Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Mother's Love

The newly-invested novices immediately following the Mass
Readings for Satuday, December 8/ Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception:
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98:1-4
Ephesians 1:2-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Yesterday morning I had the joy of being at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. for a Mass of Investiture as fourteen young women, most of them in their early to mid-twenties, gave themselves to Christ as Spiritual Brides. My seat being in the sanctuary, I had the blessing of seeing their faces and each of them was called forward, called by their religious name for the first time, and received their veil to mark their bridal vocation. The joy that showed in their faces was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life and my heart burned with joy simply watching them. This joy of this already beautiful moment was increased as I saw a good friend and one of the youth from my previous assignment who has become a spiritual daughter to me. The ceremony was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced and I was shocked by the love and joy in my heart for the sisters, including even the ones that I had met only the night before. Throughout the day, as we continued the celebrations with the community and family, I continued to reflect on the experience. And as I was reflecting on that experience and preparing a final draft of this homily, I was struck by something. If I, imperfect and sinful as I am, was so filled with love in that moment for my daughter, friend and their sisters, how much more does our Blessed Mother Mary look upon us, her children, constantly with burning love in her heart - she who was full of grace, perfect in all things, and absolutely pure in heart?

In our first reading we heard the familiar story of Adam and Eve disobeying the Lord and partaking of the forbidden fruit, which cost them God’s grace and merited pain and death. Then our first parents passed onto us that spiritual state which longs for some redemption. For centuries humanity and all of creation awaited that redemption and we find it in Christ Jesus, through His Blessed Mother.

Eve was mother of all the living in the physical sense, that she gave us our lives. Mary comes to us as a spiritual mother, bringing us eternal life. By that beautiful response to Gabriel, “Be it done to me according to your word,” she opened herself up to God and enabled God to bring about salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ, who Himself made a radical act of obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said to the Father, “Not My will by Thy will be done.” By their acts of obedience, Jesus and Mary, the New Adam and New Eve, gained for us a gift far greater than physical life – they gained us the ability to behold the Face of God for eternity! Indeed she is the true mother of all the living. And as a mother she does not look up us all as a large group but rather as individual souls – each of us a special child in her eyes - honored, guarded, and deeply loved. How blessed indeed we are to have such a mother who is always, at every moment, watching over us and working to pour out the grace of God upon us that we might be drawn more deeply into the tender embrace of her Son and the Blessed Trinity. With that all in mind, I want to pray with you a section of St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s ‘Prayer to Jesus’ [full prayer HERE]:

Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere: that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things. Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whol world the mercy that Thous hast shown to me! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me. Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Savior, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary.

Indeed Mary is a most incredible gift and through her we have all receive the Lord Jesus and the offer of salvation. Today as we honor Our Lady, let us give everything we have, to her who has opened the way for us to receive everything we desire. Let us make our own the words St. Louis so often prayed:

Mary, I am thine and all I have is thine.
Mary, I am thine and all I have is thine.
Mary, I am thine and all I have is thine.