Two of my favorite role models are Mary and Catherine Laboure. Both Mary and Catherine are great examples of what it means to live by faith, and how to respond when God’s call catches us off guard in the daily course of our lives. When things do not work out as we expect them to, we can struggle to see what God’s plan holds for us and furthermore we can struggle to accept his plan. Angels might not appear in our doorsteps, but we do encounter God in each of our daily prayers, and he whispers to us an invitation to come closer to him.
I was recently talking to a friend; he told me a story about his Grandmother. His Grandmother had a hat stand beside the front door and when the doorbell would ring, she would put on a hat before she opened the door. If she liked you, she would say “Oh come in, I’ve just arrived home myself”, If she didn’t like you, she would say “Oh it’s lovely to see you but unfortunately I’m just on my way out”. When God’s call comes in the midst of our busy lives quite often it can be a struggle to say yes to it, we can find ourselves at the door with our hats on wondering whether to say come in or sorry I am on my way out.
When Mary’s plan was revealed to her, despite her fears and uncertainty over how this promise could be fulfilled she still answered yes. Similarly, we see the same response from St Catherine Laboure when Our Lady visits her in the Chapel in Rue du Bac. Our Lady tells Catherine that God will charge her with a mission; however, in the process she will experience many difficulties. Although Catherine was humiliated on many occasions, taking strength in her faith from Mary’s unwavering yes to the angel, she persevered and two years after the apparitions, her confessor Fr Aladel had the medal struck.
Each time we commit ourselves to embracing God’s call and accepting His will, we mark a new point on the path of our relationship with Him. For the rest of both Mary and Catherine’s lives, they would have often reflected on their extraordinary encounters with God, turning the weight of their messages repeatedly in their hearts. From the moment both women said yes, their relationship with God profoundly deepened even in the times when their faith was tested.
God invites you to get to know Our Lady, to meditate on her heart as a window into His own. He calls us to honor her, modeling her humility, her openness, and her abandonment. Just as our Blessed Mother reflects Jesus’ light more radiantly and more fully than any other human in history, so we are called – as children of our Blessed Mother – as children of the light, to reflect and radiate the love and heart of Christ to the entire world. Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
-Written by Kirsten Mahon