Tag Archives: Mary

Secrets

St.-Macarius-of-Egypt2A man who receives something from another because of his poverty or his need has therein his reward, and because he is ashamed, when he repays it he does so in secret. But it is the opposite for the Lord God; he receives in secret, but he repays in the presence of the angels, the archangels and the righteous.

—-Saying of the Desert

The concept of shame and poverty being coupled is very strong in our society. From the earliest of times, we have been taught, and rightly so, to be responsible hard workers. Our goal is to be able to care for ourselves and never be a burden to others. When the time comes that we have fallen short and necessity sends us to someone for help, a person does everything possible to keep this event secretive. He even pays back in secret.

The opposite is true of the Lord. He receives in secret, but rewards in a very open way. By that action, we see that the Lord is a Lord of grace. His grace is not about how much we give but how much He gives. Our reward, given in the presence of heavenly and earthly beings, is God’s joy to give. Our Lord does not want to keep His grace giving secretive, and He never does. He implores us not be showy in our devotion to Him. We pray and give in secret, and then He rewards for all to see. May we catch the spirit of our Lord and learn to bestow grace on all along our path.

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Thursday Prayer 3

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,CelticCross2
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

Scottish Blessing

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St. Joseph

The Flight into Egypt by Giotto di Bondone (13...

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

As celebrate St. Joseph with feasting let also remember his commitment to our Savior.

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Lady Julian Chapter 1

(I am in the process of drafting a paraphrase of the writings of Julian of Norwich and will be posting them from time to time. Your comments and feedback are welcomed.  —— Irvin J. Boudreaux)

Church of St Julian, Norwich

Church of St Julian, Norwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revelation of Divine Love
Chapter 1

I desire three graces from God.

 

The first is the fully experience the pain of the passion of Christ.

The second is to experience serious physical illness.

The third was to experience the three wounds of Christ.

 

The passion came to my mind as a result of my prayers. I had a great empathy with the passion of Christ but it was clear that God could give me more through His grace. It seemed to me that if I could have been there with Mary Magdalene and the other lovers of Christ and been an eyewitness to the passion that Christ suffered for me and experienced pain they felt as they watched him suffer on the cross I could be more fully devoted to him. In all ways I have believed the teachings of the Holy Church as they are manifested by icons and crucifixes that have been made the grace of God. These have been made with all the skills and intelligence that man has to offer. I still desire that I might be an eye witness to his passion so that I might have the fullness of knowledge of the bodily pains of Christ and feel the compassion of his mother Mary and all those who loved him. Is my greatest desire that I might have been present with them and suffered their pain and grief. No other showing of God do I desire more than this one in this lifetime and I trust that God will grant it. I wish for the showing so that I might truly know the pain of the passion of Christ.

 

As for my second desire, it came to my mind with contrition and freedom and with a truly willful desire to have God’s gift of serious physical illness. This illness must be one that that leads to death so I might receive all the rites of my church and believed in my heart that I would die. It would be perceived in such a way that all those around me with think that I would die.I have never wished for a comfortable earthly life on this earth. In this illness it is my desire that I should experience all the pains that are faced as death approaches. My wish is to experience all the attacks of the evil one short of losing my soul. With this experience I will learn to welcome my home going to the Lord when my time comes.

 

These two desires – feeling the passion, and experiencing serious physical illness and spiritual warfare– I desire with a condition. In my prayer I asked: “Lord you know what I desire ,I pray that is in your will to give me my desire. If it is not your will, I will not be bitter for my greatest desire is to do your will”. This physical illness I pray may come to me when I am 30 years old.

 

 

As for the third I once heard a man of the Holy Church tell the story a blessed St. Cecilia. I’ve heard it she received three blows to her neck from an executioner. These blows did not bring immediate death but she died three days later. By this I desired that I would seek from my Lord that he would grant me these three wounds in my lifetime: The wound of contrition, the wound of compassion, and the wound of actively seeking God’s touch. As I asked for the first two with condition, this third one I asked without condition. My first two desires left my mind but the third desire never departed.

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Power of Prayer

In 1559 John Knox returned from ministering in...

John Knox

While very ill, John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, called to his wife and said, “Read me that Scripture where I first cast my anchor.” After he listened to the beautiful prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17, he seemed to forget his weakness. He began to pray, interceding earnestly for his fellowmen. He prayed for the ungodly who had thus far rejected the gospel. He pleaded in behalf of people who had been recently converted. And he requested protection for the Lord’s servants, many of whom were facing persecution. As Knox prayed, his spirit went Home to be with the Lord. The man of whom Queen Mary had said, “I fear his prayers more than I do the armies of my enemies,” ministered through prayer until the moment of his death.

