A Model of Joyful Praise

 

Our best model of prayer, praise, and joy is Our Lady, and today we celebrate the feast of her Queenship.  She is the model of true joy, for she was the Mother of Our Lord, Who is the source of all our hope and joy.  Her joy and gratitude to God overflow from her soul so beautifully in the Magnificat that Christians have repeated her words in praise of God since the earliest days of the Church.

Our beautiful Mother is a Queen because she is the Mother of the King of Kings, and she loves to teach us how to praise her Son.  Today we want to share this video from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament’s Facebook page (our old home) – it is guaranteed to lift your spirit and bring joy to your heart.  Like Our Lady with her hymn of praise to God, these radiant ladies are overflowing with love for Jesus.  They made our day, and we hope you enjoy them, too.

Show Notes – A Good Habit 5/21/14

A Good Habit Show NotesGood morning, everyone! I’m trying to be super diligent and get these Show Notes posted since I’ve slacked off on posting the last ones.

On yesterday’s show we were joined by Dr. David Delaney, doctor of systematic theology and director of the Mother of the Americas Institute.  Our topic was everyone’s not-so-favorite subject: persecution and suffering.  But not just that, because the two essentials for enduring any kind of suffering are joy and hope.  The focus was on Robert P. George’s address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast last week.  You can find the full text of the address here, or the video here (his address begins at 15:10 in the video).  These are weighty words that deserve to be read and taken to heart.

Also, on a previous episode we promised to give you the link for listening to MP3s of Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s talks on Divine Mercy which he gave here in San Antonio during the Divine Mercy SA Weekend.  Those talks will be available here.  Although I did not see them yet, there are lots of other great talks by Father you should check out.

The Visitation

Joy is perhaps the one word that best describes the Visitation of Our Blessed Lady to her cousin Elizabeth.

No sooner has the angel Gabriel left Our Lady, than she leaves, not in a leisurely way, but with haste, to be with her cousin. Her immediate response to all Gabriel has told her  is indicative of why God chooses her to be the Mother of the Messiah in the first place, it is her deep and genuine humility. She leaves in haste because her humble heart is the heart of a servant, and from that truly humble heart, comes joy.

As Elizabeth speaks these words to Our Lady Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me, Our Lady responds with the beautiful words of the Magnificat:

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; for behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed because He Who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name; and His Mercy is from generation to generation to those who fear Him. He has shown might with His Arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, His servant, mindful of His mercy – even as He Spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

It is a reply of authentic humility and joy.  Our Lady recognizes who she is before God, and the result of her recognition of God’s pre-eminence, is joy, a joy of immense proportions, a joy so deep it cannot be contained.

In the second reading from today’s Office of Readings, Saint Bede the Venerable says this:

“When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his Creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation…”

Overriding joy encompasses the hearts of those assembled that day in the house of Zechariah – from the heart of John who rests in the womb of his mother, to Elizabeth who feels the leap of recognition from her son, articulating the wonder of God’s grace, and to Our Lady, who marvels at the greatness of her God, Who chose her to be the Mother of His Son.

Let us follow Our Lady in her humility and joy, for by her example we can know that God is not limited by anything except our ‘yes’ to him, and only then because He chooses it to be so.

May we rejoice in this beautiful feast and thank Our Lady for her joyful ‘yes’!

Lenten Detours

Lenten countdown: 279 chocolate cravings survived, only 3,257 to go.  So much to look forward to!

Seriously, though, each of us starts Lent with lots of great ideas and good intentions.  We begin with everything mapped out, we have a nice list of all the things we are going to give up, the sacrifices we are going to make.  And then God steps in – He sends us on detours, sometimes through very rough terrain.  We like to take the smoothly paved scenic route; He likes to go off-roading.

Just a few hours into the beginning of Lent, my Ash Wednesday plans were majorly derailed, and I was not too happy about it.  God had a better plan for me, but I had to make the choice to accept it (with as much joy as I could muster), or fight against it.  Fighting God’s Will is pretty futile, but it’s a hard lesson for us to learn.

It’s good to have your plan, but if God chooses to tweak your plan, let Him.  Allowing God to direct our Lent, accepting the penances and detours He sends, is often the harder thing to do, and that’s why it’s so beneficial for our souls.  The sooner we figure that out and really practice it, the sooner we open ourselves up to the authentic peace and joy God wants to give us.

Offer up the good stuff, too

Recently I was talking to a friend of ours, a member of Opus Dei, and asked her to pray for a sick relative of mine.  She said, “I’m going to a party this weekend, I’ll offer it up for her – you can offer up the good stuff, too.”

That’s a beautiful response and it’s so Catholic!  The world has a gloomy stereotype of Catholicism: sour old nuns flogging themselves; poor, miserable people trying to placate an angry God. They would have you believe that rigid abnegation and utilitarianism is something that belongs to Catholics.  It is so very un-Catholic! The truth is that only in Catholicism can you find a true, right, holy joy in all of creation, a delightful gratitude for all that God made, for indeed it is very good.

The Church loves life.  She loves this amazing world God created out of love for us. She understands the human spirit, the human heart, that the soul needs Lent and Advent, but it also needs the joy of Easter and Christmas, too.  Or, as Theresa of Avila put it, “There’s a time for penance and a time for partridge.”

So as you live out your daily routine, don’t forget that you can offer up your trials and pains and sufferings, but you can also offer up your joys and your ice cream cones, too.  Jesus wants it all!  He cares about every detail of your life, more than your mind can fathom. Our happiness, the joy we take in life’s pleasures, can be efficacious, too, when we offer it God with a grateful heart.