Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, January 1
May the Most Holy Infant, Held in the Loving Embrace of Our Blessed Mother, Bless Us As We Journey Through Life in This New Year.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And, after Mary spoke these humble words, immortalized in Sacred Scripture to be read by all peoples of all nations until the end of time, human history has never been the same!
On this great Solemnity, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Holy Mother of God, celebrating her life of faith and the heroic virtues which she exemplified, it is only normal that we reflect upon our own responses which we have given to God over the course of our lifetime.
Have our lives been filled with the virtues of humility and obedience, like those of our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph? Have we embraced our faith in accordance with what God is asking of each of us?
I would venture to say that both you and I, at different times in our lives, for whatever reasons, have probably fallen somewhat short in living our faith in ways that would be completely pleasing to our Lord.
Yet, it is this faith which we hold dear; it is this faith which you and I profess – which teaches us that our God is a God of unfathomable Love and limitless Mercy. He is a God who is relentless in seeking out those sheep who have lost their way in this life.
And it was for this very reason – in seeking out those who were lost and struggling to find their way, and in reconciling us with His Father – that the Son of God took flesh upon Himself in the womb of Mary. In her humility and in her great love for her God, Mary professed her fiat. And, in so doing, the Eternal Father raised her to a level never before attained by any human being.
In Mary’s life of faith, she exemplifies what each of us strives to become – a faithful and humble child of God, obedient to His Laws and Commandments, with a heart filled with a true and lasting sense of selfless love for others.
For it is God Himself who wishes to sanctify each of us as He did Mary. It is God Himself who wishes to bestow upon us the grace of His blessing as we just read from the Book of Numbers today, “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”
Mary’s relationship with God was a deeply intimate relationship, in which God became her Father, His Son became her Son in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit became the Divine Spouse of the Mother of the Eternal Word Incarnate. And our relationship with God should mirror that of our Blessed Mother’s. For it was during Jesus’ ministry that He taught His disciples, including His Mother and us, to call His Father our Father.
And when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we should always be conscious of the fact that we are not talking to some abstract or unfamiliar or unknowing God, but rather to a God who knows each of us intimately and loves us profoundly, to a God who is our Heavenly and Eternal Father.
For Paul tells us in His Letter to the Galatians, “As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.”
And if we are co-heirs with Christ, then that makes Jesus our dearest and closest Friend and Brother. And if Jesus is our Divine Brother, then Mary becomes our spiritual Mother. For it was Christ Himself who gave her to us as our Mother, a Mother who stood in deepest sorrow and yet filled with an abiding and uncompromising faith at the foot of her Son’s Cross!
It all comes back to relationships. If Mary’s relationship with God was a deeply intimate and personal one, then so should ours! This young woman of Jewish descent, in her relationship with the God whom she had come to know and love, literally brought Heaven down to Earth. This young woman, chosen by the Eternal Father to give flesh to His Son, is a model for every believer.
Even in the Qur’an, the main religious text of Islam, faithful Muslims speak of Mary with the highest respect, giving her great honor and holding her in highest esteem, even though their view of Jesus and their understanding of God is completely different from ours.
Mary is that sublime model of a faithful child of God, who trusted so completely in God’s Loving Providence, that she surrendered her will to that of her Creator’s. Mary lived out her life never losing heart, never losing faith, even in the midst of the greatest trial that any mother could ever endure – seeing her own Son brutally tortured and killed!
And even in this, Mary remained that faithful child – forever obedient, forever trusting, forever filled with hope. For all these reasons, the Church throughout the world honors her with this Holy Solemnity which we celebrate this day.
Today, as we close out the old and ring in the New Year, may our resolution be one of renewal – rekindling and revitalizing our love for God and our selfless love for each other – imitating the virtuous and heroic life of Mary in the faith and selfless love she exemplified.
And as we reach out to each other with the blessings of a safe and grace-filled New Year, may this year truly be one of contentment and happiness, filled with the selfless love and generosity which God is asking that we show towards one another – in imitation of the selfless Love which God has for both you and me, and in imitation of the selfless love which our Blessed Mother has for all of her spiritual children.
During this most holy and joyous season, may each of us find the peace and joy in the grace and Love of the Christ Child, as only God Himself can give. And may the Most Holy Infant, held in the loving embrace of His beloved Mother and ours, bless us as we travel our own individual and unique journey throughout this life –
“The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38a)
- “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
- “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
- “As proof that you are children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Galatians 4:6-7)
- “May God be gracious to us and bless us; may his face shine upon us. So shall your way be known upon earth, your victory among all the nations.” (Psalm 67:2-3)
- “…God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
- “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
- “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
- “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Prayer for the Day
“O Mary, of all women,
You are the chosen one,
Who, ancient prophets promised,
Would bear God’s only Son;
“All Hebrew generations
Prepared the way to thee,
That in your womb the God-man
Might come to set man free.
“O Mary, you embody
All God taught to our race,
For you are first and foremost
In fullness of His grace;
“We praise this wondrous honorMichael Gannon (c.1641)
That you gave birth to Him
Who from you took His manhood
And saved us from our sin.”