Our Lady’s Messages — September 2010

Mary’s September messages at Medjugorje. She asks us to find the strength to ask for forgiveness and forgive others. She also asks that we approach Jesus with a humble heart in prayer so that we can hear how He wants us to live.

Message of September 2, 2010 to Mirjana

Dear children. I am beside you because I desire to help you to overcome trials, which this time of purification puts before you. My children, one of those is not to forgive, and not to ask for forgiveness. Every sin offends Love and distances you from it – and Love is my Son. Therefore, my children, if you desire to walk with me towards the peace of God‘s love, you must learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Thank you.

Mary’s central theme in this message is forgiveness.  She phrases it in a very interesting way– as a trial we must overcome.  I like the word “trial” when describing the act of forgiveness, both asking and giving it.  Indeed, asking for forgiveness or forgiving those who have hurt us is challenging and something many of us would like to avoid.  In general, our reluctance to admit our mistakes comes from our prideful human nature.  No one ever wants to think of their behavior as being wrong.  Mary understands that coming before Jesus with a humble heart is not an easy task and that is why She offers Her help.  Mary, in the Fourth Glorious Mystery, was assumed into Heaven and now serves as our guide to find the path of Jesus Christ.  Asking for forgiveness is difficult, but it becomes much easier with the support of the Holy Spirit, Mary, the saints, and the angels.  It is our choice whether we want to face these trials alone.  Personally, I think we should take Mary up on Her offer and ask for Her help to overcome this challenge.

Message, 25. September 2010

Dear children! Today I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing of peace, and I urge you to live your life of faith even more, because you are still weak and are not humble. I urge you, little children, to speak less and to work more on your personal conversion so that your witness may be fruitful. And may your life be unceasing prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Perhaps it is because football season started a few week ago but Mary’s message very much feels like a coach talking to the athletes.  Mary, like a coach, sees a bunch of players that are fumbling on the field and just aren’t playing with any strategy.  She sees us losing by not sticking to the “game plan” of following God’s laws, avoiding sin, and just simply putting God first in our hearts, minds, and actions.  The Church lays down a winning strategy as seen in the Bible, Church doctrine, our priests and other Church leaders, and messages from Mary and the saints.  The plan for eternal happiness is out there, but we first must make room in our lives to hear it and then find the energy to live it.

Fumble Retrieval
Image by The PAW Project via Flickr

This message reminds me of the September 26, 2010 Gospel of Luke where Jesus recites the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk, 16:19-31).  At the end of the story, the rich man goes to Hell because of his uncaring ways towards poor Lazarus.  In Hell, the rich man asks God if he could return to earth and warn his brothers to reform their ways and avoid a similar outcome.  But God responded that they can hear His Word through Moses and the prophets.  We too, have the Church’s teachings freely available to us and yet we so often ignore it.  We know what is good and what is evil and yet too often we unrepentantly choose evil and ignore the good.  Mary’s frustration in Her message is understandable since She sees so many of us walking on a path towards eternal suffering and unhappiness.  She repeatedly tells us how to walk on the road to God’s grace and yet we ignore Her, the Holy Spirit, the saints, and the Church’s teachings.

Let us not be like the rich man and ignore God’s Word which can be found all around us.  May we try to listen more in our prayers in order to receive guidance so that we may transform our lives and imitate Christ.  We should particularly meditate on the Third Luminous Mystery where Jesus asks us all to have a converted heart.

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Ask and it Shall be Given

I discuss how the Gospel of Luke relates to the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the rosary and how persistance makes us spiritually stronger.

Azulejos of Presentation of Jesus in temple, i...
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I discuss how the Gospel of Luke relates to the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the rosary and how persistance makes us spiritually stronger.

Today’s Gospel contained many homilies-worth of themes.  You have Jesus teaching His apostles how to pray in which He gives them the “Our Father.”  Jesus also discusses the idea of persistance when trying to obtain graces from God through a parable of a man trying to get bread from his neighbor.  I find one passage particularly interesting:

I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants (Luke 11:8).

I tried to think about what rosary mystery applies to this week’s Gospel.  What mystery deals with the idea of persistance and also asking God for direction, strength, and grace?

I can’t think of a better example of persistance than Simeon waiting for the Son of God and finally seeing Jesus at The Presentation in the Temple.  Simeon came to the temple every day hoping to see the Messiah.  And every day he came back unfulfilled until the day he died after seeing the baby Jesus.  Simeon never gave up or lost faith.  Chances are people ridiculed him and labeled him as the crazy man who is waiting to see the Son of God.  But despite never seeing the Lord until his dying day, Simeon lived according to God’s plan for him which ultimately led him to Heaven.

