Janet Stuart urges us to “enter into the joy of Our Lady.” She wrote often about joy: Be a Joybearer, a joygiver. “Joy is the infallible sign of God.” Entering into Mary’s joy, we also enter into our hope. Mary leads us not only to heavenly joys but also to joys in the here and now.
The image of Mater, whether the painting or the statue, perfectly depicts her joy. My experience tells me that what Mary does best is to lead me to Her Son. She takes seriously Jesus’ words, “I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of joy, a joy no one shall take from you.” (Jn. 16:32)
Clothed in joy, she sings God’s praises everywhere: “All that I am sings of the God who brings new life to birth to life in me. My spirit soars on the wings of my Lord.” [David Haas’s version of the Magnificat]
Like Mater, as persons of God’s Heart, our joy should be apparent to everyone. Like her, we foster joy in our lives and the lives of others by being surprised by the unexpected, seeing beauty in the ordinary, finding humor in the mundane, and most importantly, by rejoicing that we are the happy recipients of God’s love.
And so on this feast of Mater, paraphrasing Janet Stuart, I wish us all “Mater weather” ( both in our hearts and in our day), the soft sun drinking up the pink light of cloud and all the distances blue with crisp October haze.
Reflection by Jan Dunn, RSCJ
Photograph by Philip Gould