December 9, 2015

Mother Mary - Model of Our Faith

Last night my husband and I attended the final mission night with the passionate Nigerian priest Father Maurice Emelu, where he spoke on "our mother Mary." 

After singing and praying, Father began to speak about "Mother Mary, model of our Faith." His love for our lady showed in his manner when he told how "Mary's fiat . . . Mary's YES - changed the world." He posed a very provocative question, asking us if we ever wondered what would have happened if Mary said no . . . then reminding us that of course God can accomplish all things. But still, I found this question to be very thought provoking.
Father went on to say "that YES  is an aspect of the backbone of our Faith. Mary accepted God COMPLETELY.  She had Faith as gratitude, as service, as submission to the will of God."

"When we accept God we accept everything God does" Father emphatically exclaimed." Powerful words which Mother Mary models for us all.

Father reminded us that our Christian Faith is not based upon the minister. He brought out that sometimes we have the temptation of taking the minster as the object of our Faith - building our Faith around that person. Then he asked, "But what happens when he messes up?"  He used the latin phrase "ex opere operato" (by the very fact of the actions being performed. Link: The Paschal mystery Vatican Website).  "The power of what is celebrated is not dependent upon the priest" Father explained. He warned us to be careful of "idolatrous faith" which is not really Faith at all! 

"The Christian Faith is based on Jesus." His demeanor had become serious, his words  carried weight.  Father discussed the kind of confidence that comes from having true Faith and he beautifully recited Psalm 23  to illustrate that glorious confidence that comes from the Lord - not the self. "Christian Faith is a life of gratitude," he exclaimed "Mother Mary epitomizes gratitude as evident in the Magnificat! 

"Faith makes you sing!" Father Maurice proclaimed, "and even if you can't sing (insert chuckles) Faith puts a song in your heart!" At this point he belted out a BEAUTIFUL song of gratitude to God in his native language which moved me to tears (he translated.) 

"Faith should make you joyful . .  . Faith is a catalyst for praise and in mother Mary we saw that. Faith also means service." What was the first thing Mary did after the angel told her she was with child? Father pointed out that she went on a long, difficult journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth in haste to serve! "Faith causes you to do the will of God . . . to serve in the church, in the family and in the community. Father's voice rang out, "Faith makes us get out of our comfort zone and do stuff for somebody!"

And finally, Father Emelu reminded us that we are called to be missionary disciples in service and evangelization. The Gospel is the Good News, and "If it is the good news why do we carry it only inside?" he queried. He brought up the woman at the well and how she RAN back to town to tell "come and see the One who knows everything about me!" Father quoted Pope St. John Paul II and reminded us that "sharing Faith is a duty." He continued "It is your duty to share it by your actions. Your life, your kindness, gentleness . . . everything you do should evangelize and share the Lord with those around you." He referenced St Francis here, "Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words."

"Faith is submission to the will of God and is sometimes very difficult." Mary made a vow to God and although she could have doubted she never did! She submitted totally - as a lowly handmaid and is a true model of Fidelity for us all.

Father Maurice Emelu is the host of The Faith with Father Maruice and Word for a Wounded World television series on EWTN Global Catholic Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Revemelu and like him on facebook Fr. Maurice Emelu.

Here is a sample of Father's passion! Enjoy!

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