This coming Monday is the Feast of the Assumption, and although this year our Feast Day is not a Holy Day of Obligation (since it falls so close to our Sunday Liturgies) the role of the Blessed Virgin was and still remains an important part of our Catholic Spiritual life and legacy. Mary always shows us the way to Jesus, the source of God’s mercy! A beautiful example of this can be found in John’s Gospel, Chapter 2 at the Wedding Feast of Cana when our newly-wed couple ran out of wine for their wedding guests. This would obviously cause quite a bit of embarrassment as well as spelt the end of the Wedding celebration. Mary’s response to the waiters was, “Do whatever he tells you…” Here, she is pointing out and referring to Jesus and she is also doing this reference to us! Mary is also saying to us as servants of our Lord who read John’s Gospel, “Do whatever he tells you…” It was Mary who helped bring about the first public miracle of Jesus! It was Mary who was
also present when Jesus performed his last miracle on the cross, by dying and rising for us.
This being the Year of Mercy, I often contemplate the fact that one of Mary’s titles is also called “Mother of Mercy.” Recall that it was Mary who first noticed the young newly-wed couples dire need which she then brought to the attention of Jesus. For me, the name “Mary” and “Mercy” go hand in hand. They are not only so close in spelling but also in attitude and disposition. A mother’s love is always directed toward compassion and mercy for her children no matter what the circumstance, no matter how they fail in what they say or do. Mary, the Mother of God, is really no different. Praying the rosary then or reflecting on the life of Mary always generates in me a sense of peace and mercy and well-being, since I know her maternal protection is strong and that she has a very close connection to her Son, Jesus, who is the Word made Flesh in God.
Over the course of the last several months, once a month we have been putting an insert in our bulletin and highlighting one of the Corporal Works of Mercy and one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. I have no doubt that Mary the Mother of God practiced these often. It might be a good idea for us pick this insert up out of our bulletin the next time it appears and put some of these words into practice. In this way we too can be like “Mary” and gain heart of “Mercy.”