15th August – Feast of the Assumption
A missionary is somebody who brings God’s love into the world. They do this by providing practical support such as help run schools, health centres, orphanages.
Missionaries also provide emotional and spiritual care. They share God’s love through their lives of love and service and by witnessing to their faith, often in very difficult and dangerous situations.
Pope Francis has often stated that Mary provides us with the best example of a missionary. First, because she brought love into the world through the birth of Christ, but also because, by following her virtues, we will be better able to bring God’s love to others.
Question: What are the virtues Mary held that make her the model of missionaries? Are they virtues we possess and if so, do we use them to bring love into the world too?
Courage: The Bible reveals Mary’s generosity in other ways too. We learn how she travelled a long and difficult journey in the early months of her pregnancy to stay with, and support, her older cousin, Elizabeth, who was also expecting a baby.
Compassion: Mary’s great generosity was motivated by another virtue: her sense of compassion which made her identify with the struggles and suffering of another and as a consequence she reached out and helped.
The Bible tells us that Mary pondered the things she couldn’t
understand ‘in her heart.’ It tells us, too, that on those occasions when she was confused; such as when her son was rejected and made to suffer, she took time to pray for understanding, reflect and find guidance from the scriptures.
“Like the young Mary you can allow your life to become a means for making the world a better place. Jesus is calling you to leave your mark in life, your mark on history”. Pope Francis
“In Mary we see that humility is not a virtue of the weak but of the strong who don’t have to treat others badly to feel important” (Pope Francis)
Joy and Gratitude
Few words that Mary spoke are recorded in the the scriptures. In the Gospel of Luke; there is Mary’s song which help to understand further why Pope Francis believes her to be the model of missionaries.
In Luke’s Gospel, Mary’s speech reflect her joy and gratitude that reflects God’s wish for humanity to be happy and fulfilled:
“My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. For he has looked upon his servant in her littleness.
From now on all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things through me. Holy is His name, God’s mercy extends from age to age, to all who praise him” Luke 1:46-55
Mary knew the value of noticing the good in life, even small blessings; appreciating them and thanking God for them. And she knew the value of joy; finding it within herself and sharing it with others, too.
Pope Francis in the World Youth Day 2013 says about Mary “There, my dear friends, we have our model. She who received the most precious gift from God, as her immediate response sets off to be of service and to bring Jesus. Let us ask Our Lady to help us too to give Christ’s joy to our families, our companions, our friends, to everyone. Never be afraid to be generous with Christ … go out and set off with courage and generosity, so that every man and every woman may meet the Lord.”