We do not wish folks a “merry Thanksgiving”, a “merry New Year” or a “merry Fourth of July”. They are, however, days for merriment just like Christmas. Why then do we restrict to that day our wish for merriment?
An old tradition tells us that in medieval England the customary greeting among Christians for the birthday of Our Lord was, “I wish you a Mary’s Christmas”. All over the world and down through the years, millions of folks have been happy on Christmas, but no one has ever been so happy as Mary was on the first Christmas. To wish friends a happiness that would even come close to Mary’s happiness on the first Christmas morning would be to wish them indescribable joy.
Something like the joy which Mary had on Christmas awaits those who answer Our Lord’s invitation to become a priest, a Sister or a Brother. And they will know something of the joy of “Mary’s Christmas” not only once a year, but every day.
St. Alphonsus exclaimed, “O wonderful dignity of the priests, in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Son of God becomes incarnate.” The thrill that Mary had on Christmas morning of holding Christ in her hands is a thrill every priest can have every morning in offering Holy Mass.
According to St. Alphonsus the very first “nun” was Mary who gave Jesus to the world on Christmas morning. The Church is very much in need of thousands of Nuns—other “Marys”—who will bring Christ to the millions of human hearts. Nor will He ever be born into those hearts unless young women called by God to the religious life will say something like what Mary said to Him through Gabriel, “Lord, I will be whatever You want me to be, and do whatever You want me to do.”
From Vocation Talks, by Msgr. William Furlong, 1960. This old book is a compilation of columns from our archdiocese’s catholic newspaper, THE ADVOCATE. This book is in our monastery library.