01 January 2008

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

We have the fathers of the Council of Ephesus to thank for affirming the title, "Mother of God" which we celebrate today. As we come to the end of the Octave of Christmas, we pause for a moment to reflect upon Mary's role in the Incarnation, her unique privilege of being the bearer of God. None of us will have the opportunity to give birth to the incarnate Word of God but we daily have the opportunity to share another of Mary's great titles, "One who does God's will." In Mary's "yes" to the Angel she gave mankind hope of restoring its union with the Father. Each time we say, "yes" to God's will for us, we build up the body of Christ. Every unseen yes and is seen by God; every yes we say in the ordinary day-to-day circumstances gives us strength to say that same yes in the face of bigger challenges.

The great 7th century defender of the faith, St. Maximus, compares loving God by saying "yes" or "no" to His will as being like wax or mud in the presence of the sun of Justice: ". . . just as mud is dried out by the sun and the wax is automatically softened, so also every soul which . . . is far from God is hardened as mud. . . . however, every soul which loves God is softened as wax, and receiving divine impressions and characters it becomes the 'dwelling place of God in the spirit.'" Each time we choose to say "yes" to God's will for us -- even in the little events that befall us daily -- we become a bit softer and a little more receptive to the bearing the divine impression.

"Oh, then, my dear Sisters, be most careful to model your lives on hers. Be meek, humble, charitable and kind and magnify the Lord with her during this life!"

St. Francis de Sales

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