About Be Open to God

One of the site administrators. "The greatest adventure in this life is to become a saint!"

To Be a Woman Like Mary

Posted by Sara Hofflander – co-founder of beopentoGod.com

As a young woman just beginning marriage and family life, it has been a great grace for me to look to Mary during this Advent and Christmas season.  Living as a woman actively involved in the world, it can be hard to detect God’s hand moving in my life and to know how to fittingly respond.  Mary, the kind of girl we all wish we could be, shows us how it’s done.  First at the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel appears to her, who was a simple and perhaps comfortable young woman, and presents to her a glorious challenge to become the Mother of God.  Mary’s response, “How can this be?”, teaches me so much.  She is not resisting God’s call, nor is she doubting his ability to make it happen, but she wants to know how.  This how grants her the clarity to be able to more readily serve him.  Once she understands how, she immediately gives her fiat – let it be done.  Mary teaches me how to make my prayer: “Help me, Lord, to understand your will so that I may more readily do your will.”

After her yes, the Gospel of Luke says she goes in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  It’s almost surprising to think of Mary moving in haste, but this serene, gentle woman was called to something extraordinary, and she responds immediately.  She has been given something great from God, and she wastes no time in moving to share that gift, the love of her Son, with others.  Her action teaches me not to be fearful in responding to God’s love but to boldly allow him to transform what I think, say, and do so that he can work through me for others.

Following this story, Mary stays with her cousin Elizabeth, returns to Joseph, journeys with him to Bethlehem, and then gives birth to a Son in a stable.  This trying and somewhat ordinary event is greeted by angels, shepherds, and wise men all expressing awe at what God had worked through her.  Mary’s response?  She ponders all these things in her heart.  Mary’s life was filled with difficult journeys, persecution, and uncertainty yet also with incredible blessings from God.  So, too, our lives are filled with trials and joys, some expected and others not so much.  Mary has taught me to embrace this turbulence with trust in God and to pause frequently to ponder these things in my heart.  She has shown me how to discover  deeper meaning in my day-to-day life and to acknowledge the hand of God at work, unfolding his beautiful plan.

Imitating Mary’s Immaculate Heart

Standing at the Cross of her Son, Mary unveiled the beauty of the human heart, the beauty of the feminine heart.  There she bore with great compassion the suffering of her divine Son.  Throughout her life, she experienced the profound communion between God and man within her own womb.  She lived the intimate love of a mother and child with the additional gift of meditating with awe upon this boy who was so incomparably great yet so humble.  She received love greater than any other human being had ever known.

Despite the incredible beauty of her Son’s love, Mary experienced an inexpressible pain by facing its rejection from the human race.  She saw this man, deserving of only love and worship, hated and killed.  Herein lies the beauty of Mary’s Immaculate Heart.  Her heart so pure and loving deserved only loved in return, yet she was pierced by the sins of humanity and watched in agony as it was manifested in her Son’s Passion.  So many of us would respond to this rejection by ceasing to love.  We would harden our hearts and allow jadedness and even bitterness to take love’s place.  Mary instead responded with even greater love.  She became the Mother of the Church and the spiritual Mother of us all seeking to return us to the gift of God’s mercy.  She shows to us that the response to suffering is not rejection but, rather, greater love.  During this Lenten season, may we find in the heart of Mary a deeper understanding of the freedom and joy lived in a truly Christian heart.

Tranformation in Christ

Posted by Fr. James Mason:

In the New Testament one of the clearest and most repeated commands involves each one of us being born again, or ‘putting on Christ’ or allowing Christ to be ‘formed in us’ or having the ‘mind of Christ’ or being ‘transformed in Christ’…  We have to be reminded that these are not simply sayings or admonitions to read what Jesus said and try and carry it out as with other human leaders but that this Jesus, a real Person, is here right now and desires to interfere with your very self; “killing the old natural self in you and replacing it the kind of self He has.  At first only for moments.  Then for longer period.  Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which share in His Power, joy, knowledge and eternity.” C.S. Lewis,  Mere Christianity, Bk. IV, ch. 7.

The Miraculous Medal

Posted by Msgr. Charles Mangan + J.M.J.

The Servant of God Father John Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000), once shared this story about the efficacy of the Miraculous Medal in the life of a young boy.

“He had been in a coma for ten days . . . no speech, no voluntary movements of the body. His condition was such that the only question was whether he would live. There was no question of recovering from what was diagnosed as permanent and inoperable brain damage.

“What I found out was that you don’t just bless the Miraculous Medal, you have to put it around a person’s neck. No sooner did I finish the prayer of enrolling the boy in the Confraternity than he opened his eyes for the first time in two weeks. He saw his mother and said, ‘Ma, I want some ice cream.’ After three days, when all examinations showed there was complete restoration to health, the boy was released from the hospital.”

Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother: A Worthy Lenten Companion

Posted by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan + J.M.J.

“I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own!” This inspiring motto for daily living was expressed by Francesco Possenti (1838-1862), known in the Religious Life as “Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother.” This youthful Saint, touched profoundly by the Holy Spirit, exemplified the burning desire to embrace the Lord’s plans—regardless of the cost—rather than his own. Continue reading

Mother Teresa on Marriage and Family

“The woman is at the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.”

“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”

~ Bl. Mother Teresa