domenica 19 novembre 2017

Mother of Divine Providence

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Our Lady of Divine Providence, Titular of this church and Patroness of our Mission. This celebration gives us the opportunity to reflect briefly upon some important points of our catholic faith. We find them in the title with which we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary today. We usually call her “Our Lady of Divine Providence,” but her proper name is “Mother of Divine Providence.”

The first thing this title tells us is that Mary is mother. Maybe this is the greatest honor for a woman; a woman fulfills herself when she becomes mother. Mary is the mother of Jesus: she conceived him in her womb and gave birth to him after nine months; she nursed him and brought him up; she followed him during his ministry and was present at his death; she witnessed his resurrection and ascension into heaven. Since Jesus was the Son of God, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity—God himself—we can also call Mary mother of God.

But Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, she is our mother as well. While hanging upon the cross, Jesus, showing to her mother his beloved disciple, said to her, “Woman, behold, your son!” With these words Jesus entrusted to her mother all his disciples, indeed, the whole humanity. At that moment, Mary became the mother of the Church and the mother of humankind. Of course, the characteristics of this “spiritual motherhood” of Mary are similar to those of her physical maternity: Mary takes care of her children in the same way as she looked after her son Jesus. That she is, at the same time, mother of Jesus and our mother, is a big advantage for us, because as our mother she notices our needs, and as mother of Jesus, with her motherly authority, she can get the graces we need out of him.

But the title with which we venerate our Patroness specifies a peculiar aspect of Mary’s motherhood: Mother of Divine Providence. Providence is one of the most important attributes of God: it consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end. The First Vatican Council said about this divine attribute: “By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made … For ‘all are open and laid bare to his eyes,’ even those things which will be done by the free action of creatures.” And the Catechism of the Catholic Church adds, “God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history” (n. 303). God is so powerful, wise and good, that “in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil” (n. 312).

Well, since providence is one of the attributes of God, and since Mary is the Mother of God, we can also say that she is the Mother of Divine Providence. With all that this involves. If she has a motherly influence with her Son, with that influence she can urge his divine providence towards her children. It is exactly what she did at Cana. Wine ran short. To be honest, it is not a problem so important; it is not the end of the world if wine is not enough; it is possible to live even without wine. In my opinion, it is a problem that does not deserve a miracle from Jesus, let alone his first miracle. And yet Mary, who notices that shortage, addresses her Son, indirectly asking him for an intervention. Jesus replies in a rather rude way, but he is somehow forced by his mother to intervene, thus showing that Providence cares even about details—not only about great problems, but also minor things. And Mary plays her motherly role: toward us, noticing our needs; and toward Jesus, submitting to him those necessities. It is a role of intercession and mediation, a role that she continues now in heaven in our favor. If we want to experience the providence of God, we can turn confidently to her, certain that our prayer will be answered. A son cannot say no to his mother!