The Friends of Mary Ward meet monthly to reflect on the life and spirituality of Mary ward. There are now about thirteen members in the group which include some of the staff of MWL and they have formed a supportive network amongst each other. Some of the themes covered recently have been Mary Mother of God, The Trinity, Trust and Right relations with God and the whole of creation. The last meeting of December was very special for all members of the group. Two of the General Counsellors from IBVM were present in Albania and during this time the prayer for the coming of Advent formed a moving base for the visit. During these meetings we grow in the centrality of Jesus in our lives and our ministries, calling one another to live the prophetic mission of Christ faithfully and with integrity. We need to pray and to act so as to reflect the charism, the face of God, everywhere, on the margins and in the places of power and academia. We know we need to pay attention to the small things, stay on the margins and work with great responsibility because this is how we experience the call of Mary Ward today.
Reflection at the beautiful Eufemia church in Albania
As this month’s meeting of the Friends of Mary Ward would be the last before the holidays, some of the group went on a pilgrimage and mini retreat to Kallmet, where the group could reflect at the beautiful Eufemia church and surrounding area. The theme for the retreat was ‘Trust in God’. We reflected on some of the stages in Mary Ward’s life where she was most challenged. We prayed together, had silence for contemplation and shared our reflections after pondering on some of the pictures of the Painted Life of Mary Ward. We reflected on how her struggles and her faith in overcoming these, could be applied in our own lives. After a morning of prayer we went to a beautiful setting where an established organic restaurant had been developed. The meal was delicious. We ended the day drinking coffee near the sea at shengjin. We were a very happy group on our return home.
Bartimaeus calls out Jesus’ name from the darkness of his own world. How many times have I called out for Jesus, feeling that I am just calling into the vast space around me? Even when those around Bartimaeus tell him to be silent, he calls out all the more. He doesn’t let anyone determine his course of action. His focus is on Jesus and he is not deterred. Jesus recognizes and acts upon the God-given dignity of Bartimaeus. He listens to his voice and asks for what he needs. From time to time in our own journeys we too experience darkness and need help. With deep faith and trust, we can call out to Jesus and voice our needs. He is our light and faithful companion on the road. The more we call upon Jesus, the more Jesus calls upon us to listen to the cries of our brothers and sisters and accompany them to the light. We too can say with confidence, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”
Jesus asks me, “What do you want me to do for you?” So I ask myself in prayer: What is my greatest need? What are the greatest needs of those around me? Do I value the voice of my brothers and sisters? Do I allow them to share their needs or do I assume that I know what is best for them?
“Accustom yourself in all doubts to cry out,
‘Lord what will you have me to do?”
"Be such as you appear and appear such as you be.” “Do ordinary things well.” Mary Ward