How easy is it for us to lose faith when we think God does not answer our prayers, sacrifices, and good works?  Would anyone have blamed Simeon if he gave up after a few years of disappointment at the temple?  Our human nature wants God to immediately reward us for good actions and punish those who are bad.  We often ask ourselves, “why me?” when confronted with hardship.  However, while we may not know it, God is doing us a favor by not immediately answering our prayers or answering them in unexpected ways.  It is that perceived silence which builds a longing for grace.  That longing leads to persistance and that persistance builds spiritual strength.

If God immediately gave us everything we wanted we would never build up spiritual muscle for life’s obstacles.  We would become so weak spiritually that the slightest difficulty would knock us down and keep us down.  But our perseverance builds strength.  Constantly working to live in a state of grace builds our resistance to evil and sin.  To use a gardening analogy, getting everything we want is like over watering a plant.  The plant does not develop a strong root structure and cannot survive under stressful conditions.  A little stress and some challenges really help us develop strong spiritual roots.

When we pray the Fourth Joyful Mystery may we remember to show the same level of persistance as Simeon.  Remember, God does hear our prayers and answers them accordingly.  In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says that when we ask, God will answer.  It may not be in the way we would like or it may lead us down a difficult road, but God answers our prayers in the way that will ultimately lead us to Heaven.  And at the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

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Knowing Your Facts

Read this article, “Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should!).” There is some pretty interesting (although heated at times) debate in the article’s comments. This article reminds me of something I said in a previous article on Lent that to succeed in our endeavours (sports, business, personal faith, etc.) you need to understand the rules of the game. Enjoy!

Holy Mass
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I read this story on Catholic Exchange and then heard an interview on ETWN radio by the author, Gary Zimak.  Gary was a “Mass once a week only” Catholic before he had some medical difficulties.  That was a turning point in his life where he decided to learn more about the Catholic faith and educate others.  He’s not a priest and does not hold a theology degree.  He is just someone who got really excited about learning and teaching the faith.  Wanting to explore my faith and share it with others was one of the main reasons why I started rosaryMeds.  So Gary’s story really hit home.  Maybe one of these days EWTN will interview me about rosaryMeds!

Read his article, “Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should!).”  Also, there is some pretty interesting (although heated at times) debate in the article’s comments.  This article reminds me of something I said in a previous article on Lent that to succeed in our endeavours (sports, business, personal faith, etc.) you need to understand the rules of the game.  Enjoy!

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The Lord’s Call to Prayer

This past Sunday’s Gospel was the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s a story that I’m sure many of us have heard dozens of times about a man who was beaten and robbed. A priest and a Levite avoided the man while a Samaritan helped him and took care of him (Jews and Samaritans did not get along). And we probably all know the teachings behind that parable. We have heard about how God calls us to help one another. We know that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ from our best friend to our worst enemies. We reflect on how we often make excuses for not helping one another such as we’re too busy or it’s too much of an inconvenience. But sitting in my pew last Sunday listening to the homily made me think about another angle of this parable. I asked myself, “how often does God want us to pray?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Image by Fergal OP via Flickr

I use the parable of the Good Samaritan to discuss how often God calls us to prayer.

This past Sunday’s Gospel was the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It’s a story that I’m sure many of us have heard dozens of times about a man who was beaten and robbed.  A priest and a Levite avoided the man while a Samaritan helped him and took care of him (Jews and Samaritans did not get along).  And we probably all know the teachings behind that parable.  We have heard about how God calls us to help one another.  We know that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ from our best friend to our worst enemies.  We reflect on how we often make excuses for not helping one another such as we’re too busy or it’s too much of an inconvenience.  But sitting in my pew last Sunday listening to the homily made me think about another angle of this parable.  I asked myself, “how often does God want us to pray?”

