We are only three days from Christmas, and the readings and prayers bring us right to the edge of the mystery of the Incarnation. The introit of today’s Mass: Rorate cæli, désuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem. “Drop down moisture, O ye Heavens, from above, and the clouds will rain down the Just One; the earth will open, and a Savior will spring up.” So the luminous Shekinah, the shining cloud of God’s presence, rained down grace from above, into the heart of the maiden of Nazareth, a heart which opened to the world on Christmas Day. When Mary said yes to the angel, and so conceived by the Holy Spirit, our salvation was accomplished. Her yes to God, the first time in human history that someone permitted God complete access to her heart and will, Mary’s yes to God began a new era, the time of grace, the New Covenant of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The communion between God and Mary is the greatest of all mysteries, renewed each time we receive Holy Communion.
St. Paul describes Christians as the “Stewards of God’s Mysteries” in the Epistle. These “mysteries” are the Sacraments and their effects. Grace rains down constantly upon us from heaven, but the future of humanity depends on what we do with that grace. Do we squander it, toss it away, ignore it—or do we nurture it, keep it in our hearts, act upon it? Are we stewards of the mysteries, or wasters and squanderers?
Stewards of the Mysteries
The one thing necessary of a steward is that he be found faithful, writes St. Paul. He must be faithful to the gift entrusted to him. We receive the gift and mystery of the Holy Eucharist today. Are we faithful to that mystery? What do we do with what we have received? What did Our Lady do with what she received? She kept it in her heart, and she grew the grace, in obedience to God. God gave her a little baby, and she grew that baby into a man, into a Savior. Has God given you children? Grow them into saints. It is not enough that your children get all A’s in school, that they learn the piano and play soccer. You must do more than feed, clothe, and educate them. You must lead them to sanctity if you are to be a steward of the mysteries.
Has God given you employment? Grow that work into an apostolate, a means of conversion for those with whom you work. Your job must build the Kingdom of Christ, not just to put food on the table. Your work is to save souls. Imagine if every card-carrying Catholic in this country were faithful to the mysteries in their work and personal lives: if they used the sacraments and the Word of God to build a Civilization of Love rather than fabricate a culture of death. Imagine what our Catholic Vice President could do to protect human life, to strengthen marriage, and to increase goodness in our country. Imagine what the top Catholic business leaders, Catholic entertainment moguls, and Catholic university professors, could do with the faith they have been given. There are many who use their faith well—I read yesterday that Comedian Bob Newhart has backed out of a scheduled appearance before Legatus, a group of Catholic businessmen, under heavy pressure from militant homosexuals. That’s a good sign that these Catholic businessmen are taking their faith seriously and promoting the Gospel in the Public Square.
Just a Housewife
Most of us are not high-powered businessmen, or professors, or Supreme Court justices. But neither was Our Lady. She was a housewife, a simple woman who decided to trust God with her whole mind, her whole strength, her whole soul. She trusted God. What have you and I been given that needs to be surrendered to Him? What gift can you return to him this Christmas? Your children? Your marriage? Your job? What parts of my life have I not submitted to his Lordship? Let us aspire to imitate Our Lady, and hold nothing back from him; to give what He takes, and take what He gives, with a big smile. Holy Mary, pray for us, that we may trust the Good God as you trusted him, and so bring him to birth again this Christmas.