Tomorrow starts the next phase of the study and prayer for the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary - The Knowledge of Self. We have just read and studied about the Spirit of the World vs. the Spirit of God. We now venture into ourselves which is a complex item. Again, we can not know ourselves without God. It is only by His grace that these things can be revealed to us. One of my favorite prayers to say during this time and all through our lives is: "Holy Mother Mary, please take from me all that is displeasing to God and replace it with that which is pleasing to Him." This is a very powerful prayer because Our Lady is then able to bring this about in many ways and it is not easy nor comfortable - but you know it is Our Lady and we must remain docile in Her hands in order for Her to bring us to Christ.
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
The next 7 days will be to examine the knowledge of self. The days break down as follows:
13th day - St. Luke – Need for Prayer
14th day - Imitation of Christ – Obedience of a humble heart
15th day - St. Luke – Need for Penance
True Devotion to Mary – Need of Mary in order to die to self
16th day - True Devotion to Mary – Prayer
17th day - Imitation of Christ – Judgment & Punishment of sinners
St. Luke – Account of Stewardship
18th day - St. Luke – Unprofitable Servants
Imitation of Christ – Suffering
19th day - St. Luke – Spirit of Children
KNOWLEDGE OF SELF
We live in very busy lives. Our minds are divided with so many thoughts that often times good things that we learn are forgotten or rarely considered once we have learned them. We are so wrapped up in the business of everyday life that we do not take the time to think of things that are important such as what we are, where we are, why we are, where we come from, where we are going, why we are going there, etc.
What are we? We are creatures of God. Where are we? We are living in God’s world of mercy. Why are we? We are because of the infinite goodness, mercy and love of God; we are created to love Him. Where do we come from? We come from nothing. Are we going to be saved or damned? Some will be saved because they will have done the Will of God on earth; some are going to be damned because they will refuse to do the Will of God and thus do their own will.
We are creatures of a good and loving Creator. We are made by this good God for Himself. We are placed in a world where God has an enemy; but in a world where Jesus dwells, though in a hidden manner. We are placed here with every means of defeating our enemy; but some people care not to use these means and are easily seduced by the devil; others fight for a while and then grow tired and give way; some fight one day and not the next, others basely desert God and go over to His enemy. Some however, fight bravely and perseveringly and defend not only themselves, but others from the snares of Satan.
We are in a world where we may be very happy, but where many of us, through our own fault, are not happy. We have grand heavenly riches at our disposal. We have means daily and hourly of increasing our happiness in heaven and earth. We have only to acknowledge that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from our Good Heavenly Father. There is literally no end to these graces, the precious gifts God bestows upon us are given to us so long as we give glory to Him. We must remember that when they are given to us, it is to better ourselves and others for His Kingdom. They are never given to us because of any good found already in us – we are merely empty vessels or should try to be empty for Him. There is absolutely nothing God will not give to us since He has already given Himself to us through His Only Begotten Son Jesus. Yet, how is it that we still find ourselves discontented and unhappy in this world?
It is because we have not yet given up ourselves. We have not made ourselves empty vessels. We have not cast away self-love. We are called to turn our whole selves to God but we are so engrossed with ourselves. We are so bent upon keeping our mind upon ourselves and those around us. We busy ourselves with matters that do not concern us, without the intention of doing good This makes us of the earth or earthly rather than heavenly beings.
Our lives might be beautiful under the most commonplace circumstances. When we think of religious cloisters, we think of dedicated souls to God. Many times we might have the temptation-“If only I could go live as a monk away from the world”. This is stated not to demean the religious life for it is a calling above the world but we have not been called to that life. God’s Will for us is to live in the world as His laity. We must find holiness in our daily lives but we sigh over our lives, and return to our accustomed work in the same earthly spirit as before, when we might return to it with a determination of making our lives heavenly, of living to give glory to God, of living upright in His presence, of walking before Him, striving for perfection, of imitating our holy God by being holy in thought and word.
Let us think of the angels and how they fell away during their trial and soon were in Hell. They had fallen from a holy place – Heaven. Our place of probation on this earth is not so very different from theirs. Now that Jesus has come into this world taking our human nature as well as His Divine Nature, we can no longer say that the angels in the heavens, during their time of probation, were nearer to God, more closely united to Him than we are. No, and let us carefully consider this truth. Jesus is found here in our tabernacles – the source of all grace. Also, Mary, the Dispenser of His Graces, is extremely eager to make all of us saints if we just seek her help. We just have to will to make our lives holy and they will be holy and pleasing to God. The life of a Religious is holy because their sanctity consists in fulfilling the Will of God. We too can attain that holiness in the state to which God has called us. We simply need to endeavor to be determined to make every effort to allow God to unite Himself with our soul by the means He has afforded us.
God has given us wonderful examples of many saints living in the world, having the most ordinary duties and yet were favored by Him with His love and were united to Him in a remarkable way. Of course, there is not a better example than Mary. She is such a means of grace for us in so many ways by not only being the Dispenser of those graces but also by being a model of God’s grace. She did not hurry and scramble through life and miss its dignity and beauty. She let God’s grace penetrate every aspect of her life and make it beautiful. Think of how the sun in the sky, when it shines upon even little places, how it makes everything beautiful. We are called to let the sun of God’s Presence be ever before us, and we will walk through life with His light surrounding us. We are not called to do extraordinary things but to lead simple, humble lives. Not that the extraordinary lives of some saints are not to be admired; they are to be admired; they give great glory to God. We are not all called to do extraordinary things yet we can find that same love and peace they found in accomplishing God’s Will and accepting what it is God is calling us to. Everything around us seems commonplace and ordinary but we are ourselves – extraordinary. We are called to be temples of the Living God. We tend to miss the extraordinary that is around us. God lives within us! Let us sit quietly in the Presence of God and with our good angel at our side, and with Mary Our Mother, and ask God to show us His Goodness.
Let us think over what we are and where we are and why we are living as far as God will reveal to us the reason of our creation. If we knew true happiness; if we understood the gifts of God; if we realized the goodness of God in creating us; in placing us in this world of mercy; in destining for us a glorious eternity with Him, in our happiness in being members of His Church, in living in the midst of priceless treasures of which the Church is the custodian and which she gives to her children through the hands of Mary – how different we would be! If we realized more especially the Real Presence of Jesus with us! Yes, He is ever with us, Our Lord and Master, God made Man. The Dear Lord who walked the streets of Jerusalem and whose tender Heart throbs with love – is with us still! His Heart beats with the same undying love for men, and sadly the fact is that so little love Him in return. We have all we can desire since all that is desirable may be obtained from God through prayer. He desires to show us mercy – He desires we should be saved and live with Him for all eternity. May we ask Our Holy Mother Mary to intercede for us in showing us who we are and where we are going. May she give us the graces to be faithful to Jesus for all eternity.
Below is a list of questions for our reflection during these 7 days of trying to acquire “Knowledge of Self”.
This is just a little help aid – taken from the book, “According to the Effects of Holy Communion and the Eight Beatitudes” by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD
Continue to read out of the Preparation Book and/or "True Devotion to Mary".
Also give Our Lady a rosary each day.
May we keep each other in prayer - God bless!!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 5 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!