November 24, 2011

Coraggio! (Have Courage!)


A group of us are following "Total Consecration to Jesus According to St. Louis Marie de Montfort,"  with our consecration to be made on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  It's definitely a "weed out the wimps" regime of prayer.  As promised, I sent the group some encouraging thoughts and hope these will bless you today, as well:

See?  Now that wasn't so bad, was it?  I mean, c'mon.  That first week?  The "Preparation"?  A few prayers.  A wee paragraph of reading for mediation.  I don't know about you, but I was thinking, "Hey, I can do this!  This'll be a snap!"

Then we hit Week One.

You know, I've discovered already during Week One that I'm really not interested in Knowledge of Self.  Really.  Not.  As a matter of fact, I actually cringe from it.  No, really.  You know why?  The same reason why I come out of every confession sobbing, that's why.  Because of the stunning, humbling, almost debilitating realization of how abhorrent and insulting my insignificant little self must be to the Face of God.  I mean, judging from the way He spanked the ancient Israelites in the Old Testament (several times, mind you) whenever they needed it, I cannot BELIEVE that the Almighty hasn't reached down with His thumb and forefinger and flicked me off the face of the planet, just to spare the rest of humanity the boil of my existence.

But then, in the confessional, the priest utters some of the most beautiful words in the English language:  "God, the father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins through the ministry of the church. May God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

(*heavy relieved sigh*)  And I resolve to try all over again.  I swear and promise and beg and plead anew to ACTUALLY try to know, love, and serve God in this life so I may be happy with Him forever in heaven.

Now, that's a tall order.  I haven't even had my morning tea and I've failed miserably already.  But, I'm beginning to think it's okay to start there.  Because if I didn't start with failing miserably, I might have this horrible misconception that, at least in some area, I was fine, okay, enough, good, perfect.


Hey.  Waaaait a minute.  That sounds familiar.  Wasn't there something in Genesis about that?  About the serpent promising perfect knowledge to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Ha.  Yeah.  And we all know how that turned out.

So.  I examine my conscience.  Confess.  Sob.  Atone.  Get on with life.  And sin again.  So, I examine my conscience, confess, sob, atone......well, you get the idea.

The point being:  It's never a pretty picture to truly see oneself as God sees us.  The word, "vermin" comes to mind.  Yet St. Louis de Montfort, Thomas a Kempis, and the Bible (Psalm 141) all encourage us not only to be brutally honest in our self-assessment, but to be confident in the mercy of God.  Mercy is when you get what you don't deserve.  Mercy cannot be earned; it must be given.  And for eternity, only Almighty God can give it.

So, visit Him, my friends. 
Make a well-worn path to the confessional, to adoration.  Be inspired in our consecration.  "Coraggio!"  Have courage!  Courage is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear.  Be humble yet firm of purpose as we strive to follow this way of prayer!  If you miss a day, continue to soldier on.  If you forget a prayer, return to it.  If you are distracted, redouble your efforts.  For Jesus Himself said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God," (Luke 18:27).

And THAT is a great cause for "Thanksgiving!"

(Now do you see why Luke is my favorite Gospel!?)

Please pray for me during our Total Consecration, as you may be ever assured of my heartfelt prayers for you!

May Our Lady be your joy this Advent as she leads you through the rosary, ever closer to the manger and the Sacred Heart of her Son, Jesus!


P.S. - Just by way of coolness, I also found absolution in Latin:

Deus, Pater misericordiarum,
qui per mortem et resurrectionem Fílii sui
mundum sibi reconciliavit
et Spiritum Sanctum effudit
in remissionem peccatorum,

per ministerium Ecclesiae
tibi tribuat
et pacem...

Et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis
in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

"What is impossible with men is possible with God," (Luke 18:27).

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