Advent: Walk with Mary to Jesus

Posted by: Zealoussheep

The glorious season of Advent is approaching. The superabundance of graces poured forth for us in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ are so vast! We are invited to make ready our hearts and dispose them for his coming. I invite you to consider during the next three weeks some ways to intentionally seek the disposition of heart that will allow Christ’s coming to bear fruit in our souls. Then, come November 30th, I invite you to put those intentional plans into action out of love for your humble Redeemer. Then, as the great drama comes to its pinnacle in the late evening hours of December 24th, not only will you find yourself immersed in festive lights, colors and attire, but you will also find that His LIFE has been born in you in more plentiful ways than ever before.

I will share one of my plans and invite you to journey with me. I intend to walk with Mary to Christmas. Why? Because Mary is the preeminent model of a perfectly disposed heart!

And who was the best disposed for the coming of the Word to earth? Without any doubt, it was the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the moment when the Word came into this world, He found Mary’s heart perfectly prepared, and capable of receiving the Divine riches which He willed to heap upon her. – Christ in His Mysteries, Abbot Marmion, O.S.

I can’t think of anyone better to assist me in preparing my heart than Mary! To facilitate this journey, I plan to reread Walking With Mary by Dr. Edward Sri this Advent.

Walking-with-Mary

This book is one that I can see myself reading over and over again because of its spiritual riches and the light it pours into crevices of Mary’s life I had not previously considered. Join me! Let’s walk together with Mary toward her Son this Advent. May our hearts be tilled soil, readied to receive the Word of Life as Mary did in Nazareth.

Immeasurable Inspiration

“The Word of God is alive and active” says the writer to the Hebrews (Heb 4:12).  Each word.  Each and every word of the Holy Bible is infinitely rich and measurelessly (yes, it’s ok to make up words when normal words don’t work!) marvelous!

I just read one verse from the Song of Songs… a passage that might not seem all that great at first glance:

“My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.” (Song 1:14)

Would you say that about your beloved?  Maybe not.  We might say something like: “My Beloved for me is the sunrise after the rain.”  That’s poetic, and kind of nice.  But this passage from the first chapter of the Song of Songs may not seem to do much for a person.  It’s not as bad as some of the genealogies of the Old Testament, or the laws of Leviticus, but there just isn’t much there, is there?  THERE IS!!!

I read the following simple exposition and my heart leaped.  My soul surged.  My mind was lifted to the Heavens.  My desire for God increased.  My love for Jesus blossomed.  But that verse didn’t mean that much… or did it?  Take a read.  Read it out loud, slowly, as one would speak of a great love in one’s life.  And this is of the greatest Love…

The enamored soul being purified
now forgets the bitterness of the myrrh
so as to think only of the beauty of the Spouse Who she now can see,
or in some way or other feel, and contemplate with ineffable pleasure;
thus she exclaims: My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire
a flower extremely beautiful, sweet-smelling and valuable.
It is as though she were to say:
if in the mysteries of Your passion and death You were for me a bundle of very bitter myrrh,
this bitterness has been changed into ineffable sweetness
as You bring me to participate in the mysteries of Your Resurrection,
as You reveal Yourself to me in Your joys and triumphs,
in Your glorious Ascension,
in the communication of Your Holy Spirit with His inestimable graces and sweet scents of life,
and in the daily partaking of Your Chalice full of the mystical wine of Engedi
with which You delight our hearts,
and cleanse and beautify us with Your very blood.
“If you have already lamented your sins,” says St. Bernard,
“then taste the bitterness of myrrh;
but if you now feel within you the effects of a new life
it is a sign that bitterness has changed into sweetness for you…”
(Juan Arintero: The Song of Songs)

Every word of the Divine Text is filled with immeasurable inspiration.  Happy reading! Everyday!

What is Simplicity?

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I’ve written in previous posts about simplicity and how it can assist us in remembering our mission to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, but I didn’t really offer a definition of simplicity. It’s a tough word to define, especially when seeking to satisfy the masses. I’ve had several conversations with the EvangelicalDisciple concerning the topic and we have yet to nail down a good definition of it. Well, I have good news for everyone: I think I have found a good definition!

St. Francis de Sales (whom I quoted last week) offers this:

Well, simplicity is nothing else than an act of pure and simple charity, having only one end, which is to acquire the love of God; and our soul is simple when we have no other aim in all that we do or desire.

To break open his definition, he brings into the discussion the example of Martha and Mary as they welcomed the Lord into their home. Mary was the one who understood simplicity, for she looked straight to God, without ever allowing any self-interest to creep into her motives for sitting at the feet of Jesus. Martha, meanwhile, was so focused on herself that she became anxious and weighed down by her work. Her life had become so self-interested that she lost all freedom to rest with Jesus.

rest

Consider the ramifications of what life might look like for one devoted to living a life solely founded on the virtue of simplicity: no more little indulgences after consuming enough food and drink, no more excessive TV watching, spending, hoarding… no more excess at all. What else might it entail? Well, resting on Sundays, spending more time in the peace and quiet of prayer, striving for holiness and inviting others to do the same, encountering great joy in detachment from self, realizing you don’t have to defeat Satan because Jesus already did it, calmness of spirit and freedom from anxiety. The pros outweigh the cons.

If you’re interested in living a life of true simplicity, ask yourself:

Do I want serve this person because I want to look good in the eyes of others, or because I want to show him/her God’s love?

Do I want to buy this car because it looks a certain way, or because it will help me glorify God?

Do I want to grow a good garden so I can show it off to my friends, or because a good garden will nourish me and remind me to thank God for my health, and beautiful flowers will remind me of all that God created?

Do I exercise only because it makes me look better to other people, or because I can serve God better with a healthy body?

Do I want to fast today because my friends might notice and think I’m a holy person, or because it will remind me of my soul’s hunger for God’s grace?

Am I focused on myself, or on God and his glory?

Do I think only of myself and how I look in the eyes of others, or do I think only of God and his love for his people?

Do I pray only because it makes me feel good, or because God deserves my worship, reverence, and love? Do I stop praying when the good feelings vanish, or do I persevere even through the times when I can’t feel God’s presence?

Ask yourself these questions – and similar questions about things that better relate to your life – frequently. Live a reflected life so you don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Be simple.

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