Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, listening to the Gospel for Mass, two verses stood out from Luke's account:
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also)
We can sometimes forget that Mary and Joseph were "learners" as we are. They received graces, as we do, to grow in faith, hope and above all charity. Hearing that Joseph and Mary marveled at the words of Simeon can help us to ponder with them the great mystery of the Incarnation. Especially when we ponder Mary's role in the Incarnation, we continually learn how she is Mother and Model for all. Suffering ought not to "surprise" us as it seems to do, so often. I know my first reaction to suffering is not always acceptance or "yes" as I believe Mary's was. It is understandable for us who have darkened intellects to be "slow learners", many times not understanding the why's of our suffering or how to cooperate with what God is permitting to happen. Mary and Joseph did not always understand, and Mary asked "Why?" when the Child was found in the temple at 12 years old. They continually grew in their faith, without always understanding, learning more and more the "marvels" of Jesus. Today, may we ponder especially with Mary, the pierced Heart of Jesus and her pierced heart also. May we learn from Mary to stand with Jesus at the Cross and receive from His Heart all the graces we need, to will lovingly, in union with Him, whatever Our Father Wills for us today. "Father into Your Hands..." Jesus said; and Mary remembered her own words, "Be it done unto me..." St. Catherine of Siena writes: "It is necessary that we see and know, in truth, with the light of faith, that God is the Supreme and Eternal Love, and he cannot will anything if not our good" (Ep. 13 in: Le Lettere, vol. 3, Bologna 1999, 206).