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The Holy Family as presented in the Cenacolo Christmas Play 2017
(c) Mateo Ivankovic

December 22, 2018
Christmas Novena Day 8

Dear Family of Mary!

Today we pray that we will have courage and become an encouragement to others. We live in difficult times, and it is a temptation to flag in our zeal. But Our Lady is with us to encourage us, and wants us to turn and encourage each other. Here is our message:

December 25, 2001 “Dear children! I call you today and encourage you to prayer for peace. Especially today I call you, carrying the newborn Jesus in my arms for you, to unite with Him through prayer and to become a sign to this peaceless world. Encourage each other, little children, to prayer and love. May your faith be an encouragement to others to believe and to love more. I bless you all and call you to be closer to my heart and to the heart of little Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

I think it is important that Our Lady brought Baby Jesus with her on Christmas Day, 2001. She was reminding us of something. We know that little ones in their complete dependence, draw out of their parents an extreme form of courage. Parents with tiny ones never really sleep, they always have one eye open, in case their child would need them. There is a constant vigilance for parents of newborns. Talk about courage! Talk about being signs of encouragement to others. Such self-sacrifice makes those who know them marvel. Such love!!

I wonder if Our Lady wanted us to remember the courage it took for her to give birth to Jesus and raise Him in such difficult circumstances. She was the most courageous of all parents. She gave birth in a stable. She was far from her family and had no one but Joseph to help her. She had to flee Bethlehem to protect little Jesus from Herod’s men who were sent to kill Him. She and Joseph lived with Baby Jesus as refugees in Egypt for many months, until it was safe to return to Nazareth. They were poor, hardworking people with no status. Mary had much to be vigilant about, but she had courage, because she had complete trust in the Father and total love for her Infant Son and she knew the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

She would never boast about it, but Mary showed incredible courage and in that courage became an encouragement for others. Now she encourages us so much, if we meditate on her life. In turn, she wants us to encourage each other. We need to cheer one another on in the journey we are taking together through life. We need to smile at each other; say words of truth, hope and love; serve one another kindly and generously, and just be good to each other. This is the most basic way to encourage each other. But mostly we need to share our faith with others. They need it so much.

May the incredible courage of Mary, as she mothered little Jesus, encourage us as we face the difficulties of our day. May we respond with trust and love, and turn to encourage our neighbors.

Let us pray:

May the Virgin Mary help us to open the doors of our hearts to Christ, Redeemer of man and of history; may she teach us to be humble, because God looks upon the lowly; may she enable us to grow in understanding the value of prayer, of inner silence, of listening to God’s Word; may she spur us to seek God’s will deeply and sincerely, even when this upsets our plans; may she encourage us while we wait for the Lord, sharing our time and energies with those in need.

Mother of God, Virgin of expectation, grant that the God-who-comes will find us ready to receive the abundance of his mercy.

May Mary Most Holy, “Woman of the Eucharist” and Virgin of Advent, prepare us all to joyfully welcome Christ’s coming and to celebrate worthily his sacramental presence in the mystery of the Eucharist. -St. John Paul II

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2018