To read the texts click on the texts: Prov 4:10-18; Lk 2:15-19
In 1537 St. Ignatius hired a small house near a small church on a narrow street in Rome. The Church was named as Our Lady of the Way, because of a picture of Our Lady in the church and its proximity to the narrow street. Here St. Ignatius celebrated Mass and prayed with his companions.
For many years ‘La Strada’ (the wayside) was the ‘heart of the Society’. It witnessed the long hours of prayer of St. Ignatius, his discussions, meditations, and reflections with his companions. The Constitutions were written here. The first novices were trained by St. Ignatius here. Hundreds of letters went from here to St. Ignatius’ companions round the world. Fr. Cordacio, a wealthy and influential diocesan priest who became a Jesuit used all his money and influence to buy the rented house and secure the Church through Pope Paul III for the Society. In course of years the ‘Gesu’ Church and other buildings came up. All this through the powerful intercession of Mary, Queen and Mother of the Society whose same picture is venerated in a special chapel in the ‘Gesu’ and who is honoured with today’s feast, granted to the Society of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII in 1900.
The Gospel text chosen for the memorial of the feast concerns the response of the Shepherds to the revelation that they have received. It also concerns the response of Mary. While all are amazed at the Shepherds report of the things that have taken place, Mary “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (2:19). Mary is unable to make logical sense of all the events that have taken place in her life. The annunciation, the pregnancy of Elizabeth, the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of her son are all mysteries to her. Her response to these mysterious events is to ‘wonder’. She tries to make as much sense as she can of these events. Even as she does so, she remains the servant of the Lord, his handmaid, who let it be done in and through her.
There are times in our lives when we cannot understand the meaning of events that take place. At times like these we respond in a variety of ways. If the event that occurs is not what we expected, we might lose faith in God, respond with anger or simply give up and give in. The Response of Mary is a challenge to us of how we also can respond. We might not always receive logical answers to the questions that we ask, but if remain God’s servants and let it be done in and through us, we will find that peace which only the Lord can give.