If you look at it on paper, there is no reason why today shouldn’t be the very best time to be alive. We have more money, more medicine, and more information than ever before. Our lifespan is longer, our health better – we can even eat strawberries in the middle of August.
We live in a day and age that is rich, full of everything that you could ever possibly want.
And yet, you don’t need to read the New York Times or possess a degree in sociology to know that beneath the facade of ease and happiness are the same fears and feelings that have accompanied humankind since the very beginning. We’ve just gotten better at hiding them — which only serves to intensify the pain when it comes.
And it is coming. We don’t need a prophet to tell us that the next year will be a minefield. And we don’t need a historian to affirm that the last three have ushered in an age of uncertainty and instability the likes of which have not been seen in a generation. No one brave enough to really look at our society will like what they see.
And though we hear that better education or better politicians or better social media will fix our problems, the reality is that nothing worldly will do.
What we need is a miracle. What we need is a mystery. What we need is a mother.
We need someone who can take us, fractious children that we are, and love us and lead us on to what is good and right and true. We need someone who will help us grow up, without giving up on us in the process. We need someone whose tenderness and compassion knows no bounds.
We need a mother. But not just anyone will do. We need Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God.
The Blessed Virgin Mary has long been esteemed in the church catholic as worthy of the highest honor and praise — for through her, we have Christ. Through her flesh, God the Word took on flesh. This is no small thing; and she is no ordinary person.
Mary birthed the Savior, nursed him, cared for him, raised him, and then walked with him as his disciple. She was at the wedding where he transformed water into wine. She was at the foot of the cross when he was crucified. She was on the mount when he ascended into heaven and with the Apostles when the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of fire.
The story of Jesus is inseparable from the story of his Mother. She was there from the beginning to the very end. Her love never failing, her “yes” always constant. More than anyone, Mary accepted the will of God and dared to live within that, even when it felt like a sword to her spirit. Even when she watched her Son die. Through it all, Mary refused to let go of hope, for her whole life was alight with the knowledge of the One who brings life out of death and joy out of sorrow as surely as the flowers bloom and leaves unfurl each Spring.
And so it is that the same song would always be hers, even when it hurt to sing: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day, all generations will call me blessed. The Almighty has done great things for me, and Holy is his Name.”
She sang with astonished joy at her Son’s conception. She sang through the tears at her Son’s death. The tone of her voice changed, but the truth did not, for God is always bringing up the lowly. He is always feeding the hungry. He is always ready to give in abundance to those who lack. And we see that born out again and again in the Blessed Virgin’s life: for the woman who was bereft is now the mother of many children. She is ours, and we are hers, just as surely as God is our Father.
Now more than ever, when we feel the world pulling us apart, when we are afraid, when we are sorrowful, know that the Mother of our Lord loves you, is praying for you, is pointing you toward Him who is infinitely good. In her life and death, in her assumption into heaven, we receive so much hope: for she is there, even now, sitting beside her Son, never again to be parted. And she is praying that that end might be ours, too. AMEN.