Saturday, September 8, 2012

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today we celebrate the birth of her who was immaculately conceived, that is, conceived in the normal way, but, by a unique and singular grace, preserved from the stain of original sin.

I readily admit that as a convert (of some twenty-three years now), while I did not have a difficult time accepting the Blessed Virgin's indispensable role in God's economy of salvation, I did have a hard time warming to her. As odd as it sounds, I am quite impatient in spiritual matters, which arises from my resistance to abandoning myself entirely to God's care (I have trust issues, I guess you could say- trust is really what the theological virtue of hope, which is the flower of faith, is all about). But now, I could not imagine not having recourse to our Blessed Mother's unfailing care and intercession, despite the fact that I can make no claim to be her most faithful son.

When people ask me to pray for them, typically there are six ways I do this

1) I pray Memorares to the Blessed Virgin for the particular intention
2) I pray for them during the intercessions of Morning and Evening Prayer
3) I include their intention in my Rosary intentions
4) I seek the intercession of a particular saint
5) When very urgent and serious illness or injury is the intention,
     I include them in the prayers of the faithful at Mass

Birth of the Virgin, Le Nain Brothers, c.1645, (Paris, Notre-Dame)

On 15 August the Church observes the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then, a week later, the liturgical Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Hearkening back to another post from this past week, The Word of God seeks a listening heart, I once again set forth Hans Urs Von Balthasar's "Marian Principle," which seeks to encapsulate the reason that the Church exists, namely to be the sacrament (i.e., the visible and tangible sign) of God's infinite love in and for the world. Balthasar dubs this the "Marian principle" because with her fiat (i.e., "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" Luke 1:38), the Blessed Virgin, paraphrasing Fr. Jordi Rivero, is the prototype of just the kind of love response required from the Church. Fr. Rivero notes that by referring to Mary as "the prototype," Balthasar saw her as "the first finished model of what all Christians should become." Von Balthasar writes: "Before men were placed into office, the whole Church was present in Mary." For this she was born, which is why observe this feast day of her birth.

Fr. Rivero summarizes Balthasar's Marian principle well: "This Marian total surrender of love to God is the essence of holiness. All dimensions of the Church, all structures and institutions, including the hierarchy are totally ordered to foster this holiness in her members. Mary is the point of reference. Where the Marian principle is central there is an authentic presence of the Church."

Like our Blessed Mother, God asks us four our "Yes!", too, which is also the reason we were born and redeemed.

This post on the Blessed Virgin's Nativity is the 2300 post here on Καθολικός διάκονος.

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