Just Gospel: Called to Follow Mary’s Example Part II

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy continues her reflection on Pope Francis’ monthly intention.

Yet so many young people are surviving in unjust societies. They lack education, support and opportunities for their futures. The Holy Father warns us to avoid becoming a “single-issue Christian”, but to prefer the stance of a whole-hearted follower of the Lord who seeks out a Gospel justice in every situation. He writes, “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in our world. We often hear it said that the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us?”

In closing his document, Pope Francis again turns to Mary. We join him at her feet as we consider his words, “She is that woman who rejoiced in the presence of God, who treasured everything in her heart, and who let herself be pierced by the sword. Mary is the saint among the saints, blessed above all others. She teaches us the way of holiness and she walks ever at our side. Our conversation with her consoles, frees, and sanctifies us. Mary our Mother does not need a flood of words. All we need do is whisper time and time again: ‘Hail Mary…’”

In our prayers for the youth of Latin America, we can call to mind the lovely words of a Spanish hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Look, for I am Mexican
and for that I am yours
And I search in vain in the world
for another who loves you more than I.
Awaken, Mother, awaken
look, the dawn has come
Look at me as I lay at your feet
and give me your blessing.

Just Gospel: Called to Follow the Example of Mary

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on Pope Francis’ January prayer intention.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis bids us keep our Blessed Mother before us during this month. His prayer intention for January is “that young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.”

This intention does not stop at praying for greater youth devotion to Mary. Our prayer should be interceding for the grace of joyful evangelization among Latino youth. This involves youth having the vision to recognize their own call, their mission in the Church. In Gaudete et Exsultate we read, “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for ‘this is the will of God, your sanctification.’(1 Thes. 4:3) Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.”

Notice that Pope Francis is referring to each of us living saints when he says we are each a living mission. Who could understand this monumental challenge better than Mary? She perceived the greatest call to mission, the most amazing call to holiness, the most unexpected plan of the Father when she was only a teenager. She truly is the ideal one to inspire today’s youth in growing into their unique mission, their singular call to holiness.

Franciscan Religious Join San Xavier Mission Mary Procession

Franciscan Sister Mary Ann Spanjers shares a recent festive Blessed Mother procession at San Xavier Mission, Tucson, Arizona.

The Sisters at San Xavier joined the Tohono O’odham as they processed up the mountain to celebrate the Mass of the Assumption at the grotto! It was a glorious day. Young and old walked with special intentions in their hearts and on their lips.

The tradition of carrying statues of our Blessed Mother to be blessed and be a blessing for the homes of their families is an inspiration.

The 98 degrees did not quelch the enthusiasm, music, singing or prayers of intercession to Blessed Mother Mary.

This was Sister Rosalyn’s first procession experience on the mountain. It was a great time to meet new people.