O Sweet Heart of Mary, Be My Salvation! Immaculate Heart of Mary, convert sinners, save souls from hell! - Jacinta (one of the 3 children depicted in the above picture, whom Mother Mary appeared to at Fatima in 1917, before the October Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.)
This book is recommended if you want to read more about Fatima:
-the link I got above is an abridged version of the book - i think - because the original 'book' comes in 3 volumes-Or it might not even be the book I'm referring too =) once I'm certain its the right book, I'll repost the link. =)
You must wonder why I'm suddenly blogging on such a topic - on making Decisions.
This is partly because this has been on my mind for a sufficient period of time today.
As I was walking slowly to the exam hall for my most recently over CA (yay!), and after saying the Angelus, it came to me that our lives are also based on the decisions that we make. To me, the reason why the Angelus prayer is so good is because it commemorates and it brings the person who says the prayer with his heart, back to the moment in time when a huge huge decision was to be made by a person, made so perfect (She's the only person in this world to be born without the stain of original sin), to be the Mother of the Almighty.
Here's the short prayer, it is said 3 times a day, at 6am-12pm-6pm.
A little history about this prayer, this prayer was promulgated by the Popes, to obtain divine help, through the recital of the Rosary and the Angelus in all the Christian lands during the Crusades. This prayer has been said ever since then in the Church.
It consists of 3 parts:
1) The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And She conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, Blessed art Thou amongst women and Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners now and at the hour of our death.
2) Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary ...
3) And the Word was made flesh.
And dwelt amongst us.
Hail Mary ...
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.
So great was this huge decision that was made, that this changed the entire course of events for the whole world. It was because of this decision that dearest Mother Mary, through the grace of the Most High, made, that allowed for the Saviour of the world to come into this darkness.
It was this decision, that thereby, the fate of all souls since the beginning of time to the end of time was changed. She was the one that said yes to God and thus, to a certain extent, helped accomplish for us, our salvation. In a sense, she made the first committed step, and there was no turning back after she said yes to God. This is one of the reasons why the dearest Blessed Virgin has been given the title, the Co-Redemptrix of mankind, our salvation, because, by virtue of this huge decision she made, she helped save mankind. That is why, we Catholics love her as our dearest Mother.
And here are a few lines from one of my favourite hymns, that, I think, beautifully describes who the Most Blessed Virgin is:
Mary is Our Queen, O Sing to her,
Mary is Our Mother, Trust in her,
Mary is the star that shines at night,
Guiding us to Jesus, Our True Light,
Mary is the Creature of our race
Whom the Holy Spirit filled with grace,
To become the Mother of our Lord,
The God Whom she adored.
(repeating the words of the ArchAngel Gabriel to Mother Mary):
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
Coming back to the main topic on making decisions: Decisions that we make are also very important, because it is through all the decisions that we make, things happen, pathways change and our life changes because we make decisions that affect us in some way or another. I like this analogy that I heard somewhere:
Making decisions can be tough, by virtue of the fact that some decisions we make are more life changing (e.g. discerning your state of life, changing and amending your life etc.etc.) than some of the other types of decisions that we daily make. (I think you know what I'm trying to say :))
Thing is, making a decision can be likened to a donkey standing before a bridge, a pathway all laid out for it. Using myself as an example, perhaps I'm the donkey and I stand before the bridge and I know that there's this decision I have to make. (i.e. whether to cross the bridge or not) And it's either I cross the bridge or I turn back and go on with what I used to be doing, (going away from the bridge). There are 3 things I, as the donkey in this analogy, can do, (this corresponds to the 3 classes of men, as from the spiritual exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola).
1) I would like to cross the bridge because I know my life will change and I know that I will be assured of my salvation, but, as St. Augustine, in his Confessions, said: O Lord, make me chaste, but not now! ... and I put off trying to cross the bridge because my will is not strong enough, and when the hour of death comes, I would be berating myself for not choosing to cross the bridge, the means by which I, the donkey would be assured of my salvation.. (but St Augustine did not make this decision no.1, he made the biggest decision to change his life with the no.3 I'll be explaining, in a minute.) This first decision puts the donkey in the class of people who are the "Later On" people.
2) I want to cross the bridge, but looking back at the amount of time and effort I took to come to this point, that is, before the bridge, and in an effort to keep all that I have 'earnt', because I know that once I cross the bridge, I would have to leave everything behind, I decide that I will not cross the bridge. This is the story of Pontius Pilate - and in the end, I do exactly what I didn't want to do - and remain in exactly the same situation I was in, before I made the decision.
3) I, the donkey, knowing that being a donkey is no good and wanting to change the situation I'm in, or my way of doing things, for the better, make the big decision to cross the bridge as I know what I am doing is right and that what I'm doing corresponds exactly to what God wills, I cross the bridge and am very happy, even though the crossing of the bridge will bring along huge sacrifices, I know that in the end, I'd be better able to make use of this means to attain this end that I want for my soul, I make the right 'non-donkey' decision and cross the bridge and reach what I want to attain, in accordance to the will of God. This is the story of all the saints. This is the story of how real champions are created, champions because they want to give their all to God, make the right decision, change their lives and do everything in their means to reach, attain this one end, this one main goal of our lives - heaven. From the old testament, Abraham fits into this category because he did the will of God, and when God called him to sacrifice the Son whom you love - Isaac - whom God gave to his wife, Sara and him in old age, he did so with no hesitation, no qualms and in the end, God gave him his eternal reward. (not to worry, Isaac survived without even a cut on his skin) This faith of Abraham, in God, was so strong, so huge, it can be said he believed blindly in the faith, but I must say when I say he believed blindly, it means he surrended himself to the will of God completely and unhesitantly. Not to the extent that you say you believe blindly and do all the wrong things.
Making a decision is something like that. Imagine the donkey, standing at the edge of the bridge, moving his head about, thinking what to do. In the end, its the decision, its the sacrifice that has to be made that will be the most difficult, especially when its life changing, but once you make the decision, once you get over it, with the grace of God, and the aid of Mother Mary, the Angels and the Saints, you cross the bridge into your new life and you find that making the sacrifice is easy, and that the only thing stopping you is your mind accepting the decision that you know is right before you. All of us aspire to do point no.3 but sometimes, we do have our human frailities and we find it difficult to do so (me too!!), but take it to heart that many others have been that donkey, and many others have made that life-changing decision, and have chosen point no.3 and that point no.3 is not so difficult to do after all, as a Catholic, I will say, you do have Jesus, Mary, your Angel, all the Angels, your patrons and all the Saints behind you, who will all, if we accept that decision help you in accepting the huge decision. =)
God knows that we are all frail and weak, as humans, and that is why we have the Mass
, whence which we can apply what He said to us in the gospels, that He will be with us, till the end of time.
O Holy Virgin Mary, protect me; pray to Jesus for me! :)
Have a Great Day everyone. God Bless!
In Christo et Maria!
Labels: Decisions, Fatima, The Angelus