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Browsing Reflections Archive

August 15, 2022

Daily Reflection for Monday, August 15, 2022
 

Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Monday’s readings at this link:
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/081522.cfm

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Revelation 11:19A;12:1-6A,10AB
Responsorial: Psalm 45:10,11,12,16
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

Our reflection on Monday’s readings:
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. Luke 1:47-48

Today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary.   I confess that I have had a difficult relationship with Mary.  I could never really relate to the Mary depicted on holy cards with her Europeanized features and her too pious pose.   She did not feel real or approachable to me.   In May, I enjoyed bringing flowers to place in front of the little statue of Mary that my Mom kept on the kitchen windowsill.  But what I really loved was wandering in the fields and forests around my home to find those lovely wildflowers.

My devout, non-denominational brother-in-law once asked me to defend the Catholic perspective on Mary.   He repeated a criticism I had often heard that we worshiped Mary, actually placing her above Jesus.   Although I could recite the dogma from the catechism, I struggled to articulate our beliefs in ways that didn’t seem to be exactly what he was talking about.   This motivated me to study the origins of our beliefs about the unique place that Mary holds in our Catholic tradition.  I knew that many of the greatest saints were devoted to Mary and felt she was essential to reaching salvation.  Why?

The Mary that I encountered in the Magnificat from today’s gospel is what helped me finally begin to see her as a real person who had much to teach me about what it meant to live completely open to God’s will.   This Mary is no simpering goody-two-shoes.  After the first two stanzas when she expresses her awe at God’s invitation, she describes God’s preference for the marginalized and poor and praises Him for choosing to bring His salvation through one of His little ones instead of the rich and privileged.   This pattern is God’s own throughout much of the Bible, described as the “great reversal” in many of the stories and lessons in the Old Testament.  She believes in a God who keeps His promises.  So, although amazed that she is the chosen vessel for this great work, she is ready to play her part when asked.   She rolls up her sleeves and hastens to the hill country to visit her cousin, Elizabeth to share her joy at being the Mother of a key player in salvation history.   But she also comes to serve her older cousin who was surely physically more in need of help than Mary herself.   This is a woman of action whose faith compels her to serve.  This is a woman I can see teaching Jesus the complex nature of humanity and how to reach people and soften their hardened hearts.

I love to stop by the Our Lady of Guadalupe chapel at St. Monica.  The brown-skinned, barefoot, dancing Virgin who converted millions of indigenous people by showing them an image of a Mother who looked like them and, by extension, a Son with whom they could identify, is the Mary who is still at work in the world, leading people to her Son but never trying to claim she is greater than the Master.

I pray to continue to learn the lesson that the great saints such as St. Louis de Montfort taught that Mary is the “safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus”.

Kathy Cohenour

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