Joyful Mystery

Announcing that a new baby coming is filled with excitement.  We cannot wait for the baby to come.  Wait we must, with joyful anticipation for the birth of a new child.  Same thing with birthdays, we can’t seem to wait to celebrate someone else’s birthday.  Wait we must, with gladness. 
It’s a waiting game. 
I don’t mind waiting.  For most of my life, I wait.  Life consists mostly of waiting.  The question is what do I do while I wait?  The in-between-times. how do I respond to this?  
This photo is one of the many depictions of the Annunciation displayed in Bethlehem contributed by the Philippines.  It’s an image of pure simplicity. 
Bethlehem  Annunciation
 
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Meditating on this photo with Mary in mind, she gladly accepted what was unacceptable.  She said YES to conceive.  What a courageous act.  She waited with great understanding, anticipation and longing to fulfill her calling. 
As I reflected on this, my breathing slows down absorbing the joyful mystery.  A one-minute-meditation, my mind and heart became pregnant with desire to be more intimate with Jesus Christ. 
 

Pilgrim Progress Characters

John Bunyan’s main character is Christian who was stricken by spiritual crisis and set out on a pilgrimage to find salvation.  
In his journey he met an Evangelist, Obstinate, Pliable, Help, Wordly Wiseman, Hypocrisy, Discretion, Piety, Prudence, Charity, Faithful, Angels, Despair, Hopeful, Talkative, Contrite, and others.  But of course, Christian has a special guide that steers him to the right path. 
Strange names for these characters are present in the dynamics of being part of big group on a pilgrimage.  Strong characters that we all play a part with the hope that peace and healing will come our way.  Just like Christian, our deep faith and belief, we are guided by the Holy Spirit. 
It would be absurd to think that we are full of virtues just because we are on a spiritual quest.  However, we strive to see the goodness of one another.  Sure, disagreement can surface; that is the reality of it all.  
There seem to be more questions than answers when we pray along the way.  The force of evil will make sure that peace will be broken amongst us.  One has to be aware of this as it happens and not let it take over our will.  
As for me, I bear in mind the teaching of Thomas Merton on the journey of a pilgrim, that it is a time for solitude to deepen our love, faith and prayer. 
O Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.  
Nor do I really know myself
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire to please you.
And I know that if I do this,
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.  
Therefore, will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to make my journey alone.