What’s in a Name???
In my previous article titled “Mary CHRISTmas!!!,” I promised an explanation for using Mary CHRISTmas in place of Merry Christmas. So on this last day of the CHRISTmas season, The Baptism of the Lord, I keep my promise (kinda like last minute CHRISTmas shopping!).
Now just to clarify – I have no problem using Merry Christmas. This traditional greeting expresses our desire for souls to experience the true joy of CHRISTmas. But in these idolatrous times, so many souls are blinded to the beauty of that most Holy Night and of the entire CHRISTmas season. So when the greeting is bestowed or received, many times there’s really no thought given to its actual meaning.
As the war to annihilate the true meaning of CHRISTmas in hearts and societies continues, it also attacks the dignity of Our Lady and her irreplaceable role in our salvation. As lovers of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, let us in return wage our own war to bring back into the light what Satan is trying to conceal!
Using Mary CHRISTmas is a simple way to help us and all souls focus more on the sacred realities of CHRISTmas. Here are just some of the many beautiful truths it illuminates while providing opportunities for us to evangelize souls into a deeper love of the Holy Family:
- Online – the colors alone make souls stop an extra second or two and take a closer look at what they’re actually reading. They won’t just glance over the standard Merry Christmas and move on to what comes next. I call this ‘holy trickery’ and do it as often as I can – using something subtle (and many times not so subtle) to draw the attention of souls to some part/truth of our most holy Faith.
- Online and in writing – souls will ponder why Mary replaces Merry and why CHRIST is emphasized in CHRISTmas. This immediately causes souls to pause and gaze upon the most Holy Name of Mary (oh how sweet and beautiful her name is!!!) and take note that CHRIST is the central focus of CHRISTmas!
- When asked, “What’s up with Mary CHRISTmas?”, then it’s time for us to evangelize!
- Blue is the color most associated with Our Lady, so that’s an easy one.
- Green symbolizes hope and eternal life, both of which Christ came to bring us.
- Red symbolizes the shedding of blood, which Jesus did willingly for our salvation.
- CHRISTmas means Christ’s Mass or Mass of Christ. The colors emphasize that in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the same Precious Blood of Jesus which was poured out on the Cross, is re-presented (not represented) in time and space on the altar of sacrifice; and then consumed in Holy Communion for eternal life!
- The Mary at the beginning reveals some very beautiful Marian truths of our most holy Faith:
- Just as the morning star always precedes and announces the coming of the sun, so Mary, the true Morning Star, always precedes and announces every advent (coming) of her beloved Son and God, Jesus Christ!
- He Who in eternity precedes time and space was preceded by His Mother in time and space! The perfect Mother preceded the perfect Child; the creature preceded the Creator! The Creator gave flesh, blood, and life to the creature and then in turn was given Flesh, Blood, and Life from the creature!!!
- Mary, in her immaculate purity, is the one always closest to Jesus. The closer we are to Mary, the closer we are to Jesus. The more united we are to Mary, the more united we are to Jesus. Mary always leads and unites us to Jesus!
- Mary can never be separated from her Son and God Jesus Christ! Whenever or wherever we find Mary, we always find Jesus! As St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, that fiery Apostle of Mary, teaches:
“So intimately is she united to You that it would be easier to separate light from the sun, and heat from the fire. I go further, it would even be easier to separate all the angels and saints from You than Mary; for she loves You ardently, and glorifies You more perfectly than all Your other creatures put together” (True Devotion to Mary, n. 63).
- Mary’s irreplaceable role in salvation history as the Virgin who fulfills the Old Testament prophecies announcing the Virgin Birth of the Messiah (Isa 7:14 and 66:7-8a,b). No Mary, no Jesus! Know Mary, know Jesus!
- We can only be as Christ-like as we are Mary-like; we can only be as Christian as we are Marian. Since we are all called to holiness by virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to be perfect disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since Mary is the perfect disciple, we are called to follow in her footsteps which are the very Footsteps of Jesus; right up to her ascent of Calvary.
- Jesus came to us through Mary; we are always to go to Jesus through Mary. “The Church, with the Holy Spirit, blesses our Lady first, then Jesus, ‘Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’ Not that Mary is greater than Jesus, or even equal to him – that would be an intolerable heresy. But in order to bless Jesus more perfectly we should first bless Mary. Let us say with all those truly devoted to her, despite these false and scrupulous devotees: ‘O Mary, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’” (St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, n. 95).
- Every artist receives the greatest renown from his greatest masterpiece. Before the Divine Artist revealed Himself in the Flesh, He first revealed His greatest masterpiece – to give us a foreshadowing of His infinite greatness, goodness, and glory! He revealed to us His most beautiful, loveliest, beloved, holiest, perfect, intelligent, pure, humble, modest, chaste, powerful, grace-filled, radiant, innocent, wise, awesome, subtle, awe-inspiring, sublime, unfathomable, generous, condescending, gentle, meek, mild, honored, exalted, praised, compassionate, sought after, glorious, spotless, sinless, virginal, untainted, incomprehensible…WORDS FAIL!!! They UTTERLY fail!!!
- The Lord our God, in His infinite power and might, poured everything He possibly could into His Mother; and exalted her far beyond all the angels and Saints combined!!! If He could have created a more glorious Mother, He would have; but He couldn’t!!! Behold the height of Almighty God’s transcendent power, glory, beauty, and majesty in a creature – MARY MOST HOLY!!! AVE MARIA!!!
