Saturday, December 8, 2012

What’s So Special About Mary?

Here's a quick answer to that question from Busted Halo:

Honor Your Mother:
Mary did what Our Creator hopes each one of us will do: use the gift of free will to glorify the Lord and bring others closer to Him.  The Virgin Mary's entire life on earth and in Heaven has been centered on giving praise, honor, glory, and worship to the Lord who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  
From the very moment she was conceived, God preserved her from the stain of original sin, because the Mother of Jesus had to be spotless in order to be a fitting tabernacle for Christ.  We celebrate this feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.  Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of the United States.  The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is the largest Catholic church in America.  It is quite breathtaking, definitely holy ground.   
Who is the person who knew Christ most intimately, loved Him most unconditionally, and bore the greatest suffering so that God's plan of salvation would be accomplished?  The Mother of God.  That's why she is to be honored: for submitting completely to the Lord's will, for saying "Yes" to God every minute of her life, and thereby spending every moment in time and eternity praising the Lord.  Catholics don't worship Mary, but we do honor her as The Mother of God and "the handmaid of the Lord."  
I firmly believe that any good mother (and/or childcare provider, nanny, teacher...) learns a great deal from children.  What better instructor could Mary have had to teach her lessons of love, hope, faith, peace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, gentleness, kindness, wisdom, honesty, innocence, joy, suffering, and sacrifice than Jesus Christ Himself?   

A Strong Devotion to the Blessed Mother Always Leads to a Closer Walk with Christ   
Note to reader: I originally wrote and posted the following part of this reflection on January, 1, 2011. 
I’ve had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Mother for a number of years. I know the Lord has used her example and intercession to help me grow closer to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mary was willing to do what God calls us each to do: put Him before everyone and everything else now and always.

When she was asked to be the Mother of Christ, she didn’t say something to the effect of: “I don’t know (or flat-out no), it wouldn’t be good for my reputation or my family if I became pregnant before living with my betrothed. Actually, since I would likely be stoned to death since that’s the punishment for a woman who becomes pregnant out of wedlock, I think I’ll pass.”
She asked how this would come to pass and is told: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:34-35). Instead of fretting over what her parents would think, what Joseph would say, what her friends might start whispering behind her back, Mary had the grace and trust in the Lord to respond with: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).
What a wonderful example Mary was of being open to the Lord’s grace and willing to serve Him in whatever ways He calls us to be vessels, holy tabernacles for the Holy Spirit! There have been countless times when I’ve prayed to know God’s will and have the courage to carry it out, but at the same time, I’ve had a million things come to mind about what might happen in terms of adversity, struggle, pain, or suffering, if I submit to the Lord completely in mind, body, and spirit. I know doing so means He’ll likely bring about some major changes in and around me that will bring me closer to Him. Some of the Divine Pruning will be quite painful, though, absolutely necessary.
“Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior’” (Luke 1:46-47. These two statements seem to sum up what every person is called to do: be a tabernacle which reflects and projects the Lord and rejoice in the God who saves us.
Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus and the Blessed Mother of God, who always point others to You. Please help us be open to whatever is necessary for us to become holier tabernacles for You. Plant Your will in our hearts and make it our deepest desire and most fervent longing. Amen.

Four Books about Mary I highly recommend: 

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