September 20, 2018
Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest, and Paul Chong Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Dear Family of Mary,
“…you must love a lot if you desire to grow spiritually. I know, apostles of my love, that it is not always easy, but, my children, also the painful paths are paths which lead to spiritual growth, to faith, and to my Son. My children, pray-think of my Son. In all the moments of the day, raise your soul to Him, and I will gather your prayers as flowers from the most beautiful garden and give them as a gift to my Son…” (September 2, 2018)
“…you must love a lot if you desire to grow spiritually…”
Our Lady told us that we must love a lot!! That is if we want to grow spiritually. I had never thought of it that way, but plainly put, she’s right! To grow spiritually means to become more and more like God. And that means to become more and more loving, more and more capable of love. “I know, apostles of my love, that it is not always easy, but, my children, also the painful paths are paths which lead to spiritual growth, to faith, and to my Son.“
We know it is not easy. In our fallen world there is a lot that contradicts love. Sin denies love, and makes life all about oneself. Sin is saying “no” to love and to God. And when we live in a very sinful culture, we will be contradicted if we try to love.
But Our Lady tells us that the pain of daily contradictions and rejections, of wounds and trials, will become the pathways to faith and to Jesus. The very difficulties we encounter will become helps in our growth in love. Isn’t it true? Most of the saints have trodden those paths, and turned them into beautiful walkways, surrounded to flowers. The very stuff designed to destroy us can instead make us saints, if we do these things:
“My children, pray…” We must pray as much as possible, maybe constantly. I find myself needing to say decade after decade of the Rosary during my daily tasks, just to keep myself on an even keel, and to overcome the temptations that assail me, such as worry and fear and consternation at the troubles we are in. The Rosary is not only a prayer, it is a weapon, which fends off the evil one and his torments. Now, like never before, we need to pray, non-stop!
“Think of my Son.” Instead of thinking of the latest news report of political turmoil or scandal in the Church, I need to think of Jesus. He is the safest and most comforting person to think about. Just to meditate on a Gospel story will bring us peace and perspective. Like St. Ignatius, we need to meditate on our Lord, bringing to life His story. In that way we will be elevated and encouraged. Here again, the Rosary fits the bill. Each decade introduces a facet of Jesus’ life. We can think on the mysteries and it will keep our minds on Jesus.
“In all the moments of the day, raise your soul to Him…” Wow! Now there is powerful advice. I think of the Gospel for today from Luke 7:36-50. Luke describes an encounter Jesus has with a “sinful woman” who approaches Him while He is dining with a Pharisee. The Gospel compares the woman and the Pharisee, in relation to Jesus. The Pharisee has invited Jesus to dine, in order to grill Him over matters of the law. The Pharisee is stand-offish. But the woman kneels at Jesus’ feet, washes them with her tears, dries them with her hair and anoints them with oil. She does not take her eyes of Jesus, and she says nothing. I would say she is a good example of someone who constantly raises her soul to Jesus. She worships Him, rather than hold a discussion with Him. Praying our Rosary constantly is a way to constantly worship Jesus. Through the mysteries we can pour out our thanksgiving to Him for having saved us by His life, death and resurrection. We can be like the woman who anoints His feet with her tears and oil, thanking Him for her salvation.
“And I will gather your prayers as flowers from the most beautiful garden and give them as a gift to my Son.”
Our Lady will augment our prayer, our thoughts, our worship of Jesus, with her own prayers and thoughts and worship, making them all the more beautiful. Our prayers and thoughts of Jesus, our worship of Him will be the stuff that changes the world. Indeed, the Rosary is a “Rose Garden” for Jesus. And I think that praying the Rosary, nonstop, can help us to do all those things that Our Lady suggests to us, if we want to grow spiritually!
Finally, I had a moment yesterday that spoke very loudly to me. Denis and I were lighting a candle at St. Andre Bessette’s statue at church. As we prayed, I found myself gazing at St. Andre’s right hand, in which he holds a rosary, very tightly, with his fingers on a bead. St. Andre prayed the Rosary non-stop. It was the Rosary that accomplished all His wonderful works. I felt the Holy Spirit showing me that the Rosary must be in my hand constantly, and the prayer of the Rosary constantly going on in my heart. That is how I will survive these terrible days, and indeed it will be giving to Our Lady the flowers she asked us for. “I will gather your prayers as flowers from the most beautiful garden and give them as a gift to my Son…”
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
(c)Mary TV 2018