Hello Mercy, this is Mr. Berg, your campus minister. I am beginning a series of monthly reflections on the faith life of our school. For this first one, I am going to explore one of our new Mercy rituals: praying the Hail Mary together on Friday mornings by joining hands and making a circle in the classroom.
On Tuesday, August 15, we celebrated the first Mass of the year, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. We heard the first part of the Hail Mary proclaimed in the Gospel on the lips of Elizabeth, Mary's cousin: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
So, why do Catholics pray these words now? We see in Mary what God did: a simple Jewish girl who said 'yes' to the terrifying, transformative path God laid before her. Because of this, she was chosen to become the Mother of God. As she proclaimed, "He has looked with favor on his lowly servant / From this day all generations will call me blessed / the Almighty has done great things for me / and holy is His name." (NAB, Luke 1:46-49)
Inspired by Mary's willingness, Venerable Catherine McAuley named the Sisters of Mercy after one of her titles: Our Lady of Mercy. The sisters who founded our school in 1885 continued that tradition, naming us The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy. It's worth remembering that full name and calling to mind our patron now and again.
Like Mary, we are called to put our lives into the hands of God, trusting to the uncertain future, even (or especially) at times when the road ahead is dark. As she said in that same song, "He has remembered His promise of mercy."
And so we go through our school year remembering and venerating Mary through our Mercy celebrations: the Feast of the Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Mercy Day, May Day crowning, and now Hail Mary Fridays.
Let us pray that we too can follow Mary's example in saying 'yes,' and that she will pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.