Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3: 15-17; 21-22).
John the Baptist reflected upon his own role in the cosmos, understanding the extraordinary dynamic of conversion preached by Jesus: to make way for the everything that God is, we who are nothing must lose ourselves, become little in order to be great, be the least in order to become the first in Heaven!
But why did Christ need to be baptized? If baptism serves to remove sin, and Christ was sinless, what was the point? In choosing to be baptized by John, Christ models for all Christians the importance of the sacrament, and John models the importance of service and humility. Christ’s baptism further transforms the elements of the world, as St. Maximus of Turn explained in an early homily: “Christ is baptized, not that he may be sanctified in the waters, but that he himself may sanctify the waters, and by his own purification may purify those streams which he touches. For the consecration of Christ is the greater consecration of another element. For when the Savior is washed, then already for our baptism all water is cleansed… Christ therefore takes the lead in baptism, so that Christian peoples may follow after him with confidence.”
The Gospel Liturgy of the “Baptism of the Lord” reminds us of the awesome revelation of the Holy Trinity to all of humanity. As our Lord Jesus Christ—the Son of God made flesh-- was baptized in the waters of the Jordan, the Father’s voice is heard and the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descends. In Greek, baptism is translated as "to be immersed." Through the saving grace and redemption of the Baptism of the Lord, our world is “immersed” in God and, indeed, transformed. Our world, and our lives, will be freed from the snare of sin and reborn, like gold in the refiner's fire !
Today, we pray for those in service to others. We pray for humility and to never lose sight of the central place the Lord should take in our lives.
Of special note, today I will be starting a Novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The specific intention for this Novena is for women and couples-- those who I know personally as well as those I do not—who are experiencing difficulties or challenges with conceiving or adopting children. Further, I pray for those who are pregnant or expecting children, new parents, and especially for those who have suffered pregnancy-related loss or complications. May Our Lady of Immaculate Conception look with kindness and blessing upon you, bring you peace and love, and intercede on your behalf with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Day 10 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Those in service to others
Special Intentions: Those trying to conceive or adopt; Those who are pregnant or expecting children; New parents; Those who have experienced miscarriage or pregnancy complications
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."