A Change of Plans
“Very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" —Mark 16: 2–3
I got married at thirty-eight. For a big, Italian family where women became grandmothers at that age, I was something of an anomaly. Despite my insisting, this wasn’t actually part of my plan. I’d been engaged fifteen years earlier, to a different man, at the age I thought one was supposed to do those things. Get married young, give the parents grandbabies, pinch pennies to save for a nice house. But that wasn’t the right person. It wasn’t the right time.
“Jesus Wept” (Jn 11:35). The shortest verse in the whole of Scripture… “Jesus wept.”
We will hear this verse read in this Sunday’s Gospel. Upon reflecting upon it, I cannot help but feel moved by the humanity of Jesus. He Who is God, takes on the whole of human nature. He feels all of the emotions we experience throughout our human lives. He is moved by compassion. He weeps. God weeps. And this is not the first time Jesus wept. Nor will it be the last…
"The season of Advent, in the Church’s liturgy, is the time of Mary… To celebrate Advent means to become like Mary, to enter into and become part of Mary’s Yes.”
- Joseph Ratzinger
The Annunciation. Mary gives her fiat, her “yes” to becoming the Mother of
God. From that moment forward, history is changed forever; God assumes a
human nature and becomes flesh in the womb of a woman.
In the image above, we see another “Annunciation,” not to Mary but to St. Joseph.…What a poor St. Joseph!
I am currently at a retreat during the Feast Day of the Little Flower, St Therese De Lisieux, while simultaneously reading “ The Way of Trust and Love “ by Fr Jacques Phillipe. It is a book based on various retreat talks he gave that are now in a book format. Just like St Therese, the book though it appears to be simple, it is deeper than it seems and filled with wise and practical lessons, if you will.
“The world is thy ship and not thy home,” said St Therese. A reminder that our ultimate goal/hope is to someday make it to our true home, Heaven. In order to make it there though, we must be careful not to navigate in the wrong direction and be lost at sea. And the Little Flower understood very early on that it meant that we must do all that we can to become Saints. And in order to become Saints, we have to aim to draw closer to God.
A Mother's Ache
"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" -John 1:5
Grief. Loss. Joy. Love. Motherhood. Usually, we do not put these words together, and yet, they are so intertwined in life. Until now, I always abstractly knew that love also means loss, especially in my faith life. I often heard that when Mary said yes at the Annunciation, she was saying yes to Calvary. And yet, I never truly realized what this meant.
As I have journeyed through an intentional season of healing, the Lord has blessed me with vivid imagery.
My heart, wounded and broken, is a sweet little garden. But as I turn to see the garden up close, it is overwhelmed with weeds. The thorns and branches strangle any life that tries to grow, and keeps out all new life that tries to enter.
As I walk through the garden, I see a man crouched among the thorns. Who is this man? It is Jesus, weeding in the garden of my heart.
The Risk of a Gift
The following reflection is the second to be featured from participants at the 2021 GIVEN Forum. At the Forum, participants prayed with the following image, and a some felt drawn to use their gifts to share their meditations through our blog. More about the GIVEN Forum can be found at the bottom of this page.
This year at the GIVEN Institute Forum, we had a prayer workshop held by Katie from Behold. For this workshop she gave us this image to meditate on depicting Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing the feet of Jesus and drying them with her hair.
What struck me first was Jesus’ posture. Since this was the obvious focal point, I took some time looking around the rest of the image to see what else might stand out. The last thing I noticed was a woman in the shadows, yet unashamedly with her hair wrapped tightly around Jesus’ feet while everyone else looked on with shock, curiosity, or annoyance. But again, after noticing her, my eyes focused back on Jesus and what His posture was saying to Mary and to the others simultaneously.