Last week on Monday, the staff at the Father Peyton Center organized and celebrated a small and beautiful surprise birthday party for me. We were all together in the same space. It was a wonderful time—there was cake, donuts, and drinks; everyone was relaxing and laughing. In addition, I got all sorts of messages from around the world. The online East African Catholic community overdid itself with beautiful graphics and messages!
In celebrating birthdays, we offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the life of the person whose birthday we celebrate. We are telling God that we don't take the gift of the life of that person lightly. We are telling God that we are grateful for the gift of that life, and we deeply value it.
Today in celebrating the Nativity of Our Blessed Mother, we are lifting up a Prayer of Thanksgiving to God. We are telling God how grateful we are for the gift of this woman who birthed us at Calvary. Our gaze is turned towards God in gratitude. We live in a time when society is somewhat becoming desensitized to the value and sanctity of human life. No matter what the circumstances, God has a purpose for every human life. Celebrating the Nativity of Our Blessed Mother reminds us of the value and the sanctity of all human life. Whether they live under the bridge, are tiny like a mere dot, or are poor, all have a God-given value and purpose.
Celebrating birthdays re-affirms that message of sanctity and value for all life.
In celebrating a person's birth, we are also telling that person that we honor you and feel blessed to have you as part of our life. Given all the blessings that flowed to humanity through Our Blessed Mother, we have an even bigger reason to celebrate her life. We honor her for the birth of our Savior, Jesus. We honor her because of her constant and powerful intercession; we celebrate her because of her excellent modeling of faithfulness, humility, discipleship, care, and tenderness for us. On this day that we honor her birth, we are telling her what a gift she is to us.
May we be reminded on this Nativity of Our Blessed Mother that all life is a gift. May God teach us how to value it. May our families re-learn the value of honoring and celebrating it.
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About Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C.
Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C. is the President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. Father Fred, a native of Uganda, has multiple degrees including theology, philosophy, and communications. His native language is Lusoga and he speaks English, Luganda, Kiswahili, and Rutooro. He has been a teacher, researcher, author and family minister. Father Fred is committed to helping build God’s masterpiece one family at a time.