As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I need to ask myself, what does this mean to me? And to how I live my day today?
The church teaches that Mary leads us to Jesus. Interestingly, however, Jesus will also lead us to Mary. It seems that to truly give our heart to the one, we must give our heart to the other.
Churches are open in most states of our country, yet seats remain empty in the pews. It isn’t God’s voice telling people they do not need the mass. God isn’t saying “I am having my priest celebrate the sacrifice at the altar for everyone else, but do not want you to attend”. In nine months, only a handful of priests across the entire country have contracted Covid-19. No Covid cases have been traced back to attending a Catholic mass. The Catholic sanctuary is the safest public place we can be. The only way to dispel the demons who place thoughts of discord and lies into our minds is to break the mental barrier and attend the mass.
One morning, I was in the church chapel kneeling before the tabernacle. My gaze went to the window above it. Through the haze of the drizzling rain stood a tall, leaf-barren tree. High up in the tree was a very large bird’s nest. And it struck me how much life is hidden from us until the dead exterior is shed.
Problems in life drill down to Love, and when the absence of Love presents itself, we must look to ourselves rather than the other person. The only solution is to make a beeline straight to God to unload more dead matter from the soul. It is then that we have eyes to see the beauty in barrenness.
How often it may seem that our really ginormous God is too big to fit into our life. And yet the truth is, He is already there in every crack and crevice. He is the origin of every moment and sustains our life in that moment. Not because He has to. Because He wants to. And this really ginormous God came to us in the smallest way: a naked infant totally dependent on humans, willing to listen to His Father and follow His Spirit.
The pandemic isolation eats away at the heart. Fortunately, as Christians, we have the gift of Faith and the very real people of the scriptures who model for us living in any circumstances. The Advent story is our story and the ‘characters’ are our people speaking to us through God’s Word. Unfortunately, in our times of fear and isolation, dangerous risks masked as ‘good’ tempt us from this especially by the media. Aroused in our passions of anger or fear, this often creates a false sense of security and inclusion with others. Some urge us to rage with them. Others to escape into visionaries and claims of supernatural protection. Either becomes a type of refuge.
Having the right opinion doesn’t get us into Heaven; having the right disposition does. Are we ready to ‘take the risk’ of following Jesus 100% and let go of these attachments?