October 24, 2020 - Pastor Message05/18/2021
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (John 19:2527).
We have been reflecting together throughout October on the call to respect life. October is also one of the two Marian months dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The special Marian focus of October is praying the rosary, as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary takes place on October 7. This feast day, and subsequently the dedication of the entire month to Mary, was established in 1571 following the miraculous victory of an outnumbered Christian fleet over an invading Muslim fleet at the battle of Lepanto. Pope Pius V had asked Christians throughout Europe, including the crews of the Christian fleet, to pray the rosary prior to the battle, and, when victory was achieved, he attributed it to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. The victory at Lepanto halted the Muslim advance, which had gone as far as conquering Greece, and saved Europe for Christendom.
While the designation of October as Respect Life Month had nothing to do with its status as a Marian month (Respect Life Month was established in 1972 at the beginning of the Supreme Court’s session in which it would debate and decide Roe v. Wade), the two themes fit perfectly together. Mary’s “Yes” to being the mother of Jesus opened the door to the fullness of life for all who would be reborn into union with him “who came that we may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus’ entire life, ministry, death, and resurrection serve this single, life giving purpose, the very same mysteries we meditate upon whenever we pray the rosary.
In the Joyful Mysteries, we reflect on the beginning of Christ’s saving work, even from the moment of his conception in Mary’s womb, consecrating the wombs of all mothers who become bearers of the promise of eternal life for their unborn children. In the Mysteries of Light, we reflect on Christ’s public ministry, in which his mother continued to play a vital role from the very beginning at the wedding at Cana, instructing people to “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5), leading to a superabundance of the new wine of grace and life. In the Sorrowful Mysteries, we reflect on Christ’s saving passion and death, in which, once again, his mother shared, a sword of sorrow piercing her heart even as her son was pierced for our salvation. Finally, in the Glorious Mysteries, we reflect on Christ’s triumph over death, not just his own, but death itself, completing the mission for which he came and giving new, risen life, to all who take up their cross and follow him, like his mother, who even now shares fully, body and soul, in the Resurrection.
October calls us to renew the battle for the respect of all human life. There are few weapons more powerful in that battle than a sincere and meditative rosary. Turn to our Lady, this month and beyond, to seek her intercession in the fight for life, and may her son heed her prayers, as he has done so many times before, to bring about the victory of the fullness of life for all.
Fr. Marc Stockton