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  • Sarah Raad

Sunrise

Our Lady is such a comfort and help to us while we await her Son… Please God let me emulate Her example of faith.

Madonna of the Magnificent (Sandro Botticelli)

I wake up very early in the mornings. I pretty much always have. My father was always an early riser, and I guess over the years, I got used to imitating his example.


When I was younger, I would do extra revision in mathematics to get my day started because I always seemed to be struggling with maths when I was at school. Later, when I started university, those early mornings were great for assessments that I was working on prior to getting into the city for classes – nothing was online in those days. Later, when I was working, I would get up, swing past the church and catch half of the mass, and then continue on to work for an early start, eating my breakfast at my desk in the office. These days I get most of my domestic duties done 8 o’clock in the morning, which works well because some days I start work at 8am and do not finish until late in the evening and if I did not use those few hours before dawn, my family would be wearing unwashed clothes, living in a pigsty and probably starving to death, or eating the furniture…


One of the lovely things about waking up when the sun has not yet risen, is the quiet. The house – the very world – is quiet and fresh and new. The air smells cleaner and the world feels calmer. Whatever the problems I faced before I slept seem somehow further away from me in the dawn light. It has always been that way for me…


These days, I start my day with my prayers. I greet my Beloved, simply and sleepily without even remembering the words that I say. I snuggle into Him in the pre-dawn hour because quietly before the dawn, He is in my thoughts, my heart and my soul. It is my favourite kind of prayer – there in the silence as my eyes open for the day… Just my God and me…

Though it is ALWAYS the case, in the early morning, before the sleep is wiped from my eyes, I feel so clearly that He is mine and I am His. I snuggle into Him – my Lord and my God, before whom the angels tremble – quietly before the darkness flies from the sky, because He is my Father, my Dad, my Daddy, and He loves me.

But the dawn is not eternal, and the sun will rise each day, and with that my real work must begin. As the sun climbs into the sky, I become not only the daughter of God, but the mother of the souls He has given into my care. And so, I have to wake three reluctant children and ensure they are dressed, groomed, fed, packed and delivered for school. It is not the number of children that makes the work difficult – but their level of reluctance…


That reluctance is what causes the calmness to be dimmed – or it disappears completely, if my husband is to be believed…


In completing these tasks of a mother, I reflect often on Our Blessed Mother… Her perpetual work with us – the sometimes reluctant, often ungrateful, many-times sinful children of God – who do not wish to rise to their vocation and adore her Son as He deserves… How we must trouble the calmness of her blessed Heart…


Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Mary’s sorrow was less when she saw her Son crucified, than it is now at the sight of man offending Him by sin.”


Imagine her work in trying to persuade us to listen to the words of her Son, or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Imagine her sorrow at our reluctance…


Saint Pope John Paul II in recommending the Rosary as a vocal and meditative prayer of reflection on the life of Christ through the eyes of Our Blessed Mother, described this Marian devotion as, “…an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb.”

This “work” of Our Blessed Mother that Saint John Paul II described so beautifuly, inspires me in my own work – though I am dismally fallible in my application of her perfect motherhood.

I read recently a reflection by a beautiful priest who I do not know, who in speaking of motherhood said, “Your humble position is still the proudest in society. You are the possessor of the hand that rocks the cradle and rules the world. You are to be the comforter, the unchanging inspiration, and the educator of souls.”


For in the words of the Venerable Fulton Sheen, “On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining, we know there must be a sun. So, in this dark night of the world when men turn their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide their feet while we await the sunrise.”


I look to her too… in the evening, and in the morning too, in the quiet – before the start of the day… while I am waiting… for the sun to rise…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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