2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31
Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens. (2 Maccabees 7:28)
It’s hard to imagine what this mother went through as she watched each of her seven sons executed for refusing to deny his faith. The only glimpse we have into her thoughts is in the words she spoke to her youngest son, and they are remarkable. Instead of telling him what to do or discussing the political viability of his choices, she told him to look at the heavens! Her words reveal a simple truth: when we face suffering and temptation, when we are confused or feeling persecuted, we need to keep the big picture in focus.
In the face of a life-or-death decision, this mother instructed her son to consider who God is: as maker of the universe, God knew what this young man was facing and was perfectly capable of seeing him through and beyond it.
We can see a similar attitude in Mary, who witnessed the rejection, torture, and unjust execution of her only Son. Surely her heart was broken. But in everything she went through, she kept her eyes on the heavens and was able to find comfort from the Holy Spirit. She didn’t give in to despair. Instead, she remembered all that she had grasped of God’s plan and found in that plan the strength to endure.
As our heavenly Mother, Mary gives us similar encouragement: Don’t forget who God is! Remember his love for you. Remember his good plan for you and your family. Remember that he made the universe and has everything under control, no matter how bad things may seem right now. No matter what you are going through, whether as simple as daily deaths to sin or self-denial or as confusing or complicated as unjust persecution, God walks with you and will give you his divine strength.
Take these two mothers’ words to heart today. Approach this day alert to the opportunities and challenges you will face, but be sure to look up! When you are tempted to sin or feel weighed down by burdens, try to picture God, who made the universe, looking on you in love. Let that vision clear your head and fortify your resolve to follow him.
“Jesus, I believe that you love me—even when I can’t understand what’s going on. I will look to you for the strength to persevere.”~WAU