The rosary is a beautiful, efficacious prayer. Praying the rosary brings about profound life changes, as Mary leads us closer and closer to the foot of the Cross, and into the depths of the Sacred Heart of her Son, Jesus.
Recently, as I pray and meditate upon the mysteries of the Gospel which are at the heart of the rosary, I find my meditation and thoughts being drawn to the day before. This has led me to consider every mystery of the rosary in this context, as well as some other accounts in the bible where people experienced great conversions or changes of heart. Have you ever considered what it was like, for instance,
The day before . . .
. . . the Angel Gabriel came to Mary . . . Joseph had a dream . . . Mary’s visit to Elizabeth . . . the shepherds heard the angel . . . the Magi saw the Star . . . Simeon met the Holy Family . . . Anna met the Holy Family . . . the men in the temple met the Child Jesus . . . the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist . . . the wedding at Cana . . . the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven . . . the healing of the blind man, leper, woman with hemorrhages, etc. . . . raising Lazarus from the dead . . . the transfiguration of Jesus . . . the institution of the Eucharist . . . the agony in the garden of Gethsemane . . . the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus . . . the resurrection of Jesus . . . the ascension of Jesus into heaven . . . the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
At first I thought the gift of this meditation was merely a help in my waiting to enter the Daughters of Mary….that my life could change any moment and I could be on my way to Connecticut…that I, myself, was living in the day before. But then I realized that the truth is that we are all living in the day before and that each of our lives can change in an instant. Quite frankly, our lives will probably change in an instant for any number of reasons over the course of our lives.
So what does it mean to be living in the day before? It means surrendering this day to God, knowing that He is in charge and that His plan is perfect…..Knowing that we can trust to our faithful Creator, our most vulnerable, frail, imperfect hearts, and He will always bring about the best for us, even when we can not see it for ourselves at a particular moment. All we need do is to cooperate with His grace and make an effort to actively surrender everything to Him, making FIAT! our battle cry. Be it done unto us according to Your Word, Lord.
What does it take to surrender? None of this comes naturally to me. Every fraction of an act of surrender and trust in God takes an act of the will. Every once in awhile, I get a tiny glimpse that perhaps it is becoming second nature for me, but always it is short-lived and I must surrender again and again and again.
My first response to any problem or question is almost always a well thought-out framework for how to solve it or fix it. I have always believed that there was nothing I could not do, given a timeline and a few resources. But this is not always the case when God is in charge. Sometimes He has other plans or does not wish to give me the resources I want to solve the problem.
So what then is surrender? Where do trust and surrender end and plain ol’ stupidity or laziness begin?
I often think of the story of the man who refused help when floods threatened to wash him and his home away. First came the man to the door telling him to evacuate and his response was, No thank you. The Lord will provide! And then, as the waters began to rise and he found himself standing in knee deep water, a row boat came by offering assistance to get him to dry ground, and again he said, Thank you, no. The Lord will provide! Then finally, up on his roof, as his house was about to wash away, a helicopter came to rescue him and again he refused help, saying The Lord will provide.
When he arrived at the pearly gates, after drowning in the flood, he asked St Peter why God let him die? And St Peter’s response was, Are you kidding me?? He sent you three men, a boat and a helicopter!
I think the moral of this story is that we must cooperate with Grace. It is so much easier when the need and response is instantaneous, but when it is drawn out over a period of time, I think it becomes harder to discern which is the life raft and which is my own agenda. Am I cooperating with the Holy Spirit or am I being lazy? Oh boy, can I relate to Martha. I want to be Mary, but I always end up more like Martha, making things happen and working until the work is done. Who knew that being Mary was so difficult?
God has given me so many gifts, one of the best gifts being my vocation to the religious life and my acceptance into the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Oh, I long to join them! I beg our Beloved Jesus to remove the obstacles to my entry every day. But the process has seemed sooooo slow.
Every day, I give Him my life, my work and my heart. I give Him my family and my friends and everything that us important to us. Every day I tell Him that I know His timing is perfect, and there must be some reason why I am still here, waiting in joyful hope. But some days, I wonder.
I wonder if God wants me to do more? I mean, is it enough that the word is out there that I need help, that eventually someone or some circumstance will arise to help me remove the obstacles to my entering religious life? Should I do something? Ooooo….right as I typed that last sentence, I heard in my heart, Mary’s words, Do whatever He tells you to do. Wow.
That Mother of ours is always listening….always helping…always on my side, helping me to find my way ever closer to the foot of the Cross. I’m going to have to stop this typing for a little while. Time to listen . . .