Thought for the Week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

October 6-12, 2019

 

St. Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14 that “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. …do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God. …Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” The apostles begged Jesus to increase their faith.  Jesus replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Well, I don’t know about mulberry trees, but I have heard that faith can move mountains. There are so many mountains of abuse, corruption, hatred and violence that one has to truly trust, that Jesus is present in the fight to make a difference in today’s world. Tiny steps joined with other tiny steps can make a great multitude of influence for the good.  Hope is the standard in going forward to make positive change. Those of other religious beliefs are in this fight and are companions on this struggle for peace, compassion and non-violence.  

 

Monday is the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.  Beads have been in use for thousands of years by many cultures and religions.  They can keep count of the hours or the miles or good works or prayers. 

As a novice in consecrated life, we had a string of about ten beads pinned to our clothing.  For each short prayer throughout the day, we were to move a bead up or down. It was a good reminder to pepper our day with prayer.  Some people wear a beaded bracelet to remind themselves of God’s presence. 

 

In the twelfth century St. Dominic thought that the beads were a good practice.  Because he knew that most people could neither read nor write, it was important to devise ways in which they could learn about their Christian faith and history.  So, he developed what we call the Rosary – five decades of ten Hail Mary’s, divided by Our Fathers with beginning prayers. Three different sets of the stories of Christ’s life and the early church were attached – the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.  This rosary was a tool to help the people to learn and meditate on the New Testament stories. This is the goal of the rosary. Praying the rosary together out loud is the best, so that while some pray the mantra (repetitive sound or prayer), others can meditate on the mystery.  You can even hold the beads and meditate on the mysteries. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic and blessed this unique idea. St. Pope John Paul II added a fourth set of mysteries to the Rosary called the Luminous mysteries. You could even add some of your own from Scripture to enhance the prayer.

 

Friday is the remembrance of St. Pope John XXIII who started the modern day updating of the Catholic Church.  John came from poverty and struggled with studies, but eventually was ordained. He was assigned to poor outlying parishes and eventually worked in non-Christian environments.  During the election of a new pope, the cardinals could not reach a decision, so they decided to elect an interim and nondescript man, while they located a good one. Well, God had the last laugh. Pope John XXIII was a humble and compassionate person with a surprising vision for a revival of the church for modern times.  He called Vatican Council II and set the church on its ear with ecumenism and many other needed changes. That which seems insignificant in life may be the very thing or person needed for change. Do not underestimate yourself or others.

 

This is Respect Life Sunday, which involves the complete gamut of human life from conception to death.

Human life is precious at all stages and in all circumstances. War, bullying, gossip, cheating, shunning or any injustice that harms human life is to be avoided.  We will fail, at times, but seeking forgiveness is part of the journey. Let us hold hands and hearts today to honor the gift of life.

 

May God bless your journey with hope, love and faith,

Sister Rosemarie Goins