A love that inspires faith, resilience and sacrifice
What rich readings we have for this Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, which also happens to be the World Day of Peace!
With this abundance of good material to reflect on, I would like to focus on a phrase from the Gospel: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
It strikes me once again, in reading this depiction of the Nativity scene, what an incredibly strong and resilient woman Mary was. Young, impoverished and far from home at this moment in her life, she was highly vulnerable in many ways, yet she trusted in God’s will and providence, undertaking great sacrifices to bring Christ into the world. She had the courage to reflect on these events she was witnessing — the wonders and the hardships — and trust that God’s hand in all of it would one day be revealed.
In many ways this reminds me of the many immigrant mothers I have worked with over the years as an immigration attorney, advocate and now as executive director here at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). By embarking on a journey to the United States to seek safety and security, often primarily motivated by love of and concern for their children, these women say “yes” to an unknown future. Many of them whom I have known have pondered where God is in all of their hardship, and many of them recognize God’s providence for them along the way.
My immigrant clients’ faith, resilience and sacrifice has astounded me and inspired me. As we all know, parental love is fierce, protective and incredibly powerful. It motivates parents to make the greatest of sacrifices for their children. Mary models the holiness of this kind of sacrificial love for all of us as the Mother of God. Her trust and witness bring us Christ — the Incarnation, the Prince of Peace.
In this season of Christmas, how can we embrace this kind of sacrificial love? In doing so, how can we foster and sow peace? How can we reflect that presence of God along the way that Mary and our clients put their faith in?
Anna Marie Gallagher is Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).