Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mother of God 2012

t is the 8th day of Christmas. As Catholic, on the major feasts we say that the day is SUCH a day of joy and honor that they spill over from the day itself and into the next seven days. Today is the seventh of those seven and so the eight day of Christmas. It is also New Years Day. It is good for us to consider our New Year’s resolutions. Finally, this 8th day of Christmas, New Year’s day is also the feast of the Mother of God. Let’s look at New Year’s resolutions in light of the Mother of God.

It makes sense to contemplate a son and also his mother. We don’t think of babies floating in midair we think of babies held by mothers. A parishioner of mine has a Christmasflag on her house that has the Virgin holding the Son. A baby, even a baby Jesus, floating in midair looks odd and strikes us as wrong. Babies need mothers.

Mothers don’t pick their babies and babies don’t pick their mothers. A mother may choose to be open to life in the marriage embrace with her husband but she does not choose the specific baby she will receive. Neither does a child choose their specific mother. Warts, wrinkles, birthmarks are all up to God’s providence and not up to them.

In Jesus it is different. Mary is the Mother he chooses. God chooses his own mother- a perk of being God who becomes incarnate. But Mary also chooses Jesus, earlier in Luke’s gospel we hear that she is told who her son will be: wonder-counselor, God forever, Son of David who will sit on the throne. While she does not perfectly know him she does know and does say “yes.”

But we are called Christians- we call ourselves Christians! What is a Christian but a “little Christ?” So if Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of Christ than she is our Mother as well. And so Jesus says so on the Cross in John 19: “Son behold your Mother, Mother, behold your son. And from that moment the disciple took her into his home.” Mary loves her son, wherever he is found—we hear in the Gospel today that Mary “ponders all these things in her heart.” This means that her love for her son knows no bounds. She even loves the little Jesus who was born in us by our baptism, our spiritual adoption by God.

Even if we have mistreated or ignored this “little Christ” in our spirit, Mary has not for she ponders all things. Not just the Jesus who is strong and full but even the weak life of Jesus that we neglect and do not nourish. So how about a New Year’s Resolution?

Spend more time with your mother. Spend time as a child of Mary. Children do not start wars, children do not cheat people out of their life’s savings, like Jesus, live as a child of Mary. If we spent more time in our mother’s arms, we’d have less violence, addictions, sadness and boredom—both in us and in the world. Spend time with Mary.

Do you pray the Rosary? Start. Start with a decade a day. If you pray a bit of it now, pray a bit more—maybe several days a week. One opportunity to play in our Mother’s arms will be a devotion I will offer for the parish in February: the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary of St. Louis Marie de Montfort. This time-tested devotion—a favorite of Blessed Pope John Paul II and our own Bishop Swain, will begin right before Lent on February 20th and end on March 25th. It will begin gradually and grow in intensity.

Jesus spent his first years on this earth in the arms of Mary, let us spend this year as her children and His brothers and sisters.

Posted at Pius XII Newman Center as well.

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