My priest gives such great homilies. I always feel so moved and inspired after hearing him speak. Yet the week is so hectic, I often forget the main points of his homily by the time the following Sunday rolls around. I'm going to try to make a point of sitting down each Sunday and recording what I feel was most memorable about Father's homily so that it can stay with me all week long.
Before touching on the gospel today, Father discussed Mary's role in the Church. She is our Savior's mother, was present at his birth, death, and resurrection, and other than God the Father, was closest to Him. Mary remains close to Jesus and can help bring our needs to Him. We can look to her to remember the important events of His life and the miracle of his birth. We all want to be close to Jesus and to know him intimately; what better way than to make Mary, the human being who was closest to Him, our dear confidante?
Father particularly encouraged us to grow closer to Mary and Jesus by praying the rosary. I admit that I neglect this important part of my unique Catholic faith. Recently I purchased a new rosary (the one I had was given to me as a child during CCD, or catechism), and searched online for sites that say the rosary for you. You just say it along with them. Perhaps this sounds lazy, but if it helps me to broaden my faith and actually grow accustomed to the process of saying the rosary, I'm all for it! I am positive I know all the joyful mysteries; things start to go off course with the others, particularly the Luminous mysteries, which are newer. By using the websites, I can focus on my prayer while listening to the mysteries said aloud and hopefully fully learn them and open my heart to their richness.
Father said something concerning the rosary that really hit home with me. He said a quote that held deep meaning (possibly said by Kirkegaard, though there seem to be variations in his words):
Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a mystery to be lived.
Saying the rosary helps us through the mysteries of life. The rosary and its mysteries are akin to the nature of life itself. When we say the Joyful Mysteries, we experience the joy of Jesus's birth, the Visitation, Mary's Annunciation, etc., and can also think of times in our own lives in which we have experienced joy. We can share this joy with Jesus and grow in our understanding of the joy He experienced in His own life and the joy we receive from Him. When we are on top of the world and experiencing amazing and profound glory, we can say the Glorious Mysteries, and share in Jesus's life and works yet again. When we are despairing, hopeless, and feeling tremendous sadness, we can say the Sorrowful Mysteries, taking comfort in the fact that our Savior also suffered and that He is aware of how we feel and wants to bring us solace. When we are at our most enlightened and feel that ideas and concepts are truly becoming clear to us, we can say the Luminous Mysteries, and share yet in again in Jesus's experience, growing in understanding of our own life through His.
The homily itself was about Jesus's use of the phrase "I am." Today He said He was the gate and the shepherd. I love the idea of Jesus as a shepherd, caring for us, bringing us all together, feeding us, nurturing us. Father went on about this as well, but his words concerning the Mysteries of the rosary were what really struck me today.
Here is my new rosary. It is made of turquoise and Desert Sun beads. Desert Sun glass beads are wrapped in precious metal foil (gold on mine) and then painted with a special paint that shrinks when the beads are fired. I purchased it from The Littlest Rosary Shop. It was handcrafted by a Catholic family, which means a lot more to me than if it just came off an assembly line in a factory.