 For several years now I have been on a pilgrimage of prayer-an excursion that has brought me to many different places and ideas, but in the end the greatest inspirations come from the fathers of the faith. Some of these fathers, like John Knox, come from the reformation. Others are from the desert or monasteries, but all have testimonies of the power of prayer to transcend all barriers. The mere fact that Queen Mary, enemy of all things protestant, would have a good word about the prayers of John Knox speaks volumes about the power of prayer.

Have you neglected prayer in your life? Have you limited the nature and scope of your prayer? Do you fail to spend time simply in the presence of God? If you answered yes to any of those questions you are not allowing God to bless you as fully as He might. Set aside a place, a time, a manner of prayer that is yours and yours alone.  I’m afraid that the corporate prayer of worship is not enough to truly feel the complete awe and majesty of God in your life. Besides, if you come to worship primed and ready, the blessings will flow like a torrent rather than a gentle stream.

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Filed under Christian Journey, Commitment, Dedication, Faith, John Knox, Prayer

Apostles Creed

In today’s rush towards relevance, we can forget what is basic. The Apostles Creed is basic. In one short confession, we affirm our faith in the resurrection, and embrace our baptism. In the early days of the church, there was a great cry to understand basic beliefs, and the Apostles Creed was an answer to that cry. Today’s world is full of “spiritual but not religious” people who are searching for answers. Perhaps this short confession can be used as a launching point of spiritual inquiry and it could lead to further examination of the faith.

My suggestion is simple. Make the creed a part of your daily prayer life, and allow it to be the basis for your discussions with spiritual seekers. I have found that if we stick to the ancient, but basic, documents of Christianity our impact is far greater. The creed is presented below. Recite it like you have never heard it before, and allow the words to be food for thought

English: Wall painting at Partrishow (3) The A...

I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived from the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to Hell; on the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into the heavens; he is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

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Good Friday

This Friday is a somber day for Christians throughout the world. Maybe I have a slight feeling for what Mary, the mother of Jesus experienced as she watched her son die such a slow and painful death.

I have read about the horror of a crucifixion and what an awful death it was. It was so demeaning that no Roman would be subject to it, only outsiders.

May you realize the sacrifice that God has made for you this Easter Season. In His unparalleled grace and mercy, He has forgiven you all your sins. You are His beloved child.

In return, ask Him what plan He has in mind for you.

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The Reward

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration (Photo credit: Vectorportal)

Talk about an awesome responsibility!  A girl given a staggering task – to give birth to and rear God on earth.  God didn’t entrust his Son to the Jewish high priest, to a wealthy benefactor, not even to the most holy, God-fearing man of the times.  He entrusted his Son to a teenage girl, without a husband, with no income, with no legal rights.  She had little life experience, no education, no property, no defense against the scurrilous attacks on her character.

Yet, Mary was willing.  She wanted what God wanted.  She had no agenda of her own.  She was willing to put Him first and herself last even if it meant that her moral reputation would be ruined, leaving her a social outcast.  She risked her relationship with her fiancé to do God’s will with the realization that she might come out of this without one earthly soul to stand by her side.  Why?  Her heart’s desire was to serve the Lord.  Nothing else on earth compared with that commitment.  That’s why God entrusted little Mary, barely an adolescent, with his Son.

And, Mary was faithful – to the God she worshipped, adored, and longed to serve.  When she didn’t understand all that was happening in her life, she was faithful to her task.  She never once wavered in her commitment to her Lord – her child.  She was faithful all the way to the cross as she witnessed every tortuous moment of the crucifixion.  She held His lifeless body and washed it with tears only a mother could shed.

What was Mary’s reward?  She got to know Jesus best.  She got to feed Him, kiss His toes, and sing ancient Hebrew songs to Him as His beautiful eyes finally closed in sleep.  He clasped His tiny fist around her index finger and blessed her with His first smile.  His chubby arms locked around her neck and she was the first person to hear Him say, “I love you.”  The horror of His death was erased three days later when He held her in His resurrected arms.  For her willingness to be used for God’s purpose, and for her faithfulness to her task, she was rewarded by knowing Jesus more intimately than any other person.

During this season of Advent, prepare your spirit by being committed to worship and faithful to the work of the Lord so that you may know Him better.  Make your heart’s desire to serve the Lord.

