The Way of Mary
Deacon Keith A Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
“And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible." (The Gospel of Luke 2:34-37)
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 2:38)
The so called “practical people” are not really the most useful in the service of Christ’s Church, nor are those who merely expound theories. Rather it is the true contemplatives who best serve her; those with the steady generous and passionate desire of transfiguring and divinizing all creation with Christ and in Christ. It may sound paradoxical, but in the Church of Jesus Christ, the mystic is the only practical person.” Bishop Alvaro del Portillo...
How “impractical” the spiritual life seems to the contemporary mind.
Maybe this is because we have too often relegated spirituality to the realm of the monk or the ascetic and have become what we call “practical” - meaning that we have lost the ability to hear and see God?
Or perhaps, in a sincere desire to find deeper meaning in the daily grind of life, we have followed the “pied pipers” of some schools of self improvement that neither improve nor help us truly find the self we seek to improve?
Or, perhaps, we have followed modern simplistic formulas packaged as remedies for our emptiness and despair, only to find them even more meaningless at the end of all that effort?
The story of Mary’s encounter with God invites us to learn to listen for the voice of God in our own lives. It invites us to change the way we live. It invites us to walk in Mary’s way, which is the way of surrender to the One whom she bore and who was her Redeemer and Son.
Learning to Listen
When we learn to listen, to stop our incessant flurry of activity, we will begin to hear His wooing, His loving invitation. Mary did. That invitation is to enter into an authentic relationship with the God who created us and knows both who we are and who we can become. He calls and we only need to hear and say “FIAT”, “Yes”.
That is Mary’s way.
The Promise made to Mary required a personal response, her “Fiat”. Similarly, in each of our lives, the path to a fruitful spiritual life is our willingness to surrender. This gospel dynamic is a paradox to the modern mind, insisting that in losing our life we find it and in surrendering our self through love we find out who we are meant to become and are transformed in the dynamic process.
However, this insight is not simply a paradox (though it is that to those who do not have the ears to hear or eyes to see) but it is a path, a way that leads us to authentic contemplative prayer. This invitation to contemplation, when accepted and practiced, leads us toward developing an interior life that grounds us in the love of God and the life of grace, no matter how hectic our daily routine becomes.
Prayer becomes not something we “do” but a participation in the very life of God, a way of being with God, with ourselves and with the whole world. It prompts a new way of seeing the world wherein the ordinary becomes extraordinary and daily events become naturally supernatural. This is the beginning of authentic spirituality, the kind that truly improves us because it helps us to find the source of all truth, the One who is the “Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Making it our own
Mary’s way must become our own way. Because Mary’s way is the way of relationship- and the spiritual life is all about relationships, with God and in Him and through Him with one another and His entire creation.
The spiritual life is the gift of God. We do not “make it happen.” Rather, we receive and respond in love. It is about self-donation, receiving, giving, receiving … and in that pattern learning to be free, to truly live and die for love.
Only human persons can give themselves away in love like God did in Jesus Christ. They do so by exercising that which makes them most like the God who created them, their capacity for exercising their freedom. True Love is a truly free choice. It is made daily, sometimes hourly.
The Gospel of John tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave…” What did He give? He gave His Son. He still gives His son through the family that His Son draws to ...
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