Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Church Year, the Rosary, Our Life and Mission

The church year (Sundays, weekdays, saintsdays) tones and colors our life and mission. It is centered on Jesus, Child of Mary and Joseph, the Child of our Merciful Father and His Holy Breath. It is centered on Jesus of the gospels in His incarnation for us (advent, christmas, epiphany) and in His redemption of us (lent, easter, pentecost), in His words and deeds after His baptism and temptation to before His last supper and agony (ordinary time). This we pray in the rosary with the joyful, the luminous, the sorrowful and the glorious mysteries of Jesus and of us His followers.

We can pray the life and mission of a brother, of a sister, of a friend, dead or still alive on earth, in the light and fire of the mysteries of Jesus in the church year and in the rosary. We can pray the history of the church and our world the same way.

We pray the conception, the gestation, the birth of Jesus of Mary wife of Joseph, we pray His traditioning as child in the presentation and his creativity as youth in the finding (the joyful mysteries). We pray His call in the river and the desert; His words, especially in His talks such as the sermon on the mount; His deeds, especially in His meals such as the wedding at Cana; His opposition in Galilee with the transfiguration; His rejection in Jerusalem with the triumphal entry (the luminous mysteries). We pray His last supper with the washing of feet and the offering of Self in transformed bread and wine; His passion from the agony in the garden to His last breath on the cross; His raising and breathing His breath from His Father in his friends; His ascension and blowing and kindling His Wind His Fire in His friends past present future; His family of friends forever, personified by the wife of Joseph, His mother Mary, taken by Him bodily to heaven (the sorrowful and the glorious mysteries). This is my personal way of praying the rosary each day with fifteen mysteries.

Jesus, present in His church for His world, is celebrated during the church year and weekdays and saintsdays mainly in the memorial word and bread and wine meal of Him truly present offering His body and blood among and for and with us to be heard and offered and eaten/drunk and approached by us. Likewise, He is celebrated in the prayer of hours, psalms in His light and fire for us in our everyday need of heart and conscience and struggle at anticipated midnight readings, morning, midday, noon, midafternoon, evening, night.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran (originally Saint Saviour) in Rome.
Photo by Jastrow via Wikimedia Commons.

Jesus, present in His church for His world, is celebrated in our life and history with sacraments and sacramentals. There is our birthing at baptism; our firming at confirmation, our nourishing and converting and illumining and kindling and impelling at the eucharist; our being forgiven of our sins with reconciliation; our being strengthened in our serious bodily illness with the anointing of the sick; the ordaining of a man to be a priestly servant for the priestly people as bishop or presbyter (both as priests) or deacon (as servant); the marrying of a man and a woman as coupled friends open to giving life to their child. Besides the sacraments, there are sacramentals. Sacraments are actions of Jesus through His church; sacramentals are actions of the church as her prayer to Jesus.

The great sacramentals are the consecrating of a man/woman as a virgin or the committing of a man/woman as an apostle; the burial of the bodily remains of a human person after death for final resurrection; the dedication of a house to be a home for the gathered and sent followers of Jesus. Other than these great sacramentals, there are those for our yearly passover conversion: ashes, branches, oils (of sick, of catechumens, chrism)—cross, candle/candles, water. There are many other sacramentals, blessings of people and things for different and myriad occasions and concerns.

No wonder we treat the church of Jesus as our mother and teacher of us His followers together and singly in our life and mission as his followers together and singly.

Father Don

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