What the Rosary Gives You The World Cannot Take Away

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.  My last few posts where political in nature and that is an area I try not to spend too much time writing about.  There are much better sources for political news and commentary.  And honestly, writing about current events through a Catholic lens is flat out depressing because it seems like everything our world holds dear is an attack on Catholic values.  So let’s get back to something more hopeful — spiritual fitness through rosary prayer!

I saved this article and filed it under “I should write a RosaryMeds article on this some day.”  The article is almost a year old, but it’s still very relevant.  This short video talks about the health benefits of meditation, something I’ve written about before.  I very much consider praying, particularly praying the rosary, a form of meditation.  In fact, I think you aren’t getting the most out of the rosary unless you are treating it as a form of meditation.  Otherwise, you may fall into auto pilot mode or what the Bible calls meaningless repetition (Matthew 6:7).  It looks like medicine and psychology are verifying what people who practice their faith have known for a long time — your body benefits from meditation.  I’m going to go one step further and say that your body and soul needs prayer!

I’ve attended happiness seminars that echo the same sentiment as this video.  Your situation partly determines your health and overall happiness.  But a lot of your well being comes down to you making the choice to strive to be happy and healthy regardless of the situation.  I know many people who say they would only be happy if [insert some event or condition].  In other words, they’re saying “I’ll be happy when my world is perfect.”  The problem with that type of thought is that you are moving happiness from something you control to circumstances you cannot control.  And unfortunately, our world has a lousy track record of producing an environment that fosters happiness.

Part of the reason why our world can’t make people truly happy is because our societies throughout history have focused more on trying to acquire happiness through physical means.  This may mean the acquisition of basic comforts to personal wealth and luxuries.  Many centuries ago it was just about staying alive where a good day was a day without a viking invasion.  Now it’s about having a home theater, a fast smartphone, and a reliable car.  Regardless of the time period, so much of that is determined by factors outside your control — where you’re born, what opportunities you’ve had, your genetic makeup, etc.  But not only that, but the happiness that is dictated by your circumstances is always fleeting because the world can (and probably will) change on you.

And that’s where we get back to rosary prayer and meditation.  The rosary isn’t about getting something temporary or something that can be taken away arbitrarily.  It is more about training your mind, body, and soul to realize everything you already have that God has given you.  God has freely given you many gifts through his grace but you have to slow down to take stock in what you have.  God has given you strength just as he gave Mary strength to be the Mother of God as seen in the First and Second Joyful Mysteries.  God provides you guidance as seen in the Third and Fourth Glorious Mysteries.  God has given you a sense of purpose and a mission as seen in the Second Glorious Mystery.  Pick any rosary mystery and you will see that God has already given you a tool for true and eternal happiness.

Saint Padre Pio stated:
Saint Padre Pio stated: “Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him”. The Rosary: A Path Into Prayer by Liz Kelly 2004 ISBN 082942024X pages 79 and 86 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stop looking for happiness in all the wrong places.  Stop waiting for your world to be perfect (or at least comfortable) to start working on being happy.  True happiness starts and ends with you forming a relationship with Jesus.  And rosary prayer is one of the best ways to foster and grow that relationship.

Need some help?  Try praying the rosary with the help of the free RosaryMeds ebook, The 44th Rose.

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Book Review: Truth and Life Dramatized Audio Bible

Have you ever said to yourself that one day you would read the entire Bible?  And yet, the Bible never seems to make it to the top of your reading list.  After all, you have so many other books, magazines, blogs, websites, and newspapers to get through like RosaryMeds (hint, hint).  So who has time to read the Bible?  Well, now you have no excuses to avoid going through at least part of it.  You can listen to the Truth and Life Dramatized Audio Bible which covers the entire RSV-CE New Testament.

I listened to this audio Bible driving home from work over the course of three months.  Unlike hearing small, isolated passages during Mass on Sundays, I really got the “full picture” hearing the New Testament for a longer period of time and in order.  I definitely noticed the differences in tone and meaning between the various Gospel writers as well as the various letters.  And unlike the slow, monotone pace the readings are often read during Mass, the passages in the Truth and Life Audio Bible are acted out and accompanied with music and sound effects which really makes the New Testament come alive.

