What happened to Mary turns our attention to Jesus Christ, the only Mediator of salvation, and helps us to see life as a loving plan with which we must cooperate responsibly. Mary is not only a model of the call, but also of the response. Indeed, she said “yes” to God at the beginning and at every successive moment of her life, fully complying with his will, even when she found it obscure and hard to accept. – Pope Saint John Paul II
My Friend Ashley wrote this beautiful reflection yesterday on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.
by: Ashley Blackburn
We honor Mary on this Solemnity, who is the Mother of God. Mary has been elevated precisely because she gave all of herself to God, who in return gave all of himself to her. Full of Grace, she received to the fullest. Not because she was loved by God anymore than any one of us, but because she loved God more fully, thus opening her heart more fully to receiving His grace.
In all of Sacred Scripture, we never hear of Mary exercising her control over a situation, but we do hear over and over of her waiting, trusting and pondering in her heart. At the Annunciation we see her allowing the Holy Spirit to act, receiving from God the gift of the Savior. Immediately following she doesn’t fret at Joseph’s initial response to her news of being pregnant, she instead waits and allows the Angel to convince Joseph in a dream of the good news in which God was asking the two of them to participate in. At the Nativity the events surrounding the birth of Jesus made things very tough on the Holy Family, but it is in these events that we see Mary give up control of making the situation better. She instead allows God to act through it. And the result of her trust in the Divine Will of God brought about this beautiful story of the birth of Christ that can be seen now as a glorious chain of events, revealing how God works in all things.
Later on we see Mary freely let go of her son as he set out on his public ministry after the Wedding at Cana. What it meant for Mary that Jesus perform this first public miracle, is that he would be gone from her side forever. Instead of holding on to her Son, she let go, knowing the world was in need of a Savior too.
At the foot of the cross, the ultimate sacrifice, Mary was there to witness it all. She journeyed alongside her son, never once trying to control or change the outcome. She instead handed it all over to God, trusting, praying and contemplating all that she was witnessing and experiencing.
Lastly, after the resurrection, there is little to nothing documented of what Mary did, other than that she was present in the Upper Room. But it is through this omission of action that we are left pondering perhaps one of her greatest lessons for us, which is what she didn’t do. Mary didn’t condemn the apostles, Jesus’ closest friends, for not being there at the foot of the cross when he needed them the most. She instead interceded for them in the Upper Room leading up to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Here we see her once again placing it all in God’s hands, trusting in his providence and allowing the Holy Spirit to freely act.
So what does this mean for us today? Well, one of the lies Satan is whispering in our ears is that we are in control, we can do it ourselves, we have no need for a Savior. In all circumstances and for all mankind, we would do well to give of ourselves more fully to God. This does not mean that we all are being called to sell everything and go be missionaries, or that we are all being called to the religious life. But what it does mean is that in whatever place we find ourselves God is calling us to give up control, to trust in His plan, to listen to his voice through prayer and then go and do what He is asking of each one of us.
When we look at the life of Mary, the first Apostle, we learn how to allow God to work more fully in our lives. Some may dismiss her on the basis that she was born without original sin. How could we ever live up to that or imitate her if she was sinless? But what we forget is that God in his infinite mercy gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which we are wiped clean of our sins over and over again. Knowing us and loving us, even in our sinfulness, He allows us to return time and time again to receive His healing touch and we are truly made clean.
So let us “be not afraid” of living a life of holiness. Let us trust in God’s plan for us. Let us listen in the silence as He whispers His Divine Will for us deep into our hearts. Let us step out of the darkness, receiving God’s forgiveness over and over again in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And let us set out bravely onto the path that God is asking us to walk as we give ourselves over to His divine plan.