FROM THE RECTOR
MARY – A WOMAN FOR OUR TIMES
To the Salesian College Family,
During this time of hardship, struggle and suffering caused by the spread of the Coronavirus throughout the world, and in this period of restrictions and lockdowns enforced by so many countries to combat the debilitating effects of this virus, one very helpful thing that we can do is to have recourse to Mary, the Mother of God.
For believe me, Mary was undoubtedly a very strong woman who was no stranger to life’s many challenges and tragedies:
+ In Bethlehem she gave birth to her son, Jesus, under the most trying of circumstances and the poorest of conditions.
+ Following his birth, she had to escape to Egypt with Jesus and her husband, Joseph, as a family of homeless refugees.
+ Back in Nazareth, she and her family battled for survival under the harsh rigours of Roman occupation.
+ Sometime in the early years of her marriage, death took her beloved husband Joseph from her.
+ Later, during Jesus’ public ministry, she no doubt shared in the ridicule and rejection levelled at her son.
+ And then, worst of all, she witnessed her only son’s execution on the Cross and then gathered his tortured body in her motherly arms following his death.
But at no stage did Mary falter or collapse, never did she lose her determination and resolve, and not once did her faith in her God, in her son Jesus, and in her fellow human beings ever waver. Instead, she supported the twelve apostles, encouraged the ever-growing number of disciples, and gave heart to the early Christian community till the day she herself entered eternal life.
It is no wonder, then, that one particular writer poignantly described Mary in the following terms:
‘Mary didn’t live a sheltered life. She was a woman of the world, and a strong woman. Strength is not the same as power. One could enjoy great power and yet be very weak. And one might have no power at all and yet be very strong.
Mary possessed this kind of strength. Like most mothers, she had remarkable powers of endurance and survival, overcame disappointment and distress, was dogged but not insensitive, and seemed always capable of renewing herself, no matter what misfortune hit her.
Mary was a loving, caring and compassionate person. That is where her holiness lay. And that is where our holiness must lie too, because we too are called to holiness. There can be no holiness without goodness.
Mary is a model not just for mothers but for all Christians. She understands all those who struggle with the demands of ordinary, decent, human living in a world that sometimes makes little sense. And she understands, and is especially supportive of, those who try to be faithful followers of her Son, Jesus.’
My dear Friends, in our present time of trial and deprivation and of anxiety and worry, let us readily turn to Mary, our Mother and the Help of All People, and call upon her to guide and support us through this most demanding period of our lives. For we can be absolutely convinced that ‘she has been there and done that’ before us, and that she will most certainly be there for us in our own moment of need!
In Mary our Help,
Fr Greg Chambers
Pope Francis’s Prayer to Mary during Coronavirus Pandemic
O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of Your People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of resurrection.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.