SOLEMNITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
January 1, 2013
Gospel: (Luke 2:16-21)
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Because Mary’s conception and giving birth happened under such extraordinary circumstances we might think that Mary took all this for granted and that it was easy for her. The central lines to the gospel suggest other wise: “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” This suggests that Mary’s on-going yes to God wasn’t really very easy at all. The only way she continued to be faithful was that she took a contemplative stance: reflecting, pondering, praying. Mary shows us the way: fidelity to God’s way means we, too, must adopt a contemplative stance before God and the mystery of salvation. (Living Liturgy, p.30)
Vincentians are called to be contemplatives in action and apostles in prayer. Prayer and action go hand in hand in a healthy Vincentian spirituality. St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac were incredibly active, but they were also persons of deep prayer. An apostolic spirituality is at its best when it holds prayer and action in tension with one another. The person who loves God “with the sweat of his brow and the strength of his arms” as Vincent said, knows how to distinguish between beautiful theoretical thoughts about an abstract God and real personal contact with the living Lord contemplated and served in his suffering people. (Maloney, Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, p. 176)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
How can you become a better “contemplative in action” this year?
Mary, to you who are the Mother of God, we now pray:
-help us to see and hear what God is revealing in our lives.
Mary, wellspring of grace and peace,
-help us to take time to ponder and reflect.
Mary, you who are a “contemplative in action”,
-help us to contemplate Jesus in his suffering people. Amen