Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas, Our Mother, and the Lessons we should learn

It's nearly the end of Advent, throughout the season the Church has been teaching us, more urgently, how to live as Christians in the world.  Interesting that these lessons ring accurate now as they did two-thousand years ago.  The human condition hasn't changed much, we still have greed, selfishness, cruelty, anger, pride, and all the others elements that breed sin.  But we are a fallen crowd, sin came in and death followed it.

Anyway, so here we are in 2010, still struggling with sin and all it's baggage, and Christ came to save us from what has been taunting us for ages.  The Bible, His teachings, is our resource book for how to act, what to look out for, and advice on how things could go if we just paid attention and took the lessons seriously.

The biggest thing that happened to us was the gift of God's only son, Jesus.  How it happened is a compilation of lessons that are amazingly perfect, many of which came through Mary's role.

The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-56  In greeting Elizabeth, who was with child, Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For He has looked upon his lowly servant.

Can you just imagine her saying this!  She is so full of joy and relief that the promise of Abraham is finally coming to fruition, and that she and her cousin Elizabeth are chosen to be big players!

From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.

She is fully aware that this is going down in history, that her role in being chosen as the mother of God's son is big and she is praising God for his choice in her.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.

She continues to praise God in his mercy and love for all. His power and perfection. 

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

Continuing her praise of God, she is so joyful and excited for what He has done in fulfilling the promise.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for He remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."

I can only imagine the tears of joy streaming down her face as she spoke these words from her heart.  We don't hear much from her, but this is definitely enough to say that all the rest of her life will be mirrored in these words from her own heart. 

Mary is overjoyed with these events.  She is faithful which is a deep lesson for us to think about.  Mary's faith in this amazing event says something big about her trust in God.  By this moment in her life and what she says we will know how the rest of her life will play out.

How can we take heed of her words and her life?  How can we begin to understand truly what trusting God and having faith in Him is like?

Christmas is coming quickly and the lessons are before us. Can we review the readings that we heard during Advent?  Can we review what God is teaching us and pray about how our lives can play out?

My prayer for our world is that this year we calm down and relax from all the worldly concerns and concentrate on more Bible reading and learning.  A measure of good reads on a daily basis along with the Bible would be "The Word Among Us", the Magnificat magazine, good books from the hundreds of Catholic authors, and more prayer.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and know that He is our God!  Fear Him and what He can do, but love Him for what He has already done and what He will do!

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