Reflection:  Father – Grant that I may be willing to serve you as Mary was.  Grant that I may be faithful even when I don’t understand

Monica Boudreaux

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God Choices — Luke 6:39-45

Choices – they seem unending, especially at Christmas.  The Scriptures can be our guide as we observe the way God chooses and the way he challenged others to choose.  From the very beginning when Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s provision, each person who has ever lived has faced that decision.

Martha, out of self-righteous frustration, reprimanded Jesus because he would not condemn her sister, Mary, for not helping her with chores.  Jesus simply tried to help her understand that Mary, in choosing to simply sit in His Presence and internalize his every word ,had indeed chosen “the good part.”  Mary chose the part that never goes away, never gets old – the part that is eternal.

The rich young man expected a quick, easy answer from Jesus.  He needed to know how to inherit eternal life.  He could not imagine that inheriting eternal life could be any more challenging than inheriting his father’s wealth.  But Jesus told him he would have to make a choice between what the world could give and what God could give.  The rich young man chose the part that goes away – the part that is temporary.

The Christmas narratives portray God’s nature by the choices He made.

  • God chose a teenage peasant girl, not a daughter of a ruling Pharisee.
  • God chose a carpenter, not a king.
  • God chose Nazareth, not Jerusalem.
  • God chose a stable, not a palace.
  • God chose a feeding trough, not an ornate cradle.
  • God chose shepherds, not rabbis.
  • God chose to show his star to Gentiles, not Jewish royalty.
  • God chose poverty, not wealth.
  • God chose humility, not position.
  • God chose service, not recognition
  • God chose earth, not heaven.

This Advent, this season of endless options, is a perfect time to evaluate our decisions, to align our choices with the eternal and holy and divine.  Jesus told us that a good person with a heart full of good treasure makes good choices, lives a good life, recognizes holiness, and lives in the Kingdom of God.  He told us that choices reveal our souls, our decisions come from what dominates our hearts, and our lives mirror the Master that controls them.

  •  Reflection – Consider each decision you make this season in light of God’s decisions in the Scripture.

     

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Pondering – Over and Over — December 3

Madonna of humility by Fra Angelico, c. 1430.

Madonna of humility by Fra Angelico, c. 1430. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She is old.  She sits lovingly wrapped in a shawl near a warm fire in John’s house, she is remembering – pondering in her heart…

It was just an ordinary day in Nazareth when I was visited by Gabriel, an angel sent from the very presence of God.  He told me I had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah.  I was troubled, afraid, confused, accepting, blessed.  I have pondered that angelic conversation over and over in my heart a thousand times….

I went to visit Elizabeth in the hill country.  Her child leaped for joy in her womb when I entered the house, and Elizabeth called me “the Mother of my Lord.”  I have pondered that visit over and over in my heart a thousand times….

The angel’s assurance to Joseph, the trip to Bethlehem for Caesar’s census, the birth in the stable, the manger that Joseph filled with fresh hay.  I have pondered those days over and over in my heart a thousand times….

The story told by the shepherds that night…how an angel proclaimed the Savior’s birth and a huge choir of angels sang their beautiful song of glory and peace in their field.  I have pondered the story of the shepherds over and over in my heart a thousand times….

We presented Jesus in the Temple and an old, devout man named Simeon recognized Him as the salvation of Jews and Gentiles alike.  He

looked me in the eye and spoke of a sword piercing my soul.  I have pondered those chilling words over and over in my heart a thousand times…

We went to Jerusalem for Passover.  He was twelve, and we realized on our way home that he was not with our group.  After three frantic days, Joseph and I found him in the Temple astonishing the scholars with his knowledge and understanding.  He told us he was about his Father’s business.  I have pondered his words over and over in my heart a thousand times….

When he turned water into wine, when he raised Lazarus from the dead, when he healed the crippled and the blind, when he walked on the sea and calmed the storm.  The parables, the sermons, his teachings.  The emotions on his face that only I could read, the times he wept, the times he challenged the Pharisees.  I have pondered each event over and over in my heart a thousand times….

The arrest in the Garden, the trials, the flogging.  The crucifixion!  Simeon’s prophecy came back to me, and I wondered how I could still be living with that sword of pain piercing my soul.  The tomb, the waiting, the crushing grief.  Then the resurrection!  Joy beyond words healed that wound to my soul!  The ascension, as my Son went back to his Father – my Son who was before me.  All of this I have pondered over and over in my heart a thousand times….

I was chosen to be the God-bearer.  I was called to obedience, to be faithful in mystery, to endure great sorrow, and to know the deepest joy ever experienced by a human being.  All these things I, Mary of Nazareth, have pondered over and over in my heart a thousand times….

Reflection – As you remember these years of journey with Christ, what do you ponder over and over in your heart?

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