We had just moved to our new farm with a larger house since I was expecting our ninth child. My oldest child had started high school, while five others attended a small Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8.
One day in December, the priest led an Advent reflection in the gym and asked the children, “Who is waiting for the birth of a new brother or sister this Advent?”
Five hands went up.
“Oh, my isn’t this wonderful,” the priest exclaimed, without really identifying each face, “So many families are joining Mary, waiting for the birth of a baby!”
Then a smart-aleck grade 8 student yelled out, “No, Father, those are all Juneau kids with their hands raised!”
I sometimes joke that I needed to experience birth so many times because I really did not get what God was trying to tell me the first time around. The Father is so kind, he repeated His lesson again and again.
Mary and Her Baby
Mary and the Infant Jesus Bonded
Imagine Mary gazing into the eyes of the Incarnation and soaking in His love. Why, there is something about an ordinary baby’s open, trusting gaze that literally draws love from us, never mind looking into the face of the Infant God.
A newborn can see clearly for about 8 inches, just far enough to focus intently on an adult’s face. It is almost as if the initiative to bond comes from the baby first, especially when I consider their fierce hand grip they clutched fingers and clothing. To ensure that mothers nurse, babies are born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry which literally triggers the let-down reflex for milk, soaking clothes if mothers do not start nursing quickly enough.
Babies do not even have a sense of themselves apart from their mothers for the first year because their whole identities are intricately entwined with mum. I would think Jesus went through this same stage of development. No wonder Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces; she soaked in the love of God and simply allows it to flow through her to us.
To receive this love of God flowing through Mary, we simply must give our own fiat to God with her as she said, “I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38). If our “Yes” to the Lord is whispered from our centre, the place where our deepest identity is rooted, we will experience a rebirth this Christmas season. We may feel we do not have enough faith to receive such a wonderful gift of life, but God is more powerful than our doubts and hears the longings of our heart.
Copyright 2017 Melanie Jean Juneau