Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dealing with recession and depression

All over the world these days, the TV and radio are beating out a continuous story about the financial crisis that is upon us. The more we listen to the torrent of depressive words that are rolling over us, like a sunami the more we need to find a way of rising above the waves of doom and gloom.

This is where the daily dose of meditation such as the Rosary provides can come to our aid. The time set aside to ponder enter the wonderland of the Rosary seems to roll back the waters of darkness and depression. One ceases to let the tide of distress take over. We find ourselves at ease as we discover the inner land where Jesus and Mary live and all things are well. Miracles of healing and well-being are there for the asking.

I am reminded of the miracle that the Lord worked for the Israelites as the might forces of Pharo and the Egyptians was bearing down on them. With the burning sands of the desert behind them and the terror of the Red Sea ahead, the Lord opened a way through for them. Moses lifted up his rod, and with the might of the Lord on his side, made the waters pile up to provide a solid dry ground, so that the people could pass safely through on to the Land that flowed with wine and milk and honey.

That journey to the physical land is a symbol of the pilgrim soul moving in meditation to the
inner land of the heart. There exists an inner space where amid the desert of desolation one may find security and serenity. The peace and the stability generated in those sacred times, radiate to the rest of the day.

The fragrance of those precious moments permeates our being, and brings all our ways to a creativity, and a consummation beyond our dreaming. We learn to live, no longer out of our own
meagre resource, but out of the infinite supply of the heavenly Father. We rest in those words of Jesus, that the Father who feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field is constantly looking after us.


God made of her tears—the Rosary

Verse 3 and the last, of this poem came from an old woman in America. Fr.Placid Nolan, op added the other verses

Our Lady wept sweet tears of joy

When first she held her baby boy;

Her son, foretold by angel bright,

New dawn on earth of heaven’s light.

The time had come as well she knew,

The mighty power of God to show;

And Mary wept soft tears of light

In Cana, where the best wine flowed

There, she stood beneath the Cross,

Her lovely head on her bosom bowed;

And Mary’s tears fell one by one,

As she beheld her dying son.

God crowned her Queen, and now

Her tears, like raindrops fall,

Each one a healing, loving touch

On all her children, when they call

But all those tears were saved,

As if by miracle;

And God in wondrous mystery,

Made of her tears-- the Rosary.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bridegroom in Blood

Exodus 4: 18-31
Moses was on his way back to Egypt to see how his Jewish people were faring. They no longer saw themselves as the chosen people, but as chain-gang slaves under the Pharaoh. At a lodging place, that the Lord met him and wanted to kill him. Then Zipporah his wife took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said: Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me, because of the circumcision. Circumcision was the male Sign of the Covenant. The wife it would appear from this text was considered a Bride in Covenant Blood.

Hosea 2:17-19:
I will make for you a covenant....and I will betroth you to me for justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
Ezek. 16:8
I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine

Marriage covenant gives Security!
Beauty of seeing a loving couple at Mass together joined together in the Body and Blood of Jesus. Marriage is not just an image of the Covenant, but an actual embodiment of it. Where it flourishes others can rest-- children, even visitors to the home. When one is in a loving union with another, there is harmony in the heart and an ambience of peace and contentment that enables one to settle in to the core and cavern of the soul. I overheard one woman say that while she was sitting at her work-desk, suddenly she was enlightened to as to the inner happiness and contentment she drew from her husband.

Spouses need quality/prime time on their own. When the little children are asleep in bed... and mini-breaks for resting alone. Even the children benefit from this. Loving spouses hold their family in their own embrace. They are enfolded in their love. My own memory is that the times I felt most secure was when my parents were close and content. When they were divided, we too felt divided and depressed.

Bridegroom/Bride relationship in God’s covenant
So indeed, when we are deeply drawn into the communion with the Lord, so surely are those who are of God’s family and are entrusted to our care. The contemplative life, far from being selfish or closed in on itself is an open circle enfolding and embracing all people and all creation. When Lover and Beloved are at one, there is a creative energy between them, that brings forth new life. The union of male and female in marriage finds its fullest expression within the context of God’s covenant relationship with his people.

The Lover and the Beloved find nourishment for their souls in the Song of Solomon. 7:10-12. I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me. Come my beloved, let us go forth into the fields and lodge in the villages; let us go early to my vineyards. . . . There I will give you my love.

