Vincentian View: Keeping in the Heart
Some of my friends can be categorized as falling into one of two groups. In one are those people who keep everything and who are not particularly concerned with organization. Their desks are piled high with books and magazines and letters and other things. Their rooms and closets are crammed with clothes and objects which have had meaning for them, but perhaps no longer fit or no longer have importance. They are overwhelmed with all the stuff which they keep and scatter around their space. Other friends, are completely neat and organized. Their desks are always clean and up-to-date. Their rooms are well-organized with a place for everything which is folded and properly arranged. They have exercised a control over their lives which helps them to get their tasks accomplished and gives them space for creative movement. I am neither of these types. I like to think of myself as somewhere in the middle.
At the beginning of this year, as we celebrate the solemnity of Mary as the Mother of God, my mind is drawn towards this idea of organizing one’s life and thoughts. In the Gospel for the first day of the year, we hear one of those lines which tell us so much about her—a line which is used more than once in the Scripture. The story tells us that the shepherds come to the crib of Jesus after his birth and after their experience of seeing the angels. These shepherds tell Mary and Joseph what they had seen and heard, and the Gospel continues:
All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Mary gathers all this information and finds a place for it within herself. Earlier, she had pondered the meaning of the greeting of the angel at which she had accepted the responsibility to become the mother of Jesus. In some years, the Gospel will tell us how she treasures the words of the teen-age Jesus after finding him in the temple. One wonders what kinds of things which Mary keeps in her heart. Let me suggest three.
First, she remembers what God has done for her and the demands that this places on her. Secondly, she remembers her responsibility to Jesus. And third, she remembers her responsibility to her people—the couple at Cana, the Church. What she does not remember are hurts and insults and difficulties. She leaves all these in the hands of God.
What about us? The end of one year and the beginning of another is a wonderful opportunity for us to do a little house-cleaning—getting rid of some items and making room for others. We can knock the dust off some practices and move others to the front of our efforts. We can take the example of Mary as our guide. What things do we need to keep in our heart and to reflect upon? As we do this, we serve both ourselves and our communities.