Mary, Mother of God

Friends of mine are new grandparents and of course, I asked to see their “brag book”. Today, that brag book is on Facebook as well as in print! At any rate, most parents and grandparents are so proud of their newborn that they naturally wish to show off their infant!

No doubt Mary and Joseph were proud parents and only too willing to show off Jesus even to these stranger-shepherds. Mary and Joseph heard the shepherds’ message and rejoiced when the shepherds were “glorifying and praising God.”

I doubt that this birth was easy for Mary or that she took it for granted. The events of the incarnation are neither easy to understand nor to embrace. How was Mary able to accept these events? Mary heard the shepherds’ good news and took it into her heart and reflected on it.

Mary shows us the way: we, too, must adopt a contemplative stance before God. Mary’s ongoing yes to God wasn’t easy. The only way she remained faithful was that she took a contemplative stance-reflecting, pondering, praying.

Our feast today encourages us in our own yes to God. The mystery of the incarnation that Mary models for us is that God’s life dwells within each of us. But in our busy, everyday living we can easily lose sight of that Life in us. It is only by making a conscious effort to ponder the way we live and how God is guiding us that we are able to face the difficulties of life with sureness of blessing and strength.

What’s in a Yes?

Today, the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown celebrate with Sister Mary Ann Coz and Sister Victoria Pascarella 60 years and 75 years of vowed religious life respectively. 60 years and 75 years of saying yes.

Have you ever wondered what’s in a yes?  Sometimes, yes simply means, “I agree.” Sometimes it is a vote in favor of something. Sometimes, it is used as a distraction -” Yes, yes, yes, I hear you.”  Sometimes it speaks something as serious as a life commitment: yes, I will marry you; yes, I will adopt this child; yes I will commitment my life to God’s people as a nun, brother or priest. But whoever uttered a yes that changed not only that person’s life but the course of history? Who ever uttered a yes and became the mother of God? What a yes!

Mary’s yes was indicative of her faithful cooperation with God’s plan both before and after the birth of Jesus.  Mary’s yes to Gabriel is indicative of how Mary must have lived her daily life -being in tune with God’s word in her life.

Our feast today challenges us to say yes to whatever challenging word God sends our way.  Mary participated in God’s plan of salvation by giving birth to the Son of God .  We ,too, are called to bear Christ  in the world today. And we are called to speak an ongoing yes to God. And , like Mary, we will participate in God’s plan of salvation.

Will we recognize God’s announcement to us? And will we continue to say yes to God?