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A Beacon Of Light… Mary, God’s Gift To Us

June 17, 2022 Featured Today No Comments

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + In this week’s column, I want to pause from our survey of the Catechism, in order that we might focus on more pressing issues, like the state of affairs in society.
    Over the last few weeks, we have experienced frightening and difficult moments. These moments have been difficult to comprehend. Confusion, division, and unrest have made these unprecedented times. The battles ensuing around us, regarding the sanctity of life, and the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, then coupled with the horrific news of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are causes for great concern. Nineteen children and two teachers, sadly lost, because society is out of control and no longer knows how to protect its most vulnerable.
    This cause, however, is not anything new. For centuries the human race has endured similar situations. World, civil, and national conflicts have sporadically been a part of human history. We even find conflict in the Bible, where the Israelite people endured difficulties, making the promised land their new home. We even find struggles in the institution of the Church, where for over two thousand plus years, many incomprehensible actions have caused many to lose faith in the Church.
    Sometimes it may seem like our gaze heavenward is all for naught. Many have asked the questions: Where is God in all of this? Why hasn’t He done anything to remedy the struggles we find ourselves in? Actually, He has! Unfortunately, we are not listening.
    When our first parents Adam and Eve sinned, God put into action a divine plan to save us from the clutches of the fallen serpent. As He is our Creator, God’s desire for us is peace and enjoyment of the fullness of creation. Biblical figures like Abraham, Isaac, Noah, Moses, the prophets of old, and even the apostles have all proclaimed the path to eternal happiness. All of these figures prepared the foundation that leads to our ultimate redemption.
    Understanding our human flaws is difficult. The pressures increased by the confusion and discord we experience in society can be overwhelming. People around the world are experiencing the unraveling of society. Compiling this with the innate struggles already existing within, is it a wonder that the Godliness of life is lost?
    There is no more mention of God in the world. Taking Him out of our government, schools, and even family life was the moment this unraveling began. The destruction of family life and the confusion of family roles have gotten worst. And yet, in the midst of all this, God has never given up on us. He continues sending us messages of conversion to assist us in restoring a semblance of divine order to society.
    There was none other, however, who was destined to help us more than Mary. When she was about twelve years old, God revealed to Mary the responsibility she would have in the plan of salvation. She was to be raised to a special honor by being the Mother of the Incarnate Lord. As the message of the Angel Gabriel was announced, the divine grace stirred within, and Mary uttered her yes to God. Her “fiat” would become the example for us to live by.
    Mary has been, and always will be, the vehicle through which we have total access to Jesus Christ, and the graces needed to live our lives. Mary is not only the Mother of the Incarnate God, but the mother of us all. Assumed into Heaven body and soul, the Blessed Mother takes her place in the heavenly realms as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. It is through the Blessed Queen Mary, our mother, that we find the answer to our previous questions: Where is God in all of this? Why hasn’t he done anything to remedy the struggles we find ourselves in?

Archbishop Sheen

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen helps us better understand the Role of Mary in our lives. In his book, The World’s First Love, Sheen reminds us of the importance Mary plays in our faith and why we need her now more than ever.
Standing in a world torn apart by war, violence, and threats of global nuclear disasters, Mary is the means through which we can find the path to peace. In fact, she has been calling us for centuries, pleading with us to return to her Son. She has been calling us to this for a long time. Are we listening?
Fulton Sheen uses the following analogy to help us understand how important Mary is in today’s world. He says: “If we have a box in which we keep our money, we know that one thing we must always give attention to is to the key…without the key we cannot get to the money….Mary is the key to peace” (The World’s First Love, p. 77).
Returning to the Lord, through Mary, is the key to the world’s problems. This message has been proclaimed in various ways throughout history. Biblical figures of the Old Testament and Apostles like, St. Peter and St. Paul have all spoken of this message and the need for conversion. In fact, our journey of faith is just that, a continual opportunity of conversion. The problem is this: We don’t like talking about conversion. We despise that word! Hearing it causes fear and anxiety because it means we have to change something to make ourselves better.
For many, however, it means losing part of who we are. So often we become entrenched in our “comfortable” lives. Conversion challenges us to be not only comfortable, but also happier. The journey to conversion isn’t a race to take something away from us; rather, it’s a race to make us better. Conversion changes us for the good. Society today lacks the ability of being open to “true conversion.” True conversion leads us back to God and the plan of salvation.
Society’s definition of conversion leads us away from God and continues us down the road to destruction. We are dealing with issues like transgenderism, in which bodily conversion is presented as optimally good when, in fact, these issues cause the most destruction to the dignity of the person.
The struggles continue, however, because the complete denial of the innocent human life of the unborn is fundamental to everything else. If there is no respect for life in its beginnings, how can we expect a respect later on? The ramifications of this are far and wide, surpassing every aspect of society.

A Worldwide Conversion

And so, God has been using the Blessed Mother as His mouthpiece through whom He is calling us to conversion. Wanting to experience a better society, wanting to experience peace, requires us to open our ears to hear the voice of the Blessed Mother. Mary is speaking to us, her children. She is the conduit through which Jesus is calling for a worldwide conversion. This has been accomplished through the many Marian apparitions throughout the world. These apparitions have not happened in just one place.
Virtually every continent on Earth has experienced the power of an apparition. Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia have been recipients of Mary’s messages of conversion and reconciliation. We have Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, Akita, Kibeho, and many others. Each apparition is linked to the same message of repentance and conversion.
Next week we will examine several of these apparitions and the commonalities that exist among them. These apparitions are filled with rich examples of the Lord speaking to His people. Hopefully by looking at some of these apparitions, the ears of society will be opened to the voice of God. He is speaking and now is the time to listen.

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