SIGNPOSTS FOR THE JOURNEY
‘Our happiness, security and progress of our Institute consist . . . in having open and free access to God Almighty, from where must come our strength, light and protection.’ (Mary Ward)
‘Your heart must be silent to hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.’ (Teresa Ball)
Mary Ward’s grace-filled words: ‘the happiness, security and progress of our Institute consist . . . in having open and free access to God Almighty, from where must come our strength, light and protection,’ ring true for all of us; and especially for those who may not know what freedom is, those who are incarcerated in every sense of the notion to be imprisoned.
As a chaplain at the youth custody centre in Melbourne, I was asked to help out with the nativity play that we were holding on Christmas Eve. We had about ten young men join us, all between the ages of 13-18. As we shared with them about the nativity story, we handed out costumes: angel wings, Mary and Joseph’s costumes, the shepherds and we managed to find a doll with a missing arm to be our Jesus. The boys excitedly began dressing up. The boy who was dressed as Mary held the one-armed doll and he began to caress it, speaking gently to it. It was there that the young men found laughter, happiness, security and progress. It was there that I found light, strength and protection – it was there that I heard the whisperings of Jesus who shared their cell. That day we became signposts for each other, guiding each other through the journey.
How wonderful it would be if all people knew that they have free access to a loving God! An open access to a God who is so busy delighting in their very being that the whispers of the Holy Spirit become an exchange between the Creator and the created, the Lover and the beloved. In a world inundated with options and choices, signposts become essential to discern that which is life-giving. For that to take place, we are called to enter into deep silence: ‘Your heart must be silent to hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit’. (Teresa Ball)
Signposts are God’s way of saying: ‘I am with you!’ Sometimes that is all humans may desire, a signpost along the journey. Mary Ward points us to God as the source of the light – we need to see the signs, to live and share the Gospel with those who are forgotten.
How might we as companions of Mary Ward share this strength, light and protection – indeed the good news – with the whole of creation?
Jwan Kada IBVM novitiate, Frances Tilly – Circle of Friends of Mary Ward
Sr Rachel McLoughlin IBVM – Australia & SE Asia