December is the month of the Holy Nativity as we prepare to celebrate the Christmas Feast. Jesus whose birth we celebrate has promised to return in glory and so in hope we await Him for God keeps His promises to His people. Within the month are two festival days honoring His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary: on the 8th, her feast of the Immaculate Conception, recalling Jesus being born of a PURE VIRGIN. Her gift to Him in the Incarnation is that of her perfect humanity, redeemed from the moment of her own conception. And then on the 12th we celebrate the feast day of Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, a special day for those of us who claim the Americas as our home.
In 1531 Juan Diego was given a vision of Mary as a young girl on the Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. Her request to him was that he build a church on the site. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Gadalupe is the most visited Marian Shrine in the world. Her titles include: Queen of Mexico; Patroness of the Americas; Empress of Latin America; and Protectress of Unborn Children.
We are often told that every culture, every age, every walk of life in Christian culture has seen Our Lady as who they wish to see. And there are the critics who suggest that there is so little of Mary in the New Testament that we can see in her whatever we desire to see. And that of course is true. There is so little of her in her that you can see whatever you wish in her, which is always Jesus. In Mary’s case, this was both physically and spiritually true: she was full of Jesus. She opened herself body and soul to Him at the moment of the Annunciation. As we prepare for the Christmas Feast may Mary help and guide us in the keeping of these two feast days to never forget that after all is said and done the purpose of the Christian life is to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with Our Lord Jesus Christ as He did to Mary, and that in receiving the Blessed Sacrament is how we do that in this life. Prepare now for the wonder and joy held out to each of us in our Christmas communions.
The recitation of the Rosary continues to be a means for meditation on the wonder of God’s love known in the birth of a Savior, Mary’s Son. She is infinitely fascinating, not because we have wished it so, not because of what she is all about, but because of what she shows us, and that is always her Son. A public recitation of the Rosary at Saint James’ will be made on Saturday morning, December 20th, starting at 9;30.
Solemn Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Monday evening, December 8th, starting at 6:30.
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.