The Blessed Virgin Mary: Our Model of Stewardship
During the Advent and Christmas seasons, we have a number of opportunities to reflect on and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is not only the greatest saint in our Catholic family of faith, but the model of stewardship par excellence. Mary teaches us the meaning of stewardship by her own life witness.
On December 8, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the conception of Mary in her mother’s womb without the stain of original sin. Pope Pius IX proclaimed this truth on December 8, 1854, that Mary’s preservation from original sin was a ‘singular grace and privilege” given her by God. In anticipation of what God did for all in Christ, she alone was preserved from original sin “from the first moment of her conception.”
On December 12, we celebrate Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531 she appeared to Juan Diego on a hill outside Mexico City. A life-size figure of the Virgin as a young, dark-skinned American Indian woman with the face of a mestizo was imprinted on his cloak. The image gave the indigenous people of the Americas assurance that our Blessed Mother was loving and compassionate toward them.
On December 25, when we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord, we celebrate the birth of Jesus through his mother, Mary. The Incarnation took place through Mary’s own flesh, and the infant Jesus was nourished by Mary’s own body.
On January 1, Mary is honored as the “Mother of God,” which is the greatest of her titles. This title is the foundation for every other title attributed to her as she became the mother of God from the instant Jesus was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. The title was formally announced by the Church in the fifth century.
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