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Living Our Mission with Mary
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
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 by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Opening Prayer: Mother Mary, I come to my prayer time on this solemnity dedicated to you as the Holy Mother of God with gratitude for your fiat. It was through your “yes” that our Lord came into the world as true God and true man. Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing our experience of life and showing us the Father’s love through your Incarnation. You show us that you are in the midst of the demands and realities of daily life. Jesus, in this prayer time, I turn to you with faith in your love for me, with hope in your goodness and care for me, and with love in response to your great love.
- In Haste: The angels appeared to the shepherds in the midst of their daily responsibilities. It was here that they received their God-given mission and responded to it with haste. We, too, are called to find God in the realities of our daily lives and respond to what he asks of us—with haste! While our moments of focused prayer are essential to our union with Christ, the responsibilities of our lives are not obstacles to that union but rather are means to growing closer to Christ if we are aware of his presence in them and respond to his inspirations.
- All Were Amazed: The shepherds’ response to the message of the angels brought them face-to-face with the Holy Family. They encountered God through their obedience to what had been asked of them. However, it wasn’t enough that they had this experience; they had to share it with others. And when they made the message known, all who heard it were amazed. Likewise, we are called to share our experience of the Lord. While it is important that we are able to share the truths of the faith, it is also important that we share our personal knowledge of our Lord. We need to share what God has done in our lives, how we hear him speak to us, and the joy we find in following him.
- He Was Named Jesus: In the Annunciation, Mary was told the name of the baby she would bear, and this is the name he received at his circumcision, the sign of the covenant of Israel with God. We are created, known, and loved individually and personally by God, and he calls us each by name (cf. Psalm 139, Isaiah 43:1, John 10:3, CCC 2158). Our Baptism unites us to the New Covenant. It makes us members of Christ’s body, incorporates us into the Church, and gives each of us both the right and the responsibility of participating in the saving mission of the Church: “Go, therefore, to all nations…” (Matthew 28:19, CCC 900).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I am humbled by your love for me and your trust in me. You want me to participate in the mission of your Church, bringing the Good News of your love to today’s world, first within my family but also by reaching out to others. Lord, it isn’t always easy to speak of your presence in my life. Give me the courage to be able to share the story of my faith journey with others. Help me to love you more deeply and grow in greater union with you each day. Make my life a light to those around me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will find an opportunity to share something of your action in my life with someone.
For Further Reflection: Consider the following quotes:
From Apostolicam Actuositatem (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity)
- Through this holy synod, the Lord renews his invitation to all the laity to come closer to him every day, recognizing that what is his is also their own (Philippians 2:5), to associate themselves with him in his saving mission. Once again he sends them into every town and place where he will come (cf. Luke 10:1) so that they may show that they are coworkers in the various forms and modes of the one apostolate of the Church, which must be constantly adapted to the new needs of our times. Ever productive as they should be in the work of the Lord, they know that their labor in him is not in vain (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58).
From The Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it (cf. Lumen Gentium, 33).
Janet McLaughlin and her husband, Chris, live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.