Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a holy day. While it’s not a holy day of obligation, I wanted to celebrate the solemnity and get the year off to a good start, so after work I drove down to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Murfreesboro to attend Mass, and also to go to confession.
The Mass was lovely, of course. I had worked the night before so, yes, I nearly fell asleep at a couple of points, but it was great to start off the new year praying with the Church and receiving the Blessed Sacrament while remembering the role our Blessed Mother plays in the history of our salvation. Mary is Jesus’ Mother, and our Mother, too. I recall what St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Mary is more Mother than Queen,” and I felt that today.
After Mass, I got in line for confession. (BTW, why do parishes have confession after Mass? I’ve noticed that seems to be a trend these days. Shouldn’t it be the other way around – offer confession before Mass, so people who need to confess can do so in preparation for receiving Holy Communion? But that’s another post).
Father heard my confession and offered good counsel. Then he gave me my penance and sent me out to the church to pray in thanksgiving for God’s mercy. During prayer, an insight came to me. I often pray that God will give me the grace to resist temptation and avoid sin. It occurred to me, though, that I don’t have to pray that God will give me His grace to resist temptation and avoid sin. Why? Because He already has.
The verse from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians came to my mind: “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13). God will not allow me to be tried beyond my strength, but with each trial will provide a way out. This means that God has already given me the grace to resist temptation and avoid sin. It is only for me to embrace this grace and act on it.
This is a powerful insight for me. I don’t have to beg God for the grace to resist temptation and avoid sin. I only have to embrace and act on the grace He has already given me. God is so eager to bless us, to protect us, to keep us from harm, to guard us against evil and sin that He pours out His grace generously even before we ask. That grace comes to us by way of baptism and the other sacraments, of course, but also by simple faith. It is His promise to those who believe.
Today was a happy holy day. I was blessed to attend Mass, to worship at the Lord’s table and receive the Bread of Life. I was blessed to recall the role of our Blessed Mother in our salvation and in our lives as followers of her Son. I was blessed to go to confession, to receive absolution, and to thank our good and gracious Lord for His abundant mercy. And I was blessed with an insight that, hopefully, will serve me through this new year and each year after in the struggle to be faithful against the devil and his wiles. God is good all the time!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.