End of the Semester Celebration

End of the Semester Celebration

Classes end today and it is official:  the fall 2014 semester has flown by!

Tomorrow’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is, in many ways, the climax of the first term.  We will have free food and music on the plaza by the fountain after the noon Mass that will include a mariachi band and great Mexican cuisine.  When I lived in Mexico for a year I saw how this day carried more importance and meaning for the Mexican people than Christmas and Easter combined.  So we want to make La Guadalupana’s day an annual celebration on our campus, and tomorrow we will begin.

Members of the Ave Maria University community will be invited at tomorrow’s Mass to make or renew their personal consecration to Jesus through Mary.  Some students making this consecration will have spent the last month with Fr. Gaitley’s book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, a “do-it-yourself” retreat.  Others will come with an open heart and pray the beautiful and simple prayer of consecration.  All will be honoring our patroness and discovering the joy the attendees at Cana knew well:  how Mary is mysteriously linked and indispensable to the saving and miraculous works of her Son.

So I hope to see you and your friends tomorrow for the noon Mass and fiesta that follows. 

This celebration comes at a time where I am thinking a great deal about my own mother.  A week ago today students, faculty and staff gathered in the Oratory on very short notice for an afternoon Mass Fr. Garrity celebrated in remembrance of my mom who went home to the Lord that morning.  I want to thank those who commended my mom’s soul to the mercy of God through prayer at that Mass or subsequently.  I cannot put into words how touched I have been by the countless expressions of sympathy, consolation and affection that have been showered upon me and my family.  My mom was 96 when the Lord called her home.  You would think I would have been prepared for this moment, but alas, the “deep things of God” have their own rhythm and order.  I miss her terribly. 

I have thought a great deal this week about how much Jesus must have loved and needed His own mother.  Advent is a time when we ponder the truth that the God-man came from a human mother and that when He was in utero, her blood was His blood, her breath was His breath, and in effect, her life was His life.  It is a truth wrapped in mystery and well-worth pondering in these days before Christmas. 

That inseparability between Jesus and Mary helps explain why members of the Ave Maria University community will pray together at the conclusion of Mass, “Mary, I give you my heart.  Please set it on fire with love for Jesus.”  Love of Mary is about love of Jesus.  It is that simple.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for His Ave Maria University in 2015!  Feliz Navidad y espero que voy a verle mañana!