Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time; September 8 is also the commemoration of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor her immaculate conception on December 8 each year, and here it is nine months later. Approximately two millennia ago, the beginnings of the work of salvation dawned in that her birth is tied up with the mission of salvation. Because of her complete obedience to God, sin and death would be overcome. True everlasting light would enter the world. So, we rejoice in celebrating Mary's birth.
The years from our Lady's conception and birth lead up to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of her Son. The Cross was the instrument of his most cruel death. But it was also the means of our freedom from the slavery to sin and from the punishment of eternal death. That is why we can rightfully find peace in commemorating the Exaltation of the Cross. A tool for an agonizing torturous death is our triumph. Satan may have thought that he would once and for all get rid of our Savior; but the opposite happened. Through the Cross we have God's Life; we have his ever abiding Love.
Next Sunday the Mass begins the 24th week in Ordinary Time. The 15th is the day in which we recognize the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Then, we especially recognize our Lady's spiritual martyrdom as she stood at the foot of the Cross. She suffered as she witnessed the cruelty inflicted upon Jesus her Son. She endured the anguish of a mother and of a daughter of God. How could anyone truly appreciate the pain that entered her heart? She is referred to as the co-redemptrix. Christ allowed his mother to undergo the agony of his Cross; so, He brought her into the mystery of our salvation.
Bl. John Paul II's coat of arms had on it the words Totus Tuus, meaning that everything is for Mary. He was inspired by St. Louis de Montfort who said that whatever we give to Mary is in turn given by her to Jesus. Mary will always help us to do what her Son asks of us. She will help us to bear our own crosses in union with His. She lead us to Him, Who is our Salvation.