Blessed Among Women

A Meditation for the Feast of the Nativity of the B.V.M.
September 8, 2009

When we commemorate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary we bring forth in our minds and hearts the truth of God coming to be one with us in our human condition. Mary's birth leads us to reflect on her closeness to us, she, like each of us, was born of our human race. She is our sister but we know that she is far above us by her predilection in her motherhood, becoming the mother of the long awaited one. Her greatness is in her unique and extraordinary role, the receiver of the intervention of God in the "fullness of time" when He no longer would speak through prophets but speaks through His Son.

Mary as a child, the purest dawn of our Redemption is contemplated in the truth of her being "blessed among women" as St. Luke so aptly names her, because she was prepared before all ages to be the mother of the Messiah, the immaculate "Daughter of Zion" from whom comes He who will set us free.

Mary offered herself as the humble servant of the Lord, as a handmaid who by her pure love of God, her simple word "be it done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), allowed His Word to leap from heaven into her womb as the "day Spring from on High."

Her birth, one on which we reflect, was a response of God to the old couple who long to see the promise of God fulfilled. In their time they received little Mary into their lives and home and in time, at her age of three, they brought her into the Temple so that she would be a chosen one of the Lord. In the Temple she learned the law and the prophets, here she prepared herself to be fully the little handmaid of the Lord, here she knew that some women would be the mother of the Messiah. Along with other virgins she was taught to be open to the will of God and to even pray to be the mother of the messiah, yet somehow we could conclude that her desire to be only for the Lord inclined her to vow herself as a perpetual virgin. This is why she would ask Gabriel, "how can this be since I know not man" and would hear the message all ages awaited: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the Power of the Most High shall overshadow you. Therefore the child born of you shall be called holy, the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1:35).

Today we see men and women questioning God, not believing that every child comes from the God as gift with a particular purpose and destiny. This non belief and trust in God leads to the arrogant abuse of personhood thus a rejection of life as gift. Children are forgotten, left to their own devises and not lead to the House of the Lord for an introduction to the Redeemer - why, because many women fail to be blessed in goodness, integrity and dignity.

The conception of every child must be looked upon in the same way as the conception and birth of Mary, the awaiting of the promise of God. Mary's life is measured by the one she was prepared to bring into our fragile and broken human nature. Hers was the nature we call "our tainted natures salutary boast" because her whole purpose and being was proclaimed by an angel when the cry was heard - "Hail favored one, the Lord is with you." (Lk 1:28) Her birth opened the door for the Incarnate Word to be born and given for humanity to be saved from sin. Each birth offers hope for continued health, strength and good for mankind.

As we gaze on Mary in her innocence and purity, in her destiny as mother of the Redeemer, we must open our minds and hearts to the truth that each child is born with a purpose, a destiny known only to God, in truth, destined for the holiness of the world. May every birth be recognized in its lofty vocation - the Glory of God.