Monday, December 17, 2012

Nativity Meditation

                Today I think of dear sweet, wise, beautiful and faithful Mary. I imagine her on the night of Jesus’  birth, wandering with Joseph and a donkey, in labor, trying to find a place to give birth to the precious babe she held in her womb. She knows in her heart that this is God’s own son so she wants to bring Him forth into the world but as they wander through the town knocking on doors, they can find no one who will welcome them. She must be thinking, “If only you knew who was to be born, you would gladly open your homes and bring out all your best linens and gifts,” but she remains silent, in pain, with these thoughts held deep in her heart. Joseph, an ever faithful servant, must also be full of worry. He tries to be brave for Mary and continues on his mission to find a place for Mary to give birth.
Finally, someone shows a glimmer of compassion and points them to a stable. It is warm and dry, it will have to do. Mary and Joseph enter in and participate in the greatest moment of connection between humanity and divinity – Christ’s birth. They are the only ones to witness it except for the animals who cannot speak to tell others of the event. In quiet humility, unannounced and without glory and honor, our dear Lord, our creator of heaven and earth, our maker of all living things, our redeemer, our savior, our dear triune God, is born into the body of a human as Jesus.
I cannot imagine what is in Mary’s heart at that moment. I cannot imagine what Joseph must be feeling. There are no trumpets blasting, no hymns of praise, no music in the stable, only the sound of a newborn babe, the snort of a humble donkey, the stomp of whatever beasts are in the stable and the shifting of hay from under their feet. There is no sweet smell of incense lifting prayers to heaven. Our Lord’s first smells are the pungent odors of the very things He created – the animals and the grasses and hays they eat. The glorious music is only heard in heaven. This was God’s perfect will and desire and Mary and Joseph thankfully participated in making this happen just as God willed it.
Lord, You chose the people You knew would be loyal and faithful to make Your will be done. Joseph was the support and help to Mary that she needed. Mary was Your perfect handmaiden who simply said, “Let it be done unto me.” Thank You Lord for showing me how to say yes to Your will through Mary’s example. Thank You Lord for showing me how Mary was able to dispel doubt and to trust in You. Thank You Lord for showing me how to be humble, not only in accepting Your will, but also by revealing to me Your ultimate humility to dwell in the body of one of Your creations, though beloved by You, but much less than how Your divine spirit exists. Thank You Lord from the depths of my soul. I give You the only gift I have to give – all of my love for You.

Baby Jesus, Keep Me Humble

                “Oh dear Lord, my God, my King, in the form of a little infant, You teach me more than anyone. You chose to reveal Yourself to us through an infant. You chose to come in the glory of the innocence and helplessness of a baby. The first impression You chose to give us of Your arrival was not in riches, glorious robes, loud trumpets and ornate displays of honor and worship; instead, it was in the quiet humility of a poor person’s birth, with nothing but the life that God the Father had granted You and the pure love of a dear mother and father chosen by God the Father. Isn’t that all we need? You give us all that we need. The rest is extra and truly unnecessary.

                “Oh baby Jesus, if only we all could remember our infancies, then maybe we would remember what to be truly grateful for and we could remember the great love that surrounds us at our entry into the world. Oh baby Jesus, all powerful and mighty, the giver of Your greatest gift – love, may that love grow in each of us; may we soak it up like a sponge and spread it everywhere to everyone. Squeeze me so that Your great love can be shared and then fill me again! Oh baby Jesus, make me humble and help me remember the things You gave me at my conception – my life and Your love.”

Dear Baby Jesus, Teach Me

                 “Oh dear baby Jesus, I fall at the foot of the manger. I see Your tiny little hands, Your sparkling eyes, Your genuine smile that only a baby can give. Oh dear baby Jesus, holding infinite power, glory and might in a fragile tiny human body, helpless and completely dependent on Your dear mother Mary. You, who created everything and everyone, must now trust in the goodness of those You created to bring You into the world, to care for You, to raise You up to a healthy young man who will go out into the very world You created and preach words that some will want to hear and follow, and many will not. Your blessed mother, whom Your Father chose from the beginning, will trust in His will and will do all that she can to make it be done, even to enduring the heart piercing agony of watching her beloved son, You, that beautiful infant in the manger, grow up to be mocked, persecuted, cruelly beaten and crucified because she knows it is the will of Your Father.

