December 22, 2011 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today's Readings

If you look around the world, if you watch the news, you might be worried about where the world is headed. It all seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket or maybe a racecar. We humans ruin this world and everything good in it with our selfishness and greed. Some people are looking for a politician who can save us, but we already have a Savior. Jesus came and saved us, and he is coming back. In the meantime, he would do more if we would only let him.

Mary said that all generations would call her blessed, and so we have. For the past 2000 years she has continuously been referred to as the Blessed Virgin Mary. She did not say that all generations would call her blessed because she did great things. She said that all generations would call her blessed because the Almighty has done great things for her.

There is a temptation to think of a great person as someone who has done great things. Mary turns that idea on its head. Indeed, the great thing that Mary did was allow God to do his great things. Her heroic feat was allowing God to work. In the Blessed Virgin Mary, from her Immaculate Conception to being crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth, God accomplished marvelous things. Of course, the greatest of these was the Incarnation, in which God himself took flesh, took DNA, from the body of the Blessed Virgin and formed a body for himself.

Just imagine the great things God would accomplish if we would let him! We do not let God work because we are too conventional: the world watches TV so we watch TV, the world buys and buys and buys stuff, so we go shopping. To be a saint it is necessary to be unconventional, unusual, to be weird. Not every strange person is a saint, but no saint was ever normal. The one way that is definitely the wrong way is the well-worn path that the whole world is going down.

Once we have decided to not be like everyone else, we have to decide who we are going to be like. For that, we cannot choose a better example than Mary. Mary, who never prevented God from working in her life, who was devoted to Jesus from the Incarnation to the Cross, who always believed in the Resurrection, is the most unusual human person in the history of the world. We should be weird, like Mary.