I have been struck by two things over the last few days.
One is the tremendous offering our Priests make of their lives. A good Priest, who truly understands and follows his vocation is a wonderful gift to the laity. The dedication and faith of those who are following Christ's teaching, and helping the lay faithful to do so likewise, is awe inspiring. I pray for all our Priests that they may be blessed by a full understanding of their vocation at this special time. Whilst I was being "struck" by these thoughts, my husband came across an interview that Mother Angelica did with a young Priest, on EWTN. I was busy scrubbing the mould off the pantry window, but as always, these things are compelling, and I eventually stopped to listen. The Priest, (I've forgotten his name) was relating how he had been in a terrible car accident a few years ago, after he had been ordained for about 12 years. Many people prayed for his recovery, and judging by the type of injuries he sustained, the fact that he recovered at all, let alone was able to be interviewed, was nothing short of miraculous. But what he then said was quite striking. After his recovery, he had a vivid memory of going before Jesus to be judged. Jesus pointed out all his failings, and asked him what he had to say for himself, and he knew that there was no escaping the condemnation, all he could do was agree with Jesus; and finally Jesus said that his judgement was that he should go to Hell, and the Priest had to agree that that was the just judgement. Then he heard a woman's voice, asking that he be spared, and pruned to see if he could bear some good fruit, and Jesus could not resist His Mother's petition, and so the Priest was allowed to try again, thus he recovered. He said himself, that if you'd asked his parishioners whether they thought he would have been destined for Hell, they probably would not have thought so. However, he knew that he had not been living his Priesthood as he should - the Holy Mass was not overly important to him, and he didn't pray the Divine Office. He didn't have a great devotion to Mary. Of course, he now knew that he had to live his life differently, and now was trying to live his Priesthood for the Lord, not for himself, as he had formerly done.
This leads to the second thing that struck me. The amazing gift of generosity of her self Mary made when she said her "Fiat" to the Father. She was not only saying yes to having a baby, she was saying yes to seeing that child, who she knew was Divine, and totally innocent, suffer and die the most cruel death. I have spoken to a few very devout Protestants who think that Mary was quite an ordinary woman - some don't even believe she was sinless, which leads me to wonder whether they fully understand the Divinity of Christ, His holiness - how could he have entered into the womb of a sinner - it doesn't make any sense to me to think that Our Heavenly Father could not prepare a suitable tabernacle for his infant Son to reside within, for the first nine months of His life on earth. She was a devout Jew, she understood the Scriptures, and she must have been fully aware that this child of hers had to undergo the most awful suffering in order to "Make all things new". We watched Gibson's film of The Passion, and it again helped to impress on me Mary's gift to us.
I pray that all those who claim to follow Christ, look to the Mother of God, who was given to us to be our Mother at the foot of the Cross, in order to find the True Son of God. I pray that she will intercede for me, and my family, when we come before the Just Judge.