Love always seeks the lowest place. The Virgin Mary did this exceptionally and due to her humility she is the greatest of all the saints. We honor her in a special way in May and in October. I should have spoken about her sooner this month; however, you can also continue your love for her in November and throughout the year. In those two months the Church honors her in a special way since she regarded herself as the lowest of the Lord’s handmaidens. Someone told me recently that she desired to be the servant of the mother of the Messiah, not the mother. It seems very fitting for her and for all of us to desire to serve and not stand out.
Did you know that Mary is Ever-Virgin? She was a virgin before Christ was born, during and after. Her spouse, the father of her Son, was the Holy Spirit, not Joseph, who fulfilled his mission to Christ in every other way. I like what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: her virginity is a sign of her faith, meaning that she was pure spiritually as well as physically. She never had a doubt about her mission as the Mother of Christ and the Mother of God. Pope Francis likes the image of Mary called the Untier (or Undoer) of Knots. She is the one who helps us to unravel the difficulties of life and to understand how God is acting in our life.
The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds and is heard by God. The Jews fast two days a week and in those days it was on Mondays and Thursdays, which were also the market days. Everyone could see the pious ones going, perhaps with a long face, to the Temple, while everyone was going to the market to buy food. Maybe they were doing it to be seen.
The Pharisee in today’s gospel said his prayer to himself (Luke 18: 9-14). Something that I do often. I speak to myself and not to the Lord. While the tax collector does not even raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast and says, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ Other translations say, be merciful to me ‘the’ sinner. He knew himself very well. The light was on in his soul.
God’s grace and forgiveness is not based on merit. I cannot say I deserve to be forgiven because of the prayers I said or my good works. No, God’s help always comes from his mercy.
Let us ask Mary, our Mother, to help us to have a humble heart, to see our sins and ask the Lord for his love and mercy. We don’t have to wait for something big to happen, but we can ask God’s help for the simple things of each day.