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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Imitating Mary: 3 Ways

With the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception just two days ago, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe coming up, the whole week in my own reflections have been based on the Blessed Mother Mary and her model of a perfect christian life. For the first time in my life, I feel like God has placed in me a real, authentic desire to be obedient and truly humble with myself and who I am. For me there is an intense calling to radically change who I am internally and abandon once and for all my pride, my own personal ambition, my desires that hurt, my past and even my rule. But at least! what better time to have this reflection come by the Grace of God during the season of advent and even more so in between the feasts and solemnities of Our Lady, who IS the perfect model of obedience and humility by the way. This was the girl who abandon her self so easily, without hesitation and freely to be a holy tabernacle by bringing Christ into the world. I'm sorry but it makes perfect sense to pray to this perfect woman, our blessed Mother and ask for her intercession so that we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ (see what I did there.) So I'm in and I want the few readers I have to join me. As far as God calling me AS WELL AS YOU, here are three things that God has placed in my heart to change in my life starting right now during this very "Mary-week" in the Church. I call them the Marian Virtues.

1. Suffer in Silence.
When I think of Mary, I picture a pretty quiet person, a girl of strong faith and peaceful mannerisms if you would. The call is to live in silence each day, in the stillness and calmness without fast decisions or quick ordering of the senses.  There is discomfort since so often we might be so use to just getting up and going some where really quick, submitting to the passions. Silence brings peace and I think that in silence, it is when we are most actively listening to God and what he has to say to us. It is in silence that we can build up our lives around prayer and conversation with God. Now, so much of silence involves us being quiet, listening and sitting still. Not only sitting our physical bodies still from movement, but silencing and pausing our senses and those passions we have. When we look at the life of Mary, there is a call to silence what hurts us like our sin and learn to control those things that can potentially keep us from Christ. Mary, full of Grace, help me be silent in the night as you are.

2. Being Obediently Faithful
Mary is the ultimate model for obedience in the Church. I always find myself thinking about that, how faithful she was and how complete she was in her surrender to God. The joy is that we can obtain that perfect obedience with the help of God's grace through the blessed Mother who experienced it in the most profound, divine way possible. In the call to obey, on an even deeper level there is a call to die to self and that means letting other people have their way, even God. Thinking about Mary's surrender, we should have a desire to obey God that same way, perfectly, wholly, every bit of ourselves, everything. That means surrendering our lives, our own ways and what we think is best, all of that we should be willing to give up and obey God understanding that he will bless us with so much more in the future. It's okay if things don't go our way, and it's alright if the only trust we have at the moment is in ourselves, because God can restore that trust we once lost in him with the help of his Grace. The person to first experience this faithful obedience knows all about it, ask her to reveal and share with you her trust and obedience in God.  Mary, help me be as obedient as you someday.

3. Humbly Submitting
Mary, humbly submitted herself to God to bring Christ into the world. She also submits herself to us, to offer our prayers and petitions to Christ her son. The call is to humbly submit ourselves to other people, being present to them compassionately. Submitting ourselves to them in our service and doing it only for God's sake, just like the blessed Mother did for us. The great thing about this submitting is that we are not the only ones. God himself, became the least of men so that he might suffer and submit himself to death so that we can live. Being humble means to think less of ourselves, to be submissive and undistinguished. Submissive to those around us, and those who tell us of our faults and remind us of our shortcomings.Thomas Kempis says what does it matter that they bother us with our faults, they are doing the best possible thing for us, that is making us humble. Being humble involves an abandonment of pride and of course help from the one who experienced it firsthand for the sake of the world. Mary, help me submit myself to Christ present in other people through the ministry of his Church.

I think to reflect on this is an invitation to ask Mary for intercession and prayer that we can participate in the fullness of christian life and faithfulness as she has. She alone is perfect in all virtues and can lead us to God by her prayers. In our silence we can grow obedient to God and then we're given grace to submit ourselves to the people and their needs through the ministry of the Church. These are all things that I am called to work on, starting in silence, in prayer, faith and alongside the fervent intercessory prayers of our Most Holy Mother. 
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