Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help (14 November 2015)
In the November issue of National Geographic magazine, an article on our Blessed Mother calls her ‘The World’s most powerful woman’. It was a secular author writing about religion and there were many beautiful descriptions about our faith and how we venerate Mary, our Blessed Mother. It was sensitively written and showed how she’s not just important to Christians but to people of other faiths as well. It was refreshing to read how she’s seen by non-Christians and how she still inspires such awe and wonder amongst people. And for good reason too – she does have an influence that goes far beyond her humble beginnings in the bible and that goes far beyond her limited appearance in the bible.
The article gives a good insight for me too. The writer focused on miracles and apparitions as she journeyed around the world interviewing people about their relationship with our Blessed Mother. It was amazing to read how Mary appears to people all over the world, teaching and healing without ceasing. The author reminded us that just as all mothers try to reach out to their children, so does our Blessed Mother. She’s a great connector as many may find it difficult to understand or connect with church teachings but can immediately understand what a mother’s love means to us. It’s universal and we can connect better with God and feel God’s grace through Mary.
The problem is that it can be difficult to believe in miracles and apparitions. They’re had to prove and difficult for us, scientifically or logically minded modern people to believe. If I were to believe in a miracle, it should be big, flashy and incontrovertible – nothing else would convince us. However, the problem is that apparitions and especially miracles don’t happen like that. Miracles are often small and not quite so flashy, leading us to think that they might just be coincidences or strokes of good fortune. We forget that miracles can be part of our ordinary lives. The very birth of our Lord and his conception are miracles but they were hidden from view. The same with many other miracles that happen to people daily – miracles of healing, deliverance and other graces that happen but not quite in the way that we expect. We often want to see God parting seas or turning water into wine but forget that God also makes flowers bloom and the sun rise.
Sometimes, people like me forget that miracles happen here and now and occur with amazing regularity. We are just a little too caught up in our worlds to realise it. The power of our Blessed Mother is that she comes to us through our own frailties and disbelief and shows us the possibility of God appearing in our midst. She appears to teach and heal specifically where we need it most. She brings us to the realisation that our not believing in miracles closes us to the possibility of God working real miracles in our lives. We need to be open and to open ourselves to the possibility of God’s grace working in our lives.
Just as Mary connects us to God, we’re also connected more deeply to ourselves. We’re connected to the possibility of God’s grace in our lives and are open to that. She’s definitely the worlds most powerful woman in how she inspires so many to return to God through her deep love for all of us. We love her as a mother, honour her as the mother of God, and pray that she continues to help us to be open to God’s grace in our lives.