Reflections of God's Goodness
This month, I challenge you to take a fresh look at Mary, Mother of God and our mother. From the time she was a small child, Mary of Nazareth believed in God and spent time with Him every day, listening to Him and speaking with Him.
She lived with her parents in a small village where life was difficult. Everyone worked hard to have food, water, housing, and anything else they needed. But their days were also full of praise for God, “following the Torah, observing the Sabbath and the festivals, reciting prayers, lighting candles and going to synagogue.” (Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., In Search of the Real Mary).
Mary’s life changed dramatically when an angel visited her and announced that God had chosen her to be the Mother of His Son. Although she was afraid, Mary chose to believe and soon fear gave way to faith. By the time she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, she knew that the angel had told her the truth. When Mary heard Elizabeth’s greeting, her heart was full of gratitude, and she proclaimed:
My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Mary’s prayer welled up from the thoughts of her heart. Her prayer becomes ours when we reflect on all God has done for us.
“With a heart full of love for God and for her neighbor, Mary of Nazareth gives us this tremendous example of walking by faith . . . as a partner in hope, in the company of all the holy women and men who have gone before us. . . .” We can “draw on the energy of her example for a deeper relationship with the living God and stronger care for the world.” (Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., In Search of the Real Mary)
We know that we, too, have been called to be God’s partner in His project of redeeming the world. We walk by faith, not by sight, and seek to know and act on God’s Word. Pope Paul VI called Mary, “our sister in faith.” As such, she is a willing helper to us as we follow her Son.
Prayer, spending time with God, is essential to our relationship with Him, as is acting on God’s Word like Mary. Mary listened to and acted.
“Contemplation moves into action when we learn how to love. We are asked to love those who are poor, hungry, sick, in prison, lonely, or marginalized in any way. When I know that I am loved unconditionally, I am freer to give away that love to others. When I take the time to see and to listen, then I am better prepared to act with a love that is genuinely responsive.”
We are called, like Mary, to proclaim hope in a difficult world, to share the joy in God our Savior and announce His justice that is to come. This month, pray to be able to follow Mary’s example.
May our hearts be filled with joy in our God and may our prayer lead to acting with faith and hope as we share God’s love with the people we meet who need it most.
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”