Embracing Who We Are In God

by Fr. Dismas Sayre, O.P. Rosary Center Director and Promoter of the Rosary Confraternity, Light and Life Newsletter V76N6, Nov-Dec 2023

“Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.”

Philippians 2:6-7

What was Our Lord’s first human act after His birth? Did He cry so as to draw in His first human breath? Did He open His eyes in order to see His first, but blurred, image of His Blessed Mother? I like to think that perhaps His very first act was to grasp at the very hand of the one who bore Him into this world, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a kind of mirror to DaVinci’s “The Creation of Man” when God reaching out to touch Adam, gives him his very life breath. In DaVinci we see God reaching out to man, out of love for His own creation, in His very own image. But Adam would sin, attempting to grasp equality with God through his pride, and thus sin and fall from grace. The Blessed Virgin Mary could certainly have attempted to grasp at equality with God, for through a singular act of grace, God had preserved her from the stain of sin, yet she did not repeat the sin of Adam. She was most certainly above the rest of sinful humanity, even the choirs of angels. Rather, as we often see in art, she drew in, in her humility, her arms crossed, her heart open, to receive her very Lord, the Lord of Life.

Immaculate Conception

This is what we often lack, as children of God. As a child matures into his teenage years, he may well begin to cease embracing his parents in public and showing affection; she may well begin to draw in and ignore her father’s advice; he may even “rub off” his mother’s kiss. All of a sudden, those same parents that she was afraid to face the world without but a short span ago, are suddenly too shameful to be seen with in public. We may think sadly of our children for their brazen surge of independence and ignorance while there are still left with much to learn, but how different from them are we when it comes to God? All of a sudden, it seems that we too seem to “know better” when it comes to the world.

It does gnaw at our pride, that someway, somehow, God just might know better than even we ourselves, not only how we should behave or be seen in the world, but to our very amazement, even what the path to our own happiness might entail. This is when we withdraw from God, when we pull back our hand, when we pull back even our soul, when we, in a sense, no longer recognize God as Our Father. Shame enters the picture, not in the shame of our nakedness or sin, but in the shame of our dependence on this Father who loved us unto creation.

“Well, if the Prodigal Son will not, or cannot come to me, then I shall go to him.” Thus, Christ is born in our very flesh, in the very nature that has been wounded, to seek those who have turned away from the Father. How often the Blessed Mother must have recalled that wondrous moment when her Child, her Creator, first reached out. O purest love of a Mother! O purest love of a sinless creature and worshipper of the One God!

The scene would repeat itself once more at her glorious Assumption into Heaven. The Virgin did not

Ascend through her own power, but in her humility, was lifted up to the Heavens through the merits of her Son. He reached down once more, and she, the honor of our race, grasped, as it were, His hands once more. He was never once ashamed of her, nor she of Him, Mother and Child always ready to embrace.

Remember that as you grasp your rosary. Don’t pray in public to be showy, but don’t be ashamed of it, either. Grasp it, as you would grasp God at that moment when your soul leaves your mortal body once and for all – grasp it. But know that even before you grasped that first bead for the very first time, He sought you, and embraced you. Through those precious beads, Our Lord has embraced countless sinners and drawn them to Himself. May we always be counted among those never afraid to embrace Him.

Note from the Director

Dear faithful supporters of the Rosary Center & Confraternity, THANK-YOU! to all who have already donated to help us. We cannot do this without you! We rely on your ongoing support. May God bless you for your generosity!
Fr. Dismas Sayre, O.P.

Novena-the Immaculate Conception-2023

Theology for the Laity

God and Love and the Rosary Confraternity

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