Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 358/573

...proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.



If the Holy Trinity is the preacher's bane, the Blessed Mother is our special delight. It doesn't matter which passage of scripture or moral virtue they might want to celebrate, Mary exemplifies it. 
In today's first reading, which is the one scheduled for this ninth Saturday of Ordinary Time, we hear Saint Paul's exhortation to the younger Saint Timothy, to keep the faith. These are the parting words of the aging apostle to his protege. He speaks with the voice of hardened experience about  
people (who) will not tolerate sound doctrinebut, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truthand will be diverted to myths.
You need only to watch a religiously-oriented story on the History Channel to discover that, or attend your local mega-church with its predominantly Catholic congregation. They don't want to worship the Truth, they want entertainment. If it's vaguely "educational," so much the better. 
Mary teaches us the virtue of perseverance. She doesn't have much to say. Her most brilliant idea is, "Do whatever he tells you." When you think about it, that's all we need to know about the spiritual life. 
She accompanies us throughout the year with the rosary. It's four sets of mysteries lead us into contemplation of Jesus; we fix our gaze on him as surely as she watched her infant son. Distracted by an idiot driver during the afternoon commute, her beads lead us back into the quiet routine of contemplative prayer. The rosary is her hand in mine. 
Watching Mary through her infrequent appearances in the New Testament, we realize she  was self-possessed in all circumstances. I don't like those images of a fainting, shrieking woman on Calvary; I think she had the self-possession of the Maccabean widow. She might have said to Jesus, "I cannot imagine why this is necessary but I have no doubt that you understand; and I am with you to your dying breath." 
She will put up with hardship, performing the work of an evangelist, fulfilling her ministry as Mother of the Church throughout her life and into eternity. 
Our Lady of Guadalupe -- who astonished the Spanish Empire when she said to the mestizo Juan Diego, "Am I not your mother?" -- travels with the Gospel to every nation. With the Spirit of Pentecost, she belongs to every ethnic race and speaks every dialect of every language. She dances and sings with children, adults and old people in the sheer delight of being the Mother of God. 
Like the first disciples who left John the Baptist to follow the Lord Jesus, we find shelter, comfort and courage in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.