The only shortcoming of an audio Bible compared to a written one is that there are no footnotes or commentary to go along with it.  It’s not very convenient to stop the audio and look up the meaning of phrases, places, and people.  Perhaps listening to the audio Bible while following along with a study Bible would be the best way to approach this if you are really interested in gaining a deeper understanding.  But even if you do not understand every detail, listening to the Bible in full is a good way of absorbing the overall themes of the New Testament.

The Truth and Life Dramatized Audio Bible is about 22 hours long.  You will finish it in less than a month if you listen an hour a day.  Is that a little too optimistic?  How about listening for 30 minutes each day?  Even if you took some days off between readings you would still complete it in about two or three months.  You could make it part of family time where you all sit around the iPod and listen to the Bible (like a modern-day radio program).  Listen to it while going on walk or jog.  Listen to it during your normal prayer time to shake up your routine a little bit.  Listen to it on your commute to work like I did (prayed the rosary while going, listened to the Bible coming back home).  Regardless of how you listen to it, you will be able to check the New Testament off your reading list in now time.

Buy the Truth and Life Audio Bible now on Amazon.

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It Will Get Ugly in November

I have a feeling this year’s presidential election is going to get much uglier than in years past.  Politics has always been a dirty business, but lately everyone seems to act so much more “unhinged.”  People are expressing the slightest disagreements with such high levels of vitriol and anger.  Looking at some peoples’ reactions, supporting traditional marriage or Paul Ryan‘s budget proposal isn’t just a difference of opinion, but more akin to supporting a holocaust or war crime.  In case you forgot, here are some of the issues that will bring about an unprecedented level of conflict leading up to the November vote:

  • Class warfare (Occupy movement, the 99% vs 1%, taxing the rich, more entitlements, etc.)
  • Financial warfare (budgets, deficits, defaults, socialism vs. capitalism, etc.)
  • Armed conflicts (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, global terrorism, etc.)
  • Government expansion (Obamacare, HHS mandate, nanny laws, greater police surveillance, etc.)
  • Social issues (the poor, gay marriage, identity politics, etc.)
  • Religious freedom threats (HHS mandate, freedom of “worship”, abortion funding through Planned Parenthood, etc.)

And those are just some of the real issues.  We will also fight through accusations of racism, bigotry, and intolerance for any criticism of the Obama administration, media bias, and all the “fakeraversies” and “outrage du jour” that people cook up.  This election will be a perfect storm of important, country-changing issues mixed with just plain craziness.  If you remember back to Obama’s first months as president, the biggest controversy back then was him authorizing federal funds for embryonic stems cell research.  Compared to what is on the table this election, that ethical breach seems like small potatoes now.

I came across this article after hearing about it on Immaculate Heart Radio.  It’s titled “10 Ways Catholic Voters Will Be Misled” and is worth a glance.  It breaks down how the various political groups, the Obama administration, and the media will spin various issues to either tug at the Catholic voters’ heartstrings or attack and dismiss the Catholic position on certain topics.  For example, here is one way Catholic voters will be misled:

“Progressive” Catholic groups will produce polling that supposedly shows Catholics disagree with Church teaching on the sanctity of life and marriage, implying those who agree are in the minority and “behind the times.”

We hear this sentiment all the time whether it be from Nancy Pelosi, Katherine Sibelius, or the Georgetown University administration.  The attacks are only going to get stronger and more aggressive as we get closer to November.  And they won’t magically disappear regardless of the election’s outcome.  Unfortunately, Catholics are going to have to bunker down for a war we will probably fight for our entire lives.  We will experience some glorious wins and some agonizing defeats.  But it’s important that we keep up the fight for what is good, just, and right.

These political battles remind me of the Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation in the Temple.  Remember, St. Simeon waited and prayed in the temple his entire life before finally meeting the baby Jesus.  His life was probably full of frustration as people probably mocked him and what they saw as a sad waste of time.  But he endured and eventually had his victory when he laid his eyes on Jesus.  We should remember the strength and endurance St. Simeon showed when we feel crushed by political forces that seem unstoppable.  Defending our faith will eventually lead to happiness.  It may not be a happiness this world can offer and to many, it may look like we’re wasting our time living Catholic values.  But we will find happiness in God’s heavenly kingdom where we will find our true victory.

