Sunday, August 13, 2006
Mary the Under-rated?
What would you do if you knew a person who was completely sold out to God, who staked her reputation and her life on her faith, who followed Jesus Christ diligently, whose heart broke at the Crucifixion and rose to ecstatic elation at the Resurrection?
What would you do if you knew such a woman? Would you ignore her? Would you not believe her? Would you say, "that's nice" and pass her off as a fanatic or fringe group member?
Such a woman is Mary of Nazareth, justifiably known as the 'first to accept Jesus Christ.' Mary is the woman who accepted the call to be 'Theotokos' or "God-bearer." She didn't do it with pride or with thoughts of self-advancement: To the Angel she said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word."
When she witnessed the miraculous testimonies about her newborn Son, she "pondered all these things in her heart."
When she attended the wedding feast at Cana and witnessed Jesus Christ's first miracle, she said, "Whatsoever He says to you, do it."
Unlike eleven of the twelve Apostles, Mary stood with her Son until His death on the Cross.
Without the fear that kept the Eleven in the Upper Room on the Morning of Resurrection, Mary went to the Garden to tend her Son's Body, only to witness the glory of His Resurrection.
Yet for all this, the Virgin Mary remains under-rated, misunderstood, and in many circles, nearly ignored. Certainly we can echo the words of John the Baptist's mother Elizabeth who said, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how is it that the mother of the Lord cometh to me?"
Mary is a woman we need to know better. As the Angel told her at the Annunciation, Mary is "blessed among women" because of her willingness to bear the Son of God. In her wonderful Magnificat, Mary sings, "my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior, for He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden."
Tuesday, August 15, is the observance of the 'Dormition of the Theotokos.' It marks the 'falling asleep' of Mary and her entry into her eternal reward in Heaven. Mary's death is a foretelling of our own deaths. It reminds us that an eternal reward awaits us when we 'fall asleep' in the Faith.
On Tuesday, take a moment to thank God for the example Mary has provided to all of us as a woman of faith and find a way to follow her example.