Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Visitation of Our Lady

Today we celebrate the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to Saint Elizabeth which beings to a close the Marian month of May.

In today's Gospel, we see the image of two pregnant women meeting together in such a happy scene. One is an old woman already in the twilight of life, for all these years without fruit, who was suddenly blessed with child. One is a young woman, full of promise, whose life plans were abruptly dislodged by the perplexing news of an angel that she was to be with child even if she did not know man.

Here we see the God of surprises truly at work. He visits us unexpectedly and we are indeed surprised, especially because he comes often when we least expect it: when we have given up on dreaming he paints dreams for us again, when we have dreams of our own that are so few and so little he pushes us forward to wider horizons we could not have dreamed of ourselves.

Here is the God who raises up the lowly whom Our Lady sings of in her Magnificat. At the same time He also casts us from our thrones when we have become haughty, throwing us down by a rather unpleasant surprise that surely hurts and yet restores wholeness and truth. He lets even the richest person experience hunger and emptiness and at the same time allows even the most destitute some measure of joy and fullness. He always catches us by surprise, when we least expect, in ways we never before imagined. We are overwhelmed indeed.

Are we sensitive to God's surprises? Do we welcome them in our lives? Or would we rather live comfortable amid the ruins of our rancid, ruined dreams or in the small, quaint huts we hide in?
God of manifold surprises, visit us like you did Mary and Elizabeth. Then we shall also be able to visit our neighbor, even those living very far away from us, and sing to them your song.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ordinary Time


Apart from those seasons having their own distinctive character, thirty-three or thirty-four weeks remain in the yearly cycle that do not celebrate a specific aspect of the mystery of Christ. Rather, especially on the Sundays, they are devoted to the mystery of Christ in its fullness. This period is known as Ordinary Time.

Ordinary Time begins on Monday after the Sunday following 6 January and continues until Tuesday before Ash Wednesday inclusive. It begins again on Monday after Pentecost and ends before Evening Prayer I of the First Sunday of Advent.

This is also the reason for the series of liturgical formularies found in both the Missal and The Liturgy of the Hours (Vol. III-IV), for Sundays and weekdays in this season. (GNLYC, 43-44)

As we enter into this ordinary yet nonetheless grace-filled season, let us remember that the greatest part of the green of growth indeed occurs during the long periods of patient waiting. In the seeming emptiness of the ordinary, God comes to make his dwelling with us.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Solemnity of Pentecost

On Sunday, the 50th day after we celebrated the Easter Sunday of the Lord's Resurrection, the Church will celebrate the great feast of Pentecost which brings to a fitting close the holy season of Easter.

On this day, the Holy Spirit descended from the Father and the Son and filled the disciples with his Presence as they were assembled in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As Jesus himself promised, the Holy Spirit continues to be with the Church as her Consoler and Guide on the way to salvation, and leading her forth in mission, until the Lord comes in glory. Then we shall enter into the communion of the Trinity: the Father loving the Son, the Son beloved by the Father, in the Eternal bond of Love which is the Holy Spirit who draws us already, even now, into this blessed intimacy that we shall enjoy.

Come Holy Spirit, come!