A few words from Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DIRECTOR
In the last issue of Light and Life, as I brought our reflections on the Ten Commandments to a close, I thought of the various ways our fallen nature has devised to break God's law. The thought occurred to me that a series on the Capital Sins might be worth pursuing, and I was about to begin, when I realized that our Holy Father had announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy, to commence this year, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
I needed little persuading to postpone the work on our capacity to sin, and instead determined to devote this - and the next - issue of our newsletter to considering Pope Francis' invitation to rejoice in the immense gift we have received through Christ's taking on our flesh - and the corresponding challenge the Incarnation extends for us to show others the mercy God has shown us.
This all begins, of course, with Mary, the Mother of Mercy, whose Immaculate Conception equipped her to surrender to God's will, and show us what our human nature is capable of when we are willing to say "yes."
We think of October and May as "Mary's months," and appropriately so, because they invite us to celebrate some very important feast days dedicated to Mary. But the liturgical season of Advent, which we will enter as you receive this copy of Light and Life, is a far more precious and extended period given to Mary. These days are a time to reflect on her "yes," and to consider how - like her - we may take God's word into our hearts and there allow it to take flesh and blood, so that - again, like her - we may present the human face, the human hands, and the human voice of God to the world.
And the Rosary, which calls us to identify ourselves with Mary, reminds us more clearly than any prayer other than the Eucharist that the God in whom we trust has loved us enough to take on our flesh, to be a sign of His everlasting and merciful presence in our midst.
The Incarnation is a call to humility, but humility properly understood - the virtue by which we acknowledge God as the source of everything we have and everything we are. Mary, who is our model in all things, is our exemplar in humility. Mary - like us - can be happy, ecstatic, when she speaks of her lowliness as God's servant, because to acknowledge God as the source of our talents and strength means having the right to share in God's triumphs and glory.
The Second Vatican Council calls the sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ's "saving action par excellence." And if we seek a tool that will extend the effects of the Eucharist and form our humanity according to the example of Christ's, we need look no further than the Rosary. Pope St. John Paul II said, "by immersing us in the mysteries of the Redeemer's life, [the Rosary] ensures that what he has done and what the liturgy makes present is profoundly assimilated and shapes our existence."
A REMINDER AND AN OPPORTUNITY
We remind our friends that each day during November we offer Mass for the blessed repose of the souls of your deceased loved ones. Needless to say, we continue to remember you and your intentions, as well. And if you are interested in a worthy companion during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let me recommend a book we have just discovered, A Faith-Sharing Guide to the Holy Year of Mercy. The small volume is designed for personal devotion or use among friends. It is divided into eight sections, each devoted to a particular aspect of God's mercy, revealed in the gospel. Excerpts from Pope Francis' homilies guide the reader's meditation, and a series of questions ask the reader to consider the practical applications of God's mercy. If you are interested in this worthwhile volume, please see our on-line order form.
LOOKING FOR CHRISTMAS IDEAS?
If you happen to be seeking some serious stocking-stuffers, let me suggest one or more of the following. A perennial favorite among the Rosary Center's friends is the children's book, CHRISTMAS MOUSE. The story relates the adventures of a little mouse who is being chased by a cat. He finds himself inside a home, gazing at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. He then comes upon a book and falls into it. To his surprise, he is in a stable, and Jesus has just been born.
LITTLE STAR, by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliot, is certain to become a Christmas classic. This delightful tale connects the star atop the Christmas tree to the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus.
DAY BY DAY WITH POPE FRANCIS This is a stand-up desk calendar for 2016. Let Pope Francis touch your heart each day with an inspiring word. These daily selections from the Holy Father's writings will both challenge and comfort you, giving you hope, courage, and the assurance of God's mercy and love. Again, all these may be found on our on-line order form.
Dominican historian, Fr. Augustine Thompson, published a well-received biography of St. Francis, which has recently appeared in a paperback edition. This biography has been embraced by religious and secular experts alike, and many Franciscan superiors have said they will not be without it. The book portrays an engaging and sympathetic individual, but does not sentimentalize Francis, or attempt to gloss over his many challenges.
Popular theologian Mark Shea (whom Fr. Reginald knew when he served as pastor of the Dominican parish in Seattle, Washington), offers a new edition of a remarkable work, Mary, Mother of the Son. Originally published in three volumes, the work is now available in a single volume, and Fr. Reginald says it is hard to put down.
Volume one considers popular misunderstandings about Mary, the second treats Mary's virginity, Immaculate Conception and Assumption, and the third, which Rosary devotees may find most engaging, studies Marian devotions, including the Rosary. The volumes formed a part of Fr. Reginald's spiritual reading for many early mornings before the Blessed Sacrament; he urges the friends of the Rosary Center to share his enriching experience.
A NOTE TO OUR CANADIAN FRIENDS
If you send your gift to the Rosary Center in Canadian funds, your generosity is considerably reduced by the time the bank makes adjustments for differences in exchange rates and - especially - levies a transaction fee to convert your gift into American funds. To protect the value of your gift, please use a credit card or International Money Order.
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