February 18, 2013 - To Jesus through Mary

Today our Living God speaks to us; “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”  To be holy is to be our real selves, who God created us to be.  To be holy is to be like God in my human nature.  In the first reading, God shows us that the first step in being holy is to avoid sin. It calls us to avoid dark choices in our life such as living a lie, harming another’s reputation with gossip, holding onto a grudge, and so many other decisions that harm our true selves and imprison us in a false, fallen selfish self.

Then in the Gospel, our Lord Jesus shows us the next step to being holy.  Not only by avoiding sin, but choosing to do good.  In fact to omit doing good also is a sin which harms us, for then we never fulfill our true potential.  Sins of omission are also a false self for we never discover who we are really meant to be in God’s Love.  Jesus tells the parable which describes the last judgment, saying to those who found their true place in the Father’s house: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  For whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Then Jesus shows the condemnation freely chosen by those on His left, not by pointing out the sins they had done, but showing them the good they could have chosen but did not.  “Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’”

As we journey this Lent preparing to give ourselves to Mary, it is not just a devotion meant to serve myself and get me into heaven although it surely helps.  It is much more.  To go to Jesus through Mary is to take a courageous journey of discovering my true self in the Mystical Body of Christ and with the help of their Sacred Hearts to then choose the good that I am called to do in my ordinary life.  My true self desires to be formed by Mary into Jesus as I begin asking her to lead me to the answer of the question I should be asking at every present moment: “What does true love require here and now?”

This may seem like a simple question, but to choose what love requires takes a lot of fortitude (courage), a gift given by the Holy Spirit, the Divine Spouse of Mary.  For example, have you ever noticed that in some circles and with certain people, it is fairly easy to feel holy or close to God, to be virtuous and think good thoughts.  But then we come to that one person, or those few people in our life, who seem to know just how to bring out the worst in us.  Suddenly we are not the patient, peaceful, loving person we thought we were becoming.  At that moment if we looked into the mirror, we don’t like what we see, kind of like the monster side of us casting its shadow.  Well, do not become too discouraged!  That person or persons that “touch your buttons” are doing you a favor!  They help you to see your false, fallen self.  People will even say, “it just wasn’t like me.”  You’re partially right; it isn’t your true self, but it is a false self you have hidden within.

So the journey to Jesus through Mary in order to become holy as God is holy, a two-fold discovery.  As we take this journey, Mary will help us see both our true self as we grow and our false self that Jesus wants to conquer.  Through the Holy Spirit, Mary will obtain for us the grace from God that whatever is hidden in the darkness may be brought out into the light.  While at times we will see how weak we can be, we can offer that weakness to Jesus through Mary and have hope that we can really become who we are meant to be.  We know when this is happening when we begin having a real affection for that person or persons that used to cause us such an aversion.  Seeing our new selves, we will begin to see the potential new self of everyone we meet, even that person who so gets under our skin.  We will be able to separate the hurt from who they really are and see Jesus hidden somewhere in them.  They become the person who is hungry, or thirsty, imprisoned or naked, so that if we can love that person we are loving Jesus Himself who says “whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me.”

Who is the person I have the hardest time loving in life?  That means who is the person who seems to bring out the worst in me?  Who seems to drag me into anger, fear or doubt?  Who in my life seems to drive me into sadness or little pity parties in my heart?  Have I been waiting all this time for them to change and then I would be able to treat them better?  But then I would lose a great opportunity, an opportunity for me to discover a powerful place of transformation not so much for them but within myself.  If they changed and life became easy, that little monster side of me will still be in the darkness hiding to be unleashed somewhere else.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, I want to give you permission to gently lead me into the Light of your Divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit, so that I may see the difference between my false self and who I am really supposed to be in the Father’s Love.