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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Scripture Corner…

LIVING MARIAN SPIRITUALITY IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

In order to reflect on Mary and society adequately and relevantly we should not begin with the top-down Mariology approach - (katabatic approach): Immaculate Conception, Virginity, Mother of God, Assumption and Coronation. Many of our people simply find it difficult to understand or they simply let it go since the man or woman of God has  said  or  preached about it. We  should  rather begin  with  Jesus  and  his work, since for more than anyone else Mary lived for Jesus  (anabatic approach).  Her life  was linked  to  his. We  need to consider Mary in relation to Jesus' mission based on his integral human liberation. Mary  participated  in this task, perhaps even helped to evolve Jesus' thinking, lifestyle  and  the  way  of presenting himself to the public.

Certainly, these titles should not put us off and think that Mary had nothing to do with the reality of her time; and hence, our time too. She, indeed, was a very simple woman in following her son, Jesus Christ. De facto, she identified herself with her people. In her fidelity, her poverty and her commitment to God, she gave the sign of hope to the people of her time. Without any delay, Mary, even during her pregnancy, set out on a long and difficult safari or journey through hilly country. She went to help her cousin who was expecting a child. She was not told to go there. She understood that there was someone in need. Without waiting she went to answer that very need. It is for this very reason that Elizabeth, her cousin, recognised the greatness of Mary straight away the moment they met. Mary understood that, "Joy increases as one gives it, and diminishes as one tries to keep for oneself." (George Kaitholi, Make Joy Your Target, p. 14). In this woman of Nazareth, the poor saw one of their race overcome the confusion, the anguish, and the temptations that assailed Mary from the moment of her acceptance of the commitment at the annunciation (cf. Lk. 1:38) until its completion on Calvary (cf. Jn.19:26). In other words, Mary lived a life of Justice knowing that the poor were suffering so much, while the mighty rich ones, the educated ones, the powerful ones, the Pharisees and the Scribes, were really enjoying life. But the optimistic part of it all was that one day those mighty, self-acclaimed, righteous ones, will be put to vindication. And that is Magnificat (cf. 1:26-46)!

Truly, just like Jesus her Son, Mary did not condemn wealth or richness. Not at all! She rather condemned the attitude or mis-utilisation of wealth, property and richness of a few people granted to them by God for the sake of solidarity and sharing. Mary witnessed the suffering of the widows, the orphans, the beggars, the abandoned, the rejected ones and the have-nots. The people whom Jesus, her son, stood for and defended to the very last minute. Moreover, she experienced suffering and poverty herself. She had to leave the country to Egypt as an asylum seeker, making sure that Jesus was saved from the wicked salvage and decadent plot of Herod to kill him. Mary, the mother of Jesus, cannot be taken for granted!

Today Mary holds those titles because she is truly the Mother of Justice who remains to be the cause of our joy. She is the mother who is committed to the liberation of all people, particularly the most oppressed, the underprivileged. Something, which you mothers ought to live too. The people and theologians of Latin America, for instance, have really embraced Mary as their mother who suffers with them, and struggles to bring life of hope. Marian spirituality is a realistic possibility for them. Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, the Late Bishop Romero of El Salvado and many others treaded that way which brought freedom, liberation and disentanglement of all sorts of slavery. It is in this context that we must evaluate our popular devotion to her in all its aspects. As we know well that our mission is to bring all, "Into close touch with humanity, and especially with suffering humanity.”

In realising and acknowledging the fullness of Christianity as women or mothers, they simply cannot ignore the Realistic Possibility of Marian Spirituality in making spiritual U-Turn. They  should never be contented with superficial prayers, devotions or viewpoint which, do not match with the life of Mary. As mothers, they are to live a life of depth of Mary who followed Jesus her Son to the end; she brought peace to people around her, not commotion. Mothers, therefore, should not be naïve to think that everything around you is fine as long as their families are fine. There are still plenty of injustices that are to be brought to justice both at individual level as well as at society level, possibly even among yourselves, or among the members of our own Church here of St. Thomas! Mothers, are to be the voice of the voiceless just as Mother Mary was. How do we treat children who are not our own, those who are supposed to help us in our homes? How do you address the situation whereby things go wrong, and not according to Marian spirituality? On one hand, how do you assist those who are underprivileged, and yet they try their best to survive? And on the other hand, how do you challenge those who are capable of doing something of their own, and yet because of laziness-attitude, they simply become beggars, hopeless, or may be not prayerful in their lives? What about 'what happens next door' whereby your neighbours are involved in Child Labour and Trafficking, those who are humiliating their apprentices, do we just close our eyes and say, 'what's my own?' As mothers or women, how do you bring peace and justice in such situations?

Apart from the business of the day, CWO normal meetings, how often do they have common spiritual exercises which bond them together as Christian mothers - recollections or retreats, at least quarterly?

The impact of being Christians, and more so, Christian mothers reveals in what happens or lived daily If that concern for humanity and the Church is not there, then we are doomed to death. We will have no reason of celebrating the sacredness of motherhood! Our whole devotion to Mary such as praying the Rosary backed up with the Realistic Possibility of her spirituality will have nothing to do with Christianity! Let's emulate our Mother Mary; hence, have strong positive impact in our families, societies, organisations, and our beloved Church at large.

 


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