Saturday, February 6, 2010

Symbolism of the coming weeks

In a couple of days i will be flying for what feels as a final time to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It's with mixed emotions. Because on one hand i feel i still haven't left the time that i lived there behind. The time leading upt ot go there and during that time were the most intense times of my life. The place of also my greatest love in life. It makes it difficult to be in those surroundings because inevitably it's a thinking back of those times. In that sense it must be a last time.

But it is also symbolically the place to find the ultimate love of ones life in the person of Christ. Did i leave a woman behind it was the Queen of Heaven, Our Lady who took me on this path by inspiring me to buy a Rosary. The Most Holy Rosary, i must make another post about it later :)

I chose the dates for this vacation because it includes the start of Lent. This trip will also be a tribute to Our Lady of Lujan. And i intend to go to Lujan (just outside the city) as well. So it starts in one of the biggest and busiest cities of the world. And then as the 40 days progress there will be more and more detachment. March 10th will be my last working day at the place where i work now. Remarkably that officially it ends on Maundy Thursday, the start of Our Lords Passion. The weeks after the 10th i'll have paid leave. On one hand necessary to find continuation in work for after Easter. Although at this moment everything after Easter doesn't seem to exist. On the other hand it's also a time to be able to prepare for my Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion. And then Holy Week spending daily in church, with the last few days in a monastery away from the world.

And then comes this Holy Saturday. Santa Gemma died on a Holy Saturday (although it was April 11th instead of the 3rd). Holy Mass in the morning and then in the evening before the altar with on one hand, it feels, Our Lady (holding the Rosary) and on the other hand Santa Gemma (wearing her relic). For months now i have been trying to imagine what it all entails, what it means, how it will be. and yes i do have a script of things i would like to do that day and prayers i would like to say at specific moments. Up to the moment directly before my Baptism and just after Holy Communion. Latin prayers inspired by True Devotion to Mary of St Grignion de Montfort. But also a realization that i must let go at that moment and just be there. Aware of my nothingness and with true contrition. With true longing. And maybe all that i plan will be different at that moment. Fiat voluntas tua.

Our Lady in the bristling of a city and Our Lady at the moment of meeting Jesus as close as you can on this world. Maybe those of you devoted to the Blessed Virgin can grasp what She means. To all others i can only say. Don't be afraid. Devotion to Mary is the perfection in the adoration of Christ. Showing affection to His Mother Whom He loves so much can only be pleasing to Him. And She will always point at Him as the Centre of all things. There is nothing i do without Her. And it has filled me with a richness already beyond my dreams.

I do want to memorize the Angelic Salutation (Ave Maria) in Spanish. I say one for the people of Argentina:

Ave María, llena de gracia,
el Señor está contigo,
bendita tú entre las mujeres
y bendito el fruto de tu vientre,

Santa María, madre de Dios
ruega por nosotros pecadores,
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Posting in a bit

Having been posting for a bit. There is much to write about again. In a week from now i'm having my vacation and then also much time to make some new posts. Bear with me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

But we live in this world.... Part 2

Last wednesday i posted about the first reading of Mass of that day. Posted it because it struck me in a way. Especially the latter part as described in that post about distancing oneself from the world. This we find in the saints and in religious life in general. And not just Christian religion. A thought occurred to write this reading to a friend who is converting with his family from Protestantism to Catholicism. He is very much into finding the foundations in the Bible for Catholic standpoints so he can give a decent answer when confronted with questions and critizism. I dismissed the idea to write.

Now yesterday in Mass for some reason the ribbon for the first reading was not placed on the right day. The lector started reading and it took me a moment to realize, because it was in Dutch, that he was reading the exact same reading from wednesday. He told me afterwards he had been reading it realizing it was not the reading for that day but read it anyway because he thought that this was probably as the celebrating priest had wanted it. This was not the case. But when it was read and i realized this it was like huh?? What are the odds you are so busy with a text and then it pops up again due to an apparent misunderstanding about the reading?

Coincidence? An act of God? Anyway it gives me the distinct impression to look at it more closely and i will send it to this friend.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Felice Anno Nuovo!

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo! or in Santa Gemma's language: Felice Anno Nuovo!

Scribe, Domina, vulnera tua in corde meo, ut in eis legam dolorem et amorem: dolorem, ad sustinendum per te omnem dolorem: amorem, ad contemnendum per te omnem amorem.

Imprint, O Lady, thy wound upon my heart, that I may read therein sorrow and love: sorrow, to endure every sorrow for thee; love, to despise every love for thee.

(From the Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows)

Today is the Solemnity of the Mother of God. It occurred to me yesterday evening, hours before the start of the new year, that it would be nice to make a personal dedication for this year. My first thought was to dedicate it to Our Lady. This year for me will center around Easter when i will be baptized, confirmed and the day of my First Communion. At the time of the Passion of Jesus and His resurrection. And when you consider this Passion one also must not forget the sorrows of Our Lady (makes me think St Paul of the Cross). Therefore to dedicate this year to Our Lady of Sorrows seems fitting. Furthermore it connects to St Gabriel (Possenti) of Our Lady of Sorrows, and then of course also to St Gemma.

