I want to begin with a personal anecdote that is not directly related to Fatima. In the academic year of 1996-1997 a junior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio was running for student president, thinking that he would be able to have the most impact for good on campus by exercising that position his senior year. As a prominent member of the student senate he played a prominent and very public (both on national radio and outside of the U.S.) role in a number of significant changes that took place on campus. Notwithstanding his valiant efforts, he lost the presidential race. Unsure what to do, he turned to an older friend and mentor, and decided to become an R.A. in a dorm and lead a Bible study for freshmen in the dorm. This incoming senior would-be R.A. and Bible study leader, was a student leader in a very large para-church (primarily evangelical Protestant Christian) organization on campus, which, at least for the following two years (if I’m not mistaken), represented the largest para-church organization on any college campus in the world at that time, boasting about 1,000 members at their weekly meeting. His mentor, who happened to be Roman Catholic, was a staff member with that organization (at one point full-time, but by this point, part-time on a volunteer basis). That summer they decided to fast and pray for the future Bible study which together they would co-lead. They studied Scripture and church history together that summer, and they prayed and fasted that the future study would bear fruit for the kingdom of God.
When God the Father sent His Son into the world He sent Jesus forth with a plan. Yet, Jesus does not deal with us as a builder deals with blueprints, bricks and mortar. Rather, He deals with us personally and calls us to cooperate with Him and to relate to Him personally. So it is that Jesus came into the world through the personal fiat, the personal ‘yes’ of one woman.
May is the month where we celebrate Mary and her ‘yes’ in the life of Jesus. We celebrate the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel on March 25th, so it is that in May the life of Jesus was beginning to flower in her womb. Why is it though that Catholic and Orthodox Christians accord her such a high place in the life of faith?
We can of course, never understand Mary without reference to Jesus. When the Father sent His Son into the world with a plan, it was a plan formed long ago. It was a plan that developed from covenants with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David. God was building a family from a holy couple, to a family, to a tribe, to a nation, and lastly to a kingdom with David. And it was from this final expansion of the family with David that we pick up with Jesus, who was the Son of David. So it was that the kingdom that Jesus preached was made concrete in its fulfillment of the kingdom given to David.
I want to take a moment to celebrate with you as our first iPhone application, “Mysteries of the Holy Rosary“, reached 25,000 downloads this week.
This free application is a meditation and instructive aid for those praying the Rosary. It does not replace your Rosary beads, but rather helps you focus on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
As a new Catholic, I had a difficult time remembering which mysteries matched each day. Although many other great iPhone Rosary apps allow you to ditch your physical Rosary, I wanted to experience the beauty of those venerable beads, as a tool to meditate on our Lord. So I built this app specifically to require zero input. Just open it and it will automatically select the mystery that matches today. If you’d like more you can switch to other mysteries, focus in on the beautiful artwork, or see simple instructions on how to pray the Rosary.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to look at the app for yourself, you can download it at the iTunes App Store.
To many around the world she is known as Mary–the mother of God, the mother of Jesus. She was the girl who God loves, freeing her from the stain of sin. She is the girl whose “yes” changed the face of the world. She said “yes” when others would have asked questions, or rationalized. She said “yes” almost without thinking, for this was who she was created to be. She was the second Eve. She produced the fruit of a new tree, the tree of eternal life. And so with her “yes” God came into the world and she was trusted to guide Him, protect Him, and love Him. Mary’s life wasn’t without suffering and hardship though. She saw the nails pierce, she saw him hang upon the cross, and she saw Him die. This was who He was. This is what He was created for. And yet, we do not hear of her complaining or questioning. Tradition tells of a look between a mother and a son as Jesus carried His cross towards Calvary. A look and only a look–words were not expressed; everything was said. Who was consoling whom? Who was giving whom strength? They were there together, mother and Son, each having said “yes.” Mary was there at the beginning of Jesus’ life and now she would be there for the end. In a way, Mary walked to her Calvary. She suffered with her Son, she yearned to take His pain, and her heart ached as if pierced by a spear. When he died that day, so also did she. All of Christianity can be summed up as a love story between a mother and a son.