Homily for Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, Nativity of Mary, “Mother of Grace” celebration
In a few weeks, a member of my extended family is going to have a major operation. In a message to our family members on Facebook, she mentions how her mother is going to go stay right near the hospital for a few days to accompany her during her operation and immediate recovery. Another family remember responded, “Yay for Moms!”
I was struck by how right that is. Our mothers are often the people we turn to when we need consolation, advice, support, or unconditional love. Teenagers might feel like their mothers are over-protective, but throughout our lives we are all very grateful for that protection when we need it! When times get tough and our mother is there to help us get through, we all want to say, “Yay for Moms!”
As Christians, we have both our natural mother, and our Mother in Heaven, Mary. Most Protestants think it’s wrong to call Mary our Mother, but it actually makes perfect sense. Mary is the mother of Jesus, our Redeemer. All grace comes through Jesus, because He won our redemption through His Incarnation, death and Resurrection. It is through the Sacraments we received from Him that we participate in the divine life, becoming one with Christ in the Mystical Body. Thus, it is perfectly justified to say that Mary is the Mother of Grace, and our own Mother. It is through Mary that we received Jesus, and through Jesus that we receive the divine grace that joins us to Christ.
All good sons and daughters remember their mother’s birthdays. Today the Church celebrates Mary’s birthday, and so we have gathered here to honor her in a special way. It’s also a special day for the Mother of Grace club, which is celebrating the annual novena to Mary. I’ve only been here a month, but I’m already learning that the Mother of Grace club plays an important part in promoting devotion to Mary here in Gloucester. By raising people’s awareness of Mary’s maternal love, by encouraging people to pray for peace through Mary’s intercession, and by their involvement in the life of the parish, the club members are truly serving the parish and the greater community.
May Mary, the Mother of Grace and our Mother, shield us from the enemy and receive us at the hour of our death. “It becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God and Master who was born of you. For this reason, you are called full of grace. Remember us, most holy Virgin, and bestow on us gifts from the riches of your graces, Virgin full of graces.” Amen.