I've often wondered about Mary, her life and relationship to the Triune God, and her role in the salvation of humanity. My initial view of Mary was child-like: a perfect human being, not suffering the same woes as the rest of humanity-- very beautiful, blessed and holy. Bible study introduced me to her life and trials, so I thought I'd start praying the Rosary like all good Catholics do. I tried to discover the real Mary through St Louis De Montfort’s book, The Secret of the Rosary, but came away thinking I lacked in my devotion to Mary, ashamed in my thoughts and actions toward her. Not that I had disrespectful thoughts/actions, I just didn't have any special thoughts or actions toward Mary. No, she just seemed less important in the grand scheme of my life. Also, the way Mary is sometimes described by St. De Montfort and saints puts her in an ivory tower of sorts (for me anyway). She seemed so much unlike me that I began to feel she was more like the Ten Commandments, an indicator of my failures and sin in motherhood and as a disciple of Jesus--not seeing her as trusted role model. Perhaps, because I fell so in love with God after really studying the bible, I couldn't see Mary’s influence in my life. Then in my musings I began to contemplate her life as outlined in the mysteries of the Rosary, imagining her life as a teenager confronted with an unexpected pregnancy, totally breaking with the taboos of society in the realm of marriage and family. What courage she possessed to have said, ”Be it done to me according to Thy Word!” Yes, I could admire her trust and confidence in God to take care of her in this difficult and potentially life-threatening predicament. Next I pondered her pregnancy. Somehow Mary had to be extraordinarily special in her role as the Ark of the New Covenant, the God-bearer, the one to give God a human form. Back in the ancient days of wandering in the desert, the Israelites carried the most sacred words of God, a jar of manna and the staff of Aaron in the Ark. Remember the man who touched the Ark in David's time, and immediately died (2 Sam 6: 6-7). God somehow created a creature who was to hold Himself as Word, Son, Savior, yet not die! Someone to behold the face of God, and yet live! A mother who could contain within herself the Bread of Life and power of God...Ok, that would be someone special….According to St Andrew of Crete, “This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator.” How amazing is that—that a person could contain God! Now my erroneous ideas on the perfection of Mary were really crumbling, my disbelief that anyone could be that graced was in fact dissolving! Reflecting more on Mary made me realize that “Full of Grace” really means filled with all of God's grace necessary to complete the assigned mission. The mission of Mary, as God-bearer, was miraculous so the grace must also be miraculous, supernatural and full or complete when given to Mary. Only through the complete assistance of God, with the fullness of all needed grace, can I even imagine anyone enduring what Mary did in her life, as outlined in the mysteries of the Rosary and Bible. Thinking deeply on her life, the poverty and hunger, traveling by foot or donkey in hills and deserts, the fear and oppression from civil authorities, following the footsteps of Jesus where ever He went, suffering the loss of her beloved husband and Divine Son...Now after this pondering, I can finally see Mary as a role model and not a stumbling block, for her life, with all its challenges, exemplifies what is possible with the fullness of God’s grace. This grace is exactly what I need in this sometimes miserable life! And this grace from God is made possible because she said,”Yes!” Finally, with Mary’s “yes” and all that followed, I too am able to be a (very imperfect!) dwelling for a most Holy God, which is beyond comprehension! Thank you Mary, a most holy human model for all of us, as we strive to be like you, the most holy and perfect God-bearer! And thank you God for your creation, Mary!
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.