Saturday, November 26, 2005

Before Him

Acquiring the habit of prayer does not make me holier. On the contrary, it makes me more aware of my sinfulness.

My proud little soul is then tempted to recoil from prayer out of a misguided sense of shame. Yet, the Lord keeps calling it back to Him, although it's unworthy. Or if there's anything it deserves is eternal damnation, for there is where it'll end up if it is to follow my ways. But its hope is in His mercy and in His love for such a brat.

As I hesitantly lay my soul before Him, I await for His command. Although I am not always faithful, He always is faithful.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

In the Meanders

As I said before, I have great affection for some mysteries. However, some of them are indeed mysterious to me. Not that this makes them a chore to meditate on, quite the contrary, they invite deeper reflections, even if I'm still left unaware of their spiritual depth.

One such mystery is that of the Transfiguration. I know the significance of those involved in that event and the words by God, the Father from Our Lord's baptism being repeated here, yet, somehow, it still doesn't strike a chord in me. Then again, says who all of them should? As St. Teresa of Avila said, we must approach prayer with a faithful and humble spirit, for prayer is a grace, not a skill.

On the other hand, I relate to other mysteries in an indirect way. Their significance still eludes me, but they come easy with fruitful reflections because they relate to other devotions close to my heart. For instance, the Presentation of Jesus, which I associate with through the first sorrow of Our Lady's.

Then there also those mysteries such as the Crowning of Mary, whose theological depth leave me in awe, and additionally shed new meaning to the words of the prayers of the Rosary. In this case, the second part of the Ave Maria, when we direct our petition to the Queen of Heaven:
Hail Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reigning My Attention

As I said earlier, I try to mean the words of the Rosary I pray. However, oftentimes I find myself having to wrangle the wandering mind back to the task. It seems that it's sometimes easier for the heart to command the body than the mind, for the latter can be fairly presumptuous about the importance of its doings. For instance, yesterday when the mind was mulling about this present entry while I prayed the Rosary.

It became clear to me that the mind needed a hook to remain in the works of the heart. As the Ave Maria is the most frequent prayer of the Rosary, I stopped at His Holy Name, "Jesus", to reign the mind by picturing (imagination being one of the favorite faculties of the mind) the events of each mystery. It came as a natural progression to meditate briefly on the role of the other Persons of the Holy Trinity in each mystery during the Gloria. Somehow, the mind obeys the heart during the Pater and the Fatima prayer, likely because it knows that, along with the heart, it too needs God's mercy.

Knowing pretty well that it would be impossible to be original about a centuries-old devotion, I posted my recent findings in Catholic Answers' Forums for a "peer review" and was graced with wonderful feedback by devout people. A particular suggestion popped out above others and I immediately printed it, folded it and slipped it into my wallet for the week's daily Rosary. It was a blessing to be able to pray the Rosary with both the heart and the mind together for as long as never before.

Similarly to the technique I mentioned above on going back to the each mystery at His Name, this technique inserts the mystery or an ejaculation on it right after the Holy Name of Jesus:
  • Joyful Mysteries
    1. The Annunciation: "... Jesus, Whose birth the angel announced."
    2. The Visitation: "... Jesus, Who you carried near your heart."
    3. The Nativity: "... Jesus, to Whom you gave birth."
    4. The Presentation: "... Jesus, Who you dedicated in the temple."
    5. The Finding: "... Jesus, Whose loss you sorrowed for three days."
  • Luminous Mysteries
    1. The Baptism: "... Jesus, Who was baptized for us."
    2. The Miracle of Cana: "... Jesus, Who turned water into wine for us."
    3. The Proclamation of the Gospel: "... Jesus, Who preached the Gospel to the poor."
    4. The Transfiguration: "... Jesus, Who was transfigured on the mount."
    5. The Institution of the Eucharist: "... Jesus, Who gave us the Eucharist."
  • Sorrowful Mysteries
    1. His Agony: "... Jesus, Who sweat blood for us."
    2. His Scourging: "... Jesus, Who was scourged for us."
    3. His Crowning with Thorns: "... Jesus, Who was crowned with thorns for us."
    4. His Carrying the Cross: "... Jesus, Who carried the heavy cross for us."
    5. His Crucifixion: "... Jesus, Who was crucified for us."
  • Glorious Mysteries:
    1. The Resurrection: "... Jesus, Who rose from the dead."
    2. The Ascension: "... Jesus, Who ascended to Heaven."
    3. The Pentecost: "... Jesus, Who sent us the Holy Spirit."
    4. The Assumption of Mary: "... Jesus, Who will return again in glory."
    5. The Crowning of Mary: "... Jesus, Whose kingdom will have no end."
I'm sure this is nothing new to many, as some have already pointed out some writings by saints on the Rosary, but I'm just a novice.