Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Be still and wait

The first requirement for meditation is stillness, stillness of body but more importantly, stillness of the heart “Be still and know that I am God.” “Be still before the Lord and wait for him.” (Psalm 37,7) The New American Bible puts it forcibly: “Leave it to the Lord.” It is a kind of letting go and letting God. Psalm 131 invites us to rest like a child in the arms of the Lord: I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at it’s mother’s breast.

Christian contemplation does not end in the mind or the heart. It is not merely a mental exercise, but goes on to engage the whole personality and to overflow in love of others. The fruit of Rosary meditation shows in the transformation it effects. The words of St.Paul in Romans 12: 2 are pertinent: Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

As we look to the Lord, we radiate something of his glory. It is told of Moses that on coming down from the mountain where he had conversed with God, the people could see the radiance on his face, so much so that he had to keep a veil over it. This is what St. Paul was referring to when he wrote: All we, with unveiled faces, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3: 18)

We too are being changed into his likeness. Meditation or contemplation is nothing more than this looking, this lingering in love with the Lord. All one has to do is to recall the scene, to picture Jesus in the inner heart, to recognise his presence, enfolding you in his love. Underpinning all fifteen secrets of the Rosary is this one all pervading secret, that as you surrender to it’s graced process you are being renewed, restored, revitalised, transformed. Do not be diverted from this lingering in love with the Lord himself, by the multiplicity of mysteries and vocal prayers. A lot of things in books and sermons on prayer, are simply the gathering of bricks and boards for the building of your house. When the labour of building is over, just sit at the fire and enjoy your home and dream along with the lover of your soul. This undestanding can bring a whole new delight and frutifulness to your Rosary.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Legion Pilgrimage at Knock

His Eminence Sean Cardinal Brady spoke these gracious words to very large group of members of the Legion Pilgrimage at Knock this September. I have chosen the following to form an Allocutio to the Curia of Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit in the Dublin area:

It is a delight for me to be here in Knock in the company of the Legion of Mary, that great and dedicated army of Mary’s faithful and loving servants - you who serve the Church – the Body of Christ – the Son. What a joy to be here with you – you whose object is the glory of God and not the glory of self.

Today we are here to plead, through the intercession of Mary, for a special blessing on your visitation of families, and of the sick – especially of the lonely, the terminally ill and those in their last agony – both at home and in hospital. Long may your co-operation in every apostolic work and missionary undertaking, sponsored by the parish, continue to flourish and bear fruit and be blessed by the Lord. Long may the message of the Servants of God, Frank Duff, Edel Quinn and Alfie Lambe sustain you and implore you. May the day of their beatification soon draw near.

It was the genius of Frank Duff that he saw clearly that the Church is the Body of Christ. He talked about it all the time but he did not just talk – he translated his words into action! Frank Duff was ahead of his time. He opened the way for the Legion of Mary. He did so at a time when the role of the lay faithful still had to struggle for full recognition. Many would say that this is still the case – that lay people have still not been given their proper place in the Church.

His genius was to translate doctrine into action. “Christ – the Head depends on His followers” he would say. “If they do not lend themselves to Him his purposes are frustrated”. Frank Duff’s favourite papal statement was that of Paul VI who said: “What I like most about the Legion is that it empowers the little people to become apostles”. I would say it empowers not just the little people – but all the people who care to try.

The Legion of Mary has no other reason for existing but to help people to reach their final destiny – to help people into Heaven - or to use the older phraseology: the salvation of souls. They are called to have Mary’s maternity of souls: to work in the spirit of Mary, in communion with her.