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Monday, 23 August 2021 07:00

Moments with Mary #1


You may or may not have heard that recently I have been elected as leader of the MGL Sisters. Whilst I am humbled and honoured to serve the sisters, I am a little overwhelmed and truly relying on God’s grace to carry me through the next four years. We do have an AMAZING group of very capable, gifted, and beautiful women which eases my apprehension regarding the leadership role.   

I thank and honour Judy for her many years of serving as our leader and trusting in God’s faithfulness. I am delighted to introduce to you our new leadership council in the photo below - Kate Atkins, Melanie Edwards, myself, Fiona Shanahan and Judy Bowe. 

With the changeover of leadership between Judy and myself comes a changeover of locations.  Judy will move to our house in Varroville, and I will move into our formation house in Canberra. Before I joined the Sisters there were several things that I was terrified of - silence, eating vegetables (particularly beans) and obedience. I crave silence now, I love eating vegetables and have even taken a liking to eating green beans (I still can’t do other weird beans though). I would love to say that I love or crave obedience, but I’d be kidding you and myself. In the MGL we take a vow of obedience to God first and foremost, to our lifestyle and way of life - prayer, sisterhood and mission, and to those in leadership. (As the Sisters’ newly appointed leader I have suddenly taken a liking to that bit!)  Whilst I don’t love or crave obedience, I’ve come to realise that living a life of obedience has become one of the biggest blessings in my life. Obedience has brought structure and perseverance to my prayer, allowing me to know God more intimately as he faithfully heals, moulds and shapes me. 

Mary is a perfect model for those of us who are striving to live a life of obedience. She modelled true obedience to God. The Latin word for obedience is oboedire. Ob means ‘toward’ and oedire means ‘to hear’ or ‘listen toward’.  Obedience is to hear the heart of God. Mary certainly heard the heart of God.  We hear this in the story of the annunciation through her words to the angel, “let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). How can we follow Mary’s fiat? We can grow in trust and in the belief that God’s plan for us is good and that God loves us unconditionally and is interested in every part of our life.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, encourages all people to journey on the path of obedience. He says it is not something only for the mystics or extraordinary and that it mostly consists of presenting questions to God. God gives us the freedom to make our own life choices. We can accept a new job, join religious life (great idea!), relocate, buy a house...but if we come to God in prayer and try to hear his voice, then we can do things differently.  We ask God if it is His will to take the new job, to join religious life, to relocate, to buy a house.  In doing so, it becomes an act of obedience to God and gives God the space to intervene in our lives.  Knowing that God is present in my choices gives me the confidence to move forward with him and like Mary, say “Yes!” to what he is asking of me. 

Therese Mills