At first glance the parable of the Good Samaritan does not seem to be about prayer.  But I started to reflect on what exactly is the purpose of prayer.  The basic definition of prayer is the act of communicating with God.  So how often should we communicate with God through prayer?  The Third Commandment says to keep holy the Sabbath which occurs once a week.  As Christians, we reserve Sunday as our holy day of prayer.  But instead of a day, many of us only give an hour by going to Mass and “getting it out of the way.”  I defer to Homer Simpson as an example of how many of us think of Sunday Mass:

So what is a realistic amount of time to pray?  A day, an hour, what?  I arrived at the answer listening to the story of the Good Samaritan.  We are called to prayer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  In other words, God calls us to perpetually be in a state of prayer.  Think about that basic definition of prayer which is communication with God.  By living a life of prayer we live in constant communication with God.  He guides us through life’s obstacles, gives us strength for the rough times, and offers us many blessings.  Another way to put this is that living in prayer leads to living in God’s grace.  But to receive these gifts of guidance, strength, and faith we have to always present our joys, worries, and concerns to God and listen to what He says to us.  Through this communication we prepare ourselves for whatever challenges come our way.

The Good Samaritan was living in prayer when he helped the robbed and beaten man.  Like Mary in the Annunciation or Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Samaritan said through his actions, “thy will be done Lord.”  That is much more than what the priest or the Levite did in that parable when they were too busy to help the poor man.  They represent our tendency to think of prayer as something we separate from our normal lives.  For the priest and the Levite, the man on the side of the road needed help outside of the time they reserved for prayer.  Basically, the poor man needed help when the priest and Levite weren’t in a prayerful mood.  But could you imagine trying to explain to God a good reason not to be in a prayerful mood?  When we are like the Samaritan who integrated prayer into his life, not separated it, we are always ready and willing to do God’s will.  We don’t see helping others as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to further our relationship with God and live in a deeper form of grace.

So let us not be like the priest or Levite in the parable or Homer Simpson in the video clip.  We are not called to partition our lives into two categories — one where we live in prayer and acknowledge God’s will and one where we do not.  There isn’t a time limit to prayer or an expiration date for acting holy.  Of course there are different forms of prayer.  Prayer means silent meditation, reading the Bible, reciting the rosary, or acting with good will.  For some it might mean religious life as a priest or nun while others it means marriage.  Regardless of who you are and what you do, God calls us to a life of prayer because He greatly desires a dialog with each one of us.  Now ask yourself, do your actions reflect a desire to live in God’s graces?

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Flash of Genius or Insanity?

In this article I take a look at the movie, “Flash of Genius,” and how it relates to many mysteries of the rosary. Even non-religious movies can offer great insight into the Catholic faith and provide some ideas for deeper rosary meditation. Beware, this article has movie spoilers.

In this article I take a look at the movie, “Flash of Genius,” and how it relates to many mysteries of the rosary.  Even non-religious movies can offer great insight into the Catholic faith and provide some ideas for deeper rosary meditation.  Beware, this article has movie spoilers.

The other night my wife and I rented the movie “Flash of Genius.”  It tells the true story of Robert Kearns, the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper for automobiles only to have his idea stolen by the Ford motor company.  Kearns, over a twelve-year court battle, successfully sued Ford and earned recognition for his invention.

Please watch the trailer to the movie as it relates to the rest of the article:

According to the trailer, this looks like a classic “David vs. Goliath” tale.  You would think the movie portrays a family coming together to invent something very practical and ingenious.  They then need to work together and fight a huge corporation that stole their idea.  Through a lot of hard work and sacrifice they eventually win the lawsuit.  Sounds pretty rosy right?  However, the trailer leaves out a lot of the dark undertones that run throughout the film.  Actually, the movie presents a man who obsesses over the fact that someone took credit for his invention and pursues justice at all costs.  In pursuing this quest to get recognition for his work, Kearns alienates his friends and family.  His wife cannot handle the stress of the lawsuit and his refusal to settle with Ford.  She ends up leaving him and takes their six children (the movie does not say whether they got divorced).  At the end of the movie, after winning the lawsuit, a now gray-haired and frail Kearns reflects on how winning the case will never give him back the last twelve years of his life.  Unlike other movies where the audience feels happy when the main character wins in the end, this movie ends with a sense of hollowness since Kearns wins his case at a huge personal cost.

What does “Flash of Genius” have to do with the rosary and faith?  I think the movie is a great example on how sometimes we let our earthly pursuits distract us from living in God‘s grace by following His will.  Even when our pursuits are noble they can still lead us to act in ways that run counter to our faith.  In the movie, Kearns asks what type of example he would be if he just let someone get away with theft.  I ask, what type of example is someone who destroys his marriage and family to pursue recognition for an invention?  I’m not saying that Kearns should not have fought for what was right but he should have kept his lawsuit in perspective.  He basically made defending his invention more important than honoring his marriage and family.  This is an extreme example of what we do all the time which is put our earthly desires in front of our Heavenly ones.  Because Heaven, our souls, and the after life are such hard concepts to grasp we often settle for lesser goals such as wealth, fame, comfort, or earthly power.  But living solely for those fleeting prizes will not earn us more grace in God’s eyes and in the end won’t amount to any true happiness either in this life or the next.

