A Note from Fr. Angelo
Peace and all good things!
This month of September we celebrate a number of significant feast days. September 8 is the liturgical celebration of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It occurs every year, exactly nine months after the celebration of the December 8 Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Ordinarily, the saints’ feast days correspond to their day of death, or their “birth” into eternal life. Only in the case of the Blessed Mother and St. John the Baptist do we celebrate their historical birthdays.
In the case of the Blessed Mother, her birthday is significant because it represents the predestined moment in history in which God’s promises would be fulfilled. St. Paul talks about this in his Letter to the Galatians:
I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father” (4:1-6)!
Today’s feast reminds us that we are neither slaves nor even heirs who have not yet come of age; rather, right now we are true children of God because in Christ we have the same Father in heaven and the same Mother on earth. Mary is the fullness of time because God loved her in such a unique way so as to choose her to be the Immaculate Mother of his Son. Each of us is loved is a unique and personal way by God because He has chosen us individually in Christ to call God “Our Father” and to truly be his children…
The other great feast days this month all center around the Cross of Jesus. On September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we will commemorate the finding of the relic of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem by St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Through this celebration, we will recall that the Cross is the sign of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Then, the next day, September 15, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, we will remember that Mary was not only intimately associated with Christ in his birth, infancy, and childhood, but also in his suffering, death and resurrection. At the foot of the Cross, Mary offered a pleasing sacrifice to the Father in union with her Son. She is a sign to all of us that suffering willed out of love has a salvific meaning and value.
Finally, on September 17, we the Franciscan Friars Conventual will celebrate the historical anniversary of the Stigmatization of St. Francis. By this feast, we will commemorate the unprecedented miracle by which Francis of Assisi became a living crucifix and a sign of the renewal of the Church in the likeness of Christ crucified and glorified. This feast reminds us of what we are capable of accomplishing for Christ by our perseverance in his life and by participating in his sacrificial love.
In sum, in September, as we witness both signs of hope in our nation, as well as reasons for foreboding, we should be convinced that we must put our trust in Christ and his Blessed Mother. They will not fail us. Christian hope is something more than believing tomorrow will be a better day. It is the conviction that Christ is faithful to his promise that he will not leave us orphans but will be with us until the end of time. This faith is itself a victory and a reward because it sustains us always and everywhere.
Many blessings on you and your families.
Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, Rector