MARY: MODEL OF THE INTERIOR LIFE
During Advent, the Annunciation is a powerful mystery to ponder as it reveals Mary’s interior life. The movement of Mary’s heart from fear, to wonder, to questioning and then to total surrender is the path we are called to follow in our lives. Every time I hear Mary’s response to Gabriel’s announcement and explanation, I am awed: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Here is a teenager, facing rejection and misunderstanding from her family, her betrothed, and her townspeople. And yet Mary affirms the truth that must be the foundation of our discipleship: “I am the Lord’s servant.” Sometimes it takes fear, and questioning in the depths of our souls, but through ardent prayer, Mary’s intercession, and the grace of God, we can ultimately attain this total surrender.
Upon reflection, I am sure that we all have witnessed role models who have been shining examples of total surrender to God amid suffering. Both of my parents were diagnosed with fast moving cancer and given six months to live when they were in their early sixties. My mom and dad were both faithful Catholic parents who worked hard and sacrificed much to provide for the physical and spiritual wellbeing of the seven of us. My younger brother and sister were still in high school when my father was diagnosed and died and my mother two years later. Yes, in the early months of their battle with cancer they were both fearful and my dear mother was angry with God for a brief time. However, my siblings and I, as well as our close family and friends were blessed to witness their total surrender and peace with God and all others before they passed. There is no doubt in my mind that they were both immediately admitted to the eternal joy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
As we continue our Advent journey and prepare for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus, let us offer praise and thanks to God for the vaccines which offer great hope of ending this global pandemic and most of all for the tremendous gift of His Son, Jesus, our Savior and Lord. In imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our personal role models, let us also pray for the grace to totally surrender our lives to Him. Although we cannot avoid the vicissitudes of this life, through daily prayer, loving service, Mary’s intercession and the grace of God we will attain our ultimate goal, eternal life in the arms of our Heavenly Father!
Christmas Peace and Joy!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM