Consecration Renewal – Day 19

Day 19 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 18: Woman of Obedience

…the word “obey” derives from the Latin word meaning “to hear”…. Those who obey do not annul their freedom but exalt it…. They do not abase themselves as if they were unthinking robots, but act on the basis of listening and dialogue….

Those who obey do not cease to will, but identify so much with the person they love that they align their wills with that of the other. Here we find the profound motive for Mary’s obedience. She did not allow herself to be dispossessed of her will, not even by her Creator. But by saying “yes,” she freely abandoned herself to him and entered the history of salvation with a responsible awareness.

Holy Mary…. Give us the certainty that whoever obeys the Lord does not crash to the ground but falls into the loving arms of God.

Consecration Renewal – Day 18

Day 18 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 17: Woman of Silence

Mary is a woman of silence because she measures her words. She speaks just four times in the Gospel: at the annunciation, when she visits Elizabeth and intones the Magnificat, when she finds Jesus in the temple, and at Cana in Galilee. Then, after telling the servants at the wedding to listen to the only word that counts, she keeps silence forever.

Yet, Mary’s silence is not just the absence of voices or the lack of noise. It does not come from a sober asceticism. Rather, it is the theological covering of a presence, the shell around fullness, the womb cherishing the Word….

Christ is the mystery that was kept secret, kept hidden, literally wrapped in silence.

Silence surrounded the Word of God in the womb of eternity. Entering the womb of history, he could have no other covering but silence. Mary provided it with her own person. Thus, she prolonged on earth that hidden silence of heaven, showing us how to maintain the secrets of love.

It was after reading this beautiful chapter (that I posted an excerpt from back in June 2010 which you can find here) that I decided to use Bishop Bello’s book as an aid during my consecration renewal.

Consecration Renewal – Day 17

Day 17 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 16: Woman of the New Wine

Do you remember back in Chapter 12 (Emigrant Woman) we saw Mary “on the border” between the old covenant and the new? At Cana, she crosses over. Bishop Bello introduces me (at least) to a deeper interpretation of what really took place at the marriage feast there:

It seems certain, however, that the evangelist’s intention was not so much to show Mary’s concern for people, or the power of her intercession with her son. Rather, it was to present her as the woman who instantly perceived that the old world had reached its term. Anticipating the “hour” of Jesus, she introduced into the banquet of history not only the jars of the feast, but also the first fermentation of newness….

Whether or not Mary fully realized that the old covenant was about to be fulfilled in the new, she courageously fostered the transition. Intervening in anticipation, she asked Jesus for an advance on the wine of the new covenant which, in her presence, would pour forth inexhaustibly at the hour of the cross.

Mother Mary, as usual, I am feeling rather overcome this morning by the way everything I have been studying/reading/reflecting upon over the last few days is inter-related. At the moment, it’s all swirling around in my head and heart. Today’s chapter from Bishop Bello is all mixed up with what I was reading earlier this morning from a book about the Precious Blood, which in turn is all mixed up with the post I just did yesterday here on the song, “Mary the Dawn”. I will try to sort it all out today as I am washing (long overdue) the windows, and see how I might be able to explain some of this inter-relatedness (probably in a post at Contemplative Haven). Please help me, Mother Mary, and guide my thoughts.

Mary the Dawn

Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Both ever blest while endless ages run.

I was just mentioning to Deacon Jon Kelly in a recent comment that I had come across a hymn entitled, Mary the Dawn. Afterwards, I found a beautiful version of it at ECS Publishing.

It’s a pdf file with a “Listen” button in the upper left-hand corner. I hope you are able to open it/hear it.

Consecration Renewal – Day 16

Day 16 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 15: Woman of Rest

I love this chapter; I could actually feel it in my body and my spirit. It’s not about Our Lady as a woman who rested, but as a woman who “fostered a serene atmosphere of rest”, particularly for Joseph and Jesus. We are reminded of the baby Jesus sleeping peacefully in her arms, and Bishop Bello comments on the “boundless repertoire of Christmas melodies” in the genre of the lullaby, and thinks the composers created them so as to “feel themselves cradled in her motherly arms.”

He writes of hardworking Joseph, and that “Only near a woman like Mary could a man like Joseph, accustomed to the harshness of life, rest with such serenity as to dream uninterruptedly.”  Through Mary’s influence, at night Joseph “deservedly withdrew into a bit of heaven, serene and inexpressible, filled with angels and portents.”  Bishop Bello ponders that likely Jesus learned this kindness from Mary, and expressed it to His disciples and to the crowds, as he called them often to come away and rest.

Watch over the rest of those who live alone. Lengthen the curtains of sleep, so often short and light as tissue over fruit, for the elderly. Lighten the burdens of those who cannot sleep because of pain. With the peace that comes from God, calm the restlessness of those who toss and turn all night because of remorse. Tuck in the rags of those sleeping under bridges, and warm the cardboard where the homeless take shelter from the cold sidewalk….

…make us understand that if the secret of physical rest lies in the weekly pauses or annual vacations we grant ourselves, then the secret of interior peace lies in knowing how to lose time with God.

Consecration Renewal – Day 15

Day 15 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 14: Woman on the Move

In this chapter Bishop Bello writes that Mary, other than for Jesus, “undoubtedly heads the list of evangelical travelers.” He recounts some of her journeys, from Nazareth to the mountains in Judah to visit Elizabeth, to Bethlehem, to Egypt, to Jerusalem more than once, back to Nazareth, following Jesus as he toured the villages of Galilee, with her pilgrimage finally leading to Calvary.

Bishop Bello points out that we see in the Scriptures where Jesus and Mary went down to Capernaum, but generally speaking we see Mary both by herself and accompanying Jesus, on the move and going upwards: up to the hill country, up to Golgotha, and to the upper room to await the Holy Spirit. He writes: “…the Gospel’s emphasis on the verb “to go up” in connection with Jesus’ journeys to Jerusalem also suggests that Mary’s earthly pilgrimage is symbolic of all the toil of a demanding spiritual journey.”

Holy Mary, make our paths lead us to communion with others, and never let us insulate ourselves within our solitude. Free us from the hectic pace of modern living and give us God’s patience, which makes us slow down and wait for our traveling companions….

Take our hand and help us discern the sacramental presence of God within the thread of our days. Help us to recognize it in the happenings of time, in the passing of human seasons, in the sunsets of earthly power, in the morning glow of new peoples, in the hope of solidarity that hangs in the air.

Consecration Renewal – Day 14

Day 14 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 13: Courageous Woman

[Mary] also had to deal with fear: fear of not being understood, fear of human malice, fear for Joseph’s health, fear for Jesus’ lot, fear of remaining alone….How many fears! If we built a shrine to “Our Lady of Fear,” we could all take refuge in it….

We all face fears: fear of tomorrow, fear that a love cultivated over many years might end unexpectedly, fear for the son who drifts through life and is already over thirty, fear for the youngest girl in the house who stays out late drinking and who refuses to talk about how she feels. We face fears about our declining health, old age, the night, death….

Holy Mary, you gained the palm of martyrdom on Calvary even without dying, encourage us by your example to stand fast even in adversity. Help us to carry the burden of our daily trials not with despair, but with the serenity of those who know that God holds them in the palm of his hand. If we feel tempted to despair because we can no longer stand it, come to our side. Sit down next to us on our bleak sidewalk, speaking over and over your words of hope.