Mary: Bringing People to Jesus
In this second reflection as part of our Marian pilgrimage, we consider how Our Blessed Mother shows us how to share our faith. In the first part of this series, we reflected on Mary as the “Star of Evangelization”. Today, we consider another title for Mary: “The Perfect Disciple.” Here we consider how Mary is a model of the way in which we can bring Christ to others. She is the first disciple for the way in which she lived out the mission God gave her in perfect fidelity.
The conception of the Lord, upon which rested our salvation, depended upon her consent. She gave birth to Jesus and nursed him, attended by angels and by wise men from distant lands. She nourished and taught Jesus through his childhood and adolescence. She accompanied him as he launched his public ministry and performed his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana, transforming water into wine. Mary remained with Jesus when almost everyone else had abandoned him, and she stood beneath his cross. When he had risen, the disciples gathered around her as they awaited the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The book of Revelation shows her with Jesus in heaven. There she is an icon of the Church, crowned with glory.
Mary is, of course, the mother of Jesus, but this fidelity to his mission and walking with him to his death is an expression of discipleship. She is acting out of obedience and faith to her mission given her by God. She shows us the way to walk with the Lord, to be faithful to the mission we received in our baptism. We are called to be witnesses to the Risen Christ, to bring the life and light of Christ to all parts of our lives.
The first movement of any evangelization originates not in a program, but in a Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Church maintains that “[I]t is the same Lord Jesus Christ who, present in his Church, goes before the work of evangelizers, accompanies it, follows it, and makes their labors bear fruit: what took place at the origins of Christian history continues through its entire course” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, December 3, 2007, 1).
Jesus calls us to follow him in discipleship and real friendship. Our response to his call can never remain simply a private or partial acknowledgment. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to ‘evangelize’ and to lead others to the ‘yes’ of faith in Jesus Christ” (CCC, #429).
God’s plan always outdoes human projects. As we accept his promise of life in abundance, we also lean upon his promise so that we might find strength in every situation as we are called in new, and perhaps untried, directions. It might mean having a conversation about your faith with a colleague over lunch. Perhaps it is inviting a neighbor to join you for Mass. Jesus may be asking you to gently probe your adult son’s or daughter’s decision to stop going to Mass. You need not worry that you might not have all the answers; all that is required is that you share how Jesus makes all the difference in your life.
Pray The Magnificat.
What is your Magnificat prayer? How has Jesus been present in your life and how can you share that with others?