocate. Let us claim them ourselves and on behalf of those for whom we intercede.

At the Annunciation Mary is becomes the new Gebirah, the Mother of the King of kings. She is to be the Advocate with the him who takes possession of the Kingdom of his father David.

At the Visitation, Elizabeth cried out Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me. Lk. 1:44 .The title, Mother of my Lord, the court language of the ancient is fulfilled in Mary.

The 12th century Hail Holy Queen contains the words: Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us. It is the task of Mary, Advocate for the People of God, to implore the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, at times of special need. Since Mary's role as Advocate is inseparable from the divine action of the Spirit, it will be the Spirit and the Bride who will jointly prepare the world for the glorious return of Christ the King