Happy Feast of the Assumption!

Excuse the tardiness! Come September, the Newman Society will be back in action. In the meantime, I leave you with one of Newman’s meditations on the Assumption of Our Lady.

Mary is the “Stella Matutina,” the Morning Star—after the Dark Night, but always Heralding the Sun

WHAT is the nearest approach in the way of symbols, in this world of sight and sense, to represent to us the glories of that higher world which is beyond our bodily perceptions? What are the truest tokens and promises here, poor though they may be, of what one day we hope to see hereafter, as being beautiful and rare? Whatever they may be, surely the Blessed Mother of God may claim them as her own. And so it is; two of them are ascribed to her as her titles, in her Litany—the stars above, and flowers below. She is at once the Rosa Mystica and the Stella Matutina.

And of these two, both of them well suited to her, the Morning Star becomes her best, and that for three reasons.

First, the rose belongs to this earth, but the star is placed in high heaven. Mary now has no part in this nether world. No change, no violence from fire, water, earth, or air, affects the stars above; and they show themselves, ever bright and marvellous, in all regions of this globe, and to all the tribes of men.

And next, the rose has but a short life; its decay is as sure as it was graceful and fragrant in its noon. But Mary, like the stars, abides for ever, as lustrous now as she was on the day of her Assumption; as pure and perfect, when her Son comes to judgment, as she is now.

Lastly, it is Mary’s prerogative to be the Morning Star, which heralds in the sun. She does not shine for herself, or from herself, but she is the reflection of her and our Redeemer, and she glorifies Him. When she appears in the darkness, we know that He is close at hand. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Behold He comes quickly, and His reward is with Him, to render to everyone according to his works. “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

-Bl. John Henry Newman

Lectio for Lent

Last Saturday, Fr. Cyril Crawford O.S.B. led the LNS’s March “Newman Night” with his talk “Your Servant is Listening: Praying with Lectio Divina.” Lectio, having been practiced for over 1500 years, has left its mark on the Christian contemplative tradition and, more specifically, on the monastic life. Part of the Benedictine vow, in addition to stability and obedience, is “conversatio morum,” being interpreted generally as a daily conversion or constant adaption of one’s life. Lectio, which fosters this conversion, is a most helpful tool for all of us during this Lenten season.  Having given some very helpful and practical advice on how to actually do it, here are some take-aways from Fr. Cyril’s talk.

 

Fr. Cyril O.S.B.

Practicals

  • Lectio is not so much reading accompanied by prayer, but prayer accompanied by reading.
  • Pray as you can, and not as you can’t.
  • Don’t self evaluate (e.g. “Am I contemplating now?)

 

Q&A after Fr. Cyril's presentation

Theologicals

  • If we take seriously the inspiration of Scripture, then we must take seriously its capacity to speak to us now. As the Holy Spirit breathes into the Scriptures, so too does it breath out through them, and speaks to us through God’s Word.
  • God does not work on our time-table. What may seem to us to be an arid 15 minutes of Lectio can be exactly what God wants for us.
  • The focus of prayer is Whom you are praying to, not the method. Concentrate on the former.

 

The talk was preceded by Mass

 

 

Fr. Stanilaus' Curry afterwards

Fr. Stanislaus' curry afterwards

Thanks to all who participated, and a special thanks to Fr. Cyril. A blessed Lent to All!

For more material on Lectio Divina, click HERE.