Some time ago, I came down with a case of the shingles at a place on my body where the sun doesn’t shine. I had always heard that this virus was very painful. In reality, I had no idea how painful it actually would be.

On the second day after my diagnosis, as the rash blossomed, the pain was horrible. I could not sit, stand or even lie down. I could not pray. All I could do was finger the beads of my Rosary, allowing the tears to stream down my face. I prayed, “Dearest Jesus. How, as a human, could your body withstand all the suffering and the pain and the sins of all humanity for all time on the cross?” As I said these words out loud, I burst into tearful sobs. His response to me was deeply profound.  I heard a gentle whisper, “I could because my mother stood near me.”

My tearful sobs quickly escalated into tearful gasps as I now understood a title of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. According to Wikipedia, “Co-Redemptrix is a title … referring to Mary’s role in the redemption of all peoples. … According to those who use the term, Co-Redemptrix refers to a subordinate but essential participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption, notably that she gave free consent to give life to the Redeemer, which meant sharing his life, suffering, and death, which were redemptive for the world.”1

I could not help but think of this as I begin a new series of articles on our Blessed Mother. Whenever I think about her, I think of her trust in God. I came across a blog written by Phylicia Masonheimer that declared the following: “Trusting God is essential because it is by depending on Him that we receive the peace, joy and strength to endure whatever life gives us. Trusting God gives us confidence and security in our decisions. In truth, the entire Christian walk boils down to simply trusting God.2

Isn’t the entire story of our Blessed Mother, Mary, all about her trust in God’s plan for her?

But what does trust look like? In her blog, Masonheimer notes three aspects of trust. The following aspects in bold are hers, but the reflections are mine.

Trusting God means knowing God – The word “know” indeed carries weight in Mary’s life. When the Angel Gabriel approaches her about the conception of Jesus, she answers, “How can this happen, I do not know man?” This “knowing” alludes to the intimate relationship between husband and wife. Our relationship with God must be this personal, this intimate; not just knowing about God. How can we deepen our knowing of God? Scripture and the sacraments. By studying God’s word and receiving grace freely given in the sacraments, we can build a foundation for trust.

Trusting God means listening to God – In order to truly listen to Him, we must spend quality time in prayer. Prayer is a two-way conversation. We speak and then we need to listen. God will truly speak to us in a way that we can understand. This requires a heart that is still enough and open enough to listen to the gentle whispers of God’s voice.

Trusting God means believing God – I truly believe that each of us struggle to believe in what God promises. Isn’t this the root of the sin of Adam and Eve? They doubted what God told them was truth. I know that when we have a hard time believing what God promises, we are being tempted, like our first parents.

One of the amazing aspects of Mary is that she knows how hard life can really be! If we contemplate her story, she becomes for us a role model in following her son. She is indeed a woman of trust, a woman of hope, a woman of strength!

By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness