Posted - Jul 15 2009 : 12:31:46 PM
Mary of Nazareth you were a long way from home when Salvation entered the world through you. You had no parent, no sister, no cousin to help you in that final hour when Divinity was born. The only kindly face that you knew was that of Blessed St Joseph. There was no warm safe home into which you Son could enter. For any young mother, Mary, giving birth to her firstborn child in a stable with only one friend at hand would be a sore trial. How much more for you knowing whom your Son was and was to be?
Was this the first gentle trial of your faith, Immaculate one? Your first, but not your last, personal experience of the seeming abandonment of the Son by the Father. When Gabriel first told you that you were to give birth to the Son of the Most High is this what you imagined the scene of the Royal Birth would look like? Perhaps it was. You are the first and foremost of those who contemplate the truths of faith. You always pondered in your heart the things that were revealed to you. Which then of the Angels words and the prophecies of Scripture did you not meditate profoundly upon? And in so meditating did you realise that the very fact of Gods Incarnation as the Son of Mary meant that He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but would empty Himself and appear in the form of a servant? And realising that did the stable and the manger come as no surprise at all to you? Even if you did of course knowing that a thing will be harsh and unpleasant does not make it less so when it actually comes. It must have been a dark hour when you and your most chaste spouse finally accepted that you precious child would be born in that gloomy place in that seeming abandonment.
And then....And then.... After all that had gone before, there He was, the fruit of your womb, your Jesus. The Son of God who was also flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood. The baby boy who had His mothers eyes and had had from the moment of the Annunciation held captive His mothers heart, purely and entirely His by voluntary submission. We Catholics often think of you, dear Lady, standing at Golgotha and crying out "who's sorrow is like unto my sorrow?" yet seldom do we recall you in Bethlehem crying out "who's joy is like unto my joy?" And yet so it must have been for you had given birth to the Wisdom of God, to the Light of the World, to your own dear, beautiful, beloved Son. There has been no woman on earth who has ever had greater cause for joy or greater bitter pain than have you Most Blessed Virgin. And we Christians rejoice and live already with one foot in heaven because Mary of the Angels had precisely twice as many occasions of unspeakable joy as she did of unutterable sorrow.
The Light of the world inbreaking the stable of Bethlehem was not the only light to breach the profound darkness under which the world slumbered that first Christmas night. The Glory of the Lord and the unconfined joy of the Angelic hosts shed their lustre upon the shepherd folk of Judea. The good news of the poor outcast servant King was first made known to His poor despised servant brothers. Their darkness was illumined, their hearts were uplifted and they were urged to great rejoicing by heavenly choirs, for the Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord had been born in Davids city. And rejoice they did going "with haste" to you O Mary as once you had gone to St Elizabeth. And they shared with you the light that had burst upon them as you shared with them, and with us, the Light that had come down from heaven for us and for our salvation.
The profound darkness encircling creation that first Christmas was pierced in still one other place. A bright star that could be seen half a world away, a star that pointed to the Sun of Righteousness that was to arise in Bethlehem of Judea. This was the star that drew from far away the first of the Gentiles to pay homage to your Divine Son. The lesser light of their human wisdom, their human science, unguided by Revelation but patiently followed by humble hearts had led them to the great Light He who will forever disperse the realm of shadow and darkness. And it is recorded in Scripture that they found the child Jesus with Mary His mother. It was you, mild Mother of Mercy, who showed Him to the Wise Men, and they bowed before both you and your Royal Son. The Father entrusted you with His Son for the sake of the World and our wise predecessors in faith entrusted you with their precious gifts devoted to Jesus. Is this not, Mary Hope of Christians, the clearest sign that we are to come to Him through you, the Immaculate One?
Mother of our Saviour, you pondered all these things in your heart. By your intercession grant that we too ponder these glorious things. May we make these truths to be the core of our faith the content of our hope and the destination of our love.
Immaculate Mother of God, pray for us.
Before all things and above all things,
care must be taken of the sick,
so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"