Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

8/15/2008 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mary is a model of true humility and a needed antidote to an age of arrogance.

Highlights

By

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/15/2008 (5 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - Several years ago I was an invited guest at a celebration of the life and ministry of a significant evangelical Protestant leader.

It was a “black tie” affair, accompanied with all the fanfare. Held in a posh ballroom in Southern California, it was a nice opportunity for my wife and me to experience this kind of an event and to pay tribute to this man who had touched our own lives in many ways.

I was one of only a handful of Catholics who attended the event and I was honored to be there to pay tribute to this man.

At the end of the evening, Reverend Jack Hayford, a giant of evangelical Protestantism, and a man of great integrity, gave the concluding tribute, address and prayer to conclude the nights’ festivities.

Most of the evening was filled with accolades, music, stellar performances, multi-media presentations and the consumption of the finest of food fare. There was nothing inappropriate about it all. It was all well intended and everyone enjoyed the evening.

For my wife and me it was doubly unusual.

We were in a grand, lavish ballroom, surrounded mostly by Christians of a different tradition and “culture” than our own as Catholics. We did not fit in. That was not that unusual. Over many years I have been the “Catholic guy” in collaborative efforts with evangelical Protestants and other Christians. It is a unique distinctive of my own vocation. It flows from a long term commitment to integrate my faith, my life and my convictions by living in the “real” world. Hopefully it is also a response to my hope that my small efforts can make a meaningful contribution to the common good.

However, I was truly surprised at the final fare that ended this lavish event. It was better than any of the food courses because it satisfied a deeper human hunger, a hole in the soul. Pastor Hayford’s message, (to the surprise of some), was that we are living in, what he called a “Mary Moment.”

With genuine affection and deep insight he broke open the meaning of the life and mission of the mother of the Lord as a model for all in that room and beyond who would follow her Son in the Third Christian Millennium.

I was delighted because I agree.

Through an inspiring exegesis of the biblical text often called the “Magnificat”, and using the few other references to Mary in the biblical texts, he offered the life of the Mother of the Lord as a model for all Christians and encouraged all those present to follow the path of simplicity, humility and obedience.

He emphasized the particular words spoken by Mary at the Wedding Feast of Cana when, after imploring her Son to perform His first public miracle (ah, the powerful intercession of a mother!) she directed those who were serving to: “Do whatever He tells you.”

With characteristic evangelical fervor and a heart of compassion he suggested to all of us that as we approached the Third Christian Millennium, we were living in a “Mary Moment.”

Over the years since that event, we have crossed over what John Paul II called the “threshold of hope” and we have entered the Third Millennium.

Truly understanding, and living, the implications of what that good preacher called this “Mary Moment,” could help us all. Mary is a model of true humility and a needed antidote to an age of arrogance.

There is a lot of misunderstanding, fear and sincere disagreement concerning so much of what has evolved over two thousand years of Christian history as it relates to this little Virgin of Nazareth. Some of the practices of piety that have evolved around efforts to honor her in my own tradition are subjects of great tension with other Christians.

Yet we all believe that she was chosen to bear the Word of Life. Perhaps we can begin by acknowledging that the heart (and fruit) of true "Marian" piety in any Christian’s life should be the rare and priceless virtue of humility. It was this virtue that so characterized her response of faith to the invitation of the Holy Spirit in her own life. When understood in this sense, this kind of "Marian" piety is not only piety but prophecy.

Those who live surrendered lives of poured out love, like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, are esteemed these days by all who have the eyes to see precisely because of the way that they personify the Love that they profess.

They make that love real in the flesh.

In conforming their lives to love they are not arrogant, rather they are prophetic. In that sense they are also “incarnational”. They “en-flesh” the gospel, the “good news” and show forth the Love of Jesus Christ in ways that transform other peoples lives. Ultimately, one person at a time, they literally change the world around them.

A great hero of the Christian faith, Francis of Assisi once captured the spirit of these kinds of folks (of which he was one!) in these words of wisdom: “I preach the gospel at all times …and sometimes I use words.”

Catholics, Orthodox, and many other Christians especially honor Mary as the “Mother of the Lord". She is the woman singularly chosen in the eternal plan of God to be called “mother” by Jesus and to bear God Incarnate in her womb for nine months.

That womb of that mother was a “temple of glory”, an “ark of the Covenant” and a new “tent of meeting” where heaven touched earth! Though Christians profess that within her womb was resident the uncreated “Word” from the Father, in a real sense every child in the womb is a created word of love and should be received as a gift from heaven.

