The Good Steward — Mary is a model for all

Daniel Conway

To celebrate Mary is to celebrate the closeness and tenderness of God who meets His people, who does not leave us alone, who has given us a Mother who cares for us and accompanies us.” — Pope Francis

Today we are rediscovering the special relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit. St. Luke goes out of his way to tell us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was present with the disciples praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit. 

Mary was present when the Church was born on Pentecost, and today she remains active, supportive, and fully engaged both as the Mother of the Church and the model for how we are supposed to live as missionary disciples of her Son. 

Mary is a strong woman who in her earthly life was faced with every imaginable sorrow and injustice, but who persevered and never lost hope. Mary is the first disciple of Jesus. She followed in his footsteps, accompanying him in good times and in hard times, until she stood with him at the foot of the Cross. 

In her suffering and her grief, Mary demonstrated beyond any doubt that she is a woman of faith, hope and self-sacrificing love. If anyone can help us deal with the problems we face today, it is Mary, the mother given to us by the Crucified Christ.

In these turbulent times, Mary shows us how to be open to God’s will and to accept what we cannot understand. She who is full of grace responds: “I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). 

This stance is one of hope as well as wonder. It encourages us to trust that God has a plan for us and for our world in spite of all the chaos, darkness and despair we see all around us. 

Mary’s response, when confronted with any difficulty great or small, was to trust in God’s Providence. In spite of her fundamental orientation to contemplative prayer (“treasuring these things in her heart”), Mary is never indifferent or uncaring. In fact, frequently her response is to act without hesitation, trusting that the Holy Spirit will be responsible for ensuring that the outcome will conform to God’s will.

In his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” (On Fraternity and Social Friendship), Pope Francis tells us that war is fratricide — brothers and sisters killing one another. War can never be an acceptable solution to our differences as individuals, communities or nations. 

Once we have accepted the fact that we are all members of God’s family — regardless of our racial, cultural, economic, social or political differences — we can never turn to violence as an appropriate way of resolving our differences no matter how serious they may be. 

Mary speaks of peace. She urges us, her children, to recognize that we are all members of one family and to build communities “where there is room for all” and “where justice and peace are resplendent.”

Dan Conway is a member of Holy Trinity Church, serves as a member of The Record’s editorial board and is a writer, consultant and stewardship educator.

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