This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
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The Shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed…And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Happy New Year! Last night I encouraged our parents and grandparents to start a new tradition with their loved ones, especially their children and grandchildren. At the end of Mass, I invited them to recite this blessing at midnight: “May the Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Num. 6:22-27).
Wow! These words are so beautiful and meaningful, and to be able to dedicate them to loved ones, at the very first hours of a new year, is an amazing feeling.
So if you did not already do so, I encourage you to do it. It’s not too late. Unfortunately, given the state of our culture (or lack of), religious sentiments may seem a bit weird to share with friends and family. Don’t be afraid. We know even good things take time to develop . So do it, and observe for yourself how religious sentiments can quickly turn into blessings that turn into traditions shared for generations to come.
After the vigil Mass, a woman came up to me and told me that her Jewish friends say this blessing every New Year. I did not know that. How could I have forgotten. How did we lose such a beautiful tradition? It’s time we recuperate it.
New Year Resolution. I’ve got one. I know I need more. But I know I have to start small if there is going to be any chance of success for me. Do you have at least one?
Here’s one to consider: “Mary kept all these things in her heart.” How fitting Mary’s words are, especially in our day and age. Social Media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, have driven millions of people into the bad habit of sharing every “thought” that goes on in their head. Just recently a woman was fired from her work for tweeting the following statement: ”Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!”
By the time her plane landed, this tweet had been re-tweeted thousands of times, sent around the world, picked up by the mainstream media and discovered by her employer. Not only did she lose her job, but she also received thousands of hate tweets from strangers and friends.
There is not much she can do. In today’s rapidly declining culture, apologies mean nothing and forgiveness is unforgiveable. In fact, this woman’s own father is quoted as saying what she did was “unforgivable.”
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The day we stop forgiving others will be the day we stop having our own sins forgiven.
Mary kept all these things in her heart. What an excellent idea. Why? Because she was constantly reflecting (and correcting) on what she was seeing with her own eyes and what she was thinking. How can this be? What does this all mean?
While Mary kept all these things in her heart, the shepherds did not. Without a moment to spare, they went around telling everyone what they had seen and heard, and most likely erroneously filling in the blanks as to what they had never seen or even heard.
When it came time for questions, my gut tells me they did a pretty bad job at answering them.
Throughout her life, Mary reflected on Scripture, her life and on the life of her son. She was not quick to judge or to speak out. I believe these virtues remain as relevant today as they did yesterday.
Mary kept certain things in her heart. Maybe the time has come for us to try to do the same.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us! (99)
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