A Blessed Feast Day of Mary Mother of God and Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2019 and the New Year and the special day in our church when we honor Mary as Mother of God. This Octave of Christmas has been jammed packed with beautiful scenes from the early days of the Christ Child and the daily readings and liturgy are an abundance of beauty and poetry. This Octave of Christmas is quiet at Joseph’s House. Some moms are away visiting family while others are out of school or have extra days off work. As a result, our daycare and life-skills programs are limited making for a quieter home being enjoyed by all after the frenzy of Christmas. This quiet time in all areas of our mission, give us an opportunity to count the many blessings of the past year, collect ourselves after the hectic Christmas season, and knowing January is right around the corner, make final preparations for our growth in the New Year.
These thoughts of seasons, preparations, celebrations and thanks bring to mind Advent and the other seasons of our Liturgical Calendar. Our church in its wisdom, gives us within this calendar a road map for every facet of our lives from our daily work and family plan, to our end of life journey. Advent is about new beginnings, Christ’s birth and the arrival of our Redeemer. Lent is about preparation for the end of our lives and the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross dying for our sins. The rest of the liturgical year called Ordinary Time, is a time of prayer, conversion and a time of living the life of Christ through the scriptures. Prayer is the common thread through all of these liturgical seasons and should be the common thread woven through our lives as it was through the lives of the Holy Family.
Advent is a time when we are to prepare our hearts, minds and souls through prayer for the Christ Child. It is much the same when a mother conceives and carries her child. While the infant grows in her womb, the mom and her family pray and make preparations for the arrival of the new child. The celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ was for Mary and Joseph akin to the birth of any of our own children. As they celebrated the birth of Jesus, they continued to pray and plan the best they were able for the unexpected journey His arrival would bring to their lives. I’m not sure they anticipated the trials they would face at the time of His birth, but I’m sure they anticipated the joy the newborn infant would bring to their lives. It is much the same each time we have a new child arrive in our own lives or at Joseph’s House. The landscape of life changes. A new dimension is added, bound in excitement and joy, apprehension and worry as we anticipate and celebrate the blessed addition, and pray we are able to navigate the unexpected journey we are called to embark upon, always giving thanks along the way.
Lent is the same type of preparation that we will all face as we get closer to the end of our time in our earthly home. Many of us have witnessed the passing of a loved one and taken part in the journey as they came closer to death. Hopefully you have witnessed the preparation, the growth in reliance on God and have come to understand there is a celebration in Heaven as your loved one enters eternity. Hopefully you have been blessed with a kind of joy and thanks when through answered prayer a loved one’s suffering has ended and they are resting in peace in the arms of the angels and saints. It was much the same for our forsaken Blessed Mother as She witnessed the agony, death and abandonment of Her Son Jesus Christ. One can only imagine Her tearful prayers at His death followed by the joyous celebration and thanksgiving when He was resurrected.
The thread woven through all the seasons of our church, through all the preparation, celebration and thanksgiving is prayer. In our lives and in the lives of the Holy Family prayer is and was the nourishment sustaining us and them through the sometimes treacherous adventure of life. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were prolific in prayer and we can be prolific in prayer too. Deepening our prayer life might begin with Reconciliation with a priest if in mortal sin, or if not in mortal sin, simply with an Act of Contrition. To make prayer more intense and prepare for a more personal relationship with Jesus and His Mother one might begin saying the Rosary daily, starting with one decade and slowly adding on until saying an entire 5 decades. One might begin to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration for 10 minutes at a time, working up to 30 minutes or perhaps an hour. One might meditate on the Stations of the Cross, go to daily mass, read and meditate on bible passages or take in the magnificence of the stained-glass windows in our Catholic churches infusing the soul with the truth of scripture through the gift of artistry given by God to masters. In short, there are more than 100 ways to become prolific in prayer. and there is no better time to begin than at the beginning of a New Year.
Adding more prayer when done consistently, adds a new dimension to the landscape of our relationship with Our Lord. This time spent meditating upon and speaking with Jesus through prayer makes us more aware of not only the sufferings of Our Blessed Mother, Jesus and St. Joseph, but also of how perfect they were in response to God’s Will for their lives. When we come to understand their sacrifice and the depths of their surrender to God’s Will, we have a barometer for every minute detail of our own lives and a road to perfection leading us to Heaven.
Our prayers are the preparation needed to carry us through all the seasons of our church, our lives and this brand-new New Year. Prayer is the instrument leading to the daily celebration of friendship with Christ and giving us a depth of gratitude and humility that will make us pillars of comfort to Jesus. As a New Year begins let us make a promise to Our Lord and Savior, we will make more time for prayer, knowing the time spent in preparation on earth will someday lead us to the unending celebration of joy in Heaven where we will live in thanks, praise, and in the Glory of God forever. Wishing you all a Very Blessed New Year! Mary Mother of God pray for us!
God Bless You My Friends,
Love & Prayers,