How do you say “happy birthday” to a saint? How do you thank them for their years of guidance and love and intercession? How do you show your gratitude for their inspiration, and all the sacrifices that they made in their lives unto God and other people — known only to God Himself — but that you know wrought graces upon the earth?
I don’t know either, but today is Momma Mary’s birthday within the Church so as I pondered those questions I thought she’d might like it if I went to adoration and Mass.
The saints don’t really need our birthday gifts, they are already perfected, they have it all, and Mary, as the Queen of All Saints is chief among them. She sits face to face with Jesus and sees through the thin veil between the invisible heavenly world and ours. She yearns to assist us with her prayers, that we may come to be where she is… (That’s something to look forward to — someday celebrating Mary’s birthday in person!) So going to Mass this morning, I reckon, was the next best thing.
I’m the least likely woman to be bragging on Mary, the Mother of God, since I spent a lot of my younger days ignoring her. But that’s in the past, and like a good mother, Mary understands that eventually I’d grow out of that phase, and today I am her daughter. Not that I ever lost that daughterly standing from her perspective, I was just late in coming to accept it from mine.
Mary has shown me a path of obedience and delight in following her son. She has helped me root out some of the ugly and more selfish things in my soul, and, trust me, she’s still helping me with all of that. She has brought me closer to Jesus than I could have become on my own.
Today we Catholics celebrate her Nativity — her birth. I can easily recall the joy of my own children’s births, and my delight and awe at their coming. My own family and the world will never be the same because God chose to bring those little lives into the world… sent to reflect his goodness and love to us. So today, as I am imagining God’s joy and delight in Mary’s birth! With Mary’s birth, the world would never be the same. The Lord of All had chosen her to be like no other — through her life the thin veil would be parted when she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God — the very Personification of God’s Goodness and Love.
Thank you, dear Mary, for aligning your heart to God’s will, in obedience and delight, that I, too, might one day meet Jesus. You sat with him face to face in your home in Nazareth, and now, again, in your home in heaven you see him face to face, and invite me to live that I might join him there.Thank you that through you, today I can go to Mass and receive Him.
Happy Birthday, dear Mother! Thank heaven you were born.
How do you honor Mary, or a favorite saint? If you could offer them a gift, what might it be?
A few links about today’s feast:
From Fr. Robert Barron at Word on Fire
From Maria Johnson at Another Cup of Coffee
From Marge Fenelon at Marge Mix