Writing to the Ephesians St. Paul says… “to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:17-19). One can with conviction attribute this to our foundress Mother Mary Ward who had to face all sorts of accusations and trials, but never gave up because she was rooted in God. She planted herself in the love of God and grew deep into His love and that kept her strong even during the time of persecution.
Can we recall what happened to Mary Ward in the Church of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, in 1625? It is recorded in Painted Life No. 36, “that the prosperity, progress and security of the Institute did not depend upon wealth, dignity and the favour of princes, but that all its members had free and open access to Him from whom proceeds all strength and protection.” Such was the rootedness of this great woman Mary Ward who had the courage to dare, a characteristic unique to any pioneer.
Mary Ward dared what no other woman before her had dared; she went all the way to Rome there to present her request personally before the Holy Father. The one who has her roots in God is able to overcome difficulties, to avoid dangers and to have great confidence in God because she/he is moved by the gift of fortitude. Her foundation was abolished and the continuation of her work was made impossible; she was taken into custody and was imprisoned.
The measure and norm of this courage is infinite strength, the strength of God; with this strength one observes how obstacles become means to some good end in the all-powerful hands of God. When we are secure in God’s love, we can face our fears, deal with the wreckage of the past and can affirm our intrinsic self-worth. This indwelling power helps us to deal with the most difficult situations that may weigh us down.
Reading the signs of the time and the needs of the time, can we call ourselves Mary Ward women who will go about doing good because our Master and foundress have paved the way for us. And today Mary Ward looks down from heaven inspiring us and praying for us. As daughters of Mary Ward, we pray that we grow deep into God’s love and be rooted in Him so that we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
How deep is my rootedness in God and what are those things that hinder me from being rooted in God?
Tabeth Marezva CJ – Zimbabwe Region