“The spirit of God, by a special and admirable Providence, is guiding hearts and renewing the face of the earth.” (Paul VI in “Dominum et Vivificantum,” Collected Writings of Louis DeMontfort, p. 15)
“Behold, I am the handmaiden of The Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
God’s call. Our fiat. Grace given.
Mary’s fiat to God in accepting the message of the Angel Gabriel to bear the Messiah in her womb is the epitome of abandonment to Divine Grace. She did not know the plan, was uncertain of the path ahead and could not have imagined the hardships and agonizing suffering that awaited her. Mary stood open and vulnerable before God in total surrender. She stood in that same way with each encounter of suffering and uncertainty experienced. Mary’s life was complete abandonment, faith and trust. In the struggles and uncertainties she found her God. God was the answer, the reason, all that was necessary.
Jesus’ humility becomes evident for the first time in the Annunciation. He becomes incarnate of the Virgin Mary, becoming human for us. He, too, is in total abandonment- to the Father and to Mary.
Vita Consecrata:18: “Every mission begins with the attitude expressed by Mary at the Annunciation: ‘Behold, I am the handmaiden of The Lord; let it be done to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38).”
Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. (Matthew 9:17)
The consecrated life has been a foundational support for Catholicism since the early times of the Church. The way of life as lived through the expression of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience has witnessed to the very life of Christ. Religious communities continue to speak to the value of such a manner of living. As society evolves people continue to seek to manifest lives of holiness through new and explicitly meaningful ways. The new wine of religious life cannot be put into old wineskins without the possibility of mutual destruction. The Holy Spirit breathes new life wherever He wills and calls many souls to commit to consecrated life through the birthing of new and unique religious communities. “There are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit who circulates them among the members of the Body of Christ.” (1 Cor.12:4 )
Lowering of the paralytic to Jesus
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. (Mark 2:4)
St Augustine speaks of Christians who are weak and those who are ill. “Lovers of the world…who are kept from good works by some evil desire, lie sick and listless, and it is this sickness that deprives them of any strength to accomplish good works.” He goes on to tell the story of the paralytic whose friends lowered him through the roof to Jesus since his limbs could not bring him there by himself. He compares the paralytic with the lover of the world and in so doing articulates the mission of the Sisters of Divine Grace.
” …When his bearers could not bring him in to The Lord, they opened the roof and lowered him down to the feet of Christ. Perhaps you wish to do this in spirit; to open the roof and lower a paralytic soul to The Lord. All its limbs are lifeless, it is empty of every good work, burdened with its sins, and weak from the illness brought on by its evil desires. Since all its limbs are helpless, and the paralysis is interior, you cannot come to the physician. But perhaps the physician himself is concealed within; … and thus you will open the roof and lower the paralytic to the feet of Christ. (Vol IV Divine Office p. 285-86 commentary by St Augustine)
The paralytics in society are everywhere. They do not seek God first, if at all. They do not recognize a need for God or the existence of God. Rationalization, relativism, narcissism and egoism reign. Limbs have been rendered weak and lifeless by worldly ways. Society is crippled. It is seeking pleasure, happiness and peace but to no avail. It does not realize that Jesus waits within. It cannot find Him. Someone must lower the paralytics to the feet of the Lord. Someone must help them to find Jesus within.
Trust in the Lord
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
God is present in all moments and experiences. Tragedies, celebrations, sorrows, joys, difficulties and successes shine forth the glory of the Almighty. The human heart struggles to believe and the mind attempts to rationalize and explain. It is only when the heart rests in total surrender and abandonment to God’s presence in all things and the mind is still that the path becomes clear and straight. It is then that peace reigns.
The world does not know straight paths or peace. It does not unite its heart with the heart of God. Its’ mind continuously plans and plots, seeking resolutions by control. The world needs the refreshing sweetness of abandonment to God’s will.