On this feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, what does the Lord desire to teach us? As I thought about this with the Gospel opened in front of me, the line above is what really stood out to me. Mary is such witness of complete trust and surrender to the Lord and her cousin Elizabeth sees in her life the blessings which have come out of such trust and faith.As Christian stewards, we are invited to receive God’s gifts gratefully. Our ability to receive is directly related both to our belief in the goodness of God and His desire to give us good things as well as our awareness that we are in need of the gifts He offers. Mary leads us to this knowledge. First, Mary’s trust in God’s goodness and in His love is complete. When the angel appears to her, she seeks to understand God and His plan, but she does not doubt it. She does not refuse it. Instead, she surrenders to it completely, “Let it be done according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Not as obvious in the story, but equally true, Mary’s ability to receive the gift of the Lord was also due to her knowledge of her own littleness before God.
She does not feel self-sufficient. In her Magnificat, she says, “He has done great things for me,” not “I have done great things.” Today, let us ask Mary to help us see and hear what the Lord has done for us. Reflecting on this day or this past week, ask Mary to help you see the many blessings God has given you and then “receive them gratefully” — thank God for his many gifts. Let’s allow her to help us see the desires of our hearts and ask her to intercede for us and pray that those desires would be fulfilled by the Lord. She can teach us to listen to how the Lord speaks to our desires and can help us trust in “what is spoken.” Last night in Winner, I had the opportunity to hear from a young man who did just that. I was there to help with our second Ambassador’s training. At Fr. Mark’s invitation, a young man from the parish shared a beautiful story of how the Lord worked in his life during the recent trip to the Steubenville St. Paul Conference. On the bus, he was invited to think about what he wanted Jesus to do for him during this trip.
After thinking about it, he named two desires:
1. To have a friend (he was the only one from his parish attending)
2. To be changed in some way for the better during the trip
His desire for friends was answered almost immediately as he met others on the bus and was welcomed by them. His desire to be changed came to him after experiencing Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration at the conference. As he walked back to the spot where he was to meet his small group, he saw another student, a stranger, in obvious distress. He clearly sensed the Lord asking him to reach out to this young man. And, like Mary, he responded with trust and obedience by going over and speaking to the boy. Later, he saw the boy again and he was clearly still upset.
Knowing that the Lord had put this boy’s struggle on his own heart, he sought out a priest who was one of the conference speakers and said, “Please come with me. There is a young man who needs to visit with you.” He ended his testimony by saying to us, “And that is how I was changed better during the trip.” Like Mary, this young man, trusted in Lord, listened to him and, with great courage, wholeheartedly gave himself over to doing His will. And like, Mary, when he looked back on his experience, he saw that his desires had been fulfilled by the Lord. He saw that he too could say, “Blessed am I who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
His story is certainly one of the things I am thanking God for today. The Lord is indeed doing great things and holy is His name!