2012년 5월 2일 수요일

Our Lady and Suffering

De Maria, numquam satis.

I was hesitant about the theme today because I have not yet quite lived a life laden with suffering. I have lost both of my paternal grand parents in my adolescence which did give me moments of acute grief but it is not like what some of my friends have been through. Not many serious illnesses that I can remember.

But suffering is probably one of the most useful service a soul could do for God. Whilst it is difficult for me to imagine what it is like, it seems a soul that tasted bitterness (that she accepts for God) in life is drawn that much closer to God in that she physically experience a portion of His suffering. On that note, I have a wonderful video I would like you to watch at this point.

DiligoDeus puts up some good meditation videos. She seems sound although I had to point it out the other day when she used an image of Our Lady of "Medjugorje". She did not quote the apparition though so I still have the privilege of endorsing her. She also has a video called "Are only a few saved?" which is a video full of hell fire and brimstone and "Receiving Communion with Mary's Heart" which I thought was the best of its kind I have seen. They can never replace well taught Catechism but every now and then they can serve good purposes, too.

It would seem as though suffering itself is a kind of calling from God. A vocation, if you will. Our Lady's life seems to reflect this quite well. When it was nearly time for the Eternal Word of God to come to us, Our Lady was immaculately conceived. Then came the Annunciation to which She said "Fiat". Then came the moment of Passion in which She participated in the most perfect manner ever possible to any mortal man. Her Assumption and Coronation were all punctually in God's timetable, too. Our Lady might have had some human yearning after Our Lord's Ascension but I have absolutely no doubt Her joy and conviction of being reunited with Him would have far surpassed any such passing emotions. Perhaps that is just one of many reasons we look upon Her so much; as God's plan was in full work in Her, with no obstacle to be found. Perhaps that is partially what Sanctity is; letting God do what He wants to do. The greater the trust and submission, the greater the Sanctity. I am not sure if that is true but She certainly had the greatest trust and submission to God's will and She certainly is the greatest of all saints.

Now, this is a good place to introduce the Seven Dolors of Our Lady. It is a devotional prayer like the Rosary. It is the collection of seven sufferings of Our Lady; Prophecy of Simeon, Flight to Egypt, Losing Jesus in the temple when He was a child, Meeting Him on His way up to Calvary, His Crucifixion and Death, Taking Him down from the Cross after His Death and His burial. You meditate upon each of them to share in the suffering of Our Lady. It has a chaplet a bit like the Rosary but with only seven beads. That would make a great Lenten gift for our mothers, I should imagine. In fact, if I am not in the military yet, I should make her one next Lent. She rather liked the Rosary I made her for her anniversary gift so she will like this one, too.
Notice the seven small beads for seven recitations of Ave Maria.
Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required. (LK 12:48)
Can we apply this to God, too? If we give Him much, can we require much from Him, too?
That parallel falls flat on its face. Gift of Baptism has already taken away all hopes of matching His giving. In fact the very fact that one is breathing at all is a gift one cannot hope to match. But I do wonder if a soul suffers more for God, if a soul proves her love for God more joyfully, more consolation and more Grace could be poured upon her. This much I believe to be true; every broken, twisted limb in this world; every cry of agony and anguish in this world earns a soul back home. God hates it more than we do, but we need it more than God does. He does not inflict it upon us because He needs to; He needs nothing! Rather, it seems the only way to even entertain the idea of saving some certain souls in this world is to have strong and pure souls suffer as a holy reparation. We need to pray more for these souls being tried in this fire of holy suffering, those who make reparation and restitution for all the blasphemies and offences. A bit like her (a Catholic convert introduced in the Catholic Herald before).


And Him. (Watch from 38:00 to 44:32)

Evangelisation is probably the most important commandment we were given by Christ.
Loving one another is indeed The New Commandment but you need to teach them how to love. Missionaries have that immense joy and responsibility of teaching them how to love, of carrying out His last commandment on earth; Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mk 16:15) However, if evangelisation is winning bread for the family, suffering for Christ I guess could be like good housekeeping. Thanking and embracing come what may, letting Divine Providence be fulfilled, letting God do what Divine Economy (housekeeping in Greek) requires. Sinners will put the household in deficit and holy suffering souls will pay back the deficit. By the way, who is the Heavenly Treasurer, the housekeeper in Heaven?
Our Lady of perpetual help
Parting gift for today... You see, I would have used Canticle of Love for today but I have already used it on "Our Lady, films and deer" so I have to use something else.
I will attach that video I mentioned earlier; "Receiving Communion with Mary's Heart." By the way, its background music is Canticle of Love!

2012년 4월 30일 월요일

Our Lady and Her apparitions

De Maria numquam satis.

Have you been to any Marian pilgrimage before?
I had the privilege to visit a few Marian apparition sites such as Fatima, Lourdes, Rue de Bac, Walsingham and La Salette. Lourdes I have visited twice; once as a member to the Westminster Red Cap group and the other as a personal pilgrimage when Holy Father visited Lourdes for its 150th anniversary. Lourdes is lovely; in spite of the underground car park "basilica", the "Cathedral of trees" and the tragically ugly vestments. Oh and priests in shorts. I could never see what was wrong with cassocks and habits. Fatima... when I went there, it was an awful day and I walked around in torrential rain. I should really go there again... Need to see what it was all about. Pilgrimage to Walsingham was good too; except to find the Anglican chapel more beautiful than ours. La Salette was on this beautiful mountain. Cloud underneath your feet, the slope covered in snow and a beautiful statue of Our Lady. Quite difficult to get there though; you have to take a train from Lyon to Grenoble. take a bus from Grenoble for a couple of hours to get to the village and climb up or take a taxi up the mountain. Quite a trip indeed! But not much to do. Rue de Bac... Not much to do there either! So the winner for me is Lourdes. At least so far.

Now there are apparitions that were disproved and condemned by the Church.
Bayside apparition is a prime example and the one in Korea called Naju is another.
People still attached to these apparitions must come back to the Magisterium. The on-going apparition in Medjugorje is meant to have been condemned by the local bishop and it is not even finished yet so it is advisable NOT to go there. The historical example about authentic Marian apparitions though is that the visionaries were faithful and obedient to the Church but the pilgrims were not so faithful and obedient. Even for Lourdes and Fatima, the Church, in Her prudence, advised Catholics to refrain from paying too much attention to these apparitions and vising these sites until the investigations were complete. Many people still went there nonetheless but bluntly put, they were just lucky not to have gone to the wrong ones. Do not trust your own judgments; trust what the Church tells you to do. Even if Medjugorje feels "right", if the Church urges you not to go there, do not go there. The Church has one and only reason for existence; to save souls. If the Church thinks it is good for the salvation of souls, She will allow it eventually. Be patient, be obedient.

