Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd Lk. 21: 1-4 “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
- Someone else gave from her poverty, in fact, she gave her whole self! “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according your word.”(Lk. 1:38) Mary’s Yes was unconditional. Whatever God willed, as He willed, when He willed, and in the way He willed! How many of us can say that? Therein, and therein alone, lies our peace and joy in this life and for eternity.
JOYFUL MYSTERIES: LET US LEARN TO LIVE AND LOVE THROUGH MARY! By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Mary is the quickest, shortest, easiest path to Jesus. We can call her the shortcut! We are all called to holiness—meaning to be saints. Jesus said: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” (Mt. 5:48) This is a command! Therefore, the Holy Mother of God, Mary most holy, can help us in our joyful pursuit of holiness which ends in heaven.
THE MOST HOLY ROSARY. One of the most efficacious tools, or we might even call it spiritual weapon, that we should use to fight the good fight and run the good race so as to win the victory and prize of eternal life is the MOST HOLY ROSARY. Over centuries, the saints and popes have strongly encouraged the faithful to pray the Rosary and to trust in Mary’s most powerful intercession. The prayer of Saint Bernard encapsulates this truth in the famous Marian prayer, The Memorare, with these words: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided.”
MYSTERIES OF JOY, MYSTERIES OF LOVE. In this short essay we will focus on how we can learn to live for God, love God, and be truly happy by offering a few suggestions taken from the five Joyful Mysteries of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rosary is a spiritual gold-mine for us to dig into; so let us dig in right now!
1. THE ANNUNCIATION (Lk. 1:26-38) Mary encounters God through His angelic messenger, the Archangel Gabriel. We offer three precious pearls to glean and polish from this profound encounter.
1) LISTEN AND TALK TO GOD. Mary teaches us the importance of silence in our lives. Mary teaches us the importance of listening to God, especially through the Word of God. Mary teaches us the importance of talking to God—that means the real importance of prayer, of talking to God with fervor and devotion from the depths of our heart. Mary teach me how to pray!
2) SAYING YES TO GOD: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS. All of us are given freedom to choose between good and bad; we can use or abuse our freedom. Mary said YES to God in these words: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1:38) This is a universal truth: we all want to be happy in this world and always! Why then is it that so many people today want to be happy but walk around with a sad face that they display to the whole world? The reason is very clear: they say NO to God. Our Lady teaches us true freedom and the key to true joy: learning to say YES to God! Starting today, through the intercession of Mary, let us learn to always say Yes to God.
3) MARY TEACHES US HOW TO RECEIVE JESUS IN OUR HEARTS. By saying YES to God, Mary conceived Jesus in her most pure womb and the depths of her most pure and Immaculate Heart. Saint Pope John Paul II makes a beautiful parallel between Mary’s YES to God and our AMEN when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion. The end result of Mary’s YES and our AMEN in Holy Communion is the reception of Jesus into our hearts. Let us beg through the intercession of Mary to say YES to God and receive Jesus with burning love in our hearts in Holy Communion.
2. THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH. Like the Annunciation, this Mystery is rich in teaching and growth in holiness for us if we talk to Mary and try to imitate her. Let us take three lessons.
1) AVOID LAZINESS. Once Mary knew what the will of God was, she did not wait, or procrastinate, or put it off until tomorrow. Rather, she went quickly or in haste. Let us avoid laziness in all times, places, and circumstances. The proverb is so true: “Idleness is the workshop of the devil.”
2) GREETING WITH JOY. Let us learn from Mary not to wait for others to greet us, but to greet others FIRST and with joy! This is humility and charity—meaning, putting others first and valuing them for their innate dignity.
3) SERVICE IS A SOURCE OF JOY. Mary went to visit her elderly cousin, Saint Elizabeth, who was pregnant in her old age, so as to be of service to her in her needs. Saint Paul teaches us: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving.” (Acts: 20:35) Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “We must learn to give until it hurts.” Starting today let us make it a firm proposal: I will look for opportunities to serve others in imitation of Mary, who went to visit and serve Saint Elizabeth! If done, we will experience deep joy within our souls.
3. THE BIRTH OF JESUS IN BETHLEHEM. In this mystery we celebrate the most important birthday in the history of the world—the birth of Jesus, that we call CHRISTMAS. The birth of Jesus separated the division of time into B.C. and A.D. The lessons that Mary can teach us are innumerable. We will offer three!
1) LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Mary went on a long journey and arrived at her destination, Bethlehem. Our life is a journey towards heaven. Let us ask Mary, Saint Joseph, and of course, Jesus to accompany us every step along the way in our journey towards our final destination, HEAVEN!
2) ACCEPTING TRIALS AND REJECTION. Mary experienced many trials, contradictions, and sufferings in her life, but she trusted God even more. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, she experienced rejection: “There was no room for them in the Inn!” (Lk. 2:7) When we experience trials, sufferings, and rejection in our lives, we should run to Mary and seek refuge. Immaculate Heart of Mary, be my sure refuge!’
3) Mary and the Holy Family chose to experience and live a life of poverty. One of the biggest obstacles in modern society is that of MATERIALISM, that means, being too attached to material things. If you like: Our possessions can possess us. Jesus was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the poor, cold, damp, bad-smelling stable (refuge for animals) of Bethlehem. Mary, please teach me that true happiness does not come from possessing things, but by allowing God to possess me!
4. THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE. When Jesus was only 40 days old, He was presented in the Temple through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary and good Saint Joseph. Once again, we will offer three wonderful lessons from this fourth Joyful Mystery.
1) Mary and Saint Joseph obeyed God by presenting their first born son in the Temple of Jerusalem as prescribed by the Mosaic Law. If we truly want to experience joy in the depths of our soul, then we must learn to imitate Mary in the virtue of obedience. Those in the modern world desire all too often to follow their own will which leads to sadness and eventual destruction. Like Mary, may we learn to obey the Word of God, the Church and the Magisterial teachings, and a well-formed conscience.
2) LIGHT TO ALL THE WORLD. Jesus in the arms of Mary is presented to the elderly Simeon who calls Jesus LUMEN GENTIUM—Light for the People. Mary teaches us that Jesus must be our true and overflowing Light. Mary, my Mother, give me eyes to perceive the Light of Jesus in the world, in my life, and in the circumstances surrounding my life.
3. THE SWORD OF SORROW. The Prophecy of Simeon entailed announcing that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword of sorrow would penetrate the heart of Mary. The meaning may be difficult for us to understand, and possibly even more difficult to put into practice: the value of suffering. We must learn to offer our sufferings to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and then these sufferings will have infinite value! “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
5. THE FINDING OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE. Present in this fifth and last Joyful Mystery is a hidden sorrow, but great joy. The sorrow, of course, is that Mary and Joseph lose Jesus for three long days. The joy, of course, is in finding Jesus. There is much for us to meditate upon in this Mystery. However, we will give three golden nuggets!
1) MANY PARENTS LOSE THEIR CHILDREN. Today many parents can identify very easily with this Mystery because they lose their children in that their children no longer want to practice their faith. This pierces their parents’ hearts. Mary teaches us not to give up hope, but to pursue our children through prayer, patience, and trust that they will find their way back to God. Saint Monica did this and her son, the wandering Prodigal Son of the 5th century, became the great SAINT AUGUSTINE.
2) JESUS AND MARY AS OUR TEACHERS. After three long days of sorrowful search, Our Lady finally found her Son, Jesus. Where was He? Jesus was found in the Temple teaching the older men. Among the numerous lessons that we can glean is the following: Jesus and Mary must be our Teachers. PERMANENT FORMATION! One of the key struggles and failures in many adults is their unwillingness to study so as to grow in their faith; thus they remain stagnant and stultified in their faith. Jesus and Mary teach us the primary obligation parents have of transmitting their faith to their children. However, you cannot give what you do not have! Let us beg our Lady for the grace to really desire to learn our faith better, so as to be better teachers to our children!
3) MARY PONDERS IN HER HEART. Upon finding Jesus, Mary and Joseph rejoiced even though they did not fully understand the words of Jesus: “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Lk. 2:49) For her part, Mary pondered these things in her Immaculate Heart. Mary teaches all of us the importance of praying, meditating, pondering in our hearts the Word of God, the circumstances in our life, and even the surprises and contradictions that we encounter all so often. Let us pray to Mary and beg her to attain for us a contemplative heart! Let us beg Our Lady for the grace to perceive God’s work in us always! For, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Conclusion. We hope and pray that all will understand the call to JOY in our lives. This joy can be learned in the life, words, and example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and most especially through the mysteries of the Rosary, starting with the JOYFUL MYSTERIES. Our Lady teaches this lesson in her beautiful prayer that we call the Magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit REJOICES IN GOD MY SAVIOR…” (Lk 1:47) By calling upon Mary, let us learn that true joy comes through deeper and deeper union with God!
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA