From the Pastor – August 14, 2016

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. (Lk 1:46-49).

What does it mean to be “famous”? One clue is found in the origin of the word “fame,” which comes from a Greek word that means “talked about.” In our modern culture, being famous usually means being on television, where many people can come to recognize you. Being “famous” means that a person is talked about. But something interesting might happen when you actually meet a “famous” person. They might be exactly like you thought they would be, or you might be surprised how they’re different. Being famous can be good or bad.

Read this week for the Solemnity of the Assumption, the “Magnificat,” has Mary saying something startling: “All generations will call me blessed.” And indeed since Luke transcribed her words nearly 2000 years ago, each generation has called her the “Blessed Virgin Mary.” If you think about it, it might sound like a little “bravado.” But that’s not the case. Mary’s blessedness comes specifically because God in His Greatness looked upon Mary in her lowliness and chose His handmaid to be the Mother of His Son. And the humility and lowliness of Mary stands in contrast to the pride and disobedience of Eve. Mary is known as the “New Eve,” since Eve’s disobedience caused Orignal Sin for all of her children, and Mary’s obedience became the remedy for that Original Sin. That’s why Mary calls God her “Savior.”

Mary is particularly “famous” throughout Christianity. And she’s even mentioned more times in the Islamic Koran than she is in the Bible! But her “fame” is not just because she is “talked about.” Actually, it’s the opposite. Mary is talked about because she was particularly blessed by God. In fact, Mary is talked about because God exalted (lifted her up) for a special mission: nothing less than the Salvation of the Human Race. She’s not just “famous,” she’s blessed because God chose her to be blessed. And every time we “talk about” about Mary, we recount her blessedness.

Nowadays many people want their “15 minutes of fame.” It’s better to look for something different: blessedness. Each of us is called for a special mission by God. The mission begins by our working on our own holiness, and then allowing God to use us for His mission. Earthly fame is fleeting. True blessedness points to the Virgin Mary. True blessedness points to Heaven.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty