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The unique mission of our Blessed Mother Mary
unfolds in the nativity of our Lord, at Christmas …

Dear Members of the English-speaking Catholic Community,

Our Blessed Mother Mary was never and is neither listed among the saints of the Church with the title of ‘Saint’ because Mary has a unique mission in the salvation of humankind to accompany the ‘Son of the Most High’. She transcends human sanctity and her participation can be understood only when it is based on the articles of our Faith, on what we profess and believe in Jesus Christ. She is Mater Verbi Dei.

We believe in the one triune God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, in his mercy, sends forth ‘his Son’ Jesus Christ, as the saviour and redeemer to restore what was lost. This was a gratuitous act of God, to lift us up humans once again to the dignity he intended and he gave humankind at the time of creation, that was lost due to human pride, disobedience and sin.

In order to save humankind and to restore everlasting life, eventually realized through the death on the cross and resurrection, God comes to us in Jesus the Christ, in our human poverty, impoverishment, challenges the wicked and remains a threat to the powerful. This is exactly what we celebrate at Christmas, in humility at the manger, when Christ was born.

God chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Jesus and therefore from the beginning of time, Mary remains blessed. Mary was a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. We read in Sacred Scripture, this virgin’s name was Mary (cf. Lk 1,28). This aspect reminds us that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also a woman contributes to the creation of new life for humankind. Therefore, Mary was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to her role as the mother of the Saviour. We also observe, that against all human expectations, God chooses those who are considered powerless and weak in society, to realize his faithfulness to his promises.
When the virgin Mary is communicated, that she will be the mother of God, she responded with the obedience of faith, however, she did not understand her entire mission. In our post-modern world and with the development of science, it may be difficult to accept the divine conception of Jesus maintaining the virginity of Mary. Nevertheless, we study in Sacred Scripture, this is a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility.

This is the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament, ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son’ (cf. Is 7,14; quoted in Mt 1,23). One may want to argue in our human ignorance with human understanding, that this could be impossible! However, if you speculate, you will reach the same conclusion, similar to a study of the creation of the universe and the shortness of our human existence here on earth. This determines our foundation, that there is nothing impossible with God who created heaven and earth and who has given each one of us life! In this case, we must understand the role of Mary in the entire ‘mission’ to accompany Jesus Christ in his redemptive act for humankind.

God chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. Jesus is Mary’s only son and her spiritual motherhood extends to all people, because Jesus Christ shed his blood willingly for the forgiveness of sins for all. Mary is truly the mother of God, since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself. Thus, Mary stands as a living sign of how God restores his family with mercy.

The virgin Mary cooperated through faith and her obedience for the salvation of humankind. The obedience of faith means, to hear or to listen to the Word of God and to submit oneself freely, because, its truth is guaranteed by God, who is truth itself. Faith is first of all a personal adherence of a human person to God. At the same time, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God reveals and faith is a gratuitous gift given to humankind. We find Abraham in the Old Testament as a model given to us and the virgin Mary is the most perfect embodiment of faith.

Throughout her life till that moment she stands at the cross when Jesus is crucified, Mary’s faith never wavered. She strongly believed in God’s mission for her and she stood by, in all situations during the earthy life of Jesus, exhibiting a total surrender to God’s plan. This is the reason why the Church venerates Mary the purest realization of faith.

Although the following list is not exhaustive, some texts will help you for your meditation. Try to read these passages in Sacred Scripture:

-     Mary at the time of conception of Jesus Christ, in Mt 1,18-25
-     Mary at the time of the annunciation, in Lk 1,26-32.38
-     Mary at the time of the visitation at Zachariah’s house,
      in Lk 1, 42.46-55 :the Magnificat.
-    Mary at the birth of Jesus Mt 2,11; Lk 2,17.29
-    Mary at the visit of the shepherds, in Mt 2,1-12; Lk 2,1-19
-     Mary at the time Jesus is presented in the Temple,
      in Lk 2, 29-32; prophecy of Simeon Lk 2,33-35
-     Mary at the time when Jesus is 12 in age, is found in the Temple
      with the doctors of the Law, in Lk 2,46-50
-     Mary pleads Jesus to help out at the wedding at Cana, in Jn 2,1-12
-     Mary at the time accompanying Jesus through his passion and way to
Crucifixion, in Lk 23,26-32; Jn 19,25-27;
Jesus said to his mother, “Women this is your son”, in Jn 19,26
Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother”,  in Jn 19,26
-     Mary who receives the human body of Jesus from the cross
to be laid in the tomb.

Mary could do this because she was convinced in her innermost self that Jesus Christ is God himself, the Word made flesh, and that Jesus Christ is the only one who knows and has seen the Father, and only Jesus the anointed one is able to realize God’s plan of salvation (Jn 6,46; Mt 11,27). “Behold I am the hand-maid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word”(cf. Lk 1,37-38).

The virgin Mary was filled with grace, obedient and full of faith.
Faith is a human act. Faith is a grace and gift received from God.
Faith is certain. Faith compliments human reason.
Faith seeks understanding. Faith has to be professed and proclaimed.

Faith gives us a taste here on earth in advance of the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our earthly journey and the beginning of our eternal life with Almighty God.

To believe in the one triune God, and the Father who sent Jesus Christ for our salvation is necessary to obtain our salvation (cf. Mt 16,16-18; Jn 3,36). Well, that said, the converse is equally true. Namely, without faith, it is impossible to please God, impossible to attain fellowship in the family of God, impossible to attain justification, nor can anyone obtain eternal life.

We need to nourish ourselves to live, to grow in faith until the end, through the Word of God and even to beg the Lord to increase our faith (cf. Mk 9,24; Lk 17,5; Lk 22,32). The virgin Mary will always remain as our model. If we understand the meaning of Christmas and want to celebrate this event, we will also be able to perceive the unique mission of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, that unfolds in the nativity of our Lord, at Christmas.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Cletus Colaço SVD.

This page has been updated on 26.11.2018