When the going gets tough, the faithful start singing.
interpreted by Deborah
My soul is a reflection of God’s grace, illuminated by the light of love. The Holy One has called me by name, and I am blessed beyond measure. Those who hear my story will give thanks for God’s goodness and rejoice in the marvelous things the Beloved has done — for me, and for all people.
Praise God forever and ever!
God’s mercy extends to every generation; strengthening the faithful, sustaining weak and weary, shattering the conceits of the smug and self-absorbed.
Those whose name and fame eclipsed all others have faded into oblivion, unmourned and long-forgotten, while the kind and generous are remembered with deep and lasting gratitude.
In God’s name we feed the hungry and visit the sick whom the vain and venal choose to ignore. With the help of the Beloved we will build the divine kingdom through our lives of compassion, mercy, and love.
Hallelujah! Praise God forever and ever.
Faith. It is all that we need to survive, to thrive, and even to change the world.
That’s all that Mary had — and look what she accomplished.
But as her song reveals, faith is more than philosophy: it is not merely an intellectual agreement with the premises of religious teachings. It is more than simply believing that we should be kind to one another (although that belief is a very good one!). Faith is a rock-solid confidence in God’s goodness and in our own ability to make a difference in the world — our responsibility to make a difference, in fact.
And that’s not an easy Path to take. It’s easy to say that Jesus was one heck of a guy, and to support the ideas he propounded. It’s something else entirely to “do all that he did, and more” (John 14:12).
After all, He didn’t get crucified by accident.
His Mom didn’t have it any too easy, either. She was young, unmarried and pregnant in a culture that condemned and shunned women in her condition. Mary was in an incredibly vulnerable situation.
But she didn’t freak out; she didn’t cry and complain, or curse God, she didn’t give up. Instead, this noble Lady called upon her faith to see her through.
She began with an affirmation of what she had experienced: a deep and abiding recognition of The Holy. Like Moses, Mary had “seen God, and lived”; she had encountered the majesty and grace of the Almighty and was not destroyed, but empowered.
In that instant of supreme knowing — that epiphany — Mary understood. She realized that The Eternal was ever-present; that every person and every instant was infused with glorious potentiality. She knew that love was what ultimately mattered — that it was the only thing that mattered, and that nothing could overcome it: no power above or below, nothing on earth or in heaven. Nothing. Not even death itself.
And so our Lady sang her anthem of courage and gladness, her brave proclamation: “Here I am.” This was the age and the hour for which she had been born; this was the opportunity to contribute to God’s great work.
Mary was not foolish or naive; she knew the Way ahead would not be easy: there would be danger, diseases, heartache, suffering, sickness, and death — all the thousand shocks that flesh is heir to, and more besides. But she was not afraid.
The Mother of our Lord was not afraid because she understood that, in all things and at all times, God is with us. And she believed in God’s goodness. She was confident that all shall be well. She had faith.
Life can be complex and is often challenging: there is suffering, there are troubles, stress and worries — there is no escaping it, no matter what we eat or what we do or where we live, regardless of whether we are rich or poor or solidly middle class. Life happens.
The question is: how will we live?
Will we fall into cynicism and self-indulgence, embracing the worldly mantra of “every man for himself”? Will we cringe in fear of changes and challenges, or violently strike out against what is unknown or different?
Or will we act with faith: will we live as if the Truth were true? Will we pull up our socks (the modern equivalent of “gird up your loins”) and start every day with prayer, face all obstacles with courage, and treat every person with compassion? Will we accept the challenges set before us with confidence — faithfully trusting in God’s goodness?
Will we give thanks and rejoice in the fact that this is the time — these are the challenges — for which we were born?
Christmas is our annual celebration of renewed faith and hope. Into the darkest season of the year new Light shines, and each day grows ever brighter. So it is with our spirits: we can grow weary, worn down by endless negativity and sniping and snapping: it can began to feel as if the whole world is filled with wickedness and hate. But we Christians say that “God so loved the world” that we were given a Radiant Child to teach us how to live. God loved this place and these people. And loves us still. And will never cease loving us and all creation.
Reaching beyond Christmas day — every day is “a day of new beginnings.” Each new sunrise is a testament to God’s faith in us: offering us another opportunity to be faithful witnesses of God’s goodness. Every day — not just Christmas day — Christ can be born anew in our world. All it takes is faith.
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Reflect on these words from Mary's song:
“My soul is a reflection of God’s grace, illuminated by the light of love.”