The one striking feature shared by all authorised apparitions of Our Lady is that there is absolutely nothing new. Granted, some apparitions contain more warnings than others, some contain specific prophecies that are contingent to the epoch but Fatima is Akita, essentially. After the era of Apostles, the era of Public Revelation came to an end. The Private Revelations that came afterwards are not required to believe. We do of course recognise Lourdes and Fatima as authentic apparitions of Our Lady but the content of these apparitions are not faith-binding. In fact, it seems very counter-productive how some certain groups of Catholics focus on these messages at the cost of forming oneself of integral Mariology. Surely that is not what Our Lady would have wished to see?

Marian teachings are of celestial beauty; hardly surprising as She is the Queen of Heaven. Without marveling at the fact that Our Lady referred to Herself as the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes, the teaching is already so beautiful and rich in Christology (as all Marian teachings ultimately are) it almost does not seem to matter that it was revealed in Lourdes. We have also been taught for centuries that the Rosary was a powerful weapon against the devil. St Louis de Montfort even wrote a book called "The Secret of the Rosary" and that predates Our Lady of Fatima by quite a few centuries.
De Maria, numquam satis. It originally means "Of Our Lady, there is never enough." or "We can never pay Our Lady enough respect or express enough gratitude for Her inextinguishable love for Her children." Well, something like that anyway. But I suppose it can also be interpreted like this; No apparitions can do Her justice for Her resplendent beauty and love for us. St Bernadette, the visionary at Lourdes, when she saw the first statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was known to have been disappointed. They may have reflected all the features St Bernadette described but still, the statue was nothing compared to what St Bernadette had the extraordinary privilege to see. Equally, what they saw in Fatima is nothing compared to what Our Lady has in store for us in Heaven. Whatever you saw or imagined of Our Lady, you can safely expect to see vastly more when you get to see Her face-to-face. She is bigger than Her apparitions; do not limit Her within the confines of Her apparitions.

Marian apparitions, the authentic ones, are indeed special grace Our Lady earns for us. It brings us great consolation and affords us these timely warnings that we all desperately need. Countries blessed with these must always give thanks to Our Blessed Lord who arranged for Her apparitions to be witnessed in their own home countries. But when you investigate into the messages of these apparitions, please bear in mind that it is Our Lady's wish for you to grow in love for Her in an integral, holistic (a dangerous word these days) and lasting manner, not going after "sensational" messages. And if you happen to be a strong advocate for these controversial apparitions mentioned above, remember you will, one day, be held accountable for your erroneous and reckless ways in the presence of Our Lady. Imagine the shame, imagine the horror!

Parting gift for today is Salve Regina in solemn tone.

2012년 4월 20일 금요일

Our Lady, films and deer

De Maria, numquam satis.

Everywhere in England they had drought orders as they had not had much rain at all this Spring and suddenly we have weather as capricious as a goat (as capricious means just that) pouring down every five minutes. A perfect weather to have a warm cup of tea by you and get some Spiritual Reading.

I have not had much Spiritual Reading myself but I have watched quite a few films of the lives of the Blessed and the Saints. Do you not like these old-school films with CG effects that you would not raise an eyebrow to but with a good, faithful and hearty acting? The one on Our Lady of Fatima was done very well in terms of acting and the prudence that they had, not to draw disproportionate amount of attention to the Secrets of Fatima, was laudable. The one of St Therese de Lisieux (filmed in French in the 80s I think) was also interesting. It was filmed almost like a play, thought-provoking, in short, fleeting, twinkling scenes. It had some very dry sense of humour which we can always appreciate as well. The one on St Pio of Pietrelcina seemed to vilify the Ecclesiastical Authorities a bit too much (which was the case with most of these films in fact) and depicted him just a little bit too much of an impetuous and often quite an impatient old man when patience was the keyword to describe the Saint. But the thing about these films is you must not expect to see any remotely accurate description of a Saint's life; frankly the one I have watched about St Philip Neri was... to say the least, confusing. There was this melange of St John Bosco, Les Choristes (a brilliant French film about delinquent children) and a bit too... humanist? Whilst my background reading of St Philip Neri is at best patchy, I was still quite crossed about the fact that they missed out the happenings with his students and most importantly, the miracle of Paolo Massimo. But they did manage to depict him in that wonderful, heartening cheerfulness and "gioia".

What do you normally wish to export out of writings of Saints; about their lives, their deeds, devotions, exercises etc? In my case, since my name means Divine Providence (Jimin), it is their zeal for the perfection of their vocation, their submission to the Divine Will and how those acts of Faith bring forth Divine Providence. The most important question to ask after watching these films seems to be this; "What would YOU have me do?" And it seems all the saints have asked this same question through our Church History as though no other questions mattered, in fact in their lives that was the only question they cared about. Our Lady also, would have asked this question; although out of Her Humility (as we affectionately believe) She chose not to be discussed too much in the Bible. As a deer panting for running waters, their souls eagerly sought after their God, until that promised time in their Eternity to see God's radiant Face. (Psalm 41)
In that wonderful (albeit modern some of you may find) hymn I found called Canticle of Love from the film Therese, the lyrics runs "Until in eternity, we join in one chorus... Canticle of Love, song of Love, this eternal day, I will sing of your Love." In the Communion of Saints we enjoy, we do indeed join in one Chorus; everyday given as free gift from eternal God, we live everyday as eternity. Our vocations will call us through many ways as we have seen for two thousand years. Some may have apparition of Our Lord to evangelise, some may have vocations to look after the sick. But all those different walks of life will lead to one very very narrow road in the end; the road to Our Home. Our Lady being the brightest star that guides us to that road, that is why She is the Mother of the Church. Because by Her very Motherhood She will not abandon us in the dark; by the very Charity that moves the Sun and the stars (Divine Comedy, In Empyrean), the brightest Star will always be upon us. As Her beloved deer, we will have Our running waters in the end.

The parting gift for today is that hymn I mentioned above. Hope you like it!

2012년 4월 10일 화요일

Our Lady and Light

De Maria, numquam satis.

So ended Lent, so came the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord.
Easter comes every year but somehow every Easter feels so different to one another, does it not? I guess that is only natural though; we always fight different demons for different Lents. In some Lent we may be fighting sluggishness; in others we may be fighting gossiping and swearing. And with part victories and part defeats, we witness the consummation of God's promise; freedom from Sin and Death. Even if we always fall short, even if we fail as God's Temple, victory comes every year, because we have such a wonderful King, so wonderful we even call Adam's fault blessed. (O felix culpa!)

