Birth of Mary
by Father Daniel Polzer, LC | Source:
Matthew 1: 18-23
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, on this day when we celebrate the birth of your mother, help me to reflect on her beauty as a creature of God preserved from all stain of sin, a model for my Christian life. You know my misery in comparison to the glorious beauty of your mother. Help me through this prayer and through my daily struggle to do your will to identify myself more and more with her. It was your grace that made Mary who she is, and it is your grace that will transform my soul to become a pleasing offering to you. In these few minutes of prayer I want to open my heart to that grace.
Petition: Lord, help me to identify myself with your Mother.
1. Mary is One of Us. The Gospels say very little about Mary. There is no account of her own birth to Joachim and Ann. However we do know that she was born into this world in the same way we were. Mary is a human being like us in all things but sin. She had to grow up. She had to learn to read and write. She had to learn how to pray. She had to live her life in the lights and shadows of faith. We can identify with her because she is one of us brought into existence in this world with all of its joys and sorrows, triumphs and tribulations.
2. What is Different? The one way we differ from Mary is that she was saved at her conception from original sin in anticipation of becoming the mother of Jesus. Another way of saying the same thing is that she lived her entire life under the impulse of grace, never refusing God’s grace and never acting out of selfish motives. Mary had a pure heart that was always in tune with the movements of the Holy Spirit. Even before the Annunciation she must have had an incredible prayer life. Her life was a continuous conversation with God. Her every act, word and desire was meshed with God’s grace that flowed freely in her soul.
3. We Too Can Live Like Mary. Every time we act under the impulse of grace we are imitating Mary. The more our thoughts, words and actions take their cue from the Holy Spirit the more they resemble the thoughts, words and actions of the Blessed Virgin. In this way we become very much identified with her. We, like her, are born into this world, a part of humanity; we, like her, live the life of grace in such a way that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives within us. What a wonderful reality! We can live our lives as Mary lived hers. We can identify ourselves so closely with her.
Dialogue with Christ: Dear Lord, I am your creature, brought into existence by your loving hand. Everything I am and have I owe to you. Help me to live my life under the impulse of grace so that my every thought, word and act will have the fruitfulness of your grace. Thank you for giving me your Mother as a model for my life, someone who is so close to me, a human being who had to deal with the difficulties and trials of this life as I do, yet someone who can show me how to live my life always close to you.
Resolution: Today, I will look for an opportunity to respond to the grace of God in imitation of Mary.
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