From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
January 1 – Holy Mary, Mother of God
In this season of Christmas, we are witness to a new beginning which is greater than any of our New Year’s resolutions and possibilities. We have celebrated the birth of Jesus our Savior. He has come to fill the breach between heaven and earth that was opened by Adam and Eve. He offers us through his birth and his life and his resurrection new opportunity for eternal life – if only we will resolve to grasp it. During this season of Christmas – and particularly during the Octave of Christmas – our focus is rightly on Jesus, his birth and his salvific actions taken for us. But this Sunday, we take a pause. As a country and world we offer our New Year’s resolutions and hope for a better year this year than last. For most of us, sadly, our resolutions melt away much quicker than the cold weather of winter. Perhaps the more important pause for us this Sunday though is to reflection upon Mary, the Blessed Mother who is the Patroness of all humanity, the Patroness of the United States, and the Patroness of SVdP. She is our mother, given to us by Jesus himself as she stood at the foot of the cross. It is her “yes” to the angel Gabriel, which opened the doors to the possibilities of all that followed. Her willingness to step up for all humanity in total trust, without hesitation, accepting AND embracing all that God asks of her, is a gift and a grace to each of us. It assures us that our future will be far better than our past if we but add our yes to hers. Mary makes God present to the world by her “yes”, her faith and her obedience!
We hear repeatedly throughout Luke’s gospel, “And Mary kept all of these things, reflecting on them in her heart!” Her willingness to “hold all these things in her heart” – should be an example and an inspiration to all of us. She was the consummate mother, taking to heart all that came to her and embracing the will of God completely and totally. She reflected upon the events of her life. She prayed for guidance. She meditated on God’s will and always offered herself up as the handmaid of the Lord. She was not only obedient, but she embraced her obedience in total humility and selflessness. Her faith and trust belonged totally to God. Her focus was always on the care of others. She intercedes for us with her son and with the Father. Throughout the ages she has been a guiding light and beacon of hope.
This year, instead of New Year’s resolutions founded in personal wishes and desires, we might do better to follow the example of our Blessed Mother. She was resolved to do the will of God and she trusted in Him completely. She did not allow other influences or desires to compete or interfere with her desire to please God. She always placed his will above her own. Mary gave control in her life over to God. And she came to know his will by patiently reflecting and praying and seeking it out in her heart. We should seek God’s will for our lives and for others. Placing our trust, our faith and our hopes in His will with her support is where the true promise of our future resides.
As Vincentians, we are called to offer ourselves to others, embracing their challenges as our own. We are called to embrace the challenges God brings before us, not questioning why but asking how? We seek guidance in prayer and meditation, looking to our Mother Mary as our example of selfless love. As she offers hope to us, we offer hope to others. How can I enter more deeply into prayer and meditation, contemplating God’s will for my life? How do I replace my lack of understanding and fears with trust in God’s care for me?
Lord Jesus, allow us to embrace that which you bring before us, taking it into our hearts that we might embrace the challenges and pain of others as our own. Let us come to you in humility through prayer and meditation seeking not only answers but understanding. Give us the courage to trust in you as Mary trusted in you. We pray all of this in your name. Amen