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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lenten Sorrowful Mysteries Thoughs

The first mystery, the agony in the garden.  

Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”  -Matthew 26:38-39
 He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. -Luke 22:44
Our Lord Jesus asks his Father that the cup might pass from himself, yet it does not, because of me. Because of my sin, Jesus is in this agony. He did it for me. I can't look around at the sorrows of the world and declare it to be because of those sins, those people. Jesus asked that the cup might pass, but because of the things I have done it could not. It is possible that every other person had denied the tempter, lived in a state of perfect grace and never sinned. But still, because of me, the Father did not spare His son from such a death for me. Such things Jesus knew would happen to him, but he was in such agony not at the thought of his suffering but at the knowledge of all the poor souls who would see his sacrifice and turn away, say no. All the sins that I have done and will do, Jesus suffers for me.

The second mystery, the scourging at the pillar.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. -John 19:1
One sentence, so much pain. This is what I do to Jesus with my sin. I don't just hurt his feelings, I don't just turn away from him. I scourge him. I take my whip of sin and strike Jesus with it. It tears open his flesh and yet he takes it, Jesus takes this terrible attack that I make against him. Then he forgives me. Every time, especially when I lash out in anger at those I love, I'm lashing Jesus with my anger. Each time I do so much hurt to Jesus, he forgives me again. I cry, I promise to never do such a terrible thing to Jesus again, never again hurt 'the least of these brothers and sisters' who hold the image of Jesus. But again and again I lash with my anger. And so Jesus is scourged by me.

The third mystery, the crowning with thorns.

 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. -John 19:2-3
 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. -Matthew 27:30
They took his purpose and message, and wielded it as a weapon. Jesus is the king of heaven and Earth, when he comes in glory every knee will bow to him. But he was crowned with thorns that dug into his flesh, and slapped and mocked about his kingship. Jesus was beaten physically and his dignity was beaten. How often to I make light of the truth of Jesus and what he has done for me? How often do I fail to tell others about my king? I beat Jesus on the head with the reed of my sin, driving the thorns deeper. Blinded by his own blood burning his eyes, Jesus forgives me for doing that to him.

The fourth mystery, the carrying of the cross.

When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'fall on us,' and to the hills, 'cover us.' For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" -Luke 23:26-31
Oh how I want to weep for Jesus, for what I've done to him with my sin. The hurt and suffering he endured, what I did to my God. But Jesus says not to weep for himself, but instead for myself, and my children. The days to come strike a fearsome image and as a mother, Jesus's words leave me trembling with terror. He tells the women to weep for themselves and their children as he carries his own cross to be crucified, carrying it on torn shoulders from the scourging, with the blood still in his eyes and the thorns still in his head. The agony was surely still in his heart, and yet he says not to weep for him but for ourselves, and our children. Myself, my children, is who I should weep for, rather than this beautiful suffering man and God. Such sorrow I have for my sins which have placed this cross on Jesus and done so much more that I can't even comprehend, that I should say to the mountains, 'fall on me,' and to the hills, 'cover me.'

The fifth mystery, the crucifixion.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. -John 19:25-30
I have gone so far in my sin as to crucify my God and Savior. After so much suffering, Jesus has nails driven through his body, pinning him to the cross where he will remain for the rest of his life. I put him there with my sin. With my selfishness, anger, sloth, and every other time I turned from Jesus. He loves me so much that he handed over his spirit to this death, to save me. Who am I that God, the creator of all that is, would become human to die like this, to save me? He could have stopped there, he died for me, he saved me. But just before dying, Jesus gives his mother to be mother of his church, mother of the people of Earth, my mother. Jesus's perfect, sinless mother who he created free from original sin, who with her yes accepted and brought him into his human life, is now to be my mother? Who better to help me come closer to my savior, to love me as she loves all her children, and to present what small offerings I might have to her dearly loved son?

Such love I feel from these sorrowful mysteries. Such unbearable love that God has for me to save me from my sin in this way. Such sorrow I feel for my sin which caused such suffering. I pray that I might sin no more, and forever avoid the near occasion of sin. I pray that I might never more turn my back on my beloved God and hurt him so much with my sin.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

I Received a Keychain

I received a keychain from my mother-in-law recently. She had just returned from the March for Life in D.C. and I saw it sitting on the counter. I didn't say anything to her, just looked at it. It was a little rubber keychain shaped like a 10 week old unborn baby. I didn't say anything, but my heart began to pound. Ten weeks is how far along the doctors wanted me to be before my first checkup the first time I was ever pregnant. Ten weeks is the first time I ever heard my baby's heartbeat. Ten weeks is the last time I know that Elisha Marmion was alive. Shortly after the ten week checkup is when the doctors say that our Elisha passed away and left us without our baby. The keychain was meant to educate, to show people what our smallest members of society look like so soon after their creation. To me the keychain is attached to strong memories of the baby I still long to hold. I silently set the keychain down and wandered away, lost in my thoughts. Such a small piece of rubber and metal can represent so many things to so many people.

Later, maybe only and hour or so, as my mother-in-law was going through her things she saw the keychain where she had left it. She picked it up, walked over to me, and asked if I wanted it. I took it from her calmly, my heart pounding again. I really did want it, though I'm not sure why. I try not to be attached to things of this world, and yet I'm so grateful that it was offered to me. Here, now I have this little man made token of so many powerful thoughts.

My sister-in-law in another room mentioned that many of the kids on the trip had thought them weird or creepy. The people who made them meant them to be educational and eye opening. Do they know how many people will see their one small symbol in rubber, who it will affect?  To me it brings back powerful memories of a loved one gone away. I imagine some people might see it as an argument, a sign of all that they are angry about with the pro-life movement. I wonder how mothers who have had abortions would feel about the keychain? Those mothers who don't fully realize what they have done, and those who do? One small object can have so much power in so many ways.

God have mercy on us all. In every action and every word guide us. We are too small to see the depths that our actions will travel to, Lord help us to do your will, to be the instrument of your peace and the ones who can share your love with this hurting world.

Since first writing this post, the keychain mysteriously detached from my wallet zipper and is gone from me. This is just another symbolic reminder of the brief time that we may have with each gift in our life. A gift should never be taken for granted, and I cherish each moment that I have to spend with the gift of my children while I have them.