Highly Favored One

  • September 8, 2020 (readings)
  • Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Maribeth Harper
  • Matthew 1:18-23

    This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

    Opening Prayer: Lord, as I settle myself to reflect on your words today, I thank you for the Blessed Mother. She truly watches over me, and I feel her warm presence always guiding me to pay attention to your will.

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Immaculately Conceived: The feast of Mother Mary’s birth is celebrated exactly nine months after the church celebrates her Immaculate Conception on December 8. We know that Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim, prayed fervently for a child and recognized her special holiness from birth (Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal gospel written about A.D. 150). St. Augustine had these beautiful words to say about Mary: “He knew his mother in predestination, even before he was born of her; even before, as God, he created her of whom, as man, he was to be created, he knew her as his mother” (Trac. In Iohanem 8,9). The angel Gabriel confirmed that the Blessed Mother was highly favored (see Luke 1:28). Mary’s beauty and purity suited her exalted mission. We, too, have been given gifts and talents to fulfill our very specific unrepeatable mission. When Mary completed her earthly mission, she was named “Queen of Heaven.” May we one day join Our Blessed Mother as we hear her Son say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant...Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21).

    2. Jesus’s Birth: We celebrate Mary’s birthday because Mary’s “yes” brought Our Savior into the world. Every millisecond of Mary’s life was consecrated—given over to her spouse, the Holy Spirit, for the good of mankind. She willingly gave birth, nursed, nurtured, and perfectly loved her Son from infancy to the foot of the cross to the throne of heaven. No other human loved like Mary did, and no one suffered as much. We can turn to her for help with every aspect of our relationships, knowing that she understands us and takes our prayers straight to her Son.

    3. Our Mother: Jesus knew full well the beauty and perfection of his mother Mary, and his desire, as he hung on the cross, was to give her to us (see John 19:26-27). What a glorious parting gift our Savior gave us through St. John. Mother Mary now mediates between mankind and God, appearing in Fatima, Lourdes, etc., to encourage and correct her children. She weeps for us, prays for us, gives us graces she has obtained from her Son and accompanies us while we strive to make our way through life. With full hearts, we thank God for this blessed feast day—the birth of our mother, Mary.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, it amazes me that part of your plan for salvation was the creation of this perfect human being, Mary, and that you desired to give her to us as our mother. Over the centuries, Mary has acquired many different titles, but none is more precious than “mother.” How blessed we are to be your adopted sons and daughters, with Mother Mary to intercede for us now and at the hour of our death. 

    Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will pray the Litany of Mary, meditating on each title of my Blessed Mother, with a grateful heart. 


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