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Love Shared Freely – A Reflection

April 7, 2020
Mary, Queen of Heaven and Our Lady of Guadalupe painted on a garage in Balmy Alley in San Francisco, California

As we continue this walk through Holy Week, I find myself returning again and again to Mary, the mother of Jesus. While the gospels talk a lot about the Disciples (and yes Jesus, but the reason for that is obvious) not much is mentioned about Mary. It isn’t until she is at the foot of the cross in John’s Gospel that she appears.

As many of you know, during our Ignatian Silent Retreat in Mobile at Spring Hill College in June of last year, I spent quite a bit of time in prayer and contemplation in Sodality Chapel. This is the original chapel on the campus of Spring Hill which was founded by the Jesuits in 1830. Sodality Chapel was built in 1850. The chapel is literally soaked in the prayers of thousands who have prayed and sought retreat and refuge.

Sodality Chapel

I also spent a significant amount of time in reflection and silence with Mary. This picture is probably the most amazing picture of Mary and Jesus I have ever seen. It is so real and she is looking right at you. The young woman who was the model was a student at Spring Hill and the artist Stephanie Morris (also an Alum of Spring Hill) was perfect for this painting.

Visitation by Stephanie Morris
http://stephaniebmorris.com/workszoom/1902798

What does Mary mean to me? Her example to me is one of selfless love which was freely given to God. She was asked to give her own son back to God and knew deep within her heart that Simeon’s prophecy would come to pass…. and a sword shall pierce your heart. (Luke 2:35)

In today’s reality of COVID-19, so many are offering up the gifts which God has given them to others despite the risks to their own lives. I particularly think of our two friends Libby and Jesse. Jesse is a doctor/resident in one hospital and Libby is a medical Social Worker in another hospital. They are both on the front lines in NYC as the Pandemic continues to blast the people and the medical infrastructure there. Working selflessly to save the lives of others, they put themselves at risk every day.

This year is a difficult Holy Week for so many. How do we do what God has called us to do? How do we offer such love in the midst of this pandemic? I found an answer for me in these words of Thomas Merton: It is not enough for love to be shared: it must be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken… unselfish love cannot rest perfectly except in a love that is perfectly reciprocated: because it knows that the only true love is found in selfless love. Selfless loves consents to be loved selflessly for the sake of the beloved. In so doing, it perfects itself. (No Man Is an Island, pp. 3-4)

In order for this nation and this world to come out on the other side of this Pandemic with some semblance of humanity, love must be the focus. Do not focus on fear, hatred, divisiveness, or any sort of thought process that pits one group against another (racially, sexually, theologically, politically, religiously… you get the point)… instead focus on our common humanity as Children of God… Yahweh, Allah, God, Great Spirit… however you name the Creator, we are all Children of the beloved. May we act as children of the beloved Creator and share that love as we seek a way through this Pandemic together.

4 Comments
  1. hlcgkids permalink

    We are comanded to love God with all our heart and every one else on earth. The first is easier than the second, but both are equally important.

  2. Nancy Almond permalink

    Appreciate this! N

    On Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 8:40 PM Pastor Michael Moore’s Blog wrote:

    > Michael Moore posted: ” Mary, Queen of Heaven and Our Lady of Guadalupe > painted on a garage in Balmy Alley in San Francisco, California As we > continue this walk through Holy Week, I find myself returning again and > again to Mary, the mother of Jesus. While the gospels talk a ” >

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