Catholic Cross Jesus

When thinking about defending the Catholic faith in the voting booths this November, I’m also reminded of the lessons from the Fourth Glorious Mystery — Mary’s Assumption into Heaven.  We must remember that Mary and the saints are our guides who help us navigate life’s obstacles by showing us the path God puts before us.  Mary has given many messages throughout history.  One theme she keeps repeating is the importance of knowing the faith.  After all, how can we live and defend the faith and love God if we do not know Him?  That is why it is so important to learn the Church’s teachings on various issues so you won’t be misled by those who try to use your faith for their poltical advantage.  Read the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Listen to Catholic radio.  And most importantly, open your heart and mind in prayer to listen to the guidance of Mary and the saints (need help?  Buy my book on Amazon).  Our battles will not end at the polls in November, but with the help of the Church and the power of our faith we can endure whatever craziness comes our way.

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Urgent Moral Turnaround Needed!

Last week Obama declared that all health care providers must cover contraception regardless of their moral objections.  That’s it, no discussion, no conscience clauses, nothing except a token stay of execution.  Laws that reflect and respect morality are on life support and the government is looking to euthanize them.  I wish I could say that we’ve hit a crescendo on the assault of religious freedom, but unfortunately I think we are still in the initial salvos.  It’s contraception coverage today, tomorrow its mandated abortion coverage, then on to mandated abortions and who knows what else.

Is this the new face of morality?

Remember that laws reflect the morality of a civilization.  If morality played a more important role in peoples’ lives there is no way a law like this would even be considered.  For me, one of the largest problems with this contraception mandate is not that it’s a law, but that the general public doesn’t recognize or care that evil is becoming rooted in our laws.  Any civilization that makes intrinsic evils the cornerstone of its laws cannot thrive or even survive.  I’ve heard the saying, “Satan’s greatest weapon is making people believe he does not exist.”  That saying has never been more true than when intrinsic evils become the law of the land in the land of the free.

I could vent and rant about this topic for a thousand more words and look at it from a variety of angles.  I could dive into how the systematic dismantling of morality has led to a breakdown in all aspects of society whether it be education, economics, medicine, or crime.  But I’m going to leave that to other articles.  I want to focus on the central theme of RosaryMeds — discussing the need for prayer and the rosary.

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the image ...
I prefer his moral guidance

Look at the Fourth Glorious Mystery — Mary’s Assumption into HeavenGod assumed Mary into Heaven and gave her a special role — bring us closer to her son, Jesus Christ.  Over centuries, she has appeared to many people with many messages.  She asks us to have a strong faith.  In order to have a strong faith, we need to be well versed in the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church.  How else are we to love God and do His will if we never learn His will?  How do we know right from wrong if we never study it and then meditate on it?  Part of the reason laws like the contraception mandate pass is in part due to Catholics not taking a true interest in learning and then defending their faith.

I also think we should turn to the Second Joyful Mystery — The Visitation.  Prayer is good and I truly believe it has the power to change the world.  But part of its effectiveness is that we must act on what God gives us through prayer.  Mary didn’t sit on the grace God gave her in the Annunciation, but she went out into the hostile world and shared that grace with her cousin Elizabeth.  And her son, Jesus, didn’t spend all His time in meditation but instead went out in the world and converted people.  His life was a living prayer since all His actions reflected God’s power and glory.  And so, He calls us to also go out into the world, powered by the guidance of the Holy Spirit from our prayers, to convert souls.

Finally, think about the Fifth Joyful Mystery — the finding of Jesus in the Temple.  Mary and Joseph travelled for three days before realizing Jesus was not with them.  And when they did realize He was missing, they searched in sorrow before finding Him.  I believe we are in a world that has gone very far and still hasn’t realized that Jesus is missing in it.  Hopefully, one day soon, we will realize that Jesus is missing and have the courage to turn around and find Him.  Like Mary and Joseph searching for Jesus “in sorrow,” our return to God’s grace and the rebuilding of morality will not be easy.  There will be setbacks.  There will be those who will stand in our way every chance they get.  But we must have the conviction to endure and continue our arduous mission to bring Jesus’ love into this world.

