January 8, 2021

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Embrace a childlike faith, modeled by Mary, in 2021

Patti LambA message conveyed by Father Rob Hausladen during his homily on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has been lingering in my brain, especially as we begin a new calendar year.

My takeaway from our pastor at St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield that day was clear and concise. Mary genuinely trusted. When the angel departed from her, he didn’t leave her with a playbook outlining the next 30 plus years of her life. Even as the mother of Jesus, she didn’t receive inside information as to how everything would unfold for the glory of God and the salvation of humankind.

When she was about to give birth, there was no room at the inn, so she birthed a king in a manger in the company of livestock. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, then she and Joseph trusted an angel, instructing them to flee to Egypt. We know that, several decades later, Mary watched her son be beaten, mocked and left to die on a cross with nail marks through his flesh.

We recently celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on the first day of January, and I can’t think of a better way to embrace a new year, reminded to trust like Mary.

That same day, I opened a 2021 calendar and began to write in birthdays, appointments and other important events in the year to come. As much as I’m ready to close the books on 2020, the uncertainty of what’s to come left me uneasy, and I felt a wave of anxiety.

Unexpected events occurred in 2020 for all of us, and while it’s nice to start a new chapter with 2021, I think we’re all a bit weary from these last 12 months.

My thoughts circle back to Father Rob’s message about how Mary got by—with pure faith in God and trust in his will, even when she didn’t know what the next turn of events would bring.

Mary’s trust is what I pray to model and cling to in the New Year. I know I will fail and be startled by curve balls, but my hope is to find the spiritual strength to echo Mary’s faith when she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

I’m learning that’s the kind of faith to which we’re ultimately called. It’s about believing when we don’t understand, as my Aunt Dolores used to say. Trust over circumstances.

An entry from the devotional, God Calling, says: “It is not passionate appeal that gains the Divine Ear, so much as the quiet placing of the difficulty and worry in the Divine Hands. So trust and be no more afraid than a child would be, who places its tangled skein of wool in the hands of a loving mother, and runs out to play, pleasing the mother more by its unquestioning confidence than if it went down on its knees and implored her help, which would pain her the rather, as it would imply she was not eager to help when help was needed.”

Last week, my brother and sister-in-law loaded their three grandkids into their van after Mass. As each was busy buckling a child into a car seat, that left Cooper, a toddler, waiting for his turn. He stood there, bawling, with his arms raised up to my brother, as if to say, “Take care of me, Papa.”

Here’s to embracing childlike faith, modeled best by our Blessed Mother Mary, in 2021.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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