Christmas in July

Ever since my conversion to Catholicism, I have been fascinated by the mystery of the Incarnation, regardless of the time of year. Christ among us as true God and true man – this mystery seems completely illogical, and at the same time, a stroke of Godly genius. How else could we, who had lost our original connection to God, find him again unless we had a human person, who was also God, to bridge the gap.

One Christmas morning a few years ago, I had a startling realization. Prior to that, I had unconsciously believed that God gave us his Son in the Incarnation, only to take him back in the Ascension. That morning, I suddenly realized that God gave Jesus to be our very own forever. How can I understand the magnitude of this gift? Now my prayer is that God will give me to Jesus to be his very own forever.

Mary’s Garden

Several years ago when we repainted the stucco, we added a tiled picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to one of the courtyard walls.  Later, when I became serious about turning the courtyard into a garden, I began to think of it as “Mary’s Garden” – perhaps because I have long held an image in my mind of a lovely garden filled with flowers that I walk through on my way to see the Lord.  I have always thought of this image in my mind as “Mary Garden.”  My courtyard garden is a pale reflection of my image, but I am happy to dedicate it to “Our Lady,” who said “yes” to the Incarnation of the Savior on behalf of us all.

Today is the Feast of the Visitation.  The newly pregnant Virgin sets out and travels to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also pregnant and in her sixth month.  When Elizabeth sees Mary, the infant John leaps for joy in her womb.  Then, in response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary utters her Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed….” (Luke 1:46-48)