Mary

I love the Blessed Virgin Mary!

I’ve been wanting to publish another post on Mary for a long while now (probably since straight after the last), but found it too tough to write one. But just now, during (maybe after) praying the holy rosary (joyful mysteries), I realised I could just write out of love, rather than knowledge of some area of Mariology.

I love her! When I think of Mary, my heart leaps within me, like the foetal Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb in response to the Mother of God’s greeting. Mary is full of grace, and the Lord is with her, and she is united to Christ, and so wherever she goes, she brings God. As she put it herself,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.”
(Lk 1:46-47)

Whenever Mary is present in a gospel scene, and even when she isn’t, you will love Jesus more perfectly if you unite your love with the love of his mother. This is the beauty of the holy rosary.

In pictures of the coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven, I had noticed that the crown is being placed on her head by an army of angels, which is wonderful, but I recently realised, that it was(is?) surely placed by Jesus himself, who delights to give us his own glory (Jn17:22). Happily, there are plenty of images where Jesus lays the crown (which is surely his own) upon her head. But certainly, a great crowd of angels and saints watch with glee.

If anyone finds the idea of a created Queen of heaven strange or shocking, imagine if I said that we (hopefully) who conquer, are to sit with Jesus upon his own throne (Rev 3:21).

Mary wonderfully presents to us the people of God, of old and new covenants, as she faithfully awaits her coming Messiah, and receives him with love into her life and follows him when he is born. Who can contemplate the Virgin Mother, holding the Divine Child, gazing upon him with love, and fail to love them also? The light of Christ reflects off of her face. At this moment it is clear, she is closest to Jesus, and if you wish to be closer to him also, you must draw near her. If you wish to hold him in your arms, you must receive him from hers. If you approach to bathe your face in his light, you can’t escape the same light reflecting off of her own face.

There is much more I wish to praise of the Holy Theotokos, but it is perhaps too much for me.

‘You must know that when you “hail” Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!’
-St. Bernardine of Siena

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

God bless you!

P.S. If you want some extra wonderful learning about Mary, I recommend O Immaculate Conception, by Saint Maximilian Kolbe. It’s wonderful.

The presentation of the Lord

(Luke 2:22-38)
Here is something I have been shown while praying the holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I didn’t need to specify, but her name brings me joy), and meditating on the joyful mysteries.

The presentation of the baby Jesus in the temple is a lot like mass.
Mary goes before God, to offer her firstborn child, Jesus who is God-incarnate, to God. She does this both as a duty and a gift to God the Father, in obedience to and delight in the law. She only has her son, who is God, by the grace of God, and her great offering is only what God gave to her in the first place.
By her motherly love, she is so united to Jesus that she cannot give Jesus without giving herself with him.
Mary presents and gives Jesus to the Lord, and the Lord accepts, then presents and gives Jesus to the world, through the proclamation of His prophets. And with Jesus, comes Mary, and so her heart will be pierced with her son, and her life too will be given to all mankind.
Similarly, at each mass, we (especially priests) come before God, to offer Him Jesus, who is God-incarnate. This is both our duty and our gift, in obedience and in love. We only have Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by the grace of God, and we are only offering what God has given to us before.
We offer mass, and are offering God as a sacrifice to God, and He surely accepts, and then gives Himself to us, as our true food and true drink, and to the whole world through us.
And by our love, we ought to unite ourselves to Jesus at every mass, and offer ourselves with him as a sacrifice, and can expect to be sent out to live and suffer for the world with him.
We give to God, and He gives to the world, and gives perfectly.

God bless you!

Mary, Jesus’ mummy

I’m certain that, at one time, Jesus called Mary, Mummy (or some Aramaic equivalent). I think that’s awesome. When Jesus was small, she was always there for him, always with him. She was the one who looked after him, fed him when he was hungry, gave him drink when he was thirsty, clothed him when he was naked, and looked after him when he was sick.

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It shows the way that God absolutely embraced humanity, that His Son would be given a human mother, to bear him in her womb, and to love and look after throughout his life. He became absolutely dependent upon Mary, one of us, who even truly participated in giving him life as a man. I think when we talk about the incarnation, the place that comes to mind is a manger in Bethlehem, but the place where it really occurred, was inside the young virgin’s womb.

Humanity as a whole, and Mary in particular, were made part of the mystery of God’s incarnation as a man. Jesus of Nazareth was and is fully God and fully man, and Mary is truly the Mother of God. Mary gave birth to him in whom was life, and the life was the light of men (Jn 1:4). The Virgin Mary gave birth to her own creator, the Lord Jesus.

All of the history of salvation, surely pivoted on the Virgin of Nazareth, the mother of our Redeemer. Where would we be without her? Without her, we could not have her son. For years, her life was his life, she was his security, and where she went he went too. In her, lived the saviour and hope of all humanity.

God desired to share His life with us so fully, that He not only took on flesh and became one of us, but He let us weak humans share in His life, and even in His work of salvation. This is the fundamental fact of Mary, the Mother of God, and the Church, the spouse and body of Christ, who both live to bring Jesus to the world for its salvation, and to draw the world to him.

God bless you!

The first to look forward to Christmas

It’s getting to the time of the year when we start looking forward to Christmas. We look forward to the love we all share and the gifts we give and receive. But let‘s not forget the original (and still the best!) Christmas, and all those who eagerly awaited it.
Firstly, we have YHWH God, the Almighty. The Father was looking forward to sending the greatest gift the world had ever seen, and seeing the smiles on their faces as the wrapping is removed and they receive the revelation of Jesus Christ. He planned this gift for a very, very long time. Even as He punished His children, He looked forward to giving them this great gift.
Then we have the angels. They were neither giving, nor receiving, but were overjoyed to watch us receive such a gift. We don’t know when God showed them His gift to us of Himself, but we see their excitement from their behaviour before the Shepherds.

And suddenly there came with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men—good will.’
Luke 2:13-14

“Come quick, you‘ve got the best present ever!“ is how a Christmas day child would put it.
Next, there are the prophets, who were shown the coming of the Christ long ago. It was revealed to them that He would be born of a virgin, in the town of Bethlehem. They saw many of the details of the present, including our redemption on the cross and looked forward to it for us. Abraham was glad to see Jesus days.
Mary eagerly awaited her child‘s birth for nine months. She was included in both the giving and receiving of the gift of Jesus Christ, by the grace of God.

‘Because He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant, For, lo, henceforth call me happy shall all the generations, For He who is mighty did to me great things, And holy is His name, And His kindness is to generations of generations, To those fearing Him‘
(Mary’s words) Luke 1:48-50

She looked forward to her giving and us receiving, and herself receiving God’s gift of her son.
Joseph looked forward to the Saviour‘s arrival, and getting to see him grow up and help him, and receive God’s gift of salvation himself.
The wise men (“mages from the east“) saw the star of the King of the Jews, and came a long long way to bow down to him. They planned to bring offerings to the new-born-king of great worth– gold, frankincense and myrrh. They made the great journey, because they wanted to see the King given to the world. Their excitement must have grown with each step as they approached the star above Bethlehem.
Finally, the shepherds. A messenger of the Lord came to them in the night, and gave them quite a fright.

‘because there was born to you to-day a Saviour—who is Christ the Lord—in the city of David, and this is to you the sign: Ye shall find a babe wrapped up, lying in the manger.’
Luke 2:11-12

They hurried to Bethlehem immediately, that first Christmas night, with a holy excitement hurrying them forwards to see Christ the Lord.
Our excitement for our Christmas is a mere shadow of the excitement before the first Christmas.
God bless you thoroughly.