Saturday, December 31, 2011
Jan. 1, 2012: Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God
One day this week, someone at morning mass told me that a parishioner was in the hospital in Gonzales. I had several things on my to-do list that day and I did not know whether I had time to make a hospital visit. I quickly prayed and asked Blessed Mother whether she would like for me to go to the hospital immediately, and she said 'yes.' When I arrived at the hospital, I was told that the parishioner was no longer there. I wondered to myself, 'Why did Blessed Mother want me to come here when the parishioner isn't even here?' As I walked through the hospital hallway and turned a corner, there was a lady in the hallway, crying so I stopped and asked her what was the matter. She replied, "My mom and I just found out from the doctor that she cannot go back home. The doctor said that she needed to be in a nursing home where she can receive medical attention, but I don't want her to go to a nursing home. I've been taking care of her for the past 20 years." I asked, "How is your mom taking this news?" The daughter replied, "Much better than I am. She's okay with it, but I'm not." I went into the room and after chatting with the mom for awhile, she said, "Father, I told Jesus a number of times, 'my life is in the palm of your hands, Jesus. Do with me what you will.'" This elderly mother had complete trust in the Heavenly Father and in His will for her. She was sad that she could no longer be in her own home, but she did not feel as though this was the end of the world. The daughter told me that for more than 15 years, her mother had been going to that nursing home to help organize the rosary and mass for the residents. For many years, she was Jesus' presence to the residents and now she has the opportunity to be that presence even more so. I told the daughter and her mother the whole story about how I ended up at the hospital. Then I told them, "By sending me here to you, Blessed Mother wants you to know that she watches and cares about everything that's happening in your life and that she'll guide you and that you need not be afraid." As I left the hospital room, I reminded myself that this was one of those moments when I had to trust Heavenly Mother completely and promptly do what she asked me to do without questioning her.
Just like this mother and daughter, all of us have faced moments that have left us sad and confused. We feel at that moment that we are not capable of overcoming the challenge before us. This is the kind of challenge that Mary and her husband Joseph had to face that night in Bethlehem with a child about to arrive amid most difficult of circumstances. The mystery for us is that Heavenly Father chose a weak human to bring His divine Son into this world. If He is the Almighty God wanting to accomplish His will through weak human beings why did He not provide a more comfortable and safe place for Mary and Joseph to give birth to His Divine Son?
On this Feast Day of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, Heavenly Father is telling us that He did provide the ideal place--the womb of a young woman who had complete trust in the Father. He gave Mary every grace necessary to fulfill Her role as Mother of God. For each of us, it's not the external things, such as monetary resources, circumstances, or timing, that determine whether we are capable of what God is asking us to do. Rather, it is our complete trust in the Father that allows us to do what He asks of us. But how do we know His will for us? It is through prayer that we know and understand the Father's will--that's how Blessed Mother knew the truth and trusted. We see in the Gospel that Blessed Mother always prayed, for she " kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Father has given us every gift we need and continues to give the necessary grace to do His will. We allow the distractions of our world to keep us from our true calling--to be His Son's presence in the world. His mother and many angels and saints are ready to assist us, but we have to call upon them and trust.