Offered by Father Matthew Dallman for the Parish of Tazewell County as the prologue to the Votive Mass for Holy Mary, Mother of God on December 31, 2016.
With Christmas, we celebrate the long-promised “fullness of time” when God would be, and now is, definitively revealed. Christmas is a time for the warm feelings of family memories and wonderful song, yet at root it is about two things: God has come to earth and Mary is the Mother of God.
The intention of this Mass is to celebrate the wonderful and inexpressible mystery by which the Father of all love sent His only begotten Son from heaven into the womb of Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin to be His saving Word and our Bread of Life.
Mary—a real, genuine human being just like you and me, with parents named Anne and Joachim, both Saints of the Holy Church—was immaculately from her conception highly favored and full of grace. We celebrate the faith and humility with which Our Lady conceived God’s only Son and bore Him in her womb. And so grace itself is taught by Mary: it has to do with the attitude and habit of faith and the necessity of humility.
Mary is set before us as an example: like her we are to receive the Son of God by treasuring His words in our hearts and celebrating with deep faith the mysteries of our redemption, and to reveal Him in the holiness of our lives. Mary teaches us how important it is to reflect and ponder who God is as He is revealed in our experience of Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles.
It was through her humility, her saying Yes to God’s will for her as He revealed it, that Jesus, our Savior, was born of a woman, born of Mary. And, so, I invite you to ponder this: Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb.
Cover image “The Burning Bush” photographed from the personal collection of Father Dallman. The icon can be purchased from here from Skete.