Kearns’ situation in the movie reminds me of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary.  I’m reminded about how unfairly the Pharisees, Jews, and Romans treated Jesus.  However, Jesus bore all that pain and suffering because it was God’s will.  In the Agony in the Garden, Jesus asked God to spare Him the suffering and crucifixion if possible.  However, He also said that it wasn’t His will, but God’s will that would be done.  And sometimes, pursuing God’s will can lead to unpleasant situations in our lives.  Living our faith does not mean we will always be treated fairly.  But our faith does give us a road map on how to live when others treat us badly.  It is not to pursue retribution or justice at all costs.  Jesus, even though his suffering and death showed us to love and forgive those who mistreat us.  How we act when the world treats us unfairly is the true test of our faith.  Faith is having the ability to say “yes” to God even if it will make life more difficult or means that you will give up some worldly benefit.  Living our faith may not always be easy but it is the only way to achieve lasting happiness.

I enjoyed “Flash of Genius” as a movie.  It was well made and the actors put on a good performance.  And while it was a much darker movie than what the trailers would have you believe, it was a good rental.  But it served more as a reminder of how shallow life’s little victories can be when they are solely centered on earthly pursuits.  The next time you pray the rosary ask yourself, for whose kingdom are you living?  God’s kingdom of Heaven or your kingdom on earth?

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The “Hail Mary” — Catholicism’s Push Up

One of the main themes in my postings is that spiritual fitness is an important part of one’s overall health. I discuss the idea of spiritual exercise and being spiritually fit. In this article I’m going to discuss one of the most basic, but also one of the most important elements of spiritual fitness — praying the Hail Mary.

U.S. Marines count out push-ups.
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One of the main themes in my postings is that spiritual fitness is an important part of one’s overall health.  I discuss the idea of spiritual exercise and being spiritually fit.  In this article I’m going to discuss one of the most basic, but also one of the most important elements of spiritual fitness — praying the Hail Mary.

Physical exercise, no matter how complex, breaks down into very basic movements such as push ups, sit ups, squats,  pull ups, etc.  Exercise is a matter of simple mechanics where someone is lifts, lowers, pushes, or pulls some object.  However, an entire industry has emerged selling videos, books, and equipment pushing the idea that being fit is a complex process.  But when you remove all the advertising and spokespeople,  what differentiates a physically fit person from others is that the fit person has discipline to conduct very basic movements aggressively, routinely, and properly.

One of the most basic exercises is the push up.  However, it is also one of the best exercises as it strengthens core muscles, increases metabolism, and requires little space and no equipment.  And yet, so many people avoid doing push ups because they are hard or many believe that such a simple movement cannot be as effective as using a very complex machine at the gym.  But any athlete or soldier will tell you that mastering the push up is an important tool in improving one’s overall health and strength.

Like the push up in physical exercise, the Hail Mary and the rosary are fundamental prayers in staying spiritually fit.  The Hail Mary is 42 words long and takes about 10 seconds to say at a normal pace.  But it should be the cornerstone of everyone’s prayer routine.  After all, why do you think Mary wants you to pray it 53 times in the rosary?  It may be a simple prayer, but Mary and the saints know that it has a proven track record of keeping people in God‘s grace.  And yet so many people tend to avoid praying it.  Like the push up, the Hail Mary and the rosary are often avoided because they are seen as too difficult or not complex enough to have any meaningful result.  But people who are in shape spiritually will probably tell you that the Hail Mary is an important part of their prayer routine and must not be avoided.

Like the push up, you should start praying the Hail Mary slowly, methodically, and routinely.  Even the greatest athletes start with a single push up and then build on it.  Similarly, anyone can start building spiritual muscle with a single Hail Mary and build on that.  Remember, it is a ten second prayer and no one is so busy that you can’t fit in at least one some time during the day.  Like the push up, practice good form which means really concentrating on the words and not rushing through it.  A push up consists of two movements — a downward move followed by an upward one.  Likewise, the Hail Mary consists of two parts.  The first section you acknowledge and praise Mary as the Mother of God.  In the second you ask Her to pray for you, a poor sinner.  Both parts are important and require your attention and concentration.

