Father’s Day

Homily – Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God, 2017

motherofgod

Mary has many titles.  We are familiar with a good number of them. The Immaculate Conception, Queen of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to name a few. 

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of others that have special meaning. However, the one title that surpasses all others, the one that we celebrate today is Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

This feast reminds us of a reality that is very easy for us to forget, that God came to us, became one of us, and he did so as a baby. He did not just appear, which God could have done, but He chose to come through a woman. We can lose sight of the fact that Mary conceived a child, though not in the usual way. She carried Him in her body, nourishing Him from within for nine months with all that entails.

This most blessed of all women was and is indeed, the Mother of the second person of the Trinity, a person, a baby that is consubstantial – of the same substance – as the Father, yet lying in her arms, dependent upon her. She is the Mother of God.

The important aspects of the life of Mary such as her own Immaculate Conception and her Perpetual Virginity are the direct consequences of God’s decision to make her the mother of his Son.

From an earthly perspective, from a human perspective, there is no title that can conjure up more feelings than that of “mother”. For most of us it is a name given to a person dear to us, one who embodies a type of love for us that words fail to describe.

The name Mother of God describes the Virgin Mary, who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Person of Jesus Christ.

But why do we celebrate a day by that name in the Church?

We celebrate it because it confirms and solidifies something that we have just finished celebrating. The Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God sets in our hearts the essential truth of Christmas.

The Title, the use of the words Mother of God speaks to the truth of the incarnation…..of God becoming completely united with our humanity. The very purpose of the title and for its celebration is to leave no doubt in our hearts and minds that Jesus was fully human and fully God.

It is not correct to think of Jesus as someone who is a split person, part God and part man. That maybe it was the God part of Him that worked miracles and the human part of Him that slept in the boat or even died on the cross.

By declaring Mary to be the Mother of God, it makes clear to us that Jesus did not simply put on human flesh. He is not God imitating a man, but both God and Man, like us in all things but sin.

This is essential since it is only because he is truly God that Jesus can be the source of forgiveness for us and only because he is truly man that our humanity can be redeemed.

The dignity Jesus bestows upon women and motherhood is also beyond compare. Jesus subjected himself, was obedient to His Mother Mary and to Joseph, His Earthy father.

Jesus, God, The Creator of the Universe willed to learn how to nail a board from Joseph. Jesus, God himself, learned to say His prayers from Mary. What does that say about the dignity of work, the value of learning, and the importance of prayer?

The One God that has been revealed to us as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, by a Mystery of Mercy, willed that the Second Person, the Son unite Himself with humanity not just for a little while, but for all eternity.

And while we do not diminish the role of Mary, today is really not about her, but about what God did through her obedient and willing heart.

Paul states this truth very eloquently in our second reading:

When the fullness of time had come,
(not the nick of time or the best time, or even the right time, but the fullness of time)
(God did what?) God sent his Son,
(how?) born of a woman, born under the law,
(why?) to ransom those under the law, (that’s us you and me),
(to what end?) so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters
(of who?) the Father.

And if we are sons and daughters of God the Father, then we are heirs of that same God through the incarnation of God.  And to be an heir is to inherit everything!

So it is good to celebrate the name of Mary, because by a singular grace, she is indeed, the Mother of God. But we primarily celebrate what God did, through Mary.

And this day is our celebration as well, for through the incarnation, by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we have been made heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. That is our dignity, that is our destiny, that is our greatest hope and that is the source of our joy.

Content taken from Homily by Deacon Bill O’Donnell

Tree Cutting

The kids had been waiting for days for Tree Cutting Day.  Going out to get the tree on the farm is so rich with memories for all of us.  This year, I couldn’t go, so our daughter Carrie took photographs for me to treasure.

Tree Cutting

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

I waited at home for them to come back.  When I saw the sheep skitter across the knoll, I knew they were on the way.  First, I saw Caroline come around the bend, pulling the sled with Georgie on it.  Not far behind were the rest of the children, talking, laughing, skipping.  Last, came an enormous tree with two pair of legs, boughs jauntily bouncing to the rhythm of their steps.  I couldn’t believe what a gift I have been given in these people, in this place.

“I could leave the world with today in my eyes.” – Truman Capote (from A Christmas Memory)

One Father

One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.  — George Herbert, 1640

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois  ©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

How blessed our children are to have him.  Even in small ways, he teaches them how to love.  He gets them started, offers advice, encouragement, and help when they are ‘stuck’.  And then instills confidence by letting them carry on without him.  Would that every child had such a father.  He is truly worth more than a thousand schoolmasters.  What he teaches is goodness, kindness, and love.

Annual Celebration

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Diaconate ordination for our local diocese.  Ten men were ordained – 5 on their way to priesthood, 5 to remain “Permanent Deacons.”  This is my favorite Diocesan event of the year – and this will make six years in a row Nissa and I have attended.  If you haven’t been to an ordination, you must go at least once.  It is very much like a wedding, and as Nissa likes to say – this time all the eyes are on the guys.  There is something about a mass attended by multiple bishops, and scores and scores of Priests and Deacons.  For me, it reminds my of my own Ordination – which tends to fade away as a memory over the course of the year as I go about my day to day bustling.  Witnessing the Litany of the Saints again, with hundreds of people praying over the men as they lay prostrate, completely submissive to the Holy Spirit, brings me back to my own ordination in that moment of complete peace.  Hearing the vows again that I took, reminds me of my own obligation to pray and work for the people of God.  I leave each time totally reinvigorated and ready to serve His people.

2014 Ordination

And this year, I had the privilege of serving with my good friend Rich Menard at his Mass of Thanksgiving.  Rich and Diane and their kids are good friends of ours from our Charlton home.  We attended the same church and served together in many of the church ministries together.  Both of us are young as far as Deacons go, Rich now being, I think, the youngest Deacon in the Diocese.  He has told me that our family was an inspiration for his, and just being seeing him makes me want to live up to that high standard.  He and his family are truly worthy of this honor and will make a wonderful witness to the faith.

And as if the day couldn’t get any better, our good friend, and Joséphine’s Godfather, Deacon Bill Hays also served at the Mass.  This was Bill’s last mass in our Diocese (at least as an assigned Deacon) as he leaves for Cape Cod to spend more time with his wife, (and Jo’s Godmother) Jean.

Rich Menard Mass of Thanksgiving

Ad Multos Annos my brothers!

Peace,

Deacon Brian

Here we go again…

Over the Rainbow

Well.  I promised I would begin blogging when my beautiful bride started again.  She did.  So here I am.  This will be at least my third attempt at regular blogging.  In my first attempt, I spent weeks setting up my own blog – A Fathers Day with dreams of inspiring other Fathers to lead a faith-filled life.  Then made maybe two posts, then nothing… for months as my Diaconate Formation took over every spare minute I had.  I tried again here on this blog.  Looking back, its been more than a year since I tried the second time.  Then, it was renovating our new home that took every spare minute.  Much has changed since then and I wont try to list it all here.  Hopefully, this attempt will be more fruitful and all will be revealed.  For now, suffice it to say that our family life is busy, the farm is in high gear, my diaconate ministry continues to be challenging, and somewhere in there I fit in a full time job consulting for a large government contractor.  Any one or all of these could begin to take up the little spare time I now have.  I long for all this to come together as a single integrated lifestyle where work, ministry and family are all one and the same.  But until God blesses me with that gift – I will continue to do my best to follow his calling.  As they say, his plan for me is much better than anything I can imagine for myself.

Peace,

Deacon Brian aka “The Deke”

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