17th Sunday after Pentecost 1.10.17 Our Lady
We come to the month of October, the month of the Holy Rosary; and, this year as well, the 100th anniversary of Fatima.
It is a good time to give honour to Our Lady, and to reflect on her unique role in the plan of salvation, in God’s plan, and in our lives.
In Mary we have such a rich source of help available to us, yet sadly she is not as well-known, or as often called upon as should be the case.
Most of the world does not know her at all, and most Catholics do not give her due attention.
We must ensure that we do not add to the neglect.
There is no opposition between the attention we give to Our Lady, and that we give to Our Lord. She loves God with her whole heart and soul (today’s Gospel), and she will help us to do the same.
It would be the last thing in her mind to divert anyone away from the worship of God; which worship she offers constantly herself.
She wants all her children to worship God as much as she does - because God deserves it; is right and just; and is good for those giving the worship.
Love does not have to be measured out so sparingly that we can love only one person at a time. The gospel today tells us to love both God and neighbour, so there, straight away, we have more than one object for our love.
In fact, we can love God, and Our Lady, and our neighbour, and even ourselves, all at the one time; and so we are commanded to do.
It is just a matter of getting the right proportion.
We love God the most, because He is the greatest, and deserving of the greatest love. We are forbidden to love anyone or anything more than Himself.
We love our neighbours because of their being created in the image of God. It is their God-given dignity which we honour; and the same for loving ourselves.
We are all very lowly creatures, by comparison with God, but treated by Him with great dignity, and that dignity must be respected at all times.
We love Our Lady for her own sake, for her immense goodness; but all the more because she is so special to God; that He has given her such status and power.
We express our love in prayer. Prayer to Our Lady has always been strongly advocated by the Church – by all manner of saints and mystics. Especially recommended is the Rosary, as a source of miracles and general spiritual health.
We cast ourselves at her feet, acknowledging our smallness and vulnerability; our fear and sinfulness. To be able to associate with someone who has all the good things we want to have, is very refreshing - like finding clear water in a desert. We still have life in us. Hope is restored. We have a taste of Heaven.
Our Lady loves us because she loves God first. The intensity of one love flows onwards to others.
She certainly loves more than one at a time, and so she can teach us. She will help us with all the right things, like growing in faith, hope and charity; and help us offload all the wrong things, like sin and false attachments.
She goes about her work in a quiet unobtrusive way – as she lived her earthly life.
She will do what she can for each person, even those who do not know her, or who would reject her. Much more she will do for those who actually call upon her – as we do.
What power Mary has, waiting to be released. Fatima is still new insofar as largely untried.
So much goodness is there, just waiting to be called upon. Each and every person is called to union with God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We can hasten her victory - and help others to share in it - by our willing response.