This blog is extracted from Online With Saints.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was with her son during his entire life on earth. Her husband Joseph must have died in Jesus’s youth. Mary’s presence in the Bible is constant but quiet: only on a few occasions do we hear her speak in her own words.
We first hear her speak when the Angel Gabriel comes to tell her that she will be the Mother of Jesus. Mary is shocked and cannot understand: ‘How can this be?’ (Lk 1:34), she asks. But her faith in God overcomes her doubt: without understanding what nor how, she is able to declare with all her heart: ‘I am the servant of the Lord. May it be to me as you have said’ (Lk 1:38). This is the beautiful way in which she said ‘yes’ to the will of God. The way in which Mary surrenders herself to God with all her heart and all her life is the greatest inspiration for each of us. Obviously, we all have a different vocation than she had. Her vocation is unique. And so is yours! Whatever your vocation may be, be ready to embrace it with all your heart, even when you do not understand everything.
In the Bible, Mary is always present in the background. Others speak much more than she does, like Saint Peter, who received a vital task when Jesus made him the first pope. So you could ask why Mary has been given such an important role in our daily faith. Why do you find at least one statue of Mary in every church? Why are the months of May and October dedicated to her? Why there are so many hymns, prayers, and rosaries in honour of Mary? The secret of Mary is her wholehearted answer to the call of God. Without Mary’s ‘yes’, Jesus could not have been born the way he was. She was chosen and prepared for this role by God, but only by her ‘yes’ did she allow God to act through her. On the cross, Jesus confirmed that she is the mother of the entire Church community, a feast celebrated on Whit Monday. So she is also your Mother! Do not hesitate to call on her when you need her help!
The last time Mary speaks in the Bible is at a wedding in Cana, which she attends together with Jesus. She notices that there is a problem and tells Jesus: ‘They have no wine’ (Jn 2:3). Jesus says rather rashly that this is not the right moment, but she is not disturbed. She says to the servants: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (Jn 2:5). And indeed, at her request, Jesus does the impossible and changes water into very good wine. That wedding in Cana is the first moment Jesus speaks and acts in public. It is significant that after this episode, the Bible no longer records any words of Mary. She knows that this is not about her, but about Jesus. From now on, he will announce the love of God to everyone in a very powerful way. In spite of her being chosen from all humanity to be the Mother of God, she realises that she is just an instrument of his grace. She withdraws into the silent presence of prayer. Mary’s prayer is very powerful, even when the timing may seem to be wrong. She tells Jesus of all the needs she sees and hears. When you ask her to pray for you, you can be sure that she will pass on your petitions to Jesus. But you have to join her and the other saints in prayer, however imperfect your prayer may be. What is your answer to God’s call to holiness?
MARY CALLS TO ACTION
Mary’s words in Scripture call to action in at least four ways.
DISCERN: Mary’s question ‘How can this be?’ (Lk 1:34) invites you to find out how Jesus is present in your life, to do what you can to grow in your relationship with him, and to discern your vocation.
ENGAGE: Mary’s answer to God ‘I am the servant of the Lord’ (Lk 1:38) invites also you to engage and get involved according to your personal vocation. There is no need for false humility, but realise that this is not about you but about God. He calls you!
PRAY: Mary says: ‘They have no wine’ (Jn 2:3), and continues to bring her prayers to Jesus. You can do the same. Pray for your journey to God, for the people you meet, for those in need… And do not forget to ask Mary to join you in prayer!
DO GOD’S WILL: Mary says to you at this moment: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (Jn 2:5). Your faith, however variable it may be, calls you to action: to share God’s love with others and to discern his will for you every day.
Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, pray for me, a sinner, now and at the hour of my death. Amen.