The Third Sunday in Advent

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” In the eyes of the Church and in the souls of so many believers, the name Mary calls to mind so many splendid images of a special individual who always seems to be available to us especially in moments of great need. A special kind of person who always is willing to walk the distance with us no matter how long the journey might be.  A gentle soul who prays for us unceasingly even when we do not have the energy or the desire to pray for ourselves.  A humble mother who always is so willing to come to our aid no matter what the circumstance might be. She simply wants to help us poor sinners, poor children of God, poor children of Mary. Mary’s name invokes in us so many encounters and stories of how God uses her as an instrument to share and experience the Good News of our salvation.  How God uses her to deliver important signs and warnings to us when we drift too far away from God’s presence.  Mary offers us motherly advice at the crossroads of life or in moments of deep discernment.  She gives gentle correction when we choose the wrong path rather than the right or when we do the bad rather than do the good.  She provides loving inspiration when we are afraid and unable to move forward. She offers help in moments of darkness or those difficult moments when we give up and give in. The mere mention of Mary’s name brings strength to those who are weary, comfort to the sorrowing, hope to the despairing, faith to the unbelieving.  She brightens our day when everything else seems too heavy or everyone around us seems so gray. It brings to heart so many joyful memories that describe our awesome relationship with God. Our awesome relationship with Mary, the Mother of God. Some immediate images that come to mind and heart are: Mother, Beloved, Immaculate, Blessed, Beautiful, Virgin, Star, Perfect, Holy, Pure, Vessel, Temple, Grace, Intercessor, Rose and the one that might help us during this season to more fully appreciate and celebrate God’s gift to humanity – Joy. The Church calls Mary the “Cause of our Joy.”  What is the cause of your joy? Not what makes you happy for a brief moment but that which fills you with everlasting joy? For Mary, it is Jesus – God’s Pure Love. “Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!”