Saturday, November 12, 2005

I love my Mommy

I would like to let everyone know how much I love the Blessed Virgin Mary. Or rather, how much she loves me, and induces me to love her more. I call her my Mommy now, because she helps me with everything. She is helping me grow in all holiness, in spite of my being clueless.

I love my Mommy, because she has shown herself to be so good to me.

She kisses my ouchies. I have had deep hurt in my heart, but she has shown me compassion. And she does it with such love and generosity, overlooking any possibility that I deserved something bad.

She looks on me graciously. She inspires hope! Seeing all my attempts to do what is right, and to please God. She has pity on my low condition.

She welcomes me into her life! She is so joyous at my arrival! What is it she sees in me? How I desire to respond to her in like manner! I am hindered somewhat, though. My heart is not open enough. I must do something about this. I must cast off whatever is hindering me from such a welcome embrace!

She is my Mother, and knows how to fix my problems. All I have to do is point to them. I do not understand them. I do not know what I am supposed to do with them. But she knows. She knows just what I need to do to please God in these uncertainties.

She is the Queen of Heaven - elevated by God to the highest point possible for a pure creature, above all the other angels and saints, and most powerful. I can rely on her. No one is going to push her aside. I am not ashamed to be under her patronage. I will let her rule over me for the glory of God.

She knows what best to do to please Jesus, Our Saviour. I can bank on her wishes being the best possible investment of my own time and energy. Paying her my tribute is the best investment to the praise of Our Saviour and God, for her soul magnifies the Lord. She does this better than anyone, including my own self. I will serve her in this! I will help her thank God. I will offer Jesus the offerings of Mary in place of my own.

As I strive more and more to put off the old man, I defer to Mary as to what I should think, love, feel, say, and act. She knows Jesus more than I, and I am as one in her womb being formed by her into the likeness of Jesus.

I love my Mommy and give her all I have, even spiritually. Besides, I am small and it is a burden to manage them. I love poverty so that I may have her love, and she may turn my offering into glory for God. I soon find myself automatically in love with Jesus, united with Jesus in loving Mary. Jesus emptied Himself out of love. I understand now. Jesus gives all, if only for our love. "If you lose your life for My sake, you will find it." I understand now.

Finally, someone who loves Jesus as He deserves, who can be a true model for me - no, more than a model, someone who helps me along, too! Someone who deserves all my love, such that in me giving it, I become like Jesus.

I love my Mommy! She is the true Christian without reproach, with all grace, with all honor, with all helpfulness. She is the Queen of all Christians and our Mother. She takes me to Heaven!

"You must be like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven." I understand now.

O Mommy, who helps me through difficulties, embarrassments, ignorance, and weaknesses. I love you! O Mommy, who renders my little offerings into priceless treasures in Jesus' eyes, I love you! O Mommy, I am sorry you are so neglected, ignored, and offended. But I love you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Perfect and Without Blemish

In the past several days, I have discovered a new way to deal with pride.

This is important, because in the spiritual life, the worse sin is pride. The opposite of pride is humility, which is also known to be the virtue which feeds all the other virtues. (This is easier to remember if you associate it to the word humus, or ground, from which beautiful flowers of virtue may grow.)

During my times of prayer and contemplation, I have been focusing on opening my heart to God by the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I often feel like a plot of land in which sometimes weeds are being pulled, and sometimes seeds are being planted. As such I see myself as being tended so as to remove vices and bad thoughts while nourishing holy desires and virtues.

The Embarrassment

Now lately, I have noticed bad thoughts sprouting up in response to some holy desires I have pursued. For example, if I would consider taking a lower place or a lesser reward in order to please God, something would rear up in me that would object, claiming that it would be a mistake and even an error to do such a thing, like putting on dirty clothes or otherwise contradicting my desire for keeping perfection and excellence.