When Jeremiah prophesied of the institution of the New Covenant, he said, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them. This again supposes that under the terms of the old covenant, Israel were related to the Lord as a wife to an husband.
The charge laid against Israel, however, is that they proved unfaithful to their marriage vow.

Hosea experienced the heartbreak of desertion, and betrayal from his unfaithful wife Gomer . He heard the awful words of the Lord: You are not my people and I will not be your God. The adultery of his wife was an image of the betrayal of God by his people Israel. The woman Hosea loved was to be sold in the slave market. The brokenhearted prophet didn't know what to do. And God said. Hosea, do you love this woman in spite of all that she has done to you? Then go show your love for her in the same way that I love the nation Israel." In the end his ears would hear the consoling words of the Lord to this same people: Behold I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
I was reminded of all this, sitting before an open fire. There was central heating in the house and it certainly warmed the room and comforted our bones. But when someone threw a large oil-soaked fire-log on the open fire, a blaze of glory filled the room and made our faces glow and our hearts to be as it were on fire too. Love human and divine is like this. St John of he Cross in his work The Living Flame speaks of the Bridegroom or of the Beloved 550 times using such expressions for Christ as Light of the eyes, Lily of the valley, Sweet Nightingale!

Commenting on the Song of Songs, he says: A little of this pure love is more precious to God, more precious to the soul, and of more benefit for the Church, even though it seems to be doing nothing, than all those other works together. He writes: Enter within your heart and work in the presence of your Bridegroom, who is always present loving you. Even when John talks of nada nada, nothing nothing, it is never an empty space he envisions, but a an opening for an infilling with the presence of the Bridegroom.

In a modern writing Love Before my Face: one reads the following inspired message from Jesus: I will divinise natural love between persons who seek to love through my Divine Humanity. Celibates depending on my Divine Humanity will receive support whereby they may love humanly while remaining faithful to me. They will find freedom to show great affection. Trust in me, will carry them through difficulties.

By loving each other while placing all their trust in me, the love and gratitude of their hearts for me will be deepened. I will enter into your flesh and chasten it and make it sweet to love. Love without expression, if expression can help or heal another, is sterile. I have called you to love, and thus to love each other. If you do not first find me, you will be unable to love, with the love that profits for eternal life. I will be in your loving and you will find it sweet to love. If I am sought through human loving. If I am understood and accepted as the author, giver and source of love, then my support, my tenderness and my power will give to those who love, an understanding of the true meaning of love and of human life.
True love is not confined to marriage. Single celibate persons are called to this: as evidenced by the Book devoted to the love between Jordan of Saxony and the nun Blessed Diana entitled, Love among the Saints. It must be understood that while we speak of love human and divine and of the many-splendoured range of love, spousal love, love between parents and children, love of country, and so on, in the end there is only one Love for it all finds its source and reaches it summit in the Trinitarian God who is Love itself.

Picture above: The Marriage Feast of Cana, which is much more than a matter of providing wine for the immediate occasion, but is a foreshadowing of the overflowing of the wine and milk and honey of the New Covenant./BlogWebSingle.doc



Humility and the Legion of Mary

George Bernard Shaw: The churches must learn humility as well as teach it. How relevant to our times! Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues.

Christ recommended it above all, for only when humility exists does God bestow his favours. Mary says, in the "Magnificat," that in her God has shown might in his arm, that is, he has exerted in her his very omnipotence.

But how could Mary be a model of humility, considering that her treasury of perfections was altogether immeasurable - as Thomas Aquinas said: touching the very borders of infinity? She was aware that she was more perfectly redeemed than any other. Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Everything is God's free gift to the soul: his to increase, diminish, or withdraw, just as he alone gave it. Humility is like the force of gravity which keeps the heavenly bodies in their proper orbit and in sweet harmony. Humility is the grace -force which enables us to move surely in the grand plan of the Creator. Thomas Merton said: Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

The Legion's battle begins in the heart of the individual legionary. Each one wages the battle with himself, determinedly conquering the spirit of pride and self. This struggle with the root of evil within one, this constant striving after purity of intention, is the battle of a lifetime. Reliance upon one's own efforts makes for failure. Of what use are his own muscles to one struggling in a quicksand? A firm support is necessary. Lean upon her with complete trust. She will not fail you, for she is deeply rooted in that humility which is vital to you. In the faithful practice of the spirit of dependence upon her will be found a way of humility - what St. Louis-Marie de Montfort terms "a little-known secret of grace, enabling us quickly and with but little effort to empty ourselves of self, fill ourselves with God, and become perfect."

