Holiness can seem so daunting. It seems vague at times, all covered in halos and stained glass. The pursuit of holiness is a timeless challenge faced by every Christian. But still it can seem such a distant place to which we don't know where to start walking.
The best direction towards holiness given to us by God however, was His own mother whom we celebrate today in a special way. Today is the day we acknowledge the dedication of Mary in the Temple; her entire life given to God as a young girl. She was conceived without sin, yet still this action represents that Mary, and her family, took the steps to acknowledge their willingness to seek out God's will and to live it. As a young girl Mary was very much like us; she had a willing heart that was searching out God's will for her life. She did not know when she offered herself in the Temple that in a few short years an angel would come with a stunning message. But she took the initial steps to be ready for God, to open herself up to what God had willed for her life.
In a beautiful connection, today's Gospel Reading gives us Christ's message of who is meant to be His intimate family. He says that anyone who does God's will is His mother, sister, brother. I like to think that what Christ is saying is not just that in doing God's will we will become His intimates, but that as we grow in holiness, in doing God's will, we become more like His mother, more like Mary. I believe this passage should be taken literally to mean that holiness is becoming more like our Blessed Mother.
Of course, becoming more like Mary—more humble, more obedient, more patient, more kind, more understanding, more chaste, more loving is not an easy task once we decide to follow her example. We are so easily confused, so distracted, so put off from big picture goal of our lives. Christ in His love and wisdom gave us Mary not as just an example put on a pedestal but as a loving, guiding mother. She wants to join us in our prayers, in our journey to holiness, in our ceaseless quest for God's will in our lives. Her motherly love and comfort will never abandon us in our failures, in our crooked paths, in our listless response to the call to become Christ's sisters.
Today I'm offering myself to God, just like Mary. I need to repeat this everyday, because that is the first step towards holiness. May we offer our lives to the Heavenly Father with Mary, our mother.
photo credit: Madeline Hill
Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.