So don’t be afraid of getting in spiritual shape through simple prayers.  Remember, sometimes the simplest prayers can yield the greatest benefits when they are said with your whole mind and soul.  Does anyone have any Hail Mary or rosary stories that they want to share?  Please leave your story as a comment.

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An Easter Day Prayer

What do you pray for during Easter? Peace? Understanding? Forgiveness? Thanksgiving? There seem to be so many things to ask of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ on Easter. I often have a hard time collecting all my thoughts and putting them into the words of a prayer. But I think my third grade nephew sums it up beautifully in a prayer he wrote in school.

Hanácké kraslice, a traditional way of decorat...
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What do you pray for during Easter?  Peace?  Understanding?  Forgiveness?  Thanksgiving?  There seem to be so many things to ask of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ on Easter.  I often have a hard time collecting all my thoughts and putting them into the words of a prayer.  But I think my third grade nephew sums it up beautifully in a prayer he wrote in school:

God, l love everything you have given me but I would like one more thing. I would like an amazing Easter. Everyone should go to Mass and pray before eating.  I would like people to remember that Easter is the day Jesus died on the cross and not just a day when the Easter Bunny comes to your house to hide eggs so you can find them and open them in the morning. We should spend more time praying than usual because it is Easter. We should share more, pray more, show more respect, help one another, and do something when we are asked the first time. God, can you please help us have a fantastic Easter?   Amen.

I don’t think it can be said any better.  Imagine how great the world would be if we all lived this prayer, not just today but every day.  Happy Easter!

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Come Pray the Rosary

Almost a year ago a visitor left a comment mentioning the website “Come Pray the Rosary” (thanks Jack!). This website is a perpetual, online Rosary prayer session with others around the world. The prayer is set to video of various holy places and works of religious art. You can also leave prayer intentions if you like. You can pray alone and start at the beginning of a mystery instead of joining a mystery already in progress. I know that sometimes we all need a little “kick” to start praying and that is what this site offers. It may sound silly, but sometimes a voice set to a little video is the catalyst I need to get in that praying mood. Guided rosary prayer also helps us focus our minds since they have a tendency to wonder when we pray silently by ourselves (or at least I suffer from this at times).

Mary Magdalene, after a painting by Ary Scheff...
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Welcome to Holy Week!  I hope you have had a productive Lenten season as you prepare for the glorious redemption of Christ our King.  Personally, I prepared well during Lent in certain areas (my Lenten sacrifice, attending Stations of the Cross, etc.) and have not quite lived up in other areas (reading the Bible, fasting, etc.).  But, like in other parts of life (and iterated many times in the Gospels) it is not how you start, but how you end that counts.  So I hope to make this a very productive Holy Week.  In that spirit, I want to introduce you to a little gem of a website called “Come Pray the Rosary.”

A year ago a visitor left a comment mentioning the website “Come Pray the Rosary” (thanks Jack!).  This website is a perpetual, online Rosary prayer session with others around the world.  The prayer is set to video of various holy places and works of religious art.  You can also leave prayer intentions if you like.  You can pray alone and start at the beginning of a mystery instead of joining a mystery already in progress.  I know that sometimes we all need a little “kick” to start praying and that is what this site offers.  It may sound silly, but sometimes all it takes is a voice set to a little video to be a catalyst to get into that praying mood.  Guided rosary prayer also helps us focus our minds since we have a tendency to wonder when we pray silently by ourselves (or at least I suffer from this at times).

So you will now see a new link on the left-hand side of my website which will open “Come Pray the Rosary” in a new browser window.  Give it a try if you are looking for new ways of rosary meditation and prayer.

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Medjugorje Message – March 18, 2010

Dear children! Today I call you to love with all your heart and with all your soul. Pray for the gift of love, because when the soul loves it calls my Son to itself. My Son does not refuse those who call Him and who desire to live according to Him. Pray for those who do not comprehend love, who do not understand what it means to love. Pray that God may be their Father and not their Judge. My children, you be my apostles, be my river of love. I need you. Thank you.

Carlo Dolci, 1670
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Mary‘s message at Medjugorje to Mirjana on March 18, 2010:

Dear children! Today I call you to love with all your heart and with all your soul. Pray for the gift of love, because when the soul loves it calls my Son to itself. My Son does not refuse those who call Him and who desire to live according to Him. Pray for those who do not comprehend love, who do not understand what it means to love. Pray that God may be their Father and not their Judge. My children, you be my apostles, be my river of love. I need you. Thank you.

