Archive | October 2015

Seasons of the Heart

Fall

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Some of the most glorious smells and tastes come with the season of Autumn. Apple Cider. Cinnamon scented everything. Pumpkin spiced cookies. The air outside turns from dense humid air to the crisp cool air that reinvigorates the soul and beckons one to curl up with a cup of something warm. Everything about Autumn invites us to find comfort in the richness of smells, tastes and comforts of the season.

While the world outside turns silently from lush green lawns of summer to the warm fields of Fall another change starts inside our homes. From the food on our table to the decorations hung on the fireplace or front door, our homes change with the passing seasons. The food on our table no longer holds the cool sweetness of juicy summer fruits. In their stead are large round pumpkins, squash and apples warmed to deliciousness and covered in cinnamon. The bright fun colors of summer transform to the warm rich colors of rust, orange and brown. The beautiful blossoms of spring have slowly and quietly into beautiful fruits of Fall.

The rhythm and path of our lives are very much like the changing leafs outside of our windows. Deeply rooted inside each one of us is the desire to embrace the warmth and richness of the things around us and bestow on it others. This should start with our spouse. Scripture tells us that there is a time for everything “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

What season are you in with your spouse? Perhaps you are a young couple just starting out and bursting with excitement. You are full of cute uplifting notes for your spouse and doing all the little things you know he loves. Maybe you are embarking in the hot summer months of life with three little ones hanging off your arms like monkeys and are feeling overwhelmed by the laboring in the hot sun of life. Then again, maybe you are in the Autumn of life when your children are growing before your eyes into mature, well rounded, compassionate and God-loving adults. Or, you could be in a very difficult time in your marriage when things feel stagnant, hard and frozen. But with winter comes hope for the thaw and new growth.

 Found on allthingsblog56.blogspot.com

Found on allthingsblog56.blogspot.com

No matter the season of life, there is beauty to be found in the season of our marriage. Whether we are madly in love, steadily growing, indulging in the harvest of labors in the hot summer sun or chipping away at the frost of a love stagnant for a season, inside each one of us is a fire. Here we can curl up with a comforting blanket of peace, knowing that each season will bring forth growth and beauty beyond our hopes if we only have faith in the Lord and make the choice of loving the one chosen for us.

It is up to us to bring the inner warmth to our families. Women are the more inclined nurturers. As such, we are particularly inclined to know our spouses like the back of our hands. We know what buttons to push when, what he likes and what pleases him. In this time of beautiful change I challenge you to bring the warmth of the season into your marriage. Whether it is making the favorite dish of your spouse, leaving him small notes of appreciation or making sure to kiss him every night before going to sleep, make the effort for the small things. Most of all pray for your spouse. There is nothing more powerful than prayer to nurture our love. From the small glowing embers of prayer can come a great blaze as long as we fan the flames.

A Mother’s Vision

My mom was always full of wisdom. Whenever I struggled to find my way through a situation she would come up with some great perspective. “You don’t know what they may be going through”, “Don’t throw rocks”, “You’re face is going to get stuck like that”, “Turn the other cheek”, etc. The one that stuck with me the most was, ‘Put yourself in their shoes’. For some reason, this always worked. I may not have liked seeing the other side of the story but it always made me stop and think. Almost instantly my heart would soften. Though she was wise, my mother did not come up with the phrase or wisdom on her own. Whether she knew it or not, she learned it from the rosary.

Each year the Church sets aside October as the month of the Holy Rosary. Viewed by some as an antiquated and unnescessary prayer, the rosary appears to be a monotonous Marian prayer for the beloved devotees twenty minutes before Mass; a generational prayer that has lost its functionality and potency.JPII rosary

The Saints of the Church beg to differ. One of our newest saints, Pope John Paul II, did not hide his devotion to this litany of love. During this month of his feast day I thought it appropriate to explore his document Rosarium Virginis Mariae (RVM). This document, of all his documents I believe sets the tone for Pope Saint John Paul II to unfold a small corner of the preciousness of Our Blessed Mother’s rosary to his heart and her Son Jesus.

In a sense the rosary is pocket sized Paschal Mystery. Every mystery of the rosary leads us deeper into the mystery of the Gospel and allows us to see the beauty and face of Christ.

In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. The eyes of her heart already turned to him at the Annunciation, when she conceived him by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the months that followed she began to sense his presence and to picture his features. When at last she gave birth to him in Bethlehem, her eyes were able to gaze tenderly on the face of her Son… The memories of Jesus, impressed upon her heart, were always with her, leading her to reflect on the various moments of her life at her Son’s side. In a way those memories were to be the “rosary” which she recited uninterruptedly throughout her earthly life. (RVM, 10,11)

The quiet rhythm of the rosary and the lingering pace are there to help us meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. The litany of Hail Mary’s becomes in itself a praise of Christ who is the object of Gabriel’s announcement and of Elizabeth’s greeting at the Visitation. (RVM, 18) The repetition is an outpouring of love. Just as a husband lavishes his love upon his wife with every word of affection and endearment so too, do the rosary beads lavish love on our Lord. No wife would say to their husband, “You say ‘I love you too much’, can’t you think of anything else to say?” No, we take pleasure in the words of our beloved and the reminder of their sustained love.

At the heart of the Rosary is Jesus. His Incarnation at the forefront, the fulfillment of prophesy in the middle, and His mercy of intercession at the end. The Hail Mary is not about praising Mary above Christ but praising Jesus who is with Mary.

Like a good mother, Mary uses these mysteries not just to teach what Jesus taught but to help us learn of him. (RVM, 14) Through its mysteries, Pope Saint John Paul II argues, the rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side. (RVM, 15) No creature knows Christ better than Mary. No one can lead us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than His mother. Just like if someone were to come ask you to describe your child. A mother can do this uniquely precisely because of her perspective. The details would vary between their likes, dislikes, quirks, accomplishments, virtues and qualities. We always want to give the full picture of the beauty of our children.

That is why the Rosary goes through the joyful, sorrowful, luminous and glorious mysteries. Mary is painting the whole picture for us to see of Jesus, to attempt to convey the depth of beauty, devotion and love which Christ has for His people. These precious beads are meant to share in the joy, sorrow and glory of Christ through the eyes of Mary. Saint John Paul II once said, “The rosary is our daily meeting which neither I nor the Blessed Virgin Mary neglect.” Don’t wait to talk to your mother. She is waiting to put you in her shoes.

(Read this article also on Radiance + Grace online magazine.)