“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”John 1:9
Tomorrow is the day. We have been waiting with expectant joy for so long to celebrate our Savior's birth. Yet really we have only waited a short few weeks – Mary, the mother of God, waited months, offering her body as a sacrifice for him. We have much to learn from her on this Christmas Eve, as she bore everything patiently and with thoughtfulness every time she is mentioned in the Bible. She is the best example to help us prepare the day and evening before Christ's birth.
A wise friend once said,
“We are called to be like Mary, we are not called to be Mary.”
“And praise God!”
“The perfect human aside from Jesus already said yes and gave birth to the Savior. Praise God we are not expected to be her!”
She then proceeded to talk about particular ways in which we can imitate Mary, which was inspiring, beautiful, and insightful. In fact, this same friend also helped me to love Mary, to start a relationship with her, many years ago.
You see, I always thought this Mary thing was just a “devotion,” like we have to the saints or the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for example. Then I realized something profound – Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. His spouse. Those two are inseparable. I began to realize, much to my dismay, that I couldn't avoid Mary even if I wanted to, purely on principle. I can't ignore the spouse of one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. God simply did not choose to design it otherwise.
I also realized that there were two huge things getting in my way of understanding and loving Mary: 1 .Difficult relationships with other women throughout my entire life, and 2. A strained relationship with my own mother that didn't begin until high school but which got progressively worse.
And thus began my (long) journey to a beautiful relationship with the Mother of God.
As I began to know and love Mary, and as I began to understand her role in my life as a woman and a mother, I healed from a lot. I grew in my understanding of true femininity, female frienships and sisterhood, daughterhood and motherhood, and of course Jesus Christ. My relationship with my mom began to improve ever so slowly but consistently, and every other relationship in my life improved as well.
I often like to wonder what Our Lady would be like in our modern day world – what would she wear? How would she speak? What would she do? Sometimes I change the overused cliché, “What would Jesus do?” to “What would Mary do?” I find that it often rubs me the wrong way because I'm usually about to do the opposite... There is something about Mary that is so peaceful, poised, holy, and confident that I realize imitating Mary and understanding her heart is radically counter-cultural. (As is imitating Jesus, of course!)
So on this day before Christmas, let's pause to reflect as Mary so often did. Take a moment to ponder in your heart the coming of Christ tomorrow, and ask Mary to help you see what you may be missing in the busyness of everyday life. Ask for her to obtain for you the grace to spread the peace and love of Christ that truly brings light to the world.
What does my relationship with Mary look like?
How would love for Mary help me love others?
What is one trait of Mary's that I could work on more?
This year's study journal is broken into 4 parts.
To view each, please scroll to the middle of the above link