Mary Ward Week: Reflection – 23 January

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Mary Ward’s deep faith in God led her to search and find God in all things, being attentive to the action of God in her daily life and enabling her to respond to God’s holy will to be done in her life. She recognized clearly in prayer how important it was to have a free heart and open access to God: “referring everything to God.”

She abandoned herself to God, offering her entire self to God. In the Painted Life no. 21, we read about the Glory Vision, a mystical experience through which she received enlightenment from God concerning the work about to be entrusted to her. From this vision, Mary Ward understood that this was God’s will for her and she remained totally obedient to God’s guidance.

Mary Ward’s ascetical living of the gospel, especially through daily spiritual practices, led her to such a familiarity with God. That is, being attentive to the movement of the Spirit within her, and trusting in God’s providence as she says, “I will give Him what I have and all that I need I will find in Him.” Mary Ward trusted God in times of difficulties and uncertainties. For her, all experiences were opportunities for finding God: whether in good times or in the face of difficulties. She remained loyal to the path of life she had chosen.

Just like her, we are called to fidelity even in the most difficult times – we must continue to do good works with verity, especially in our ministries of reaching out to the needy and underprivileged in society, a call to accept certain interior and exterior uncertainties of our lives, such as now when we are thinking of the reunion of the two Mary Ward Institutes. Also, the global pandemic of COVID-19, bringing with it many forms of uncertainty, as we are already experiencing; the poor who have been stripped of their basic means of livelihood, people who have lost jobs, rising cases of teenage pregnancies and increasing cases of domestic violence, among others. With all these already happening, the post-Corona world is quite uncertain.

Mary Ward concretely responded to the needs of the Church and the society of her time. This maxim of Mary Ward presents us with a valuable insight to draw from. As her companions, her life is a reminder of fidelity in prayer and the continuous effort in having right relationships with others and with God, in whose providence we are able to accomplish much, doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner. We are told that Mary Ward’s first and last word was Jesus. Jesus became the keyword and the central theme throughout her life; that is, in all her petitions, refuge in all dangers and protection in all evil. She encourages us to refer all these challenges to Jesus, allowing Him to be the beginning and the end of our lives in everything.

Esther Finis