Now some may ask themselves if this article gives too much praise, glory, and honor to the Mother of God, somehow in opposition to or detracting from the praise, glory, and honor that we owe to Almighty God (as if that were possible!). I would tell them to ask themselves the following questions:
- Is there any father who is offended when his most beloved daughter receives praise, glory, and/or honor?
- Is there any son who is offended when his beloved mother receives praise, glory, and/or honor?
- Is there any spouse who is offended when his well-beloved spouse receives praise, glory, and/or honor?
Then when Mary Most Holy receives praise, glory, and/or honor, are we to somehow assume that any of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit) is offended?!?! Oh how much the Most Holy Trinity is perfectly praised, glorified, and/or honored when Our Lady is!!! I end this article in the words of the great St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, who Pope Pius XII called “Doctor Mellifluus” and “the last of the Fathers”:
“Of Mary, there is never enough.”
In recent decades there has been an all-out war to annihilate the true meaning of CHRISTmas. So what can we as lovers of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do to restore its sacredness? What can we do to remind souls that CHRISTmas is the joyful celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ? Here is a simple suggestion:
*** Restore the CHRISTmas manger scene in as many places as possible ***
I remember as a child being enamored by manger scenes; even now they exercise a holy influence upon me. They are an incredible source of catechesis without a single word being spoken. St. Francis of Assisi originated this practice to honor the beauty, warmth, and sacredness of this most Holy Night.
The CHRISTmas manger scene ‘preaches’ the glad tidings of the Virgin Birth. It ‘cries out’ in silence so many beautiful truths of our most holy Faith; all of which were accomplished through God’s infinite love, such as:
- Almighty God, Who dwells in eternity, willed to leap from His glorious throne in Heaven into time and space!
- Almighty God, Whom the universe cannot contain, contained Himself by the Power of the Holy Spirit in an earthly ‘throne’ – the Immaculate Womb of a teenage, virgin girl, Mary most holy! The Lord of glory dwelling in microscopic size held all things in existence by His infinite Power!
- Almighty God willed to become completely dependent on the Blessed Virgin Mary for everything to set us an example – Total Consecration!!! (Please read “True Devotion to Mary” (TAN books) by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, that fiery Apostle of Mary.)
- Almighty God, Who created man, willed to radically humble Himself and become a Man! Oh, that Love willed to become our Brother! And because of this great truth, the Immaculate Conception has become our Mother!
- Almighty God willed to be born by the Virgin Birth and “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, no. 57). Our Lady remained a virgin before, during, and after the Birth, which occurred:
- In a miraculous way : “…just as He afterwards went forth from the sepulchre while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which His disciples were assembled, the doors being shut; or, not to depart from everyday examples, just as the rays of the sun penetrate without breaking or injuring in the least the solid substance of glass, so after a like but more exalted manner did Jesus Christ come forth from His mother’s womb without injury to her maternal virginity” (The Catechism of the Council of Trent, article 3).
- Without pain : “To Eve it was said: In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. Mary was exempt from this law, for preserving her virginal integrity inviolate she brought forth Jesus the Son of God without experiencing, as we have already said, any sense of pain” (The Catechism of the Council of Trent, article 3).
- Almighty God willed to be born in a cave/stable where animals lived, fed, and relieved themselves, to teach us the beauty of holy poverty and detachment.
- Almighty God willed to be born into a family that was rejected and refused shelter, to reveal His association with and preferential love for the poor and the outcasts.
- *** NOTE ***: Regarding the next paragraph, if you’ve had an abortion or cooperated with one in any manner, you are still precious in the sight of Almighty God and still infinitely and perfectly loved by our most merciful Father!!! If you haven’t done so yet, please go to sacramental Confession and confess the sin ASAP, so the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ can wash away your sin and heal you!!! If you’re not yet Catholic, convert ASAP, so you can experience the power and healing of God’s forgiveness in sacramental Confession!!! If you are still distressed by your abortion or cooperation in one, you may want to refrain from reading the next paragraph and reach out to Rachel’s Vineyard for healing.
- Almighty God willed to be born a Child to reveal the dignity, beauty, and value of every child; all are precious gifts willed into existence by Love Himself. This is so important in an age that has been deemed “the culture of death” by Pope St. John Paul II. The evil of the “contraceptive mentality” has poisoned so many hearts and minds, leading to the brutal murders of over 59,600,000 children in the United Sates alone and over 1,438,000,000 worldwide!
- Almighty God willed to be born into a family to reveal God’s plan for every child and the importance of marriage and the family. Every child has the right to be born into a valid, loving marriage according to God’s design between one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant. “Male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27).
The CHRISTmas manger scene is an extremely simple, beautiful, and powerful means to bear witness to these and so many other beautiful truths of our most holy Faith. All of the above should move us out of love to properly prepare our hearts to celebrate the Birth of God-made-Man in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; most especially by making a good, humble sacramental Confession of our sins.
Let us not allow our blessed Lord to enter into hearts that resemble the cave/stable in Bethlehem – cold, filthy, foul-smelling, and full of dung (in this case our sins). Let us welcome Beauty Himself into hearts made pure through penance and Confession; hearts which resemble the Heart He most loves – the Immaculate Heart of Mary!!!
Coming soon – a follow-up article explaining how using Mary CHRISTmas in place of Merry Christmas can be used to reveal more beautiful truths of our most holy Faith.