Saint Mary is the January 2018 Saint of the Month
Also known as:
Mother of God
Star of the Sea
Mother of Mercy
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Feast Days in the Anglican Communion
January 1 Saint Mary the Mother of God
February 2 Purification of the Blessed Virgin also the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
February 11 Our Lady of Lourdes
March 25 Annunciation of Our Savior to the Blessed a Virgin
May 1 Queen of Heaven
May 31 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 8 Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (nine months after the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
November 27 Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
December 8 Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Patron Saint of all humanity. Also, said to be the patron saint of many professions and places.
The Saint of the Month is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary has many names and many feast days throughout the year. The first feast day being the first day of the calendar year, January 1. It is fitting that the calendar year, begins with Mary. After all, it is with her preparation, devotion and demonstration of faith that we are Christians today.
The devotion of love, that Mary knew from her parents Saints Joachim and Ann, helped her to develop the faith needed to answer the call from God. Mary was the only child for Saints Joachim and Ann. Without knowing if they were going to have a girl or a boy, they promised their child to God. They gave Mary an education and opportunities to learn the traditions of her faith. These very actions stood apart of popular actions of their time, treating Mary different, by offering her an education that was seen mostly given to men. Also having faith to promise their first and only child, can be hard to comprehend during a time when children were heirs to the family name, traditions and material possessions. Such a devotion can only be understood by moving through the unknowns of faith. Saints Joachim and Ann may not have fully known the greatness Mary was going to bring to humankind. However, they prepared the way by being ready and helping Mary to be ready.
It can be hard to connect to an understanding of the unknowns of faith in our current lifetime with so many certainties offered through new discoveries and science. Faith is not something that is found or developed. Faith is like grace, it is something we choose accept. For example, we did not understand how our Baptism would connect us to eternal life, but we had faith that we would come to know that meaning. Faith is doing something beyond our imagination or known ability, that ultimately connects us to salvation.
Mary demonstrated a human devotion and the ability to transcend our faith, whichever spiritual practices we have. It was her faith as a young Jewish woman accepting a call when the Angel Gabriel came to her. She was not afraid, even without clear understanding of what her actions meant for herself and our world. Though, Mary did not get to this place on her own, it was the example set by her parents, Joachim and Ann, that helped her to be prepared to teach Jesus, that going to the outcasts of society is where faith and hope can be found.
It is perhaps that very courage that she demonstrated, as to why there are more apparitions of Mary than any other saint. That we can see in ourselves in the real possibility to understand faith, grace, mercy and love. These very possibilities are what leads us, to know we are able to do great things through faith. As Saint Louise Marie de Montfort, in his book True Devotion of Mary, says, “Mary is so full of love, that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be”. It is Mary who could see, we are all of worth, it begins with our faith. A faith that can be found when we are vulnerable and open to love
It is love which fuels courage. This love is what Mary demonstrated by not running away when the Angel Gabriel came to her.(Luke 1:26:33) Her love for other people and for the gift which she was to bare for the world, took continual courage to remain open and on a faithful path. It took her life long dedication to God and devotional practice, to remain on the path of love, allowing the growth of love.
As the new calendar year is upon us and we are growing more aware of love surrounding us, we can set our intentions to learn ways to connect with our faith through Mary. It is the courage of a woman, with the demonstration of unconditional love and of service toward God, that brought us Jesus. We do not know when or how God will call us to act upon our faith and beliefs. That is faith. It is part of the mystery of faith that we know something to be true, even if we do not fully understand.
May each new beginning, hold the courage to stand like Mary. To not be afraid to stand out apart from the majority, by loving others as much as Joachim and Ann, offering unheard of opportunities to Mary. Such a connection, helps us set aside fears, to fully understand love present in devotion to God. We first are asked to be ready to say yes to God and the mercy of God in our life. That devotion to mercy, is our love that continues when we die. Love is our eternal life. Our eternal life comes when we have loved outwardly and loved greatly.