It’s simple physics.  The world will stay on its course unless opposed by an opposite counter action.  It’s not like one day laws will suddenly appear that will magically turn the world into a moral place.  If we want to change the laws, we have to first start by converting souls.  It takes people like you and me, fueled by prayer, to influence others and change this world for the better.  Without moral people speaking up, this world will continue on its course.  And if you think things are bad now, just wait and see where we go if we sit on our hands.  That’s all I can say for now or else my blood pressure will shoot through the roof.  But believe me, I will revisit this topic and do what I can to fight the further legalization of intrinsic evils.

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Would Jesus Occupy Wall Street?

Young protester at the Occupy Wall Street prot...
Image by Caroline Schiff Photography via Flickr

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests occupy a lot of news headlines.  Society appears to be split on the morality of the movement.  Is it a protest to give a voice to the little guy or is it a leftist, socialist power grab?  Is it a fight against corporate greed or a fight for larger government control?  One question that keeps popping up is, “What would Jesus think of Occupy Wall Street?”  There are several articles that ponder that question.  Personally, I think many people are just playing the “Jesus card” to drum up support from religious groups by showing their cause has God’s “seal of approval.”  But let’s suppose that this question was asked in all seriousness.  What would Jesus say about the Wall Street protests?

Trying to play the “Jesus card” to support political views is as old as Jesus Himself.  The first people to ask, “What would Jesus do?” were the pharisees and they had the privilege of asking Jesus directly.  But much like our modern day politicians and special interest groups, the pharisees were not looking to learn from what Jesus had to say but merely wanted something they could twist around to suit their already-established views.  They played the original “gotcha politics.”  In the Gospel of Matthew, the pharisees tried to trap Jesus on the topic of taxes (some things never change).  They asked:

Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”  Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”  Then they handed him the Roman coin.  He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”  They replied, “Caesar’s.”  At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”  When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.  (Matthew 22:17-22)

In exchanges like this throughout the Bible, Jesus made it quite clear He did not come into this world to settle age-old political and social questions.  As much as the Jews wanted their Messiah to be a political and social leader, Jesus’ teachings and goals transcended people’s squabbles about government and finances.  His goal was to show people the true path to eternal happiness, not to reform Jewish law or fight the Romans.  That path resides in individuals following Jesus’ teachings and making an effort to live in God’s grace.  The laws will always be imperfect and cannot cover the complete moral spectrum because they are made by humans who are inherently imperfect.  We will never achieve perfection through the law alone.  Jesus knew that and that is why He focused on showing how we, as individuals, can find true happiness with Him in Heaven.  In other words, Jesus taught that salvation is not gained by trying to perfect our laws, rather it is gained in trying to perfect our souls.

the Gospel of Matthew
Image by humberpike via Flickr

There are many people in this world who think we can legislate our way into a perfect world.  If we can just enforce the right set of rules then everyone will have just the right amount of happiness.  Would Jesus be in favor of this type of legislative chemistry?  Again, look at the Bible and all the Jewish laws Jesus and His disciples broke.  He healed people (aka worked) on the Sabbath, did not fast, and did not wash His hands before eating.  Jesus did this to point out the incompleteness of the law.  He wanted to show people that it was far more important to act out of a love for God than just blindly following rules.  Jesus came to teach us to understand what is good and what is wrong and choose to do good on our own free will instead of coerced by the fear of breaking laws we don’t understand.

I think Jesus would be saddened by today’s world that tries to legislate morality blindly instead of teaching and instilling a sense of morality in people’s hearts.  To put it another way, why do we need rallies and protests demanding legislation to prevent people from lying, stealing, and cheating?  Why don’t people understand that lying and stealing are wrong and naturally try their best to avoid such behaviors?  Unfortunately, we live in a world where something is wrong because there is a law against it, instead of a world where we have laws because we know some behaviors are inherently wrong.

So imagine if Jesus was here in this world in human form today.  Like the pharisees in the Bible, people would ask Him about his views on Occupy Wall Street, Obama Care, illegal immigration, and any number of social issues.  Do you think His answers would be any different from the ones He gave nearly 2000 years ago?  My guess is that many people would walk away disappointed because Jesus probably wouldn’t weigh in on these questions or provide answers that would make great sound bites on the evening news.  Jesus would probably say that in the grand scheme of things, we don’t go to Heaven because we pass good laws.  We go to Heaven because we strive to love Jesus by being good people and avoiding evil.

