In observance of today’s feast, The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this reflection is from my upcoming book, Everyday Stewardship: Reflections for the Journey, published by Liturgical Publications, Inc.
In Him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped* in Christ. In Him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of His glory.
Saint John Paul II, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, wrote in his homily, “sanctifying grace is, in fact, the divine life as grafted into the human soul.” We begin life without this grace due to original sin, but Mary was conceived without original sin, and therefore, had this grace at her conception. Saint John Paul II points out that Mary then was able to concern herself with our redemption and say yes to being the Mother of God in a “perfect and universal manner,” since she did not need to focus that energy on herself. We are then to follow her example and use the gift of grace that we receive through the sacraments and Jesus’ redemptive action of His Passion to bring about the Kingdom of God.
For Everyday Stewards, this is pretty heady stuff, but also very important. The modern canonized saint uses this theology to impress upon us the importance of not becoming cultural Catholics, but committed disciples instead. He wrote the quoted homily in 1959, and that warning against the relegation of faith sounds even more urgent today. Mary’s existence was key to God’s plan of redemption. It was her destiny. We are called to build the Kingdom of God and share the Good News of redemption, leading to the conversion and then salvation of souls. That is our destiny.
We must never brush off the place we have in God’s plan. How will those we see in our everyday lives come to know the Lord and then find salvation? Mary was the instrument by which the Incarnation came into the world. We are called to be the instruments by which that same Jesus Christ comes into the worlds of those who do not know him.
References from Wojtyla, Karol. The Word Made Flesh. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.