I thought it made sense to begin reflecting on saints with the saint of all saints, our mother Mary.
Mary embodies so many virtues but today I am thinking about her amazing ability to trust God, her surrender.
Sometimes when I’m saying the Rosary and thinking about the Annunciation, I think that this mystery we see as so joyous now, may not have been all about joy at the time. It might have been kind of . . .confusing, maybe a little scary. Not just the whole seeing an angel part which was obviously a little terrifying since she is told not to fear, but even the being told she is going to have a baby. Talk about changing your whole life plan. There was so much unknown in her life now. Whatever she envisioned her life was going to be like for the next year or years, was completely changed. She would never have that vision–she had to re-invision her life, sort of speak.
As a matter of fact, from that point on, I dare say Mary’s life was bittersweet–as seen by the devotion of the seven sorrows of Mary where we recount some of her greatest sorrows: 1. prophecy of Simeon. 2. flight into Egypt. 3. The loss of Jesus in the temple. 4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to the Cross. 5. Jesus dies on the Cross. 6. Mary receives the dead body of her son. 7. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
What worse can you suffer than watching your child die–and to die so horribly and the subject of so much cruelty? Yes, Mary knew suffering.
But what stands out to me is that Mary does not question. She asks a logistics question (how is it possible for me to have a baby?) but she doesn’t cry out against God’s plan for her life or even for her child’s life. She trusts that God’s plan makes sense and that although it may come at a great cost to her, that He will triumph in the end. And that was enough for her.
That trust gives her peace.
For me, I believe that God knows everything and that He sees the bigger picture, that He can work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28) . . .but I still fight against it. I want Him to bring His will about–but I want Him to do it in another way, not through my suffering. I remember telling my friend how desperate I was, how hard I was trying, to deny my situation. She told me it was like an adult temper tantrum. And that’s just it–I was saying, “don’t let this be happening. You have to stop this.”
No surrender. No peace.
I’m not saying that this is unnatural. I think sometimes we have to go through this phase. But we have to move from it to really grow. If we say we trust God, then we have to trust Him always–even when He changes our whole life plan. We like to proclaim that trust in Him, but its only when we suffer that we find out if that is really true. Its that moment where the rubber meets the road as the saying goes. Faith in the good times may or may not be real faith. How do we know until its tested? We don’t have to understand what’s happening, but we need to believe that God has our best interest in mind–which is not necessarily synonymous with our happiness!
That’s the trust of Mary–the trust that brings us peace in suffering.
I’m not there yet . . .
Two things that have brought me comfort:
The Bible verse:
“And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” ( Romans 8:28–The Holy Bible : DOUAY-RHEIMS VERSION)
And a Steven Curtis Chapman song:
“I will trust you God, I will. Even when I don’t understand. Even then I’ll say again, you are my God and I will trust you . . .I know your heart is good. I know your love is strong and your plans for me are better than my own.” (Steven Curtis Chapman–I will Trust You) From the album: Beauty Will Rise.
So what do you say? Are you, like Mary, ready to trust God, with anything He gives you?
“We don’t have to understand what’s happening, but we need to believe that God has our best interest in mind–which is not necessarily synonymous with our happiness!”
A very thought provoking statement – I suspect many people can not get past this – that this is the point at which their faith waivers – resulting in much bitterness and anger. I am so very glad that you were able to reach this conclusion – I suspect this is a struggle each of us are presented with throughout our lives –
Agreed! Society really teaches us that being happy is everything! To be able to accept that happiness isn’t the end and be all, we have to believe that this life is temporary and there is an eternity where we will be happy forever!