I have been walking regularly at a local gym, mainly while my wife does a zumba class. But it gives me time to reflect and to pray. While I briskly walk around the track, I will do evening prayer and then a rosary on my phone. I often contemplate the immeasurable influence that Mary has had on our world and especially on Catholicism. I am reminded how, while visiting prisoners, they would often ask if we Catholics thought that Mary was God and worshipped her. It was always important to indicate that she was a mere human being, but what a human being! It is her humanity that contributed to the fully human person of Christ. It was her “yes” that opened the door to God’s incarnation on earth. It was her gentleness that became a part of Christ’s gentle nature. It was her trust and openness that allowed her to give her will for God’s good purpose. It was her honesty that caused her to wonder about the greeting of the Angel. Imagine the depth and breadth of her heart to include all those things she experienced and felt, from the Angel’s visit to the pain at the foot of the cross. The beauty of the Pieta by Michelangelo is partly because you forget that it is carved from stone. But also because the depiction of Christ after the crucifixion is with his tender and distraught mother.
Then as we move forward, Mary’s apparitions given to Juan Diego, at Fatima, Lourdes and others remind us of the preeminent place this woman, this sweet, caring open and blessed woman has in our relationship with God. It is here that her impact is most strongly felt. Mary is our model, our ideal, our view of how one is to respond to God’s calling. She said “yes,” and that yes echoes still today in every person who opens up their Bible to read a verse, in every person who prays, in every person who receives the Eucharist during Mass. That yes is present in all that we do when we desire God. Mary’s yes lives within us as we try to find God in our difficult lives. When we think about what to say to our children that will enlarge their faith, Mary’s is present. When we visit our sick relative and say a quick prayer for healing, we are invoking the Yes that Mary felt. When we face fear of loss or anxiety about what may happen, our resolution to have faith in God and to trust in his presence invokes Mary’s trust and knowledge of God’s good presence in her life. She is the first who experienced the new covenant of God in Christ. She was present at that moment when God touched humanity with his incarnation. Her life and love surrounded the Christ child, and we are the beneficiaries of that protection and nurturance. Let us seek to be better disciples of Christ in all that we do. Let us turn to Mary for support as we struggle with how to best live out our faith. The questions that she faced, the circumstances that she experienced, the pain she endured, the joy she felt, all these are what we ourselves go through from time to time. Let Mary be our guide and reassure us that saying yes is the manner in which to live our faith. Yes to God is the mantra that can lead us to greater faith and greater witness to God.
“It is God’s will that on Sundays we should occupy ourselves
only with what has to do with his service and salvation of our
soul. By doing so, we draw down blessing on our work
during the week.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars