Believing in the Lord’s Promise: Weekly Message for 05-10-2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

Every disciple of the Lord faces two basic doubts – filtered, however, through apparently endless permutations. The first is a doubt about God’s goodness; the second is a doubt about his power.

To the first, we’re battered by whispers: “Can you really trust God? How can you be sure he will come through? Does he actually care about you? Did God really say…?” This temptation tends to envision God as a distant despot seeking power and control. 

To the second, we may doubt whether God is truly all-powerful. In other words, why does evil seem so dominant if God has the true power in the world? If the first doubt is about whether God will fulfill his promises, this second doubt is about whether God can fulfill his promises. 

The month of May is dedicated especially to the Blessed Mother, and Mary, more than any other human person, illustrates how to face these temptations. In this regard, St Luke describes two activities characteristic of Mary: she treasured, and she pondered. 

Mary “treasured” by allowing God to reconcile what at first seemed irreconcilable. She knew that “all things serve the Lord” (Psalm 119:91), and that therefore God is always working for our good (Romans 8:28 and John 5:17). She simply held the Lord’s action in her heart, while giving him permission to act. 

And Mary “pondered” by inviting the Lord into every situation, every thought, and every feeling: “How can this be…?” In other words, she poured out her heart to God (Psalm 62:8), taking everything captive for him (2 Corinthians 10:5) and sharing her inner world with the Lord.  

This treasuring and pondering, the fruit of grace, enabled her to trust the Lord’s goodness and his power; she believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled (Luke 1:45). It also enabled her response “Let it be done to me according to your word” throughout her life, in times of sorrow and in times of joy. 

As we honor Mary each May (which, not coincidentally, begins – and often ends – in the Easter season), her example poses a question to each of us. What situations, what thoughts, what feelings, what memories, what experiences, might the Lord be inviting me to hold in my heart and ponder with him? What would it mean to bring them to him in the light and the power of his Resurrection, and to allow that Resurrection to claim my heart and my entire life? 

In that way, we, too, will perceive the meaning of the words “Blessed is the one who believes that the Lord’s promise will be fulfilled,” and our lives will become a surging Magnificat to the faithfulness of God.

In Christ,

Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC

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