Now, what about the very first Temple of God, Our Lady?
Personally, I often call Her the first Monstrance.
When we go to Adoration, as Monsignor Knox had put it, we gaze upon "the Window in the wall". He described the Blessed Sacrament in Monstrance as "the Window in the wall", the wall of deceiving bodily senses, the world of appearances. And if I may paraphrase, the Window is that small hole in that wall through which the faithful can gaze upon the World of Forms (if you like Plato) or the World of Truth. The wall darkens the world around us but that Window affords us a single beam of light. Now imagine a living Monstrance, full of Grace, without any blemish or scratches at all, that was crafted by God Himself. Would it not invite us infinitely more to look upon the Eucharistic Lord more fervently?
(After all, St John the Baptist did leap in joy!)
Before I heard of Monsignor Knox's description though (which I think is absolutely beautiful), I have thought of the Blessed Sacrament in Monstrance, in a way, as a Heavenly mirror. You see, the great thing about Truth is that it vanquishes all Falsehood. Just as Satan flees in the Holy Name of Jesus, Falsehood immediately melts away in the presence of Truth. In a way, that is one of the things we hope to do when we go to Adoration. As the Blessed Lord opens up His Heart and shows Himself in a Monstrance, we also, in our prayers, open up our hearts in return and show Him our true selves and pray to Him as though we are speaking face to face. And although Our Blessed Lord is a few yards away from us when we adore Him, nevertheless we ask Him to show us the true reflection of ourselves to become better sons and daughters of Christ, through that Heavenly mirror.

(St Stanislaus's, Chicago. Red is known to have been chosen for Kingship. I would have preferred good old Our Lady's blue myself though.)
So whenever we go to Adoration, whilst all praises and thanksgiving should first and foremost go to Our Lord, we should also remember that the Monstrance that contains the Blessed Sacrament is only a poor replica to Our Lady. The only true Monstrance, the only fitting Monstrance was made by God Himself, with human flesh and blood but without Original Sin. I have seen Monstrances of celestial beauty, so faithfully looked after that it shines from a few hundreds of yards. But still, that is not enough. You may adorn that Monstrance with the most precious jewels in this world, polish it seven million times and it will never be fitting for Our Blessed Lord and it will never be able to look half as beautiful as Our Lady.
Today's parting gift is Regina Caeli. That is the Marian hymn for Eastertide (instead of Ave Regina Caelorum for Lent), and it also substitutes Angelus. And after we sing Regina Caeli, the Priest may chant "Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia" which means "Rejoice and be glad, Virgin Mary, alleluia." to which we all chant in response "Quia surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia!" which means "For the Lord has truly risen, Alleluia!" It is short so it will not take more than an hour to learn if you have not already.

2012년 3월 26일 월요일

Our Lady and Annunciation

De Maria, numquam satis.

I am very sorry this post was rather late.
It is still the Feast of Annunciation across the Atlantic so Happy Feast, brothers in Faith!
It was a First Class Feast so we could all enjoy some dispensations from our Lenten observances. Another was St Joseph's day.

I am going to put up a painting that might raise some of your eyebrows...
Kim Ki Chang, South Korean Catholic Artist, Annunciation
I have already used Fra Angelico's painting of the Annunciation which is without a reasonable doubt the best depiction of Our Lady's Annunciation, with all its rich endowment of Biblical symbolism and the sublime countenance of Our Lady; in awe and wonder, not in fear. But Our Lady is quite beautifully drawn in this picture as well.
Now that I have said "nice" things about this picture, let me say not so "nice" things about this picture also.
In Korean custom, only married ladies wore navy skirts; Our Lady was only engaged, not yet quite married, upon the point of Annunciation. There can be a couple of possible justifications for this. First one is that it was the artist's adaptation of Her status. Confucianism demanded almost schizophrenic separation between men and women so until marriage, they could not even sit in a same room. Women of noble or royal births could not speak to men without blinds stopping them from exchanging glances. So the artist might have adapted it to mean that Our Lady and St Joseph could be considered married in Korean terms. Their relationship was indeed, in modern terms, closer than betrothal but not quite Marriage yet. Or maybe, the following. Before Our Lady says "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.", Angel Gabriel does indeed say "Ave, gratia plena." Therefore, even before she conceived Our Blessed Lord, Our Lady was already "full of Grace". Specifically, Sanctifying Grace.

Since the end and aim of all efficacious grace is directed to the production of sanctifying grace where it does not already exist, or to retain and increase it where it is already present, its excellence, dignity, and importance become immediately apparent; for holiness and the sonship of God depend solely upon the possession of sanctifying grace, wherefore it is frequently called simply grace without any qualifying word to accompany it as, for instance, in the phrases "to live in grace" or "to fall from grace".


Her Soul enjoyed a specific, Divinely ordained Sanctifying Grace from Her Immaculate Conception. The very fact that She was Immaculately conceived, needless to stress, is a Divinely ordained Grace on Her. Her Soul was ordained to be the bride of Holy Ghost from Her very conception. Our Lady did get to say "Fiat mihi, secundum verbum tuum." (Luke 1:38) but I believe God knew from the beginning that She will confess Her all-consuming Love and Desire to be His Bride. It is also the case that She is ever-Virgin as She is the Singular Vessel of the Holy Ghost, eternally married to Her God. Bluntly put, Our Blessed Lord has made one ever-sufficient Sacrifice on Calvary and no one else but Our Blessed Lady was chosen, once and for all eternity. She is the ONLY Mother of God. There are ancient writings such as Protoevangelium of James that supports this idea of Our Lady's Eternal Virginity known to have been written in sub-apostolic era but the case is already more than clear to show that Our Lady's Vocation (as Divine Will), as it were, was to be married to Holy Ghost and St Joseph's was to remain Her guardian throughout his life.
It is extremely insulting to see certain misled christian leaders saying Our Lady was not perpetually virgin and broke the vow of Her Eternal Matrimony. The insult is so damning it eclipses and almost does not give St Joseph a chance to be insulted about it, for it is first and foremost an insult to Holy Ghost. They will be held accountable for such insults before the judgment seat. And they can jolly well expect to see Our Heavenly Queen seated on Our Lord's side.

