I am so happy to be back home and back in relatively good help. (Small, nagging cough still hanging around, but I just need to get to a health store and pick up some eucalyptus oil to chase that away. Somehow, I misplaced -- or gave away -- my last vial, and finding one while traveling is considerably difficult, both in terms of time and in terms of knowing where to look. So, for the interim, I have existed on Halls cough drops, which contain eucalpytus, and look forward to heading off to work tomorrow, certain that at some point during the day I will be able to drop into the health food store not all that far from my office and find the wonderful liquid introduced to me by the Siberians a decade-and-a-half ago.
As for my reading, I was happy to find a Gideon Bible in my hotel room. I have been pleased to find them in nearly every hotel room where I have landed in my near-constant travels over the past couple of months. (Travels to continue nearly non-stop through May, so I am really looking forward to this one week of interlude at home, where I can read in an unhurried fashion.)
So, on I moved through Malachi this week. In fact, I finished Malachi and so finished the books of the Old Testament. The thought crossed my mind to begin again at the beginning. There seems to be so much I still do not know, let alone what I learned and forgot as a marched through the books, stopping here and there to meditate upon one thought or another, one event or another.
However tempting to begin again, I decided to continue on and move into the New Testament. This being Lent, the New Testament seems an appropriate path forward. And so, I found myself reading through Matthew. As I did so, I found the words in Matthew 1:24, "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him," compelling.
Reading: Matthew 1:24
Meditation: What was asked of Mary and Joseph was extraordinary, given Middle Eastern society of those days (and would be equally a tremendous asking even today), where women who become pregnant prior to being married bring dishonor upon their families. Even today, in some areas, just dating before marriage can result in a woman's demise through honor killing by a member of her own family. For Mary to accept God's request, and for Joseph to take/keep Mary as his wife, took great faith and obedience.
How little, by comparison, are most of us asked to do! Follow a few commandments. Love each other (yeah, sometimes it seems like a tall order). Trust God and follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Yet so often we fail. How wonderful that we have not only the examples of Mary and Joseph but also of a panoply of saints who followed them. Examples of trust, devotion, and obedience. Each time we stumble, we have many we can look up to, then pick ourselves up and continue on in our imperfect but well-intended ways.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning/afternoon. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for these wonderful examples He has given to us.I will, of course, also ask God to help me increase my alacrity in obedience for I am a rebellious soul by nature, and I will repent for each time I stumble, which seems to happen each and every day. As always, I will thank God for all the times He has forgiven me. (I so count on His mercy.) Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.