#Influencer – The nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

It’s been a while since I have penned my thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Quite recently I celebrated a mass in preparation for this great feast. Mind you, the rank of this Marian celebration, her very birth, is that of a feast, one rung lower than the three high solemnities in her honour; solemnities like the Assumption or Immaculate conception or that of Mary mother of God. Yet there is no denying that in the hearts and minds of Catholics in India, this day is no less than Christmas. You may not have a novena in preparation for the birth of the saviour but no one misses this novena. She is our love and the love of every catholic who finds in her a loving mother.

At the heart of many Marian novenas and devotions is a petition that hang on our lips. After all the ‘Memorare’ (my favourite prayer) itself proclaims, ‘never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, who implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee Oh Virgin of Virgins MY MOTHER.” This prayer, traditionally attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux and popularized by another Bernard, Fr. Claude Bernard, in the 17th century was said daily by St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Calcutta taught others to pray it when they most needed help. Mother Teresa would pray it whenever she was faced with an emergency situation and most needed a miracle. It never failed her and has proven its miraculous character over the years through thousands of testimonials.

Yet it is not what she gives us in answer to our prayer that should draw us to her but who she gives us; her son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel of today rightly dwells on the greatest gift that our Blessed mother gave us, her son. She gave us Jesus by her yes to the will of God. The gift of Jesus, surpasses any personal petition even if that petition asked may not be for ourselves but for the life of another. She knows that accepting Jesus in our lives will help us face any storm that life throws as us. “What can separate us from the love of God? Can tribulation or distress or danger?”

Mary understood this power of Jesus’ presence in her own life. It is his power that strengthened her when she bore him and at once had to become a migrant and refugee in Egypt. It was his strength that taught her to let go of her son and let His God take over in doing the will of the father. It was his strength that gave her courage to stand at the foot of the cross and watch Jesus die for humanity. It was his strength that emboldened her to accept John and by extension all of us as her children, even though humanity had driven nails in his hands and feet. She knew from her very experience that it is to her son that she must point to at the wedding at Cana when she said, “do whatever he asks you.” We honour her not for what she can give us but who she gave us.

To the world that seeks #influencers, may I present to you humanities first and dearest #influencer; Our Blessed Mother. If anyone can influence her son to grant the gift of His presence in our life, it is her. Ask her to lean across the table today and whisper into Jesus’ ear for you. Let her say on your behalf, “they have no wine.’ Then sit back and watch Jesus work in your life.

Happy Birthday Mama Mary, I love you dearly.

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