December 6, 2013
No one awaits a new baby like its mother. While new babies bring joy to whole families, and whole communities, there is no comparison to the way a new child impacts a mother. From the moment a woman discovers she is pregnant, I am told, she’s conscious of the baby growing inside of her—she’s protective, and hopeful, and prayerful.
A mother knows, like no one else, how much a new baby will transform her life, and the lives of those around her.
Last Sunday, we began the liturgical season of Advent: a season in which we wait, with hopeful expectation, for the arrival of the Christ Child. Christ has already come into the world, and he’s present with us now in the Holy Eucharist, in the Church, and in our families. But we continue to celebrate Advent because there are always new ways for Christ to enter our lives, and always new possibilities for him to transform us.
No one knows how much Jesus Christ can transform our lives like the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
From the moment she discovered that she would be the mother of the Son of God, Mary pondered the meaning of her vocation in her heart. She pondered what Christ would do in the world, and what her role would be. She realized with grace, and beauty that her role would be to "proclaim the greatness of the Lord."
When Mary discovered that Jesus was coming, she prepared herself to become his disciple. This week, Pope Francis said that she is the perfect example of Advent preparations. Mary’s prayer, he said, is the canticle of the People of God on the journey, and of all men and women who hope in God, in the power of his mercy."
Mary understood, at the moment she discovered that the Lord was coming, the power of God’s mercy. And, as we prepare for Christ to enter our hearts more deeply, we should pray for the grace to know that mercy as well.
As Advent begins, says the Holy Father, we can invite Mary into our homes. We can "be guided by her, she who is mother, she is a ‘mama’ and knows how to lead us. Let us be guided by her in this time of waiting and active vigilance."
I pray that this year, each of us will imitate the Blessed Mother as we await Jesus Christ. I pray that as you set up the Christmas crèche, you will read the story of the Nativity. I pray that your family will sing the hymns of Advent and of Marian joy. And I pray, most especially, that this Christmas your family will regularly pray the Rosary together.
When the Gospel was revealed to Mary, she "pondered all things in her heart." When we pray the Rosary, we can do the same. In the Rosary, we invite Mary to pray for us as the Lord reveals the mystery of his incarnation. If we spend time this Advent praying the Rosary, when Christ is revealed at Christmas we will know him more intimately, and cherish him more deeply. And, like Mary, we will trust in the incredible power of God’s mercy.
Like all mothers, Mary knew that her child would transform her life. She also knew that he can transform each of our lives—that he can draw us into the eternal love of the Father. The Christ child will come, and he will invite us to new life. As we await his arrival, may we ponder all these things in our hearts.