Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jesus' Greatest Gift

As Catholics we often hear about the Eucharist, Jesus’ very body and blood, which He gave to His disciples, and with Do this in remembrance of Me, also gave to us.  This Eucharist is His I will be with you always gift.  In so many ways, this is Jesus’, this is God’s, greatest gift to mankind: We may once have turned away from God in the Garden of Eden, but this Eucharist is His I will never turn away from you response.
Of late, I’ve been thinking lots about this remarkable gift of God, and of His example of “unconditional love.” He gave His life for us; He GIVES His life TO us.  I don’t imagine anyone could even count the number of saints, philosophers, or people on their knees – as I am in the chapel each night – who thank God for His Presence in the Eucharist.  Every time I receive Him at mass, a scent of fresh flowers, a scent of the angels, fills my being.  Even those mornings when I kneel through mass a bit tired, or a bit queasy, or a bit headachy, it all changes as I walk back from Communion. He makes all things well. Could He have given us any greater gift?
And yet, …
I’ve read many a scholar and heard many a great preacher who speaks about His word, The Bible, as being His greatest gift, as being His I am with you always.  Even the Catholic Church says He is present in His word (Scripture), the mass, and in the Eucharist --- but pre-eminently in the Eucharist.  And certainly at certain times we perceive His presence in one of these sources more than the others.  I know I can easily recall certain times, special times, when I felt His presence more in one or another.  I think certainly all the scholars who would say that any one of these three is Jesus’ greatest gift to us would be in a certain way, at a certain time, absolutely correct.
And yet, …
As I prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary tonight, and meditated on the great heavenly glorious mysteries of Jesus’ life, I suddenly had a different thought:  so many great scholars (way wiser than I) and so many holy people (way holier than I) have said and justified why these three things were Jesus’ greatest gifts to mankind, but I wonder: What did Jesus think?  If He were to describe the one, the greatest, thing He gave us, what would He say?  I think we would describe OUR OWN greatest gift, humanly speaking, as being the one we didn’t want to give, the one thing we would cherish the most, the thing about which we would like to say:  “That’s mine, and no, you can’t have it.”  So, what did Jesus cherish in that way?
I’ve been writing about “unconditional love,” the love that God, Jesus, came to teach us, and recently I said we don’t need to learn this type of love but re-learn it, since we once had it.  I described it as the love we had --- and gave--- as innocent young babies. And so thinking on this innocent love, this precious thing we once had (and thinking on some events of this very day where God made clear this love to me), as I prayed the Glorious Mysteries I suddenly perceived what Jesus might describe as the most precious thing in His life, and what would therefore become His greatest gift to us:  His Mother.
I read the following meditations while considering Mary’s Assumption into heaven, when Jesus brought His mother to be with Him: 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee --- and now you with Him.
You are the first to be raised by Him, but not the last.
No greater love than to give life, and eternal justice for Life to return that love.
Creator- created. No other love compares.
I sometimes wonder how God can forgive me,
but I know my mother does.
My Jesus, how glorious is Your love for us.
You’ve read my conversion story, how after years away from church I believe it was Mary’s prayers for me that brought me back. I think Jesus, the man like us, knew very well what a precious gift He was giving us when from the cross He said: Behold your mother.
I said that often I feel Jesus’ presence physically, and then I can’t stop crying.  But there are times, special times, when in my heart I feel His mother’s love present for me also, and like my own mother, I am confident she prays for me.
I believe that if I were to ask Jesus, as I perhaps shall one day, what he thinks is His greatest gift to mankind, I will not be surprised if He says: “I gave you My mother; I loved no one on earth more.”
And giving away what you love the most is unconditional love.
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With the month of May comes Mother’s Day.  Perhaps that is why the Catholic Church has dedicated the month of May to Mary.  And perhaps that is why all this week the daily meditations I read in the book titled “Divine Intimacy” were titled:  Mary Our Guide and Model, The Handmaid of the Lord, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and Mother of God.
And after I finished writing these words of meditation on Jesus’ greatest gift to us, I opened the Divine Intimacy book and read today’s meditation.  It was titled:  Our Mother.
“As one woman, Eve, had cooperated in the losing of grace, so by a harmonious disposition of Divine Providence, another woman, Mary, would cooperate in the restoration of grace.”
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now
And at the hour of our death.  Amen.
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I’ve got to mention one other great thing that happened to me this weekend.  On Friday God blessed me and caused me to attend a concert and talk at my church—I originally hadn’t planned to.  The concert was by Eric Genuis, a most remarkable man who writes and plays heavenly music, and yes, I cried at its beauty.  The speaker at the event was David Daleiden, the man who exposed through videos Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and sale and of baby body parts.  When David spoke at times I physically felt the chill of evil he described encountering.  He is a most wonderful man and speaker.  If you ever get the chance to hear either of these two men, take it.  You will be most blessed.
And after hearing the talk Friday night, in Saturday morning’s headlines I read how in California David Daleiden’s home was raided by state officials, trying to find evidence to stop his exposure of the greatest evil of our time.  Please pray for him.     

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