Today Father Thomas Vander Woude gave a homily on the Blessed Mother on the Feast of her Nativity, and the anniversary Mass of the death of his dad, Tom VanderWoude (http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/you_pull_ill_push).
Father Tom explained that the Blessed Mother did ordinary things perfectly. She was not standing on the street corner, calling attention to herself. No, she led an ordinary life. When she was a child, she always obeyed her parents, always did her chores. Not only did she do everything perfectly, but she never missed an opportunity to do the right thing, the most loving thing! And, she was happy! This is what it means to be "full of grace"!
As Benedict XVI wrote, the Blessed Mother's "soul was the space from which God was able to gain access into humanity." Her soul was pure, open, other-centered.
As I listened to Father Tom's homily, I thought that it seemed fitting that God had called Tom Vander Woude home on the Blessed Mother's birthday. He, too, was a sweet, open soul. He was always ready to do the right thing--ultimately to give his life to save another's. He, too, was quiet (like Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother), never tooting his own horn, always looking out for someone else. And, he was funny! He wasn't a "sour-faced saint"! On this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let's all pray for and with Tom and the Vander Woude family, that they will find comfort and solace in the hearts of Jesus and Mary.