Normally, such thoughts would be undiscernable among the thicket of numerous other thoughts crowding my mind and the muck of conflicting feelings filling my heart. But since I have been cleared of most of the larger weeds after months of prayer, I am able to recognize smaller ones sooner. And I test them to determine their ultimate intent. This is done quite simply by talking to them and letting them answer according to their own nature. For this to work, one has to endure the embarrassment of the existence of such things in one's heart in spite of wishing them not to be there.

Now, on one particular occasion a few days ago, as I prayed the Our Father during the rosary, I envisioned myself being presented (as it were) to the Father. I gratefully considered the beautiful virtues being planted in me, and how I would be acceptable to God. All of a sudden, one or more prideful thoughts found root and sprouted, with the intention of cancelling my offering!

Here I had to apologize before God and address the scene. I discerned that the basis of these thoughts was that pretty gardens are despicable and weak, and that it is girlish and short-sighted to consider that the offering of something cute and humble could be taken seriously for eternity. (Now, this harkens back to the schoolyard, where boys make fun of girls, because girls value pretty things so much, whereas boys can easily tromp all over them and scorn the fragility of what they chose).

What to do? I wish to offer myself to God, but such prideful thoughts are obviously defiant and thus displeasing to God. I was menaced with the fear that if I tried to make this offering, it would be wasted, and I would lose everything. And I saw the source of these thoughts as a sort of creature that considered itself strong and perfect. Unfortunately, I had to sort of own up to this, since it was on my plot of land. I seem to have accepted this creature into my heart at some point in the past. It wants to crush the prettier virtues (flowers), as if to prove that they are not worth keeping if they are not strong enough to resist the deliberate act of a crushing force. This creature tends to immediately refuse to comply with any act (such as an act of humilty or service) that would seem to offend its sense of being extolled. It seems defiant against anything that might be deemed better than itself. And its coarse sayings are the bad thoughts that somehow keep finding root, and growing as weeds, on my plot of land. It was mine to be ashamed of.

The Remedy

Suddenly, somehow, I realized that I could, and in fact, should, also offer this creature to God. I now saw myself as if in the temple of old bringing a sacrifice to God. According to the Old Law, the animal brought for sacrifice had to be perfect and without blemish. It had to be the pride of the flock. Well, this creature I encountered certainly fit the bill in its own eyes. And if it was mine to be ashamed of, it was also "mine" to give!

So with all my heart, I offered this creature "without blemish" to God, deeming God worthy of all I have. And the more it claimed to be perfect, worthy, the best, etc., the more firmly it sealed its fate as being acceptable to God as a sacrifice. And in being sacrificed, it disappeared! I felt an intense closeness and devotion to God. It was amazing to me! Any thought of pride that rose up after that then became an occasion of renewing to God the sacrifice of the old law in a more profound and spiritually profitable way.

The New Law of Sacrifice

It is for this reason, then, that I can say with certainty that the Old Law of Sacrifice is necessary to this day, albeit in a more profound manner. In such a spiritual sense then, surely the laws God put in place in the Old Testament could all be found as worthy of being kept for eternity.

Certain protestants believe there are now no religious laws to follow, and that we do not need to worry about any sins because Jesus fulfilled the law and suffered in our place for all of our past, present, and future sins.

On the other end, certain other protestants believe that God's laws are for all eternity, and that we still need to be following all the laws in the Old Testament, including keeping the sabbath on Saturday, keeping the feasts such as that of Tabernacles, avoiding pork and other unclean foods, and more.

But in thinking about it, Jesus said the time is coming and is now here when all will worship God in spirit and in truth. Jesus said he came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. Regarding circumcision, he said we must circumcise our hearts. Regarding the commandment about adultery, he said we break it if we even think about it in our hearts. Regarding the commandment about murder, he said we break it if we even think about it in our hearts. And there are many other such examples. It is about what is in our hearts, what is done by our hearts. External practises are not enough. Jesus said if our righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees (who only focused on exterior practises), then we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, the Old Testament foretold and foreshadowed the New Testament of God, in which we find the fulfillment of His promise of salvation brought to the world.

