What Child Is This?

Note: This post appears as the January 3, 2021, bulletin column (the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God) for St. Michael and St. Albert parishes.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been smitten with the image of the pregnant Virgin Mary. When Jodi began showing with our first baby, I was struck with a notion that may be foreign to women undergoing the physical changes that accompany incubating new humans, but that hopefully has occurred to other men: Pregnant women are beautiful. The glow of the expecting mother is long established and oft reported, but the bodily transformation is no less captivating. A luminous mother-to-be, her belly impossibly round with child, calls to mind the miraculous, celestial beauty of the stars and planets—even drawing us into orbit around her.

The Pregnant Virgin Mary

This is appropriate, since she bears the future of the species, the planet, even the universe, within her womb.

If that’s true of my bride, it’s truer for our Blessed Mother. Mary’s circumstance was more difficult than most first pregnancies, but her trust and her joy were no doubt more complete. I see this young woman, innocent and unassuming, bearing the changes and challenges confronting her with simplicity and obedience, radiating the life of God within her while pouring herself out in service to her cousin, Elizabeth, and later, to her husband Joseph.

Do you see her, too? Is she not beautiful?

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The Better Part

Nearly everyone I talk with these days agrees with me: The summer is flying by, in part because our families are so busy.

A friend has an acronym for BUSY: Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke. We may object that the numerous things we are doing are not evil, but are good and perhaps even important. But we would do well to ask ourselves, are they necessary?

Necessity is a high bar, when you think about it. As animals, we have very few absolute needs: food, water, shelter, and the like. As humans, made in God’s image, we have a few more: freedom, community, love. Meeting these needs for ourselves and our families requires effort on our part—but for the person of faith, there is a hierarchy: God, spouse, children, everyone else, everything else.

Which of these things are we spending time on these days, and in what order? Continue reading

Heartstrings IV

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

One more short post: As I look around me, I see all sorts of images of Jesus’ crucified Sacred Heart, the source of Divine Mercy, now.

In summer of 2016, we handed out a prayer card at our staff retreat. On one side was an image of the Sacred Heart, and on the other, the Anima Christi (Soul of Christ) prayer, which has become a favorite of mine for just before or just after receiving Holy Communion:

img_20180628_205916191_hdr-e1530239440470.jpgAnime Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ’s side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
Amen

“Within thy wounds hide me” seemed like a strange line at first, but as I’ve journeyed closer and closer to the source of Divine Mercy, His pierced Sacred Heart, the more sense it makes to me…

Heartstrings III

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

It’s been a busy week, with the Totus Tuus program in full swing at Saint Andrew (plus the completion of my reconsecration to Mary on this Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), so I’m sticking with another short “cheater” post—another “heartstring” connect me to the Sacred Heart.

Perhaps I’ve felt particularly drawn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and Mary’s Immaculate Heart) only in the past year or so, but the image below shows the first religious artwork we purchased together and displayed prominently in our home.

IMG_20180627_215932956_HDR

O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins and giving us your Mother on Calvary! O Heart of Mary pierced by sorrow and sharing in the sufferings of your divine Son for our redemption! O sacred union of these Two Hearts! Praised be the God of Love who united them together! — from the Prayer to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which I just discovered today

Other Nudges

Blogger’s Note: This is the latest in a collection of daily posts outlining my journey to the Sacred Heart over the past year or more. See an overview and links to past posts here.

I have a short post tonight, about two last little nudges leading me to a newfound devotion to the Sacred Heart this spring. First, in December, about the time I was lobbying Santa and my bride for a Sacred Heart image to hang near my bed, a new mosaic showed up in our church.

Sacred Heart Mosaic Color Continue reading