In this time of Advent and of the Extraordinary Jubilee my heart says “look to Mary.”
Mary is Jesus’ mom (OK you probably know that). Mary carried Jesus for 9 months and then for 33 more years. Mary wiped his nose, changed his diaper, and left him at church. Mary is a mom, which is awesome because a lot of times I need a mom’s help. But Mary is also a lot more.
Mary is a vessel of mercy. She literally carried “Love and Mercy itself” (Diary of St. Faustina, par. 1074) and brought Salvation into this world.
Look to Mary.
At the Annunciation, by the Holy Spirit, Mary received the gift of bearing the Son of God.
Shortly after she went to see her cousin Elizabeth. There Mary exclaims the Magnificat, a song of praise to God.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and Holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
Mary knows what God has done. She knows that her son is to be the savior Israel has waited for. She knows that God is fulfilling his promise of mercy through her.
Look to Mary. She is still a vessel of mercy. She is still bearing Christ to this world. She is still carrying light and hope and peace and joy and freedom. And through her God wants to fulfill his promise of mercy to you.
A mother understands love and mercy probably more than anyone else. A mother knows that a child must learn to comfort himself so she lets him cry until he falls asleep. A mother knows it is a best for a child to have boundaries so she sometimes has to tell him no. A mother knows that it is best for a child to grow up and take responsibility for himself so she lets him make his decisions himself.
There is so much mercy in the way a mother loves. There is also great sacrifice. Mary understood this more than anyone. She understood that with this great gift to love a child there would be great sacrifice involved. She stood by her son as he was crucified. Pope Saint John Paul II writes “Mary is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense we call her the Mother of mercy; our Lady of mercy, or Mother of divine mercy” (Dives in Misericordia, par. 9).
Mary’s love cannot be separated from God’s mercy. She is the Mother of mercy, the Mother of love. She is closest to the heart of God.
Look to Mary, the Mother of mercy.
(Madonna della Misericordia, painting by Domenico Ghirland)