Jousting With Humility

There is a line from the movie “Camelot”, when Queen Guinevere asks Sir Lancelot, the “perfect” male, “Have you jousted with humility lately?”  Perfection can’t come without humility; Jesus showed us that. He is God, but became man.  The Christ hung on the cross a man, because our salvation needed Him to.  Our greatest example, Jesus, chose humility.  The Perfect, chose to joust with humility. 

Or, how about the Mother Of God, the forever Virgin Mary, the chosen and pure, giving her fiat to appear an unwed mother, then giving birth in a dirty stable. She knew herself without sin, but chose humility.

I have gifts and talents.  Humility isn’t denying them, no it’s being fully aware of them, and knowing that they are gifts….it’s knowledge of something bigger…it’s unattatchment to the glory from them….it’s the Perfect, the Omnipotent God hanging on a cross, because He could love outside of himself.  

The Pieta

Pieta means, “pity” and is traditionally depicted by the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of her Son. Although there are many art forms that express the Pieta, the carving by Michelango is probably the best known. This image of Our Lady embracing the lifeless body of her Son is moving in so many ways.  This time, what was jumping out at me, were the two figures.  The created Images of God.  I have reflected on the new Adam and the new Eve, but this time it all sat with me differently.

Here before me is the restoration.  The Blessed Mother is sinless, and Jesus, wholly human, defeated satan himself.  In the Pieta, I find God’s vision of creation restored, carved into the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnate Savior. They are who God created humanity to be, within Himself.  Mary and Jesus are the two Fiats that destroyed the disobedience of the Adam and Eve.  God has restored us, to who we once were within Himself….a reality chiseled into the vision of the Pieta.  

The Pieta inspires me toward the image of God:  Purity’s (Mary’s) love for her God, for the Son she holds, and the sacrificial Love of God for our purity.  The peaceful look of a soul, who blindly trusts the lifeless body in her arms, to still be Savior.  She trusted God, even though in her arms would seem to be, an unsuccessful Messiah.  The Son, who became man, to walk this earth as we do, and show us how, even in death, in fact lying there, He had no breath within Him. 

The Pieta to me, though, is Hope.  Hope that we can be restored, by the lives of Mother Mary and Jesus Christ to the new Adam and new Eve….as we were created to be.  Children of hope, love and trust in the image of our Creator.  This is the image of God…male and female, as our Creator intended…sinless and worthy of life eternal with Him.  Restored!

The Pieta speaks this to me, through the inspiration and  artistry of a 24 year old man, who saw it in a piece of marble, and passionately gave it to me….and I am grateful for the help.

A Week of Saints (May 6-12, 2019

Monday, May 6:  Bl Fancis de Laval Priest, Bishop (1623-1708)

Francis was the first Roman Catholic bishop of Quebec and was one of the most influential men of his day.  He was ordained by the Jesuits.  His job was to organize the Catholic Churches in Canada.  He set up parishes fo the French inhabitants and organized a seminary.  He was a faithful and caring leader.  He is considered the father of the Canadian Roman Catholic Church.

Patron:  bishops of Canada

Tuesday, May 7:  St Rose of Viterbo, Virgin and Recluse (1233-1251)

Rose was born at Viterbo.  She entered a convent after the death of her fiancé, but then came home to care for her widowed mother.  She felt called to become a teacher, rather than live a contemplative life, consequently she opened a free school. She was soon to oversee teacher and administrators in her diocese in Italy.  Many miracles have been attributed to her.

“Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious.”

Patron: people in exile, people rejected by religious orders

Wednesday, May 8: St. Juliana of Norwich, Mystic (1342-1413)

 She was a Benedictine mystic in England.  She lived a reclusive life outside of the church walls.  Because of her “Revelations of Divine Love” she  is considered one to the most important writers in England.  She wrote about the love of God, the Incarnation, redemption, sin and divine consolation.  She drew people from all over Europe.

“There is no creature made, who can realize how much, how sweetly, and how tenderly our Maker loves us.  And therefore we can with His grace and His help, stand in spirit, gazing with endless wonder at His lofty, immeasurable love, beyond human scope, that the Almighty In His goodness has for us.”

Patron: of the anxious

Thursday, May 9:  St Catharine Of Bologna (1413-1463)

Catharine served the Lord in obscurity.  She was born in nobility and was well educated. As a Poor Clare she did manuscript illumination and miniatures. Her holiness drew many women to the Poor Clares.

“Whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one’s own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert.”

Patron: of the Arts

Friday, May 10: St Damien Of Molokai, Priest, (1840-1889)

In Joseph de Veuster”s lifetime leprosy went from obscurity to common knowledge.  He went to the leprosy colony on the island Molokai Hawaii to care for the sick there.  Damien was ordained a priest in Honolulu. Damien soon volunteered to remain permanently, caring for the people’s physical, medical and spiritual needs. In time, he became their most effective advocate to obtain promised government support. Soon the settlement had new houses and a new church, school and orphanage. Morale improved considerably. A few years later he succeeded in getting the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse,  St Damien contracted the disease himself and died of its complications.

“Without the Blessed Sacrament a position like mine would be intolerable.”

Patron:  people with leprosy

Saturday, May 11:  St Ignatius Of Laconi, Monk (1701-1781)

Ignatius is another sainted begging brother. During a serious illness, Ignatius vowed to become a Capuchin if he recovered. He regained his health but ignored the promise. A riding accident prompted him to renew the pledge, which he acted on the second time.  Because of his practice of self denial, he was appointed the official beggar or the order. He was blind the last two years.

Patron:  students, beggars

Sunday, May 12:  St’s Nereus, Achilleus, Pancras, Martyrs (early church)

“These saints, before whom we are assembled, despised the world and trampled it under their feet when peace, riches and health gave it charms”

They were soldiers of the Roman army, became Christians and were removed to the island of Terracina, where they were martyred. Pope Gregory the Great delivered his 28th homily on the occasion of their feast. 

Pope Gregory the Great

 “The martyrs Nereus and Achilleus had enrolled themselves in the army and exercised the cruel office of carrying out the orders of the tyrant, being ever ready, through the constraint of fear, to obey his will. O miracle of faith! Suddenly they cease from their fury, they become converted, they fly from the camp of their wicked leader; they throw away their shields, their armor and their blood-stained javelins. Confessing the faith of Christ, they rejoice to bear testimony to its triumph. Learn now from the words of Damasus what great things the glory of Christ can accomplish.” 

Pope Damasus

The Mary Month Of May

When my son was about four or five years old, he had in his imagination an entire galaxy complete with a language, laws, super heroes, and super villains.  Everyone in our family had a super power, but I was given the “most powerful” super gift of all.  My super power was love.  This little boy valued love, above any talent his imagination could conjure, and made it the unbeatable weapon.  

In this month of May, as Catholics, our attention is drawn to Our Lady.  Reflecting on my son’s creation, I couldn’t help but see the parallel to Mother Mary.  Our Creator made her sinless, but her love for Him kept her pure, and able to withstand the greatest evil ever.  The Theotokus (God Bearer) couldn’t be tempted away from the love she had for God’s will, and gave that Love, for God, to the world in her Fiat.  Jesus knew her super power, and the really cool thing is that he gave her to us.  He gave her to us, while His Love was conquering sin, as if to say, …you are clean and here is My mother, the Immaculate Conception… Help of Christians…Refuge of Sinners, who gave the greatest fiat throughout eternity…. and, now her super power is our grace.

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