I have been honored to participate at Today's Catholic Woman as a weekly columnist on reflections inspired by the various titles of Mary. In writing these weekly reflections, one of the invaluable resources in my life (and one of the few people who is privy to my terrible first drafts) is my parish priest, spiritual director, and good friend, Father Patrick Toner. This week, I'm working on a reflection inspired by Mary's title as Refuge of Sinners. Father Pat gave me permission to share his reflections here, with you, and I hope you find them as moving as I did.
The Catechism starts by reflecting on our desire for God that is implanted in the human heart. We seek refuge from a world made hostile by sin. Eden was such a world before sin caused our loss of innocence. I go back to the garden to recall my innocence. I go to find peace in a world filled with stress. I go to renew myself. I find that refuge in my daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. I need peace in my life as I go about life in the world.
We find our refuges in the Eden of our past. The church has always been a place where I felt at peace. We cannot live in the past. What we seek is in our future, heaven. It is a touch of heaven from the past that fills my soul.
There are three women who are important in the life of every priest: his mother, Holy Mother Church, and the Blessed Mother. We can all recall resting safe in the bosom of our mother. Her voice and presence can bring calm and peace into the midst of our broken world. Mary comes to me bringing that promise of heaven, “Everything will be fine.” She is a link to what God has planned for me. She seems always to be prayerful and peaceful. I always find her in the church, taking my hand and leading me to her Son.
Thanks, Father Pat, for sharing these reflections with all of us.