Mother of Mercy

virgin mary

Pope Francis said in an address from 2013, “Mary, whose “yes” opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that He can untangle the knots of our soul by His fatherly mercy.” What would this Jubilee Year of Mercy look like without Mary saying yes to God’s plan for her? Would we even have such a year?

Mary is the Mother who lovingly brings us to God, the one who turns human “yes’s” into miracles. Mary not only gave birth to the Son of God, she gave birth to our hope that by our own affirmative reply to God’s calling in our life, that God will comfort and care for us as His own. Our Lady is then not only the Mother of God, but the Mother of Mercy, for without her, the pathway of mercy and grace does not break into our world.

We then must demonstrate our gratefulness for her answer to God by becoming vessels of God’s mercy for others. Just as He turned her “yes” into the Incarnation, God can turn our “yes” into a way for others to encounter Jesus Christ. God can untangle knots in others through our generosity and compassion. He can shower mercy upon a world in such desperate need of it through our actions and gestures of love. This is what it means to be a mature disciple and to live a stewardship way of life. Mary is the Mother of God, but she is our Mother as well. What better way to give thanks to the woman who made this possible with her gesture of love by offering that same love to the world.

Everyone Deserves Love

photo from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockford, IL

photo from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockford, IL

Years ago, I asked our parish faith formation children to pray for children who were seeking to be adopted into a loving family. I received the first names and pictures of children in foster care in our area and gave each class a different child. In the month of stewardship of prayer that we were observing, they were to pray for these children each day of the month. It was a moving experience for the children and me. To even contemplate the reality of so many children in the world who had no place to truly call home-made us emotional. After some time had passed, I contacted the service that had supplied the names to me. About 70% had found permanent families! What a tremendous use of prayer!

We have been given many wonderful things in this life, including the ability to pray. But there are more people who can pray than there are children who live in stable families. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, nearly 400,000 children in the US are living without permanent families. In 2011, UNICEF stated that there were close to 18 million orphans who had lost both parents and were living in orphanages or on the street. I can only assume that with the events of the past few years, particularly in the Middle East, that staggering number has only increased. To think about it is truly devastating.

The Holy Family were refugees, having to flee their land to avoid persecution and death. But thankfully, they had each other. The Son of God already had to be born in a stable. Imagine what welcome this world would have had for the newborn King if not for his earthly parents.

Not all of us can adopt a child. But we can all use our gift of prayer to pray for those who long for love. Everyone deserves love.

To find out more about adoption, contact your local Catholic Charities office.