Spirituality for Today – December 2014 – Volume 19, Issue 5

Saints of the Month
St. Mary, the Blessed Virgin

December 8 and 15

A painting of Saint Mary, the Blessed VirginSaint Mary, the Blessed Virgin

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born in Jerusalem about 20 B.C. As a young girl, she was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth. But before they were married, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, revealing that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah.

Several months after the wedding, Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem for the census. Lodgings were crowded and the night was cold. They knocked on many doors but were turned away. Finally, at one inn, they found shelter in the stable. There, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Upon hearing of the birth of the Messiah, King Herod ordered that all male children under the age of two be murdered. An angel appeared to Joseph and told him to flee to Egypt for safety.

After Herod's death, it was safe to return to Nazareth. When Jesus was 12, the family traveled to Jerusalem, where Jesus became separated from His parents. Frantic, Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple, where He was questioning the teachers. Mary asked Jesus why He wandered off. He replied, "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49). Mary knew that Gabriel's message was true.

Mary not only watched over her Son, but others as well. When the win ran out at the marriage feast of Cana, she asked Jesus to help. He did so by turning water into wine – His first miracle. During His Crucifixion, Mary never left Jesus' side. After His Ascension, Mary prayed with the disciples and was the first to see the descent of the Holy Spirit. We revere Mary as a gentle woman who bore great adversity with grace and strength.

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 unto 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 my clemency hear and answer me.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives