Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,
I want to thank Jen Loar for all of her work in leading our Confirmation program for St. Mary on the Lake and Sacred Heart this past year. She worked hard throughout the year, and when the pandemic pulled the plug on in-person classes, kept on reaching out to our candidates. Thank you, Jen! May you be abundantly blessed in your work and desire to help our teens grow ever closer to Jesus.
This weekend, we celebrated the feast of the Assumption. What I have been most struck by this feast this year is that it is the culmination of Mary’s “Yes” to the Angel Gabriel. When the Angel appeared to her, Mary’s response was this: “Let it be done to me according to your will.” That was the beginning of a life with ups and downs she never could have expected. We know that life included many moments of great joy and also great sorrow. Yet all along the way, she said yes to the Lord and continued to say yes. That Yes of faith carried her to that moment of being assumed by God into Heaven.
For all of us, we are called to live in the freedom of a life well lived like that—a life even with its ups and downs, but also cognizant of the fact that we are never alone. Jesus accompanies us every step of the way.
That is the story of the sanctuary at St. Mary on the Lake—whenever we are able to get it finished! In the center is the image of Mary’s Yes to the Angel Gabriel. Off to the right is the image of the miracle on the Sea of Galilee. It is a reminder of how life does have its share of storms, but Jesus is present there in the boat with us. When I see that image, I think of the storms Mary encountered—the most painful one being at the foot of the cross. Yet she still said Yes even there. On the left side is the image of Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth: the culmination of her life lived in God.
That is what the arc of a Christian’s life will look like. At different times we will find ourselves on a different place on it: saying yes, or crying out to Jesus in the midst of a storm, or looking into Heaven.
2020 has been a banner year to practice this kind of surrender because nothing has turned out like we ever could have expected it would! I think of our seminarians who had to finish their semesters online. Our students finding themselves at home for graduation. Parishioners finding themselves working at home if they are able to work at all. The incredible strangeness of celebrating Mass by myself in front of a camera for two months. Yet through it all I, we, have not been alone. Jesus has been walking with us.
As we prepare to enter into the fall and the beginning of a new school year, it is a perfect time to pray these words with Mary: Let it be done to me according to your will. Wherever we find ourselves on that arc of the Christian life, let us continue to say Yes and look to the future unafraid because the Lord is with us. Mary, our dear Mother, pray for us!