Today was a refresher as I had the opportunity to celebrate several Masses of the feast. In the middle of a volatile part of the world on the brink of war, it was a delightful reminder that Mary, as a good mother, is always so very near to us. I reflected on her presence in my life from college to seminary life to priesthood. What came to mind was the words she spoke to St Juan Diego who tried to avoid her and her request of building a church in her name: "Am I not here who am your Mother?" Such simple words yet such a powerful reminder of Jesus' gift to us at the foot of the cross, his own mother.
As a seminarian I once painted a picture of our Lady of Guadalupe and entitled it after that simple quote she spoke to Juan Diego. So often we get caught up in our daily lives, self-absorbed and forgetful of God's presence enveloping us and our brothers and sisters, the saints, who've gone before us and now cheering us on. Let's never forget this no matter how good or how hard life may get. Let's be open to God's grace like Mary who is also a vessel of grace and his ever-flowing love for us.
Furthermore, Mary is a sign of hope for us: In the words of Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus from a homily in August 2102: "Mary is the dawn and splendor of the Church triumphant; she is the consolation and hope of the people still on pilgrimage, says today's preface. Let us entrust ourselves to her maternal intercession, so that she obtain from the Lord the strengthening of our faith in eternal life; may she help us to live well and with hope the time offered to us by God. A Christian hope that is not only a nostalgia for heaven but a living and active desire of God here in the world, desire of God that makes us pilgrims who are unwearied, nourishing courage and the power of faith in us, which at the same time are the courage and power of love. Amen."
Lastly, let us all pray together for peace, especially here in the Mideast, for the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the avoidance of US involvement and for peace between Muslims and Christians. Let's entrust this difficult task to the Blessed Mother by the grace of God. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us! Hail Mary...