[This was originally given to be a spoken sharing at an Advent evening prayer liturgy at St. Edward’s On Tuesday December 9. The liturgy was snowed out, so I am publishing it here. Most of the people who customarily attend this liturgy know me quite well and make allowances when I tend to ramble and run on. So I thought that I would “tighten it up” before I published it, but, on second thought, I decided to leave it alone. Here it is “warts and all.”]
When I agreed to give this little talk tonight, I noticed that today is the feast day of St. Juan Diego, the person who saw the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also, Friday [Dec. 12] is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and, of course, yesterday [Dec. 8] was the Immaculate Conception. It seemed clear to me that this week was Mary’s week, and that I should talk about Mary. Later, while I was sorting books donated to the parish library, I came across this one, “Mary Today,” by Basil Pennington. You probably know Father Pennington as the Trappist monk and priest who was the author of several books, most particularly the popular book on Centering Prayer. What especially caught my eye with this books, was the subtitle, “Model for Maturing Christians.” Anybody here consider yourself Maturing Christians? So here was a slant on Mary that I could write on.
In his book, Fr. Pennington asks, “Who is Mary? And who is she in my life? Who ought she to be in my life as a disciple, follower, friend, and lover of Jesus Christ?” Neither Fr. Pennington nor I have any answers to these questions, rather we both set out to raise some thoughts for you to ponder.
As I began to work on this talk, I was drawn to Pennington as a person primarily because of some interesting parallels in our lives.
Pennington entered the Trappist monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1951 at the age of 20. I entered the Paulist Fathers minor seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, in the following year at the age of 13. He made his vows on September 8, 1956. I made my first temporary promises on the same date, three years later. It was customary in many religious orders to make vows on September 8 because it is the birthday of Mary. [In case you Continue reading