Friday, March 19, 2010

Sshhhh--Staying Hidden and Humble with Joseph

Today is a good day to reflect on the value of hidden virtue. To be of inestimable value to God, our deeds, restraints, thoughts and prayers do not have to be known to all and sundry--indeed they do not need to be known by anyone but God. I think that, except for God's own decision to have deeds and personages known by others for the sake of His Glory and the salvation of souls, that virtue is best brewed in secret.

We receive no word that Mary made known the merits of her case to Joseph; rather, God saw to it that an angel took care of that matter.

As for himself, in Sacred Scripture, St. Joseph remains mute. He speaks to us through the faithfulness of his actions. The just man lived a hidden and humble life, a life of poverty and labor.

In my pursuit of humility, I can think of no greater advocate before Jesus, Save Mary herself.

Our Holy Mother, St. Teresa said we should learn to be able to suffer a bit for the Lord without the whole world knowing about it. Another great Carmelite, Saint Teresa Margaret Redi, prayed faithfully for the grace to remain hidden in her whole life, so that none would remark on her. And of course, we have the example of St. Therese's "little way", in which remaining hidden can be so great a help.

Saint Joseph, help me to take profit from every opportunity to learn to enjoy being hidden and humble. Let me not squander any chance to profit from the Graces that your Divine Son grants me! O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, I beg you to make my heart like unto thine!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Anglican Ordinariate

Damian Thompson's column in the Telegraph  gives  us an excellent overview of this personal use Ordinariate, provided by Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, the delegate of the Ausralian Catholic Bishop's Conference to the project of establishing the Personal Ordinariate in Australia.   The quoted text provides a concise explanation of the varieties of ordinariate, as well.

Laying Down Self

"Nearly every family and household have mental peculiarities of their own, which others recognize and appreciate far more distinctly than themselves. The same is true of religious communities, of large cities, and finally of nations themselves. In this peculiarity we shall for the most part find that the weaknesses and unworthinesses of our character entrench themselves."

I found this quote at one of my yahoo groups, Catholic Retreats .  It is apparently from a book titled At the Foot of the Cross, the First Dolor, Part 13.

This struck me to the heart.  It is so very true that in our peculiarities reside our weaknesses, or our "miseries", as St. Faustina would put it.  These are the very things which constitute misery and weakness itself--because they belong to "me", not to Jesus Christ.

I must decrease so that He may increase.  This is the very thing that is so hard for us, because we must give up our sense of entitlement, that is so entrenched in Western culture.  Its all about me, baby; all about me.  What is mine, peculiarly mine--my "rights", emotions, preferences.  We perceive we have a "right " to these, when in fact, nothing could be further from the Truth.

Our rights and our freedoms consist in the right to love and be in right relationship with God--lover to Lover, child to Parent, servant to master.  This Lent I am engaged in a fierce struggle to lay "I, Me and Mine" at the foot of the Cross.

Not my will but Thine be done, Father

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Halfway Through Lent

Well, we are about halfway through Lent. I have spent some time this morning looking at what I have undertaken so far, and my results are mixed. As one might expect, I have done the best with those things to which I am more naturally attracted, and the worst with things that are the greatest struggle for me. To wit, MBM (My Big Mouth).

I have not been entirely unsuccessful but I can do better. I would also like to be more abstemious with certain things than I am at present, more in line with my original resolve.

Putting on the full armor of the Lord, I journey forth again today to my small world to do spiritual battle. I take heart from the antiphon for midday prayer throughout Lent:

"As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the sinner to die, but to turn back to me and live!"

Turning, turning, turning.