For the feasts of Mary’s Assumption (August 15) and her Nativity (September 8), we offer these reflections from an 1807 journal of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and from two contemporary Sisters of Charity:
Assumption – Blessed Lord grant me that humility and love which has crowned her for Eternity – happy, happy Blessed Mother, You are reunited to Him whose absence was your desolation—pity me—pray for me…
September 8th Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary…many sighs and aspirations to her whose pattern has been so often set before me - her humble, meek and faithful heart — will it ever be, can I now so contrary even approach to the smallest resemblance — My God, my God, my God have Mercy
(source: Elizabeth Bayley Seton Collected Writings, vol. I: 471)
has remembered me,
little as I am... ”
MAGNIFICAT: THE SONG OF MIRIAM OF NAZARETH
(paraphrase of Luke 1:46-55, by Kathleen M. Aucoin, SC)
O how my spirit soars in praise of God;
My heart takes full delight
In the Heart of the Holy One.
El Shaddai has remembered me, little as I am;
And because of this, down through the ages
People will stand in awe at God's incredible Love.
Holy, Holy, Holy is God's Name
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy is God's Essence
The blind proud turn away from God's open hands.
Unable to see, they crumble and collapse, yet are caught by God.
Those who lift their face to God are filled to overflowing.
God, the Keeper of Promises, Lover of us all,
Who rushes to our aid, and is our ever-present Companion, remembers…
Remembers us in Compassionate Tenderness
Reaching from Abraham and Sarah, to this generation, and
Until the last of humankind stands upon the earth – forever!
REFLECTION ON MARY'S BEGINNINGS
…We come into the world the product of many pre-existing forces, our parents, their parents, all the line of begetters before them; our race, our culture, our point in space and time; and in and through all these forces, the shaping hand of One who permitted them and willed us.
….We are individually real, individually called, not from the number of other real human beings, but from the endless throng of possible, imaginary ones. The true "Chosen People" are those who have been given selfhood, given human life. All who are, are chosen. Their individual being by its very diversity tells us something more of the immensity, the scope of their Creator.
….Speculation is precarious. Still it seems we need to affirm for our time that Mary had a self, that she was a unique human individual – subject, naturally, to the specifications of her sex, her race, her time in history,….If she is, like us, human, then she is, like us, intricately made, and it is not a sin but a cause for giving thanks, as the psalmist does; her immaculate conception cannot have flattened her out into a piece of pliable, unresistant cookie dough, but must have clarified and endorsed her individual being. We cannot claim to know this self of hers in great detail—it may be just as well, as Caryll Houselander says, that we do not, for some would no doubt miss the meaning and task of their own individual being by patterning themselves too literally after her.
….Mary's life….A woman's life in any underdeveloped country leaves little time for leisure, little energy for introspection. She performed the timeless, universal tasks by which women kept civilization going for centuries: spinning, weaving, washing, mending, building fires and baking bread.
….We can close our eyes and see the Jewish women of her time, dark-haired and dark-eyed, bearing water pitchers to and from the well, one eye peering out from their required head covering, their thoughts unknown, because unrecorded.
….In all surface ways, it seems, she was an ordinary woman. But faith and intuition tell us that she was extraordinary too. We work back from the results, the events of her life and that of her son, and say: This is new, this is different, this end was not contained in this beginning – unless there was more in this beginning than we had thought. (pp. 25-35)
Our life of faith is nourished by prayerful reflection on and sharing of Sacred Scripture experienced as the living Word of God.
Sisters of Charity Constitution
These comments on Scripture and on events of our time flow from the prayerful reflection and rich experience of our Sisters, Associates and colleagues. We are happy to offer them to you, and pray that these words will open your heart more fully to the living Word of God.
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