Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary - 1

I've been reading Mary the Mother of God by Léon Joseph Cardinal Suenens. It's a wonderful book which quickly transports the reader into the heart of the mystery of God's greatest masterpiece, the Mother of his Son. So good is this book that I decided to let it inspire and guide me to make a number of homiletic reflections on Mary for those Marian occasions which occur throughout the year. To sacrifice originality is a small price to pray. I recommend this book to you. Google it!


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As a young man I recall listening to a homily on Mary by the assistant priest in our parish. It was marvellous. It moved me so deeply I have never forgotten the moment though I cannot now, more than fifty years later, tell you of its content, I can tell you that the words of that priest, so beautiful and compelling, found their way into my heart and inspired me with an enduring love and appreciation for Mary, the Mother of Jesus and my mother.

There are places in Cardinal Suenens book where the glowing coals of this same fire leap into flame and my heart finds itself suddenly exalting in the mighty things he has done for Mary, and for me, in giving her to be mine.

But, my dear friends, have you noticed the strange silence about Mary which envelops the pulpits of our churches? Her statue, thank God, is still generally given a prominent place in our sanctuaries but mention of her seems to have been restricted to the tiniest of invocations, or to stingy acknowledgments of her greatness.

And yet, it has been my experience that faithful Catholics still want to know about her, are still keen to hear her spoken of and recognised as an essential part of their Faith. Indeed, who would not want to know her, the Mother of the Redeemer and our Mother? Who could listen to the great symphony of our salvation and yet fail to recognise the beat of her heart in every movement?

As the antiphon for the Catena Legionis asks with astonishment and awe:  Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array? This is the cosmic Mary: the Queen of Heaven and the Queen of the earth and, therefore, the Queen of all Creation.

But if Mary is Queen of all she is also Mother of all, and like every mother she knows each one of her children in an intimate and personal way. If Mary is mother of all she is also my mother. She knows my name and all the personal details of my life; even things I have already forgotten.

The Queen who is adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown (Rev 12:1) is also the Mary who knocked on the door of her cousin Elizabeth's house and helped her with her daily chores, and who stood beneath the Cross of her dying Son.

Mary belongs to everyone and so she belongs to me. I am her child and she is my spiritual Mother. Let us all resolve to get to know her better and to allow her to play a larger part in our life, especially in our prayer life.

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