Speaking of Divine Will, my name in Korean means some thing like that (Jimin/지민/).
I have always liked my name very much and I have always been grateful to my parents for it. But having written most of today's post on Our Lady's Annunciation, I feel unworthy of such a name. Her humble "Fiat" was Her answer to Divine Providence, Divine Providence none else but that of mankind's Salvation. She experienced Divine Providence not as a speculation (e.g. It must have been providential!) but physically; as She said these words, God the Holy Ghost entered Her, the Second Ark of the Covenant, protected from all stains and impurities and dwelt in Her. Nobody else experienced Divine Providence in any remotely similar way as She did. What a truly wonderful Mother we have, indeed!

I have composed a collection of short verses in Korean and English below in Her Honour. She takes up all our sincere prayers to Our Lord's Throne of Mercy however unworthy they may be. I hope She finds them pleasing to Her ears!

어머니 당신님을 목놓아 체읍하며 한없이 그립니다
별보다 반짝이는 당신의 눈동자에 진리를 품으시고
오뉴월 꽃밭보다 포근한 무릎맡에 진리를 눕히시고
십이월 눈밭보다 더하얀 가슴안에 진리를 묻으셨던
어머니 당신님을 목놓아 체읍하며 한없이 그립니다
Mother my soul weeps in longing for thee.
Who conceived Truth in your eyes brighter than stars,
Who laid Truth on your knees fairer than May flowers,
Who buried Truth in your Heart whiter than December snows,
Mother my soul weeps in longing for thee.

I think it works better in Korean. I still pray in Korean when I do mental prayers, even after eight years of study in England!
Verse 3 refers to the moments where Our Blessed Lord would have lied on His Mother's knees, listening to Her sweet lullabies as a child.
Verse 4 refers to Her Immaculate Heart and Our Lord's death.
We say in Korean that when a son passes away before his mother, his mother buries him in her heart as the grief is so great and never forgettable that it is ineffaceably engraved in her heart. The last picture is so painful to see it is almost savage; but such was the Passion of Our Lord (and the brutality of men still has not been tamed yet) and such was Her pain of burying Her Son in Her Heart and in a tomb. Interestingly enough, the tomb was a new one, too; never been used. Could there be some significance to that?

A parting gift for today is Diffusa est gratia, graduale for the feast in 1962 Missal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAry6M8YOzw

2012년 3월 20일 화요일

Our Lady and Thomism

De Maria, numquam satis.
Thomism is an enormous school of thought in the Church. St Thomas Aquinas is best known for his work Summa Theologica, a Theological-Philosophical treatise on more or less anything imaginable! You get the famous five ways of proving God's existence, you get his system of hierarchy of Laws (Eternal, Divine, Natural and Human) the list goes on. Summa Theologica was considered as the official philosophical text by the Church until the Second Vatican Council in the sixties but it still remains as a core text for many seminaries. He is famously quoted for saying "everything I have written seems like straw compared to what I have seen." after a conversation he was known to have with Christ.
When he was to be canonised, the Devil's advocate team argued that there were no reported miracles. But a cardinal replied "there were as many miracles as the articles in Summa Theologica; thousands." He was pronounced a Saint by the See of Avignon at that time.
Beatific Vision from Dante's Divine Comedy, Gustave Dore
Interestingly, a medieval view depicted so exquisitely in the Divine Comedy by Dante, was that there is such thing as a limit to Theology. When Dante ascends to the highest sphere of Heaven (Empyrean), Beatrice, his guide and a lover from childhood (who embodies human reason) could not take him to Empyrean as "Theology has reached its limit." so in her stead, St Bernard of Clairvaux, a spiritual giant in contemplative life, leads him to Empyrean where he prays to Our Lady for Dante. Then he sees God face-to-face (which is what we may call a Beatific Vision) and experiences the Love in its true form, the very Love that "turns the Sun and all the other stars." Beatific Vision, indeed, is something that cannot be obtained through human reason alone. However excellent in virtue and strength it may be, human reason is never enough for the enjoyment eternal of God, St Thomas Aquinas's supreme ultimate goal for human existence.

The question we must ask ourselves here though, since this blog is dedicated to Our Lady, is that whether Our Lady would have had such Theology and Revelation. One thing is for sure; Our Blessed Lord would have had Beatific Vision as He was living amongst us two thousand years ago. The Eternal word of God that took flesh would have seen everything in its truest form in an intuitive manner. This started to sound almost platonic but you see what I mean!
But what about Our Lady? One teaching we can employ is that human beings can only be given Beatific Vision at the consummation of their earthly lives. And I suppose it makes sense. Our soulful selves are limited by our bodily existence and Beatific Vision is an intuitive faculty to see God face-to-face, the Infinite. I suspect it could even be called the final Marriage of souls to their Eternal Bridegroom in that no more will this soul be separated from God and will be irrevocably betrothed to the Bridegroom. For such thing as Marriage, we have a great Theologian to quote, Dietrich Von Hildebrand.

"But two human beings can also turn to face one another, and in touching one another, in an interpenetrating glance, give birth to a mysterious fusion of their souls. They become conscious of one another, and making the other the object of his contemplation and responses, each can spiritually immerse himself in the other. This is the I-thou relationship, in which the partners are not side by side, but face to face. "

Botticini, Assumption of the Virgin, National Gallery
Hm... I still do not know if Our Lady would have had Beatific Vision. She would have had the Original Integrity in that Her Reason would have perfectly controlled Her bodily self, Her enjoyment of pleasures only limited to what we define as legitimate. She is the human being closest to God. I am guessing also from Divine Comedy (since it is known to reflect Medieval Theology quite faithfully) that Our Lady would not just have had human reason to speculate upon God but also something of a revelation or intuition to aid Her by the fact that She was in Empyrean with God in Divine Comedy. Lastly, I have always held the view that Our Lady would not have suffered bodily death before being taken up to Heaven as death is a handmade of sin and She had none! One person who did not die before being taken up to Heaven was Elijah and he was a prophet so God's revelation was something of his specialty. But that still does not mean he would have had Beatific Vision! If there is anybody who knows the answer to this subject, please let me know!

Parting gift for today is Stabat Mater by Vivaldi, sung by a Canadian called Mary-Nicole Lemieux. Stabat Mater is a short hymn we sing during Via Crucis. I think her rendition of this piece is the best amongst the ones I have listened to. And since we have passed Laetare Sunday, I thought it would have been useful to remind you that it is extremely important that we go to Via Crucis every friday of Lent and if you have not yet taken part in it this Lent, may I urge you to go and receive Plenary Indulgence ! (with usual conditions)

2012년 3월 8일 목요일

Our Lady and Her sinful children

De Maria, numquam satis.

