Hello to you all on this First day of 2009 and on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
So much is going on the world today. It's interesting, listening to and reading the latest words of the Holy Father. He is calling on all of us to have a conversion in order to change the world. It's easy to sit back and point out all that is wrong with the world, but the hard part is looking within ourselves and seeing what needs to be changed in order to help that change along.
The Holy Father recently said, "If people only look to their own interests, the world will certainly fall apart." This is certainly true. At this time in history, when it seems more than ever that people are sensing a dramatic change on the horizon, we need conversion, we need Christ.
How often we relegate Christ to the farthest corners of our lives, and only call upon Him when we are in trouble or when we want something. How rude! I don't like that when people do that to me and yet how freely we do that to God Himself. Perhaps we think that God cannot possibly understand what is going on in our own little world or that He cares. Yet, all we have to do is look at His life to know this isn't true.
We see in the sorrowful mysteries that Jesus knows sorrow, He has experienced to an infinite degree all that we will ever have to suffer. This is a very small and partial list but a concrete example we can grasp onto is this:
In the first mystery we see that He knows the anguish of betrayal, desertion of friends He gave everything to and utter aloneness and abandonment by people.
In the second sorrowful mystery we see that He knows physical pain.
In the third we see that He experienced mental pain.
In the fourth and fifth mysteries we see that He has embraced frailty and falling down on the path of life. He knows being mocked, ridiculed and judged. He knows poverty, misunderstandings and trials.
Have we not all experienced these things to one degree or another? Do we not complain that God has abandoned us and that we are all alone in our sufferings?
We forget that Jesus has undergone everything. That He is a man like us in all things but sin. He's been there, done that.
Why would God descend to live such a life as us humans?
Why bother? to show us what it means to be fully human. That this life is passing, we are only pilgrims on this journey. He shows us how to grow in these trials and how to bear fruit through all of them. And mostly, to show us that we are never alone. Even though Jesus is abandoned by frail and faulty humans, the Father, the Eternal, is always with Him.
And so it is with us. We focus our eyes on God and put our trust in Him. That daily we place our hand in His and allow Him to lead us, trusting that no matter what happens this day, God will be with us. When we do this, we can reach out to others. Suddenly we see that we are not the center of the universe. We grow beyond our self-centeredness and are able to live with the realization that there is much work to be done in spreading the light of the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ. We see that God is in control of the universe, not the stock market or the government. We see that this life is passing away and we are called to a great and noble dignity as sons and daughters of the Most High. We are called to be great because God is great. We are made in His image and likeness.
If you are looking for an excellent book to read on this subject that explains these realities in a far better way than I can do here, I would highly recommend Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book, 'Arise from Darkness.' It is absolutely amazing and really gives a person solace in these troubled times that come upon us.
May the light and power of Christ find a place in your heart this New Year. May Jesus and his beautiful Mother Mary be with you, to lead you and guide you along the pathway of life. May you in turn let this light shine upon all those you meet and remember in your prayers.
You and your intentions will be in our prayers this year. We thank God for all those who have helped us and blessed our missions this past year. We could not continue to serve without the generosity of all of our benefactors. Thank you so very much.
Sr. Miriam James, SOLT