“The Virgin Mary longed for Him”
This struck me recently in our Eucharistic prayers in mass. We think of Mary longing for this baby in the natural mom-to-be way. I hadn’t really considered what it was like for Mary, full of grace, to long for the source of Grace itself.
All of our souls are made for this union with God and that is why we have a spirit-soul. It’s created to be a receptacle of Him so that He can recreate us into Himself. We too are made longing for Him. Because of our brokenness, we often seek to fill this ‘itch’ with material things instead.
Through the sacraments and our attempt to live the virtue of Love, we experience God’s grace directly within us as well as through others. Mary, on the other hand, always lived in the fullness of God’s presence within her. Having His ears to hear and eyes to see, she would be able to see through the brokenness of those around her, seeing Him in them. Even those of us actively practicing the faith too often act out of our brokenness rather than our blessedness. Are we able to see past the brokenness of others in order to revel in their blessed dignity?
“Now the only-begotten Son of God embraced us in His infinite knowledge and undying love even before the world began. And that He might give a visible and exceedingly beautiful expression to this love, He assumed our nature in hypostatic union: hence – as Maximus of Turin with a certain unaffected simplicity remarks – “in Christ our own flesh loves us.” But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love. O marvelous condescension of divine love for us! O inestimable dispensation of boundless charity! In the crib, on the Cross, in the unending glory of the Father, Christ has all the members of the Church present before Him and united to Him in a much clearer and more loving manner than that of a mother who clasps her child to her breast, or than that with which a man knows and loves himself.” (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, Sec. 75)
That is something to meditate upon:
- God embraced us before the world began
- We were the object of His knowledge and love from the first moment of His Incarnation, His conception that immediately followed Mary’s “YES”
- From that moment, Christ’s mystical body, His church, you and I, were unceasingly with Him in His loving embrace, in His sight, in His heart. He saw and knew us before we were conceived.
- Even as the babe in the crib, we are with Him in this way.
I’ve heard it said that the angels are jealous of us. Although they live in His beatific vision, no other creature is capable of having this kind of relationship with God. Only us. There’s a lot to ponder in that.
This leads to Christmas, CEO’s (those who only attend mass on Christmas, Easter and Holy days of Obligation), and the gift of spending much time with people who by-and-large have a very different view of God and humanity from our own. Each of their souls has this spirit ‘receptacle’ and was created for union with God just as we were. Their behavior, like ours, is too often a manifestation of misplaced longing for God. Letting Jesus incarnate Himself in our soul is the only way we can see the blessed dignity in theirs. He is the best gift we can give to others.
“This sacrifice is so decisive for the salvation of the human race that Jesus Christ offered it and returned to the Father only after he had left us a means of sharing in it as if we had been present there.” (St. John Paul II, Ecclesia De Eucharistia, sec. 11)
Let there be no doubt, however, that Christ not only founded the Roman Catholic Church but continues to subsist in it. Yes, through His Spirit we are ‘one’ but also through the Eucharist, which completes the work done by our baptism. This Church is the full receptacle of God Himself. Virtues, charity and gifts of the Spirit received by non-Catholic Christians comes through Christ’s Catholic Church. Through us.
Our efforts to embrace true Charity is needed for the sacraments to be effective in us. Every small effort on our part, then, affects all Christian believers throughout the world now and in the future. It becomes ever-more important to offer intentional prayer for Pope Francis and our worldwide Church.
“We cannot go wrong if we think more and more about the essential elements of what really matters. We cannot go wrong if we listen to the message of winter, inviting us to become more keenly aware of our fragility and the passing nature of earthly realities. We cannot go wrong if we simply gaze, filled with faith, at Mary and Jesus and Joseph living a simple life full of love and discovering therein the secret to happiness.” (Fr. John Bartunek)
May this Christmas be the merriest of all for you and your families!
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