“But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.”

Luke 2:19

PittoniNativityNativityWithGodTheFatherAndTheHolyGhost(sm)RestoredTraditions1. We are more than justified in thinking that this sentence, repeated elsewhere of Our Lady by St. Luke, is intended to tell us something peculiarly characteristic of her. “It seems as if they were meant to imply that she was especially one of those souls whose great book from which they learn is the daily providence of God, the course of His dealings with them in their own lives, and in the incidents which come across them therein. Such souls need no other lessons than those which are thus given them day after day, and they find in them most abundant instruction as to the very highest secrets and most sublime ways of God. Common life is to them a daily revelation, and their attention feeds itself on its events. Thus the Blessed Mother becomes our teacher in the method of listening to and profiting by the daily teachings of our Lord.”

2. And indeed we may well here remind ourselves of the immense dignity and grandeur of the life of ordinary Christians in the Catholic Church. Do we not live among the same mysteries as those in the midst of which that Blessed Mother spent her life after the Annunciation? We are daily conversant with the Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; whether in the Holy Mass, which is a repetition of Calvary, or in Holy Communion, or in that perpetual presence in the tabernacle, which is a continuation of the life of Bethlehem and Nazareth. The Precious Blood which was first shed at the Circumcision is continually around us, its application to our souls is made by every sacrament that we receive, and in a thousand other ways. The miracles which encompass our daily life, such as that which is wrought at Holy Mass, are not less miraculous because they are ordinary. It may be said with truth, that if a soul, whose opportunities were not greater than those of an ordinary Christian, could bring itself to catch Our Blessed Lady’s thoughtfulness in penetrating the supernatural character of daily incidents, and in tracing in them the workings and ways of God, there would be little more wanting to make that soul the soul of a saint.”

3. What, then, were the reflections of Our Lady as she “pondered in her heart” these wonderful events which were happening about her? We have her one and only declaration in the Magnificat, which here again she can repeat with emphasized significance. It guides us to the direction of all her thoughts, which is first of all that of the manifestation of God, and of the ways of God, illustrated by this Child that is lying in her arms:

  • the power of God, which so “rules from end to end mightily and disposes all things sweetly”;
  • the liberality of God, “Who so loved the world as to give His only Son”;
  • the faithfulness of God, Who has waited all these years, and now, in “the fullness of time,” has sent His only Son into the world”;
  • the mercy of God, Who has sent His Son that men “may have life, and may have it more abundantly”; and so throughout the gamut of the Divine attributes.

Then she would see in the Child itself a further and a yet greater illustration of that which she had already recognized in herself:

  • If she was lowly, so indeed was He.
  • If she was hidden, so was He.
  • If she was patient and obedient, and yet burned with love of God and man, how much more did He?

Summary Meditations Points:

1. Our Lady the model of the quiet contemplative.

2. The supernatural element in everyday life.

3. The thoughts of Our Lady over the Crib.

Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ (Mirror View 1)Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peace” (1913).

Art: The Nativity with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, Giovanni Battista Pittoni the younger, 1740, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Mirror of Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., www.stmaryscadoganstreet.co.uk, all rights reserved, used with permission.

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