Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Homily for the Feast of Birth of Mary , Holy Mother of God

Homily 1 for the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God; PG 97, 805 (trans. Breviary)

Today is the dawn of our salvation

We are no longer to be enslaved by the elemental spirits of the world, as the apostle Paul says, or held in the yoke of slavery to the letter of the law (Col 2,8 ; Rom 7,6). This is the summary of the benefits of Christ for us; this is the unveiling of the mystery; this is nature made new: God is made man, and human nature assumed by God is deified. But so radiant, so glorious a visitation of God to us needed some prelude of joy to introduce to us the great gift of salvation. The present feast is such: the prelude is the birth of the Mother of God, and the concluding act is the union which is destined between the Word and human nature.

A virgin is now born..., and is made ready to be mother of God, the king of all for ever... A double gain will be ours: we shall be led towards the truth, and we shall be led away from a life of slavery to the letter of the law. How will this be? Clearly, inasmuch as the shadow yields to the presence of the light, and grace introduces freedom in place of the letter. The present feast stands on the border between these: it joins us to the truth instead of signs and figures, and it brings in the new in place of the old.

Let the whole creation therefore sing praise and dance and unite to celebrate the glories of this day. Today let there be one common feast of those in heaven and those on earth. Let everything that is, in the world and above the world, join together in rejoicing. For today a shrine is built for the Creator of the universe. The creature is newly made ready as a divine dwelling for the Creator.

September 8, Nativity of the Virgin Mary

With delight I rejoice in the Lord.--Isaiah 61:10
Mass readings: Micah 5:1-4 or Romans 8:28-30 / Matthew 1:1-16,18-23 or 1:18-23

Pondering God's Ways
Today's feast, the birth of Mary, has been celebrated by her Son's followers since the eighth century. Mary and St. John the Baptist are the only two saints whose births are celebrated in the Church's calendar. For many centuries, as Church Fathers studied and prayed over Mary's role, the Holy Spirit guided the unfolding of Marian teaching so that it puts the proper emphasis on Jesus.
One of the best ways to honor Mary today is to remember how she ''pondered all these things in her heart,'' as St. Luke puts it. To ponder God's will and ways, noted the late Cistercian Father Basil Pennington, doesn't mean to simply think about them. It means to let them sit and find a home in our hearts, even if we don't understand them.
Prayer: Mary, help us to imitate you, pondering in our hearts whatever God asks of us.

Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen