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A time of blessings and beginnings

A couple thousand years ago a husband and wife welcomed a baby girl, a child they had thought they might never be able to have. Especially as older first-time parents, they must have been so full of joy and excitement.

They could not possibly have known all that that child would mean to the world and generations and generations who would follow. That infant would become our Blessed Mother, the mother of the Son of God, the mother of us all.

Today as we reflect on the birth of the Blessed Mother, my sons are beginning the school year. Along with thousands and thousands of other children, they’re attending school virtually. The concept is a little intimidating—especially after the emergency remote learning we experienced with some trepidation and much chaos this spring.

I am trying to approach this time with gratitude. I am grateful for the teachers who are pouring themselves out for our children. I am grateful for the technology that makes remote learning possible. I am also extremely grateful that my children are safe and fed and that I have the luxury of worrying about something that is really an extra—a good education.

The start of this new school year makes me nervous. How will I get everyone logged into their classes? What if they have technical problems while I’m doing my own work? How will they connect with their teachers and classmates from afar? What if it’s just too much screen time? What if it’s difficult emotionally or physically or mentally?

But today as we deal with occasional technical and communication issues and brothers “zoom-bomb” each other’s classes, I am trying to hold onto a sense of calm. Today we celebrate a beautiful beginning—the birth of Mary. St. Joachim and St. Anne might not have known what the future held for their baby girl, but they embraced it with hope, faith, and love.

None of us knows what the future holds. It is easy to look ahead at the days and weeks of online learning and feel defeated and depleted. But I am going to hold onto hope that this will be a time of growth and learning and connection—and unexpected surprises, some of which have to be pleasant.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. And happy birthday.

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