Consecration Renewal – Day 30

Day 30 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 29: Woman of Our Time

Bishop Bello opens this chapter by describing our longing to have Mary in our midst in a way that was so foreign to me that it bothered me for hours. There are too many examples to list, but here are a few; he prefaces most of them by saying that we want to see Mary:

  • immersed in the town news
  • wearing modern clothes
  • shopping in the same supermarket
  • earning her bread like everybody else
  • parking her car next to ours
  • coming back from the beach
  • going skating
  • having one of our surnames
  • going to our highschool
  • having her name in the phonebook

I read the chapter three or four times, struggling with my feelings of discomfort at Bishop Bello’s images of Mary in these various everyday modern roles and circumstances and his insistence that “we want” to see her like this.  He’s being ridiculous, I told myself.  Who thinks of Mary or visualizes her like this?  

I was much more comfortable with language and a concept of Mary such as from this passage, a little further on:

She is always ready to give us a hand, to share her hope with us. With her impressive purity, she makes us feel our need for God. We want her to share with us moments of celebration and of tears, work in the office and at home, aromas of oven and laundry, tears of departures and arrivals.

Yes, this was better, for me.  I could relate to this.  Yet something continued to gnaw at me.  Why had I reacted so negatively to his words?  What was really at the bottom of my discomfort?  And then I realized what Bishop Bello had accomplished – he had gotten me to acknowledge to myself that I do indeed still have a comfort zone with Mary.  Never mind whether those early examples of Mary were truly the way Bishop Bello thinks of her or whether he used them as a way of expanding our viewpoint; the fact was, they affected me viscerally – they got me out of my head. 

Yes, I want Mary in my life in so many ways – to protect me, to intercede for me and my loved ones and even strangers, to help me and guide me, to sanctify me, to bring me closer to Jesus and the Holy Trinity.  Yes, I want her to be with me, to love me, and to allow me to serve her and the Lord. 

 But how often do I only allow her to be a witness to the events and circumstances of my life, rather than be a part of them?  How have I kept my distance?  From what areas of my life have I either failed to include her or downright excluded her?  Mary is a person, after all.  She wants a relationship; she wants to be somebody to us.  How many times have I caused her to cry because she was right in the room with me and I ignored her?  How many times has she wanted to accompany me somewhere and I went alone without inviting her?  How many times was she ready with advice but I asked others instead?

 Thank you, Bishop Bello. Your words were gentle but the impact was hard, as in giant wake-up call.

Holy Mary, when Jesus gave you to us as our mother, he made you our contemporary. Come to our side and listen to us as we confide in you the everyday anxieties that assail our modern life: low income, stress, an uncertain future, doubts, fears, loneliness, fractured relationships, lack of love and communication even with those dearest to us, the dullness of sin…. Make us feel your reassuring presence, so we will know that you always stand by our side.

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3 Responses

  1. Yes, I’d read this before..I think the other posts were leading up to this. If she truly is a woman for all seasons, she’s got to be there in all of our situations…and she truly is. It’s just that we are not always aware of it. I think it’s also a matter of accepting that she wants to be our friend (best friend). So just like you’d want a best friend to participate in many things you do during the day, we should “want” or wish may be the better term, to be in her company. Just think of what pleasure we feel when casually meet a very good friend out on the street, just after parking the car…Just knowing that she has no limit of space or time, and that she’s always there, should be a reason for the same kind of joy in encountering her gaze when we least expect it (in other words, we don’t expect it because it is we who are not tuned in to her presence.)

    And the same goes for God, of course. 🙂

  2. You may be right, girls, and maybe I misunderstand some things, but one of the reasons we really don’t want any of the above examples he thinks we do is because that would be to drag Mary back into the world. To me, and since she was assumed soul AND body into Heaven where there is no corruption, it seems much better for her to drag us and our loved ones out of the world. I don’t think she cries if we leave her out of some things; I think she only waits and waits. She is primarily identified as the Mother of God all through the Church, and Queen; she is not idenitified as sister or friend. I really don’t know what to do with that. I have turned to her before for help as fellow wife and mother if not also a fellow daughter, but we have the saints for this, right?

  3. I don’t see it so much as dragging Mary back into a world where she doesn’t want to be, but as an acknowledgement that she really is with us, if we want her to be, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whatever chronological age we are, whether we’re at work, at school, at the store, etc. I think whether or not I ever end up feeling the need to “see” Mary herself in any of the rather typical and mundane examples Bishop Bello used, just by using that unusual imagery was really effective (for me) in helping me to see what areas of my life I was excluding her from, not consciously, but probably more out of a general sense that she wouldn’t be interested, which really isn’t true, is it. After all, throughout the Immaculate Heart consecration booklet and many other places as well, we always hear Mary ask us to turn to her in everything, to bring everything to her Immaculate Heart, and this particular chapter really helped me to see where I wasn’t doing that.

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