Following Mary's Wise Example
Mary Mother of God (2008)
Children take after their parents; their parents' example teaches them how
to be human.
The same thing goes for our spiritual life.
• In today's Second Reading, St Paul reminds us that through God's
grace we have all become brothers and sisters of Christ and, therefore,
children of God.
• This is what happened at baptism.
• At that moment we were born again, supernaturally; God infused his
divine DNA into our souls.
• The spiritual life consists of the gradual spread and development of
that DNA, until each one of us becomes a mature, wise, and fruitful
follower of Jesus Christ.
Today's Solemnity reminds us that if we have become Christ's spiritual
brothers and sisters, we have also become spiritual children of Mary.
• She was his mother in the flesh, and she is our mother in grace.
• And just as we learn from our natural mothers how to be good
human beings, so we learn from Mary how to become mature
• She is the living school where we learn every virtue that leads to
happiness and holiness.
In today's Gospel she teaches us one of the most important virtues of all:
• St Luke tells us how Mary responded to the wonderful things that
God was doing in and around her: "Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart."
• Just as Mary's womb was open to receiving God's living Word at the
moment of Christ's Incarnation,
• so her heart was constantly open to receiving God's ongoing words
and messages as he continued to speak through the events of her life.
This capacity and habit of reflecting in our heart on God's action in our lives
is both a sign and a source of wisdom.
And we can never become mature, courageous, and joyful followers of
Christ unless we develop it.
A Farmer Challenges Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
St Bernard of Clairvaux was once traveling with a poor, uneducated farmer,
who noticed that the abbot kept his eyes cast downward.
• When the farmer asked why the saint wasn't looking at the beautiful
countryside, Bernard explained that he wanted to avoid distractions
• In response, the farmer boasted, "I'm never distracted when I pray."
• The saint objected, "I don't believe it. Now let me make a deal with
you. If you can say the Our Father without one distraction, I'll give
you this mule I'm riding. But if you don't succeed, you must come
with me and be a monk."
• The farmer agreed and began praying aloud confidently, "Our Father,
who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name..." Then, after pausing for
moment, he asked St Bernard, "Does that include the saddle and the
I think we can all relate to that.
And if we find ourselves fighting distractions when we try to pray, imagine
what our interior chamber looks like when we're not trying to pray!
And yet, unless we learn to keep our hearts open and clear, like the inside of
• we will never be able to grow up, spiritually speaking;
• we may have a good time being distracted by the glitter and noise of
a consumer society, but we won't be growing in wisdom;
• and God's grace will never be able produce the music that our lives
were meant to produce.
A Daily Quiet Time with God
Mary is our spiritual Mother.
• She is more advanced than we are in the spiritual life, more mature.
• But like every good mother, she wants to put her gifts at our service;
she wants to teach us everything she has learned so that we can come
to share in her wisdom and joy.
• Our culture has a tradition of making a New Year's Resolution.
• Why not make a resolution to spend this year developing our prayer
life, developing our potential for a deep interior life?
Growing in wisdom and intimacy with God will have a positive effect on
absolutely every aspect of our lives - it is the resolution with the greatest
The closer we come to God,
• the more his strength enables us to resist our sinful, selfish
• the more his love for us fills our hearts with confidence, joy, and
• the more his wisdom opens our eyes to making good decisions and
following through with them;
• the more his mercy and patience helps us grow in mercy and
There are many things we can do to develop our interior life.
There are all kinds of resources available to help us pray. I have a simple
one page guide back at the entrance for anyone who would like to take one
We can make our resolution practical by starting right away with one little
thing to do in this area.
• At the very least, why not resolve to spend 15 minutes every day
alone with the Lord, using the Bible, the Rosary, or a good spiritual
book to "keep all these things (God's words and actions in our life)
and reflect on them in our hearts" - having a daily quiet time with
• And if 15 minutes sounds too big, start with 10.
• There is no better way to be smart children of the world's wisest
• And the best thing about it is that, if we ask her, she'll help us.