Saturday, December 06, 2008

Refuge of sinners...Mother of Mercy...

She opens wide her arms. She welcomes all her children, faithful and prodigal, to come to her. She longs to embrace us, to hold us, to take us at the end of our earthly pilgrimage to be united with her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Listen, do you hear? Our Mother is calling us 'home' for Supper, the abundant banquet prepared and waiting for us, if we remain IN HIM and faithful to the end. She is our HOPE for this perseverence. To miss Mary, to not know Mary is to miss Christ, and not know Him as fully as He desires us to know Him.

Is the whole Mary "thing" "too Catholic?" Was she "too Catholic" for Elizabeth who exclaimed, "How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Some Christians criticize the Catholic Church for elevating Mary with the title: Mother of God. They claim that this title for Mary is not found in the Bible. Now it may be true that the Bible does not dogmatically teach Mary as the Mother of God; however, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth refers to Mary as "the mother of my Lord":And it came about that Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" [Luke 1:41-43; NASB]

The Mother of our Lord is coming to us. She is longing to give us Jesus, to give birth to Jesus anew in our hearts every day, and especially this Christmas as she visits us every Christmas. When I was a Protestant/evangelical, I didn't give Mary much thought, but she was "present" in a special way at Christmas, in the manger scene, the Nativity figures under our tree that I played with as a little girl, and that my sons played with at Christmas at their grandparent's house. I loved Silent Night. It was my favorite Christmas carol. I even begged my dear Mom to sing it to me on sticky, humid nights in Nebraska in July! "Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child..." But as a Methodist and later Independent Christian, those words didn't really mean as much to me as they do now that I'm Catholic.

The "inn" of our hearts is waiting for Mary to come, to allow Him to be born in our hearts anew. Being "saved" is not a "one time gig." To be converted is DAILY. We need, like Mary, to give our "yes" to God, to the Holy Spirit. "Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me," said the Psalmist in Psalm 51. We also cry, "Abba Father"...and our Father hears us. His ear bends gladly when we call upon Him. He delights to give us not only Jesus as our Lord, Savior and Brother, but a Mother as well! The woman who was chosen and created by Jesus Himself to give us our "Emmanuel."

Refuse Mary, you're refusing Jesus. Reject Mary and you actually are rejecting the ONE PERSON Jesus loved MOST IN THIS WORLD. He resided in her very womb for nine months. How do we harbor in our hearts any such disdain for Mary, when even Jesus nursed at her breast, obeyed her, learned from her, loved and honored her? If we claim Jesus is our "Brother" then turn around and reject His own Mother, we reject Him. Give Mary your heart, and honor her as Jesus did, and come to know the Lord even better, even more fully and enjoy the ENTIRE FAMILY of GOD!

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