Feast of Mary Model and Mother of the Church
MARY was an important player in the whole story of the Paschal Mystery – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ formation was within the influence and modelling of his family. In her nurturing and tender, faithful presence, in her silent strength and unfailing kindness, Mary backed up her Son, in gentle discipleship. All this did not diminish in spite of the sorrows and pain that Mary experienced. Mary persevered in being lovingly present for her Son and his followers, even at the foot of the cross, and in the disruptive times that followed. Her role after Jesus’ Death and Resurrection was to continue to be that example of nurturing faithful love against all the opposition that the early followers of Jesus experienced. Mary offered support to the people who were early church, to open themselves up to Jesus’ message, and to welcome and embrace the Gifts of the Spirit offered at Pentecost into their lives and challenging discipleship.
Church is not about buildings or institutions but people. Wherever one or more people live believing in Jesus Christ and witnessing to his values and all-encompassing love, then church is present and real. As Jesus invites us to be his compassionate heart in action, so Mary invites us to be her kind, gentle, maternal heart, witnessing to a discipleship of listening and caring faithful presence. Sounds like a call to gentle discipleship that we can all develop more fully!
Pam Storey is a member of the Passionist Faith Community at Holy Cross, Templestowe, and one of the founding members of Passionist Companions. After a very active and varied family, church and working life, Pam is now focusing on developing a slow spirituality.