This morning as I come to my computer to compose this message, I find that all sorts of ideas come to mind.
First, today is the [fourteenth] anniversary of the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Columbia as it was preparing to land in Florida. It blew up over northeast Texas, and pieces of the space vehicle, and, sadly, of its seven crewmembers, came raining down upon this part of the country. A number of the towns in our vicinity have erected monuments to those who died on that unfortunate occasion.
Then, tomorrow, February 2, is the feast of the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple when he was forty days old. When the devout old man, Simeon, saw the child in his mother’s arms, he knew by divine inspiration that this was the savior of the world, the promised Messiah. He asked Our Lady and Saint Joseph to let him have the baby for a few moments. And he burst into the beautiful prayer called the “Nunc Dimittis” from its first words in Latin: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you prepared in the sight of all the people: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel.” That beautiful prayer is used every night in the night prayer of the official prayer system of the Church, called the Liturgy of the Hours. And because Simeon said that Jesus would be a light of revelation to the Gentiles, that is, all the nations of the world, the Church blesses candles on that day and holds processions with lighted candles in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a light to the Gentiles and the glory of his own people, the Jews. This event is the subject matter of the fourth joyful mystery of the Rosary.
I have also been reflecting on the beatitudes. These are eight statements that describe the person that Jesus wants all of us to be. As we read them, let’s use them as an examination of conscience: am I like that? do I do that? is that the sort of person I am? am I pure of heart, meek, long-suffering, hungry for holiness? They are totally opposed to the pride, greed, and hostility of this world, but totally in conformity with the virtues and personality of our divine Lord. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.