Rosary thoughts

OL montmartre

The Annunciation. Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word. Every moment is an opportunity to say it – and relive this mystery in my present circumstances – again and again, and so to be taken deep into the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Presentation. How can it be that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? I take my heart and imagine leaving it shut in the tabernacle of the local church, right next to those consecrated hosts. That’s Jesus’ home, where He dwells with Mary. By leaving my heart all the way over there, inches from the Sacred Heart (how are we not annihilated in the intensity of its flame?), perhaps my heart can become a home for Jesus and Mary to dwell in.

The Nativity. And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. Well, I’ll leave my heart where it was before. Since I’m so close it’s no great leap of the imagination to gaze at those consecrated Hosts in the ciborium. The Virgin Mary was the first adorer of the Face of Christ. By adoring the Eucharistic Face I can join in! What else is there to do? Heaven is here; I only have to look.

The Presentation. And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. With a start I realise that dwelling there next to Jesus in the tabernacle I am on an altar, that is, an altar of sacrifice. Well, then, sacrifice must be made; and what do I have to offer? Myself, certainly – though I am not much. But close at hand are the Hosts. I can offer those. I offer them. It’s more than I can fathom, an unspeakable mystery.

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Again, now that my heart is, in my mind, placed there next to the Eucharistic Jesus, locked inside the nearby church tabernacle, I realise it is an ideal place to think on the mysteries of the Rosary. And seeing him, they wondered. The seeking is met instantaneously with finding. Here He is.

So much of the sorrow in my life came from not seeking Jesus. With Him now there is only peace. God willing, I’ve still plenty of life left to live, and suffering and desolation will come in due course. But there’s no point worrying about that ahead of time. Right now I can only give thanks, and keep my heart where I left it. It’s a little scary – I mean, it is on an altar. If you linger around those you’re liable to get sacrificed the next time a priest walks up. Then again, doesn’t that happen at Mass?


Assumpta est Maria in caelum

Every now and then there is news that somehow makes it past my mental filter and gets stuck in my craw. There was one recently – unnecessary to say which – which felt like a tipping point for me. How long, O Lord? This must stop!

Then again, I could choose tipping points at my leisure. How long are we going to kill innocents in the womb? How long, O Lord? This must stop! Some day the list will change, but there will still be a list.

And then I could look at myself, and at the Cross. How long, O Lord, must I inflict more wounds on Thee? This must stop! And how many souls have I hurt through my sins of commission and omission? This must stop! Ah, here is something I can do. There is some mysterious necessity in the daily living and suffering that happens to me, but there is no necessity to speak of in my own sins of the present moment – only my use and misuse of the free will which is God’s gift. There is nothing left but to align my will with His, completely and without reserve, for the grace God pours out on a humble heart is infinitely more powerful than the evil that heart could ever do. My own life’s tipping point needs to be conversion, and that daily and hourly, to Jesus Christ.

But it’s so difficult! Thankfully, I know of a humble Jewish maiden of Nazareth called Maryam who also happens to be the Queen of Heaven. She is even now mysteriously carrying us in her womb, so that at every little death to self until the final death of our body – which is the completion of our Mass – we would emerge newly born into eternal life if we persevere. She’s pictured above as the cherubs carry her body and soul into Heaven, and there are tassels dangling from her train – rosaries, really – that would carry us aloft with her if we took hold and didn’t let go.

I’m currently more than halfway through my first 33-day consecration to Jesus through Mary. The big day is coming soon. My resolve’s no good – I need hers. My virtue’s not worth mentioning – I need hers. There’s nothing else for it but to cling on to her coattails, so to speak.

May she keep her little ones safe for eternal life. May she remember the souls of the little ones snuffed out too soon. May she intercede for the salvation of us all. May Jesus come quickly through Mary. Rejoice! For Maria est assumpta. Immaculate Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Fiat.



In addition to my previous post on Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Those eyes of Our Lady…they’re looking off, down, to the side, ever so maternally, and also contemplatively. Just imagine for a moment they turn to you. I don’t know what I’d do; I’d be just utterly struck dumb. She’s so lovely and full of love.