When I commit sins, many things come to my mind.
First thing that kicks in is "Is this a mortal sin?"
Now, I know it is an archaic thing; after all, we are all called to God's Love and Mercy and there is no such thing as a sin that kills the life of God in you, right? L.O.L.

Mortal sin does kill the life of God in you.
It drags you down from the state of Grace that we have been restored to in our Baptism.
You cannot take part in the Salvific mission of the Church, you cannot take part in the Sacramental life of the Church. Your prayers cannot earn merits derived from the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord. It is truly a terrible state and one must always pray that one never falls into such a state of spiritual destitute. It is a destitute far surpassing in agony and distress over and above any physical pain or poverty.

Of course, there are venial sins as well. Those sins that are not quite mortal in that they kill the life of God in you but nevertheless harmful to one's Spiritual health and offends the infinitely good Saviour. Petty they may seem but pennies make pounds. It is indeed a spiritual negligence when one examines one's conscience and do not bother to reflect on venial sins that he has committed. Whilst they are not spiritually lethal per se, they do gradually grab one's soul away from the Sacramental life of the Church and darken his conscience.

What would Our Lady say about us committing sins?
She offers herself to us as a refuge when we must turn to God from our sinful selves.
She is the advocate of sinners. We must remember to be in good terms with Her as She will be our Prime Advocate in our private judgement. Imagine a murderer and his lawyer. Does the lawyer also commit a murder just so that he can "fully" understand what his client has done? Is a lawyer completely inadequate as a lawyer if he has not committed the crimes of his client? The adequacy and efficacy of a lawyer in his job is not calibrated by his "personal participatory experience" of his client's wrongdoings but by his merits (well, at least ideally). Now, can anybody lay claim to be more spiritually excellent and meritorious as Our Lady?

She does indeed hate sins. There are many sacred images of Her feet garlanded with roses trampling on the snakes. She may have the most beautiful, exquisite and prayerful countenance but her feet are crushing the head of the serpent. As I keep saying, you do not mess with Mater Dei! But her hatred does not extend to us; even for those who do not accept Her as their mother. One admirable thing I observed from my monarchist friends (and they are some pretty fearsome ones) is that they do not seek to serve the Queen because She takes interest in charitable things. It is nothing else but that She IS their Queen. Not for Her merits (and they very humbly confess it is above their plane to speak of Her merits) but for Her Queenship. And I am pretty sure that She considers Her subjects not by their merits and demerits but solely by the fact that they are Her subjects. And such unconditional mutual allegiance is what binds us to Our Heavenly Queen; except in much higher degree in nobility, strength and Love.

When I commit sins, many things come to my mind.
I am angry about myself; that I am so pathetic a human being to fall into the same old stuff yet again. I am sad in that I have lost the state of Grace and my prayers will not be able to be used for the Salvific Mission of the Church. I feel guilty and ashamed. I am even angry to God sometimes; that I was born such a wretch. Then my eyes land on Our Lady's images and statues. Initially I would ask Her "What would you know about my sins? How would you understand me?" But She always brings me back to senses. She reminds me that it is my spiritual pride telling myself all these things and that in Truth I love Her dearly. She tells me not to despair in God's mercy and to be truly sorry for my sins to be forgiven. I am not going mad; She relates Herself with us all that intimately. She gladly offered Her Son as the One and Last Lamb to God and submitted Her will to God's so that Her Son may suffer and die for us. No greater love can a man have than to lay down his life for his friends. No motherly love can be greater than to give one's Son for His friends.

And you see, we all have that mother for each of us.

 If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool. (Isiah 1:18)

A parting gift for today is, for a change, a short video clip. You will see why I posted it!


2012년 3월 1일 목요일

Our Lady and fasting

De Maria numquam satis.

Wedding feast at Cana
Did Our Lady fast?!
She would not have had any sins to be forgiven! Why would She need to do penance?

But She would have.
In the scriptures, we hear of Our Lady observing Jewish practices diligently.
We have the feasts of Our Lord's Circumcision (I wonder if it is still in the New calendar) and Our Lady's Purification. So, yes, in short, She would have fasted on the fasting days in Jewish calendar.

But then why should we fast?
After all, that is a Jewish practice, right? Why should Catholics observe laws and traditions of Judaism?
Our Lord's very existence was not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.
(Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfillFor amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.  Mt 5:17-18) Do you remember when Christ says "Consummatum est" (Jn 19:30)? In Douay Rheims, He says "It is consummated." (Sometimes the problem I find with Vulgate Bible and Douay-Rheims, because they are so close in context, Douay-Rheims do not quite go far enough for a half-wit like me) Perhaps it is the Consummation we have been talking about in this blog post. But this Consummation is not abolition; it is the fulfillment of the Old Law. So Whilst it is difficult to guess what Our Lady would have given up for Lent, it is difficult to imagine that She would not have given up something or fasted for a certain number of days/hours during Lent had She been living amongst us in 2012.

All our corporal works of Charity and abstinence are given legitimacy solely from Our Lord's Passion. Without His Passion and Resurrection, all these would be in vain. Also without the Humility to recognise that and that by ourselves, we cannot quite achieve our missions; Discipleship, Ministry and Salvation of souls. (I cast not away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain. Gal 2:21) Observing what the Church requires us to keep as rules is important but I think it is also very useful to note that without Christ's Death, it would not have been quite the same thing.

So as we always do, we must ask for Our Lady's help, that all Our works of Charity (I am not doing much but still) may be fitting to be taken up to Heaven, before the Throne of the Blessed Trinity, through Her intercession. The Heavenly Gardener will pluck out the thorns, pluck out nasty bits and give all our prayers/abstinence a good wash before Our Lord receives them as the most exquisite wreathes of roses to garland His Throne. And we all do it for the greater Glory of God, right? Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam!

A parting gift for today is Ave Verum Corpus Natum.
It is a sweet little prayer in honour of the Blessed Sacrament connecting Our Lord's Nativity and Passion. I say it often after Communion and it is so short you can learn it in fifteen minutes!

Ave verum Corpus natum
De Maria Virgine:
Vere passum, immolatum
In cruce pro homine:
Cuius latus perforatum
Fluxit aqua et sanguine:
Esto nobis praegustatum
Mortis in examine.
O Iesu dulcis!
O Iesu pie!
O Iesu Fili Mariae. Amen


2012년 2월 27일 월요일

Our Lady and Time

De Maria numquam satis.

Have you ever thought to yourself "Why, does time not fly?!" especially when you found yourself cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday when Christmas felt just moments ago. That was what I felt like for this Lent. Our Lord has fast-forwarded time in some pretty radical fashion; two months in the Liturgical Calendar can mean 33 years sometimes!

