Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent: Joyful Mondays

For Lent I am going to focus on the Mysteries of the Rosary. I plan to present one mystery each weekday until I get to the end. I will do them, hopefully, in the appropriate order on the appropriate day of the week. If I feel called to write out of order, I will give the reasons why. Here's the first installment.

The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel greets Mary by saying what became the beginning of the most repeated prayer in the Rosary, the Hail Mary. Mary's response was also made into a oft-repeated prayer, the Magnificat. Mary knew nothing except that this strange and wondrous figure suddenly appeared to her. Many stories of this mystery focus on Mary's youth, especially compared to today's women-girls. However, I think the most important thing in this mystery is that Mary was strong. She cower away from neither the awesome presence before her, nor his unbelievable message. Instead, she asked pertinent questions in a very respectful tone. At Gabriel's answer that God would overshadow her and she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, again, Mary doesn't cower. She boldly says, "Let it be done to me according to your words" Those words aren't fearful, although if I were Mary I'd have been terrified.

God's choice of Mary happened prior to her birth, at her conception. Throughout her life, of which we know little, God prepared Mary for this difficult task. However, Mary didn't know that. She just knew she was betrothed to a man, but had not yet been with him. Now suddenly she was being told by a magnificent figure that an inconceivable (I couldn't resist the pun) action was going to take place. Mary espoused a strength of Faith that God would take care of her that we should all strive to imitate.

As I said my Rosary this morning, I did not use the app on my phone that tells me the fruits of the mysteries as I usually do. Instead, I thought to myself, "This was easy, the fruit was obviously obedience to the Lord or at the very least His power over us." Let's think about it, yes, Mary was very obedient. She said "Yes" to God's overwhelming plan for her. God's power in this moment is also very obvious. After all, Mary had no intimate knowledge of a man. Yet, she was suddenly pregnant.

I was wrong about the fruit for this mystery though. According to the app, the fruit is humility. Where does humility come into play? In order to be obedient, humility is not required, but it is useful. God's power also obviously should make us humble. After all, none of us can accomplish the wonders He has wrought. However, I don't think it is necessarily her humility in obeying God or humility in the face of God's power that marks humility as this Mystery's fruit, but also her strength of character that allowed her to humbly serve the Lord in such a profound way.

Believe it or not, it takes strength to practice humility. A strong person (usually seen as successful in the world) can easily take pride (the vice of the virtue humility) in their works. That is the easy way to deal with God's blessing, ignore His hands at work and claim the products for yourself. A truly strong and humble person will always do as Mary said in her Magnificat, "magnify the Lord" through all their feats of 'strength'.

How often do we stop to think about God's choice for us? In these days, abortion takes the lives of millions of babies that had God-given effects to make on our world. Sadly, they will never see the light of day. These children's mothers did not think to consider God's plan for themselves or their unborn children. Instead they focus on the world's portrayal of strength, which is bereft of humility. The world considers these women strong for "standing up" and exercising their "rights" to "their bodies". A strong woman, these days, only places her unborn child ahead of her own needs if convenient. If not, there is a way to erase the consequences of their actions, by blotting out the "clump of cells" within their womb. The men and woman who oppose this "right" are portrayed as archaic, religious fanatics, and/or ignorant of the "freedom" of consequence-less sex.

What the world doesn't understand is that true freedom does not destroy in order to build others. As Peter Parker's grandfather says in SpiderMan, "with great strength comes great responsibility." True strength remains humble to the responsibilities for each action.

No comments:

Total Pageviews

Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

Erika's Miracle Journey Continues's Fan Box