Monday, January 3, 2011

God among us

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John 1:10-14

Our Lady of Grace
Zoë Labouré was born on May 2, 1806 at Fain-les-moustiers, As child she had consecrated herself to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Her mother died when she was eight, and when her elder sister, Louisa, left home to become a Sister of Charity, the duties of housekeeper and helper to her father fell upon her. When her mother died she chose the Blessed Virgin for her mother, and when she was about 14 or so she heard a call to the religious life. After some opposition from her father, she was allowed to join the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul in Paris, France in 1830 becoming Sr. Catherine Labouré.

Here, St. Catherine describes the second apparition of Our Lady to her:

On November 27, 1830, the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent, at 5:30 P.M., while I was making my Meditation in deep silence, I seemed to hear a sound, like the rustling of a silk dress.

Turning my eyes in that direction, I saw the Blessed Virgin near the picture of St. Joseph. She was well proportioned and so beautiful that I could not describe Her.

She was standing, and her robe was the color of the dawn, high at the neck, and plain sleeves. On Her head She had a white veil, which fell down on each side to Her feet. Her hair was parted in front and confined in a sort of coif, trimmed with a narrow crochet lace. Her face was quite uncovered, and Her feet were resting on a globe, of which about half was visible.

Her hands were raised up to the height of Her girdle, in a graceful posture, holding another globe, which She seemed to press to Her Heart. Her eyes were turned to Heaven, and Her countenance was most beautiful.

All of a sudden the globe disappeared from her hands, and her fingers were filled with rings with most precious gems. From these, rays of light went forth to all sides, enveloping Her in such splendor that one could see neither Her feet nor Her robe.

As I was absorbed in contemplating the Blessed Virgin, She lowered Her eyes to me, and said: "The globe which you see" (I understood Her to mean the one She had beneath Her feet) "represents the world, especially France, and every single person." And then She added: "The rays are the symbol of the graces I shed on those who ask Me for them."

This year I have asked the Virgin Mary to become more than an intercessor for me. You see I have come to realize that I need a spiritual director. The problem is that I don't even really know what that means or what  I should be looking for. So for the time being I have asked Mary to be my spiritual director.

Her first requirement of me is that I spend time daily with her so that she can properly guide me in my spiritual life. So I made a New Year's resolution to start my day off in meditation with her. She is providing me guidance through her very own spiritual exercise which is the Rosary.

Here she shares with me the wonders of her life spent in the presence of her Son Jesus. She tells me of His birth, life, death and resurrection. She tells me about the appearance of the archangel Gabriel. The coming of the shepherds and the Three Wise Men. The baptism of Jesus by John. The time that the young child Jesus was lost in Jerusalem and she and Joseph found Him in the Temple.

Mother Mary describes to me her visitation to Elizabeth who had miraculously conceived a child at an old age. She describes the events around the presentation of Jesus at the Temple as a baby. How Simeon predicted that her soul would be pierced by a sword, and how she wondered about what that could mean.

She described the wedding at Cana when she told Jesus that they had run out of wine. And how Jesus miraculously turned the water into wine.

She described the immense sorrow that she felt when Jesus was condemned to death and was taken before Pontius Pilate. And how she watched in horror as her Son was first beaten mercilessly to the point of death and then forced to carry His own cross up the hill to Calvary. And how she stood and wept at His feet along with the other women. And then how they had to quickly bury Him before the arrival of the Sabbath.

And then she received the news from Mary Magdalene that she had seen Jesus and that He was not dead after all. But that He had risen as He had promised. And how she was overcome with joy at the news of His resurrection.

And how she in the company of the other disciple of Jesus had prayed for the arrival of the Holy spirit for nine days. And how when the Holy Spirit descended upon them they began to speak in tongues. And some in the crowd thought that they were drunk, but Peter explained that this was a form of intoxication that came from God.

And how when she died she was granted her wish to be carried bodily up into Heaven to be with her Son. And how God and the angels crowned her Queen of Heaven.

All of this she told me and much more. So that I could understand that her Son was truly God among us, Immanuel. And so that I could understand His personal message for my life.

The Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Birth of Our Lord
The Presentation of Our Lord
The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord

The Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection
The Ascension
The Coming of the Holy Ghost
The Assumption of our Blessed Mother into Heaven
The Coronation of our Blessed Mother

The Luminous Mysteries

The Baptism in the Jordan
The Wedding at Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
The Transfiguration
The Institution of the Eucharist

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