As I’ve said in other posts, we must pray for the “lost souls” in this life who futility try to live without God in their lives.  They are suffering and desperately need our prayers (whether they know it or want to acknowledge it).  I find Mary’s comment about accepting God as your Father rather than your judge particularly interesting.  This statement ties into what I said about in my Second Glorious Mystery rosary meditation.  God desires all of us to be with Him in Heaven and gives us all the tools we need to avoid separating ourselves from His kingdom forever.  We should remember to use the gifts God has given to us through His Church and pray for those who risk a harsh judgement.

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Rosary Meditation — The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

Today’s rosary meditation focuses on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery — Jesus Carries His Cross. This mystery encapsulates many of the Stations of the Cross. We see Jesus take up the cross, fall repeatedly, meet the mourning women, be stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross. Like the other Sorrowful Mysteries, Jesus carrying His cross teaches us about the nature of suffering and that we are called to love God and do His Will despite any suffering we may encounter in our lives.

Christ fallen while carrying the cross, at St....
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Today’s rosary meditation focuses on the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery — Jesus Carries His Cross.  This mystery encapsulates many of the Stations of the Cross.  We see Jesus take up the cross, fall repeatedly, meet the mourning women, be stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross.  Like the other Sorrowful Mysteries, Jesus carrying His cross teaches us about the nature of suffering and that we are called to love God and do His Will despite any suffering we may encounter in our lives.

While carrying the cross, Jesus fell down repeatedly.  His falling is significant since we dedicate three Stations of the Cross to it.  And yet each time Jesus fell He got back up.  But why did Jesus continue to get up and continue suffering at the hands of the Roman soldiers?  He must have known that each time He got up His situation was only going to get worse as He became more tired and beaten and crucifixion was the only thing that awaited Him.  Why didn’t He just give up and die where He lay and avoid the increasing pain and torment?  What pushed Jesus to get back on His feet?

Jesus continued because He understood that the purpose of following God’s Will is not to avoid suffering and find comfort in this life.  Just the opposite, our purpose in life is to follow God’s Will despite the suffering it may bring.  Jesus followed God’s Will out of love for His Father and love for us.  Jesus’ love was greater than the physical pain He felt and that is why He got back up and continued to His crucifixion.  Likewise, God desires us to love Him despite the suffering we may encounter doing so.  We know that part of loving someone is to make sacrifices at times.  And while Jesus taking up His cross is an extreme example of this truth,  this mystery reminds us that we are also called to love God regardless of our earthly situation.

We may think there is a huge difference between the Son of God mustering up the strength to carry on in the face of great suffering versus us finding it in our daily struggles.  It is very common to question God’s plan when “the going gets tough” and we do not get what we want or what we think is fair.  I often come across people on Catholic forums asking, “Why me?”  “Why can’t I find a job?”  “Why can’t I find a good spouse?”  “Why did I get this illness?”  “I pray every day, I go to Mass, I go to Confession, and I don’t commit any mortal sins so why does God make my life so difficult?”  The answer to all these questions lies within this mystery.  Suffering is part of this life while our reward for loving God and doing His Will will be part of the next.  We endure the trials of this life because our faith tells us that we will find comfort and relief in God’s Kingdom.  Unfortunately, this is not the answer many of us want to hear.  We want instant miracles.  We want our problems to disappear.  We would love God to “bail us out” immediately when we pray to Him.  However, we do not see the big picture as God sees it.  What we see as monumental suffering now in this life ultimately amounts to nothing compared to the glory of Heaven that awaits us in the next life.  At the same time, following God’s Will, even in the face of great suffering, will yield tremendous happiness and comforts in Heaven.  And in the end, finding eternal happiness in Heaven is all that really matters, not the momentary suffering and comforts in this world.

We should pray for all those who have “fallen” in life that they find the strength to get back up and follow God’s plan.  We should pray for those who think God has abandoned them when in fact God is right here pushing them to work through their troubles.  We should pray for those who do not follow God’s Will just to reap the comforts of this life at the cost of comforts in the next one.  We should pray for the understanding that we love God most when we follow Him regardless of the earthly consequences.  Finally, we should pray for the faith that all earthly suffering will be relieved when we enter into our true home, God’s kingdom of Heaven.

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