Happy Birthday, Mary!

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.

Luke 1:45

God loves women.
At Franciscan Mission Service, I’m so blessed to live in a community of people who are on fire for the Lord. I love to sit on the porch or around the dinner table and talk about faith with my community. I was talking to Fatima, one of my friends here about Mary about how its so amazing that God chose to come to earth through a woman. She said “He’s God, so he could’ve came here any way he wanted, but he chose to be born from a woman!”

God loves women. We’re so special and close to our Lord’s heart. As St. Edith Stein mentioned, we’re blessed not because of what we have, but who we are. The most blessed of all women is the crown jewel of God’s creation, a young woman from Nazareth named Mary. Whenever I hear people say the Church suppresses women or that God loves men more because he made them first (yes, I actually read that somewhere), I think of Mary. I think of how God entrusted himself to her. I think of how Jesus became human and the Word became flesh through her. I think of how Jesus loved her so much, that after her death, he brought her body and soul into Heaven and crowned her Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Happy Birthday, Mary!

The Perfect Missionary
A FOCUS missionary named Becca was the team director at Slippery Rock for two years. Whenever we prayed together, she always said, “Mary, you are the most perfect example of the perfect missionary.” I didn’t understand what Becca meant at first. I didn’t know how Mary was a missionary, and I contemplated this for a long time. I discerned being a missionary while I was in college, and if Mary was the perfect missionary, I knew I needed to be like her, but I needed to figure out how.

When I made my Marian Consecration, I finally realized why Mary was not just a missionary, but the perfect missionary. Mary constantly guides us toward Jesus in everything she does. Everything that our Blessed Mother does points us toward her Son. In her humility, she directs all of the attention and praise we give her to Jesus. Mary takes credit for nothing, but rather boasts in the Lord in everything. She takes our prayers and perfects them. She makes our brokenness beautiful. She takes all of our insecurities and imperfections that we want to hide and makes them into a beautiful bouquet for Jesus.

Keeping God’s Word
What makes Mary the most blessed of all women is that because she’s free from sin, she was chosen to be the Mother of God, and that she always does the will of God perfectly. I love to reflect on Luke 11:27-28, which reads:

While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

In these verses, Jesus isn’t discrediting Mary. He knows that Mary is blessed because he’s his Mother, but she’s also blessed because she listens to and follows God’s word perfectly. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, she didn’t just call Mary blessed because she was the Mother of God. She also called her blessed because she had faith in God’s word.

Mary was blessed with abundant graces, and the amazing thing is, she wants to share that grace with us. We can also listen to, believe in, and follow God’s word, and we can look to Mary to help us.

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Sharing in Our Birthday Lady’s Gifts
Today, on Mary’s birthday, ask to share in her gift of grace. Our Blessed Mother longs to take care of us and lead us to her son, and she’s never outdone in generosity. Mary wants to embrace you, wrap you in her mantle, and share her grace with you. All you have to do is ask, and the best way is with the most perfect way of doing this begins with a Hail Mary.

Stay radiant!

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