Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Women of Faith:

I am humbled and blessed that this writing is my 100th Monday morning reflection. I also think that it is appropriate to use today’s message to honor Jesus’ mother, Mary, the Queen of Heaven. Rev 12: 1-6

Have you ever wondered where we would all be if Mary had not accepted her role as the Mother of Jesus? If she had said no to her vocation as a mother? If she had decided to have a career outside the home or not to have children? Her choice to be the Virgin Mother was the first gift we as the children of God received.

Mary was no ordinary Mom; she was made special by God, for God, to carry His son. She is the temple by which God brought His only son into the world. He created her with absolute perfection, without blemish, full of grace, a virgin vessel which he used to deliver our redeemer. That perfection includes being conceived without sin.

Only Mary and Jesus were created without the blemish of original sin, the sin of Adam and Eve. Mary is the new Eve and Jesus the new Adam. She is the first saint in heaven and is the Queen of heaven.

The prayer we call “The Hail Mary” begins with two greetings Mary received before Jesus was born. The first part of the greeting comes from when Mary was called and accepted her role as the mother of Jesus at the annunciation. There the angel Gabriel announces that Mary will become the Mother of God by greeting her with: “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women” Lk 1:28 And the second greeting by Elizabeth at the visitation, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Lk 1:42

And then at the end of Jesus’ own life He gave Mary to us at the crucifixion to be the mother of humanity. He looked down from the cross and said, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 26-27

The second part of the Hail Mary asks Mary to intercede with God for us at all times. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners Now and At the Hour of Our Death. Amen.”

This is the same intercessory type prayer that is the common practice we have as Christians asking for the prayer of our sisters and brothers. We have prayer groups, prayer chains, and prayer partners—each of us praying for the other. We ask our family, friends and relatives to pray for us because we believe and have seen the power of prayer—and the more people praying the better.

When I think about who I would ask to pray for me it would first be my own mom. She has the unconditional caring love that always champions my needs. Your own earthly mother is probably your biggest prayer partner friend. Likewise when one of our children has a huge favor to ask us as parents, they will probably come to me first, and ask me to take the favor to their dad.

So it is with prayer thru Jesus’ Mother, Mary. We go to her first, to have her ask our Father for the favors we need of Him, our heavenly Father. She is the most direct connection to God of anyone who has ever lived with the exception of Jesus himself. And she is with God in heaven.

Just as we ask our friends to pray for us, we ask Mary to pray for us, because if anyone can “reach” God’s listening ears she can.

We are told to ask the intercession of those Christians in heaven, who have already had their sanctification completed, for "the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (Jas. 5:16).

The practice of praying thru or using the saint’s intercessory powers is given to us in Rev. 8: 3-4. The saints (of which Mary is the greatest) are shown to be carrying our prayers to heaven as incense rising in Revelations: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God."

One of the most public requests Mary made for Jesus’ intercession came at the wedding feast in Cana, when Jesus performed his first public miracle. ‘On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."’John 2:1-5

The servers went to Mary FIRST to tell her that they were out of wine. She interceded with Jesus, asking for His help, “they have no more wine” and even though his hour had not yet come, she still told the servants “do whatever he tells you.” Jesus honored his mother’s request, miraculously changing the water to wine. We believe that she still works in that way for us today when we take our petitions to her.

Mary helped institute Jesus’ first public miracle and continues to help institute many miracles in our present day. She does NOT perform the miracles, but she is instrumental in asking God for his grace in our lives. This is another of the reasons Mary should be our closest saintly friend.

Likewise the group of prayers which make up the rosary helps us to meditate on Jesus’ life, taking us from the Virgin birth, to His life in public and the miracles He performed, to His final walk up to the cross, His resurrection and His ascension to heaven—all thru Mary’s eyes. As we meditate and pray the rosary, then, we are meditating on the Gospels, not praying to Mary but walking His life with her and seeing Him in prayer thru her.

In Father Corapi’s words, “How did Jesus come to us? Thru Mary. How do we get to Jesus? Thru Mary.” Our words to Mary are purified and sanctified and taken to God—when Mary speaks, God listens.”

Do we have to pray thru Mary? No, we don’t have to, we can still pray directly to God. But why didn’t the servants tell Jesus directly that they were out of wine? It just seems Dads have a special ear for Moms. And if I need my friends to pray for me, I also want Mary’s prayers—“now and at the hour of my death.”

Dearest heavenly Father, I give thanks to you for the role model our blessed mother has been for us and ask you to hear the intercessions she prays for us. Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. (Luke 1:28) Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, (Luke 1:42) Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

May we each live every day as Mary did, always saying yes to Our Father,


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