|Image of the Praise of 'Maria Bambina' |
(The Child Mary)
I got an email yesterday that spoke about some people whose lives were spared in the September 11th terrorist attacks because of little things that occurred that day that were out of the norm – someone had to change clothes after spilling something on their shirt, another was caught in traffic, another stopped to pick up breakfast for coworkers, and yet another had to stop to get a bandaid because their new shoes were causing a blister. All of these little things happened and as a result their lives were changed forever.
Today we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of only three liturgical celebrations of a person’s entry into earthly life. And while we certainly honor the great gift that the Blessed Mother is to each of us personally as our spiritual mother and as the one through whose ‘yes’ we received our savior, we also recognize that this celebration is really about the greatness of God’s wisdom. I am sure that Mary would not object to this point, since she herself does all things not for her own glory, but for His.
God’s wisdom is far beyond our understanding, and scripture tells us that His ways are not our ways. Surely none of us would have chosen the means to salvation that He chose; entrusting his flock to flawed leaders, the incarnation, the cross. All of these are beyond our thinking. But from the very beginning of time, God knew all of these things and destined that they be fulfilled. He knew the plan of salvation, including the role Mary would play in it, before Adam and Eve breathed their first breath. Mary is implicitly noted in the third chapter of Genesis and spoke of at points throughout the Old Testament, including our reading from the book of the Prophet Micah, written over 700 years before Mary’s birth. In the genealogy from Matthew’s gospel we can see how it was that God brought about this great miracle of salvation – through a bunch of people whose small actions ultimately had large consequences, from people who were sinners, from people who sometimes turned away from God and sought their own glory. And yet, in all of that God was at work bringing about our salvation. Through the little things the history of the world is changed, and great fruit born.
As we celebrate Mary’s birth, we recall the great wisdom of God that worked to bring that to fulfillment and the fact that He is involved in even the smallest of details. And as we recall that, we are reminded that God’s wisdom and attention did not end 2000 years ago, but continues today. If we are open to the Spirit of God, He will also work in us through those small details to bring to fulfillment our personal salvation and the salvation of others as well. Pray, then, that we might have the grace to respond to His call in those times.