September 15th is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows and is a day after The Triumph of the Cross. And so my goal is now to be that week in Lucca, Italy. With a special personal gift to Our Lady of Sorrows at the tomb of Santa Gemma. Of which i will not speak until after the event. (sorry folks!) I pray that it will be financially possible and also that i will be able to have that week off from whatever work i will be doing at that time. Since that stops in Holy Week. Easter marks a double letting go of the past in that sense.

But to stay with this special day: Hail to The Mother of God! May She intercede on our behalf. Amen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

But we live in this world....

First reading for Mass of today: 1 Jn 2:12-17

"12 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven through his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the Evil One.
14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, parents, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong, and God's word remains in you, and you have overcome the Evil One.
15 Do not love the world or what is in the world. If anyone does love the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him,
16 because everything there is in the world -- disordered bodily desires, disordered desires of the eyes, pride in possession -- is not from the Father but is from the world.
17 And the world, with all its disordered desires, is passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains for ever."

Verbum Domini
Deo Gratias

On the brink of the new year this couldn't be more fitting on a personal level. It summarises the last year and also inhibits the promises for the future.

The latter part, starting with verse 15 is a part which we recognize from the Saints. It is that part which most find difficult, if not impossible, to live up to. I had a discussion with a colleague about it. "But we live in this world..." was the comment. I didn't really succeed in explaining. But here in these verses it is written.

The odd thing is that ever since Christmas it's like the birth of Christ was also the birth of a certain awareness. Never did i feel Christ so near. But also it's a kind of detachment from things which before i was looking how to accomplish. On one hand it gives an increase of inner peace, a confidence i'm on the right track. However, on the other hand i also notice i find it more difficult to operate within the normalities of this world. I feel uneasy, even sometimes annoyed, by behaviour which is totally focussed on possessions and money. Also i'm noticing i'm turning (even) more inward. The amount time in prayer increases. More and more time i find time to pray in spare moments, like while traveling, in the short elevator ride at work etc.

The last verse 17 speaks of doing the will of God. Which is also detachment from this world. And that is part of carrying ones cross in the footsteps of Jesus. Not for Saints but for all. Easy? I would be the last one to say that. But there are always things we can do in this matter. Some more than others.

Adoro Te Devote

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas: tibi se cor meum totum subiicit, quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur, sed auditu solo tuto creditur; credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius: nil hoc verbo Veritatis verius.

In cruce latebat sola Deitas, at hic latet simul et humanitas; ambo tamen credens atque confitens, peto quod petivit latro paenitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor; Deum tamen meum te confiteor; fac me tibi semper magis credere, in te spem habere, te diligere.

O memoriale mortis Domini! panis vivus, vitam praestans homini! praesta meae menti de te vivere et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie pellicane, Iesu Domine, me immundum munda tuo sanguine; cuius una stilla salvum facere totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Iesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio, oro fiat illud quod tam sitio; ut te revelata cernens facie, visu sim beatus tuae gloriae. Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Detachment from things

This Christmas time is especially difficult this year. Now that for the first time i realize it's true meaning. Yes it's good to have a good time with people together but is it all about presents and decorations and dinners? It seems so. Commercials, plans from people around you. It all suddenly seems so empty.

When you think about the Nativity, the light of this world which shines for the first time through the eyes of the Son of God. Held by His mother, Maria forever virgin, and Joseph in his beautiful role near. The appearance of angels to the sheppards. If you only imagine that sight. What a profound effect this must have had on them.

Although i wish everyone a good time, especially this time of the year, i'm filled with sadness. But this was already the case before this time of the year. Sorrow for the lack of love for each other, the greed, the talk about the new car or cellphone. To be honest it appalls me.

At work this is a daily occurrance. During lunch around noon i try to seperate myself to have a few minutes to pray the Angelus. 2 to 3 minutes are hard to find. Yet i do find them. It's difficult to come back in the "normal" routine. Normal between quotes on purpose.

I feel like i'm wasting my time. I'd rather do something which is truly helpful to others. With time in between for prayer.

Yesterday because of a technical difficulty with the train i couldn't go to the morning Mass. It gave me the opportunity to go to the Tridentine Mass in the late afternoon. Meeting the new rector, who is an interesting man. In his homily he had mentioned the sacrifice of the individual for the many. After Mass there was coffee and someone brought this up. A discussion about how this could be explained. Stories about soldiers ina war etc. Intellectual talk but i didn't say anything. I had to think about the 4th bead of the Most Holy Rosary: Ardent Charity. Renouncement of the individual for the purpose of helping others. And think about the soul victims, suffering for the salvation of others.

Yes i'm a thinker and do a lot inward. I cannot determine whether this process is a normal one. I just notice it happens. Maybe it is normal if you take the words of Christ truly at heart. That you become aware of the lack of love, the absence of God in the lifes of others.

Ponders on....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Actus Contritionis

Deus meus, ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, sed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris. Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua, de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum. Amen.

O My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.