Allocutio for Our Lady of Victories Presidium - 7 March 2017
What is the difference between a meeting with a good old friend and potential parents-in-law?
I have had potential parents-in-law before and meeting them brought me more stress than meeting anyone else. Imagine that first meeting! I paid tremendous attention on the way I dressed, sat, ate, and spoke, even on the amount of food I put on my plate. I put my usual flaws before me all the time and watched very carefully not to say anything to give myself away. What a silly insecurity I had, which did not trust that I would be loved for who I am. And so, I had to give the impression that I am virtuous and well-mannered, and will be a good partner and future addition to the family. I needed their approval. And I was not going to be totally transparent and honest about who I am. At least not yet. Maybe not until the relationship develops further to a certain level of trust and comfort. And that is only maybe.
How pleasantly different it is when I think about meeting a good friend instead. I feel immediately at ease. Relaxed. For I know the approval has already been given, in good times and in bad, in my beauty as well as in my ugliness. I trust my good friend to enjoy my strengths and walk with me through my weaknesses. She pains with me in my difficulties and is relieved with me when things turn for the better. All these I am drawn also to do and be for her. Have you encountered such a relationship before?
I dare to tell her how she has hurt me or to argue over a disagreement because I trust in who I mean to her and can feel secure enough to be dead honest. Each encounter is marked by the quality of the time spent together, the depth of sharing invested, and the life and love I (and she) receive from the encounter. There is growth, connection, deepening and I learn more about myself and her and others and God.
Two different meetings, bringing out very different essences of me, and two starkly different experiences and effects on me and the other.
What is prayer like for you? When you meet Jesus and Mary in prayer, who do you meet? Who do you present to them? Do you notice any reservations or discomfort about being your true self in prayer?
In the past 2 weeks, I shared about evangelization, a facilitation of another person’s true encounter with God by being love to the person. Being love by first being loved ourselves, firstly, by God in prayer.
“The object of the Legion of Mary,” as stated on p.11 of the Legion handbook, “is the glory of God through the holiness of its members developed by prayer and active cooperation…” And on p.13, “While on earth her (Mary’s) life was like that of any other, … always, however, she remained intimately united to her Son and cooperated in … the Saviour’s work…”
Jesus invites us to follow Mary’s example of always being intimately united to Him. And a prerequisite of this intimacy is being authentic with Him. He knows all that is in us and already loves us as we are. There is no need to do anything or be anyone to win His love. He desires to be with the real us in our real experiences, not the façade of who we want to be or portray ourselves to be.
So when I am angry, even with Jesus, I tell Him I am angry and complain to Him about Him. When I am hurt and cannot forgive, I tell Him that I know I should forgive this person but right now, no! And I throw my tantrums. Not because He does not already know what is inside me but when I articulate it, I am acknowledging and expressing what is otherwise trapped or suppressed inside. This primarily benefits me. And then in whatever I am experiencing, He speaks, persuades, moves my heart, reveals, guides, loves, heals, forgives.
Some of the fruits of such prayer are a deepening personal relationship with God, our growing into the likeness of God who is love, and the bringing of this love into our relationships with others – evangelization.
Slowly but surely, let us allow ourselves to be loved and filled for the apostolic work by a more authentic prayer life.