January 1, 2008
The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
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. Galatians 4:7
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Luke 2:
HAIL HOLY QUEEN, mother of mercy; our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us. And after this, our exile, grant unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
Who would not be overwhelmed with the events of the past few Biblical months?
While awaiting her marriage with Joseph the carpenter, young Mary finds herself face-to-face with an angel who announces that she is pregnant. She accepts the news. Then, instead of being shaken by the events of her life, she reaches out and spends some months with her older cousin Elizabeth helping her in childbirth before returning home for her own delivery.
Then word comes from the government that she must drag her nine-month-pregnant body along with her new husband to Bethlehem for the Roman census. Ever the obedient couple, they follow both the laws of God and the laws of man. So they pack up and journey over the desert road to Bethlehem, some ninety miles away. There was no way to call ahead for reservations, no toll-free numbers, no Travelocity, no Expedia. As bad luck would have it, there were no hotel rooms left, no family to visit, no shelters for the homeless and not even a hospital where an expectant mother and her newborn babe could go. An innkeeper let them sleep in the barn.
Finally, she thinks she can relax once her healthy baby boy is born. But then there comes a knock on the barn door. Shepherds come down from the hills to pay a visit and share the message they heard. Three Magi come in from the East with more news and gifts. We hear no complaints from the exhausted young Jewish bride-mother. She listens to the visitors and keeps her own feelings and emotions in her heart.
Our world puts a primary emphasis on self. Our accomplishments. Our resume. Our goals. Our needs. Yet how different a model we have encountered in the past week of scripture readings. Nothing can be further from the modern characteristics than the examples we have seen in the Holy Family.
Our media is preoccupied with non-heroes like Paris and Brittany, O.J. and Michael Vick, The Sopranos and Desperate Housewives, Clooney and Denzel and Crowe and Pitt, the Rosie and the Donald.
Imagine a mini-series on HBO called "The Nazoreans." What would those rating be? What if our society could become pre-occupied with the actions of this real-life story, rather than what purports for reality TV?
Behold your Mother. Let us start the New Year beholding the self-less values exemplified by Mary during her life. Exemplify you Mother.