Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Micah 5:1-4a; Matthew 1:1-16.18-23)

Recently Facebook began a thoughtful service. Each Sunday it sends members a notice with the names of friends who will have a birthday that week. Many members will in turn send their friends an email saying that they are glad they are alive. This message is very close to how philosopher Joseph Pieper defines the meaning of love. According to Pieper, love is precisely to receive from another the confirmation, “It’s good that you are; it’s wonderful that you exist.”

Today the Church expresses her love for Mary, the mother of Jesus. We celebrate her birthday saying, “It’s (very) good that you are alive.” We love Mary, first and foremost, for being the instrument by which Jesus, the Savior, came into the world. Her consent allowed his being born and her care provided him a choice environment for growth. Second, we love her because she has showed us how to follow Jesus. As his perfect disciple, she listened to, meditated upon, and acted on the word of God. Finally, we love her for interceding for us before the Godhead. We remember how she told her son about the need for more wine at the wedding feast and confidently bring our particular needs to her attention.