Let’s bring people to Jesus. Let’s build up this church that we may proclaim His Gospel. That we may enlighten and embolden hearts and spirits for Him.
[we apologise for the slightly odd sound in todays recording]
This week we have announced the new dates of our Rosary Mission – the 10th October to the 24th October. It will be two weeks dedicated to being on the streets of Hayes pointing people to Jesus Christ. It will be two weeks of this building being open as much as we can so that we can point people to Jesus Christ. It will be two weeks of giving away rosaries and handing out invitations to come to St. Anselm and to find Jesus Christ.
This pointing to Jesus is exactly what we learn from our Mother – Our Lady. She has so much to teach us, so much to admire and so much to emulate. The depth of her teaching, her example and her love for us – and her dedication in taking us to her son in all that she does is overwhelming.
Mary, in her bodily assumption is said to have completed her earthly task – but what was that task? We see part of it in today’s Gospel, in the very first chapter of Luke, the reading is called The Magnificat – we say it each day at Evening Prayer, and it sets up the earthly life of Our Lady.
We start with her first words to Elizabeth when she arrives – excited at her relatives door.
‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…’
Here, even though she has experienced an amazing thing, an audience with an Angel who has told her she is special, that she is set apart to carry the Son of God – even though she is exalted above all women… her first words are ones of praise, glory and of service.
My soul magnifies the lord!
The very first thing she does in her joy and her excitement is to magnify the lord. To tell Elizabeth that God has exalted the lowly, the humble, the poor in spirit. She is declaring the message of the Gospel and Jesus has not even been born yet!
Her very being proclaims the message of the Gospel – of Jesus her son – before He is even with us in his own body!
Even John – not yet born but growing in his mother’s womb recognises this song – recognises what Mary is saying and what is to come – and in that moment leaps for joy!
In this short exclamation of joy, of love and of service Mary proclaims a message that echoes down the ages to us today. It calls us to magnify the lord in all that we do – and do to it with joy and to do it with love and to do it because God calls us to it.
That brings us to her and now. Our Lady watching over us calls to us to proclaim her Son in all that we do.
When we are weak, when we do not know what to do next, when we start to wander from the path of God and lose sight of her Son – she calls us back. She calls us gently to his side – and it’s in this gentle example of bringing us to her Son that we find the model of how we may bring lost souls to the feet of her Son.
This is at the heart of The Rosary Mission. The mission is not about shouting on the streets of Hayes. It is not about standing on a street corner with a megaphone and a bible. It is about coming alongside people gently, with a gift and saying to them – our God is an awesome God. He remembers us, he will exalt those of humble estate, he will cast the mighty from their thrones, and his mercy will know no end.
In that exchange, in that gift, in that joy – people will come to know Jesus.
They will come to this place, gently and in love, with a rosary in their hand wondering what on earth all of this is about. They will say to their friends – have you seen this thing I’ve been given? They’ll be talking about the rosary in their hands – but the real gift is the gift of joy in their hearts that you will have planted by telling them about her Son.
And so, over the next month we will be praying that our Mission takes shape, that volunteers will come forward – they will come forward to open the church, they will come forward to sit outside in the marquee and hand out rosaries and to tell people about this amazing place and how it can open the door to Jesus for them. We will pray that children will come and enjoy a music workshop with Anthony. We will pray that their hearts will be open to hear the joy and excitement of Jesus.
We will pray that the excitement of Mary, that her excitement and her joy and her love will infect us all and that for two shining, brilliant, glorious weeks this place will blaze with the glory of God – shining as brightly as Mary was that day she ran to her relative with her awesome news.
We will pray that our souls will magnify the Lord. That our souls will shine so brightly with his love for us that others will be dumbfounded and left staggered by His love for us – and in that – His love for them.
We will take our souls out into the world, our love for proclaiming Christ and we will – as his Mother did before us – point people to Him.
This may seem too much. It may feel overwhelming. It may feel very far from your comfort zone. But I promise you, Mary will be alongside you, she will be praying for you, she will give you the strength where you feel you lack it, she will place you at the feet of Jesus Christ and in that moment, there will be no doubt, no weakness, just a sprit which rejoices in God our saviour – your spirit – your heart – your strength.
Let’s bring people to Jesus. Let’s build up this church that we may proclaim His Gospel. That we may enlighten and embolden hearts and spirits for Him. That Hayes will become so alight in His Love that generation after generation will come to know Him.
We have a chance to walk in the footsteps of Our Lady. Let’s take those steps together. Not timidly but with the sense of excitement, joy, and love that she did when she ran to Elizabeth to deliver the news of the coming birth of Jesus.