Laetitae Sanctae is another one of Leo XIII encyclical on the Rosary it is like several of the others which are implore the praying of the rosary in October. Pope Leo notes that the praying of the rosary devoutly not only helps the individual but also but society as a whole as well. His holiness goes on to say that there are three obstacles that arise in the world “first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.” These are tied to the mysteries of the Rosary.
The first, the distaste for poverty relates to the joyful mysteries where we focus on Christ as a child. So much of society says that we need to amass riches so we can buy this or that to become a better person and we should “work smarter not hard”. However it takes hard work to get rich. As we look at these mysteries we see “simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love – not of the false and fleeting kind – but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service.” This is what we need to bring into the world.
The second, repugnance to suffering relates to the sorrowful mysteries where we focus on the Passion of Christ. It is sad that violence has become so pervasive that in just about every movie it seem features some horrible act of violence, or really just turning on the news we hear of some murder. Society as a whole has become desensitized to it even when most of us haven’t seen it in person we’ve all seen it in the movie and television programs we watch. Sure we understand that violence is bad but we often forget about the suffering and grief left behind. Yet we must remember the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps, as St. Thomas says in the gospel “Let us also go, that we might die with him” (John 11:16)
The third and last one, forgetfulness of the future relates to the glorious mysteries where the focus turns to the resurrection and life in heaven. All too often we look to the future and our own personal safety with a mix of materialism and nationalism. Here is where the problem arises the militarization of individuals to serve their nation, but at the neglect of the world as a whole. We are all in the same boat and the more people rocking it the sooner we will capsize. Pope Leo put is as we may doubt if “God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.” Let us remember the eternal banquet that awaits us all.
Pope Leo then talks a bit about Rosary confraternities calling them the battalions who fight the battle of Christ under the direction of the Virgin Mother noting the victory at Lepanto. This, the rosary, is the Hope of the Church. Let us all take some time and pull out a rosary and pray it.
The fruit of this mystery is True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety.
When you hear these fruits you think there will be some sort of knowledge that it is talking about, but it is more like the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Sure when we were confirmed we learned the seven gifts and have most likely forgotten half or maybe even all of them. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) these are the gift that the Spirit have been given to us at Baptism and are strengthened at Confirmation. Piety is one of these fruits and it’s sort of like humility and piousness rolled into one thing. I hope that we can all learn some more about the fruits of the spirit and try to live our lives according to them in this upcoming year.
The Fruit of this mystery is Purity and Obedience
Purity is the absence of vice in your life it’s as basic as that. In his letter Paul goes on and on about what is unclean and clean/unpure and pure/body and spirit and says that we should all try to live in the spirit. Obedience is following what is told us. This is a straight forward fruit. we need to open our ears so that we can hear and follow. Paul shows us that living in the light is the way to go. As we near the beginning of a new year let us all take these virtues and try to add them into our live which seems to be surrounded by vices everywhere we look. For we are to live as Children of the light and bring the light out into the world to dispel the darkness.
The Fruit of the Mystery of The Nativity is Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor.
This fruit is sort of crazy to look at as we near Christmas and people are shopping left and right trying to find the perfect gifts for that special someone, our family members and even those office gift swaps. We all tend to go overboard with the gift giving but we should try to remember that when Jesus came into the world he didn’t come as the child of the rich and famous but to a poor family that of a lowly carpenter and a maiden and he was born in a “stable”. There are about 700 million people in the world living in extreme poverty today. This is a huge problem in the world and it doesn’t help with the income disparities in the world. It really doesn’t help that the 1% control about half of the money in the world. Let us be willing to share the treasures that we receive this Christmas with those less well off then us, for as we learn from the great Dr. Seuss where the Grinch comes to realize that “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more.” Saint Francis of Assisi is a wonderful example of living this fruit as are most religious.
The Fruit of the Mystery of the Visitation is Love of Neighbor.
This is sort of easy to understand. As the it is the second of the Great commandments and it is basically the Golden Rule of ages past. Do unto others as you would have done unto them, or however you want to phrase it is a common thread for all human kind. Both the religious and even the humanists of the world can live by this idea.
It would be awesome if everyone in the world could follow this rule, but this mean everyone and I am sure that some individuals like those in ISIS wouldn’t care for this one bit. If we could all try to love our neighbors a little more it would be a step into building the Kingdom here on earth and this is the mission for all humans.
This year these Rosary post will be focusing on the Fruits of the mystery. We begin back in the joyful mysteries with the Annunciation, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and asked\told that she was to bear Jesus. The Mystery of this decade is Humility.
Humility is a virtue and is the opposite of Pride. This is something talked about throughout scriptures as Moses was a meek man and his humility is not a weakness but a sign of Godly strength and purpose. In the Beatitudes, Jesus even says Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Being humble is a good thing, as St. Augustine noted “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” Skipping forward to more modern times CS Lewis in known for saying that “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Thomas Merton even chimed in on humility saying that “Humility is the surest sign of strength.” The great Francis of Assisi lived this virtue and said “O Divine Spirit, who efface Yourself before the Father and Son; O Jesus, meek and humble of heart; O Abba Father, who humble Yourself to commune with the lowly; O beautiful Trinity, You are Humility!”
