TOROK: Contemplative like Mary

May 8, 2018

There is a timeless reflection exercise widely used in youth ministry activities that could be utilized by any age group as an activity for recognizing God’s blessings.

The activity calls to make a timeline of one’s life, placing a youth’s memorable life events in chronological order. This timeline not only reflects growth in life, but also reflects times of blessing and ultimately brings forward a recollection of times God has been present in one’s life.

We know God is always present in our lives; what may not be present is our awareness of his presence at every moment of our lives. As we look upon Mary’s life, we can recognize all the landmarks in her life. We remember and celebrate them every year.

Mary is the perfect example and the model disciple who always carries God’s presence in her heart. Our Blessed Mother has much to share with us when it comes to her ability to make herself available to God’s voice as well as making herself eagerly available to His call to serve. 

This contemplation brings about great things in Mary’s life. In Luke 2:19, we learn Mary ponders on the words of the shepherds telling her about the angels proclaiming the Good News. In Luke 2:51, when Jesus asks Mary and Joseph did they not know he must be about his Father’s house, Mary treasures His words in her heart.

In my years of working with youth, I have always been amazed at the number of young people who enjoy praying in stillness. Stillness in prayer, or contemplation, is what yields peace and joy leading us to make good decisions and life-giving actions. 

Contemplation helps us to see everything as a gift from God. How often do we experience the words or action of someone which causes us to pause and think it is significant for some reason? While at the time it does not connect to us, we keep mulling it over in our day. 

At some point, we may realize God is calling one to an action or is going to teach a better way to live. Perhaps we see someone suffering and we remain in solidarity because they are in our hearts, and if we are blessed, we may get to serve them in some way such as praying for them.

Contemplation is what brings us to the awareness of God’s love. Mary’s great strength shined in her perseverance to keep God’s presence in her heart. Like many of us, she experienced many trials and uncertainties in her life. Yet her ability to persevere in her yes to God was beautiful. 

From Mary, we can learn to trust in God’s will for our lives and persevere in our relationship with Him. Many times I look around at our parish, and I see the outpouring of service and compassion so many of our parishioners share with others through God’s love. This type of living is contagious! 

This month is dedicated to our Blessed Mother. We celebrate Mary’s life in prayer and thanksgiving for her exemplary witness. 

As tribute to Mary, find a young person in your family or community that you can share how you see God expressing His love through the every life of that young person. 

Please pray for the young people in Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. May they be filled with the Holy Spirit and set the world on fire with God’s love.

Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us! 

Norma Torok is an associate director of the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.