Life in Providence: Thoughts from a Providence Associate
This morning I found myself shuffling slowly across my church’s parking lot, murmuring softly in response to the call and response of the rosary and enjoying a beautiful spring day. No, I have not joined some cloistered order, nor am I on a retreat. Rather, I was one of twenty-five or so faithful ranging in age from five to eighty-five who had gathered to celebrate the May Crowning of the Blessed Mother.
This was my first time participating in such an event, and I found myself wondering why I felt moved to attend after so many years of ambivalence. I have always had a strong Marian devotion, but I have never really taken the time to put my finger on why.
As a fairly new mother (and soon-to-be mother of two) I have spent a lot of time in recent history contemplating stewardship. We are stewards of so much in this life: our bodies, our souls, our children, our homes, our relationships, our planet. If we strive to emulate Christ then we even become stewards of strangers and even our enemies. What a potentially overwhelming job for all of us!
As the crowd chanted the last decade of the rosary we came upon a simple statue of Mary clutching her baby to her breast. We have had some difficult weather lately, and the area around the statue had just days before been under several feet of water. What resulted was a washed out path leading to muddy rocks on which the statue stood. It looked as though the statue was emerging from the rocks themselves, a clean and gleaming symbol of new life coming forth from the ordinariness of earth.
I watched as the crown was placed upon the statue, and in that moment I began to see why this event suddenly meant so much to me. Aside from Christ Himself, what better model of selfless stewardship do we have than the Blessed Mother? The priest began speaking of this “seemingly insignificant” woman who was such an incredible example of faith, and who has been responsible for bringing together and caring for people of all nations, young and old, and even those yet to be born.
A fellow parishioner knelt and began to sing an Arabic hymn to Mary, and as the sound poured forth from the depths of this old woman’s soul I knew with great certainty that no thing, no person, and no action in this world is “insignificant.” Like our Blessed Mother, even the humblest of persons can have an impact the world over as a result of their approach to stewardship, and it is this that I will strive to remember even in the ordinary actions of my life.
As if to echo my thoughts, as the song progressed a small bluebird landed next to the statue, her cerulean wings a stark contrast to its earthy metal. She was carrying a worm to her nest but stopped for several moments, watching us all and taking in the sounds of our song. She was such a small creature, “insignificant” as one of many birds in the forest, but her beauty was radiant as she went about the routine yet sacred task of bestowing her treasure upon her grateful young. No, nothing in this world is insignificant, and it is when we realize this that our stewardship of life can take on new meaning.
How do you interpret our role as “stewards” on earth? What, if any, example do you take from the Blessed Mother?