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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fr. Bob Warren's Reflection on the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary: "Be it done to me ..."

Franciscan Friars
Father Bob's Reflection on The Feast of the Solemnity of Mary
"Be it done to me..."
Today we honor the woman named Mary. She had intrigued us for many years, yet we know so very little about her. We do not know when she was born or when she died. We know where she lived and who some of her friends and family were.
When we first meet Mary, she is the object of an ugly rumor. She is pregnant and without a husband; her story about the Holy Spirit was not believed. Then there was her very human anxiety and fear. What is all this Mother of God business? How can this be?
Then when the Child is born, shepherds and angels rejoiced, but others wanted Him dead, so Mary had to flee with her husband and Child. And then they became refugees in a foreign land.
At some point, we do not know when, Mary became a widow. She was alone. When her Son is old enough, He leaves home to begin His mission. Then the Son is caught, betrayed and brought to a mock trial. He is beaten and humiliated, then hung on a cross. She arrives to see Him hanging there, but she is forced by the soldiers to keep her distance. Suddenly, every parent who has seen their child carted off to prison, or on drugs or dealing with alcohol and told to 'keep their distance' can identify with Mary — with her hopeless situation, unable to reach out to help her child.
Finally she cradles the broken dead body of her only Son in her arms, she sobs uncontrollably, and there she is once more, with every parent who has lost a child, a friend or a loved one. We can all identify with Mary of the Pietá.
This woman was given to us by Christ on the Cross. Remember His words to St. John, "Son, behold your mother." Mary is blessed now because in life she seemed unblessed, yet she always remained faithful. In all the unfairness of life, she clung to God. The Church elevates her, not because she started out great and traveled a privileged path, but because she was the handmaid of the Lord, she traveled the lowly path, and all the generations will call her "Blessed."
That is what we are doing now, when we celebrate her Feast. We are calling her "Blessed," and we are not honoring someone far away or high above us. No, we are calling someone "Blessed" who knows what suffering is all about, knows what it is like to be human, with all its doubts and fears.
She is the model for all who cling to God despite perplexity and adversity. Mary is the promise fulfilled, humanity completed, faithfulness rewarded. Simply put, she is us at the end of the journey we are travelling. That is why Mary is so compelling. She is indeed, a woman for all times and seasons. In Mary, we glimpse our own destiny. Not an Immaculate Conception. Not a virginal motherhood, not even the same glorious Assumption. In Mary, we glimpse God's dream for us for all eternity, oneness with Him in every phase of our life. But only if you, like that most courageous of women, have the courage to respond to Him — "Be it done to me, according to Your word."
Fr. Robert Warren
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Robert Warren Signature
Fr. Robert Warren, S.A.
Spiritual Director

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