Fitting to October, the month of Our Lady is this article The Spirit of Giving from the Journey to Our Lady e-newsletter.
In terms of worldly goods and material wealth, Mary had nothing during her earthly lifetime, but she was truly rich in spirit and she never kept that richness to herself. She shared her good fortune in every way she could — from saying “yes” to God at the Annunciation to giving us her Son, Jesus Christ. With all sincerity, Mary gave and continues to give herself to us so that we may enter the Kingdom of God.
It is in that spirit of giving that Mary gives us hope — the hope that there is a reason for living that is greater than ourselves. Certainly, there is more to life than what we have, but the only way to experience that wonderful life is to give what we have to others. But how?
Like Mary, we must put ourselves in God’s hands and allow God’s love to guide our every decision and every act even when we do not fully understand God’s will or know where it will lead us. When Mary gave birth to Jesus and began to share Him with the world, did she know that one day her Son would be crucified on a cross? And even when that horrible day did come, Mary did not stop giving. She continued to share God’s love when she became Mother to us all.
Giving of oneself may seem like an impossible task, especially by today’s standards and expectations. However, when we look at Mary’s life we can see that “with God, all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26] If only we had Mary’s courage to put ourselves in God’s hands without reservation, without holding back; then living as Our Lady did would not appear so daunting and intimidating.
Mary understands our temptations and our fears, but she also has great faith and hope, which is why she calls to us to share God’s love in this world. Remember how she called on the three shepherd children of Fatima to pray and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Those children said yes even though they did not know what was going to happen to them.
Let us follow the example of Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. The children had no expectations of great-ness or fortune for themselves. They strove only to carry out Mary’s requests, regardless of the consequences. Certainly, they were not alone. Through Mary, God gave the shepherd children the strength to endure their trials just as He gave strength to Mary in her lifetime.
Why would anyone make sacrifices and endure trials and tribulations if he/she could avoid it? Look at St. Francis of Assisi. He gave up all of his worldly possessions to serve God. “He understood that true joy and riches do not come from the idols of this world — material things and the possession of them — but are to be found only in following Christ and serving others,” said Pope Francis (Magnificat October 2014). The driving force is most assuredly love. “We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and to learn to embrace those in need, in order to show our closeness, affection, and love,” said Pope Francis; then what we endure in this world will not be all for naught.
One could argue that life can have purpose without God, but does this truly make our world a better place? What values do we abandon along the way? What morals do we compromise? Mary gave all and abandoned nothing. Even when Mary did not understand what was happening, she continued to give and never questioned how her love would be received in a world mired in sin. Perhaps now we can examine our lives and determine what we can give to one another without any expectation other than to serve God.