Mass on a Thursday evening? I was so excited, that I pushed the questioning thoughts out of my head. I was going to go to a weekday Mass!
When I lived in Pennsylvania, the daily Mass schedule was one that fit into my workday. Since moving to Virginia that has not been the case and I’ve missed being able to spend time with God, hearing His word and receiving Him more than just once a week. When I saw the announcement in the Flocknote of a Thursday evening Mass for the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I was thrilled! I knew the attendance would be small, but I didn’t realize that a particular population of the parish was responsible for organizing the Mass. I must admit I felt a little out of place and a bit unprepared. Most attending were Indian or Asian and as families came into the church, they placed bunches of flowers on a table. I thought it was an odd place to put them and wished I had known about the tradition. While the Mass proceeded as usual, after the homily, the attention turned back to the flowers, which had been released from their wrappings in order to pick them up individually. Row by row, we processed down, took a flower and then processed over to the statue of the Virgin Mary where large vases were placed to receive the flower tribute. Even though there were plenty of flowers for everyone, I did have some reservations about participating since I didn’t bring any flowers. I hope they do this next year, so I can fully participate!
The feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is rather unique in the church. For most saints, we celebrate what would be their death day, as that is the day they pass from this life into eternity. So why is it important to celebrate Mary’s birthday? It’s really quite simple: it is through Mary that Jesus took on flesh and became human; through Mary’s humanity Jesus enters into our world. Since Mary conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, the only DNA that Jesus had was from her. It is most appropriate that we celebrate Mary’s birth so that in the fullness of time, Jesus was born into the world.
Although the feast is more about Mary’s humanity, her role as the Mother of God is ever present, even in the Gospel reading for that Mass. Mary’s selflessness in allowing God’s will to be done through her makes her a model for us to strive towards. Her motherly concern extends through all time and to all children of God. Mary does have many titles, including Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her queenship is based on her powerful intercession on our behalf to Jesus. She always wants God’s will for us and will help us to seek a deeper relationship with God. I must admit I found it rather ironic when I heard the sad news that the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom happened that same day. Perhaps the Queen of Heaven welcomed Queen Elizabeth to eternity? While her majesty was a pale comparison to the Blessed Virgin Mary, she did emulate some similar qualities, including making oneself a gift to others. She made a vow to serve the people of her country, and she did so until the very end. How much better would the world be if we all practiced a bit more of giving ourselves to others, rather than demanding what we want because we think it is our right to do so.
Celebrating Mary’s birthday is yet another reminder that she, too, is one of us — human. She understands the craziness of life, the joys and the sorrows. Let us thank God for her and ask her to help us be a bit more like her in being open to God’s will for us.