Monday, February 27, 2006

Meditation on the Fiat

"Mary, by whose Fiat the Son of God came into the world, pray for us."

The first day of the retreat we were told to draw a piece of paper from an envelope. Each paper contained one line from a litany (I do not know which one). We were then told to pray about this line to determine what the Lord was trying to say to us through it. I drew the line above and below are the notes I made while meditating over it. I was going to rewrite this or just try to summarize it, but I feel the Lord wishes me to give the more or less raw notes (I have edited them to correct for times when my mind jumped ahead of the pen).

Why did the Lord give me this piece? What is He trying to say to me?

What is the Fiat?
- "Let it be done unto me according to thy Word."
- It was her total unconditional acceptance of God's will in her life. She opened her heart, body, life... her entire being up to God. She nourished Him with her life. She accepted His Will, not knowing what would come of it. Not understanding fully how it would come about. Trusting the Lord would guide her when she needed it.

By this acceptance the Son of God came to earth
- She opened her body to His Will, carrying within her the Son of God. She nourished Him, giving her body and blood to Him so that He might one day do the same for us. Nourished Him that He might nourish us.

And we ask this blessed woman to pray for us.
- For it is through her that all graces come. For she brought Christ into the world and brings Him again to us this day. And by honoring her she in turn brings us back to Him.

Oh most blessed Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us.

When I started this I felt it was reminding me to always be doing God's will. To constantly say "yes" to Him, yet there is another meaning for me. Many years ago I was 'attacked' by Bible Christians and, although their attacks against the Catholic faith eventually strengthened me, I was never able to overcome their attacks against Mary. I understood the Catholic position to be right, but I felt awkward honoring her. I feared giving too much to her and not enough to Christ. I've now realize that this isn't possible, for by honoring her we honor Christ. Looking upon the beauty of the gold tabernacle before me I realized that as I must gaze through the glass to see Christ in this physical one, so must I also gaze through Mary, an even more perfect tabernacle, to see Christ. As the ornate gold reminds me of how precious it's contents are, so Mary's purity and grace point back towards her Son.

It has become clear how much I've neglected her over the years. Afraid of insulting our Lord I turned and insulted his mother, the one who brought Him into the world. Finally, by insulting her it turned my heart away from Christ. I've forgotten how precious the Eucharist is, abandoning Him when I should have been serving Him more closely. By turning my back on His mother, I turned my back on Christ.

Is it any wonder I fail to make daily Mass? Any wonder that I rarely make Adoration? Any wonder that, as I gaze upon this tabernacle, I only see a piece of bread? I know it is more, yet I cannot feel it. If I cannot see Christ through Mary because I refuse to look, is it any wonder that I now cannot see Him present through the glass and gold in the small wheat wafer?

Oh Lord how my heart breaks, why have I allowed this to happen? Perhaps You've allowed this so that I might turn again to You and see You afresh. For it was by being challenged in my faith that I learned it's truths and by running from this truth that You've brought me back again.

Oh Mary, blessed mother of our Lord and Savior, help me to see your Son in the Eucharist as I've not allowed myself to see Him before. Teach me to adore Him with all my heart, guide me to Him as I learn to honor you. Mary, by whose fiat the Son of God came into the world, pray for me.

SMME Retreat

So, I went to the retreat at SMME and it was an amazing weekend. Within the first 12 hours I gained a most valuable lesson, a lesson in humility. This lesson opened my heart to see another important lesson. I will speak of the first today, and another day write of the other, for I've yet to figure out how to word it.

Living and working where I do, it seems most of the people I have contact with on a daily basis are very non-religious (though often not flat out atheist). Seeing their lives I've developed the mistaken belief that I'm somehow very pious and religious. I knew that this was wrong, but I still felt it.

Upon arriving at the retreat I immediately met young women who were by far more advanced in their spiritual lives. Women who considered daily mass something they wouldn't think of skipping due to a messy schedule. Who considered saying the rosary as a life line and said it daily, not just when it was "convenient". Who went to adoration and confession more than just once a month. Seeing their devotions I felt very inadequate and realized just how far behind I am in my spiritual life.

Over the weekend I thought about this and considered why it was wrong to always compare myself to others. I realize now that when you are able to see your sins clearly and know what you are supposed to be doing, it's all the more important to do it. Those in darkness (like my agnostic friends) think they are ok. Although they might know deep down what they should be doing it's a vague knowledge. Saints, on the other hand, know exactly what they are to be doing (or fail to do) and, because they know, are required to live accordingly. Since each persons knowledge is different, they will be judged accordingly.

Since I'll never know another's heart, I can never say I'm doing "better than" or "worse than" him. I can only look at my life and consider where I stand and what I know I should be doing and after this weekend I know there are many changes that need to be made.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Guided by the Spirit

The Holy Spirit will work in the least expected ways, sometimes all you'll have to do is take those first steps...

First a little background, it's next to impossible for me to go up and introduce myself to someone new, even going up to people I know can be a challenge at times. Once I get to know really really well, I'm usually fine, but before then I get very nervous and almost always back down.

Last year I was going through some rough times and was very depressed. One week after Sunday Mass I felt a strong urge to talk with someone and was going to try pulling a priest aside; however, as mentioned above, I couldn't quite pull this off and ended up walking out of the Church. As I was walking home the little nagging voice only got worse; I felt that I must turn around and talk with someone. About a half mile out I basically threw up my hands and said "Fine, I'll head back, but I bet no one is there anymore!"

I turned around and headed back to the church and, as predicted, the priests had already left; however, this was the same week that the novitiate friars were visiting the parish. They were gathered in the foyer preparing to take a walking tour of the town and I stood off to the side debating going up and talking to them. I had no clue what I would say, but I still had this powerful voice inside me telling me to talk. Alas, although this voice got me back to the church, it couldn't get me to speak up, I'd gone completely tharn. After what seemed like an eternity one of the brothers walked over and asked if I was ok. I mentioned needing to talk to someone and he immediately changed his plans and pulled me aside. We talked for about three hours and it was during this talk that he mentioned the religious life. At that time I felt it would be running away and promptly dismissed it.

At the time I realized that it was a blessing, but I had no idea of how great. Over the last year we've kept in contact on and off and he's been the most wonderful help. Often he would send an email right when I needed it the most, sometimes with nothing more than his thoughts about life. For example, right before Christmas, when I'd been seriously discerning for a while, but not told him, he sent a letter with this thoughts on his discernment process. Something in it just clicked at the time and helped me to move forward and contact a priest.

So I suppose the moral is that the Holy Spirit will work wonders, you only have to take the first, sometimes painful, steps. I felt that going back to the church that day was like walking into a firing range and once I got there talking was out of the question. But all I had to do was get there, once there the Spirit worked in the heart of this brother and has been continuing to work through him ever since!