In a recent newsletter sent to parents, an Ontario Catholic elementary school shared six tips to finding peace of mind and boost happiness:
- Accept what you can’t change or control
- Practice forgiveness
- Practice mindfulness meditation
- Make time for yourself
- Keep a journal
- Get back to nature
Although nothing is inherently wrong with these practices and good can indeed come from them, what struck me about this list, was the underlying assumption that one can find happiness on our own, independently of others, independently of God. Naturally, under this assumption, the Ten Commandments become just arbitrary rules, the Beatitudes don’t make any sense, and the Cross (i.e suffering) has no meaning, hence their omission.
Accept what you can’t change? Imagine a world without St Paul’s incessant preaching, without the people that gave us the Magna Carta, without D-Day… Can one “practice forgiveness” in a world that denies the existence of sin? Getting back to creation without knowing the Creator, is like appreciating the Sistine Chapel ceiling without knowing Michelangelo, or walking up to the altar without understanding the Bread of Life – once the initial surge of wonder dissipates, a forest is just a bunch of trees, frescoes are just dry paint, the Eucharist is just another piece of bread.
St Augustine famously declared that we are all “restless until we rest in Thee”. The psalmist sang, ” I bless the Lord who is my counsellor, even at night my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord before me always, for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me. So my heart rejoices, my soul delights, my body too will rest secure,” (Ps 16: 7-9). Jesus Himself seems to know a thing or two about calming storms (Storm of Galilee), but like St Peter, we too will drown if we get distracted by the waters raging around us. So what is the rage all about these days? Under the slogan “my body, my choice”, radicals seek to assert a woman’s right to kill someone else’s body, without giving the child a choice. Ironically, this same crowd was awfully quiet, as both women and children were being coerced by the state under immense pressure to get jabbed with experimental injections.
As we celebrated mother’s day, I couldn’t help but think about the biggest, most important “yes to life” ever said by a woman. At this point, I want to state clearly that I love my mom and my wife (a mom herself), however, the woman I refer to is none of them. I wish to reiterate that I love my wife, who is beautiful in every sense of the word, but the most significant “yes to life” came from a young woman, Our Lady the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:38).
Immediately upon giving birth, worldly powers were already conceiving of plans to end the life of children (Massacre of the Innocents). Our Lady however, forever thinking of others (I.e Wedding at Cana), was focused with presenting her new baby to the visiting kings and poor shepherds, the first ever Eucharistic adoration!
Mama Mary like every good mother, knows how to guilt her sons into obedience – yes, even Jesus couldn’t escape this reality. At her request, He not only performed His first miracle a little bit ahead of time in Cana, He also walked back with her after missing for three days (Lk 2:41-51 Finding at the Temple). This would not be the last time He did this to her, and His answer to her concern would likely have been the same.
Only a fearless woman, full of grace would risk losing her family, risk losing her husband, risk being stoned to death, for the birth of her child. The saying “No Mary No Jesus. Know Mary Know Jesus”, takes on a different dimension when we consider that from the very first minute of conception, Mary literally carried the Body of Christ within her! I sometimes wonder if Mary’s experience with the false accusation, and potential death penalty, of committing adultery, influenced Jesus’ response to the woman faced with a similar situation, many years later (“let the first without sin…”).
Our Lady became our spiritual mother at the foot of the Cross, when Christ pronounced to John, “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:26-27). John stayed with her until the Assumption, and interestingly, was the only apostle not to suffer a martyr’s death. Mary was present at Pentecost to witness the birth of the Church, she appeared in Mexico and helped bring an entire continent to her Son (Guadalupe), she was there at Lepanto to help save Christian civilization, and she was even in Hiroshima. She then came to visit three little children in a little town in Portugal and continues to draw millions to her Son there (Fatima). She has gone to France, to Ireland, to Poland, to Brazil, etc etc. Mary is the great evangelist of all-time! She never ceases to care for her children as any good mother would, even in the midst of their rebellion.
Let us then take some time (hopefully more than once a year), to show gratitude to the brave women in our life, by fulfilling our duty as God commanded us (Ex 20:12), and honour our mother for choosing to give us life, as well as our spiritual mother, Mama Mary, for bringing to us His life.
- Immaculate Mary your praises we sing, You reign in heaven with Jesus our King
- A-ve, A-ve, A-ve Ma-ri-a! A-ve, A-ve, Mar- i – a!!
Holy Mary – Pray for us
Spouse of the Mother of God – pray for us
If publishing article online please attribute source Band of Christian Brothers with link to original article.