That brings us to the rosary, particularly The Nativity in the Third Joyful Mystery.  Jesus came into this world in the humblest way possible.  He was not born in a royal court nor did He grow up to be a worldly leader as many thought He would.  From His birth, Jesus showed that His ways were not the world’s ways.  When we pray the Third Joyful Mystery we must remember to accept Jesus and His message for what it is and not what we want it to be.  We must remember to not act like the pharisees and try to twist Jesus’ teachings to suit our wants and desires.  We pray for Jesus’ guidance to live according to His will.  We pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in making just and moral laws but we don’t look to the law alone to find true happiness.

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Gospel for January 30, 2011 — Challenging Yourself

Image via Wikipedia

The Gospel for January 30, 2011 is from Matthew 5:1-12 most famously known as The Beatitudes or The Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus gives hope to those who feel hopeless and lost in a world that does not always seem good or fair.  He talks about how He will comfort the poor, the meek, and the persecuted in Heaven.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus proclaims the greatness and majesty of His kingdom of Heaven which is the central theme of the Third Luminous Mystery.

Jesus wants everyone to know that there is more to our existence than what we see, hear, smell, and feel.  And it does not matter how successful you are in this lifetime because you worldly successes won’t amount to anything in His kingdom.  This message is hard to fully realize since many times we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel when we suffer or make sacrifices for doing what is good and righteous.  But the entire point of praying and meditating on this rosary mystery is to ask God for the faith to see the glory of His kingdom even when it seems like our good acts have little impact in this world.

Let’s break down the Beatitudes into its core message since it is sometimes lost in Matthew’s poetic language.  If you want to live for God’s kingdom, this is what Jesus asks you to do:

  • Be devout in your faith, but do not show it off for the sake of looking holy.
  • Work towards righteousness by not being afraid to call good things good and bad things bad.
  • Be merciful, especially towards those who make life the most difficult for you.
  • Be pure of heart by avoiding sin and the near occurrences of sin.
  • Work towards peace even if it is just within your own heart.
  • Endure persecution, insults, and attacks against you for doing what is good even if the world considers it bad.

This is not easy.  No one said living for God’s kingdom would be.  But that is the point of praying the rosary; to ask for the strength and guidance to live, not for the world, but for Heaven.  I know that sometimes the Beatitudes can sound a little dry when read during Sunday Mass.  I know I sometimes zone out because I’ve heard it so many times.  But it is so important to not only know the Beatitudes, but to live them.  Ask yourself this in your prayers this week, “Am I living The Beatitudes?”  Listen to them one more time from the movie, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  It is my favorite Biblical movie because scenes like this bring life and energy to Jesus’ message that is sometimes lacking during Mass.

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Rosary Meditation — The Fourth Joyful Mystery

This rosary meditation focuses on The Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation of our Lord. In this mystery we see Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple as was the Jewish tradition. They encountered a man named Simeon whom the Holy Spirit said would not experience death until he had seen the Anointed One. Upon seeing Jesus, Simeon said “Now Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace; You have fulfilled Your word” (Luke 2:29). Simeon is an example on how our faith requires patience, endurance, and moral fortitude. While there are times when we may not feel God’s presence in our lives our faith tells us that He is always near and always hears our prayers.

La Présentation de Jésus au Temple
Image via Wikipedia

This rosary meditation focuses on The Fourth Joyful Mystery — The Presentation of our Lord.  In this mystery we see Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the temple as was the Jewish tradition.  They encountered a man named Simeon whom the Holy Spirit said would not experience death until he had seen the Anointed One.  Upon seeing Jesus, Simeon said “Now Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace; You have fulfilled Your word” (Luke 2:29).  Simeon is an example on how our faith requires patience, endurance, and moral fortitude.  While there are times when we may not feel God’s presence in our lives our faith tells us that He is always near and always hears our prayers.

I sometimes come across postings on the Catholic Answers web forums from people who feel discouraged since they do not feel close to Jesus.  They talk about how they pray, go to Mass, fast, and read the Bible and yet they do not feel the Lord’s grace.  I think we can all look to Simeon as an example that even the most just and pious need to be patient and have faith that the Lord will present Himself in the way that will ultimately lead us to Him.  However, while God desires all of us to be in His heavenly kingdom, the road is a long one fraught with temptation and sin.  But if we can hold on and remain faithful, even when it seems like God does not hear our prayers or notices our good deeds, we will be rewarded with the eternal happiness of Heaven.

