Monday, September 8, 2014

The Birth of Mary

Icon of Mary, "Seeker of the Lost"
"Mary experienced uncertainty and insecurity when she said yes to the angel. She knew what oppression was when she didn't find a hospitable place to give birth to Jesus. She knew the sufferings of the mothers whose their children being thrown in the air and pierced by bayonets; she lived as a refugee in a strange land with a strange language and strange customs; she knew what it means to have a child who does not follow the regular ways of life but creates turmoil wherever he goes; she felt the loneliness of the widow and the agony of seeing her only son being executed. Indeed, Mary is the woman who stands next to all the poor, oppressed, and lonely women of our time. And when she continues to speak to people it is the simple and the poor to whom she appears: Juan Diego, the simple old Mexican Indian of Guadalupe; Bernadette, the poor sickly girl in Lourdes; Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco [sic], the unspectacular children of Fatima.

Every word in Scripture about Mary points to her intimate connection with all who are forgotten, rejected, and pushed aside. She joyfully proclaims: "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rick he has sent away empty" (Luke 1:52-53). These words today have taken on so much power and strength that... they are considered subversive and can lead to torture and death. Mary is the mother of the living, the new Eve, the woman who lives deeply in heart... She gives hope, inspires the fight for freedom, and challenges us to live with an unconditional trust in God's love.
--Henri Nouwen in ¡Gracias!

A prayer for the Feast of the Birth of Mary +
Almighty and everlasting God,
who stooped to raise fallen humanity
     through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:
grant that we, who have seen your glory
     revealed in our human nature
and your love made perfect in our weakness,
may daily be renewed in your image
and be conformed to the pattern of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
-from the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England

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