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Happy Birthday Mary!

alec vanderboom

Today's Mass Reading is the Geneology of Jesus from the Book of Matthew. Father Francisco gave his homily on how many sinners were a part of Jesus' family tree- Judan, Tamar, David, etc. So many sinners. Father said that on his first year at St. Martin's of Tours, this reading fell on Christmas Day. He used his homily to talk about "how many sinners are a part of Jesus' family tree." You are missing his gorgous Madrid accent, but he went on to say "Someone wrote to the Bishop! And the Bishop, he called me and say "Father what did you say in your Christmas homily about Jesus being from a sinning family?' And I say "Bishop, I say Jesus has many sinners in his family tree." The Bishop, he say, "But Father, that is true." I say, "I know Bishop!"

It is sometimes hard for us to remember that Jesus did not come from a perfect human family. Jesus came from a family marred by sin. Yet this is beautiful, because Our Lady, holy and sinless, came into that same family. Her sinlessness allowed Jesus to free all of us from sin.

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!

Today we sang "Happy Birthday" to the Marian Statue in our Church. Immediately afterwards, on the church steps, I ran into a woman who said "I have a gift for you?" I looked puzzled. I knew the woman slightly from church but couldn't imagine why she would have a present for me. "You left an intention in my prayer book for my pilgramage to Lourdes. I brought you home a prayer card and water from Lourdes," the woman said. I thanked her and got all excited about explaining to Hannah that this water came all the way from St. Bernadette's home in Lourdes, France. It wasn't until I walked away that I remembered what I had prayed for Our Lady to send us . . .

"a fifth Benjamin baby when the time was right."

In mid-August, I got my period on a Saturday morning. I felt so sad. At 33, that easy fertility, I once had has evaporated. I didn't think I could handle going to my monthly women of prayer meeting. I sat in our parish hall feeling awful. My body ached and my mind felt worse.

Then a women announced that she was blessed with a pilgramage to Lourdes and would take our prayer requests with her. My soul felt all this joy and peace. This next baby was just going to require more prayer from me. I had nothing to fear because St. Bernadette, the saint who is an adored a twin sister to me, had just sent me a strong signal grace that she was on the case.

So today, on Our Blessed Mother's Birthday, she gave me a present!