Sunday, September 19, 2010

Contemplations on Holy Mother Mary

As I try to ponder and understand Christ, I realize that I am not able; and then I find myself at the feet of Holy Mother Mary. And here I find something that I can understand; a place to start, to begin to learn how to love as Christ would have us love.

And then I find myself at the feet of Christ like Mary Magdalene - praying and weeping for my sins. But also praying and weeping for Christ on the Cross. And then envisioning the risen Christ and falling at his feet. "Rabbouni", master, teacher.

Is Christ alive today? Where can I go to find him? As long as we are willing to seek him, he will find us.

"[Contemporary society] is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences"
- Pope Benedict XVI in "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in truth")

Ideas have consequences; decisions have consequences. Our decisions spring from our ideas - our perception of the world. These are shaped by our philosophies and our beliefs.

Christianity is not a system of philosophy, it is a system of beliefs. It is rooted in faith. It is dogmatic in the good sense, in which its roots are unshakeable. It is non-negotiable and so it is intolerant - but in a loving way; not in a hateful way.

It is intolerant in a way that a mother loves her child unconditionally. The mother has faith in the child. She believes in the child. She will not tolerate anyone who would harm her child.

"The greatness of Christianity lies in its being hated by the world, not in its being convincing to it."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch

The world hates us because we will not turn over the child for them to do as they will. For us the child is sacred. He is God. We will not sacrifice Him to their god Moloch.

The slaughter of the Innocents is once again taking place with the millions of unborn babies who die each year. Herod is afraid. The new ruler is among us. Christ has risen. God's chosen one.

Does this make sense? Is it "convincing"? Not to those who do not believe. To them Christ is an impediment who keeps them from achieving their worldly ambitions. They worship the sun and the moon and the earth's harvest, without understanding the true source of all creation.

We Christians are the Chosen People. It is time to come out of the catacombs. A new Holy age awaits us. Our hearts must be pure; our minds filled with prayer; our eyes set upon the cross.

As we march across this bridge we must feel his real presence. Then victory will be guaranteed to be ours. (I'm picturing St. Constantine at the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 - “In this sign conquer.”)

"Do not talk Jesus Christ and set your heart on the world."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch

Pope Benedict XVI said this at the Hyde Park vigil for the beatification of John Henry Newman...
"No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, on seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father."
Pope Benedict XVI is envisioning an army of saints. He is calling us to join this army. The second coming of Christ is not a man, but many men. It is the Body of Christ on earth which is the Holy Church. As long as we remain divided, then the anti-Christ has won. A house divided cannot stand. An army divided will be easily defeated by its enemy. As Catholics, unity and obedience to the Pope is our only hope.

Like Mary who Pope Benedict XVI called "the perfect model of obedience to the divine will", we are called to listen to the angels - the messengers of God. This generation is chosen, and we may very well ask like Mary, "How can this be?"

But why not? Christianity begins with the "yes" of Mary: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." If we allow God into our hearts, what "new things" may be born into the world?


  1. This is a beautifully written post. I was quite moved by it today. I dont really have much of a comment other than to say thanks.

  2. Thanks Marty! I almost didn't publish it. I was inspired by the visit of the Pope to the UK and the enthusiastic reception he received.

    I was also thinking about Cardinal Newman and the tendency of the British to turn everything into a debate. I'm not really fond of Christian apologists that try to convince people through logical arguments. I'm thinking not only of Newman, but also C. S. Lewis. If it comes down to strictly rational arguments, then I think the atheists and agnostics easily win.

    It's hard to argue logically for the existence of a spiritual world since there is no scientific experiment that can be done to prove its existence. But who hasn't experienced something in their lives that goes beyond the ability of science to explain, and seems to be caused by spiritual forces that are beyond our abilities to understand?

    Part of what we must accept about God is that He is inconceivable to us. We remain forever trapped in Time, and perceive just a small sliver of God's creation as we make our way along our life-journey here on earth.

  3. Hello Baba!

    Thank you for sharing all these articles and thoughts with us, it inspires me and helps me to no forget what is essential.

    I liked this quote once again,

    "Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person."

    What he calls "the culture of life and love" is everything that God is for our lives, and that makes me happy to be honest.

    It's true that atheists can convince people using their statements as logic. Nevertheless, scientists have no been capable to prove the non existence of God. I personally believe that the more you study the universe, or even the human body you can see the God´s creation in it.

  4. Hi Ride! It's always exciting to hear from you. Yes that's a great quote from our Pope. I hope there are some non-Catholics that read this and gain a new appreciation for the Pope and the Catholic Church.

    Pope John Paul II had a famous quote about the "culture of death", referring to abortion and euthanasia. (And also I think the general moral decadence of society that does not value the dignity of each and every person.) Pope Benedict XVI is offering an alternative vision (which he shared with John Paul II) - a "culture of life and love" with "respect and dignity" for each and every child of God.


    I was reading "City of God" by St. Augustine today. Here are some quotes about the human body and the universe. Keep in mind that this was written in the 5th century A.D.

    "Moreover, even in the body, though it dies like that of the beasts, and is in many ways weaker than theirs, what goodness of God, what providence of the great Creator, is apparent! The organs of sense and the rest of the members, are not they so placed, the appearance, and form, and stature of the body as a whole, is it not so fashioned, as to indicate that it was made for the service of a reasonable soul? Man has not been created stooping towards the earth, like the irrational animals; but his bodily form, erect and looking heavenwards, admonishes him to mind the things that are above. Then the marvellous nimbleness which has been given to the tongue and the hands, fitting them to speak, and write, and execute so many duties, and practise so many arts, does it not prove the excellence of the soul for which such an assistant was provided? And even apart from its adaptation to the work required of it, there is such a symmetry in its various parts, and so beautiful a proportion maintained, that one is at a loss to decide whether, in creating the body, greater regard was paid to utility or to beauty. Assuredly no part of the body has been created for the sake of utility which does not also contribute something to its beauty."
    "How can I tell of the rest of creation, with all its beauty and utility, which the divine goodness has given to man to please his eye and serve his purposes, condemned though he is, and hurled into these labors and miseries? Shall I speak of the manifold and various loveliness of sky, and earth, and sea; of the plentiful supply and wonderful qualities of the light; of sun, moon, and stars; of the shade of trees; of the colors and perfume of flowers; of the multitude of birds, all differing in plumage and in song; of the variety of animals, of which the smallest in size are often the most wonderful—the works of ants and bees astonishing us more than the huge bodies of whales? Shall I speak of the sea, which itself is so grand a spectacle... Who can enumerate all the blessings we enjoy?"