Mary, patron saint.

Have you seen the list of  patronage of St. Mary? I literally don’t have time to list it all this morning… They say a woman’s work is never done. No wonder she is sometimes known as ‘Our lady of perpetual help.’ As if looking after women in childbirth was not enough she’s claimed as patron of all humanity. Even, by some quirk of legal technicality in 1917 she’s claimed as patron of the moon, for heaven’s sake. And we call our church building St. Mary’s with an apostrophe as if it too belongs to her. This is your house Mary and we’ll pray with you for all our concerns too. What about your song Mary? Can we too sing in harmony with that song here in this building dedicated to you or are we discordant, living at odds with the Magnificat? It strikes me as odd that the list of patronage mentions not those things which identify closer with Mary’s great song of humility as she dedicates her life in service of the other. ‘According to your word’ She says. Mary – patron of the dispossessed, those who have to live by the word of another, to whose authority, or influence they must give up their freedom; Mary, patron to those who wish life were different and sometimes through gritted teeth say ‘if you say so.’ Let it be to me according to your word.  Mary, patron of mothers whose children cause them to worry. Patron of un-named, faithful and ever-present women who strive on when the men have long fled. Mary patron of those in pain and in suffering. Of women who find themselves pregnant on the wrong side of a border, in a refugee camp with few supplies and a distant medical centre. Mary, patron of those who are reliant on meagre transport; living too far from a job they dare not give up. Mary, patron of all who at every turn find ‘no-room at the inn’. Mary, patron of those who can’t afford to allow others to help in case they take away what little they’ve left. Dignity. Respect. Mary, patron of all who hold a silent vigil for those they love. Mary, patron of those whose fate is to watch their children die.  And you might think after all that it might be Mary, patron of those who are angry and resentful, outraged and bitter. Yet, still there is Mary, patron of those who are faithful to the very last, and beyond the last to still be faithful when all hope is gone. Mary, patron of those who strive to scatter the proud in the imaginations of their hearts. To bring down the powerful from their thrones, and lift up the lowly; To fill the hungry with good things, and send the rich away empty? I wonder, if we are brave enough to gather here with Mary? And pray not for us but with us for all that might be. Now that could something to be proud of at St. Mary’s.  As Br. Francis suggested we should preach the gospel at all times, but only if absolutely necessary using words. Too many words! It is time for action.

~ rhannu os ti isio ~ do share ~






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