Playing Music for God along with Mary
During the time I have been in isolation I have been reading the occasional book and listening to music. I have been reminded how Mary the mother of Jesus influences our lives if we let her. The English mystic Caryll Houselander writes about Mary as a wonderful person whose whole life was given to playing music for God. She uses the imagery of Mary as a living musical instrument used by God to play the music of God’s kingdom. If you listen to a tune from recorder or flute it is thanks to the breath of the Musician. Mary allows herself to be used by God to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit breathes love of God through her in good times and in sad times. I think it is a wonderful image that helps us to imitate her and to see God’s action in others too.
Pray that God’s Holy Spirit comes to those in sadness today.
When I hear Sissel Kyrkyebo singing Going Home it seems as though she is giving herself heart and soul to convey a wonderful message of sadness overcome. Sissel sings of the peace of going home to God when the time of final departure comes and helps the listener to be ready to complete the journey. The music reminds us that in difficult times and in the little things of everyday life we all have an opportunity to sing a song of love to God following the example of Mary of Nazareth the mother of God. The Virgin Mary emptied her heart of all other concerns and allowed the Spirit of God to breathe within her and to fill her with grace. The Spirit helped her to utter the song that was in her heart. Mary was like a musical instrument through which the Eternal Love of Jesus was to be celebrated for the world. Often circumstances were sad and sorrowful. She was with Jesus even in the sorrowful mysteries of life. That’s why singing hymns and praying he Rosary in the presence of the dying is such a blessing for them.
Praying with Mary.
Houselander asks you and me “Do you recognise Christ coming to you in others especially in their difficulties? Do you recognise how Christ is with you as you influence their lives? As you pray, ‘Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you’ consider how love of Christ operated throughout her life. She invites you to pray for others directly because the Lord is with you too. Let’s consider different people in different walks of life who make Christ come in the details of daily life.
We pray for high risk workers who let the Spirit shine in their lives
Many unselfish people during this emergency let the creativeness of God’s Holy Spirit be seen in their work. I would invite you to pray now for them.
The Covid-19 outbreak is shining a blinding light on what is really important: we find out which jobs are really essential to the functioning of society. Many of these in high-risk roles are women who are paid poverty wages. In Britain black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are over-represented in front-line, high-exposure jobs, and this has been suggested as a reason why people from these groups are disproportionately contracting, and dying from, Covid-19. Perhaps they lacked proper protective clothing. The government has now announced it will investigate this in a formal review. Let us pray for those apparently lowly workers who do difficult essential jobs.
Mary herself thanked the Lord in the Magnificat that she was chosen in her lowliness as a servant. Let us also magnify the Lord for such hardy people who still do life-enhancing work. They are not downhearted. I have heard of carers in homes and hospitals who have a new insight into the rosary. As they say ‘Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death’ they realise even more that there are two really important times in life now and at the end.
The Covid emergency has made that prayer more relevant than ever. There are good reasons for complaints or anger but many prefer to see a wider picture; they have been chosen to help patients and the disabled at the most critical time of their lives and as a result they feel a heightened sense of co-operation and outpouring of kindness and thoughtfulness among colleagues. It is a time of sorrow, no doubt, but it is also a time of revelation of kindness, self-sacrifice and a growing sense of what is most significant in the face of the inevitable.
You can see how Mary is patron of high risk workers because she had to accompany her son from the Agony in the Garden to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. It was her life’s work to accompany Jesus. She took a daily interest in his development and guided him as he grew. It is possible for us to learn from her and to think of all we do in the light of Christ who associated with the poor, healed the sick, accepted suffering and death and transformed everything in the power of the resurrection.
Praying for ourselves so that we co-operate with Jesus.
Let us also pray for ourselves. Mary the mother of the Church asks you and me to do our work from the heart and for the heart of Jesus as you say each morning, “I offer you all my prayers works and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your sacred heart”. In your imagination try to see what you are doing and its purpose, namely to co-operate with Jesus. Then it is possible to whisper in wonder and awe, ‘This is how Jesus would want things to be. This is me working with Jesus. This is Christ working through me’.
In all the restrictions think of yourself co-operating with others, with Christ, for the benefit of the world. Have you been creative or have you overcome difficulties with patience and self-control that the Spirit brings?
You are sharing in the love with which God created the world, in the love with which Jesus gave new hope to sinners and comforted the dying, the love with which Mary accompanied Jesus from Gethsemane to the resurrection. Every piece of work that we do can be a part of the process of Christ forming in us when we bring patience, self-giving, courage and all the other fruits of the Holy Spirit into our daily life. We must not get too blase or pious about family life or Church life or work because we do not always meet with success. We may fail when we experience suffering.
