“And Mary, for her part, reflected on all these things in her heart.”
So often in the Gospel of Luke we see Mary at prayer, reflecting on the wonders of God’s presence in her life. The Feast of the Assumption is a celebration of the completion of Mary’s life of fidelity and listening to God.
Her “yes” at the Annunciation while she is at prayer, is followed be a series of other assents to God from the youth and ministry of Jesus to His Cross, to the missionary outreach of His Apostles, and finally to the moment of her last “yes” to God in her Assumption into heaven.
Mary’s shrines and devotions are part of every road-side for Christians in Lebanon. She is for us a special and unique source of pride in our Catholic heritage.
Mary placed herself completely in the hands of an awesome, sometimes fearful, yet loving God. She lived a life of extraordinary fidelity, which became a fruitful harvest for all those who desire to listen and befriend the Living God.
Hers was a life of self-denial and self-offering. You and I find it hard to give something up, to deny our selves anything, to fast on occasion, to be alone…to be quiet and listen. We think it is great sacrifice if we spend a few moments before the Blessed Sacrament, or if we get on our knees before we begin our day, or just before we go to bed at night, we look for the payoff for whatever we do for God. What’s in it for me?
In order to be popular, and to fit in we deny much of our Catholic faith. We believe only what is convenient. Our lack of generosity when it comes to God is astounding, and quite uncharacteristic of our ancestors. Pope Benedict has said that today we are too busy. We push God to the side, our days are filled with activity, even good activity, that neglects the best activity silent prayer before God. This is where God can change us and set things right in us.
Mary listened to God and heard His voice, one that was different than the voices of the world. Unlike Mary, we often prefer to listen to the world.
The voice of God tells about the dignity of the child in the womb: the world tells something else.
The voice of God tells us that our bodies are sacred gifts to be respected and honored, the voices of the media tell us something else.
The voice of God tells us about the beauty of natural family planning, the voices of the world tell us something else.
The voice of God tells us that suffering and death have a meaning, the voices of the world tells us to flee any suffering, and that the death should be a choice.
The voice of God tells us that marriage is sacred, the voices of the world tell us that marriage is an agreement, a contract to be negotiated, defined by society, and to be ended when love fades.
The voice of God reminds us that there are objective truths, and there are rules, boundaries to good conduct, worth living and dying for. The voices of the world tell us that anything goes, that morality is relative, and that we should not impose our moral values on others.
The voice of God tells us that human life is not for sale, not for scientific experimentation, and not for commerce. Embryonic Stem Cell advocates tell us something else.
The voice of God reminds us that He forgives, His law is love, and that we can turn to Him in sincerity and honesty. The voices of the world tell us not to bother.
In so many ways the voice of God is eclipsed by the dissonant and divergent voices of the world, and sometimes we prefer it that way. We don’t listen, we don’t pray, we don’t accept any kind of sacrifices; we deny our faith by word, deed or omission if it is not convenient and popular. God forbid that we not fit in to the world. God forbid that we believe something not acceptable to everyone. But isn’t this the same way as Christ? Everyone did not accept what He had to teach, should they accept everything His Church teaches?
The Mary is a reminder to us to listen to the compelling voice of God who teaches, guides, and sanctifies us often times in silence and always in prayer.
The voices of the world are many and form a cacophony. The voice of God is one, harmonious with our nature, clear, and life giving. This is the way of Mary, and it is ours as well if we have the courage to pray.
May Mary, Mother of God, who spent her life in loving conversation with the Living God, pray for us to do the same.
+Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)