Monday, January 05, 2009

Mary, The Mother of God

Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God 1 January 2008

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “There are those who wake up and say, 'Good Morning, God'. There are others that say 'Good God, Morning.'”

The same thing could be said about the coming of the New Year. We can have one of two reactions to a new year: Fear and dread of what is to come, or a sense of relief that we can start anew, with a clean slate.

Our Blessed Mother Mary teaches us about both.

There is a very popular song that asks whether Mary knew how special and holy her Son was. To answer the question: Of course she knew! She trusted the words of the Lord through the angel Gabriel, when he told her that the power of the Most High will overshadow her and the child to be born would be called holy, the Son of God. If she did not believe those words she would be no better than Zechariah, who was struck dumb for his disbelief.

When the song states, “The child that you delivered/will soon(?) deliver you.” This is wrong! That child, her Son, was her Savior even before He suffered on the cross. Mary received the incredible gift of salvation offered to all of us, yet she received it ahead of time . . . We are offered salvation of Jesus Christ through His cross . . . and she held on to that salvation all through her life, through all the hardships, all the times her Son was contradicted by the scribes and Pharisees – don't you think a mother's heart would grieve at seeing this sort of disrespect? She held on to that precious gift of salvation because she was conceived without the stain of sin, original or actual. We are offered this priceless gift of salvation by Jesus Christ, reaching out to us from the cross, yet because of our sinfulness, we sometimes refuse to take it, or we drop it along the way.

There is proof of Mary's salvation in her song of praise to God when visiting Elizabeth: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” You can't get any clearer than that.

Mary gives us encouragement in either response to the New Year: For those who look forward to a new year and a clean slate, she says, “Yes, look to my Son. He is the source of your renewal.” To those who dread the coming of the new year, not certain of what will come, she says, “Look to my Son. He is your security. He is your Hope for the future.”

Mary learned that trusting in God does not mean that everything will turn out the way we want them to. Mary learned that whatever God had in store for her future was the best, not only for her, but for all of humanity. Trusting in God means first to let go of our own notions of how things will work out. God will not abandon us, even though it may seem like it at times. God knows that just like His Son, we must go through our crucifixions before we can experience resurrection, or that resurrection may have no meaning for us.

Our Gospel tells us that Mary pondered all these things in her heart. We can understand that she did this contemplation all her life. It was a life-long habit for her. It would do each of us a lot of good to take up this same habit, to slow down from life's hectic pace and contemplate God's interaction in our lives, the meaning that God places in the circumstances of our lives.

So, whether we wake up this morning saying “Good Morning, God,” or “Good God, Morning,” let us look to our Hope of Salvation Jesus Christ, just as Mary did. Let us know our Savior. Mary did know!

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