Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother.
Mary, the mother of Jesus holds a special place in our Catholic faith. We have a number of holydays and special prayers in her honour. The Rosary has been and is a precious way of prayer for many. So what is so special about Mary?
A quick glance at her life shows us that she gave birth to her son in poverty – many have done that. She fled as a refugee – many have done that. She lived in a village with petty gossip – many have done that. She wondered what her son was doing with his life – many have done that. She watched him die a horrible death – many have done that. Through all the events of her life, both good and bad, she believed that God’s love was at work. She lived by faith, as we do. Whatever challenges and sufferings came her way, even if she didn’t understand, she believed that God’s love could bring goodness and holiness out of the situation.
Because she was faithful to God in all these situations, we feel that she understands the difficulties of our lives and that she cares for us as she cared for her son, Jesus. In her all-embracing motherly love, we can see the love of God for us. Not only is she a model of faith, she comes close to us and shepherds us with the love of God.
Loving God, we praise and thank you for giving us such a model of faith in Mary, the mother of Jesus. As Mary was guided by your Spirit may she in turn give us your wisdom and love, especially in the dark days of suffering and confusion. We ask this in Jesus name, confident that you will hear us.
I did not like school. I was one of those misfit kids. Looking back, the teacher to whom I am most grateful was my Grade 1 teacher, Mrs Brown: she taught me to read and reading became my refuge. She also intervened when I, in a higher grade, was being badly treated by my teacher. Yes, you read that right and teachers reading this would know what that meant nearly 60 years ago. If she is alive, I doubt she would remember me but I do remember her. My older brother also remembers her fondly.
Reading is one of the most important abilities I have and having known people who could not read, I cannot underestimate how precious a gift it is. Mrs Brown did her job and what a fine job she did. I doubt that she ever received any awards or accolades, except the occasional remembrance by former pupils. She certainly transformed my life. Looking back now, I wish I had had an opportunity to thank her.
This coming Friday, we celebrate World Teachers Day. Take time this day to remember the teachers who transformed your life. Often the abilities they taught were, like reading, so ordinary we rarely acknowledge them but, with a little reflection, we can realise what a profound influence they had on us. If you have the opportunity, take this time to contact them and thank them. That is the best affirmation a teacher can receive.
Loving God, thank you for the teachers who have transformed my life. By my gratitude, may I show my child/ren how to be grateful for the people who serve and care for them in so many different ways.
Sr Kym Harris osb
Reminding ourselves who we are…and what is important.
This week we celebrate the horse race that ‘stops the nation’, one of the quirky ways we recognise who we are as Australian nation. Yes, it is odd. People, who normally have no interest in horse racing, stop, get together, dress up and have a sweep in which the winners usually get next to nothing as a prize but the one who has the ticket for the horse who came last shares in the ‘winnings’. In a broad sense that is this ritual by which we remind ourselves of who we are. It all sounds a little silly but actually it can be an important ritual. It focuses our minds and hearts of what is important in case we can get too bogged down in necessities, crises and the sheer ordinary details of life. Getting together with other people and having fun is central to the building up of a community, especially when we celebrate with people who are not necessarily our family or friends.
We need ritual in other areas of life but most importantly in our relationship with God. Rarely will God push into our lives making a big splash. Rather, in respect and love, God waits for us to respond in love. We need ritual prayer to remind ourselves of this loving, waiting God. The ritual can be as profound as Sunday Eucharist or as simple as a prayer made as the cake goes into the over. Time honoured rituals are prayer at the beginning and end of each day, and before meals. As believers, it is a good idea to ask ourselves what do we do to remind ourselves that we are people of God.
Loving God, we so often get caught up in the business of life, forgetting that your love upholds our lives. Give us the wisdom of your Spirit that we may regularly remind ourselves that your care surrounds us at all times. We ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb