Holy Moments: Wk 1: Holy Moments Explained
Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God: Holy Moments Wk 1: Holy Moments Explained
One of the things that we as Catholics can be faced with when we talk to others about our faith is dispelling some misconceptions about the Church’s teachings on Mary.
First, that we don’t worship her, but we do rightly honor her for her special place in salvation history, which has everything to do with Jesus, because everything about Mary points to Jesus. And if we’re clear about that right up front, then we can talk about the four Catholic Dogma’s or infallible teachings about Mary that all Catholics should accept, in order to fully profess the truths of our faith, that Mary was conceived without sin, she remained a virgin for her entire life, she was assumed into Heaven Body and Soul and that Mary is the Mother of God.
These truths were not middle age inventions, but have always been taught since the early Church and passed down through the successors of the apostles for nearly two millennia now. And today we are celebrating and focusing particularly on Mary as the Mother of God. A title she received from the truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully human, true God and true man. So this teaching is actually pretty simple to explain to someone if we just ask them if they believe that Jesus is “God” and when they say “yes”, then ask them who Jesus’ mother is; Mary right?
So if Jesus is God and Mary is His mother, then it’s logical that Mary’s title as the Mother of God is more than appropriate. There you go, simple enough right? This illustrates how conversations about our faith don’t have to be uncomfortable or require a degree in theology. It simply takes stating what we believe.
And if other questions arise we should answer them one at a time. This keeps us from trying to cram 2000 years of Catholic teaching into a brief conversation with someone who just wanted to know if we worship Mary or not. And again we don’t, but we do honor her as the Mother of God.
Now Mary’s role didn’t start in Bethlehem, it was a process that involved many, many, holy moments in her life time, including her immaculate conception, her annunciation, her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, and her intercession at the wedding of Cana to name a few. But these are only snapshots among thousands of individual Holy Moments that Mary experienced and said yes to throughout her lifetime.
Each and every one of them expanded her soul’s potential to cooperate with God more and more to fulfill her role in salvation History as the Mother of God. These holy moments that we recall that Mary kept and reflected on in her heart, are a treasure trove of examples to show us what can happen when a person makes them self completely available and says yes to God.
Holy moments are possible for everyone, at any moment no matter who they are or what their station or place in society may be. A good example of this are the shepherds in today’s Gospel, who in ancient Israel were considered unclean and rarely welcome in public, because tending sheep is a real sweaty, dirty and smelly job, which I can attest to personally, because years ago we visited a tourist attraction, where among other things they showed us how shepherds tend their sheep. And at one point they asked for a volunteer to help with the sheering.
So I raised my hand and before I knew it, I was in a wrestling match with a rather large snow white sheep. I finally got my arms and legs wrapped around it to hold it still, while they sheared off its beautiful white wool before I released it. It was all great fun until I looked down, and to this day I have no idea how such a snow white sheep could have possibly made my yellow shirt and khaki pants so black, or left me smelling so badly.
But for the shepherds in the Gospel today none of that mattered to them after they were told about the birth of the Messiah by the angel. This good news of great joy enabled them to overcome their self-interests and any thoughts of embarrassment, or concerns for social norms in order to cooperate with God.
They left their flocks behind in the field; they traveled in haste to Bethlehem, searched to find the stable, and then were the first to behold Jesus the new born King. They saw God incarnate (in the flesh) lying in a manger next to Mary the Mother of God with St. Joseph watching over them.
These Holy Moments cooperating with God unleashed their soul’s potential to praise and glorify God in Jesus Christ the Lord in ways that had never been possible before in the History of mankind. All these Holy Moments that we recall today and everyday are meant to do many things, including inspire us to explore and reach our soul’s potential.
That’s why we handed out these Holy Moment books at Christmas, because it’s time for you, for me, and for all of us to explore our soul potential. We’ve all spent a lot of time in our lives challenging ourselves to explore and reach our potential in mind and body, intellectually and physically, but now it’s time for us to explore ways to reach our soul’s potential through Holy Moments.
Now you may be thinking that holy moments like Mary the Mother of God experienced are unattainable for you, but they are attainable, because God is ready to collaborate with you. The only question is, are you willing to collaborate with Him?
Collaborating with God to create holy moments is not a hard process. You only need to open yourself up to God, set aside your self-interest, make yourself available to Him, and do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do in that moment.
Not what you think God wants you to do that day, or that week or that hour, No! We’re talking about choosing to collaborate with God and then doing what God would want you to do in that moment. That’s it, that’s what we mean by a holy moment!
So this is what we want you to know: Holy moments make you capable of incredible things simply by opening yourself to God, setting aside self-interest, making yourself available to Him, and doing what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do at that moment.
And this is what we want you to do: Together let’s ask Mary, the Mother of God, to intercede for you with Jesus for the grace to explore your soul’s potential by making yourself available to God and doing what He wants you to do in that Holy Moment.
So let’s pray together now: Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen!