She burns the light of hope

{This is a repost . . .]

mary-pierced-heartHave you ever wondered why Saturday is traditionally observed as the day of Our Lady? A few years ago I was reading a book by John Saward (The Beauty of Holiness, the Holiness of Beauty), and, in a section about our Lady, he described Mary’s unfailing faith through the long, terrible day after Christ’s death when she alone kept faith in her Son.   I had never before heard of this mariological foundation for Saturday being traditionally her day:

The yes [her continued yes to the Lord that began with her Annunciation yes] of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday and [Christ’s] yielding of the spirit . . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday.  The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers.  Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just.  The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this.  “As yet,” St. John tells us, “they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead” (Jn 20.9).  In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus?   On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope?  Is there no loyal remnant?  There is, and its name is Mary.  In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son.  That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival.  On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of  Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and, through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.

I take great comfort in knowing that Mary always burns the light of hope for me (and you!) as well.

The one who still burns the light of hope

{This is a repost . . .]

mary-pierced-heartHave you ever wondered why Saturday is traditionally observed as the day of Our Lady? A few years ago I was reading a book by John Saward (The Beauty of Holiness, the Holiness of Beauty), and, in a section about our Lady, he described Mary’s unfailing faith through the long, terrible day after Christ’s death when she alone kept faith in her Son.   I had never before heard of this mariological foundation for Saturday being traditionally her day:

The yes [her continued yes to the Lord that began with her Annunciation yes] of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday and [Christ’s] yielding of the spirit . . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday.  The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers.  Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just.  The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this.  “As yet,” St. John tells us, “they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead” (Jn 20.9).  In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus?  On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope?  Is there no loyal remnant?  There is, and its name is Mary.  In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son.  That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival.  On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of  Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and, through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.

I take great comfort in knowing that Mary always burns the light of hope for me (and you!) as well.

Quotes from Witnesses to Hope inaugural talk

It was wonderful to see so many of you last night at the first meeting of Witnesses to Hope.  As promised, you can find the recording of the talk under the tab above: “Talks/Witnesses to Hope”.  And here are some of the quotes from the talks.  Please, if any of you didn’t get to comment last night, feel free to leave one here.  We’d all love to hear from you! (Don’t worry if it doesn’t show up immediately–I have to approve any new contributors.) 

 The yes of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday with the Great Cry and the yielding of the spirit. . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday.  The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers.  Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just. The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this ‘as yet.’  St. John tells us, ‘they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead’ (Jn 20:9).  In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus?  On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope?  Is there no loyal remnant?  There is, and its name is Mary.  In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son.  That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival.  On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.  (Fr. John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, p. 142)

Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things, on the condition that you believer much more in his love for you than in your own weakness.  (Fr. Joseph Langford, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, p. 145)

How important can one small, unspectacular life be? Consider this: the good that each of us can accomplish even with limited resources and restricted reach, not even a Mother Teresa could achieve.  No one else on the planet, and no one else in history, possesses the same network of acquaintances and the same combination of talents and gifts as each one of us does—as you do. (ibid., p. 72)

Hope does not come from what I do, but from the awareness that there is Someone who loves me with this everlasting love, who calls me into being every instant, having pity on my nothingness. (Fr. Julian Carrón, quoted in Magnificat)

“A clean and shining beauty of soul”

Mary has “a clean and shining beauty of soul.”

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I can’t write about beauty without, of course, saying something about Mary, the Mother of God, who as John Saward says: “In face and grace, Mary is like Jesus.”

umilen3St. Cyril of Alexandria calls our Lady kallitokos as well as theotokos, “bearer of Him who is true beauty” as well as “bearer of Him who is true God.”

Grace, as the poet [Hopkins] says, is “God’s better beauty,” the splendor of the soul . . . “O pure Theotokos”, sings the Byzantine Church on the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, “thou hast a clean and shining beauty of soul, and art filled from Heaven with the grace of God” (the Festal Menaion).  Grace conforms the soul into the likeness of Christ.  So it is with Mary.

       (John Saward, The Holiness of Beauty and the Beauty of Holiness, p. 122)

“. . . where all the beauty came from”

Last night as I walked out of the chapel at the end of our time of adoration, this phrase from C.S. Lewis was running through my head: “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing . . . to find the place where all the beauty came from.”  Those of us who know Him know that place–the where that is a Who.

There is not and cannot be anything more beautiful and more perfect than Christ.  (Dostoevsky)

He alone is ravishing in the full strength of the term . . . beauty itself.  (St. Therese, Letter 76)

Yes, the Face of Jesus is luminous, but if in the midst of wounds and tears it is already so beautiful, what will it be, then, when we shall see it in heaven?  Oh heaven . . . heaven.  Yes, to contemplate the marvelous beauty of Jesus [. . . ] (St. Therese, Letter 195)

The face of Christ is the human face of God.  The Holy Spirit rests upon him and reveals to us absolute Beauty, a divine-human Beauty that no art can ever properly and fully make visible.  Only the icon can suggest such Beauty by means fo the Taboric light.  (Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon, p. 13.)

Christ is beautiful, and He comes to restore us to beauty.  (John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, p. 56)

Make time today to turn your face towards this place–Him from Whom all the beauty comes from.

The lady of fair weeping

Mary is beautiful, even in her sorrow.

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Today is the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother.  Recalling Cardinal Ratzinger’s words from yesterday’s post, we can see that Mary is beautiful even in her sorrow:

The Blessed Virgin is the lady of fair weeping.  Her tears were beautiful.  These are the sorrows of one who is all beautiful, full free from the deformity of sin. . . No lamentation has been lovelier, no compassion purer . . . .  The sinless Spirit-filled heart of Mary is beautifully centred on the will of the Father and on His and her Son and those for whom He suffers.  (John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty)

Our Lady of Sorrows

And a little consoling excerpt from Magnificat today: “As the Savior’s dying gift to us, Jesus leads us back to Mary.  For we need the maternal closeness of the Sorrowful Mother to sustain us when overcome by the terrifying trials of life.”