The joy of Christmas all began with Mary’s generous response to God through the angel Gabriel. When Gabriel told Mary: “behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son… He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High… [as] the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:31-35), Mary responded “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This brought her great joy, the joy of having Jesus inside her: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:46-48). Christmas is a time for all of us to share in Mary’s joy.
As God called Mary to help bring the Child Jesus into the world, God calls us to do so too. What better way to bring joy to the world and to other people than to bring people to Mary who brings them to Christ? Mary’s joy overflows into others. Her joy overflowed into John the Baptist who danced in Elizabeth’s womb at the Visitation. Mary’s joy overflowed into the angels who then announced it to the shepherds on Christmas night: “I bring you good news of a great joy… to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). The three Magi also experienced a share in Mary’s great joy when they arrived to worship the divine King of the Jews. As we bring others to her, Mary’s joy will help them experience the Christmas joy of having the Emmanuel, God with us.
Joy is the fruit of love. We ask: St. Mary of the Angels, Teach us how to love with a love that gives itself away. As St. Josemaría would put it: “beg Our Lord, through his Mother who is our Mother too, to increase his love in us, to grant us a taste of the sweetness of his presence. Only when we love do we attain the fullest freedom: the freedom of not wanting ever to abandon, for all eternity, the object of our love” (Friends of God 38).
To help bring Mary’s Christmas joy to others for all generations we have begun our For All Generations campaign. It is a campaign to restore the North Tower, façade, parapet, roofs, the four small cupolas, and other elements of the church exterior. Part of our dream is to put up a large image of the Blessed Virgin Mary—overlooking Chicago as our Protectrix—as we restore the parapet to the front façade.
Even before we began our campaign we had received over $1 million in donations and pledges—up from the $400,000 we had last year at this time. What joy this must bring to Our Blessed Mother—your generosity certainly gives us great joy.
Let’s never take for granted, but keep marveling at the beautify legacy of St. Mary of the Angels church. It is a legacy that we have received from past generations, so let us now work to pass it on for future and for all generations. In this way our Christmas joy will be full as more people encounter Christ through Mary.
Always united to the Child Jesus and to his Mother and ours,
Fr. John Waiss, Fr. Hilary Mahaney, Fr. Charles Ferrer, Fr. Deogracias Rosales,
Fr. Krzysztof Świerczyński, Deacon Glenn Tylutki and Staff of St. Mary of the Angels.