1 Samuel 1:24-28
In the first reading Hannah brought Samuel to the temple and left him there… too bad that’s not an option today – I know many moms who would love to take their teenage sons and leave them at the temple (hahahaha). Actually, now that Julie is in the convent, I know the joys and sorrows of having your child give their life completely to God. We are so happy for her, but there are many times that we grieve the loss of having her with us. She too is sacrificing much to follow the Lord into religious life.
My yearly retreat at Christ the King in Citrus Heights is coming up in January and many of my friends from Chico will be there. Last year we decided to invite our daughters to this years’ retreat. I just found out that a close friend is indeed bringing her daughter this year, and she happens to be one of Julie’s closest friends. I was very sad as I realized that Julie can’t come with me this year, and that she may never get to go on a retreat with me. But if that’s the case, I also know that the Lord will help me in my sadness and even help me to be happy for my friends who do get to share the retreat experience with their daughters.
And what about Jesus’ mother? Mary stood by and watched her only son go through so many difficult and even horrible things. Years ago I felt that Mary was so perfect and holy that we had nothing in common, so I didn’t try to get close to her. But one day I had my own little "vision" where I saw her playing ball with Jesus. She wasn’t just playing catch with him, but she was the pitcher with her baseball cap on and she was pitching to him saying, "Hey batter, hey batter!" That helped me see her as someone more available to me, someone I wanted to get to know.
When my mom died, I thought of Mary, and remembered that she is my heavenly mother and that I could turn to her, especially now that Mom was gone. One morning I was taking a walk and praying the rosary asking her to help me to know her better. Just then I smelled fresh cut roses. I looked around and saw some rose bushes, but it was dead winter, and there were no blooms. I took that as a sign of her presence with me, and have enjoyed her love in a more personal way ever since.
Mary is available to everyone. There is so much we can learn from her. Even if we just take more time to ponder things in our hearts as she did, we will learn much. Thanks Mary for your yes to God. Thank you Julie for your yes to God, and Lord please help each of us say yes to You everyday.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at janice@frcedric/org