How could one even begin to express all that this year has held for each one of us? Apart from the pandemic and its widespread ramifications and challenges, personal and communal suffering, there have been many natural disasters.
The year began with raging bushfires and infernos across the country of a like never seen before. There have been volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, storms at sea, melting ice caps and avalanches. Violence is everywhere, in the home and on the street, as it sows fear in the heart for both young and old. It often seems that individualism and the I/me attitude override the meaning of life, and who we are before God. We are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore for love, the interconnectedness of all things that dispels the evil surrounding us. Does the serpent whisper in the ear of so many people, especially our young, as he did to Eve, ‘’…you will be like God” (Gen 3:5)? The Evil One cannot speak the truth but can only lead astray those who seek the truth, who seek love. Jesus’ mission was to show us the love of the Father, and it is in that love we are called to be present to our world. So many on the front line of care have answered that call with love and compassion, as well as so many people have reached out to the stranger in our midst. For this we can be ever grateful.
What does it mean for me at this time to live the spirit of the Little Company of Mary? Where is the place to find this company of Mary? The obvious answer is of course at the foot of the cross. The cross remains the symbol of horrendous suffering and shame, yet it is a symbol of glory and resurrection for us who believe, and continue to believe, no matter what! With the outpouring of water and blood from the side of Jesus as he died, the elements of birth were giving new life to the world even at chaos at that time in history. It is close on 140 years since Mary Potter wrote the Path of Mary, and the opening line reads, “We live in perilous times”. She goes on to reveal how we might live in hope despite all that was causing so much suffering at the time of her writing. May we hear Jesus say, “watch and pray” (P.5) as we unite with Mary. Mary Potter further develops devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus and its powerful efficacy to bring about the mercy of God on those most in need, especially the dying estranged from Love. However, the need is now for our world to turn again to God, who alone can restore the meaning of life and a return to the garden of the resurrection, there to meet the Risen Christ. We hear the message, “watch and pray”, and so often Jesus says, “do not be afraid”. These words arise out of the silence of our hearts as I hear the chant of the canticle from Philippians (Phil 2:6-11) prayed by the Benedictine Monks with the heart piercing drawn out response, “Lord Jesus”, or perhaps the lone bugle playing the Last Post on Remembrance Day in an empty cathedral, or again the silence over the land before a snow fall or a storm. These are moments that draw us to watch and pray, Come, Lord Jesus!
“Our hearts shall be attuned to the Heart which opened on the cross and poured forth mercy for all, when it poured forth his Precious Blood” (Mary’s Call P.5).
“Beauty is in the petals of a flower, the veining of a leaf and God would have beauty in every part of human life” (Life or God’s Human Family P.25).
Marie Therese West LCM