Mary in my life as a priest
On the first day of January, the first day of the year, and the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, and also commemorates the World Day of Peace (since 1967). Mary is, indeed, the Mother of God and Mother of Peace, because her Son is God, and the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). Today’s celebration offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives.
St. John tells us that before dying, Jesus saw his Mother and the beloved disciple beneath the cross. To his Mother he said: “Behold your son”, and to the disciple, he said: “Behold your mother” (Jn. 19:26). Mary’s motherhood was, as such, extended to the reality of spiritual maternity for all the children of God. And there is no reason to doubt that the Blessed Virgin Mary who united herself with a maternal heart with the sacrifice of her Son and lovingly consented to the immolation of the Victim which she herself had brought forth (cf. LG 58), would not now unite herself with a maternal heart to all the children of God, especially Priests who, by the divine institution are constituted as sacred ministers and participate in the priesthood of Christ.
The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis affirms that in Mary who was led by the Holy Spirit to dedicate herself totally to the mystery of man’s redemption, Priests will always find a wonderful example of docility to the mission they have assumed in the Holy Spirit, and exhorts Priests to love and venerate with filial devotion and veneration the mother of the Eternal High Priest and Protector of their own ministry (cf. P.O 18).
The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this particular veneration and devotion to the Virgin Mary (cf. CCC 971). Besides, I try to maintain a particular relationship with the Blessed Mother through the devotion to the Brown Scapular, which, according to the 2001 Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, “is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer” (no. 205).
Mary is, indeed, for me, a loving and caring Mother, a companion on my earthly pilgrimage and in my priestly life and ministry, and a model and example of humility, prayer, faith, hope and charity and above all, obedience to the Father’s will.
Fr Paul Remjika
Fr. Paul, a student’ priest in the College Maria Mater Ecclesiae, is studying Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Gregoriana in Rome.