Blessed Mother can prepare us for unknown future


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair” begins the “Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.

As we look at history, the author’s salient observation could apply to almost every time, city, state, nation or organization. Good and evil have always co-existed side. Every crisis has the potential to give birth to heroic acts of kindness as well as acts of cruelty.

Through the ages, God has raised up saints who have been agents of charity, bearing witness to the truth that goodness triumphs over evil. It was true in the past and is true today as we navigate unchartered waters.

Amid countless heroes risking their lives for victims of the coronavirus are those who have grown weary of social distancing. It took less than a few weeks for protesters to take to the streets, defying recommended guidelines while ignoring long-term consequences.

Waiting is never easy, and patience is not one of our societal virtues. We look for the shortest line at the supermarket, change lanes when traffic is moving too slowly and look for a quick fix when problems arise. However, the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost remind us that before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Advocate whom he promised that the Father would send.

Taking his advice to heart, Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James and Simon the Zealot and Judas, son of James, returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they had been staying since Jesus’ death. Scripture tells us, “All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14).

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles were again facing the unknown. Who was this Advocate that Jesus spoke about and what would its coming mean for them?

Amid growing confusion, there were more questions than answers, not unlike the situation we find ourselves in today. Fortunately for Christians there is a precedent. Like the apostles, we can heed Jesus’ advice and spend time preparing for what lies ahead because we have no idea what the future holds.

However, like the apostles, we have Mary to prepare us, guiding us through prayer and attentive listening. Just as the apostles found strength in this gentle woman who remained at the foot of the cross when all but John deserted Jesus, so now we can turn to her for strength and wisdom.

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez re-consecrated the United States of America to the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday, May 1. Turning to the Mother of the Church and the Queen of Peace, the archbishop reminded us that under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary has accompanied the Americas from the very beginning. Praying for all of us, he asked her to intercede to God to deliver us from the evil of the coronavirus.

During her many apparitions, Mary has asked her children to pray the rosary so that we may be filled with light and truth. As Archbishop Gomez noted, our current crisis is an opportune time to rediscover the beauty of the rosary by praying it with our families so that we may be kept safe and grow in holiness.

As we prepare for Pentecost, may we not lose sight of the role that Mary played during that first Pentecost novena. Just as we gather with family and friends and share stories of our loved ones after they are taken from us, so it seems plausible that Mary told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit during the Incarnation and more.

How else would the events surrounding the early years in Jesus’ life have made their way into the Gospels? Mary was the only person who could tell of the wondrous events that set the stage for the Church on earth.

As we ponder Mary’s role in salvation history, we can take comfort in knowing that her presence was not a passing phenomenon. As our Mother and the Mother of the Church, Mary remains invested in our salvation and so we pray, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!”

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