REGIS: An Advent Walking with Mary

December 22, 2020

While cooking dinner with a friend one day, she asked me why I used the green onions in a certain way, and my prompt response was, “Because that’s how my mom used to do it.” I reflected on how automatic some of my actions are because I learned them from my mother.

Somehow my thoughts went to Mary, our heavenly mother, and I thought of how wonderful it would be if all my actions were likewise, automatically inspired by Mary.

In this special Advent of 2020, with all the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, we can take an extra step. We can pray to Mary like we usually do, and we can also learn from her and imitate her. How can we be like Mary, with all our imperfections and sins? Let’s think about Lourdes; there, Mary did not appear in a beautiful place like a garden full of flowers or in a beautiful cathedral, but she appeared in a place used as a garbage dump.

If she, being the Theotokos, humbled herself and appeared in such a simple place, who knows if she could use us, with our miseries and imperfections, to be spiritually present in us for those who need her?

One suggestion this Advent is to pray the Litany of Loreto and try to be a reflection of them. For instance — “Comfort of the afflicted” — to live in such a way that people around us find comfort in their distress.

Each time people see us, they see a spiritual presence of Mary, the presence of a heart that understands their suffering. Another example is “Queen of peace.” We can create a peaceful environment around us, at work, at home in our everyday life.

Or take, “Mother of mercy,” we can be patient and merciful with those whom we meet every day, especially with those who upset and annoy us.

If you are like me, who makes a resolution in the morning and often forgets about it during the day, don’t worry. What is important is to begin again each day and recommit ourselves. One early morning as I was biking, I saw a beautiful white bird by the bayou. The bird’s reflection in the water reminded me about being a reflection of Mary, so I asked myself what part of the litany I could put into practice that day.

Morning Star, I thought! Perhaps I could try to imitate Mary by being that morning star that stands out in the dark sky as a soft and silvery light. I thought of illuminating all those dark moments of the day — those times that because of a difference in opinions, or sensitivities, or harsh words by others or mine, relationships are clouded and soured.
How would I be that light? By putting on an attitude of the Gospel’s love, a pure love that will reflect through my eyes and my whole being.

Was I successful in living that way? Definitely not all the time, but what a better way to prepare myself for this special Christmas season than by being that star like Mary? 

Joelma Regis is an associate director with the Office of Vocations.