Friday, June 23, 2017

Just a few days ago my wife and I were sitting in the garage enjoying the evening air as the sun was beginning to set. We started listening to the Divine Office Evening Prayer on one of the apps on my phone and were reciting the responses along with it. (click the link to read more.)

June 23, 2017
Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 170
DT 7:6-11
PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10
1 JN 4:7-16
MT 11:25-30

Just a few days ago my wife and I were sitting in the garage enjoying the evening air as the sun was beginning to set.   We started listening to the Divine Office Evening Prayer on one of the apps on my phone and were reciting the responses along with it.  I believe both of us were reclined in the warm, moist air with our eyes closed just enjoying this moment of prayer together outside the hustle and bustle of life.   The door to the kitchen opened and out walked one of our daughters.   She realized what we were doing and sat down on a skateboard and just listened.  It was at this point that the Magnificat began to be recited.   My wife and I simply began to say it with the group of monks and nuns.    My daughter was impressed I think and mouthed “How do you know the words?”  I scrolled the phone down to where they were and handed it to her.   She finished Evening Prayer with us and we had a very powerful moment.

After our devotions were over I explained to her that we knew the words because we have been praying the Office for the most part since 2010, when we did Awakening Faith at our Parish.   A visiting Deacon was praying it when I arrived one day and I struck up a conversation.  Praying the Scripture?   That makes sense to me.   So I got a little copy of “Shorter Christian Prayer” and began.   I didn’t do it every day.  It did become a part of my life though.  The one thing it taught me about God is that to know Him, to truly know His love, and who He has made us to be requires a relationship.   It requires spending time with Him.   It requires knowing the stories and people of the Old and New Testament.  It’s very powerful to realize that the Evening Prayer recites the words of Mary, her song of thanksgiving when she was visiting Elizabeth.   That’s called the Magnificat.  

The one thing about today’s solemnity is that it focuses on the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It’s all about God’s love.  His mercy, His plan to redeem us, and His death and resurrection for our sins.  It is a story about how special we are to Him.   I think to understand how special we are we have to stop thinking of ourselves as insignificant worms, made of dust and worth nothing.    Yes compared to divinity itself?   We aren’t much.   Yet, He died for us.   If it were just to save one single soul, He would have done it.   We believe that God made each of us special, unique and with a plan for our lives.  Every time I see someone say that Mary was just a box, a vessel, nothing special, I get a little upset.  If she was nothing?   Then so am I.   So are you.   Yet the Scriptures are clear: “From this day all generations will call me blessed.”   Is “you are just a worthless person” blessing her?   Do you think Jesus did not die on the cross for her as well?  Was she just discarded?  Especially in our age of enlightenment when we try to encourage people to see women as equal to men, why then do we take the mother of God and run her through the mud as just another box?

That’s not love.   My wife was not just a box for my children.   She was someone special that I chose out of all the possibilities and who also had a choice and chose me.   Mary is the flesh that the Sacred Heart of Jesus came from.   We don’t worship her, but we do honor her.   We honor her for the role she played.   The choice she freely made.   The pain and suffering she went through that the Sacred Heart even came into existence.  So no, if Mary had said no it wouldn’t have been the same with just another person… any more than if I went back in time and never met Julie that I’d have the same kid with just another person… No.  That’s not how things work.  God had a plan for her before He made her, just like He had one for us.  Just like with Israel, He chose Her because He loved her.   That’s what the Sacred Heart is about.   It’s about reminding us that God loves each and every one of us completely and fully.   That the heart of Jesus still beats in Heaven and in the Tabernacle for us.  It aches for our completion, for our own hearts and souls to cry out with Mary “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Are you ready to give in and realize how much He loves you?  Are you ready to choose love?   To remain in love that Love might remain in you?

It is when we let go of the burdens of this world, close our eyes in the rapture of the moment, and simply rest in the knowledge of this truth that we take on the yoke of Christ.   That does not mean that things have magically gotten better at the moment.  It doesn’t mean that life won’t be hard when we stop resting in His arms and walk back to whatever task that we have at hand.  The relationships that were broken seconds ago are not magically restored.  Our soul though is filled with Him and He remains with us.   That’s what the Sacraments are about.   That’s what prayer is about.  You are special.  God chose you because He loves you and wants to be a part of your life.  He gave you a spiritual family of Saints and Angels to help you get through this world and a Church to open channels of grace into your life that you could better resist those things that harm you and pull you away from Him.  Then He died on the cross because that was the price of our failures.  Let God take up those burdens that are weighing you down, and begin to follow His lead and keep His commandments.  Take it one moment at a time, one step at a time, and realize it’s when you are weakest that He carries you.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14