Consecration Renewal – Day 4

Day 4 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 3: Woman in Waiting

This chapter, though very short as are all the others, is jam-packed with food for thought – with beautiful reflections to ponder. Antonio Bello begins with a heart-wrenching description of what he calls true sadness, which many of us could relate to as something far more than a case of the blues – melancholy, depression, the living of life in a state of weary nothingness and “no-feelingness”. He speaks of the sadness and loneliness of no longer even wanting to rekindle a fire that has gone out; of feeling the “music will never play for us” again; of never feeling that little jump for joy again at hearing good news; of feeling dead inside when we hear of human tragedy; of a life that continues day after day like a cassette tape that has reached the end of the sound but keeps going soundlessly until the end of the reel has been finished.

Beyond the personal, it is a state that can be applied to our global environment. Antonio Bello describes this joyless state as a “profound crisis of desire”, that personally and globally we are “waiting” in the sense of putting in time, without joy, because our “sources have dried up”.

This is not the kind of “waiting” that we are called to; not the kind of “waiting” that the Blessed Virgin experienced. When I first set up my other blog, Contemplative Haven, back in 2006 at the original site on blogger,as my little personal description I said, “waiting; wondering”. By this ‘waiting’ I meant the kind of waiting as in “waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour”; I meant an active waiting, a listening waiting, an anticipatory waiting; the kind of active, receptive waiting we have in contemplative prayer; a waiting that involves a quiet excitement and hope.

This is the kind of waiting that Antonio Bello ascribes to the Blessed Virgin – a waiting that means “experiencing a taste for living”. He goes into detail describing Mary’s waiting for events to happen, from prior to her engagement to Joseph all the way through to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But she was not waiting for all these things to happen because she was not satisfied or joyous about the present; she entered into each present moment yet waited with hope and desire for the unfolding of God’s plan. Antonio Bello writes that, ” ‘to wait’ is the flip side of the verb ‘to love’.”

Holy Mary, virgin in waiting, give us some of your oil, because our lamps are flickering out and we have nothing in reserve. Do not send us to other sellers. Rekindle within our hearts the old fervor that burned within when a small thing could make us leap with joy…

…comfort those mothers who grieve for their children
…give us a watchful heart
…help us to be prophets of the future
…arouse in our hearts the passion of youth
…let us feel the thrill of new beginnings
…make us ministers in waiting

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7 Responses

  1. As a little add-on to today’s post, I just noticed during my own prayer-time how nicely Antonio Bello’s chapter of today ties in with the Immaculate Heart of Mary meditation for today. Bello writes, “It has been said that the depth of one’s desires is the measure of holiness”. When he speaks of the “profound crisis of desire”, he says that instead of holy desires we are trying to be “sated by the thousand substitutes surrounding us…”

    In the Day 4 meditation for the Immaculate Heart of Mary consecration, we find: “How do fervent desires make the soul fly to God? Good desires give strength and courage, they diminish the labor and fatigue of ascending the mountain of God.” It describes how we must put energy into recharging our holy desires and that is our part that we can do humanly, and then God will take over – but we have to nurture the desire first, for example, the desire of love for Our Lady. The meditation ends with the following passage from Psalm 24:3-4 “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean. Who desires not what is vain.

  2. Wow! This whole post makes my head spin. I feel like Bishop Bello is speaking to me or about me. (please forgive my epic self absorption). These are exactly the feelings I have been having and what I was very specifically reflecting on and talking with my wife about yesterday. “… the music will never play for us” is a dead on paraphrase of what we discussed.

    I hope and pray for the grace to return to a state of joyful anticipation. I was actually there once and truly don’t know how I moved so far away.

    You are correct Gabrielle. Much food for thought indeed.

  3. I don’t even like to think about how many people today are wandering around feeling dead inside. It’s easy enough to understand why it happens to people who have put their energy into the things of the world – power, money, acquiring material goods to the extreme, and then realize that these don’t satisfy their deepest hungers – but we also have to admit it is something that happens to those who are on the spiritual path as well.

    There are so many people I know who empty themselves out for others year after year, decade after decade, until they are burned out and dead inside, because they never stop to replenish themselves, never take the time to do things that bring them joy because they think it is selfish. I’ve heard many homilies over the years wherein we were told not to pay attention to our feelings, that things (like love) are a matter of the will – which I understand and agree with to a certain point, but I really believe that our feelings, our emotions, were given to us by God as a very good indicator of when things are amiss, for example. If we are vigilant in noticing our feelings, we can quickly see when have fallen off track, when we are becoming distanced from the Divine, and then we can activate the will, to get back to our joyful sources and our Source of Joy as quickly as possible.

