Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. It is fitting that as we begin calendar year 2017, we take the time to reflect on Mary and her role in the life of the Church, and in our individual lives.
Mary is placed before us as the model for discipleship. A woman of faith, a woman of prayer, her only desire was to do the will of God. And in opening up one’s entire life to the will of God, a person makes themselves vulnerable. Bowing to the divine plan is not always easy. So much can be shrouded in cloudiness. To walk by faith and not by sight becomes a daily challenge.
Many people find it very difficult to relate to Mary. The primary reason for this is that down through the ages we have encased her in plaster, marble and pious paintings. Statues and pious paintings tend to mask the human Mary who walked the face of the earth.
Today’s Gospel account tells us that Mary “treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.” As she did this, the divine plan began to unfold itself in her life. Each day she had to renew her “yes” to God, to place absolute trust in Divine Providence.
Mary experienced uncertainty and insecurity when she said “yes” to the angel. She knew what living in poverty was like. She knew what oppression was when she couldn’t find a room in which to give birth to Jesus. She lived as a refugee in a strange land when exiled in Egypt. She knew the pain of having a child who does not follow the accepted path. She knew the loneliness of the widow, and the agony of seeing her only Son die a horrible death.
When we take the time to reflect on Mary’s life we can see how we can relate to her. Mary is the friend of the poor and the oppressed of our times. She gives hope to those who struggle for justice, and challenges us all to live a simpler life, a life of unconditional trust in God.
New Year’s Day has people making resolutions on how to improve their life. More often than not these resolutions fall to the wayside within the first few days of the new year. What a big difference it would make if we all made only one resolution, that being, to put the words of the Prophet Micah into practice each day. “This is what your God asks of you: to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”
— Father Dennis
January 1, 2017