Reflection posted on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary October 7, 2014
On Saturday, September 6, 2014, I was privileged to speak before the Apostolate of Fatima after the First Saturday Mass about my conversion to Catholicism. Because I was giving my story to an organization devoted to Our Lady and because I became Catholic through a rosary, I focused my talk on my conversion through the rosary and my relationship with Our Lady. But because I wanted those in attendance to get more out of my talk than listening to me talk about myself, I also applied the talk to how a relationship with our lady helps us to get through life and to grow in spirituality. We are all on our own personal journey and the Blessed Mother helps us along the way. Pope Francis has said, “If any Christian does not think of Mary as his or her own mother, then they are an orphan.” The Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary, draws everyone to the family of God. What follows is a very short summary of the points I made (or was going to make because time was short).
Mary is a perfect example of doing God’s will. She received her mission from the angel at the Annunciation, she first asked, “How?” and after being told, simply said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Each of us has our own annunciation, our mission from God, and while ours probably will not be delivered by an angel, unlike Mary who was on a spiritual level that allowed her to readily receive angels into her life (we would probably be terrified!), we are being called for a specific mission and role that involves our own individual talents and abilities in a way that no one else can. She can help us to discern God’s will for our lives, to listen to that voice inside our hearts, so that we can find out what our mission is and how we are to lead it out.
Mary, Mother of God
It is important for us to realize that Mary is truly the Mother of God (Theotokos), and while I can go on at great length about the implications and what it means theologically for God to become incarnate of a woman, we must consider the simple fact that Mary’s motherhood helps us understand our own responsibilities and mission as Christians. Mary bore Christ in her womb, just as we bear Christ inside of us as baptized Christians. Mary brought Christ into the world, just as we must make Christ present for others. We ourselves must nurture the Christ inside of us and so that He can be made present for others. Mary did this in her own life and she can help us do the same.
The Flight into Egypt
We have to remember that despite being the Mother of God, things were not easy or without trial for her and her family. They faced struggles and difficulties, including the escape into Egypt to avoid the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. Despite all that happened she remained focused on the mission given to her by God. We all have our flights into Egypt, the trials and struggles of our lives and our faith, whether it is the loss of a loved one, sickness, job loss, addictions, sin, or even losing our faith, Mary is there for us because she knows what it is like to face trials and difficulties.
Jesus in the Temple
Mary was without sin, but that does not mean that her life was perfect. I am sure there were many times that Mary had things that did not go quite as expected, just like when she, Joseph, and other members of the family left Jerusalem without Jesus. When they returned they found him safely in the temple, of course, but I am sure that was not the only time that Mary was worried during her life. Things in our lives are not perfect, we are not perfect, we all have things to worry about and things we wished had gone differently. Mary lived a life just like ours and understands what we are going through.