Listen. Live.


May 13, 2020 – Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima

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Did Jesus just downplay the role of his Mother, Mary by saying, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it?”

On this memorial day of Our Lady of Fatima, the Lord has actually reminded us how Mary, his mother, is indeed blessed. Mary is blessed among women not just because she carried Jesus and nursed him. Before Mary conceived Jesus, Mary listened to God. Mary welcomed the word of God proclaimed to her. By listening to the word of God, Mary observed it. Mary lived the word of God. 

This is how Mary silently lived her life within the life of Jesus. And living in that life, Mary became life-giving for she is at the very source of life and of love.

Hence, the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary was made possible through her generous participation in the Divine Plan of God. Mary indeed opened her heart and welcomed God’s word. This action of Mary made God’s plan to be fulfilled in our history, through a human participation.

As a consequence to that, Mary conceived Jesus in her womb. Mary became pregnant with God and brought the Immanuel in our midst.

Today’s memorial of the first appearance of Mary in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta reminds us also of the blessing that we have received from God. Mary’s appearance would tell us of God’s presence in our midst. It is a reminder that God has not forgotten us. God is with us.

Thus, the call to pray the Holy Rosary daily is a call to constantly listen to God. The Holy Rosary is not a mere memorized prayer that must be done dutifully. Rather, it must be done “prayerfully.” Doing the Rosary “out of duty” is not what Mary wanted because with that attitude, it will only make us tired and disappointed once we have not done it. The invitation is that the Holy Rosary becomes a channel for us to converse with God – in listening to God and listening to ourselves.

During this month of May, children are being taught to pray particularly the Holy Rosary. Yet, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this annual religious gathering is also suspended. (Photo from Brgy Nabitasan, Iloilo City 2018)

The repeated prayers in the Rosary and the mysteries attached to each decade are invitations to dwell deeper in the life of Jesus. In every decade, it is an invitation to see our life, and the life of our brothers and sisters within the life of Jesus recalled in every mystery in the Holy Rosary.

The Holy Rosary then, is a form of making ourselves more aware of God’s presence and more attuned to God’s word, to God’s many invitations for us. 

This is where we realize how “blessed” we are, because God speaks to us. We are invited to listen to Him and to live by the word of God as Mary, our Mother, did it.

May Mary, the Lady of Fatima, teach us how to listen prayerfully and lovingly to God’s words revealed in the Holy Bible, in our Sacraments, in our relationships and in our daily affairs with the world. By living God’s words, we may find life then, and become life-giving to every person whose life we are able to touch today. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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