“I am all thine, my Queen and my Mother, and all that I have is thine!”
We are about to make our annual act of allegiance to Our Lady. This 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima can help remind us that Our Lady is close and looking over us with her motherly love and protection.
In fact she is here with us today. We cannot see her unlike those children to whom a special privilege was given when the veils that hide heaven from our sights were lifted so that they could behold her. But she is on the other side of the veil seeing us as she saw them, and with all her motherly love she smiles on us and loves us and dispenses many gifts from God.
In some ways as her children we are not unlike those many children who find themselves in a war-conflict region. Legionaries are people who go with good-will to others and genuinely want to help others with good. But we are judged odd, extremists, loopers and so on. We ask her motherly help in this situation. Firstly we ask her to win us the help of the Holy Spirit so that we can find ways of helping her bring Jesus to others including identifying any flaws in us that might be blocking the light we carry from shining out. Secondly we ask her to again send the help of the Holy Spirit to those we meet that they might be open to the light we are trying to carry to them.
But today we come above all like children to offer our help to Our Mother. “Mammy, can I help you in anything?” I heard last night of a little girl less than two years old who was delighting in helping her granny. We come willing and only dying to help. She smiles on us and she might say, “Well actually, can you do this.” Or she might say, “Just hold on a minute and I’ll find something …” One thing is sure: she is delighted that we offer her our love and service.
We should not be discouraged by the trials we undergo since she is there with us in them. I think it is significant that in her various apparitions, be it Knock, Lourdes, Fatima and so on, she appeared to people who were living a trial but had faith. It is as if she is reassuring us of her close motherly presence.
Today is of course a special day. This 25th March is the Feast of the Incarnation. This event is extraordinary, where science and religion meet. God who is beyond all that is created and above it and responsible for it, now becomes attached and embroiled in his Creation. The Universe is probably even greater than Hubble shows it and is a mystery in itself. Yet God comes to an outpost planet, possibly in an outpost galaxy and links up with a living being who is part of a complex species.
But if God meets up with us it means that, to use computer language, we are compatible with God. I suspect that even the most computer illiterate among you have heard about compatibility problems. Sometimes it is hard to open old documents because they do not fit the new programmes. Or that printer cannot take the signals from our document so that jibberish comes out. Compatibility means they can combine and work together.
However in the moment of the Incarnation we had the greatest compatibility moment in history when God was able to connect to the Creation through a living species and especially through one exceptional person who made it possible. It is in fact an extraordinary thought that God connects to Creation and especially to our race. That is the wonder we celebrate everytime we stop and think on the Angelus. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!”
We would gravely distort this reality were we to think of it though in merely mechanical or physical science ways. The biggest challenge in getting the compatibility right was to allow God, who is primarily spirit, to find the most suitable spiritual connecting point. And so from before he began creation he had already planned and designed things that a woman would be ready to receive him, woman not just physically capable but also spiritually capable. She was flawless by his design.
Let us not forget that when God planned Mary he had us all in mind. His connecting to his creation was for the good of all his creation. And most especially since the human is made in God’s image he came for us all and to us all. He came to complete and advance what he had already begun. And Mary understood this and said her fiat for us all.
As we offer our service to Mary today we must ask her to help us to become more and more channels of Jesus and his grace. Just as she facilitated Jesus we ask her help that we too may be made compatible to Jesus and for Jesus, that he may be formed in us and that we may reflect his light to others. St. Patrick’s breastplate reads, “Christ in all eyes that se me, Christ in all ears that hear me, Christ in all hearts that think of me.” That is what we would like to be, that is what the world needs. When we make our offering today that is what we are committing to, believing that Mary can win us the graces to make us Christ-like.
By your prayers O Mary may we become what God wants us to be.Fr Paul Churchill