With event of the Annunciation we have two individuals, well technically three,who are being humble. We have Jesus who humbled himself to become human, but we also have Mary who gladly say “Yes” to be the Mother of the Lord. There is also the other Annunciation with Joseph who is visited by an angel in a dream where he is told Mary will bear a son. Joseph also displays a great deal of humility here staying with Mary after learning that she was with child. The Holy Family is another great example for us to live in humility, May we be inspired by these individuals and what they say to try and live this Jubilee Year of Mercy more like the Book of Micah tells us “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”
Over the past couple of week I was talking about other forms of the Rosary notably the Brigittine and Carmelite Rosary which have six mysteries for each decade, and the Franciscan Crown which has seven decades. During the next couple of weeks I’ll be reflecting on these extra mysteries.
We start with the Joyful Mysteries the Brigittines and Carmelites add a mystery for the Immaculate Conception. This is the beginning of the Life of Mary so it is a fitting start for a Rosary. At the Immaculate Conception, Mary is conceived without sin in Anne. This is a big deal as no one had been born without sin since the Garden of Eden, but even before her birth Mary had a divine purpose, and the Lord it seemed knew that Mary was going to respond with a Yes. For the Lord is above time and sees all. Mary was born without sin and there was a place for Jesus to be eventually born without sin as well.
This mystery is followed by the regular ones, Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation and Finding. By adding this extra mystery is does ground the rosary with Mary as so many of the mysteries later on Mary isn’t a figure in them like the whole of the sorrowful mysteries only to reappear in the end of the Glorious mysteries. The other added mysteries do the same by adding Mary to the various mysteries.
Well, Jesus has grown like a weed, it seems like only a week since he was presented in the Temple.
In the Bible this is the only story that takes place while Jesus is a boy, although other stories can be found in non-canonical gospels. This story gives us a glimpse into the life of the Holy Family and they are just like you and me. The family goes on a vacation and a child gets lost for some time, and when the parents find the child they say something like I wasn’t lost you should have known where to find me. The summer before I was in sixth grade my family took a trip to Disney World. I entered a Disney Adventure magazine contest and had won. On one day we went to Epcot and my Mom was waiting on a bench with my sisters and me while Dad went off somewhere, i don’t remember where, but I got tired of waiting. So I said that I was going to find Dad, but I got sidetracked as Epcot had a huge video game exhibit where you could play games and there were robots as well, so I went there and played some games and when I came back my family was no longer on the bench so I just went back to play some more video games. Eventually I found them wondering around looking for me, since I was lost and didn’t known any better.
So I know what Jesus was feeling it’s not that Jesus was lost he knew where he was but Mary and Joseph had no clue, both thought Jesus was with the other one. There are times in our lives where we may feel like Mary and Joseph searching constantly for Christ in our lives but are unable to find Jesus. Other times we are like Jesus doing our own things and hoping it’s for the best but to other it seems like we are lost. Help us to be able to have the patience to like Joseph and Mary take the time to find Jesus and the moxie to be like Jesus and step out from what is expected and get lost every now and then.
As we heard on Sunday Jesus was brought by Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem to do the Jewish thin, circumcision and anointing .When they got to the temple they encountered a pair of figures that make a big impression Simeon and Anna the prophets in the temple. The Lord had promised both that they would see the savior before they would die. If only we could be as joyous as Simeon and Anna when they receive Jesus at the temple when we go to church and receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
This is also the first time that pain is introduced into the Rosary as Simeon tells Mary that Jesus is symbolized as a sword piercing Mary’s heart. So we need to remember the joy as well as the pain that Jesus and Mary suffer at the time of the crucifixion. I am sure for many of us when we go to church we are going through the motions and not really connecting with what is happening. As we enter into a new year perhaps we can take some time and take out time at mass, paying attention to all that is said and done. At each celebration of the Mass we witness the whole of the life of Christ for birth to Assumption so we should feel the joy and pain that are there in the readings. Let us take some time before we go to church to read the upcoming reading for the week and then listen to the words as they are read.
In this the third week of Advent we rejoice in the anticipation of the coming of Jesus at Christmas so it is fitting that we reflect on this mystery this week.
We all know this mystery Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem for the census and they can not find room so they make due in a cave\barn, Mary bears a child and he is wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. Angels announce the birth, Shepherds come to see what has happened and they are followed soon by Magi from the East bearing gifts. St. Francis helped popularize the use of the creche, the nativity scene. This whole Holiday season in which we are in is all about giving sure everyone wants stuff but we are given the perfect gift in Jesus. He is all that we want and could ever need. Let us all this holiday season try to be like Jesus and bring joy to our fellow shoppers getting last minute gifts. It seems that over the years Christmas has become a huge consumer time with everyone going and buying and then receiving far more than we actually need. When there are so many people in even the United States who struggle to make ends meet this holiday should be less about the physical gifts given but more about the time spent with our families and friends. Friends and family are what really makes the holiday season so special. Sure it give high school friends a chance to reune and talk about what all has happened at college or later on their respective jobs. It also brings families together it is one of the few times during that year in which I see all my relatives and get to talk to them about everything. Sure Christmas/New Years is exhausting with all the cooking and events you have to go to but it is a fun week that during the time seem so long what are we going to do all these days but when we all go back to work and\or school it will seem but a short time. Let us all savor the moments over Christmas, take some pictures and sit awhile and drink some.