Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today the Church remembers the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a woman of profound gratitude. Let’s be thankful for Mary’s life and vocation today, but let’s also learn from her.
Gratitude for the gifts of God is essential, yet it can at times be difficult to cultivate and maintain. It’s easy to let ourselves focus on the negatives. Today, try this: spend a minute or two now to recall vividly a gift you have received from God, as Mary did. Let the feeling of gratitude grow within you. Then, throughout the day, when something occurs to make you upset, anxious, or hostile to someone, commit to pausing for a moment to recall this gift of God. You’ll still have to confront whatever is the problem, but you’ll be better off with Mary’s gratitude active within you.
—Timothy E. Kieras, SJ, is a member of USA Central and Southern Province doing special studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come;
before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
—Traditional Memorare prayer
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