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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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Living Marian spirituality in contemporary society

May is an important month for us Catholics, who value our Mother, Blessed Virgin Mary, our intercessor before God. She is first follower and faithful of her Son, Jesus Christ. The month of May is our Marian Devotion time, and praying rosary is the nexus of the whole exercise. We do not worship her, but we do pray that our prayers may be accompanied with hers to interceding for us to God, our Creator. As  important  as  it  is, the  mothers  of  St.  Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, Agbowo, Ibadan,  decided to venture on the theme: "The Realistic Possibility of Living Marian  Spirituality  in  the Life of Our Contemporary Mothers."

It  is an undisputable fact that a great treasure in any house is a good mother for she is the heart of a home. Mary, in our case, as she is so much present before the Lord, does what the best mother does in a house - indeed more than what the best of mothers can do. Mary brings a human smile and celestial happiness, even where sorrow had gained entrance. She brings faith in faithless situation, hope in hopeless situation, usefulness in useless situation, upliftment in bottom line situation, light in dark situation, prayerfulness where there is no prayer. Mary softens hearts, makes things turn out well. "When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, ('don't mind him oh …!') "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn. 2:1-12). In other words, Mary is a reference point or a resource person for and to all of us. She lends understanding and affection to husbands and wives, docility to children, patience and the quality of industriousness to everyone. Faith is revived through Mary, the hope of heaven is reinforced, charity is spread, and Christian life is established in the home.

It is, therefore, worthy and important for us, and more so, for the mothers, to reflect on Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we try to follow. Mary, as we know fairly well, was the first and closer follower of her son, Jesus Christ. Thus, it is important for us to expound on how we have been, and how we are living that very spirit of Mary, especially in our homes, in our families, in our Church wherever we may find ourselves.

Mary who is our mother through the history of salvation, without a single doubt remains exemplar and mystic - in the way she was quietly pondering the call of God. She was indeed a radical follower of Jesus in its full sense of the word. Through her spirituality or life which was totally based on her relationship with both God and humanity, she channels us into the Realistic Possibility of not only becoming but also being radical followers or ministers of her son, Jesus Christ. In this way, as mothers and full members of the Church who are dedicated and committed to bringing the good news to all the people God has entrusted  us,  we  can  then  be at a  proper  position  to celebrate Marian Devotion month in its totality; a family celebration, since a mother is the heart of a home.

For the mothers and all the devotees or Legioneries of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, as it is stated in the 'Official Handbook of Legion of Mary,' "Yours is an imminently Marian Spirituality … because your work is based on the method of spirituality and apostolate on the dynamic principle of union with Mary, on the truth of the intimate participation of the Virgin Mary in  the plan of salvation. In other words, you are to render your service to every person, who is the image of Christ, with the spirit and solicitude of Mary.

Now, the traditional Mariology dogmas (the Church's teaching about or on Mary) in many senses need to be expounded or explained adequately in order to understand Mary in her relationship with the society as a whole. And our explanation should not try to limit or domesticate Mary or women. As for the mothers who are close followers of Jesus, her Son, they must try to understand Mary in relation to what Jesus represented or stood for. A holistic approach is necessary because there would have been a very close mother-son relationship and friendship between them. We too are to follow the foot-steps of Mary if we are to be closer to and friends of Jesus Christ; hence, make our families and the Church holy.

Having recollected  all this, let's now ask ourselves: What comes in our minds or what do we think of when we hear: Blessed Virgin Mary, Crown of Heaven, Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Heavenly Queen, Holy Mother of God, The Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom! What captures or dawns in our minds? Don't these titles put us off and think of the abstract Mary who has nothing to do with the reality of life? Where do we place her in our own lives as mothers in the 21st century? Where do we place her in our contemporary world which, on the one hand, is full of wahala, full of violence, full of suffering, cheating, manipulations, injustices, corruption, lack of commitment, lack of fidelity and exploitation of all sorts? While, on the other hand, a world which is full of optimism, hope for the better?

-FR. JAMES NGAHY

 


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