As members of the Miraculous Medal Association, we are the inheritors of the apparition on November 27, 1830, to St. Catherine Laboure. At that event, Mary asked us to spread her devotion and message to all.I would like to share with you some of my reflections and thoughts about what that message means to us as members of the Miraculous Medal Association.
One of the most powerful things that Mary said at that apparition on November 27 was: “Come to the foot of the altar, where you will receive many blessings”. It is powerful because the words themselves speak of receiving the power of grace. We who come to the altar with this medal on us will be given blessings.
Mary calls us to the altar because it is there that the Celebration of the Mass, happens. We know that this outstanding Memorial of “Last Supper” and the Sacrifice of Calvary brings the immeasurable love of God and forgiveness into the world.
Christ’s death freed us from sin and death. It frees us from the darkest corners of human experience. Christ did this to find us, forgive us and save us. The Mass effectively changes us into a life filled with Jesus Christ’s never-ending Love and Mercy.
At this Altar, Mary wants us to be changed as she was – full of God’s Love and Mercy. And like her, we are called to bring these graces and the love of God into the world.
Only Mary can help us change our lives to be like hers and bring Jesus Christ into the world, especially into our world today. Only Mary can teach us how to say “yes” to what God the Father wants us to do. And by doing God’s will, we will give birth to Jesus Christ’s love for others to all we meet.
When we see Mary in the Scriptures, we can learn how Mary gave Jesus to the world. She is the first to give this Good News.
As such, Mary seems to be evangelical. When we think of the word“evangelical”, we think of giving the Good News of the Gospels. In this sense, we can think of Mary as an evangelist. In fact, Mary is the first Evangelist.
Evangelists tell the story of Jesus Christ’s love and redemption. The Good News is that God loves each of us and that the Mercy of God waits, like the Father of the Prodigal son, to forgive us and make us part of God’s family.
God asked our Blessed Mother to become “the” Evangelist, the first and the best. At the Annunciation, Mary said “yes” to become an evangelist. She said,“I will be the Mother of God. I will give Jesus Christ to the world for the salvation and redemption of all.”
Today, she still continues to be The First and Best Evangelist by giving Jesus Christ to the world through us. She brings Christ to us, who wears her Miraculous Medal.
We have an intimate relationship with Mary. This closeness means that we publicly share in Mary’s call or vocation to bring Christ into the World. Weare Marian Evangelists in the world today.
To help us understand our call and vocation, let us read the Wedding Feast of Cana from the Gospel of John (2: 1-11) where Mary was clearly the“evangelist”. Here, Mary’s role as the evangelist is to give Jesus Christ to the feast as one who makes the wine of life. Listen to how she does this.
On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him,“They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”* So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
Mary calls Jesus and our attention to the lack of wine at the wedding feast. Mary called Jesus to help her, just like we do in our prayer. She made the first move.
Notice Mary’s words: “They have no wine” and “Do whatever He tells you.”Mary speaks as a woman of authority. They are very active words. Even the Son of God listens and responds.
Who has such words that God responds? God responds because she is doing what God asked her to do: be an evangelist as a human, as a woman and as a mother. It is the living of her vocation. She is called to give to all in the world Jesus Christ.
Notice too that she does not ask for herself. Mary ALWAYS asks FOR OTHERS. She asks that the joy of all may be fulfilled. Jesus always hears Mary because Mary is always without self or selfless.
Mary always hears us when we are selfless too. We must always ask help for others first, and not for ourselves first.
In the Gospels, there are deeper meanings. The meanings of what God is revealing through this human activity. This is the faith and revelation of the Gospel reading.
In this Gospel reading, Mary is not asking just for physical wine. She is asking also for the wine of Faith, the new wine of the new Wedding Feast in the Kingdom of God. If we look at Mary’s request, “They have no wine” through the eyes of Faith, it is a petition. It is asking for help now. This is very much like the Hebrew word in the Old Testament that longs for God’s coming. That word is “Maranatha”,
Maranatha means “When will you come O Lord”? Mary is asking Jesus to tell us that the Kingdom of God, the banquet with our Loving Father has come with him. Her statement “Do what he tells you” answers the question – “When will you come to O Lord? I have come now. Do what I tell you.” The banquet is NOW. Mary calls for the Wedding Feast of the New Covenant to begin.
In the new Wedding Feast, Jesus Christ is the bridegroom. It is his vocation to make the new wine and new bread. That is why his first response is so striking, “Woman…my hour has not come.”
This is not an insult to his mother, but it is exactly the opposite. It is a sensitive human question spoken as a statement. Jesus is saying to Mary, “It is not my hour mother.” Jesus could have been thinking about his passion and death. The same phrase, “My hour has not come” also looks to the hour of salvation on a cross.
Mary knows that hour too. But Mary is calling for what comes before that hour. She is calling for the hour of teaching the Good News that God loves us.
Mary answers “yes, it is now” by what she says. Mary, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, knows that now is the time for Jesus to break into History with his words of God’s love and mercy. The preaching must begin.
The Miraculous Medal Association changes us officially to also have the vocation of Mary. Did you understand how Mary gave Jesus Christ to the world? To be evangelists like Mary we must do what she did:
- Like Mary, when we see our neighbours in need when we see others who need help, we must take God to them. We know that is God’s will for Mary and us and like Mary, we say yes to doing God’s will in our life.
- We must start to bring God to others by giving them a Miraculous Medal. They will have questions about what it is, why should they wear it, and on and on. Talk to them about Mary and her Son, Jesus Christ. They love this person.
- When we talk to God, like Mary, we must always speak of the needs of our neighbour. We must pray directly for their needs. They have no food, or clothing or safety. Whatever the need is, we pray for it first, and then we pray for them, and finally, we pray for our needs. We are privileged to have the ministry of Mary’s prayer in the whole Vincentian Family.
- When we pray, we must always pray with absolute confidence, like Mary. We trust that God will answer with God’s Love and Mercy. We may not understand the answer but we do not worry about that. We are certain that God is making new wine, like Cana, for our neighbour because of us.
- We must PRAY with others that we serve. Pray with them and tell them about Jesus Christ Death and Resurrection, Christ’s salvation and redemption. When we pray we make Mary and Jesus present. We are their evangelists praying and bringing the Gospels to others.
- Finally, we must ask others to become Mary evangelists. We must ask others to become a part of the Miraculous Medal Association, to become evangelists in the world today.
Wearing this medal changes us to live the vocation of Mary on earth today. Do we, like Mary, promise to give Jesus Christ, to each other and our neighbour?
Our Association is a great and powerful evangelical tool on earth today. We can bring God’s Love and Mercy to our local communities only if we follow Mary as the evangelist. We are the Good News of God in our world today. We are the Evangelists of the Last Supper and the Redemption of all. We are the members of the Miraculous Medal Association.
Rev. Carl Pieber CM
AMM Deputy International Director, , 14 Nov 2018