May 5, 2015
As we enter the month of May my own thoughts, at least this year, go back to last month. I say this for two reasons, on April 2 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the death of Pope Saint John Paul II, and on April 25 we celebrated as a Diocese the Year for Consecrated Life. For so many of us who have many and wonderful memories of Saint John Paul II as well as of the great religious sisters, priests and brothers whom we have had as teachers, pastors and friends, these two days still give us an opportunity to celebrate this month of May in an especially fruitful way.
The month of May has been dedicated by long custom to Our Blessed Mother. It goes without saying how totally devoted Pope Saint John Paul II was to her throughout his entire life and especially his life as a bishop and then the Successor to St. Peter. Clearly, Our Blessed Mother is the paragon of every virtue and the first to be consecrated to the life of the Evangelical Counsels lived in community with Jesus and Saint Joseph. She is the model for all of us, but in a most intimate way for every consecrated religious.
Like Saint John Paul II, should we not increase our devotion to Our Blessed Mother? He credited her with saving his life from that assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square; his motto as a bishop and as Pope was
Totus Tuus which reflected not only his love and devotion for her but his life-long effort to emulate her faith, hope and charity and her poverty, chastity and obedience in doing God’s holy will. One of the things Saint John Paul II taught the world was that none of us or the world ever has to settle for mediocrity. We do not need to accept the fact that some things cannot be made right and we must simply accept bad situations. His life, emulating Our Blessed Mother, proves that the power of evil and of the wicked is not to be feared. More than ever we need his message “be not afraid,” and we need his example of courageous reliance on Jesus and Our Blessed Mother’s intercession with Him.
Having just observed the Year of Consecrated Life with so many of our religious women and men from our Diocese and from North Dakota, as well as many of you our faithful Catholic men and women and children, we were inspired to a greater love for and understanding of the Evangelical Counsels by our two keynote speakers. It was a day of great joy and blessings for all of us. We heard how the consecration of women and men in the Church is so essential for the Church itself and for the world at large. It is the intentional renunciation of the “things” of the world so that some women and men can be totally for the world and its betterment spiritually and temporally. We also learned that the living of the Evangelical Counsels is not just for some, but also for all of us since it is part and parcel of our first vocation to holiness which each of us received at baptism. Who better to model our lives after than Our Blessed Mother? Who better to show us why and how the “better part” is to make Jesus the center of our lives than Our Blessed Mother?
So as we begin this month of May let us be resolved to look to Our Blessed Mother and one of her most devoted children, Pope Saint John Paul II, to help us keep our eyes not on ourselves but on Jesus. Then our days will be happier, more peaceful and more fruitful.