Thursday, 30 December 2010

You could not make it up!

The star,the cave,the angels,the shepherds, the magi. The sinless virgin and her great protector,the new born baby laid in the manger.The beginning of the greatest story ever told.
                           How wonderful that He was not born in a palace and with the promise of great wealth.How wonderful that He only had his mother to tend Him,and not a host of nursemaids.How wonderful the lowly woven cloth that covered Him,the humble donkey that carried  Him.
This is our King then ,who lays in the company of the beasts of the field,whose fodder is His pillow,whose pungent breath warms Him, whose presence comforts Him.Our King ,born out of the love of the Father,His beloved son ,born in poverty and in an occupied country.
                        Who can fathom the mind of God? Who can understand His ways?Who can deny His greatness when thinking of the birth of Christ! For only God Himself  could bring about our redemption in this way,only God Himself could love us enough to give us Christmas,only God Himself could give us the little Christ child to carry  in our hearts,only God Himself.
                         And you could not make the Holy story up.  

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven.

As a child, I never knew Our Lady.
                   I knew of her in the stable at Bethlehem with the little baby and Joseph,but that I think, was all.My only exposure to her was at evensong in the parish church(low Church of England)and the singing of the Magnificat.I did not know it was Our Lady's song,her great response to the Almighty,but I loved the words,especially if I remember correctly "For he that is mighty hath done great things unto me,and holy is his name".I wondered often about the one whose name was holy......
                  My childhood was christian orientated.The school I attended was an ordinary state school,but very christian in ethos and practices.Morning assembly with hymns and prayers,grace before lunch and friday afternoon bible stories.It was there at school, that I came to know the Parables and learned to love the historical Jesus.I learnt about the disciples ,I learnt about Zacheus who climbed the tree ,blind Bartimaeus ,and the poor lepers,but never a word about Our Lady.Understandable of course,the protestant view of her being only, that she was blessed among women as the mother of Christ,and that is all.
                  So then ,she never figured in my world. She meant as much to me as maybe,the shepherds
abiding in the fields,or the three wise men with their gifts.....................Our great Lady unknown to me and unapproached. Strange then, that when I saw the rosary in the shop window, the year that I was thirteen, I wanted it.I hardly knew what it was,only that it was somehow holy,mainly because of the crucifix on the end . I wore it around my neck sometimes,or I carried it in my pocket.It accompanied me to school,and later on to work.I never prayed it.I did not know how to.Years later someone told me that holding the rosary is like reaching out for Our Lady's hand.Reaching out and clasping it.I like to think that that is so.
                I suppose then, that that was the beginning of Our Lady's goodness to me.I know also,that the slightest glance towards her,be it a candle lit in her honour,or a hasty, whispered prayer, brings forth from her the sweetest of  blessings on me her undeserving child.
              The great Mother of God,Mary most Holy, stands at the stable door,beckoning us in.She invites us to look upon her little child ,the Saviour long promised,Emmanuel,lying in the straw wrapped in swaddling clothes.Our God,our King,born of her,her son.
               Beata Mater et intacta Virgo,gloriosa Regina mundi,
               intercede pro nobis ad Dominum.