Thought for the week, 10 September 2017

By Michael Perrier

This morning's readings on the face of it seem an odd pair: the exhortation of St. Paul to the people of Rome to be patient in their current suffering in the certain knowledge of future glory, and the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary with the news of her motherhood to the Son of God. However, Gabriel's news to Mary brought not the unalloyed joy of a parent welcoming a longed-for pregnancy but rather the invitation to a life of trial, tribulation and pain with not yet the promise of future glory.

The fact that Mary so willingly accepted God's invitation, stepping into the unknown with only her faith for reassurance, is one reason we reverence her today, the Patronal Festival of St. Mary's, and one of the many reasons that the Catholic Church sees her in glory at the right hand of her son.

It is in remembrance of Mary's faith that we see St. Paul's exhortation to the Christians in Rome to be strong in their current suffering. The Spirit will uphold, God will guide and future glory will be theirs if they trust and remain steadfast. After all, unlike Mary, they had the example of Jesus who walked our human road, suffered, died and rose again to glory.

Are we as willing as Mary to "trust and obey"? When we are presented with difficult choices do we turn to prayer, strengthen our faith and accept God's challenge? After all, unlike Mary and the early Church, we have the benefit of 2000 years of saints and leaders to point the way and uphold us on the journey.