Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love is Stronger Than Death

Did hope die [on the Cross]? Did the world remain definitively without light, and life without purpose? At that moment, deep down, you [Mary] probably listened again to the word spoken by the angel in answer to your fear at the time of the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid, Mary!” (Lk 1:30). How many times had the Lord, your Son, said the same thing to his disciples: do not be afraid! In your heart, you heard this word again during the night of Golgotha. Before the hour of his betrayal he had said to his disciples: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27). “Do not be afraid, Mary!” In that hour at Nazareth the angel had also said to you: “Of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:33). Could it have ended before it began? No, at the foot of the Cross, on the strength of Jesus's own word, you became the mother of believers. In this faith, which even in the darkness of Holy Saturday bore the certitude of hope, you made your way towards Easter morning.

The joy of the Resurrection touched your heart and united you in a new way to the disciples, destined to become the family of Jesus through faith. In this way you were in the midst of the community of believers, who in the days following the Ascension prayed with one voice for the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) and then received that gift on the day of Pentecost. The “Kingdom” of Jesus was not as might have been imagined. It began in that hour, and of this “Kingdom” there will be no end. Thus you remain in the midst of the disciples as their Mother, as the Mother of hope. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!

Spe Salvi 50

Reflection – ‘Do not be afraid!’ Pope Benedict says it four times in this passage. Do not be afraid – this is the ‘major key’ of Christian life in the world, if I can put it that way. We do not live in fear. We may live with some amount of suffering, some burden of love and care for the world (perhaps that would be the ‘minor key’ of Christian life), but we do not live in fear.

The reason we do not live in fear is that we have a God who has descended to the depths of suffering and death and even Hell, and has been victorious. The world, the flesh, and the devil have thrown everything they’ve got at God, at Jesus, and at his Church, 2000 years ago and every year since.

God is victorious. God is bigger. Love is stronger than death. I don’t have much more to say about it.

Mary, next to Jesus, knows all about this victory, this love, and this capacity (therefore) to live wholly without fear, to live a bold courageous life in the world. That’s why we go to her – she lived that way, and she walked the path of Christ in the world into the full glory of his kingdom. So she helps us believe, and learn, that God is victorious, God is bigger, and love is stronger than death.

Happy May to you.

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