Francis Cardinal Arinze said that we Filipinos, are right to call ourselves a “pueblo amante de Maria” for our immaculate Mother is for us a model of faith and of devotion to the word of God and to His will.
Mary’s faith is remarkable. Even without understanding how, she accepted and believed the message sent to her by God’s archangel. She made the obedience of faith and uttered her fiat, “Fiat mihi voluntas tua (Let it be done to me according to your will)”. She accepted His will and was clearly manifested in her wholehearted acceptance and belief in her vocation to become the Mother of God and later the Mother of men.
Religious scholars consider Mary as the first disciple of Jesus. She was always close to God; always in prayer, always filled with the Holy Spirit. She was, therefore, in a state that would make her easily say, YES, to God.
Her life pictures her steadfast faith, trust and obedience. She journeys in faith from her acceptance of the angel’s message to her immaculate conception of Jesus; then to her glorious hymn of thanksgiving, the Magnificat; to the birth of Jesus in poor circumstances in Bethlehem; to the flight into Egypt, the hidden life with Jesus and Joseph at Nazareth; the public life of Her son; to her spiritual mothering of the Church after the death of Jesus.
She deserves, therefore, our praise and thanksgiving.
My journey of faith has led me to find out about the Nuestra Senora de la Luz. Her devotees call her the Virgin of Light in Cainta and Our Lady of the Light in Guanajuato, a city near Mexico who, according to Bishop Ortega of Valladolid, Spain is miraculous. A coincidence of names—Luz and Ortega. May I hoe that what Heidi Quade believes is true - that a coincidence is a small miracle where God chose to remain anonymous?
As you know, Nila and I have chronicles of our faith experience with the Holy Trinity. This celebration and the book on Mama Mary following manifest my praise and thanksgiving to her.
As postscript, may I retell what Dr. Harold Sala said about gratitude - that we should not only be thankful TO (to someone or to something) and thankful FOR (for what reason) but also to be thankful IN every situation - in sickness or in health, for richer or for poorer, during our high points or low points, for the little miracles and little joys and challenges. Anonymously, someone said that “continual thankfulness comes from an unshakeable confidence in God’s wisdom, power and goodness no matter what our circumstances may be”. Dr. Sala confirms this when he said that we can only learn to relax and thank God that He is higher than our loneliness, our pain and our financial needs when we accept the fact that God is in control of our life.
Lastly, it is not only appropriate to express gratitude but our example may also encourage others to move from doubt to faith as we praise Him. This morning on the celebration of the 150th Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all say, “Thank you Mama Mary.”