Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Assumption of Mary 2012

What does the Church need today? Everyone seems to have an opinion. What does the Church need today? To get with the times regarding human sexuality? To be more Democrat or Republican? What does the Church need?

I think the Church needs Mary. We need to study her, to pray like her, and to live like her.

Let me explain.

I was at coffee last week with two young women, sisters by blood and by faith. One works as a missionary on the east coast, teaching High School students about the Catholic vision of human sexuality. I sponsor her efforts with a monthly donation. The other one is in a religious order, studying to be a sister over in Italy. These beautiful women were all the more beautiful that morning because we were talking about prayer.

Kelly, the one studying to be a religious sister, was simply radiant as she talked about the joys of receiving Jesus Christ in prayer: in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments, and in life. As I sat there, I prayed and realized that here was the spirit of Mary, sitting across from me. What do I mean?

Kelly and her sister sought to receive everything they could from Jesus. They sought to make themselves fruitful soil for the seed of the Word of God. We all remember the parable of the seed and the ground from Jesus? Some was sown on rocky ground or thorn choked ground or on a hardened path. But some was sown on fruitful, receptive ground and bears fruit 60, 80, and a hundredfold.

This is the heart of Mary.

Later that day I came across this description of the world and our need for Mary, it comes from the man who would become Pope Benedict:
“For in today’s intellectual climate, only the masculine principle counts. And that means doing, achieving results, actively planning and producing the world oneself, refusing to wait for anything upon which one would thereby become dependent, relying rather, solely on one’s own abilities. It is, I believe, no coincidence, given our Western, masculine mentality, that we have increasingly separated Christ from his Mother, without grasping that Mary’s motherhood might have some significance for theology and faith. This attitude characterizes our whole approach to the Church. We treat the Church almost like some technological device that we plan and make with enormous cleverness and expenditure of energy. Then we are surprised when we experience the truth of what Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort once remarked, paraphrasing the words of the prophet Haggai, when he said, ‘You do much, but nothing come of it’ (Hag 1.6)! When making becomes autonomous, the things we cannot make but that are alive and need time to mature can no longer survive. 
What we need, then is to abandon this one-sided, Western activistic outlook, lest we degrade the Church to a product of our creation and design. The Church is not a manufactured item; she is, rather the living seed of God that must be allowed to grow and ripen. This is why the Church needs the Marian mystery; this is why the Church herself is a Marian mystery. There can be fruitfulness in the Church only when she has this character, when she becomes holy soil for the Word. We must retrieve the symbol of the fruitful soil; we must once more become waiting, inwardly recollected people who in the depth of prayer, longing, and faith give the Word room to grow.”
On this day of our Lady’s Assumption into heaven, let us imitate her so that we may receive her reward. In the prayer I will sing right before the “Holy, Holy, Holy,” you will hear: “You would not allow her to see the corruption of the tomb, since from her own body she marvelously brought forth your incarnate Son.” Like Mary, let us learn to patiently receive and bring forth Jesus Christ. That is what the Church needs.