                “Oh baby Jesus, teach me to be as humble and meek as You. Teach me to trust in Your Father’s will. Teach me to trust in Your beloved mother, that she will show me how to join my heart to Your beloved Sacred Heart whom I love with all my heart, mind, body and soul. Oh baby Jesus, smiling so purely with arms outstretched, may I hold You and embrace You as the precious babe full of nothing but love for each and every one of us. Oh baby Jesus, so much awesome power contained in such fragility. I kneel at the foot of Your manger, unworthy, meek and humble but with the greatest gift I have to give – the love You have given to me. I have taken it, held it close and cultivated it. I pray that it will continually grow for You and Your precious Sacred Heart. I love You dear baby Jesus.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carrying Heavy Crosses

                “My Lord, my God, my Creator who knows everything, You know best what each of us needs on our journey to You. I think of those today whose burdens seem so heavy. I pray for them that rather than weaken under the weight of their crosses, that they can be strengthened and formed and thus shine with Your brilliant divine light of love.
                “I look at those heavily burdened people as Your chosen ones. You have selected them because they are able to stretch and grow while carrying their crosses, like Job in the Old Testament. You know their hearts and You know how beautiful they are. You know that by sending them down a path full of trials and tribulations, they will make it through with their hearts shaped and formed closer into Your image.
                “Dear Lord, Your journey as a man on earth began steeped in poverty, persecution and rejection as Mary and Joseph wandered through Bethlehem looking for a place to stay so Your dear mother could give birth to You, the Savior of the world. You could have paved the way of Your entrance into the world with honor, glory and protection but instead, You chose a path full of trials and tribulations and humbly set foot on earth through the womb of a woman in the quiet of a stable greeted only by Mary and Joseph and the beasts of burden You created to help serve Your beloved people. Your whole life was spent on the rocky path of trials and difficulties. The cross You carried at the end of Your human life was in essence, just a continuation of the cross You chose to bear throughout Your public ministry as You lovingly and patiently instructed Your people about Your Father’s will and great desire to spend eternity with all of humanity in great love. In Your awesome power, You could have delivered that message in such a way to instantly transform the hearts of all, but instead, You chose a more difficult way – You chose the cross. This is the example You have given us to follow.
                “Oh dear Lord, in Your wisdom and love, show us all how to be the people You created to dwell with You forever. May those You have chosen to carry heavy crosses see this as Your invitation to grow closer to You and to walk the path of trials and tribulations like You did. Instead of feeling burdened and reacting with sadness or anger, may they lovingly look up to You, allowing Your divine light to shine down on their faces. May they smile with joy and give You thanks for the crosses You have sent them. May they receive them with a grateful open heart, accepting the gift You send out of great love, knowing that it is exactly what that person needs at precisely that time. I pray that they can carry that cross joyfully into the blinding light You shine on their path to salvation and eternal life. Help me to see with Your eyes and to be like Veronica, wiping the faces of those carrying heavy crosses with love and compassion and a pure desire to help them make it to You.”

Marys and Marthas

                “Dear Lord, my loving Creator who made us all unique yet for the same purpose – to love You and to be loved by You, I humbly thank You for creating us with such diversity. There are Marys and Marthas in this world who love and serve You in such different yet vitally connected ways. (I am referring to Lk. 10:38-42, where he describes the sisters Mary and Martha who are entertaining Jesus in their home. Martha is working in the kitchen while her sister Mary listens to Jesus talking. Martha becomes a little frustrated that she is doing all the work while her sister listens to their guest.)
                "The Marys are those who stop everything to sit and listen, meditate and contemplate Your Word. They sit at Your feet with bright eyes and open ears, fully attentive, taking in every Word You send right to their hearts which are exposed, open and prepared to receive Your teaching. Marys don’t worry about what is going on outside of that exchange – they are focused on that moment of Your grace.
                “Marthas are the ones who make it possible for the Marys to stop everything and sit at Your feet. Marthas consider how best to prepare everyone else to receive Your Word. Marthas indirectly consider themselves in this process as well, but they are focused on creating an ideal environment, preparing the people and caring for You and those You have invited to share Your Word. Without the Marthas, the Marys would not experience Your blessings and grace as completely or purely.
                “The Marthas put everyone else first and for that I am very grateful. The Marys, so enriched, can then share these blessings and the beauty of these experiences of God’s teachings with the Marthas who have worked so hard to make this possible and for that I am very grateful.
                “Thank You Lord for the Marys and the Marthas who together, make Your presence manifest in everyone’s lives. Thank You for creating a balance of personalities in Your people so we can work together to create heaven on earth and to live out Your will in our lives as brothers and sisters united in Your name. I truly love the Marys and the Marthas as they both help us to see and hear You in our lives. Together, they complete the path to live out our purpose in life – to love You completely and to be loved completely by You.”