Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mary kept all these things in her heart

Gospel for the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God: Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

From Saint Bede: "Abiding by the rules of virginal modesty, Mary wished to divulge to no one the secret things which she knew about Christ. She reverently waited for the time and place when he would wish to divulge them. However, though her mouth was silent, in her careful, watchful heart she weighed these secret things. And this is what the Evangelist says, pondering in her heart—indeed, she weighed those acts which she saw in relation to those things which she had read were to be done. Now she saw that she herself, who had arisen from the stock of Jesse, had conceived God’s Son of the Holy Spirit. She had read in the prophet, “A shoot will sprout from the root of Jesse, and a ‘Nazareus’ will ascend from his root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”… Mary was comparing these things which she had read were to occur with those which she recognized as already having occurred. Nevertheless she did not bring these things forth from her mouth but kept them closed up in her heart."

Mary's lively faith and trust in the providence of God is central to this mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord.  Faith surpasses our senses.  Faith is about things that are hoped for but cannot be seen.  Mary is truly our example.  Mary pondered these mysteries and kept these secrets within herself until God showed her how she should reveal them.  Her example of steadfast trust and confidence in the will of God should be our lesson.  May we with her, ponder the mysterious ways of God in our own hearts and lives, and know that He will lead and guide to Himself.

From Blessed Pope John Paul II's homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, 1979, we read: "Today the church particularly venerates the Motherhood of Mary.  This is, as it were, a last message of the octave of Christmas. Birth always speaks of the Begetter, of her who gives life, of her who gives man to the world. The first day of the New Year is Mother’s day.
We see her then—as in so many pictures and sculptures—with the Child in her arms, with the Child at her breast. The Mother, she who begot and fed the Son of God. The Mother of Christ. There is no image that is better known and that speaks in a more simple way of the mystery of the Lord’s birth than that of the Mother with Jesus in her arms. Is not this image, perhaps, the source of our extraordinary confidence? Is it not just this image that allows us to live in the circle of all the mysteries of our faith, and, while contemplating them as “divine”, to consider them at the same time so “human”? 

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