The playground was all hers. From the cooking fires, to the well, to the watching of the neighborhood comings and goings, joy abounded within. Twas all pure delight as the tables her helpful hands set served many. Only the purest of thoughts ran like streams of living water from her heart fulfilling the desire within to be a handmaid of the Lord.
“Be it done unto me, according to Thy Word,” were her words. It says so right there in Luke 1:38. What an honor it was to bow and to bend with contrite heart trusting that the angel before her was bringing the news many had been awaiting. Although she did not fully understand, Mary’s fiat was her immediate acceptance of and consent to God’s will for her life.
Nazareth was home. Anne, her mother, was a gentle soul—calmly collecting her prayerful thoughts beside her little girl. A teacher at heart, like every mama, she longed to pass on that which she knew so those in her charge might not only pass it on but live it well. Joachim, her father, worked round and about stabilizing the home not only with hard work but with solid prayerful presence.
Little Mary was not much more than 13 when the angel, Gabriel, spoke to her. Fast forward, she was around 47 when her son, Jesus, died. Give or take—she gave more than she took—as did her son. I suppose the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, unless you were in the garden way back when it all began.
Mary set a tremendous example through obedience by responding “yes” to that which was not only asked of her, but offered. A new Eve of sorts one could venture to say. She never looked back until, that is, He hung from the cross. No doubt, she did a double take once again as she walked away from the tomb where he had been laid.
She, who constantly looked to her Son, asks us to do the same. Bowing to her in worship would be heresy. Bowing to Jesus, her son, the Son of God, who came through woman as prophesied so long ago is the only way to Truth and Light for He says, “No one come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Revelation 12:17 proclaims her as our spiritual mother and we her children. “And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.”
If we are to be like Him and He honored His mother, then we, too, may honor her with the very words given us in Luke: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” (Luke 1:28). All glory points back to and is given to her son, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son of the Father.
And at the tip of our tongue we ask for prayer, not performance from Mary, for she can do nothing but turn to her precious Son, and pray in constant unison in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. “Not my will but Thy will” (Luke 22:42). Amen.
This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.
Photo: This statue of Mary resides in our Sacred Heart Chapel, taken by Sister Nancy Bauer