15 August, Sunday — Providing a Safe Place

Aug 15 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us? The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth, she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, ‘within’ all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a “mother” to whom we can turn at every moment.  – Pope Benedict XVI

Apo 11:19,12:1-6,10 
1 Cor 15:20-26
Lk 1:39-56

God had made a place of safety ready.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on how safe the Catholic Church really is for people who are struggling with different sorts of temptations. Even though Jesus teaches a lot about charity, many (myself included) can be quite harsh and critical. These actions tend to discourage people and prevent them from seeing and discovering the love in our Church.

When a child makes a mistake, what he needs is to be able to ask for help or forgiveness from his parents so he can start over. If he fears his parents’ reactions, and if there had been a history of the parents correcting in an uncharitable way, he is less likely to own up. As long as he feels unsafe, reconciliation would be difficult.

It is the same with our Catholic family. Some of us become so harsh with each other that fraternal correction becomes impossible. Many of us obsess with justice so much that our actions become unjust and uncharitable. As a result, instead of being attracted to seek the truth in the Catholic Faith, many end up hating the Catholic Church for what they perceive the Catholic Church to be based on how we, as members of the Church, have represented her.

This is really embarrassing to admit, but I caught myself doing the same thing. My initial reaction to Britney Spears sharing that she has become a Catholic, and sharing a picture of her in a revealing dress, was that it was bad news. I was first fixated on the fact that her dress was not according to the Catholic modesty values, rather than rejoicing that she had found a place of safety in our Church. I immediately made it unsafe for her. In doing so, I may have pushed a sister away from the Catholic Church.

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. I know that she is the type of mother who all of us will feel safe running towards whenever we make mistakes. She maintains a safe atmosphere for us to grow closer to God in the midst of making mistakes every now and then. Her gentleness helps us acknowledge our shortcomings, because we know she will love us despite all these. She doesn’t condone any of our misdeeds, yet she knows how to make us feel loved, even though the enemy tries his hardest to keep us from God because of our guilt.

Our Blessed Mother knows that because we are overwhelmed with God’s love, that’s why we can change for the better. That’s why she keeps on loving us. That’s why she always invites us, and shows us, the safe place God has made for us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to be an agent of peace. Help be a messenger of your love and not misrepresent you to others.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a safe space to grow in love for you.

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