J.M.J. Three decades ago, the Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal O’Connor, remarked that an entire generation of Catholics in the
United States had been reared
practically devoid of any knowledge of Mary, the Mother of God. He lamented the
fact that Marian devotion had seemingly hit a record low.
Now, just several years later, we hear and read of a renewed interest in Mary. Books, audio and videotapes, movies and articles on Our Blessed Lady are being produced for an ever-growing audience.
It is not surprising that many Catholics have begun again to implore Mary’s intercession. People need mothers. Mothers provide stability and steadiness. In our constantly changing world, stability is at a premium. Holy Mary acts as a steady rudder in an age of moral chaos.
For centuries, Mary has been invoked under a myriad of titles: Our Lady of Grace, Queen of Peace, Our Lady Conceived Without Original Sin, Our Lady of Fatima, etc. Perhaps a new salutation – appropriate for our tumultuous times – might be added: Our Lady, Bearer of Stability.
Bethlehem to Calvary, from Cana to
the Upper Room, Mary was a woman of steadiness: rockhard in joy and sorrow.
Mary was also endowed with emotions. Inexpressible sadness occupied her Immaculate Heart as she witnessed the cruel persecution of Christ. Nevertheless, her eyes never withdrew from their constant focus: Jesus, her Son and the Son of the Immortal One.
One of the earliest lessons of a child is that the path of life is sometimes bumpy. There will always be hurdles or obstacles that cannot be ignored. Mary’s example gives believers hope that life’s challenges can be successfully met. Our Lady’s faith in her divine Son was her reliable anchor.
But Mary offers her children more than just an example of stability. Her intercession allows us to persevere in our daily duties. By Mary’s prayers and proximity to Jesus, we are sustained and nourished as we carry out our appointed tasks.
The stability that Mary enjoyed in good and bad times is possible for the modern disciple to possess. However, Mary’s life of union with God is not easily attained. There are many pitfalls to be overcome. But because of Mary’s reliance upon the Lord, she received the grace necessary to combat turmoil and temptation. Today, she invites us to accept with a joyful and receptive heart what God wants to do for us.
Many contemporary commentators have suggested that a primary problem for people today is the lack of identity, often called an “identity crisis.” We do not know who we are. We are confused about our personal self-worth, values and goals. We do not know where we are coming from or where we’re going.
Mary’s clarity of mission is in stark contrast to society’s confusion. Mary knew her role because she kept listening to God. The direction in her life came from her willingness—inspired by grace—to respond to God’s initiative.
The lack of stability in modern life is certainly evident. But there is a remedy for this illness. The salve that works wonders can be simply stated: receptivity to God’s will.
Mary, a human being like us, is positive proof of the tranquility that results from being faithful to the divine call. If, like her, we place our wills at the service of the Lord, we, too, can aspire to the kind of steadiness that she embodied.
Let us ask Our Lady, Bearer of Stability, to pray for us!