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Not Alone: Weekly Message for 5-9-17
Dear Digital Pilgrim, Pax Christi:
A hundred years is a pretty long time. This Saturday will mark 100 years since the miraculous apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal. Without a doubt, her simple message of faith, prayer, and repentance had a powerful spiritual impact on the twentieth century, and that impact continues. Every time Our Lady makes one of these dramatic appearances – Guadalupe, Lourdes, La Salette, Fatima… – she has an impact. But what is that impact supposed to look like in our own spiritual lives?
When Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after his Resurrection, he promised that he would “…be with us always, yes, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). It has always seemed to me that one of the ways he makes his presence felt is through his Mother. He explicitly gave her as a gift to the Church when he spoke to her and to St. John the Apostle, from the Cross: “Woman, behold your son… Behold, your Mother” (John 19:26-27). Official Church teaching interprets this for us in a beautiful phrase, calling Mary every Christian’s “Mother in the order of grace.”
Somehow, in a mysterious way, Mary continues to be present in the life of the Body of Christ – that is, the Church – just as she was so present throughout the earthly life of Jesus himself. Do you feel her spiritual presence in your life? Do you experience the comfort, the inspiration, the strength that her presence has poured out upon the lives of so many saints through the centuries?
Maybe sometimes we do, maybe sometimes we don’t. Jesus wants us to feel it, to benefit from it more and more. She is one of his many gifts to us. It is my hope and prayer that this month, during which the Church traditionally seeks to contemplate Mary and her role in a special way, could uncover another milestone for all of us in our pilgrimage to spiritual maturity. To that end, I want to suggest that you take some extra time in the coming weeks to explore the scriptural and doctrinal richness of healthy devotion to Our Lady. To help you do that, why not tap into one or two of our many Marian Retreat Guides:
- River of Wisdom: A Retreat Guide on the Rosary
- Welcoming the Word: A Retreat Guide on the Annunciation
- A Mother’s Tears: A Retreat Guide on Our Lady of Sorrows
- God Is Faithful: A Retreat Guide on Mary’s Assumption
Each of them, like all our Retreat Guides, contains reflections and resources designed to help bring your heart, mind, and soul into deeper, nourishing contact with the truths of our faith.
May God grant you a grace-filled Marian month as you continue seeking to, as Mary herself admonishes us in the Bible, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
May God bless you and keep you!
Fr. John Bartunek, LC, SThD