Sadly when suffering comes our way we find we get irritable; astonishing stabs of bitterness afflict our minds and far from being more sympathetic, more understanding, there is a numbness, a chill on the emotions. It is hard to respond generously to others; it is a challenge to love. Let us be grateful for people who seem to have been made beautiful by suffering.
The truth is also that many have to pray for the patience to wait for the sorrowful season to run its course; a seed contains all the life and loveliness of the flower, but the glorious sun will not enliven the seed unless it is buried under the earth. Often we have to say the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary for those who get exasperated and depressed when they are trying to do their best.
Praying for families and young people.
Another group to pray for are families where parents and young people are under stress. Adolescence is a problematic age when children do not easily comply with adult hopes and wishes. Young people search for the deeper reason for things and often ask awkward questions at inconvenient times. At twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years old, young people begin to see the defects of parents, isolation is restrictive, it is dismaying to realise the differences between rich and poor,
it’s hard to know whom to take sides with, and there is an incredible struggle with emotions. Sometimes there is a strong conflict within and with all that surrounds. It is a moment that educators are never really prepared for, in order to give true and convincing answers to the deepest questions which the young people place upon us in their objections. We pray the sorrowful mysteries for young people and their families because the passion of Jesus heals wounds, negative thoughts, and the violent and angry judgments which provoke false rebellion inside and tempt to the path of evil. Jesus leads by absorbing all evil into his heart as he did on Calvary or when he was made fun of by Herod. He transformed hatred into love.
In our prayers for others we can share mystically in Christ’s saving work.
For many people life with Christ is not always a time of growth but also of darkness and hiding and waiting. Christ is growing in their sorrow, and in due season all the fret and strain and tension of it will give place to a splendour of peace. Jesus suffered with patience and lived among tension. Yet the Cross led to new life when He was raised from the dead. Let’s look to the future as we pray.
We pray for those who help others overcome sorrow.
Sometimes saintly people help us appreciate times of wonder and joy which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We can grasp or snatch at joy and don’t count our blessings. Prayerful people open our hearts very wide to joy, even if it is buried very deeply inside they help us wait the flowering of it with patience. This is the spring time of hidden growth and the time will come when joy will put forth shoots and flower. Sharing our happiness will be like being Christ in some else’s life. We can enable them to see Christ as the source of their joy too. Happiness is only happiness when it is shared.
Let us pray to be signs of the Holy Spirit who sows this Christ-seed in us, the Spirit of Wisdom, Light and Truth. Our Christian life is lived as it were alongside our ordinary experiences. Often it is an experience of waiting in patience for results we will not see soon, or may never see. But Christ is growing within us. Sometimes this season when the soul feels empty is a recurring rhythm through life. Sometimes we experience a conversion or a new awareness of God. Sometimes it is a painful experience. The light is shining in the darkness, but the darkness does not comprehend it.
To a soul in such a condition, peace will come as soon as the person turns to Our Lady and imitates her. In her the Word of God chose to be silent for many secret years. Today, in many souls, Christ asks that He may grow secretly, that He may be the light shining in the darkness. In the rosary we pray for those suffering in sorrow and for those bring joy into their lives.
Joy is to be found and sorrow overcome with Mary:
- In the song of mother Mary bravely accompanying her Son into the sorrowful mysteries.
- in the goodness of those who offer their lives for the disadvantaged even to risking their health
- in the voices we know best of parents, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, children and friends who have done so much for us at no charge
- in the quietness of a Church at devotions where we think of God’s goodness and of the saving sufferings of Jesu
- in the silence of our hearts as we listen for God’s word.
- Sorrow is transformed when we let Jesus take on our burdens
- God’s will is done by those who accompany patients who are dying and by the family who bury those who died too soon.
- our strength is increased when we join our hearts with the sorrowful mother of God who always said let it be done to me according to God’s will
In all the seasons of our life, young or old, waking, working, eating, sleeping, suffering illness, caring for the dying, each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world. Such was Mary’s experience and she wants us to share with her in the Rosary as she makes music out of what seems tragic and dark. She reminds us that we are going home and that her Son Jesus lets the divine light shine through into our lives in the most unexpected ways.
To pray the sorrowful mysteries is a Spring-time experience as we wait for new life to spring forth.