Spoiler alert! The moral of this blog is not to advise you to ask God for help before making your resolutions. That’s a no-brainer. The point is to show you, from first-hand experience, just how much better God can “do” our resolutions than we can.
Eve of the Feast of Mary, Mother of God
Mother benign of our redeeming Lord,
Star of the sea and portal of the skies,
Unto thy fallen people help afford –
Fallen, but striving still anew to rise.
Thou who dids’t once, while wond’ring
Bear thy Creator, Virgin then as now,
O by thy holy joy at Gabriel’s word,
Pity the sinners who before thee bow.
-Roman Breviary, Antiphon of the Blessed Virgin
Spend some quiet moments with Mary by reflecting on this antiphon. Journal your reflections.
“True love of God consists in adhering perfectly to His holy will, not desiring to do or to be other than what God indicates for each of us, to the point of becoming, as it were, “a living will of God.”
-Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, OCD
How does the Blessed Virgin Mary demonstrate true love of God according to the definition given to us in this quote? How and why is she the icon of “a living will of God?” To what extent am I the same? What one strategy in the coming new year can I employ to help me be more so? Add it to my list of resolutions.
“The Blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been His mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood.”
Consider this quote in light of Luke 11: 27-28. Write your thoughts and reflections. How did Mary’s discipleship begin at the moment of the Annunciation and continue throughout her life? To what extent does your discipleship mirror hers? Formulate a new year’s resolution to help you grow in this way in the coming year.
Her Feet Shod with Holiness
And, if our faith had given us nothing more
Than this Example, of all Womanhood,
So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,
So patient, so peaceful, loyal, loving pure –
This were enough to prove it higher and truer
Than all the creeds the world had known before.
Virgin, who lovest the poor and lonely,
If the loud cry of a mother’s heart
Can ever ascend to where thou art,
Into thy blessed hands and holy
Receive my prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
Let the hands that bore our Savior bear it
Into the awful presence of God;
For thy feet with holiness are shod,
And, if thou bearest it, he will hear it.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What qualities does Longfellow cite that underscore for him why Mary is the “Example of all Womanhood?” How have we seen these virtues expressed in the excerpts from A Woman Wrapped with Silence? Which of these virtues do I most need to acquire? What does the poet admit is the benefit of offering our prayers to Jesus through Mary, His Mother?
A little girl
Had wandered in the night, and now within
The shadows of a broken stall, was waiting,
While the night winds and the breath of time
Were moving over her.
The beat of pulses and the hush of heat
Had made a silence more intent within
Surrounding silence. Deepening of night.
…And then a moment’s fall,
…A sigh, unheard within the dark, and then…
She…wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid
Him in a manger.
She knelt and held Him close against her heart,
And in the midnight, adoration fused
With human love, and was not separate.
And very near, the man named Joseph came.
He was the first
To find her thus, the first of all the world.
And when her faint smile called for him to take
Him for a breathless moment, he was first
To know there is no other blessedness.
What is Mary’s interior response to Jesus? Joseph’s? What is your response to Jesus when you behold Him in the Blessed Sacrament? When you receive Him into your being at Holy Communion? How can you increase your devotion to the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Entrust to Mary, Mother of God, your reception of her Son. Her intercession will yield abundant fruit, the Fruit of her womb.
(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)