Mary, contemplative woman
Listening to the Word: The visit of the Magi (Mt 2: 1-12)
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'"
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Reflection: What would Mary and Joseph have thought when they saw these mysterious men coming from afar to see their little Jesus? And yet, the Son of God became man for all, also for these people who came from "afar". Mary immediately understands and shows Jesus to them too. Mary is the true contemplative, that is, the one who can see reality with the eyes of God. Are we contemplatives? Do we see reality with the eyes of God? Are we capable of giving Jesus to those we meet, those we know and those we don't know, our co-citizens and strangers, rich and poor?
Prayer: Blessed Mary, contemplative woman, teach us to keep in our hearts the situations of every day so that we may then see them with the eyes of God.
Blessed Mary, contemplative woman, teach us to see in the people we meet the face of your Son and not discriminate in any way.
Blessed Mary, child-bearing yet maiden, take us to Jesus.
My commitment is not to judge the people I meet during the day, but to see in each of them the face of the Lord.
Mary, Lady of the offering
Listening to the Word: The presentation at the temple (Lk 2: 22-32)
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
Reflection: Let us try to stand as spectators at this event: Mary, Joseph and Jesus, a family that goes to the temple to offer the child to the Lord. If we wish to translate this event into our terms, it is a little like a family that prepares to take a child for baptism. We have so often taken part in festivities of this kind. However, let us try to examine the Mother's heart: she wholeheartedly offers to God the child to whom she gave birth. Are we capable of imitating her in our daily life?
Prayer: Daughter of Sion, Lady of the offering, envelop our hearts so that we may belong to Jesus completely.
Daughter of Sion, Lady of the offering, free our hearts so that without any fear we may be exclusively His property.
Daughter of Sion, Mother so tender, make our hearts like yours.
My commitment is to detach myself from something to which I am greatly attached and offer it to someone I particularly do not like. This is so that I may imitate the Mother of my Lord who offered Her Son with a pure heart.
Mary, untiring seeker of God
Listening to the Word: The finding in the temple (Lk 2: 41-50)
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
Reflection: Mary and Joseph are distressed at the loss of their son, Jesus. They set out to search for him and find him after three days. In our life sometimes it seems that Jesus hides himself from us and leaves us alone. What do we do? Do we despair? Do we turn towards other goods? Or do we set out in search of Jesus so as not to loose him ever again. Mary and Joseph teach us to be untiring seekers of God, because he has made us for himself and our heart is restless until it rests in him (St. Augustine).
Prayer: Dear Mary, untiring seeker of God, give us the strength you had in seeking your Jesus who was lost in the temple.
Dear Mary, untiring seeker of God, guide our steps so that on life's journey we may always follow Jesus, lighthouse that enlightens us.
Dear Mary, Mother most pure, be our faithful companion on the journey towards Jesus.
My commitment is to pray more in times when Jesus seems to have abandoned me.
Mary, listening virgin
Listening to the Word: Blessed are the breasts you sucked (Lk 11: 27-28)
As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Reflection: It may seem that Jesus belittles Mary's part, preferring his disciples. But if we read the text carefully we will see that Jesus is really praising his mother. She is the woman who listens to the Word of God and keeps it all the time. She is an attentive disciple who keeps in her heart her Son's words and day after day keeps them. She points the way to us so that we too may imitate her if we wish to be truly her devotees.
Prayer: Beautiful Mother, listening virgin, open our hearts so that we may learn to listen to the words of your Son.
Beautiful Mother, listening virgin, open our hearts and minds that we may learn to listen to the words of your Son and keep them.
Mother so tender, pure of heart, strengthen us in our resolve.
My commitment is to listen attentively to the Word of God when it is proclaimed in church. I also commit myself to listen to God who speaks to me through the people I meet throughout the day.