Sunday, 9 May 2010
Our Lady, fear and trust, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C
May is the month of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. She can seem like a remote figure to some people, she is someone little spoken of in many churches these days, someone little loved. And I know that I myself do not pay her the love, respect and affection she deserves, she who is my Heavenly Mother and always looking out for me.
Yet, the Church gives two months of the year to her: May and October. And so I want to say a few words about her in this month, in particular, about how she exemplifies two of the things Jesus spoke about in that Gospel: peace and fear.
Jesus said, “Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give to you”
And added, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”
There are different kinds of ‘being troubled’, different kinds of ‘fear’, and of ‘peace’.
Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace, at its root, is about peace with God, because He is the basis of everything.
If we searched the Scriptures for the perfect example of this we could come to none other than Our Lady. Our Lady had peace because she was without sin, she was ‘full of grace’.
But what of fear? Was she ever afraid?
We know she suffered, and suffered much. She suffered on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross. She suffered at other times, like when she lost the child Jesus in the Temple for three days.
But this does not mean she feared.
To suffer without fear involves being able to trust, and Our Lady trusted.
At the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel told her she was to be the Mother of God, she might well have had reason to fear. Yet the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid’; and shortly after her cousin Elizabeth said of her, ‘Blessed is she who believed the promise made her by the Lord’. Our Lady believed, Our Lady trusted, and Our Lady had no fear –certainly, she did not have fear as we have fear.
At the foot of the Cross, she still trusted in the words that her son had said, when He said that He would rise again, ‘After three days…’ (Mk 8:31)
At Pentecost, Scripture tells us the Apostles were gathered around her in prayer. While they were bereft, she trusted.
What of myself? I do not so easily trust. I try to run my own life; I often say I believe in God, but I behave as if I believed just in myself. Whether it’s in refusing to admit I’ve got a flu bug and need to rest, or refusing to accept that I can’t master the events of my day or the timing of my life.
Who can I turn to, to trust better? No one better than her, Our Lady, Our Heavenly Mother.
Her EXAMPLE can show me how to trust: in the events of life, she held on to the faith, she held on to the promises made by the Lord.
But even more, I can ENTRUST MYSELF TO HER, knowing she is the Mother in heaven that God has assigned to watch over me, and watch over you. Her powerful intercession can grant me the grace to trust more in the Lord, to have more calm and peace in my heart. When she asks, God dispenses. He denies her not in heaven, because she did not deny Him on earth.
The peace that Jesus promised, was manifested in the life of His mother, and if we turn to her, it can be ours too.