Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why I’m Entrusted to Mary, Mother of God - Reason 2

Because, on my own, I won't run for last! 

An expression used by those trying to live the spirituality of communion of life with Christ through Mary is “I’m running for the last place.”[1] There was an image drawn to depict the saying which shows this very happy runner going downhill passing three very serious, tired uphill runners. 
I'm running for the last place!
When I first tried to intellectualize this expression I really struggled. I couldn’t figure out what it meant – running for last place…is that even possible? And what seemed the most impossible for me was that I would do it smiling.  Discovering my misery before my entrustment equated to self-focused crying, not smiling.  

Blessed Mother is carrying me there.

That’s where Mary, my Beloved Mommy, has helped me so much! Because She is carrying me, I don’t have to rely on myself to pick the right direction – up, down, left, right…is that good, bad,  right or wrong?  She instead tries to keep me focused on the truth that God loves me as I am--the loser and the bungler, or as my ego really rejects – the LAST!

Realizing I’m the last, and rejoicing in this truth is the goal (cf. 2 Cor 9:12). The events in my life are helping me achieve this goal. Before entrustment if I saw my misery, I either hated myself for it or I saved my pride by blaming others, or the circumstances, for my ill behavior. Since entrustment, when I see my misery, WE (Mary and I) desire to remember that this is who God loves: a sinner in need of His mercy.[2]

For example, a couple of days ago I was reading to the Little One the story of St. Thérèse the Little Flower. In it there was a passage about how St. Thérèse, when she was a toddler, threw temper tantrums. It mentioned that her mother was loving and patient with her and helped her to desire to please Jesus.[3] I immediately started dreaming of how I could teach my child this way too. No sooner had these dreams come to my mind, the Little One locked herself into my bedroom where she was going to take a nap. I reacted by screaming like a lunatic for her to unlock the door. My outrageous screaming (or should I say temper tantrum?) didn’t put the proper fear of God into her, but the fear of her mother’s wrath! So, of course, she didn’t open the door. I was totally insulted – proving how much I want to be first. "Loving and patient," I was not.  Blessed Mother allowed me to experience who I am.[4] In a very gentle way, She wanted to show me that I need her to teach me to desire to please Jesus!

Who am I? I am Blessed Mother’s beloved bungler. What did this event help me to understand? That I need a Savior. It made me desire that Christ would live in me. And for that WE are truly grateful!

S.C. Biela helped me to understand this in his book God Alone Suffices:

This process of purification is described in the words of Jesus: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me!” (Mk 8:34). Indeed, we have to deny ourselves in order to undergo the process of purification from our pride of good impressions about ourselves. This indicates the need to take up the cross of truth about ourselves, and imitate Jesus so that we will desire to be the last–to run for the last place here on earth.32
We cannot forget that Jesus, though being first, became the last. In this way, he has shown us how we should relate toward everything. In this way, he has shown us what the spirit of this world offers us, and he has revealed to us our attachments to our own ‘perfection’. He took upon himself our wretchedness and the sinfulness of our attachments. He waits, however, for us to come after him so as to fully take advantage of the sacrifice that he offered for us. He expects that in order to imitate him we will try to lose everything and everybody, which includes the prideful notions that we are good.
This race for the last place on earth is meant to shape us into persons who will consciously and voluntarily assume and admit, in the posture of the poor in spirit, that we are nothing and that we await everything from God. It is only such a person who will try to desire this one thing: that he will not live, but that Christ will live in him. In this way the grain can gradually die.
32 Charles de Foucauld, in his notes from the retreat in Nazareth (November 5-15, 1897), says: “For me, to seek always the last of the last places.” This confession is as an echo of a sentence which he had heard soon after his conversion during a sermon given by his spiritual director, Father Huvelin: “Jesus has so taken the last place that no one has ever been able to wrest it from him.” Father Huvelin, Sermons, March 1887 quoted by Jean-Jacques Autier, Charles de Foucauld, trans. Julia Shirek Smith (San Francisco, CA Ignatius Press, 1999), 152, 105.
S.C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2011), 108.  Used with permission.

[1] Rev. Andrzej Buczel, Ph.D, (1951-1994) co-founder of the Families of Nazareth Movement.
[2] “Why do we not truly lay our life before Him, including our incapability to believe and to pray? This is already an act of worship: when we truly say “Kyrie eleison,” when we truly cry out to God from the depth of our wretchedness, this is acknowledgement of what we are, and who He is; it is the adoration for His glory.” Translated from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dogma und Verkündigung (Dogma and Preaching), p. 123 f.
[3] Cf. Marie Baudouin-Croix, St. Thérèse of Lisieux And the “little way” of love (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 1999), 11.
[4] In case you are wondering, I was able to unlock the door within a short time, and no physical harm came to the Little One.

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