Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mary, Jesus, And a Long List of Other Dudes...

Early Christians celebrated today as the birthday of Mary, the Mother of God, as early as the 5th century and even in Islam's holy book, the Koran, Mary's (Maryam's) story is in 2 chapters.  Allah, through an angel, declares Maryam "pure" and "exalted above all women," chosen to bear the prophet Jesus. She conceives simply by Allah's decree.  Woah.  Talk about learning something every day.

Some think Catholics worship Mary and statues and that they will get to heaven by good works and their outward religious practices.  I agree there are Christians of any kind that can be rather extreme in certain ways, but I think there are misunderstandings on both sides.  Having been away from the Catholic church for almost a year and then being part of a Pentecostal church for about 4 months, my perspectives on both have really changed; in good ways.  But that is a whole other blog. I always believed that Jesus = salvation and it was only his death that saves us and ignorance of the bible is ignorance of Christ.  I was fortunate growing up, but also questioned everything I heard or read.

Mary has always been more than special to me for many reasons.  I was born premature at 7 months (3 lbs 5 ounces) and not thought to make it so a priest (now monseigneur) baptized me 2 days after I was born.  He actually named me before my parents even knew about it. Maria in honor of Mary's feast on that day, Dec 8, The Immaculate Conception. (Jesus divinely conceived in her womb through the holy spirit of God.)  Well, I always thought what an honor that was.

She would have had to be far from just another ordinary good woman to undertake this more than huge life commitment and say OK to some angel that appeared one day when she was praying and saying she wanted to do God's will, whatever it took.  She had to take care of Jesus who grew up to change the course of history and religion and life as everyone saw it.  Not just another mother; a little more high class I would say.  A class all her own.  She had a big part in the story of salvation as it unfolded before her eyes.

Some people celebrate birthdays a little too much; like Hollywood.  They are normal people who happen to have certain talents that happen to make them lots of money doing what they love and are good at. That's all.  Sometimes they are so worshipped and then yeah, we find out they got arrested, murdered someone, stole money, or lord knows what.  Their glory is then pretty much gone.

I can't find anything to tarnish Mary's image, unlike the historical descendants of Jesus, who were murderers, adulturers, liars, idol worshippers, but who God used for history just the same.  The 2nd reading used to always be so dry to me.  I mean you know the one, the geneology of Jesus where so and so was the father of so and so and so and so was the father of so and so...So much real history to be able to trace this Jesus way back to Abraham who was born 2100 B.C? and then this little couple named Mary and Joseph.  These names are so famous that we don't even need to use their last names when we talk about them.

That can surely not be said of me, and just barely of others like Elvis or Sting. (HAHA.)  Plus Mary is in the bible alot and I am not.

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