So those who think we no longer need to follow any laws are greatly mistaken. The fact is that we need to follow them more thoroughly by applying them in the depths of our hearts. And those who claim we still need to be following them externally are mistaken in thinking that is enough. The external sacrifices had their purpose, but what God ultimately desires from us is the internal sacrifice of our wills to Him. So making sacrifices to God is still required, but to a more profound degree. Don't just sacrifice the pride of the flock, sacrifice the pride of the heart.

Friday, May 20, 2005

She gave me the fruit, and I ate it

Most Christians should have been taught that Jesus is the new Adam who brought life for all through his obedience, and reversed the effects of the first Adam, who brought death to all his decendents by his disobedience.

Well, a number of years ago I learned about how the Blessed Virgin Mary is the new Eve who reversed the effects of disobedience by her obedience. And at that time a play on words in Latin was brought to my attention. Eve is known as Eva in Latin, and Mary is known as Ave, since she was greeted by the angel as "Hail, full of grace". Notice that "Ave" is the reverse of "Eva", so it is easy to remember. I was amazed by this and thought it was so neat.

Now today, as I was praying the Our Father, I imagined myself before Him. And I brought to mind all of human history, from the time of Adam and Eve, since God created us all. And as I found myself having to explain or account for my presence at some level, I couldn't help but think of Adam's excuse to God: "she gave me the fruit, and I ate it". Imagine that: here I am a sinner coming before God the Father who I sinned against (and I only really became conscious of such sin as I presented myself), and fending off the sense of repulsion by trying to account and/or explain why I have come before Almighty God, and all I could think of was someone else's excuse, which I knew I shouldn't use.

But I was startled at that moment with the realization that I could safely use the same words of that age-old excuse with a totally new meaning! For I was also contrasting the merits of Jesus in atonement for my sins and reflecting on the fact that I have received the fruits of these merits (in the graces I have received) by the hands of Mary. And so I found myself in wonder as I repeated those words: "she gave me the fruit, and I ate it". Yes, Mary gave me the fruit from the tree of life, the crucified Saviour who suffered and died with love for us all, and I ate of it and was strengthened with confidence to be present before God. Yes, the charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary gave this starving soul to eat, and I tasted the love of God. It was so consoling to experience the reversal of meaning in that statement, from culpability to justifiability. Truly, Mary's obedience reverses the effects of Eve's disobedience in an amazingly parallel manner!

Adam ate fruit from Eve and was banished. I ate fruit from Mary, and was admitted! Adam, why did you sin? "Because she gave me to eat." And I, why did I repent? "Because she gave me to eat." An excuse turned into praise before my very consciousness! Truly, the Lord is wonderful. "He does all things well."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Introduction to this Blog

I would like to use this first post to explain a little bit about what a Dominican Tertiary is, and why I started this blog.
A Dominican Tertiary is a lay member of the Dominican Order in the Roman Catholic Church. Such members seek a life of Christian perfection and penance while continuing the normal pursuits of the laity. We seek to be penitent before God for our sins and those of our neighbor, and extend to our neighbor the mercy God has extended to us.

The Dominican Order is more accurately called the Order of Preachers, and was founded by Saint Dominic eight centuries ago for the purpose of studying, preaching, and teaching sacred truth. It consists of friars, brothers, nuns, sisters, and laity. More information can be found at the following websites: and

For Dominicans, all studies must lead to God. The birth of Jesus and the paschal mysteries must be the principle events occupying the thoughts of each Dominican. Furthermore, Saint Dominic on his deathbed said to the friars: "Have charity, cling to humility, and let voluntary poverty be your possession".

We contemplate sacred truth and share the fruits of our contemplation with others. Thus, I am starting this blog for the purpose of sharing the fruits of my contemplation with society.