But of course she is looking at you, and at me. We never leave her gaze. Right now the Mother of God, crowned with twelve stars, clothed with incandescent light, is praying for you and beseeching her Son, by all the sufferings, sorrows, and joys of her life, to rescue you from whatever mire you might be in. And He has seen fit to give to her the disposition of all the graces He earned by the sufferings, sorrows, and joys of His own life. She is so near. Call on her and she will guide you ever so gently to Christ, who loves you.

United to Jesus Christ, we become, in Him, adopted children of His Father. United to Jesus Christ, we become, in Him, adopted children of His Mother. She loves you.

Guadalupe: icon of Jesus


Consider the Virgin of Guadalupe as the icon of Jesus enwombed. He had already dwelt in her by faith and by the singular pouring out of sanctifying grace at her Immaculate Conception, a grace which of course was not just for a moment but permeated her entire being like thick dew for every moment of her existence until the present time. Now he dwelt in her as her Son, soul and divinity, and body and blood that he took from her. He may have been as small as a pea, but He had already saved the world by the obedience of His incarnation.  The sun had gone into the moon, and the moon ought to have burnt up, but no, it was perfectly prepared, and burned without being consumed. It was entirely transparent to the sun within. Look at it and all you see is sunlight. The light surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe – that’s the sun’s light from her child. How very like to a church tabernacle she is! Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

I want to become that small: small as an embryo, completely dependent on my heavenly Mother for my life and breath. Give me this grace, Holy Mother. I look to you, beautiful Lady of Guadalupe, and adore the Christ within you, and I ask to be drawn into your own loving contemplation whenever I receive Holy Communion.

How can it be that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

As a postscript: Since Christ sanctified human nature in every stage of life as he passed through it, it follows that he sanctified too the hidden childhood of the embryo. He gave dignity to all the children who have died in the womb in their sweet innocence – whether by natural causes or by murder. All of them shall be knit back together with the rest of us at the resurrection of the dead, and then, I think, we will see how much Our Lady of Guadalupe dearly loved them and kept them in her prayers for the sake of her tiny Son.


Mary, the ideal of the communicant

This tabernacle sits in a side chapel of St. Sulpice in Paris. Here, St. John gives Holy Communion to the Blessed Mother. Think of all that’s going on here. The young priest whom Jesus loved is given God’s mother to be his own at the foot of the Cross, and now he gives Jesus back to her. The sorrowing mother who had received Jesus on behalf of the entire world at the Annunciation in a little embryo and seen Him taken up to Heaven receives Him again in the guise of bread – and still for the salvation of the world. The hands that give her Jesus are Jesus’ own through the priesthood of St. John. The connection between Annunciation and Holy Communion is not lost on us, much less on her. She repeatedly gives her Fiat over and over again. She becomes again and again the perfect tabernacle of God.

And though she has passed through her great trial of suffering at Calvary, it is in union with the Eucharist that she suffers afresh for love of her Son. Whenever her Son in the Blessed Sacrament is desecrated or abandoned, she feels the pain of seeing her Son crucified, and her communion becomes a reparation of love.

So we can ask Mary to help us, and to acquire her spirit of total submission and reparation when we take Holy Communion. For my part, when I go up to receive, it’s still difficult to get my mind around it all, and being in a state of grace does not remove the sense of unworthiness. All I can really do is entrust the communion to the Blessed Mother, give my thanks, and then stop worrying, because she knows best how to receive Him.


The secret of the Church

Next to the pierced heart of Jesus lies another also pierced.  It aches with His and burns with love like His.  It accompanies the divine Heart in the many silences of desolation and abandonment.  It does not speak but chooses simply to remain beside.

Only God knows what graces Mary has obtained out of her silent adoration.  The world turns its face away from what makes things beautiful – but she turns her face forwards to the Eucharistic Jesus and shines with unmatched beauty like the moon.  And then she turns to her children and embraces them with the gentlest tenderness.

I want to be like one of those little angels in the old medieval Marian paintings, entirely concerned with a single fold of Our Lady’s flowing blue garment, gingerly lifting it with both hands and looking to see that nothing is disturbed.  Or perhaps I would forget my duties and wrap myself up in the folds of her robe.