The Crowning of Mary in Heaven
by Fr. Peter deSousa
"Hail Queen of Heaven, the ocean star,
guide of the wanderer here below
Thrown on life's surge, we claim they care
Save us from peril and from woe.
Mother of Christ, star of the sea
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me"
I spent 3 years on board ship before I got my vocation at the age of 21. Mary was the one who obtained for me this grace in 1958, 49 years ago. At the request of my mother, I recited 5 decades of the Rosary and recited the Magnificat, daily, those 3 years. Mary was with me in all my training as a cadet to equip me to be a stronger person, when I joined the Novitiate. All things work for the good, in God's plan. I now ask her everyday to obtain for me the grace to persevere in my vocation until death.
As I offer myself, just as I am, with all my strengths and weaknesses to God to build His kingdom everyday, I call on Mary to continue to intercede for me everyday, so that I may be faithful to my vocation, as a Redemptorist and a priest. I am well aware that whatever God has done through me, as his instrument was certainly beyond my own capacities as a human being. I am often tempted to build my own little kingdom of comforts, securities, possessions, pleasures and independence. These things are so paltry and laughable, when I compare my response to my calling, with that of Mary's. She stands with me beneath the cross, to encourage, comfort and offer me hope. She tells me to do whatever Jesus asks the waiters….fill the jars with water and he can change that water into wine.
I may not have gold and silver to give alms to a lame beggar. But in Jesus' name I can give him back his health to walk. More than that, I can be instrumental in his walking in the footsteps of Jesus as his disciple (Acts 3). Jesus is asking us to do very simple and ordinary tasks like filling water in empty jars or telling a man who is lame, in Jesus' name to walk. After all it is the power of the Holy Spirit that ushers in God's reign.
In that Kingdom Mary is the Queen. She shares in the Kingship of her son. She would not want to wear a gold crown or wear royal robes. Her son's crown was made of thorns and his body was purple with his blood shed for us. Like our Mother, our involvement in Kingdom building and our belonging to it, does not entail, sitting at the right or left hand of Jesus. (Mk 10:35-45) It entails sipping the chalice of self-giving and self-emptying in order to share life, share love, share Jesus with those we meet each day.
Then we will hear those words "Come, you that are blessed by my father. Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)
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