What is interesting about Our Lord's Incarnation is that The God-Man who was conceived in a Virgin's womb that was the God Eternal existing outside Time and Space, agreed to take on the DNA of a mortal human being. Imagine; they would have looked alike! I do not know what part of Our Lady Christ would have had but it would have been nice to have Our Lady's eyes; not that I mind my travel-size eyes but... Regarding whether Our Lady was strictly speaking mortal or not, I know there are disputes. I tend to think She did not; death is a consequence of the Fall and since Our Lady was preserved from the effects of the Fall, I think She would have just "fallen asleep" when She was taken up to Heaven. But nevertheless there is little doubt that She was a fragile human being; She needed to eat, She needed to sleep etc.. A mortal human conceived the immortal God!
Blessed Fra Angelico, "Annunciation"
This is Blessed Fra Angelico's Annunciation. I never knew he was beatified! Apparently he had such an angelic temperament people called him Fra Angelico after his death. In the painting, do you notice a couple with a sad expression? I initially thought it was nothing significant but really, I started to believe they were Adam and Eve in the background! So really, as soon as they are cast out of the Garden of Eden, Our Lady conceives Christ?! But what about all the Old Testament stories; Noah's Ark (it's gonna be floody floody) etc... Does that mean, in the end, in the back of God's Eternal Mind, He already had it all thought out as soon as they were driven out of the Garden of Eden? Actually, there might be some Biblical evidence to that, too; I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. Gen 3:15) I guess God's first thought of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception even before St Ann was born would have been a happy thought though; God would have given Her so many virtues, beautiful features, lovely singing voice... The only boast of the human race.

Now for Her, She sits in Her Queen's Throne in Heaven. In Heaven, there is neither time nor space. What matters now as for "Time" to Her is how much quality time we spend with Her in prayers. I am still keeping the 15 minutes a day Skype promise; although it always ends up being much longer than that. Actually, five decades of the Rosary usually take about 15 minutes. Maybe I should Skype Our Lady more often then!

Parting gift for today is Ave Maris Stella. You will be familiar with it if you do the Total Consecration to Our Lady by St Louis-Marie Montfort (link: http://fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html) or if you say the Little Office.

Ave Maris Stella: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVmbEC-jumc&feature=related

2012년 2월 23일 목요일

Our Lady Courageous

De Maria, numquam satis.

It is easy to think Our Lady would have been just a good housewife who ticked boxes for a good Jewish mummy and not being very vocal about anything. We do not hear of Our Lady in the Gospel "fighting" for anything at all. Even for Her Son's Death, She quietly stood by that life-restoring tree where the Prince of Glory died. But was She just a timid, passive little lady?

Our Lady, Immaculately conceived, is capable of loving perfectly due to the fact that She was free from original sin. And since Charity without Truth is no Charity at all but "niceness" or some other liberal gibberish, I think She would have been very vocal about the cause for Truth. Same goes with unjust law. An unjust law is no law at all, says St Augustine. For example, a law that not only fails to promote justice and common good but also permits women to abort their children, I think should be called an unjust law. A law that denies food and water to a dying patient out of a "charitable cause" I think should be called an unjust law, too. There are a number of other laws that I have seen being passed that I would have thought unjust but I will not bother to enumerate them.

We know we are on the winning side. Truth will win out in the end. Because that is the very nature of Truth; it silences false. And Our Lady as the Queen of Angels, will join us in Her prayers whilst we ask God to be with us when we unify ourselves in prayer. Look at Her in that picture; She is standing on the serpent and it can barely breathe. You do not mess with Mater Dei. "If God be with us, there is no one else left to fear." said St Philip Neri.

So this Lent, I am going to take it to the streets and join in with 40 days for life.
I would humbly ask all of you to pray for the group for they really do make contribution for the cause for life. They do not dictate, they do not condemn, they hardly say anything but prayers. The media's depiction of them is entirely false. I have met some of the most dedicated Catholics (and an evangelical as well!) at 40 days for life and they were really nice people, too. I have provided a youtube link to 40 days for life England and I have met some of the people at the interviews. They do not look like religious fanatics, do they? Plus they say a lot of Rosaries which adds nicely to your Rosary mileage for Lent. The passers-by are probably going to call us names and give us guilt trips and all sorts of things. A lovely girl I met from 40 days for life (and her contribution towards it is epic!) was told "You should have been aborted!" but in her gentleness she apparently replied "...Yes! You have a nice day, too!"

But hey, Catholicism is not about making false peace with the secular society, right?

p.s. It is absolutely laudable to pray for the cause for life in your personal prayers and it will be even better if you could ask your parish priest to add it in the intentions for Mass, although Mass is always said for the entire world and that is, strictly speaking, not necessary. This blog post is not about nudging people to come to 40 days for life.

A parting gift for today is Sub tuum praesidium.
It is known to be the oldest Marian hymn from 3rd Century. It is very short and I think it is a good prayer to add in your Marian devotion.

Sub tuum praesidium, confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias, in necessitatibus nostris, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper. Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

 In the audio, the monks seem to have a slight accent. I cannot quite tell whether it is the classical pronunciation or just German. They say "confughimus" and "ghenetrix". Any ideas? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPEXrrFEf5A

40 days for life England http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXG57MA4ocE        http://www.40daysforlife.com/london/

Our Lady and St Peter

De Maria, numquam satis.

I am afraid I have already made retreats from my Lenten battlefield.
I am trying hard not to be despondent but It is difficult to overcome the shame of a defeated soldier. Perhaps that is what our first Pope felt like.

St Peter, with his fiery devotion to Our Lord, denied Him three times when danger of death came to him. He actually told Our Lord that he would follow him to whatever ends, be it prison or death. That must have made him doubly sorrowful for his "perceived" lack of devotion. The following painting is "St Peter weeping before the Virgin" by Guercino.

Quite refreshing, is it not? Our Lady looks barely 20 and St Peter, already bald and with grey hair, is weeping like a child. It must have been Her Immaculate Conception; She just does not age, does she? (Although I do think She would have aged in real life, very gracefully.) And Our Lady sitting by him listening to him carefully. She does not take any physical gestures except with Her hands joined and a plaintive expression on Her countenance. But her gaze down on St Peter is not that of "You denied my Son.". The way I saw it was Our Lady pitying St Peter for his sorrow. The slight wrinkling on her forehead, I think it was because of Her Sorrow to witness someone born in Original Sin (that includes all of us, too!) and what pain and wrongdoings one brings to himself because of that inheritance. Perhaps a slight lamenting on the power of Sin over us conceived in Sin (Psalm 50: 7). Just like Our Lord had the same, almost anger, for the effect of Sin on us (And Jesus having compassion on him, stretched forth his hand; and touching him, saith to him: I will. Be thou made clean. Mark 1:41* Compassion here, some interpret it as quasi-"anger") As mother of all Apostles, She chooses not to rebuke them but to have pity on them and pray for them that they may remain strong and true to their job. (Yes, that is right, their job.)

St Peter is indeed forgiven in St John's Gospel but only after having confessed and reaffirmed his love to Our Lord. He is restored to the status of Vicar of Christ after such confession and is given the role of a shepherd.

Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

Actually, according to Church tradition, St Peter actually denies Our Lord yet again in Rome, when persecution reached a peak and everybody was worrying about St Peter's safety. One might argue that St Peter's "moment" was not when Our Lord was to be glorified in His Passion but this time?! The picture on the left is named "Domine, quo vadis?" by Carracci. Our Lord says "I am going to Rome to be crucified again." Now of course, theologically, Our Lord's Passion on Golgotha was once for ever sufficient as the Sacrifice of Agnus Dei. I guess it was just...
A Divine bluff? lol Anyway, St Peter then realises that it was God's will that he were to be martyred in Rome and goes back. He says "I do not deserve to be martyred the way My God was; crucify me upside down." So whenever people ask "Why do you have upside down crosses in your Churches? Is that not something demonic?!", just tell them, "Actually, that is the Cross of our first Pope, because he felt unworthy to die the way Our Lord died."

Anyway, going back to Guercino's "St Peter weeping before the Virgin", I guess that is Our Lady's role. Maybe that is why Guercino deliberately painted Her without any explicit gesture; He knew full well that it was NOT Our Lady's job to forgive sins and did not want to cause any confusion. But Her loving eyes, if only I could see them, too!
Her soothing gaze upon our sinful selves, the most eloquent expression of Our Lady only despising Our sins and so plentiful in mercy towards Her Sons. Her most benevolent gaze on Her sons!

When we argue and sort of... sulk(?), my mum and I do not quite ignore each other but sort of pull that face where "Humph!" might be the best expression for it. But I guess my mum had a hint of that gaze of Our Lady, too. I firmly believe she wants whatever is best for me and whenever we make it up to each other, we merrily go about as though nothing happened. She does not tell me much of her prayers but I do feel my mum's prayers in work very often. She prayed with St Monica when I was going through a difficult time and as a result I obtained help from a guy called Augustine. That sort of stuff. Maybe my mum has a prayer frequency different to mine? Sometimes I find it a bit too much when my mum skypes me incessantly but as a Lenten promise, I have decided to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to skype her. She said "So after Lent you are going to go back to your little cave?" jokingly but I think she already knows I will.lol Only joking! (She is my friend on Facebook and she might see this and get annoyed. Although her English is not perfect, she understands far better than she speaks. Another Marian trait, perhaps?)

May Our Lady take pity on THIS defeated soldier and pray for my victory over my concupiscence, that I may continue to fight a good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and one day gloriously bear witness to the Love, which moves the sun and the other starts, that demands my soul, my life, my all.

A parting gift for today, I found a wonderful recording of Passion according to St John by Bach, conducted by Sir Gardiner. Listen to 0:05-3:44 and you will be amazed at Bach's insight into St Peter's bitter anguish over his shortfalls.

2012년 2월 21일 화요일

Our Lady and Lent

De Maria numquam satis.

The dreaded season of Lent is right in front of us as we speak.
Oooh.. is it going to be chocolate again? Poor Chocolate industry, their livestock happens to be the most popular denial for Lent. But then they are merrily going on so that must mean we sort of give up giving chocolate up shortly after the fateful Wednesday, right? I always set off my Lenten expedition with epic resolutions and not even half of them reach the shore. Really, I am hardly qualified to talk about Lent and Penance. These pixies with horns always win over me!

How would have Our Lady spent Her Lent if she were to?
Well, one thing is clear; She probably would not have said Hail Mary! She would not salute to Herself, right? No, but seriously, I think She would have only done things that would have been perfectly to God's liking. As the uniquely immaculately conceived, mankind's one pride, She was the only human being who could perfectly love whilst on earth. She did not have the stain of Original Sin and therefore that means Her love would have been of entirely different dimension as ours, born with Original Sin and still suffering from its aftermath.

So maybe, drawing ourselves closer spiritually as well as physically (wherever possible) to Christ is the name of the game. Our Lord says "I am meek and humble of heart." (Matthew 11:29) Maybe I should try to be meeker and humbler of heart. (By the way, how Our Lord could be "humble" I cannot fully understand but I did read "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death..." refer to Phil 2:6-9) He also says "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Maybe whilst I cannot give life as He did, I could at least evangelise more fervently and by so doing, bring more people to Christ that they may have that life more abundantly. Isaiah tells us of Christ's Passion; "But He was wounded for our iniquities: He was bruised for our sins." (Isaiah 53:4-6) It might require much spiritual direction to take on corporal mortification but at least I could try to kneel more in Church and sleep on the floor for a few days in Lent. I found a brilliant quote for this; "When the Head is crowned with thorns ....(....).... surely the members should be ashamed to be pampered." (St Bernard, quote from "Penance and Fasting" by Msgr Philip E. Hallett)
One thing I found very helpful, I started to shut my eyes during Liturgy of the Eucharist as mortification of sight. St Thomas Aquinas tells us that "Sight, touch and taste in Thee are each deceived; The ear alone most safely is believed." I also get very easily distracted and day-dream constantly. So I keep my eyes shut and so long as I stay awake, I seem to find it easier to stay focused in Mass.
Lastly, as the Psalmist says in Miserere mei (Ps Ch 50 : 19), "A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humbled heart O God, thou wilt not despise." if I persevere in that right mindset, God will find my Lenten observances pleasing.

My Spiritual Director introduced me to Asceticism. I guess it was about time that I took my Faith seriously. I always conveniently evaded mortification, penance etc saying "Oh, I am not very good at that." or "Oh, I have no will power at all!" or even "I will take things up instead!" But Asceticism is about purging, illuminating and unifying. I need to overcome the first hurdle, purgative, to even dream of being closer to God.

