By JENNIFER BURGIN
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
Today is the Feast day devoted to The Most Holy Name of Mary. With the pending sale of my home and so much to do before I move into my new apartment, I pause and reflect on Our Blessed Mother. How has she assisted me on my faith journey? How has her name influenced my life decisions, both good and bad? Do I recognize Mary as a mediator and intercessor? Do I keep her close to my heart like I do her Son?
I remember several years ago visiting a nearby parish on a chilly, rainy Sunday. I was upset after an Internet troll posted a negative comment on Fr. Alfonse's blog directed towards me. With so many nasty people stalking the web, I normally shake off such comments and move on. But, this particular troll really struck a nerve. I attended Mass that Sunday in hopes of clearing my mind, asking Our Lord and his Mother to help me get past the hurt and anger.
I remember walking out of the church straight into the rain without an umbrella. My mind was more focused on my online presence than physical one. Should I stop posting comments? Should I stop blogging once and for all? I don't know if I'm strong enough to withstand anonymous criticisms. I don't want people to think I'm stupid, boring, or annoying. Uh!
As I headed toward my car, a woman walked up to me and offered part of her umbrella. I remember the warm smile and pleasant voice. She asked my name and why I looked so sad. I told her my name is Jennifer and that I'd just experienced hurtful criticism on a blog. She stopped walking and looked straight at me with a look of recognition in her eyes: "Are you Jennifer who regularly posts on Fr. Alfonse's blog?" When I answered "Yes" my face turned bright red in embarrassment. She must have seen my profile pic. I was absolutely shocked somebody recognized me outside of my own home parish!
The woman said, "I love your comments, Jennifer. You're a great writer! And I know about that nasty post from the anonymous person. Don't let that jerk upset you. Keep on posting! Don't give up. Always keep Our Blessed Mother close to your heart!"
I asked the woman her name: "Oh, my name is Mary. It's so great to finally meet you in person, Jennifer." My heart stop for a moment. Did she just say the name Mary? Wow, the irony! I felt like the Holy Spirit, through the Blessed Mother's intercession, sent me a special person to uplift my spirits and give me the encouragement to continue my writing.
I often wonder what ever happened to the Mary I met that rainy Sunday. I'd like to thank her for taking me under the shadow of her caring wings even if only for a few moments.
I learned that day that I will not be able to please everyone. Some people will like me whereas others will loathe me. All I can do is be the best Christian I can be. Try not to take things personally. Always turn toward God and Our Blessed Mother for strength and resilience. Don't be afraid to speak out the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary even if others may not like it.
"Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory through Mary’s maternal intercession.” –St. Thomas Aquinas
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality