by Rick Cheek
On New Year’s Eve, my wife Rebecca and I were invited to the home of some friends north of Kansas City, which is quite a ways from where we live.
We took the opportunity to go to Mass at St. Patrick in Kansas City, Kansas. I especially enjoyed Msgr. Mullen’s homily on this solemnity of Mary as he talked about making this new year a pilgrimage or a walking journey, taking the Blessed Mother as our companion, our friend, our unfailing inspiration. After all, Mary is our model of mercy.
This suggestion resonates with me as Mary has always been my go-to person in prayer, especially when prayer seems difficult. What a great resolution for the new year!
Reflecting on last year, I could recall many times I turned to the Blessed Mother for guidance or help in a situation, asking Mary to lend me her heart so I can think like her, act like her and respond as she would. Life can get pretty crazy sometimes, but Mary is always a great role model to turn to.
After Communion at that New Year’s Eve Mass, my attention was drawn to a little girl, Grace, in the arms of her father. When her father approached the extraordinary minister of Communion, she tried with all her might to grab the host from her father before he consumed it.
I could only think to myself, “What if we were all like that in time of need?” Little Grace was reaching for something that we all long for, and that is Jesus. Like the wedding in Cana, when Mary says, “Do whatever he tells you,” listening to Mary will always bring us closer to her son.
Rebecca and I love walking the trails around the different lakes in the eastern part of Kansas. We enjoy looking at the beauty of nature around us; taking paths that lead to nowhere, but really never getting lost.
Praying the different mysteries of the rosary makes it a little pilgrimage, making that journey of Jesus, Mary and Joseph so many years ago, our journey. Do you ever take the time to put down the iPhones, iPads or GPS just to get lost in nature with your family?
When you take these walks or journeys with your family or a friend, it makes life fuller and more rewarding. And it is the same with Mary. When we allow her to accompany us, our journey to heaven is more assured, more rewarding.
As we walk through this Year of Mercy, let’s remember that Mary’s love for her son is the same love her son has for us. In the words of St. Louis de Montfort: “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek — Jesus, her son.”
Take Mary with you everywhere you go and the journey this year will be much better than last year’s.