The Life You Share with the Blessed Virgin Mary – Br. Curtis Almquist
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The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This Gospel account speaks of Jesus’ miraculous birth; however our celebration today remembers the miraculous birth of his mother, Mary. There’s no record of this in the Scriptures. The best we can do is found in the Gospel of James, which dates back to about year 145. The Gospel of James is “apocryphal,” i.e., it doesn’t have the authority of the Scriptures but it does give us an early picture of the piety that developed around Jesus’ mother, Mary. According to the Gospel of James, Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim, fervently prayed and prayed for a child, to no avail. But then they received a miraculous promise from God that Anna would conceive a child, and this child would herald God’s plan of salvation for the world. God was especially present in Mary’s life from the beginning. Two second-century teachers, Saint Irenaeus and Saint Justin Martyr, who lived at the same time as the Gospel of Thomas appeared, wrote that if Jesus is the new Adam, then Mary, his mother, is the new Eve.[i] Saint Augustine, writing in the fifth century, said that through Mary’s birth and the birth of her son, Jesus, the nature we inherit from our first parents Adam and Eve is changed from “original sin” to “original blessing.”[ii] Mary, then Jesus, change everything.
The Roman Catholic tradition speaks of Mary’s birth as “the Immaculate Conception.” The Anglican tradition is less formulaic. If Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s love, Mary is the foreshadowing of that love. If Jesus has brought the fullness of God’s salvation for the world, Mary is its dawning.
We believe in the “communion of saints,” that there is a mysterious yet real connection between this life and those who have died ahead of us, this including Saint Mary. As unique as Mary is, you have so much in common with her. Since the dawn of time, there has been no one else like her, and so for you. You are absolutely unique. Down through the ages, there has been no one else who was asked to give birth to and bear what she was called to do. And so for you. Your life is like none other. When she realizes what her life is to be about, what her life will cost and what her life will yield, she is afraid. Undoubtedly you, too, have known fear as your own destiny has dawned on you. Mary is your companion in all this. Jesus is your Savior; Mary is your companion, especially at those moments when you say, like she did: “How can this be?” “How can I face this, do this, bear this, survive this what is coming at me?” You and Mary have somuch in common. Mary is your companion. Build on that relationship.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you,
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
[i]Saint Irenaeus (130-202), Bishop of what is now southern France. Saint Justin (130-165), a prolific Christian apologist, was a 2ndcentury martyr in Rome.
[ii]Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo in northern Africa.
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Not just A MEN … ..A (way showing grief knowing
hold us ALL in her womb and arms and heart) WOMAN ! Quiet powerful Love personified.
I have been to the tiny cool structure on a hillside on a tiny island where Jesus told John to take her away …. And where she left to rejoin her Son and
bring comfort and strength through chaos to
every unsettled soul . My Irish grandmother Mary Leahy was named for her “knowing”. I am carried by both of them every day.
Honoring Nancy Kennedy
walks in Mary’s light and leads the children …
Thank you, Br Curtis for this beautiful and inspiring reflection on Mary. We are all so blessed to have a piece of your wisdom.
Your words reawakened my time with Mary and the impact that had at a difficult time long ago. I will share it with you when I see you again.
Replying to Brother Almquist’s 8/15/22 “Companion Give us a Word” Thank you!
Now that I have also read what you wrote about The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25), I am even more thankful for your thoughts and explanations.
Thank you, you are very kind.
Thsnk you for sharing this and enlightening me. I revere Mary and the courage and strength she had from the Holy Spirit. I am not sure I would have had the courage to accept the responsibility for raising the Son of God. However; I believe that it is Jesus who is always with me and to whom I look to for help. As a chaplain I certainly need Jesus working through me to do this work. Jesus is the one who holds me up and holds my hand.
Thank you……..a much needed reminder
I’d be interested in knowing where St. Augustine wrote this. Can you tell me?
Brother Curtis , Thank you so much I am going through the most, hopefully our Lady will hold my hand through all this
I need Mary. She is a great strength to me. After all she met and talked to the Angel. She rode a
Donkey at nine months pregnant, gave birth in a barn, home schooled this brilliant child, taught
Him all about LOVE, watched him do his ministry, and then had to survive the pain of knowing
He would be killed, and then continue to live with the grief of His Death. She carries our struggles
And gives me courage when life gets difficult. “Holy Mother Of God prayer for us LOVERS, now. Amen
Thank you, Brother Curtis
I would be interested in knowing where St. Augustine wrote about original blessing.
I think a lot about Mary. Somehow she completes the whole wonderful concept of Incarnation–the Word made flesh and dwelling among us. She has not been a part of my traditional religious upbringing and yet she seems to have always been there. Not because of any particular theology. Just there. Your description “companion” fits my experience exactly!
There is a fundamental difference between Adam and Eve and Jesus and Mary. God in God’s great wisdom created the ordinary reproductive sexual generated process for procreation revealed in Eve and Adam.. The other paradigm ends up mother save us from ‘Our Father’ . Pursued to a logical conclusiion there would be no more creation. Hardly likely to be God’s desire or within human possibility. Bring on Mary Magdalene, the sane counter balance to Jesus.She loved Him even if there was never a time or place to consumate this union traditionally.
They are so very like many of us.
Beautiful. Thank you.
Beautiful. Thank you.