  4. If I were a bit holier, I could explain it as, “I have set my face like flint toward Jerusalem,” but my dismal fiat is much closer to Thomas Didymus’ resignation, “Let us go with Him to die.” I have no ardent desires once I leave Mass, except the kind that I know won’t lead to transforming nor even sacramental love– and even that little Mass-ardor is missing lately.

    Day in and day out, I simply have faith, come whatever fresh hell. I am indeed burnt out –I won’t deny that whatsoever. I don’t have a Source of joy. I just have a Source, and howsoever I can rope myself into That, I do, because that’s the only Light that’s going to come from my life for my others and for His others. I trust in the Consecration to do something (more than be my God-police), but for me it is basically an acting on hope that it pleases the Trinity and honours and assists Mary.

  5. C, I know you’re burnt out, and I know the hardships that you and Terry and so many others have lived with and continue to live with. But if you have a Source, which you do, then you have a Source of joy – it cannot be any other way. And the second fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy. Mary will intercede for us with the Holy Spirit if we ask her, so let’s pray together for her intercession throughout this renewal for joy to return to our lives and never depart. You know well this first paragraph from the Introduction to Abbot Joseph’s book:

    ‘At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn’ (Psalm 30:6). In a sense, this psalm verse captures the essence of our earthly pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Heaven. We experience darkness and light, sorrow and joy, but we are convinced by the promises of God that joy and light will have the last word. It is encouraging to know, if we find ourselves still in the long and tearful night, not only that it won’t last forever, but that even while walking in the valley of the shadow of death, we need have no fear, for the Lord is at our side (see Psalm 23). We can expect the eventual coming of joy as surely as we expect each new morning.

  6. Here’s how it goes (always). New-fridge guys said they’d be here today between 2:30 & 4:30. Well, that would give me time to round up others’ coolers to use and also to haul the fridge out a bit to clean at a time when a very distressed infant and his bored 6 yr old bro wouldn’t be here.

    I awoke to a phone call this hot day saying they’d be here between 11 & 1. Kids and kids were underfoot, no coolers, no paper towels, no ice and to make it interesting, no cat food –I babysat all day and couldn’t get out to the store last night because it was K’s birthday –another event so screwed up, it was unreal. She needed a crying shoulder; I looked at daughter’s car after all that to run to the store, but the right door’s window wouldn’t roll up so she had carefully covered/sealed it in plastic. I’d have to undo all that, then re-do. Since 9 am, I’ve made do with whatever I have and sacrificed a can of people tuna to the cats.

    We were trying to open up a second way to bring in new fridge around back, but the big yellow mud truck pulled up to the garage door won’t start –not even after the keys were finally found. They never park it there, and it always starts, eh? Other daughter is in the midst of a breakup with someone who has no one, and I just got a text from other daughter saying her ex is counter-bringing her back to court regarding support/custody. Lately especially, joy looks just like a nap with a fan in front of me, here in the middle of the living room…They tell me I’d enjoy a full-time job along with it, doing what I’d like. Well, were the job in Ireland, they’d be right!

    Whatever I have, I have to give to the kids. As someone else put it, “like something emptying out but not filling up again.” I believe in a joy to come, but until then, I can hardly imagine it anymore. That shouldn’t stop me from asking for it. And it doesn’t. It’s just that I can’t find it on my own. Hence, the Lord sent my angel-son over here with an iced D & D coffee, and he muscled out the old fridge so I could clean behind it (and he also climbed into the garage loft and hauled down our old pool cover and removed mice from it and cleaned it and put it on grandson’s large rubber pool so I don’t have to try to net it all out, God bless him). We were ready for new fridge by 11.

    Thanks for reminding me that we do have to ask for it. Surely the Lord and His mother quite understand the wearings down of human life and how quickly they sap a firm desire to be holy(ier). I feel like I haven’t had or sustained a decent desire for years.

  7. Well, let’s praise the Lord on behalf of the cat, who got people-tuna; let’s give thanks for the strong angel-son who can move fridges and comes bearing iced-coffee; let’s express our gratitude for pool-covers and rubber pools during heatwaves. And if you don’t have the energy, we’ll do it for you until the heat breaks. And fans that actually work! Praise God!!! okay, I’ll back off now. 🙂

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