Virgin of Vladimir (+ image by the hand of Stephen Allison 2008)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Persevere in faith

Notes from meeting on 31 May 2011

* (Feast) Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary • Luke 1:39-56
Daily reflection taken from Bible Alive - Alive Publishing

Mary was a young Jewish girl who lived in Nazareth. Her early life would have seemed nothing out of the ordinary; her life would have melted into the background of the daily life in a small town. But it is here that we find the model of the hope that does not disappoint.

The quality of a person’s faith, its character and its strength, is exposed when it is tested. When Mary was asked to be the mother of the Lord, it would be a mistake to think that she did not fully grasp the implications of what was being asked of her. She must have known that her acceptance of this role would lead to her life being changed forever. There must have been worries and fears. But Mary’s ‘Yes’ was both a brave and a remarkable response from a human being.

Mary reveals to us all a faith that trusts God. But faith does not exclude us from the worries and anxieties of life: it is a gift by which we can retain our hope and confidence regardless of our circumstances. Mary would have faced anxieties along with her joy. She would have welcomed the support and encouragement of those who were close to her. And so she set off on the arduous journey to visit her cousin in the hill country. Mary may have rushed to Elizabeth to share the joy of hearing that she was going to have a child, but she also knew that her cousin loved the Lord and would not only rejoice in Mary’s news but would understand and encourage her.

God’s Spirit is at work in us who believe, because it is as we believe that the word of God is both conceived and brought forth in our lives. Our words and deeds may be hidden from the eyes of the world, but each step of faith, each act of hope, each word of prayer brings us closer to God. We do not make this pilgrimage through life on our own: we journey in faith, with all the angels and saints. We journey together to our Father.

‘God our Father, we thank you for the example of faith, hope and love that we have in Mary. It is hope in you that leads us to see you at work in our lives. May we learn to live each day with an expectation of your plan unfolding before our eyes.’

* Romans 12 v 9 - 13

* Acts 22 v 6 - 21 Paul's conversion

* Lord help us listen to your 'call' for us as individuals as a group and as a Church.
Help us remain faithful and persevere despite our trials, help us to respect all people and be witnesses to your love.