By Allison Gingras
Mary, the Mother of God, never whispers a complaint nor hints at a loss of her peace, whether encountering her in the Scriptures or an apparition. She ponders all things in her heart and remains both faithful and joyful. What secret could Mary possibly possess that we could learn from, especially in difficult or trying times? Simply, she learned, believed, and lived the law of the Lord. Mary, a faithful Jewish woman, knew well the Psalms, and as the first disciple of Christ, she listened to and followed her Son’s teachings.
“The Psalms are a collection of 150 poetical songs associated with temple worship in Israel.
…The Psalms can be read as inspiration readings or songs as hymns of praise and supplication to God”. This collection of prayers offers the faithful countless strategies for restoring and retaining hope, peace, joy, and trust. From the first line, the path to happiness is revealed, followed by prayers regarding God’s promises, protection, and the many ways we can trust in His assistance. They are suitable not only to guide our conversations with God but also to strengthen our understanding of His working in our lives.
We are not the first to cry out to God for help. Not the first to plea for assistance in evil times, from suffering and persecution, or deliverance from circumstances beyond our control. Each word draws us into praise and worship of a loving, ever-present God.
Mary heard and remembered these sacred words to draw from when faced with impossible or frightening choices, and when experiencing suffering beyond imagination. Her peace is never lost because she not only memorized the words but believed and lived them.
Then, the most extraordinary occurred. The Word was to become flesh and dwell, not just among us, but within her. Mary was privileged and blessed beyond all women to carry the Incarnate Lord; to present Him to the world. She heard not only His first words but listened attentively to every word He spoke in her presence, holding each precious syllable in her heart. She is the first disciple and the greatest model of how to follow Christ.
The perfect companion to reading the Psalms for comfort in difficult times is the gospels. In the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the faithful discover another secret to Mary’s peace. Jesus teaches, corrects, encourages, and guides all souls toward Heaven. It is the hope of Heaven, the words of eternal life which only Jesus can offer, that instill a joy that no circumstance in this life can shake. Don’t be mistaken; Mary did not laugh her way through Jesus’ suffering. Every moment brought anguish and sorrow to her Immaculate Heart. Yet filled with grace
; , these circumstances never stole her joy.
Joy shines far beyond the absence of worldly troubles. It is the knowledge of God’s unfathomable, unbreakable love for us; the promise of God, our Father, to never abandon or forsake His children. Furthermore, Jesus has gone to prepare for a room for each of us in our Father’s house. A place, the gospels assure us, Jesus Himself will come back to bring us to (John 14). Jesus is the way to the Father.
Mary pondered every word that came from the mouth of God in her heart. These words directed her actions and her reactions to the world around her. Therefore, nothing could destroy the peace, hope, and joy she held in her heart as well. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). When we seek, knock, and ask for consolation through the Scriptures, especially if we make this a daily practice, we will develop, like Mary, a heart which nothing can disturb.
Allison Gingras shares the Catholic faith with honesty, humor, and experiences from everyday life. Allison created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), which includes her titles — Seeking Peace and The Gift of Invitation. She is a podcast host, blogger, inspirational speaker, and Catholic social media consultant. Learn More:: ReconciledToYou.com