The humble Virgin's heel crushes the serpent of self, with its many heads: of
Self-promotion, self-seeking; self-sufficiency and self-conceit; The Legionary distrusts the promptings of his own inclinations and and leans on the Lord and listens intently to the whisperings of grace.

God delights to work on nothing; from that deep foundation it is that he raises the creations of his power. We should be full of zeal for God's glory, and at the same time convinced of our personal incapacity to promote it. God does not call the able, he enables those whom he calls.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Peculiar People

The two elements that form God’s Covenant with his people are his His Promise to carry them on Eagle’s wings and to give them a home-- a Promised Land.

The two pillars that uphold the covenant are Mercy and Fidelity, in the Hebrew they are known as Hesed and Emet....
In our Gaelic language they are beautifully summed up in one word: Buangra, which means steadfast love. All that is mine is yours. Not just exchange of goods but a giving of persons. Two parties come together to become one. They form a Coalition, a Grand Alliance.

My Peculiar People
Deut 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; but it is because the Lord loves you”.

If you look at the King James version you will see the last phrase God’s own people is given as God’s peculiar people. The word has altered its meaning since Elizabethan times. The Greek and the Hebrew word which means special possession. You are God’s special possession – God’s precious possession. It defines all that is positive in a person’s qualities, all that is most valued and precious.

The Queen’s peculiars: Certain offices and honours that she might personally confer on certain Cathedral clerics. Or her own personal jewellery over and above the crown Jewels of thr realm.
A nuns peculiars: While she might bring a dowry-- a sum of money for her upkeep in the convent, she could well have a gold watch or bracelet given as a family heirloom. These would be considered her peculiar possessions. Whatever might happen to the dowry if she left, one thing was certain that she would be handed back her peculiars.
Come hell or high water, nothing was going to separate God from his crown jewels, his chosen people- which is you and me to-day. Only we have to stand by the covenant.

When women go shopping!
As distinct from a contract, covenant places the emphasis on the person rather than on the goods. I’ve noticed this in the way women shop rather than the way most men seem to. When men go out shopping with women, you’ll often find them sitting around waiting and wondering when and where its all going to end. Personally I find it kind of venture into the Aladdin’s cave that women seem to have in their soul’s when they step into a Superstore. When I accompany my friend into Tesco, I never cease to wonder at all the things she can stock up in her trolley, considering that she lives and eats or her own. At seventy she is still shopping for her grown up sons and daughters as if they were at home. It’s all and expression of her own covenant with her family.

The story of Jonathan giving his princely cloak to his friend David by way of a sign of the covenant they were cutting with each other is a perfect example of the same thing. In 1 SAMUEL 18-20 Jonathan takes off his princely cloak and gives it to David. This symbolised the merciful protection of the king’s son. David would feel protected and cherished in the warmth and splendour of the Prince’s cloak. When people would see David so dressed they would respect him and know that he had been singled out for honour by the authorities. He would walk with confidence not only through the land beneath his feet but in the inner land of his spirit. So we clothed in the robe of Divine mercy the Buangra De, find rest and renewal as we meditate on the wonder of our being.

Much of my distinction between goods and person has been sparked off by a gift I was given this Christmas by a lady in this John Main meditation group-- the jacket that I’m wearing just now. It’s a bit like Jonathan and David, a symbolic exchange of robe. First reaction was, Not for me. I’d be Fr. Trendy in that! Thought I’d bring it up to my Grandmother friend for one of the children or grandchildren. As it was a bit bulky and warm, the simplest way to carry it was to slip it on under my overcoat. I hadn’t reckoned with the Winter that was looming. To make a long story short, I have never had it off since putting it on. And the grandchildren tell me that I look cool in it. I now know that I am one of my friend's peculiar people. The incident has promote me to write these lines.

She walked through the shops
with things on her mind
and persons in her soul:
toys for the boys and tops for the girls
and special things for her spouse.
She tussled with the toys and tops and things
while she dreamed of friends and faces.

Then in between the reels and the rails
she touched this fleece and sensed its sweetness--
and then my face slipped between her fingers
and her heart said: “it will warm his bones
and get him through the Winter."

she said, for Winter is over and gone.
Not outside my dear, I said,
When swiftly came her sure reply:
Within the warmth of Buangra De, it is.