By Father James Swanson, LC
While Jesus was speaking, a
woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
"Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts
at which you nursed." He replied, "Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it."
Lord Jesus, you are the master of the universe, and
yet you wish to listen to me and guide me.
You know all things past, present and future, and yet
you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy Trinity, you
are completely happy and fulfilled on your own, and yet
you have generously brought us into existence. You are our
fulfillment. Thank you for the gift of yourself. I offer
the littleness of myself in return, knowing you are pleased
with what I have to give.
Petition: Lord, help me to
- Mary’s Masterpiece: The woman in this passage has
a great insight. She senses the greatness of Jesus. Probably
she intuits that he is the Messiah. It is doubtful
if she has guessed that he is also God-made-man. But
from Jesus’ greatness, she is able to infer the greatness
of Mary. It is obvious to her that whoever produced
this masterpiece of humanity must have been a masterpiece of
humanity herself. And she is right. The humanity of Jesus
is Mary’s masterpiece. All of what she is, she imparted
to him. While we cannot credit Mary with the perfections
of Jesus’ divinity, we would be doing her a grave
injustice to think that Jesus’ human virtues and perfections were
not positively impacted by her example.
- The Immaculate Conception:
God desired Jesus to come into this world like every
one of us, as an infant, and so Jesus needed
a mother. God wanted him to have the finest mother,
a perfect mother, and so he gave Mary many gifts,
starting with her Immaculate Conception, preserving her from original sin.
Who could imagine Jesus – pure and innocent – wrapped
in flesh polluted by sin for the first nine months
of his existence? Would such an innocent child ever have
been able to stop crying while being tended to by
a sinner? The Father wanted the best for his Son
and gave him the best, even though he had to
provide the miracle of the Immaculate Conception in order to
- Jesus’ Educator: Being truly human, Jesus had
to learn just like any one of us. Because of
his divinity, his human capacities were untainted by sin, but
it was Mary who taught him how to use them,
who honed them in the everyday life of the family
until they were perfect – just as any mother would.
Mary was the perfect one to bring out all the
perfections in Jesus’ human nature. Being immaculately conceived, Mary’s mind
was not wounded by sin and so was always able
to discover ways of parenting and teaching that were perfectly
suited to Jesus’ human nature. To educate doesn’t mean to
just give knowledge. In its fullest sense, it means to
train in virtue. Mary’s continuous example of virtue – hearing
the word of God and observing it – was certainly
compelling for Jesus in his educational upbringing.
Conversation with Christ: Dear
Jesus, it’s hard for me to understand that, as human,
you needed education just like anyone else. Help me to
see that you were truly and fully human like me.
Moreover, since you have already given me Mary to be
my Mother, ask her to educate me too, to form
me in all the virtues the way she formed them
Resolution: Do I really think of Mary as my
educator in the full sense, in the sense of teaching
me virtue? What is the virtue I need the most?
I will ask Mary to educate me in it in
a special way today.