Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. On this the first day of the New Year, the Church honors Mary’s role in the unfolding of God’s plan for our salvation.
For decades, marketers have been using the slogan, “The Gift That Keeps on Giving” to sell products ranging from radios and electric stoves to cameras and magazine subscriptions. But like all the material gifts we received for Christmas, they will either wear out, become obsolete, or get lost.
Today, we celebrate the gift that does keep on giving! This precious gift was given to us by Jesus. It is the gift of Mary, His very own mother, to be our mother, model, and protection until the end of time!
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. John 19:26-27
With the words, “Here is your mother,” Jesus entrusted his beloved disciple John and us to the care of His mother. Like our earthly mothers, Mary serves as our model. Caryll Houselander, lay Catholic mystic and writer, says:
Our Lady said yes for the human race. Each one of us must echo that yes for our own lives. We are all asked if we will surrender what we are, our humanity, our flesh and blood to the Holy Spirit and allow Christ to fill the emptiness formed by the particular shape of our life.
In The Better Part, Fr. John Bartunek explains the importance of saying yes:
We can learn no greater lesson than how to say yes to God. Mary’s “yes” reversed Eve’s “no,” and paved the way for Christ’s undoing of Adam’s fall. Likewise, when God disrupts our lives – through the voice of conscience, the normal responsibilities and demands of our state in life, or the indications of Church teaching – our “yes” can echo Mary’s and make more room for Christ in this fallen world. But our “no” – or even our “maybe” – can just as easily shut him out.
She Keeps Giving
Through her constant intercession, Mary showers us with consolation and protection. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Mary will continue to intercede for us until the end of time.
“This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation…Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” Lumen Gentium, 62. (CCC, 969)
Don’t hesitate to call upon the gift that does keep giving. Start the new year by honoring the Mother of God and your Mother, too. A simple way to do that is to pray the Memorare, one of the most beautiful Marian prayers.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother; to thee do we come; before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.
 Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God: A New Edition of a Spiritual Classic, (Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2006), 35.
 John Bartunek, LC, ThD, The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer, (Algonquin: Ministry 23, 2014), 526.