She was also a real mother who was privileged to, (along with Joseph), raise the One who lived within her for nine months after He was born. In her presence and with her human influence, the biblical texts tell us He “grew in wisdom and stature” in His Sacred humanity.

For these reasons alone, is it any wonder that Christians for 2000 years have been captivated by the implications of her life?

Perhaps in continued reaction to perceived excesses in focus on her in the past, there has been a tendency to downplay the role of Mary in the plan of salvation that is the heart of the Christian revelation. This is unfortunate on many fronts.

The vocation or call of Mary was no "ordinary" vocation. The late great Bishop Sheen (the first "televangelist") once put it this way: "if you were God and you could choose your mother, how good would you choose her?” This was an effort by the Bishop to respond to the assertion in some Christian circles (perhaps in reaction against what has been perceived as an “overemphasis by Catholics on the importance of Mary) that she was not significant at all.

The good bishop was correct. She was chosen from among all women. She was “highly favored” or “full of grace”, the scriptures tell us the Angel proclaimed upon that visit that changed her life (and our own) she was “blessed among women.”

But in another way, her life was very ordinary. Perhaps that is why we fail to look more closely. We have a difficult time grasping the truth that the ordinary can be extraordinary. This little ordinary woman, virgin and mother has inspired the greatest and holiest Saints throughout Christian history.

For example, when one probes the lives of Augustine of Hippo, Bernard of Clairveaux, Therese of Liseux, the late Theresa of Calcutta and so many others within the Christian tradition, including Martin Luther, one finds a common love for and devotion to Mary.

Were they in error? Or are we perhaps missing something?

Is this truly a “Mary moment”?

This article is adapted from a chapter of “The Prayer of Mary: Living the Surrendered Life" by Deacon Keith Fournier

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Memorial of Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: We are all Called to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ Watch

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading


Was St. Christopher a real saint? A new perspective

Image of Is St. Christopher real? Only you can decide for yourself.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Is Saint Christopher a real saint? This is a question debated by fans -and detractors of the historic figure of St. Christopher. Christopher was removed from the canon of Catholic Saints in 1969 since there was no evidence he existed that could satisfy Church ... continue reading


Does your marriage need help? St. Rita knows...

Image of St. Rita is the patron saint of difficult causes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is the feast day of St. Rita, who is the patroness of impossible causes, especially rough marriages and cases of domestic abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Rita had a hard life. As a child she asked her parents to enter a convent, but they arranged a ... continue reading


St. Eugene de Mazenod who cared for the poorest Watch

Image of St. Eugene organized the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to care for the world's poor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today's saint of the day is St. Eugene de Mazenod, who was born in France during the era of the French Revolution and lived through national upheaval but cared for the world's poorest, even when the Church was persecuted. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Eugene ... continue reading


St. Dymphna, patron of those with mental afflictions, pray for us! Watch

Image of The National Shrine of St. Dymphna at St. Mary Parish in Massillon, Ohio, USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

St. Dymphna is our Saint of the Day. Dymphna is a 7th century Irish saint, often invoked against mental illness. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Dymphna was born to a petty Irish king and was desired by her father for marriage after the death of her mother. It ... continue reading


Remembering Saint Dymphna; the patroness saint against insanity Watch

Image of St. Dymphna is typically artistically represented with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sometimes referred to as Saint Dympna or Saint Dimpna, Saint Dymphna had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel, in the province of Antwerp, Belgium. Saint Dymphna's story dates from the middle of the 13th century. Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238 - ... continue reading


Saint Matthias, an outsider welcomed in

Image of St. Matthias was welcomed in from the outside. We are invited to do the same for others.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online's saint of the day is St. Matthias. Matthias is the apostle who replaced Judas after his betrayal and suicide. The selection of Matthias is detailed in the Acts of the Apostles. Matthias is associated with luck and is invoked against the temptations of ... continue reading


Fr Paul Schenck on the Feast of Athanasius: Defenders of Life Against the World

Image of Fr Paul Schenck

By Fr. Paul CB Schenck

Athanasius vigorously defended the divine personhood of Christ, even when it seemed the majority of the Church had accepted Arius's error. Athanasius contra mundum - it was Athanasius against the world! So it is in our pro-life effort today. The denial of the ... continue reading


Duc in Altum: Men, Put Out Into the Deep on the Feast of St Joseph Watch

Image of

By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

This model of Christian manliness recommends himself to us not for any strange or exciting things he did (because he really didn't) but for the daily listening to and heeding the voice of Almighty God - in the home, in the synagogue and Temple, in the ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:1-6
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 146:1-2, 2-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, my soul!2 I ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 31st, 2014 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipúzcoa, Spain, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter