The Solemnity, the New Year, and why we all need to sit down and be quiet.
At my core, I am a New Yorker. While some find Manhattan an assault to their senses, it is there, in the midst of the chaos and noise, and the Naked Cowboy in Times Square (yes, he is a thing) that I thrive.
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in the city where we became husband and wife. And as I stood like a sardine on the C train surrounded by all sorts of humanity, all I kept thinking was, “I kind of miss my minivan.” And friends, if you have ever seen my minivan, the weight, if not shock, of this sentiment would surprise you. This was a serious shift from the “get up and go, hurry up and do” kind of woman I had proudly identified with for years.
The bottom line? I am done with the rat race. I want to rest. Physically and spiritually. There has been a steady decrease in my desire to move more, talk more, do more. And in its place? An undeniable increase in my desire to sit more, listen more, ponder more.
For someone who never shuts up, this is no small thing.
And perhaps this shift is simple maturity. Maybe this desire is birthed out of nothing more than middle age, an inevitable consequence of growing up. But I believe it comes from something greater; from a heavenly nudge, an inner pull and stretch that is always the result of a heart open to Mary. Mary, our Mother, whose role is to lead us to Jesus.
On this Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, we not only acknowledge Mary’s critical role in the salvation story, but we are gifted with this Marian Feast on the very first day of the New Year. This day, where resolutions are made, and words are carefully chosen to live by, we celebrate Mary…and this is no coincidence. Who better to step out with, into the fresh, empty calendar pages of 2019, than the woman whose chosen word of the year – her yes, her fiat – changed everything?
After journeying through Advent with Mary, I am convinced that there is no better, no faster way to Jesus, than going through the heart of His mother. As she continues to gently guide me to her Son, the word REST has been firmly pressed upon my heart; specifically, rest after prayer. Because I protect my daily prayer time with faithfulness, but have failed to equally protect the time I sit and wait for God to respond. Instead of embracing the stillness, I close up the gap. Instead of lingering in His presence, I get up and go. This beautiful breathing space that time after prayer offers me is completely ignored. It is as if I don’t know how to sit still anymore. It is as if I am afraid of the very quiet I crave. And for certain, there is an enemy who loves nothing more than to usher me out of this space of anticipation, and back into the chaos of my cluttered mind.
And maybe you are right there with me. And if you are, I am pleased to report, there is still hope for non-stop women like us. Women, who are great talkers, but not so great at listening. Women who love to pray, but hate to wait for His response. You see, we have a Heavenly Mother who is our helper and advocate. A Woman who models for us how to sit and wait, ponder and reflect. My sweet sisters, if we want to grow in relationship with Jesus (and I know that we do) and if we want to have a year filled with peace and love (don’t tell me you don’t) then we have to begin by learning how to sit in the silence. And I wonder, can we do this? Can we be still and wait? Can we jump off of the treadmill, and rest in the empty spaces we are so tempted to fill?
With Mary as our model, we can. You know, I spent so much of the past year wondering where God was. Why He didn’t respond. It wasn’t until flying to Mary that I realized, He was there. He did respond. I was just too busy moving to notice.
Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, on this Holy day and every day to follow, prayers for each of God’s beautiful daughters. May this be a year of thriving in the quiet and rest that only Christ can give, to those who sit and wait.
PS: What a year this could be if we, His precious daughters, chose Mary as our model. What a world this will be if we choose to lean into the quiet, and wait patiently for His response. To jump start our devotion to Mary, starting 2019 off on the right foot, let us turn together to Lesson 16 in Opening Your Heart, What Does Mary Have to Do with My relationship with Christ?