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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Tuesday

“To Magnify the Lord”: A Triduum in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Four Redemptorists are participating in a special three-day celebration in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. We will share the homilies from each day’s Mass on redemptorists.net.

 Day 2: God has done great things — Mary and confidence

By Rev. Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.

 
The Blessed Mother did not have much to say in the New Testament, but her few words leave more room for reflection. Can you remember her first words in Scripture?
 
“How can this be?”
 
In other words, she investigated. She asked questions. She used her intelligence. “How can this be?” She did not take everything at face-value and say, “it has to be true because the Bible tells me so.” She dug deeper. She wanted the truth and she was not afraid to ask even the most difficult questions to attain it.
 
What a wonderful example for us.  Our faith and religion is so deep, our world so full of mystery that we need to ask questions. How can this be that the universe is still expanding?  How can this be that a child so full of life and love can die of cruelty or neglect? How can this be that a loving and merciful God can cause so many divisions around the world? It is our duty to ask questions. It is our duty to study and probe and dissect. It is our duty to follow Mary’s courageous example.
 
Can you remember our Blessed Mother’s second words in Scripture?  
 
“Let it be done to me according to your word.”
 
She accepted. She trusted. She stepped out in faith. There is no other way. We will never have all the answers.  Mary did not have a blueprint of her life. She had no idea that some day she would be holding the lifeless body of her Son in her arms. What she did have was the faith that God would never abandon her. She replaced fear with trust. The questions in her mind may have persisted, but she surrendered to God’s will and learned to experience her utter dependence upon God.
 
Finally, who remembers Mary’s last words in Scripture?  I’ll give you a hint — wedding feast of Cana.
 
“Do whatever he tells you.”
 
What wonderful advice. We need look no further than the cross to see how Mary put her own words into action. On that dark Friday — 1,979 years ago — it was certainly within Mary’s right to cry out, to protest the cruelty, to plead Jesus’ innocence, but Mary was doing all that could be done. She was holding the tension, standing in strength, refusing to give back this hate. She resisted the urge to strike back. In essence, what Mary was doing was this: She couldn’t stop the crucifixion, but she could stop some of its bitterness, some of its hatred, some of its anger and jealousy. 
 
 
The Blessed Mother, obedient to what Christ taught us, was radiating everything that was antithetical to the crucifixion. Her gentleness, forgiveness, understanding, peace, and light were not resignation, but strength.
 
Sometimes darkness has its hour and nothing we can do can stop it. We, like Mary are asked to stand under the cross, to absorb, by our own presence, some of its hatred, some of the blindness and sin that surrounds it. Then, and only then, will we be following the unshrinking example of Mary — and find ourselves walking in the footsteps of Christ.