January 1, 2017: The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Pastoral Associate’s Corner
Today, we celebrate Mary and, in particular, we honor her as the Mother of God and her role in bringing Christ to the world. Last summer when I was on pilgrimage with my Dominican Sisters and Brothers, Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P., the Master General of Order, challenged us to be like St. Dominic and bear Christ to the world. As I reflected on this challenge and as I consider the courage of Mary, I am reminded of a question asked by Sr. Mary Therese Perez, O.P. who asked, “What would it be like to be pregnant with Christ?”
This led me to consider my time with friends who were pregnant and preparing for their first child. What can we learn from these preparations and the experiences of the mothers among us?
Pregnancy is surprising. My friends got some weird cravings when they were pregnant. Their babies moved around and woke them up. They stretched and kicked and made their moms very hungry. All of this was quite surprising. While I have not carried a baby, I have certainly been surprised by God. My vocation to the sisters was a surprise. Someone asked me if I would join the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and my voice answered, “Yes!”!? And, months later, I was awoken by dreams of becoming a sister. How have you been surprised by God? What is stirring within you today?
Pregnancy allows time to prepare. I have gone to quite a few baby showers and helped to paint quite a few babies’ rooms. My friends took a lot of time to pick out the colors and furniture for the room. They tried to create a warm and peaceful space for their babies. As we enter into this New Year, how I am preparing space for God in my life? What do I need to change or discard to make more room for God and for community?
Pregnancy is uncomfortable. So too, being pregnant with Christ may be uncomfortable. As a Dominican Sister, I am called to community, to obedience and to living simply which can be challenging in this U.S. culture which privileges individuality and consumerism. How has your faith challenged you and made you uncomfortable?
Pregnancy and the new baby radically changed my friends and their families. Is God inviting me to a live in a radically new way? Am I being called to leadership or to community in a new way?
I invite you to reflect again upon the experience of Mary. Mary listened. She said yes. She was faithful. And, she was not alone. She went to Elizabeth for guidance and was supported by Joseph. As you consider these questions today, know that you are surrounded by the loving community of St. Dominic’s Parish.
As a parish community, we have brought the gift of Christ to many this Christmas though our liturgical celebrations, our Faith Formation, and through Community Outreach Ministries. Your generosity was joined by the commitment of the St. Ignatius High School Community, donations from Molly Stones and Trader Joe’s, and volunteers from the parish and the Order of Malta to serve approximately 1200 individuals in 320 families through the Lima Center Christmas Celebration and the Christmas Store. To date, your gift cards donations have exceeded $14,500 through our Giving Tree program. Thank you for commitment to share the joy of Christmas with those in need in our parish and community. May the peace of Christ and the faithfulness of Mary be with you this Christmas Season and throughout the year.
Sr. Colleen McDermott, O.P., Director of Community Outreach Services