Thursday, July 26, 2007

I wrote half a Song....

If I were to write a song of praise to God for one of his gifts, what gift would I choose to write about?
Mercy. Here’s my feeble attempt at song writing…lyrics only, of course. If any reader wants to take a stab at the music go right ahead!

Your heart is full of mercy.
I see. I see that my Lord.
Abundant, undeserv-ed mercy.
I see that my Lord.
If I present my heart in honest sorrow
I will walk away with hope for tomorrow
Because of your great mercy, mercy, mercy Lord.

You are always giving, merciful God.
Loving and forgiving, merciful God.
I do not deserve it.
Nothing I’d do could earn it.
You went above and beyond to prove
Your mercy, my God.

You have the right to judge me, blame me.
I see that my Lord.
You chose instead to love me, die for me.
I see that my Lord.
You give your love and mercy over and over again.
You could call me wrong but you call me your friend.
Because of your great mercy, mercy, mercy Lord.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a dress of dark red with blue mantle and veil. On the left is the archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge as instruments of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. On the right is the archangel Gabriel carrying a 3-bar cross and nails. This type of icon is a later type of the Hodegetria composition, where Mary is pointing to her Son, known as a Theokotos of the Passion. The Christ-child has been alarmed by a pre-sentiment of his Passion, and has run to his mother for comfort. The facial expression of the Virgin Mary is solemn and is looking directly at the viewer instead of her son. The Greek initials on top read Mother of God, Michael Archangel, Gabriel Archangel, and Jesus Christ, respectively. Jesus is portrayed clinging to his mother with a dangling sandal. The icon is painted with a gold background. The icon is on a walnut panel, and may have been painted in Crete, then ruled by Venice, and the main source of the many icons imported to Europe in the late Middle Ages and through the Renaissance. It was cleaned and restored in 1866 and again in the 1940s.

In this picture the face of the Blessed Mother stares straight ahead. It’s a strong look. The child Jesus has apparently run to his mother’s arms so quickly that one sandal is falling off his foot. He ran there because the angels Michael and Gabriel are showing him the cross and a lance, both of which will be used on him on Good Friday. As a child Jesus immediately ran to him mother for protection. I may have been living on another planet all this time, but I can’t say I’ve ever really examined his image before.
Jesus, you ran to your mom because you were scared and rightly so. As a child you needed her protection and she held you close. She stares straight ahead with a look of strength and almost defiance. I will rescue you, Jesus. Don’t be afraid. I’ll protect you.
Mary, as his mom you had to do that countless times, no doubt. I’ve never imagined that before. Jesus was running to you for help. “Mom! Mom! Help me Mom!” You turn around to see what or who is threatening your child while you lean over and scoop him up. As you hold him very close to your heart you see angels Michael and Gabriel with the instruments of torture. You can only imagine their purpose. Still holding tightly onto your son, you face forward and instinctively defy their approach. It’s only natural for you to do that, to protect the child you gave birth to. To rescue him from the potential evil. To save him from the fear it has caused him. You hold him tightly and close. As his fear eventually decreases so does your grip on him. When he calms so do you. He feels safe and comforted now and returns to his play. The incident has left its mark on you though.
Jesus seems to be a toddler in the picture. At that point you had already escaped Herod once by going to Egypt. You and Joseph had presented Jesus in the Temple and heard Simeon’s ominous predictions. Then an angel told Joseph it was safe to return to Galilee. Now this. Your instinct told you to protect your son but you knew you wouldn’t always be able to do that. Mary, your own heart must have been tortured by that thought. How did you deal with it? Only God’s grace and your willingness to receive it could help you. I have trouble accepting life’s problems sometimes. Babies get sick. Defenseless seniors and children get abused. Spouses are unfaithful. Sons die while fighting war. None of this makes sense.
You begin to wonder who would want to hurt your innocent Son. You could have said the same thing as he stood before Pilate. I guess, sadly, you can say the same thing today. Why do people intentionally hurt my son? I certainly don’t want to be in that category. But every time I sin, that’s exactly where I am. Instead, let me join with you in protecting him. Let me change anger into calm~ my own and others. Superiority into equality. War into peace. Sadness into hope. In my own little way I want to protect and help Jesus, too.
Can I be someone he wants to run to? Or does my behavior make me someone he’d prefer to run from?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's much more simple than we think...

on Dorothy Day - a really cool lady!

In 1946 she said, “What we would like to do is change the world~ make it a little simpler for people to feed, to clothe and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. But the more we do, the more we realize that the most important thing is to love.”
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“Love is the measure by which we shall be judged and that love is shown by works of mercy, not war.”

Monday, July 09, 2007

Eucharist and Transformation

St Augustine said: "Those who receive the Eucharist properly become what they receive, Christ Himself." The two disciples at Emmaus were changed when they recognized Christ at the breaking of the bread. In the Eucharist the Lord becomes the food we need to continue our search for truth and justice."Go, the Mass is ended" means we are being sent on a mission. We are being charged to commit to witness God's love thru our words and actions. "Eucharist that does not transform into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented." (Pope Benedict XVI :Deus Caritas Est) This food of truth leads us to promote justice, reconciliation and peace. It empowers us to work for the dignity of all. It renews our strength to work tirelessly in building up a civilization of love. (Cardinal Justin Rigali 4.11.07 homily)If, in fact, we each became transformed into promoters of justice, reconciliation and peace rather than promoters of our own personal agenda however noble that might be, there's a good chance this crazy world could be transformed too.