By Nimmi Candappa
This series of Charism Corners explores how we, as part of the De Mazenod Family, can incorporate more fully into our lives the various components of the Oblate Charism.
Mary Immaculate is the patroness of our Congregation. Open to the Spirit, she consecrated herself totally as a lowly handmaid to the person and work of the Saviour. She received Christ in order to share Him with the entire world, whose hope He is. In her we recognize the model of the Church’s faith and of her own.
Open to the Spirit. This seems to be key to living life in union with God. Many of us are likely to be free of the serious sin that can keep our hearts closed from the Spirit. Most of us are also likely to have things in our lives that can gradually clog our openness to the Spirit, in the way everyday dust and dirt clog the pores of our skin if neglected over time.
While discussing the course his newly established order would take, St Eugene suggests ways of hearing what the Spirit has to say: “stifle the voice of cupidity (a strong desire for worldly things), the love of comfort and convenience, dwell deeply on the situation facing us…and ask your heart…”
Mother Mary, a model of the Church’s faith and patroness of the OMIs, also provides us means of being open to the Spirit. She entrusted, or consecrated, Herself to God. How better to be open to the Spirit than by seeking God’s help. Her humility allowed Her to see in correct perspective, Herself in relation to God, and thus was able to receive Christ unhindered into a heart fully focussed on God.
Often seen as the perfect disciple, Mary might seem inaccessible to many of us, her level of faith out of our reach. We might fail to realise that in the perfection of Mary, we can be encouraged to see in her, our full human potential – what we are capable of, if unhindered by sin. Unlike some saints who have levitated, healed and amazed those around them, Mary gives us a simple way to holiness. She started no religious orders, performed no miracles; She internally pondered the things of God rather than preaching and educating those around Her. Mary shows us that we too can be the perfect disciple within our quiet, unassuming, ordinary lives: by being aware of God’s greatness and our smallness; by knowing that, more than our efforts, it is God Who magnifies us and keeps us spiritually safe; and by seeking daily, ways of embodying and taking Christ to those we meet.
During Holy Week and Easter, let us ask Jesus, our Risen Lord, to continue to help us be open to the Spirit’s influence in our lives. Let us ask St Eugene, whose heart was fully opened to the love of God one Good Friday, that we too might be touched by the same love he felt for Jesus.