Which is a greater thing to possess? The gift itself, or the necessary means to obtaining and keeping and using the gift? What an impossible question, to which the only answer is both/and.
The capacity of understanding the gift must expand to include the necessary means.
It’s a package deal, as they say.
What good is a book if I’ve never learned to read? Or worse, if I know how to read, yet never take the book off the shelf.
In fact, the gift and the means are so intertwined, there is concern over mistaking one for the other. And the risk is taking both for granted.
Consider this as it pertains to freedom. Freedom is the necessary means to true love. To true anything, really. True love, true loyalty and devotion, true safety, true happiness, true prosperity. None of these gifts are fully accessible without the catalyst of free will. Freedom is so necessary it seems to be the hidden inner-workings of the gifts themselves. So ingrained we don’t notice it as a separate thing until it is taken away, like the batteries of a child’s favorite toy.
Consider this as it pertains to the greatest Gift of all, Jesus Christ. The Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Word became Flesh. What was/is the necessary means to obtain and keep Him?
Who else, but Mary? She is so integral to the Gift, we almost don’t notice her. But if she is taken away from the scene, the story does not unfold. He does not come. She was/is the necessary means chosen by God. Her purity, humility, perfect virtues and freely chosen “Fiat” gave access to the Gift of Christ to all of us. Freely choosing to stay connected to the necessary means, to live with her and in imitation of her, is how we continually access this Gift of True Love. Keeping her in the same heart where He lives is the way to truly experience the Gift.
Expanding the capacity of understanding the Gift to include the necessary means does not cheapen, hinder, or compete with the Gift itself. No, in fact, it is essential. Lest we spend the only truly valuable commodity of time collecting books to gather dust on shelves and tinkering around with toys that would have been epic, had we only inserted the batteries.
Sweet Mary, Mother of God, teach me your ways and shine your light on my path. Take me directly to the Source of Our Salvation and show me how to interact with Him. Stay with me always, because I know wherever your pure, humble virtues are, He is there. Through you He has chosen to come, and so through you I freely choose to go. Merry Christmas to the Queen of Heaven. Amen.