Why must our faith be difficult to live at times?  Why don’t we get direct answers to our prayers from a thundering voice in the clouds?  Why must we endure such hardship and struggle?  I think Mother Teresa can help us find an answer.  In her private letters to Rev. Michael Van Der Peet she once said (as reported in this Time article):

Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand.

Here was a woman who embodied everything great about the Catholic faith and yet at times she felt distant from God’s love.  She, like Simeon, was just and pious and yet she endured periods of time when she felt a great emptiness in her heart. Kolodiejchuk, a senior Missionaries of Charity member, explains that perhaps that emptiness is what drove her to do such great work.  She never felt like her job was done or that God was prematurely rewarding her when there was still so much for her to do.  Perhaps this was God’s way of making sure that pride did not hinder her important work.  Mother Teresa still continued to do the Lord’s work and even put up a good face to others (the statements about her spiritual difficulties were not known until after her death).  And, like Simeon, her patience paid off as she is now closer to Jesus than any of us ever can be in this world.

When we meditate on the Fourth Joyful Mystery let us remember Simeon and how his faith and patience was ultimately rewarded.  We must pray for those who have fallen on the long and difficult road of faith that they get back up and have the strength to live as Jesus calls them.  Remember, God has a plan for each of us and that plan will ultimately lead us to His heavenly kingdom.  We just need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, especially in those times when it feels like God is the most distant from us.  It is those times of great hardship when Jesus presents Himself to us although it may not be in the way we expect or we may not be listening.  Remember in your prayers to not only speak to the Lord, but also allow Him to respond for He will show you the way to Him.

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Rosary Meditation — Fifth Joyful Mystery, Part 2

Last Sunday was the feast of the Holy Family. The Gospel reading was the Fifth Joyful Mystery about finding Jesus in the temple. I wrote a rosary meditation on this mystery earlier, but I had another thought as I was listening to it at Mass that I wanted to share.

Holy Family, Mary, Joseph, and child Jesus
Image via Wikipedia

Last Sunday was the feast of the Holy Family.  The Gospel reading was the Fifth Joyful Mystery about finding Jesus in the temple.  I wrote a rosary meditation on this mystery earlier, but I had another thought as I was listening to the Gospel at Mass that I wanted to share.

In Luke’s Gospel, after finding Jesus in the temple, Jesus said that He had to be in His Father’s house.  The Gospel then says that Mary and Joseph, “did not grasp what He said to them” (Luke 2:50).  I have a hard time understanding why Mary and Joseph were so confused by Jesus’ words.  After all, He was immaculately conceived.  An angel came to Mary saying that she was going to be the mother of God.  Choirs of angels sang at His birth.  Three wise men sought him out and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Those aren’t events that just happen to any regular human being.  So why were Mary and Joseph so confused despite the fact that they understood that Jesus was God made man?

I now realize that Mary and Joseph’s confusion is no different, in some respects, to our confusion of Jesus’ message today.  How many times does Jesus speak to us through the Mass, prayer, the Bible, and the teachings of the Church?  He may not physically appear to us, but that does not diminish His message of love, peace, and faith.  And yet, we still do not understand His teachings and struggle to live according to His will.  We still fall into temptation and sin.  We still choose to live for this earthly world and not His kingdom.  We even have the advantage of knowing of His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven and yet our actions reflect a confusion and sometimes a total lack of understanding of Jesus’ teachings.  So when the Gospel writers talk of Mary’s confusion of Jesus’ words, perhaps they are commenting more on our human condition of not understanding Jesus’ nature.

As we enter a new decade may we make a resolution to better understand Jesus’ teachings.   Let us also resolve to live and treat each other as Jesus tells us.  May we have the courage to let the Holy Spirit lead us through life’s difficult situations.  As Mary asks us repeatedly, may we make room in our hearts for Jesus through prayer, meditation, and fasting.  Finally, may this be a new decade of decades (rosary decades that is) as we resolve to pray the rosary more than ever.  Happy 2010 everyone!

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