September 8, 2020
by Tom Shanahan, S.J.
Creighton University's Athletics Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 636

Micah 5:1-4 or Romans 8:28-30
Psalm 13:6, 6
Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23

Praying Ordinary Time


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The Nativity of Mary

What must it have it been like for Anna and Joachim to give birth to their daughter, Miriam?  Ask any mother and father and they will be able to tell you glowingly about the rush of emotions, the beauty of the situation, the future, and the exhaustions of giving birth.

Today the church celebrates the Nativity of Mary.  Generally, we do not consider Mary as an infant or child.  Today we are invited to contemplate the infant Mary and the joy and anticipation that accompanied her entrance into our world through these humble folks.

Mary will become the mother of Jesus as well as the Mother of God in her not-to-distant future. “Nativity” is a word we use for the birth of her son, destined to become the Savior of the world.  Praying with her birth helps us to recall her central place in God’s plan for each of us.

How do we participate in the mystery of this day of birth?  What is our invitation through the great mystery of Jesus’ becoming like us?  What is the depth of the joy, peace, and awe at the ways of God who specially guides this event?  Now begins the dawn of God’s work in our healing.

As always, God’s plan is for the betterment of humanity, scarred by the sin of Adam, in the Garden.  God’s blessing of Mary begins the drama that touches into each one’s deepest heart/soul.  We are so blessed! And Mary’s birth is just the beginning of those rich blessings of God through Jesus.

Mary is a central actor in the series of marvelous events that are to follow.  We know her ever so slightly through the Gospels’ accounting: at his birth; at the Presentation of Jesus; at Jerusalem and Cana; her personal growth in relating to him; and finally and especially, we know her intimately at the foot of her son’s cross. 

We know her also through those people that touch our lives deeply and who move us simply by their presence.  These special persons quietly guide us in the ups and downs of our lives.  It is not too late to consider prayerfully and gratefully these guides who have touched and continue to touch us profoundly.  Mary’s birth to Anna and Joachim touches us to the core.

Gracious God, we thank and bless you for your caring watch over us.  Mary’s birth reminds us of the intricacy of your plans for our healing. We are grateful to be loved as you loved Mary and we acknowledge that love with joy and peace. Thank you for those who teach us, like Mary, to appreciate the beauty of each moment.

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