Where did August go? Sorry for what seemed like a long vacation. But trust me, I was hard at work writing my rosary guide which always seemed to need one more revision. But the good news is that it looks like my summer surge is over and I now have some proof copies for what will hopefully be one, final round of editing.
As summer comes to an end it is time to once again get back to writing articles on RosaryMeds on a more regular basis. This year I started tieing together the Sunday Gospel reading and a rosary mystery. Now I want to take my articles in a different direction and tie the rosary mysteries to Catholic news and current events. I want to show how we can tie the lessons taught in the rosary to things we witness every day.
I’m going to start with some words of wisdom Pope Benedict XVI gave to a group of new seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He told them not to be afraid to take up their crosses and follow Jesus’ path. From the article on the Catholic News Agency:
“The Christian follows the Lord with love when he accepts his cross which in the eyes of the world appears as a defeat and a ‘loss of life’, while that man knows that he does not bear his alone but with Jesus, sharing the same path of self-giving,” the Pope said.
I think this is an important observation on how the modern world views religious life. Modern secularists look at the time Catholics spend praying, fasting, reading the Bible (ok, most of us probably come up a little short in this category), and receiving the sacraments and ask, “why?” They see us living what they would consider a pointless life instead of going out and “having fun.” Of course, questioning the path of Christ is hardly a new phenomenon. In the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery of the rosary we see Jesus’ Passion where He falls down and gets back up repeatedly only to face greater suffering. We look at Christ’s actions and ask, “why?” Why did Jesus keep getting back up knowing that his path was not getting any easier? Why did He get up when the only thing facing him was crucifixion?
Jesus continued out of love for us and a resolve to follow the path God laid before Him. While Jesus pleaded with God in the Garden of Gesthemene to find an easier route, Jesus also acknowledged that He would do whatever God deemed necessary. God chose a difficult road for Jesus but ultimately one that Jesus not only endured, but triumphed as seen in the Resurrection. Similarly, God sometimes lays down a difficult road for many of us. It is one fraught with inconveniences at its best and persecution and martyrdom at its worst. But all these roads, from the easiest to the hardest, lead to our salvation in God’s Kingdom of Heaven. God’s glory is why Jesus continued carrying His cross and it is why we carry ours.
So when we pray the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery of the rosary let us remember those who choose religious life whether they be seminarians, priests, brothers, nuns, deacons, and anyone who serves the Church. Many of them choose to lead a hard life and one that is not appreciated by many in modern society who view religion as silly superstition. People who choose a religious vocation see the ultimate joy that comes from living in God’s grace even if that means giving up some worldly luxuries. They are an inspiration to us all as we should have that same goal of loving God with every word, thought, and action.
We should also pray for those who are staunch secularists or hate faiths like the Catholic Church. They are the ones who fell under the weight of the cross this world offers them and only see misery in religion. As the Pope told the seminarians:
“When the fulfillment of one’s life is only aimed towards social success, and physical and economic well-being, man is not thinking according to God but according to man.” Such an attempt to refuse God’s “project of love,” said the Pope, “almost prevents man from carrying out His masterly will.”
The modern secularist reminds me of an athlete who tells himself he cannot continue the long race. He thinks he has no energy left and that he is too far behind to catch up. All he sees is obstacles and cannot see that glorious finish line. All they concentrate on is the heavy weight of their “crosses” in life and in their beaten state they do not see what Jesus has prepared for them in Heaven. We should pray that they get their spiritual “second wind” and accept God’s “project of love” as the Pope puts it. When we accept God’s road and truly acknowledge the greatness God has in store for us then there is no cross heavy enough to keep us down.