January 1,

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

The feast of the blessed Virgin Mary

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Lk 2,16-21

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the blessed Holy Mary, Mother of God. The  shepherds, warned by the angels, come to the stable of Bethlehem and they found Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. It is a wonderful scene: God is born in the peace of a barn, to the amazement of the shepherds, far from the bustle of the hotel, full of people who arrive and leave because of the census called by Caesar Augustus. If we, in these days of celebration, have been able to isolate a bit from the bustle of the city and have found the time to go and to contemplate the nativity scene made up in our veranda, often shocked by the “earthquake” caused by the younger grandchildren, we have enjoyed something of that peace and we have entered into the mystery of Christmas. To me it happened. Those figures of gypsum, in the silence of the prayer, became animated and transported me to the atmosphere of the Christmas, as it has happened to the shepherds in the today’s gospel. It was an immersion, not a walk. Now that the holidays are over and the life of every day resumed, I pray the Lord to make us live, in the days ahead, the festive joy of the shepherds who return to their flocks, praising God, and also that one most sober and deep of Mary, who keeps “all these things, pondering it in her heart”. These are two attitudes which feed each other: the simple joy of the shepherds will endure in the time if it is powered by the most aware one of Mary, who, in the thirty years of his hidden life in Nazareth, who knows how many times she have rethought the stable of Bethlehem, to recapture the spirit of that night, the enchantment of that joyful motherhood. Today is the feast of this Jewish woman who, after the “yes” at the Annunciation, has spent a lifetime in normal and quiet mode, but being always been present in the strong moments of the faith: in Cana, when Jesus began his public life,  under the cross and in the Last Supper, the day of the Pentecost. Since two thousand years,  until our days, Mary has always participated actively in the Church’s history, appearing in different countries, to enlighten, to exort and to urge us to go forward every time we have become weak or when we have lost our way. Be blessed, full of grace!

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