By Deacon Greg Barcelon
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and giving up because somehow your best does not seem good enough? Have you asked yourself why you are working in the midst of frustration and failure? Have you felt like St. Paul who talked about his many travails and wondered why he was still right there?
The past year I, as a permanent deacon and the coordinator of Filipino Ministry, faced questions very similar to these. I soon realized I did not know why I was chosen to take on the task. I am a lowly individual with the responsibility to care for such a large number of people.
When I reflect on how Mary was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, I find myself learning from her. She allowed God to take over her life completely.
My life is nothing compared to hers and I can only imagine the challenges and uncertainties she faced when she gave her “yes” to the Lord. Yet, she surrendered her will totally to the Father. She took herself out of the equation and removed all resistance, so divine energy could work with her.
When Jesus was born, Mary did not know how things were to unfold any better than when the angel first visited her. She did not have any previous training on how to bring up the Son of God. The task of caring for Jesus was way beyond her reality and capabilities.
Yet, she simply opened herself up for the grace to flow through her. She allowed herself to be transformed and to grow with Jesus, allowing the mystery of God to come to all of creation through her.
With renewed courage and zeal for my ministry, I continue to pray through Mary, who showed me the way:
“Mother most loving, allow me to be consumed by the presence of your son Jesus Christ, so I may intimately know him the way you knew him. Grant me the humility and the willingness to be transformed by his presence. Give me the clarity of mind, the purity of heart, and the simplicity of desire, to know him in the many disguises he presents himself to me in my life. On my own, I am weak, sinful, and lacking in wisdom to understand the mysteries behind him. With your guidance – the same guidance you gave Jesus as he grew up under your charge – I can also participate in the faith you totally have in him. As I learn more about him, share with me the “yes” always gave him, with finality, certainty and surrender. Amen.”
Deacon Greg Barcelon is the coordinator of Filipino Ministry for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.