The Word Made Flesh…Through the Eyes of Mary

Reading 1:  Hannah’s Song:  1 Samuel 2:  1-10

Hannah was a childless woman.  She prayed that if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord.  Eli the priest saw that she was praying and asked her about it.  When she told him, he said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked him.”  She replied, ‘Think kindly of your maidservant,’ “ (1 Samuel 17-18).  She did produce a son and offered him to God as she promised.  When she left the temple, she sang this song.  Do you see the echo in Mary?  Mary would have known this story well.

Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:39-56  (from Assumption of BVM)

Think of how Mary’s Magnificat speaks of how she sees God, and how she instilled those ideas in Jesus:

  1. “scattered the pious in their deceit” – a moral revolution, God’s ways before our ways
  2. “cast down the mighty from their thrones” – a social revolution, we are all worthy
  3. “filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” – an economic revolution, everyone must get only to give away (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible of Luke, p. 9-10)

Luke mentions Mary 13 times in 5 different episodes, more than any other evangelist (twice in Mark and 6 times in Matthew) or Acts (3 times and never mentions her name).  So Luke has a strong influence on our Marian theology.  Luke’s literary style has a theme of presenting Jesus as our Savior; everything is a part of our salvation history, culminating in Jesus’ Ascension.  Mary is a big part of that (Fitzmyer,  Luke, the Theologian, p. 57).

What did Jesus learn from his mother?

  • Saying yes. Consider his baptism.  Consider everyone who approached Jesus for help.
  • Creating life. Mary birthed the Son of God.  But she also taught him about God’s creation in growing food, etc, as being a woman in an agrarian society  (Coffey, Kathy, Anthony Messenger, May 2013, p. 25).

Meister Eckhart says, “What good it is to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace?  What good is it to me for the Creator to birth the Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture?”

Like Mary, am I willing to open my heart and place my life in the service of God’s plan?  What would it cost me?  How might I more fully accomplish this?

Mary, Our Model

  • The first disciple
  • Revealed Christ to the world
  • Lived the Christian message
  • Not for us to worship, but venerate
  • Just as our own mothers interceded and are advocates for us (or we wish), all the more does Mary intercede for us to her Son and to the Father

In what way does Mary teach us to be a disciple?  What exactly does she teach us?  How might devotion to Mary invite you to be a better disciple?  If she is a model for us, what exactly does she model and what can you emulate, admire and imitate?

Some Historical Facts:

  • She was actually named Miriam, after the sister of Moses.
  • She led the grinding life of the peasant class, triple taxed from Rome, Herod and the temple.
  • She would have lived in an extended family unit, where 3-4 houses of 1-2 rooms were built around an open courtyard. Food, cooking and animals were all shared in this common area.  She would have spent up to 10 hours a day doing family chores.
  • She probably was not the fragile picture of Mary we often see in art. She would have had a robust physique to withstand all she did.  She probably didn’t know how to read or write  (Maloney, R., America Magazine, “The Historical Mary”).

As events unfolded around her, often to her surprise (and we have a God of surprises), she had to figure out continually what God was asking of her.  Aren’t we asked to do the same?

Closing Prayer:  Salve Regina

Hail!  Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!

To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;

To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us,

And after this our exile show unto us the blessed Fruit of your womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us,

O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Amen

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