“Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Amen.”
With these words, Pope Francis concluded his homily at World Youth Day’s closing Mass. He reiterates Our Lord’s call to “make disciples”. By being sent out to fulfill this call, we literally become “apostles” (which comes from the Koine Greek word meaning to “send”) to the world. This is a daunting task but, as the Pope also reminds us, we are not alone! If we become “apostles of prayer” to the world that means that Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Queen of Apostles is also our Mother and Queen.
This thought animates and encourages us as we go forward as “apostles of prayer” in our lives of Christian discipleship.
In conjunction with Pope Francis’ words let us also reflect on the words of St. Ambrose, who better explains Mary’s role as the model and mother of “apostles of prayer.” St. Ambrose says:
“Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving a son; Mary was filled before. ‘You are blessed,’ said Elizabeth, ‘because you have believed.’
You too are blessed because you have heard and believed. The soul of every believer conceives and brings forth the Word of God and recognizes His works. Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to glorify the Lord. Let her spirit be in each one of you to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one Mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ by faith. Every soul free from contamination of sin and inviolate in it’s purity can receive the Word of God.”
Christian discipleship is not easy but it does not have to be hopelessly difficult. One can become and “apostle of prayer” and still live a “normal” life. Consider following the “little way” of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face and offer up “little things” to the glory of God. Or follow the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi – “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words.” Sometimes silent witnesses are the most eloquent. Whatever you do, always keep a clean and pure heart for the Incarnate Word to be conceived and born in each and every day. Always follow our Mother and Queen’s example and strive to make her soul your soul. “Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you!