God's Echo: The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, First Friday, January 1, 2016

J.M.J. It seems natural that the Church would set aside a day during the Christmas season to venerate in a particular way Mary the Mother of God. That day is today. The very first day of the New Year is dedicated to remembering the Woman of Nazareth who brought forth from her virginal womb Jesus the Son of God Who in turn reconciled us to His Heavenly Father through the unmistakable action of the Holy Spirit.

The timing of this wondrous event, that the Son of God would take to Himself a human nature, was wholly God’s. He alone decided when to enter our human history in such a radical, unique and permanent way.
As Saint Paul wrote in his Letter to the Galatians, the Father sent His Son to us, which is the mystery we call the Incarnation, in “the fullness of time.” In other words, it was precisely the best time. None other would do.

The maiden known as Mary, an uncomplicated but incredibly deep, spiritual, and sinless girl, became the Mother of Jesus Christ. She is truly the Mother of God, given that her only Son Jesus our Risen Lord is God.
When we hear the title “Mother of God,” we think of the corresponding privilege that God gave Mary—her Divine Maternity. This special honor is the most fundamental of all the privileges that Mary possesses. That Our Blessed Lady is the Mother of God undergirds all she is and all we know about her.

Not only is Mary God’s Mother but she is also our Mother. This privilege we call her Spiritual Maternity. As Jesus bridges the gap between God and the fallen human race due to the fact that Christ is one Divine Person with a divine nature and a human nature, so, too, Our Blessed Mother is a bridge between our Creator and us thanks to her Divine Maternity and her Spiritual Maternity.

One of the Church’s great Saints is Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. This saintly and simple French priest wrote in his beautiful book entitled The Secret of Mary that Our Blessed Mother is “the admirable echo of God.” He explained his reason. “When we say ‘Mary,’ she answers, ‘God.’ When, with Saint Elizabeth, we call her ‘Blessed,’ she glories God.”
Saint Louis de Montfort makes good sense. Mary is God’s Echo.
During her earthly existence, the Holy Name of God continually reverberated in her Immaculate Heart.
The same is true even now that Our Lady is glorified in Heaven. She praises the Living God without ceasing. The Holy Name of Jesus her Divine Son is always on her pure lips.
The Mother of God is God’s Echo. Our Spiritual Mother is God’s Echo. When we address her, she replies to us by turning to our Creator. In her profound humility she acknowledges her dependence on God for everything.
We, too, recognize our reliance on the Lord. There is nothing good that we can do without Him. Therefore, we turn to Him often in prayer.
We pray not only for ourselves but also for countless other persons and their pressing needs. Like Mary we become God’s Echo. When our neighbor asks us to pray for him, we respond as Our Blessed Lady did: With complete confidence in the strength and authority of Almighty God, we address ourselves to Him, lifting up those petitions that others have entrusted to us.
Look at what happens when we invoke the Lord’s powerful Name upon others. We have the word of God to tell us in the First Reading from the Book of Numbers: “I will bless them.”
Imagine the golden opportunity we enjoy to do good to others by interceding for them. When we pray for them, the Lord blesses them. This is exactly what the Mother of God does for us. When we approach her, she turns to our kind Lord, Who answers Mary by blessing us and those for whom we intercede.
The Psalmist sang out: “May God have pity on us and bless us; may He let His Face shine upon us.” Our Blessed Mother constantly exhorts Our Lord to show His mercy to us. And we call forth His mercy on our brothers and sisters.
The Mother of God . . . our Spiritual Mother . . . God’s Echo. Each phrase denotes Mary the Ever-Virgin and immaculately conceived Mother of Christ who has been assumed into Heaven and is currently praying for us near the throne of her Divine Son. With Mary and her chaste husband Saint Joseph, we adore the Baby Jesus Who is our Lord and God. He made His sinless Mother’s loving presence in our lives a reality.
In this Christmas Season when the exchange of presents is customary, what gift can we offer Our Blessed Lady on this her Feast? The best one possible: a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ her Son. Our fervent following of Jesus pleases His Mother. She sees our attempts and invokes God’s mercy upon us, thereby making fruitful our efforts to love and obey her Son Jesus.
Happy Feast Day, O Mother of God. You are our Spiritual Mother and God’s Echo. We are happy and grateful for what Jesus had done for you and in you. We love you. Help us always!

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