Of Hope

Today Randy led us in our formation on the encyclical by Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater.  For those of us who don’t speak Latin, that would be Mother of the Redeemer.  The encyclical proclaims the truths of Mary and her role in our lives as a pilgrim people of a pilgrim Church.

I’d like to share one piece on the hope with which Mary persevered.  The quote begins with the words she heard at the Annunciation by the angel’s revelation:

“‘He will be great… and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ (Lk. 1:32-33)

Standing at the foot of the cross, Mary is a witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words.  On that wood of the Cross her Son hangs in agony as one condemned.

…The events on Calvary had shrouded that promise in darkness, yet not even beneath the cross did Mary’s faith fail.  She had still remained the one who, like Abraham, ‘in hope believed against hope’ (Rom. 4:18).”

I’ve contemplated this moment a few times now, and each time it has struck me how hopeless this situation must have seemed in light of that original revelation.  How dark the horizon.  How dim the light.  Even still, she hoped.  She who abandoned herself as the “handmaid of the Lord” (Lk. 1:38) rested in the promise that His words do not return to Him void (Is. 55:11).

An image from St. Therese comes to mind of a sparrow starring at the sun as storm clouds roll in.  As the clouds blanket the sky in black, she gaze does not stray, for she knows the sun remains there always.

I desire such hope.  I desire such faith in the Lord’s promises to me that my gaze would never stray.  That while the surface of the ocean of my soul may be tossed in the storm, my depths remain constant, flowing in the Lord’s peace.

Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, Mediatrix, pray for us who falter, that we may hope in the Lord as you have hoped.

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