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Observing Lent with Mary Print
Guest column
Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Lent invites us to seek and find God. In this regard, our earthly pilgrimage continues, fixing our eyes on God.

It is our delight to take short-cuts, especially when our way is long and hard. Indeed, our way to God looks enormously long and tedious. God knew our problem and came to our rescue.

Seeking and finding

God in his infinite love created in his children a heart that longs for him. God, from his part, loved to be with us. Salvation history illustrates beautifully this mutual seeking and finding of God and his children. God was the first one to seek.

God sought his children especially when they were lost. God did not stay at a distance. He walked in. A chance for regaining what was lost was offered.

Human struggle and running away from God started to influence God’s children. A new culture — a new chapter was added to salvation history.

God never gave up his search for his children. He chose them as his own to make a nation out of them.

God appears

God appeared whenever he wished and when there was a need. Often he spoke though his prophets. He used the medium of clouds, fires, stars, and many other tools. He even walked with them, teaching and inviting them to follow his ways. He fulfilled their wishes.

Still, the way to God looked very far and wide. This led God to stay in a place.

God’s decision to dwell in the temple in Jerusalem became a milestone in salvation history. It was a strategical sign of God’s love. Now, people can come to him at any time. He waits for them.

Born of a virgin

God did not stop his continuous efforts to be closer to his children. His endless desire to be with his beloved sons and daughters was fulfilled in his plan to be born of a virgin.

God chose a simple virgin from Nazareth as his new dwelling. God made an extra step in creating a new tabernacle of the human heart. He found a new and beautiful temple in Mary for all generations.

A totally new experience! God moved from temple to heart. This was first privileged to the Blessed Mother. She bore God in her heart and womb. Her all inclusive “yes” to the will of the Father changed the course of the salvation and human history. The birth of a new culture! A new era began: God dwells under our roof.

A short-cut to God

God found favor in Mary and made a model out of her. In her, God gave to his people a short-cut to him. Mary is our short-cut to God: in loving Mary we love her God because he cannot be separated from her. She draws our hearts to her first and then leads them to Jesus, her son and God.

The Blessed Mother not only stood under the cross to gather the flowing water and blood from Christ’s side for the salvation of her children; she also interceded on the day of the Pentecost that we have the fullness of the Spirit to make us God’s perfect dwelling.

Our way to Mary is shorter than to God. In her, we find a possibility, assistance, and an assurance. Naturally, our heart is closer to her — indeed a gift of God!

When it seems that we are far away from our God, even today, Mary appears to her children in an extraordinary way with her motherly affection and the words of consolation. Through her many shrines around the world, she continues her mission of helping her children. She teaches us. We learn from her.

Our Lenten days with Mary enable us to look at her and learn from her how to seek and find our God. May Mary pray for us that God finds us as we find him in our actions of loving Mary!

Fr. John Nellissery, a Schoenstatt Father, is the coordinator of the Schoenstatt Movement in the Diocese of Madison and serves at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison.