We Have Much to Do

As I was praying the rosary this morning, the Joyful Mysteries, the Holy Spirit flooded my mind with work that must be done. Not in a distracting way, but in a pastoral way that related directly to the present mystery. I’d like to share this experience with you this morning.

The Annunciation, Book of Hours, Simon Bening; Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment; modern red leather binding; 1535-6, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Public Domain

The first mystery, the Annunciation, He instructed me to accept God’s Holy will in my life, so I may be healed. At Mass, we pray the Centurion’s prayer with hope with and a confident understanding that nothing is impossible for God. He can heal us no matter how sick or broken we are. I must remember that because He can heal me, He can heal anyone. Allowing God’s will in my life, will only progress my healing. He gives me exactly what I need for my own, individual cure. He wants me to be cured of what allows me fall to temptation. I have to want to be healed. If I truly do, I will accept His remedy, and be healed: “your faith has made you well.” (Mk 10:52, RSV-CE)

The Virgin and Saints Interceding before Christ for the Souls of the Lost, ca. 1771, Joann Baptist Enderle, Pen and black ink watercolor and gouache on laid paper, The Met, Public Domain

The second mystery, the Visitation, He reminded me that in order to be a true and faithful disciple of Christ, I must avail myself to the needs of others, no matter how dire my own situation might seem. in this mystery, Mary has just been informed that she is to be the Mother of God. She’s a young teenager, just betrothed, who has become pregnant in a world that condemns women to death for adultery. Yet, her faith in God is so deep, her trust in His Holy Will for her life outweighs her fears of what this would “surely” bring. Shouldn’t I trust God’s will in my own life with the same conviction?

Annunciation to the Shepherds, Claes Moeyaert, drawing, c1633 – c 1637; Rijksmuseum, Netherlands, Public Domain

The third mystery, the Nativity, He explained to me that proclaiming the Gospel, the evangelium, to all who would listen, is necessary for the salvation of souls. Of all the needs in this world, this is the most important and dire one. The Creed tells us exactly what we need to know and teach. There is nothing more important than explaining the life of Christ to others, in order to bring souls to Him. This is why I am a Lay Dominican. I was created to do this. I pray that I might do this well, to bring as many souls to Christ as possible.

Simeons Song of Praise – Arent de Gelder, 1700, oil on canvas, Mauritshuis, The Hague, South Holland, Public Domain

The fourth mystery, the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple, He reminded me that the road of discipleship is not an easy one. Choices, difficult choices, must be made throughout this journey. That choosing Him over the distractions of the world is the one thing I must do each day as His disciple. Making God the one and only priority that is superior to all others, to do things that I might not feel up to doing at that moment, but heed the call nonetheless without delay.

Note Dame Gargoyle, WikiCommons, Public Domain

The fifth mystery, Finding the Christ Child in the Temple, He reminded me that Jesus is always present in the Church, no matter what I see in this corrupt world; even if evil is done inside His church or by His clergy, He is still here, with us, until the end of the age, and vengeance is His alone. I am not faithful for the sake of corrupt laity or clergy, I am to be faithful in spite of them. The Lord is better able to administer justice than I could ever be. The Holy Spirit urges me to pray that they encounter Christ, as St. Paul did: profoundly. They are human too and are subject to temptation and sin; clergy especially, are the focus for the evil one’s temptations. He and his minions tempt all of us, and so many people leave the Church because of scandals, abuse, sins committted in the Church or by clergy. Don’t let that separate you from Christ in the Eucharist. There is only one place where He truly resides, physically and spiritually: in every Tabernacle of every Catholic Church in the World. Don’t leave; He is truly present in the Eucharist, even if consecrated by unholy men. His holiness is more powerful that their unholiness.

The Conversion of Saint Paul by Schelte Adamsz Bolswert, 1621-1633, Engraving in black on cream laid paper, The Art Institute of Chicago, Public Domain

The Lord put these things on my heart today. Thank you for allowing me to share them with you.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

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