Tuesday, 16 December 2014 15:57

Co-reason for the Season: Walking with Mary to Jesus' Birth

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Next week we celebrate the joyous day of Christmas, Jesus’ birth. It is a beautiful time to walk with and pray with Mary who is a pivotal figure in this story, so much so, without Mary there would be no Christmas (and everything else that follows the birth of Jesus – such as salvation...).  Jesus may be the reason for the season but Mary is the co-reason we have a season.

It all starts 9 months before Jesus’ birth, when an angel appears to Mary and tells her of the will of God. The Church marks this event with the feast of the Annunciation. When is asked an extraordinary question by the angel Mary says, “Yes” without calculation and attachment. She says YES to bearing Jesus; truly God and truly human,within her womb. Mary of course would have been the subject of gossip and slander, a woman who was promised as a virgin to the Lord is now pregnant. Yet she did not let this worry her and in love and trust gave herself completely to God. God’s unexpected plans were her plans.

Mary is a model of evangelisation. The next recorded event after the Annunciation was the Visitation. Mary did was not think of herself but visits her pregnant cousin Elizabeth. I have been told by those who have gone to the Holy Lands that the journey to her cousin’s house is not easy as it involves a strenuous climb up a hill. Mary walks despite her own pregnancy to share joy with her cousin. What was she thinking as she climbed? Perhaps it was verses from the Psalms or she may have repeated the song of Hannah.  Perhaps on this journey the great song of the Magnificat was beginning to take shape. As she arrives, Elizabeth is exclaims about the honour of Mary, the sanctuary her body is, in bearing Jesus, “And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me?”

Often it says in the Gospels that “Mary pondered these things in her heart.” She mulled over them I imagine in a peaceful and trustful manner. She did not try to take control but let the word of God sit with her and work through her and grow in her (literally).   She did that for those 9 months, preparing for the birth of Our Lord. And while Mary is a creation of God, without Mary God the Son would not become man. For God to share completely in the life of humanity, to be fully human he would need to share in the same growth as a child, he would need a mother, a womb to bear him. Those 9 months Jesus was completely dependent on the love and care of his mother. He was vulnerable and helpless, the omnipotent God emptied into the dependant human child sheltered in a woman’s womb. Mary awaits the birth and coming of her Saviour. Thus Mary takes a crucial role in the history of Salvation, she is the bearer of God..

Perhaps we can take time to journey with Mary this Advent and like expectant Mother await the birth of Christ. Are we willing to say “Yes” to the plans of God in our life, without reservation and with great love? Do we share the Good News and think of others over ourselves during Christmas? Do we allow the word of God to ponder in our hearts, to grow, develop and take fruit? Do we participate in salvation and complete the mission of Jesus on earth?

 

Oh, and Mary Christmas. 
(Couldn't stop myself)

Anna Fsadni

In 2013 Anna graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology and Geography from the University of Sydney.  Following the completion of her degree, Anna attended the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome, a 9 month Catholic Evangelisation School. During this time she was involved in parish and diocesan evangelisation projects around various European cities and became immersed in the Life of the Church in Rome.

Since then Anna has been employed by the National Office for Evangelisation - Catholic Enquiry Centre as a projects coordinator.

Anna enjoys studying rocks and land formations, travelling, speaking to people she doesn't really know, assembling flat-pack furniture and plays hockey for Rah-Sharkies.