So how does all this relate to Our Lady, in the end? She needed no Asceticism; she needed no purging, no illuminating and no unifying. But as always, She will be watching us by our side as we die to our sin and concupiscence, as She watched Her Son sacrificing Himself to atone for them. Her witness of Her Son's death, whilst it would have tortured Her in anguish beyond compare, with Her reason without any impurities, would have been a witness to the fulfillment of God's promise from the Old Testament era. She might have even, in some way, rejoiced, in seeing the consummation of God's Will. She only wishes what God desires; if God's desire was restoration of mankind to the state of grace, She would have also waited eagerly for it. As one of the very few people who watched Christ's Death at the foot of the Cross, I believe Our Lady would have seen and contemplated on some very valuable things. By the way, for those people who go on about "Collegiality of bishops", the only collegiality of bishops I have seen from the Gospels was them fleeing at the sight of danger. L.O.L.

Anyway, a Happy (Stations of the Cross?), fulfilling (yeah, right) and Holy Lent may I wish for all of us, that we may put up a good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) for these 40 days (Sundays do not count!), overcome our worst demons through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20 in Douay-Rheims; unless otherwise stated, I quote Douay-Rheims) and eventually welcome the triumphant season of Easter.

2012년 2월 20일 월요일

Just how far can we go?

De Maria, numquam satis.

I am not sure about you but when I first started blogging (that is not even a week ago), I was a bit uncertain as to how far I could go with Mariology. We have all been, at least once in our lifetime, asked by our Protestant brothers, a question with regards to the Catholic devotion to Our Lady. "Why do Catholics pray to Mary?!!!" as though Mary was this girl living down the street. She is Theotokos, have some respect!!

All of us know why we pray to Our Lady. To be exact, we do not quite pray "to" Her in that we consider Her as some sort of Deity but rather, we invoke Her help frequently when we pray to the Blessed Trinity that through her intercessions and elaborate polishing, our prayers may deserve to reach the Throne of Mercy. Our Lady's intercessions are indeed strong, Scriptures show us that. ("They have no wine." John 2:3)

Whilst the Death of Our Lord was entirely His decision to offer His life for Our liberty from Sin, I think it may also be interesting to think about the Passion from Our Lady's perspectives. There is not much we hear of her during the Passion. What we do observe from St John's Gospel though, is that Our Lady stood by Her dying Son and was given St John as Her son. (John Ch 19) But nowhere in the scriptures do we ever see Our Lady trying to defend Her Son. Perhaps, She realised that Simeon's prophesy (that Her heart will be pierced by a sword, Luke 2:35) were to be fulfilled at that precise moment. As the Lamb of God was dying, the Mystical Rose was withering, too, of sorrow beyond compare. Indeed it is insignificant to Our Lord's Passion in that Our Lord's Passion was, by its own merit, the Perfect Sacrifice. But Our Lady sacrificing Her Motherhood in total unity with Her Son's Passion was nonetheless heroic; She wished nothing else but what God wished. It was Eternal Word of God She conceived and the Death of the same She embraced, as She freely chose to.

Therefore, rather than asking ourselves "How far can we go?" with regards to Mariology, it seems much more appropriate to ask ourselves "What more can we do?". Our Lady is prepared to go that far for us and truly "Of Mary, nothing is enough." 
Going that extra mile for Our Lady cannot be that difficult in the end. We get a glimpse of Our Lady's inextinguishable love for us from our own mothers. Those faithful students of Our Lady show us what the true Mother-Child relationship must look like, although they may wake us up too early sometimes. Our Lady who offered Her dearest Motherhood to the Divine Will remains as the best Model of Motherhood.

To conclude, my take on Mariology and its proper limits is this; if one truly and properly devotes oneself to Our Lady, that She may remain as one's strong Advocate and Intercessor, Our Lady will not let that soul cross the "Mary line". Whilst one's devotion to Our Lady may be great, we always experience God Himself in a much more intimate manner; the Holy Eucharist. We also intuitively know that She is what Corona is to the Sun; that all Her Sanctity comes from God, not by Her own merits but through Her willful, total dedication of Herself to the Blessed Trinity. Corona is indeed beautiful but the beauty is given by the Sun itself. 

But you see, without the Corona, Solar eclipse would be that much less interesting to watch!

2012년 2월 18일 토요일

De Maria, numquam satis.

De Maria, numquam satis.

I find it incredibly difficult to sit down and get some work done.
Trust me, I have tried everything... From triple shots of espresso to gingko powder (which tastes absolutely vile). I thought it was a problem of concentration; I just could not sit down and process through simple questions of Calculus. That, if you are a Maths student, means something is going seriously wrong. But I realised it was more to do with lack of motivation.

Then I came across this phrase - Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God).
Many students in the olden days (and those truly were the golden days, yes?) would write that down on their front pages when they started studying thereby dedicate their time and effort towards the greater glory of God. So I gave that a go. I will write a review on that in some three months time.

"De Maria, numquam satis." contains the idea that we can never give enough praise and honour to Our Lady. Our Lady as Mother of God, would have done everything for Her Son with motherly devotion but in supernatural perfection. For Her, it would have been "For my Son, it is never enough." When she made a soup for Christ, it would have been a soup fitting for Christ. When she baked a biscuit for Christ, it would have been a biscuit fitting for Christ. Soup and biscuit for the greater glory of God! So when we ask Her for Her help for all our devotional practices and even the most mundane daily activities to be offered to God, we also pray that She may consider our prayers as Her own and offer them to God with that same motherly devotion in supernatural perfection. Ultimately, in doing so, we strive for perfection of our prayer lives.

Having lived abroad for some eight years, it does get quite difficult, even for this twenty something year old, to not miss my parents, especially my mum. I have hardly ever argued with dad in my life; not out of intimidation (ahem!) but out of filial obedience (ahem!!). But with mum, we argue day in and day out. She would throw things, I would dodge them (you would not believe)... She would go on about how awful a child I would be and dad and I would exchange a triumphant wink on her back... But somehow, I guess that is one way family members relate to each other. When mum and I argued, it was not because we hated each other; it was just that I did not get my homework done or skived sports or quite often, she would make me wear silly clothes or she herself would turn up to appointments with teachers in silly clothes. But when that bickering was no longer there, I found something similar with Our Lady, admittedly though, without the fun.

So I guess, in the end, the choice of blog name was not only to do with me trying to do my tiny bit "for the greater glory of God" but also to properly show my love to my two mummies; one some 6000 miles away and the other closer. And I am going to collect all my entries and translate them as my mum's birthday present so if there is anything you think may be particularly relevant or heartwarming, I would love to hear from you!

As for now, I should go to bed. I have a long day tomorrow at a Church dedicated to my mummy's heart.